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don't listen to this song
Why TikTok is great and why TikTok is ruining non-TikTok things, like music and Drag Race.
Global CO2 Emissions Hit Record in 2022
Oh that’s right: this stupid shit. Are we, as a species, hardwired for self-destruction? It feels like it!
Why Dead Whales Washed Up on the East Coast
Anyway. We’re really gonna keep ordering overnight packages of shit at the cost of murdering whales? We’re fucking dumb.
Memphis, Through the Lens of Tyre Nichols
I really loved this story on Tyre Nichols’ Memphis, as seen through the photos he took of the city.
Many Employers Are Eager to Hang On to Workers
Another look at layoffs, which is very valid: they’re concentrated to tech! Other industries are doing just fine. (Which reminds: that Elon Musk simp, Esther Crawford, who slept on the floor of the office has been laid off.)
Did Biden Call for a Military National Draft?
AI deepfakes will be a big talking point in the next election, as they’re coming for boomers.
Florida governor ends ‘corporate kingdom’ of Disney
3 abortion bans in Texas leave doctors 'talking in code'
Bill limiting drag shows sparks chants of 'shame' from foes
From Florida to Texas to Kentucky, these are all unrelated but have the same energy.
Feds fine Mormon church for hiding $32 billion
Reminder that we should be taxing churches!!
FBI chief Christopher Wray says China lab leak most likely
The Lab Leak Will Haunt Us Forever
COVID-19 Origin Debate
Efforts to Rule Out a Lab Origin of Covid
"Corporations must never again be permitted to police speech."
“disservice to science and public health”
Some thoughts on the Covid-lab-leak “verification.”
"Les comparto dos fotos"
Mexican president posts photo of what he claims is a mythical Mayan spirit
Speaking of conspiracies, obsessed with the Mexican president Tweeting about seeing an elf.
In the past month, we had two non-queer queer crossover moments. The first, Ariana DeBose’s BAFTA “vogue,” which was a meme goldmine but an embarrassment of out-of-context queerness. (A la: DeBose is queer, but the BAFTAs are aggressively not, making the juxtaposition most uncomfortable.) Second, this week pop star pun machine who caters to friends-from-high-school and Target shoppers, Meghan Trainor, teased a song called “Mother” much to the internet’s chagrin.
How did we get here? My guess isn’t that it’s the grip of queer culture on mass culture, but that they’re both extreme TikTok behavior that has been taken out of their element. As has been noted, a song like “Mother” – along with Doja Cat’s “Say So,” Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” Jack Harlow’s “First Class,” Gayle’s “abcedefu,” and anything by Oliver Tree – is created with TikTok virality in mind. I get it: artists have to do what they gotta do to get streams and sell singles these days. This isn’t begrudging them or this producing style! This is more about something I keep seeing more and more of: TikTok out of context.
A feeling that seems to have been building for some time, both Ariana and Meghan’s moments this past month signals how TikTok doesn’t work not-on-TikTok, that there’s an attempted code-switching that fails in the translation. It’s like watching footage of someone making a video versus watching the video itself: the two things are not the same, even if they technically include the same materials. A context is missing, an environment. When taken from that, they’re exposed for what they are: a little bit ridiculous, if not completely niche. The draw disappears, replaced instead with a sense of discomfort.
It has been written here and so many other places about how TikTok is reshaping culture. TikTok is that girl, creating new languages that are a mashup of references while nudging along the use of sexual language in non-sexual contexts. It’s also creating algospeak, a recent-ish phenomena where people are working around the algorithm’s restrictions on words like “suicide” by saying “unalive” instead. But, as this slang and affects become more and more pervasive (and more and more confused regarding origins and ownership), the juxtaposition between TikTok and real life becomes more pronounced. You made a song called mother? As a means to cater to queer people, who ostensibly took the term from the Black community, while bending it back to mean its intended maternal meaning? That is something, Miss Meghan – and is exactly why the song has had a confused, if not completely frustrated, reception.
