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The Trend Report™: Eating Cake
Talking about billionaires and the way we take pictures.
Tensions Ease Over Missile Strike in Poland
Sad, but an unfortunate instance of friendly fire.
5 dead, 18 injured in Colorado nightclub shooting
In case you missed it, there was a shooting at a queer club last night.
Banking giants and New York Fed start 12-week digital dollar pilot
I don’t fully understand this but I know it’s big! From what I glean, banks are doing their own crypto and…we’ll see how it goes. (Edward Snowden doesn’t seem thrilled, especially given the FTX shenanigans.)
Nancy Pelosi Says a ‘New Generation’ Will Lead Democrats
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker – in pictures
“This is really great”
As Nancy Pelosi’s time in Congress effectively comes to an end, take a moment to reflect on her past as she (and we) look to the future. She wasn’t perfect, but she did more than most!
Elon Musk pushes Twitter managers to do his dirty work
“all buildings temporarily closed”
"Handy tools and ideas to collect your Twitter data"
"maybe they wouldn't need to work at 1AM"
Trump snubs Twitter
This week in the end of Twitter.
COP27 climate talks ‘breakdown’ over finance, fossil fuels
U.S. eyes shifts on climate payments
EU threatens COP27 walkout over weak deal
“world’s first digitized nation”
"Lockheed is making a killing"
This week in governmental climate stupidity.
Qatar to Ban Alcohol Sales (Budweiser Beer) in World Cup Stadiums
Qatar World Cup apologise after threats to a Danish television crew
‘Don’t Criticize Qatar; Criticize Me.’
This week in “The World Cup’s going great!” news.
This flu season is looking really scary, in one chart
Everyone, everywhere, is sick right now. Be safe!
“Where will we all go after Twitter?” seemed to be the big question this one, one that people fromto posed this week to their audiences. It’s a valid question, one that speaks to a techno-capitalist vacancy that presents an opportunity for everyone from Tumblr to Discord to Mastadon to profit from.
My quick take is twofold. First, we’re going to see a rise in reclaimed and owned-spaces, as I discussed in May. The lesson in Twitter is that nothing lasts forever. Like the death of your Dell in 2009 – which took with it all the songs you had downloaded over the course of five years, that you kept meaning to put onto an external hard drive but never did – the learning is that we cannot rely too much on someone else’s vehicle because it will break down and will ruin our lives. Thus, blogs, websites, and “Yes, in my backyard.” digital spaces are going to (re)emerge. This is why something like Tumblr is getting a push: these are owned territories, hosted websites with a social component. As we continue to live an adult life where we can’t do things like buy houses, we’re going to see a return to valuing things we can do ourselves, online and off.
The bigger, more important take is something that’s buried under the “Where will we go next?” question: we spent all this week staring into the gaping asshole of rich wannabe gods, allowing them to shit on us and shit on us and shit on us. And we keep taking it! We keep allowing ourselves to be their toilet. Exhaustion with this feeling will push us toward the aforementioned owned-spaces (Or Web3??) – but it’s also going to push toward the long-time-coming, post-Occupy Wall Street, Eat The Rich mentality. They have been selling cake to us that is actually shit for too long, and this week the collapse of their sale felt much more pronounced.
A sampling of the stories –
Jeff Bezos attempted to crib ex-wife Mackenzie’s altruistic billionaire bag by claiming that he was going to give away his billions. While this shows a bigger trend in billionaire culture (They want to be Dolly Parton!! So much so that they’re working with her!!), Bezos is playing into a larger trend: claiming philanthropy when you’re doing something bad, a la firing 10,000 employees. It reminds of the Patagonia billionaire giving away the company only to write it off for taxes from earlier this year.
The race for Taylor Swift tickets was an intersectional disaster. While the noise caused by this has inspired an investigation into Ticketmaster, it has pushed some Swifties to further see Taylor as a capitalist and a manipulative greed machine. Where the 3D chess comes in here is Taylor positioning this issue as her-and-the-fans versus big business – which we know isn’t true. Taylor is the big business and she’s stealing your money too. She is the Wal-Mart of music, selling relatability and aspirational whiteness through musical products! The same thing is going to happen when Beyoncé’s tickets drop, which once again reveal she is Target.
We can’t forget Rihanna: not only are her business practices becoming the subject of increased scrutiny, the billionaire went full billionaire and gave Johnny Depp some reverent homage in her latest show. If that doesn’t scream out-of-touch, I don’t know what will.
Trump – a deeply stupid man known for inheriting money and pretending he was a DIY businessperson – is running for president again. After his surrogates underperformed in the election, the take on his tune has soured. (A great visual of this: people trying to escape his announcement speech.) The work is already done though, as people realize he’s a trojan horse for stealing American’s money (as people wake up to Republican hatefulness).
I will not pretend to understand the FTX drama but it feels of-this-kind. This said, I am thankful Sam Bankman-Fried was a top Democrat donor (Not to mention the youngest of this group!) but the issue highlights a greater scrutiny of rich shit peddlers like Larry David along with this week’s best conspiracy theory: Tom Brady and Gisele’s divorce is tied to the downfall.
