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Exploring why creators (and all of our) digital spaces are becoming ideological and literal ad space, and what Andre 3000's new album says about the work of creatives.
If Gaza were a city, how much would be destroyed?
A simple, effective visualization of the devastation in Gaza transposed onto other cities.
Jewish Groups Rally for Israel on National Mall
Interesting, in that it speaks to how many present aren’t specifically pro-Israel but anti-Hamas.
Trump allies pre-screen loyalists
Haley Is on the Brink of Croaking DeSantis
Senator Tim Scott Drops Out
Meta to Election Deniers: Advertise Here
I regret to inform you that I now have to keep you updated about the 2024 election!
How Santos Spent Donors’ Money
I have to stan. Botox? OnlyFans?? You are SO wild, baby girl. See you not-in-Congress due to your crimes of divahood, your honor! (Also: this is maybe the OnlyFans creator he subbed to.)
Anti-Theft Tactics Push Shoppers to Amazon
Target CEO claims customers thankful
Sephora has locked up all its perfume
I’m not buying this narrative and, even if true, it speaks to how poor Americans are. Also? As has been noted, this is overblown and covering up retail failures.
More Americans Say They’re in a Brain Fog
Surprise! Many of us have Covid brain damage, which aging and things like alcohol don’t help.
There’s a moment in’s How Elites Ate The Social Movement where a connection is made between movements like #MeToo and memes. DeBoer calls this “meme politics,” movements that rely upon internet conversation without sustainable solutions. These are movements that shine bright, with easy entry points for brands. “Political action is an expression,” DeBoer explains. “Canceling, or making critiques or accusations with the intent of provoking widespread personal and professional shunning, is an example of where the political action stops at the level of expression.”
A flip side to this – which is and isn’t about activism, specifically – is that the past few years of digital-forward, left-driven movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter have trained people to use political discussions as bargaining chips in cool culture. We all know there are persons who protest or share a petition for cred: this is about the signal, not the action. That is a problem! That simplifies and dulls change, defanging what should be sharp, pointed, and thoughtful. It shows that our digital footprints are ad spaces, that what we share and what we say “are” endorsements. Not-saying-anything about the problem du jour means you are actively working against it! This means we’re all television and, when not sharing a selfie, you have to play ads for causes. You have to be the ticker tape equivalent of that stupid Millennial activist yard sign.
We’re seeing this happen in wild ways. First, the demand for creators to take a stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Just ask Brittany Broski, whose audience was mad she was business as usual during a genocide, which illustrated that (white) creators like her are a part of this problem. In response, Brittany – who was embroiled in a Close Friends imbroglio – made her pro-Palestine stance known. People are saying “Use your platform to acknowledge what’s happening!” while others are saying “It’s fucking weird to ask influencers and corporations for their opinion!” It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t something which, unfortunately, trickles down for you and I having to do the same thing: join a tribe, pick a side, and keep talking – or you will go to clout jail. (See also: the breakout week that mining and labor in Congo had, driving normies to share why they are quitting vaping and standing up in the name of reducing electronic waste, to #FreeCongo. Expect copies of Cobalt Red to boom, as more celebs do like Dua Lipa and ask questions that make you look good while you do not-much.)
We have all this pressure on the little people, as if we are all in America will be voting tomorrow for a ceasefire. Where this effort should go – and has, in ways – is to people like Bernie Sanders, who was heated to the point of changing his approach to the conflict. And he isn’t the only leader facing this heat! Same goes for oil executives who are ruining our future: those are very appropriate targets of such discontent. And yet, this pressure is applied to people like Brittany Broski (And Halsey?) while press cycling celebs like Jacob Elordi, Hunter Schafer, Timothee Chalamet, or Andre 3000 don’t seem to have the same heat applied (likely because audiences don’t feel the same level of “ownership”). This behavior – the memeification of conflict – creates momentary thought tornadoes, which can catch fire. Why else are right-wing morons like Candace Owens and Elon Musk taking progressive stances? Is it because they’re trying to court young people? Hmm.