This is going to keep happening as everyone wants to be TikTok. Ironically, it helps no one but TikTok, which means…this phenomena will continue to proliferate, a back and forth of love and hate that eventually goes to its final resting place: on Facebook, where your mother promotes this song by her favorite artist who made a song about bass.
"excited to announce our Saturday Drag Brunch Reading!"
If you’re attending AWP this year or live in Seattle, I’ll be in town and doing a reading with Lambda Literary! It’ll be a part of a lil silly story I wrote. Hope to see you! Tickets are sold out but get on that waiting list!!
Scott Adams’s ‘Dilbert’ dropped after his racist rant
Elon: Media Is 'Racist Against Whites & Asians' After Dilbert
A big story this week, which seemingly Adams had been courting for some time. As someone posted on Twitter, Garfield wins. Don’t get me started on the Elon fuckery. (Enjoy this related Chuck Tingle comment on the matter too.)
Withings latest health app to send sensitive data online
I, for one, really want the Withings urinalysis puck. But of course there are vulnerabilities with its use of healthcare data.
Abu Dhabi, Shenzhen and Doha the new culture capitals
I don’t know if I believe this but okay!!
'Cocaine Bear' Beats Box Office Expectations
I cannot say I’m surprised by this, as this Tweet seemed to have captured what’s happening here: Universal is making movies based on weird, original premises. They may not be good, but they are interesting – and different in a market of reboots and sequels.
Whatever happened to middle age?
Late to this but love this story on the disappearance of middle age. Tempted to write a larger essay on the cultural fountain of youths!!
Kelela on writer’s block, outsiderdom
This interview with Kelela is great, but also a reminder that for many artists it’s about the grind against the terrible forces of the world (white supremacy, capitalism). It also made me realize…Cut 4 Me crossed over when she was 30 making her nearly 40 now. We aging, y’all!!!!!
Is Anyone Tipping Their Landlord?
The idea of “tipping your landlord” trended this week and, no, you should not fucking tip your landlord. And, if you do, buy some fancy lip balm because you’ll need it for all the bootlicking you’ll be doing.
Recompose's Human Composting Is Respectful, Newly Legal
I’ve been saying this for a bit but: human composting and green burials are going to be the funeral norm for younger generations. (And, again, please compost my body or bury me in the ground so I can become a tree.)
"imagine if these things existed"
I love all these ridiculous (but a bit plausible) app update ideas, like Zillow showing a gentrification score and Snapchat allowing to take filters off of pictures (if you pay).
If you have no interest in Drag Race, jump to the next section.
For those who do not watch, we are in the throes of a new season of Drag Race. With seven queens of an indulgent cast of 16, we’re at the halfway mark. While I want to keep saying “There’s still time! It’s early!” I am here to tell you that, yes, this is the worst season of Drag Race. This is my controversial but brave take: this season is bad.
First, the obvious and most egregious thing: the synergy of it all. This season was conceived as a gross Paramount ploy, a means to revitalize their most flop channel with their most successful show: move Drag Race to MTV. With queens now staples at MTV awards shows – and having been award shows – it’s an obvious move that goes beyond the Ridiculouslness curve, to try to reignite brand affinity for people who have abandoned the once-music network for brighter pastures (a la, TikTok). This is what was done when the show moved to VH1 from Logo, and history is repeating itself — with no one really benefiting, since the show is now shorter and unable to keep up with its own lore.
Second — and a result of the first — is the unneeded drama. If you’re gay or have any proximity to gay world, you know why this didn’t work: the move to MTV was an attempt to design a rainbow TGIF, making Fridays a queer destination. Unfortunately, the fell into one of the biggest traps imaginable: shortening a once bloated-but-effective ninety minute show to a weak sixty; separating out the show from the after show, Untucked; and, most egregious, wedging a needless Real Housewives knockoff with insufferable, stereotypical gay men called The Real Friends of WeHo in between. This new show starred Brad Goreski and Todrick Hall, among others, the latter of whom became a willing villain for the show’s problems, framing the show as some sort of queer art when the reality is it was very a very dry repeat of gay stereotypes in a format that has been done better. This, more than anything, distracted a fandom and a franchise, uniting queer people (And hypothetically RuPaul!) together to take the show down — and they succeeded!