There were a slew of “takes” from nepotism babies about being called nepotism babies this week. We had Lily-Rose Depp, Willow Smith, and Anaïs Gallagher and Zoë Kravitz sharing “thoughts” which were shallow and obnoxious at best, placing the blame onto other people and acting as if privilege being passed down is a burden. Nepotism babies talking about nepotism babies is the new white people talking about white people: it’s stupid and misses the point.
This is all to point out that the conversations about the end of social media aren’t “the conversation.” What we’re talking about is persons like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg destroying the lives of so many who work in, who rely on, and whose livelihoods are tied to social media. This isn’t about “I can’t Tweet anymore!” but about us little people having our lives and livelihoods jeopardized because our values have been dehumanized dollar signs. Social media is very bad, yes, but it’s also something so many in the modern world rely on.
A year ago, we were talking about the workers’ uprising. Now, it’s time for consumers, for regular people, to join in and realize the need to abolish billionaires. It’s well beyond time we stop eating the cake.
I am once again asking you to download the Substack app so we can chat on there.
The 140 Funniest Tweets of All Time
Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
At Cop27, Icom speaks about protestors attacking art
I need museums to stfu, particularly as this year’s COP was a fossil fuel anti-sustainability nightmare. Not a good look, ya isolating idiots!
Figgy pudding Spam tastes like a hot dog fruitcake.
This is next level wild. Not everything should be seasonally flavored!
FDA Finally Says Lab-Grown Meat Is Safe to Eat
Yum! Or something!
Lizzo sends fan her AMAs dress: 'It's easy to be kind'
Feel good story of the week.
Kelela announces new album, ‘Raven’
I’m very excited about the new Kelela album, largely because she’s enlisted ambient icon Florian TM Zeisig as one of the lead producers. What does that mean? We are a step closer to the inevitable ambient-pop crossover. Listen to Music For Parents and imagine Kelela singing over it. I think that sounds great.
Is there a mark of modernity more significant than the way we act in the presence of a camera? Discounting acts of surveillance, the introduction of a camera is guaranteed to shift a vibe. A contract is made in seconds, one where you have to acknowledge who you are and present yourself as who you want the camera (And world.) to see you as.
We all know our “camera quirks.” I try to lift my chin and smile slightly. I give a peace sign. It’s a subtle but pronounced self-presentation that considers the past, present, and future. It’s anti-in-the-moment and more learning my lesson from ugly photos in the hopes of creating a better photo. This is why some people go a little wild with their camera quirks: I once worked with someone who didn’t take a photo without doing a quick messing with their hair before pursing the lips; for years, a friend would do their “personal brand” of sticking out their tongue and pointing a finger gun to their head; you see it in children too, who walk around looking over a shoulder when you’re on your phone, building blocks and playing sports while staring at you in case you are recording. While human evolution is too slow and subtle for us to realize (save for things like mass plagues), our behaviors have clearly been shaped to make room for this third eye.
Two recent examples that have been picking at my brain are filler migration and flat fashion. “Filler migration” comes from too many facial injections and, as this brilliant TikTok explains, the cosmetic starts to creep beyond the lips, filling into the face. Why is this happening? Because people know that this can and does look good in photos – but in real life, in three dimensions? The lips are over-pronounced and confusing looking. The rise in fillers directly correlates with Kylie Jenner, which dovetails into how visual mediums like Instagram and Zoom have pushed people to be more “camera ready.” Your face isn’t for the every day: your face has become a product for camera consumption.
“Flat fashion” does something similar, where we dress for the camera instead of real life. As Ana Kinsella explains in a brilliant essay for Dirt, flat fashion happens “when consumers buy clothing on the basis of how it looks in two dimensions.” This is “not an aesthetic so much as a mode of dress — a format that turns every outfit into content [...], every image into catalog.” This effectively has killed the idea of street style and personal style because, when we dress for the camera, gone is the naturalness and whimsy of fashion. In its place is a 2D product, something to be consumed instead of encountered or even lived-in.
These two recent examples play into many twenty first century instances of “camera quirks,” from the Egirl face to the toddler selfie obsession. These are facts of our lives now. Neither good nor bad, they just are. What is your camera quirk and what does it say about you? Something to think about, in case this says something deeper about your sense of self.
“not now sweaty”
“Elon is sharing”
“the latin grammys”
"becoming twitter's next CTO"
“If there’s a movie about Elon”
"honestly she is right"
”do you think”
Enjoy these down-with-the-ship memes while they last!!
"this is the joint slay we were looking for"
Love Gisele Fetterman and that she calls herself “SLOP.”
“and it’s sad”
The things creatures do for attention!!
“having to edit the dick out”
Sad, afterwards, but I’d do that job.
"trained my tiktok algorithm to show videos that are so surreal"
I don’t think we talk enough about how TikTok’s use of surrealism as a gesture, how kids now don’t hit each other with shopping carts but instead make strange short films, says a big something about the state of the world.
“trying to help her remember”
Make Malibu remember, Trisha!!
“tf they do to my dog”
I think bad-dog-haircuts is one of the most underrated genre of funny things.
Best noise of the week.
“what it was like to be in a coma”
Best existential meltdown of the week.
Best misspelling of the week.
And, finally, me singing you tunes every weekend.
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