We hunger for do-right-ism, for us little people to have perfectly aligned values with our faves so can all do “the right thing” together. This is where the “Emma Chamberlain needs to go to school.” discourse comes from and why Sarah Schauer’s Palestine posts work. What motivates this though? I have an arm-chair theory: in 2020, I was a producer on a Black Lives Matter town hall for kids hosted by Alicia Keys. Part of my job was finding children who could share why this issue was important to them. A 13 year-old I interviewed explained that she was worried she wasn’t doing enough, that she was sharing every activist post she saw and that she was donating any money she had to any cause she saw. She lamented not doing enough. There was a paranoia, a sleeplessness, to doing right. I was…impressed but shocked? This is great, in a way, but also distressing on a mental health level. This behavior isn’t isolated either, as I’ve heard from friends over the years (As recent as this month!) who share their stresses that they aren’t doing enough about [Insert World Problem]. I get that! It’s so great to care but, as with this 13 year-old, the care created a madness, that they then couldn’t live-their-life because they were so worried about XYZ person in ABC place. Our glut of information stabs us in the back, yet again. That’s how we get TikTok sympathizing with Osama Bin Laden: it’s easy to see humanity, it’s not easy to see context.
Again: this has to do with ad space, both internally and externally. There was a great August story from New York magazine about how everything with literal space is now an ad platform. Uber, Best Buy, GrubHub: these apps are now ad spaces. As traditional media (television, radio, magazines) slip and influence cannot be placed anywhere, where does the money move? To you and I. We’ve normalized the gestures of the advertorial and paid partnership, to where – I assume – more (young) people don’t realize so many of today’s normal postings are echoes of what were once ads. Every post then is an ad – and everyone is vying to take up space. This is why something like deinfluencing worked so well: it’s advertising packaged as anti-advertising. Capitalistic behavior, decapitalized.
What a remarkable soup we have before us as our cravings for change grow. If we cannot change the system, maybe that person I watch on the mini-television can be changed? Or maybe they can change me? In our increasingly alienated and isolated world, we don’t talk to each other: we advertise. We no longer re-share a meme but make an endorsement. “I’m not a businessman: I’m a business, man,” Jay Z once said. Unfortunately, he wasn’t talking about billionaires but about all of us. And it sucks!
C.T.E. Study: Young Athletes Are Getting the Disease
A brutal must-read that touches on gender and American rituals. Kids…shouldn’t play contact sports!
Cybertruck Owners Face Resell Penalties
I’ve seen so many posts about Cybertrucks being shit and Tesla’s limiting resale shows how much of a dud the car is despite “walking this back.” To keep the theme of Elon flops going, Twitter drama continues as advertisers pull back considering his antisemitic posting. He says he’s going to sue, but top advertisers like Apple and Lionsgate have bounced. Deeper we go into the abyss!
"candlelit vigil when putin attacked ukraine"
"Britney Spears’ manager slams SNL"
This was a week ago but SNL is so tired wannabe alt, which is to say: they are playing to the lowest point of intelligence to get mouth breathing Trump people giggling with them. How can you both try to win over Gen Z while condescending to them? Losers.
Mitski Writing New Queen’s Gambit Musical
This is so cheesy! Simping for theater is bad, but simping for theater-inspired-by-television is worse. (That said: good for Mitski, et al, for getting paid!!)
Greta Gerwig Has No Plans to Rest
I didn’t love this Greta Gerwig feature (Not novel, a bit late or early as far as featuring.) but I’m legally obligated to share it.
Your Friday Eve Forecast!
Friday eve weather update
Ignore these links but they capture something I saw trending on Twitter this week: there is something so deeply wrong with the world if we now call Thursday “Friday Eve.” That’s so Millennial (negative) corporate (negative) vibes!
"People in Japan are blessing their pets"
Get ready for brands to get in on this next year: a breakout Nepalese holiday dedicated to worshiping and thanking dogs went viral, inspiring more of the same across the world.
One of the conversations of the week was Andre 300’s long-awaited return. And what did he return with? A new age flute album called New Blue Sun, which inspired anti-intellectual “flute music is silly” memes which are morphing into a cycle of explainers about modern ambient music and Black psychedelia. The most interesting bits and pieces about the album have come from the man himself, as his bright-and-brief press tour is something to be studied as it reflects both audience’s limited attention/imagination and the not-that-deep-ness of what he’s doing.