However — and thirdly — the cast is bad. Save for the shade machine that is Mistress Isabelle Brooks and literal legend Sasha Colby, the cast is largely forgettable, uninteresting, or under-cooked — and Paramount’s design of this season is at fault here. Most egregious and obvious was the inclusion of TikTok creators Sugar and Spice, who evolved the show’s stereotype of one-dimensional social media queens to an impressive new level. But why were they included? Because MTV wants what TikTok has. Every business, entertainment product, or person wants what TikTok has! TikTok stars might want to be TV stars and the network may want to be the social platform — but I assure you only TikTok can do TikTok. Sugar and Spice, as we saw, were a double-headed dildo of dullness, a storyline that took until last week to wrap. Their inclusion brought the show and the cast down, who all had to work around their inability to do the job of drag queens on television, sacrificing better storylines (Amethyst and Robin; Luxx being the new Valentina; anything with Anetra) so that we could instead hear about TikTok dances on the television, which is truly dancing about architecture. The challenges like sitcom parodies, infomercials, the queer-iconic library challenge, and the celebrity impersonating Snatch Game — arguably the season’s highlight which we got double of — have been miserable, perhaps the worst entries of the franchise. This problem is all couched in the MTV of it all, the attempt to compete with TikTok, indulging a capitalist fantasy of expansiveness instead of digging deeper into what you are. (Then there’s the exact opposite of TikTok: Bianca del Rio hosting The Pit Stop. What an unfortunate snore that has been!)
The worst part? One of the most consistently interesting shows on television is failing an entire community in a most urgent time. Yes, Drag Race has an awful record of being on the right side of history as far as progress — but last year and this year the politics are knocking on their door. Drag Race, one of the biggest cultural trends of the twenty-first century, helped to enable a more queer reality, questioning gender while exploring identity while making niche queer realities understandable for the masses. That’s huge! Yes, the show is imperfect — but the cultural legacy is undeniable. And yet! As attacks on drag queens have for nearly a year, not to mention another shooting at a queer safe space and mounting transphobia, the show arrived too busy looking in the mirror than to have the time or space, intelligence or wherewithal to contain these realities. Yes, production for the show happens late summer through fall, meaning some present truths were yet to be known then — but none of these anti-queer trends are new. There is nothing loud or proud about this season, save for the desire to profit.
Who is surprised by this? It’s a bit embarrassing being a fan of this show, a show that is simping for TikTok instead of making statements toward change. But again: why are we surprised? The show has always been the embodiment of the gay male fantasy, dedicated to its own pleasure than in contributing meaningfully to a conversation. In another universe, we would be talking about how Luxx represents a new era of reality star, an almost algorithmic collection of catchphrases. We could be talking about how Sasha Colby representing trans excellence, in the ways that season 14 did so well. Or how Loosey is a construction worker! How Mistress is and isn’t a very winning pageant queen! Instead, we have this boring, flat filler seasons. I hope I am wrong, that this season will grow into the new Season 7 — but I do not think it will be able to escape its contexts.
“like she was a LOL Surprise doll”
“kardashians paying celebrities to show up”
”Like was she paid to pull up”
Kim Kardashian took Cameo to another, weird level by having Ice Spice…make a cameo in their lives.
"Had to try this trend 😊"
A very good TikTok parody.
“this was the best smartphone”
I…feel like this is going to open up the opportunity for a Blackberry comeback.
"video to play for my daughter's baptism"
Close and distantly related but never pay a local photographer for a video.
Looks exactly like Trixie Mattel!
The latest installment of the Pedro Pascal Coming Out Watch.
"How I show her love"
Look, being a rapscallion is a love language and it is mine too.
"laughing at this for 5 hours"
I will take this medicine.
And, finally, me talking to my dogs.