The Trend Report™: Death LOL
Examining why people find Prince Philip so funny and why David Dobrik isn't going anywhere.
The Boulder Supermarket Shooting
Two shootings, two weeks in a row. An awful illustration of America already going “back to normal.” Take a moment to learn about those who died.
To My Fellow Asian Women
150 Years Of Ignoring Anti-Asian Racism
What hate crime numbers show, and don’t
We Need To Talk About Anti-Asian Hate
In light of the Atlanta shooting, there have been so many profound reflections and learnings. From RO Kwon’s letter to the Asian women in her life to Eugene Lee Yang’s informative documentary, there are many ways to learn and stop Asian hate.
How infected air can flows
Yes, you can get Covid from your neighboring apartment. It has a lot to do with air flow and shared airways.
Rich Countries Aren’t Vaccinating the World
"U.S. needs ‘vaccine diplomacy’"
After building for months, we’re finally starting to see stories about sharing the wealth of vaccines with countries who may not have them yet. Why? Because 90% of vaccines have gone to wealthy and middle-income countries.
LGBTQ college students ‘back into the closet’
When I was in college, visiting home was high time for me to be not-gay and not-queer, donning the flimsy “artsy” straight boy act that my parents knew me as. Could I do that every day? No. Sadly, as one can imagine, queer students living at home are living that: going back in the closet to stay safe while living at home during Covid.
What It Cost to Survive
If Everything Smells Bad, You’re Not Alone
A year in, we’re talking about what it means to survive this pandemic. From financial ruin to a rewired sense of smell, there are many ways this time is staining the present. (The latter story reminds of this excellent piece on the importance of understanding smell.)
How Kyrsten Sinema Sold Out
The Arizona Senator represents neoliberal Dem disaster politics which comes in Lazytown packaging.
"If only there was...the authority to change that"
"‘100k likes and I will do my job.’"
Speaking of Sinema, we’ve entered the era of influencer politicians and, just like influencers, they don’t do much.
February Traffic Drops at Majority of Conservative Websites
lol can’t wait for Trump’s social site
Tesla Makes Terrifying Unprotected Left Turn
"ok i'm never getting into a self-driving tesla"
Prince Philip is a 99 year old public figure who will be 100 years old on June 10. He recently suffered heart issues, landing him in the hospital and in the public eye for some time. He’s well now, or as well as one can be for a nonagenarian with transparent skin.
His life must be hard and easy, depending on the state of his body and mind. All you do at that point in life is live, inhabiting a body, doing nothing but – Hopefully. – enjoying yourself. Aging is hard. Aging is abstract! Life, as we know it, is not easy. As Ursula K. Le Guin wrote, “Old age generally involves pain and danger and inevitably ends in death. The acceptance of that takes courage. Courage deserves respect.”
But is Prince Philip getting respect for this aging in public? Absolutely not. For better or worse, he has become a meme, a representative of the living dead. Makeup has been made in honor of his splotchy skin, questions of his mortality have been made, he’s been imitated and hung, zombified and cheered up, forced to sing and sing, compared to the ageless again and again.
These jokes are all funny. Crass? Absolutely. But do I laugh at all of them? Yes. Their appeal is obvious too: Prince Philip is a vessel for Gen Z and Millennial’s death obsession. He is so close to being so dead and in the most natural version of death that we, two generations who faced school shootings and climate destruction, cannot imagine for ourselves. We see our ends as premature and tragic. Someone of Prince Philip’s experience is an extreme abstraction to our own. And humor? Humor is an easy cause and effect, a healthy before and after. To see him and laugh is a balancing of power that appeals to the young.
Joking about death is not new. And it’s a uniquely young person’s game, a territory occupied by those who see it as something that will not touch them – even during a time of mass death. When I was in my late teens and early twenties during the aughts, this was high time for joking about Auschwitz. This was a very 4chan adjacent, post-goatse line of humor that was deeply enmeshed in one’s distance to death and, for poor Prince Philip, he is absorbing our untended existential death worries. Why think about one’s own death in a deep or profound way when Prince Philip can contain multiple generation’s end-of-life in one body? To us, he is the only person who will ever die.
We’re the disassociation generation who live in a thriving oppressive state. Many of us expect to never see old age. Perhaps we poke fun because we’re jealous. Perhaps we want him to die, to end colonialism and monarchy and all the things his generations stood by that affects our little lives. Perhaps we too want to die. Either way, it’s more fun to laugh while crying than to cry while crying. Prince Philip grants us that with each meme.
