The Trend Report™: Deep Hologram Reboot
How entertainment hopes to never die and bracing ourselves for quarantine "nostalgia."
Welcome to The Trend Report™ where you get a capturing of what happened this week.
This week explores the economy of one-off viral posts, how reboots of kid’s shows connect with dead celebrities, invaders in your bathroom mirror, the eve of quarantine’s anniversary, a “sea penis,” and a new communist manifesto.
PS. Forward to your friends and subscribe here.
Why Is Everyone Investing in NFTs?
Because I am dumb and gay and we live in a post-Game Stop world, I have to learn about NFTs (non-fungible tokens). The short is: these aren’t cryptocurrencies but, instead, one-of-a-kind digital collectors items that are worth some cash. So, if you thought money was fake? You’re gonna love NFTs.
Email Is Making Us Miserable
Your Brain When You Give Up Sugar
125 people got $500 per month free for 2 years
A story about how emails make us feel worse, how giving up sugar is hard for our brains, and how money makes life easier, all of which are based on interesting studies that should change how we conduct ourselves but we live in a capitalist society and nothing will change.
Are Disposables the Future of Photo Sharing?
I am obligated to share this because some people are getting all hot and bothered about Dispo, social star David Dobrik’s faux-Instagram via Hipstomatic via disposable camera app. Oh: and Dobrik is embroiled in a sexual assault scandal. I’m tired.
Uproar at KCRW
"What the hell are you waiting on @kcrw?"
In case you missed it, the LA public radio darling is having a racial reckoning as former employees are sharing stories of micro-aggressions and racism at the office. The outlet has spoken up but their handling of the situation has left a lot to be desired.
Your tweet goes viral. You sell their crap.
A fascinating story about the economic relationships between small, viral posts and shitty products non-influencers hawk for quick cash. If you’re looking for this in action, look here.
US museum returns stolen Nepal god
Some good news!!
Pandemic led to more firework, tool accidents
Some bad news for dumb people!
And back to good news!
I think about Herman Cain’s zombie Twitter account a lot. It captures something I feel like we haven’t fully unpacked yet: post-death capitalism.
The idea here is that a brand can live forever and, if you, a person, are a brand, then you will live forever too. The most obvious iteration of this are bygone, unwanted children’s entertainment being rebooted. Tom & Jerry and Scoob! and Rugrats and Looney Tunes (along with Space Jam) and Animaniacs and My Little Pony: these are a few examples. The idea is simple: exhumed content that the now-old generation loved as kids force new versions on their kids via brand equity. Any reboot is gambling in this way, be it Coming 2 America or Mortal Kombat, because it means a company doesn’t have to go into overtime spending money building up new stars and concepts. Instead, you rely on a franchise. It’s why Joe Biden is president: people knew him – and people love to buy into a franchise. It sucks because, try as we might, people don’t actually like novelty. They want what is familiar, comfortable, old.
The next generation of this will be rebooting people. Remember Coachella Tupac hologram? Same thing: bringing back the familiar. Franchising. This is why Prince is still releasing music. Shit, this is why John Lennon is still releasing music. The next step here is building out a public figure’s forever-ness by making musicals and writing books or, like Herman Cain, continuing to Tweet. I wrote about this in November but the Selena series, the Cher and Tina Turner and Carole King broadway musicals, movies like Rocket Manand Respect and the upcoming Madonna biopic are examples of this. They are preparing you for these stars to become holograms.
This will get even weirder. The next evolution of this are deepfakes, technology that manipulates footage to apply another person’s face onto a physical surrogate. These trend every few months, a recent example being a fake Tom Cruise fooling TikTok into thinking it was the real Tom Cruise. Yes, the technology of faking other people in video is politically dangerous – but it also presents a huge opportunity for entertainment, to indefinitely milk a star’s brand equity. Just look at deepfake Mark Hamil in The Mandalorian. Don’t be surprised if James Dean appears in a Marvel movie.
Yes, reboots are inherently lazy but they capture two things: nothing will die anymore and death is staring entertainment (Shit: culture.) in the eyes, forcing producers and networks to bet on the old as their budgets become slimmer. If you really want to innovate with the past, consider questioning it. Take a cue from TCM and look at “problematic” classics. Question the canon. Blow it all up and build something new.
Brontez Purnell talks with Melissa Broder
I caught this reading live and it was just incredible. Brontez Purnell’s book 100 Boyfriends is at the top of my list of books I want to read and hearing him wax on about queerness, sexuality, power, Blackness, creative life, and so much more got me all sorts of jazzed up. Watch if you’re looking for some chicken soup for the creative’s soul.
The artist & disability advocate milks the algorithm
Artist Emily Barker is an LA celebrity in their own right and this interview is so illuminating, about survival and creating and living in a society like this. “For me, capitalism is a bigger threat to my existence than ableism,” Barker says. From their lips to our ears.
Welcome to the Circus
9 Drama YouTubers on Their Breakout Videos
Confessions of a 32-Year-Old Drama Queen
Vulture did a great series on YouTube drama, which seems to speak to the post-YouTube culture landscape that we live in. You can also draw a straight line from Chris Crocker’s “Leave Britney Alone!” to contemporary tea and spill videos.
I am obligated to share this explainer on this week’s Dr. Seuss business but author Celeste Ng’s take is the only one that matters.
They Came in Through the Bathroom Mirror
In relationship to the Candyman TikTok, this story a friend sent captures what’s going on here as the movie was inspired by men sneaking in bathroom mirrors. (Read an interview with the TikTok woman here.)
I will attempt brevity because I plan to talk about this next week: a week from today is the officially unofficial one year marker of quarantine. We’re a pandemic year old, sweeties! Look at us. Look at us.
Something that is going to tumble at us like sanitized bricks are stories reflecting on one year of corona, various content items that mark time and push against non-neanderthal thinking. To which we will reply: we know.
Still, we’ve got: Drag Race making not one but two coronavirus specials; Polygon looking at personal tech in quarantine like emo TikTok and Discord adoration; vaccine FOMO becoming a heavily debated hot topic; taking stock of mental health as it relates time apart, extending the subject of wrecked friendships and spawning new jokes about post-lockdown awkwardness; and even Covid itself is getting more aggressive, dropping new symptoms and strains seemingly out of boredom.
What does this mean? We’re one year in, in case you didn’t know. What else does this mean? News cycles are easy to predict. The seams are already bursting in this thought space and I have no doubt that we will see a full week of writing that reminds of 9/11 style brand shenanigans.
Bizarre ‘sea penis’
Please look at this creature. You must.
Not sure this makes me blessed but I have not had this dinner...yet.
"A Gen Z diss track"
Anyone who actually cares about the Zooms versus Millies tiff is missing the point. That said, those who are missing the point are hilariously stupid and this video catches that. (For reference: cringeys gonna cringe.)
What the infamous Froot Loops pizza tastes like
Spoiler alert: not great. Greasy and sweet!
Love the new Silence of the Lambs reboot on CBS.
"the best acting you've ever seen?"
Fuck the Golden Globes, especially when we have performances like this happening online.
Still don’t understand why J.Crew went bankrupt. Thanks, Jenna!
"I always loved the strings on 'Thong Song"
Lest we forget the quality of strings from the iconic dump truck anthem.
Huh. We really aren’t talking enough about this.
"90 hours?!? you think that’s a flex ?!"
We should all be communists.
And, finally, the reasons why I’m going to hell.