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The Trend Report™: Borecore
Why boredom is the aesthetic, the lifestyle, of the moment.
Vaccine Resisters Seek Religious Exemptions
These binches will do anything but get vaccinated.
The J.&J. Conundrum
Some insight into what’s up if you got the J&J shot.
50 Countries With Best Vax Rates
Not the top ten that I was expecting! The US is fortieth.
Vaccines Don’t Cause Swollen Testicles
I can’t believe we are having this conversation.
7 True Stories From Virtual School
We all know American education is in a bad place and this story about educators, Zoom, and teaching now was both uplifting and saddening. Bless the educators! And the students.
Delta's Force Hits Economies
I don’t really understand the economy but I keep reading about how we’re headed downward, toward a crash of some sort. Gird your loins!
Drugging at Nursing Homes
I can’t say I’m surprised but this is an interesting story, especially as we wander through the great gerontocracy.
Children Experiencing Climate Anxiety, Anger
I could have told you this!
Toilet-Trained Cows Reduce Greenhouse Gas
I see the Do Anything But Make Sustainable Change challenge is going well.
End of Oil for LA County
A lot of people don’t know this but there are oil derricks all over Los Angeles, including one hiding behind a mall by my apartment. Anyway, that’s all coming to an end. Finally!
Revolt of the NYC Delivery Workers
We still talking about workers and their rights! We’re passed the “LISTEN!!” and are into the “REVOLT!!” phase.
Are you bored? I’m bored.
It’s not that there's nothing to do – I got books! I got shows! I got crafts! I got places to go! – but nothing seems to be interesting, everything seems to lack the certain je ne sais quoi that makes culture exciting. I don’t think this is just a ~me~ thing either as this week seemed to clarify macro-boredom at large, yielding a state of reflective shrugs. Welcome to borecore.
Borecore is our obsession with reruns, be they Taylor’s never ending versions or replaying history via American Crime Story. Borecore is no one knowing the theme of the Met Gala. Borecore is watching television after work instead of going for a walk. Borecore is sincere entertainment like Ted Lasso and taking the time to give it a backlash. Borecore is wearing sleeping bags on the red carpet. Borecore is ambient television and ambient music. Borecore is taking the time to be mad at a celebrity for having a personal life. Borecore is entertainment designed for “mass appeal” and “familiar” feelings.
Borecore isn’t basic, nor is it simple: it’s a sort of indulgence, even a craving, for the non-critical, for the path of least resistance that dulls you down to a flat line. Not quite head empty, not quite comfort culture, but definitely empty wagons making noise, borecore is best summed up by is something like Balenciaga – arguably the most exciting fashion brand – turning to Justin Beiber – arguably the most simplistic star – to be their new campaign face. It’s aggressive benignness. It’s uninteresting to the point of interest, lying prostrate to the point of being sleepy.
We are cursed to live in interesting times, yes – and that may be why everything else in culture is so boring. We’re facing the death, we’re facing the disasters, we’re facing the politics: we’re facing it all. No wonder all of the other fillers of life are akin to chicken noodle soup, to dumplings, to sweet potato mash, to banana pudding: now is not the time to chew on anything hard, on anything difficult. Now is the time for low culture, low effort, low lives. Now is the time of boredom.
Shoutout to my colleague Lukas who came up with the term “borecore,” to which I said: I’m using that, so you know.
Met Gala Red Carpet 2021
My biggest takeaway was that things were boring (See above.) and there was a lot of chartreuse (See below.) and that Iris Van Herpen was repped so much.
‘Gender Alchemy’ Is Transforming Art
Go see these very queer shows! Long live Vaginal Davis.
My friend Lindsay had a poem published! It’s great. It’s about ~earthquakes~
Why Do I Want Hot Men to Punch Me?
In which I try to figure out my internalized homophobia. Which reminds me, I had a dream about Lee Pace this week.
When Did the Book Become a Brand?
Very interesting evolution of the book-as-lifestyle-prop observation.
Caroline Polachek Takes the Stage
Not to be that person, but this was one of the most inspiring stories about creatives and creative pursuit I’ve read in a very, very long time.
The Unwritten Rules of Black TV
A very smart survey of Black television history, through the writers room.
"first urinal for women"
Oh, huh. Interesting!
football fans rescue dangling cat
This stressed me out to watch but good job sports people!!
Bizarre Murder of Housekeeper
I’m sure you saw this but this is the insane crime story of the week. Like Death of a Salesman evolved to even more American ends.