If you have not watched Lil Nas X’s jam-packed queer heaven-and-hell Atlanta camp fantasy, you need to watch it. It’s a landmark moment for gay culture!
Wednesday Wallpapers with Simone Noronha
As Women’s History Month comes to an end, check out this women-supporting-women phone wallpaper.
Do I Have to Follow My Co-Workers?
I wrote a story for Rewire that offers new rules for following coworkers on social media. Hope this gives you the courage to unfollow someone!
Von Diaz’s Essential Puerto Rican Recipes
Yes, I will be cooking these.
"Shoutout to this teacher"
…who took his class to the zoo, whilst on Zoom. This is great but...very sad.
The trouble in the Suez Canal was the meme of the week, yielding joke after joke after joke after joke after joke. My short take on this is it ties into post-baby / dumb bitch culture, the boat being a manifestation of being an Empire State Building sized big dumb idiot trying to do their job while failing spectacularly. Obviously, it’s quite a relatable vessel to project the folly of adulthood.
Drag Race contestant performed in blackface
Clarification: a Down Under queen, that is. Either way, this is not a great way to kick this new entry of the series off. As a palate cleanser, an international All Stars might be happening.
New £50 note celebrates Alan Turing
This seems like a moment in queer history? In any event, anywhere but America has cooler, more progressive money.
William Shatner creates AI version of himself
I…….don’t like this!! As discussed weeks ago and months ago, celebrities are never going to die and this is another example of that.
Inside the Fight to Unionize Tate’s
Boycott Ina’s favorite cookies.
The Mini-Microphones Taking Over TikTok
I might buy one of these.
How Would the Publishing World Respond to Lolita Today?
This is interesting! Written by someone whose father helped get Lolita published, it traces the impact of the book – and talks to teens today to hear how the book has evolved and not changed.
I will try to keep this brief but we have to discuss the whole David Dobrik thing. It’s a lot. The big question here, as my friend Wynter posed, is if he’s going to disappear or be resurrected, “reformed” for his pranking ways?
My guess is a non-reformed version of the latter. Digital stars and those who support them do not learn Just ask Jeffree Star and Logan Paul. Unlike actual celebrities, their influence is nebulous but great, particularly in the eyes of the empowered and old. Tanya Chen said it best over at Buzzfeed: the YouTuber and digital creator who is banished “still have platforms and fandoms, and their careers have sustained.” Online, in spaces like YouTube Originals? No. They’re permanently cancelled by digital entities. But in movies and music and the larger Hollywood landscape? They’re just fine.
Why is this? Hollywood is so thirsty to grab the digital audience that they will tap into a problematic and dry well to steal eyes. They’ll do anything to appeal to a younger audience as they lose relevance in the face of the internet. An example: last year, I worked at a kids network who had booked and was working with a TikToker who was noted for saying the N-word. While he was casually “cancelled,” the network continued to work with him, even putting him on shows. It took the rise of protests in late May for them to “unbook” the talent because it seemed like a poor look given racial justice. Hmm. (And, if you’re looking for the star in question, it’s Chase Hudson, whose 2020 saw him going from having his racism exhumed to being a new face for a music brand. One entity’s death is another entity’s paycheck.)
This is to say: David Dobrik will be fine. If Ellen can survive after losing a million viewers, this digital star will be fine. Yes, I will relish in this moment of his being maligned – but I’m not stupid enough to believe that dying brands aren’t already knocking on his door. He will likely end up with an MTV show in a few months.
"It’s blurry but you get the point."
This TikTok of a child playing Roblox, yelling at their parents for being Instagram obsessed Millennial losers is simply incredible. Whoever is coming after Gen Z are going to be great. They definitely hate Prince Philip.
"only he gets me"
"this video is so fucking scary"
TikToker @jeremyfragrance is having a big we’re-laughting-at-you moment. He’s quite a character and I can’t figure out if he’s hot or not. Please help me.
"Baby said 'I meannnnn'"
Love this baby – and I hate babies.
"Wondering why we love @mlfudge ?"
"She always testing me."
Two unrelated but similar vibed videos of mom-types who clearly are cut from the same cloth as my mother.
"not someone making fun of her"
I know you all saw this but: Rupi Kaur must be stopped. No wonder people hate poets.
"Shout out to Gabby."
Everyone loved this fast lil jumpy pup this week.
"Me and Meghan McCain riffing"
This is old but, as we keep getting haunted by this neo-con nepotism nightmare, I thought I would share since I’ve watched it at least ten times at this point. “Why don’t ‘ew boi’o it?”
And, finally, me whenever I meet a dog.