There was a certain point where I just didn't know where else to go. You know, I didn't, like even now, people think, "Oh man, he's just sitting on raps or he's just holding, or holding these raps hostage." I ain't got no raps like that. It actually feels, sometimes it feels inauthentic for me to rap because I don't have anything to talk about in that way. I'm 48 years old, and not to say that age is a thing that dictates what you rap about, but in a way it does. Things that happen in my life, like what do you talk, like I gotta go get a colonoscopy. What do you rap about? My eyesight is going bad?
A lot to say. First, this represents the necessary evolution of an artist, done not of commercial, capitalist motivation but because this is the language they are speaking now. Every artist has to adopt new tools, and those tools are a reflection of skill and interest at the moment. If we stayed in one place, if we did not live life, those tools wouldn’t change because they wouldn’t need to change. What A3K is saying here isn’t an anti-rap anything but that creativity is expression. The medium is the message! What do you think a new age album of ten minute flute explorations says about the artist and these times? With song titles like “That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control.. Sht Was Wild” and a person who dresses like a Japanese inspired farmer who lives in Hancock Park, what did anyone expect? When he starts playing at MoMA and LACMA instead of Dodger Stadium, know this is why and that this was the goal.
Another thing are the memes and jokes and complaints and critiques, which capture the double-edge sword of fandom: this album isn’t “what people wanted.” And why should it be what you want? Why does everything need to be fucking candy? Can’t people eat vegetables too? That’s the feeling, that audiences are demanding children banging tables for more of the same. Taylor gives them that, by recording and re-recording the same albums over and over again. Pair this with notions that one should be able to see a performer in concert or that one should be able to do whatever they want at a show and audience brattiness becomes clear. Sure, an artist can pivot and it can flop (Sorry, Lorde.) but making art and creating isn’t about you in the audience. Music can be niche, challenging, and of-a-moment! This is what A3K is saying too.
Also? Andre 3000 is very successful. His work with Outkast defined a generation and pushed hip hop into a new era. Is he the richest person alive? No. But is he successful to the point of not having to do anything? Yes. And what has he been doing? Nothing, for seventeen years! Unlike, say, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk or even the Kardashians and Madonna, we are not constantly subjected to A3K’s whims. He hasn’t been constantly grabbing us with his latest, newest antic nor has he been trying to constantly rob you of your time and money. Instead, he took his money and ran. In the grand tradition of MySpace Tom (and even Rihanna), he spent his time traveling to Japan to play the flute. Like? Isn’t that what we want from rich people? To be unseen and unheard, to get out of the world, to enjoy themselves and pursue their pursuits, to do what we all wish we could do? Isn’t he living our dream, with New Blue Sun being a shits-and-giggles thing to share? Yes. That’s exactly it.
It would all be for nothing if the album wasn’t good – but it is very good. It’s worth the time! The reminder here, the inspiration, is for all of us to find our flutes, to figure out what we’re doing independent of what people want, so we can enjoy our time in our little lives. You don’t owe anyone a rap album!
“needing to sneeze”
Yes, I know this Mariah-about-to-sneeze video is essentially Facebook content your great aunt would repost but it made me laugh SO SUE ME
“parody the new Glen & Sydney”
“new Nathan Fielder”
Nathan Fielder and Emma Stone are the only people allowed to do press. (And, no, I have not watched The Curse yet as I want to consume it all in one sitting!)
"Read it fast"
Trying to get angry grandmas to read dirty words is a great genre.
"DOWNLOAD A STEAK"
“It’s doing too much.”
Agreed and, if you ever wanted to see a literal beating heart, this video is your chance.
“Renesme what are you doing here”
I don’t ask for a lot. I just need more filters on babies!
"you can’t guess how this video ends"
Everything can be ballroom, if you try hard enough.
I would like everyone to look at the Pop Crave parody Poo Crave. It is very vulgar but, woo wee, there are many laugh out loud posts like these ones about Meryl Streep, Michelle Obama, Shawn Mendes, and Latto. They’re doing what Clickhole did to Buzzfeed in the 2010s!
And, finally, me explaining why I’m bad at texting and emailing back.