Disney Store Dead at 34
As this story says, check on the Disney adults.
Anti-Vaxxer’s Logical Fallacies
I saw this on TikTok and thought it was very well done. The wildest part of this Schoolhouse Rock parody? It was made in 2019.
How Many Daily Steps to Live Longer?
I feel like this is reassuring! Go walk a few miles a day and bike some every week. It’s an ideal situation, really!
Is Seltzer Water as Healthy as Flat Water?
I’ve noticed that I have heartburn out of nowhere, likely from this, as acidity and sparkling water has long been a thing on the mind. Swap out your bibs for boring water sometimes yall!
I have resolved that simultaneously too much and not enough is happening and that the second essay may semi-permanently be a space for mini-trend round-ups. Here are a few things on the mind this week.
Chartreuse: Long has chartreuse been my color and, apparently, the world has caught up in a major way as this bright-kinda-neon green had a big moment at the Met Gala. Yes, this could be confirmation bias but Kid Cudi, Normani, Diane Kruger, Frank Ocean, and Ciara were all fabulous playing in the spectrum between bright green and bright yellow, leaving me with the feeling of Chartreuse. This isn’t new, but it is peaking.
All Welcome: More interesting than the clothes (#Borecore.) was that the Met Gala 2021 was all about dissolving the respectability politics around who is allowed to be at affairs like this. Reality stars to queer celebrities to influencers to athletes to poets to rappers to politicians to rich kids to models: there was no rhyme or reason to who was there – and that made it refreshing.
Tax The Who?: The funniest part about AOC’s Met Gala dress was that it sparked a spree of content explaining who the rich actually are. From New Yorkto NPR, people just don’t get that there are people with unfathomable amounts of money that should be taxed. This TikTok said it best: “No, Bethany, when people say eat the rich...they’re not talking about your doctor dad and his $200K a year.”
The Non-Hyperpop Future: Hyerpop is so present that even the New Yorker has given this music press. What was interesting, as Pitchfork observed, was its near absence at the VMAs, illustrating a lack of taste and forward-thinking view of the world when it comes to music. Yes, bring in Madonna in bondage-wear – but have Charli XCX not perform. Grab the nail, this coffin needs to be closed.
Dumb Celebs: From Nicki Minaj to The Activist, we’re in the throes of the celebrity-as-moron. There isn’t much else to say about this other than people have leapfrogged over the “Imagine” lack of self-awareness and are diving right into a wall.
Swag Is Dead: I recently finished The Hype (Which was great.) and realized what we’ve been realizing for a while: streetwear and “swag” culture is dead. The fact that there is a reality show, the fact that there are think pieces about Dunkin’s merch, the fact that there’s now an app conflating drop culture with consumerist discounts says it all.
BeachTok: Surprise! Gen Z has discovered Millennial alt-rock band Beach House by using the song “Silver Soul” from over a decade ago to share love stories about their parents again and again and again. These are funny times!
Emojis Becoming Words: The knife, the chair, the tornado: antithetical emojis are taking on new meanings, building off turns-of-phrase like the skull and the wave. Soon, everything will mean nothing. I cannot wait for the linguistic singularity.
Long Live Lois: As mentioned this last week, Lois from Family Guy is having a moment. And, as if on cue, Lil Nas X brought this neo-meme star into the fold. She represents a sort of self-aware basicness, the dumb baby on the inside of us all.
Getting Glam With MEGAN
If you didn’t watch this, you have to. Megan Thee Stallion is the best!! And graduates from college in December.
THATS WHAT I WANT
The Lil Nas X video to watch. It’s so good. The cameo at the end is just ✨perfect✨ (Also: I didn’t love the album. But there are a lot of great songs and moments! This is my favorite of them all though.)
Perhaps the read of the year. This is also……..what 60% of your TikTok FYP is, if you’re gay in the United States!!
“straight men who post sunset pics”
I’ve been thinking about this video all week and I want it to become a meme.
The kids are so smart.
"now Cynthia from Rugrats?"
As the original Tweet observes, start the rapture.
“my top surgery went really well”
Cannot wait for the new Matrix.
"if the joker beatboxed"
I want this deleted.
"while he’s at home cheating on her"
Obsessed with all of Meg Stalter’s extreme white woman selfie videos.
"So we're nothing… "
The dread that this video filled me with. Tell me why we don’t just hang out all day????
Show me a better TikTok this week.
And, finally, whenever anyone looks at me.