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The Trend Report™ 🍌 Fetish Fever
Examining why "fetishes" are everywhere and a new aspiration from Emma Chamberlain.
Job Cuts in Tech and Banking Don't Mean Mass Layoffs
An interesting economic catch-22: companies are firing people while being desperate to hire people. I’m not smart enough to decode what this fully means but it is interesting.
Anti-Woke Banking Startup Cancels Itself
Elite Conservatives Have Taken an Awfully Weird Turn
Future Motion Refuses to Recall Onewheel Skateboards After Deaths
"The US government is trying to shut down our company"
Anyway, these stories all feel related.
FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried says he has just $100,000
FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried Made Secret Donations to Republicans
SBF won't shut up, and it's driving lawyers mad
Keep going, dude!! You’ve almost lost it all!!
One of Democrats’ Biggest Draws This Year? Dave Matthews.
This is fascinating, especially as it relates to the south (as Dave has A GRIP on those people).
U.S. Will Pay to Move Native Tribes Threatened by Climate Change
Good but depressing.
China Covid protests explained: why are people demonstrating?
"with nearly 11x that 100K figure, it’s barely news"
L.A. County COVID surge raises prospect of return to indoor masking
Even without a mandate, masks are the norm in Mexico City
Covid stories from this week.
Iran to disband 'morality police,' says attorney general
This is major news!
"people like us will never really belong here."
Lady Susan Hussey quits over remarks to Ngozi Fulani
Big story, which validated Meghan Markle’s disdain for the royals.
Berlin subway stop 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' called racist by Black Germans
A reminder that racism – from America and not – is everywhere!
Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passes Senate After Bipartisan Breakthrough
Finally some good news!
There is a woman on TikTok whose content keeps getting served to me both on and off the platform. Her schtick is very simple: she duets videos, largely things like the insane toilet juice people and the various casting kit videos, where she seeks to answer if what you’re watching is fetish content or not. She goes around Twitter every so often, and gets millions and millions and millions of views on TikTok.
Her rise as a niche-within-a-niche creator – someone making TikToks about TikToks, to decipher if they are or aren’t intentionally suggestive – is interesting because she’s emerging as a voice of reason, someone who can guide us through the mania of the internet to fact-check our degrading minds, to understand if something is weird or if we are weird. Most times? Things are weird – and by “weird” I mean vaguely sexual.
This is the landscape of always being online, where being able to post anything and a general lack of media literacy has rotted made our brains unable to decide if something abstract is or isn’t sexual. Collide this with ongoing niche-sex mainstreaming – a la, the sexualizing the new Mario movie characters and the humiliation of Samuel Bankman-Fried theorized as a kink and little thoughts like this – and we’re living in a world where everything and nothing is sexual content. This wouldn’t happen if the sadly prophetic “everyone is beautiful but no one is horny” phenomena didn’t exist, instead leaving many to constantly worry that sex is happening everywhere and children are constantly in need of “saving.” The results are a hysteria where very straightforward jokes turn into grooming accusations, which – to be clear – projects conservative self-flagellatory desires and gets at things like homophobic straight men trying to pick up drag queens on the down-low.
Which brings us to one of the worst storylines of 2022: Balenciagate. For the unfamiliar, the iconoclastic high-fashion brand featured children with fetish and fetish adjacent gear and right-wing persons and conspiracy types lost their minds. This situation is bad (The papers…) and provides the same feeling of seeing sex everywhere in a way, especially when the images are too far removed from their context while also forcing kids into this aesthetic, as Danielle Prescod pointed out. Yes, this entire campaign was inappropriate – but our fetishization of fetishization creates neo-conspiracy peddlers which creates this dog whistle post which leads to targets of hate crimes via the word “grooming” getting tossed around enough. I mean this literally! A great highlight of this connection comes from a TikTok essay by @special_feels, who explains how steeply slippery this conversation is. Yes, because of the Kardashians and Bieber, Balenciaga is “mainstream” – but Balenciaga isn’t Target and the imagery only appeared on their website. Meanwhile, as many have said, this behavior happens in churches but doesn’t get the level of scrutiny. Then again: celebrity culture has replaced religion.
This is all to say: we are all losing our minds because of sex. It sells! It’s everywhere and nowhere, proliferating our content and our language. Unless you are flagrantly sexualizing in ways that contain such blatant red flags – as Balenciaga did – you can get away with anything. Balenciaga didn’t create this campaign because they wanted to literally sexualize children: they did it because the language of sex and media literacy has evolved so poorly by artists and audiences that something like this fuck up can happen without anyone thinking twice. The Balenciaga situation exists because of the proliferation of fetish content and our confusion of what is and isn’t fetishistic. They didn’t think it would be a big deal because people are doing shit like this. Thus, the snake eats its tail. Or is it sucking its own dick? We may never know.
How Social Media Uses Free Speech To Stifle Free Speech
One of the most important interviews of the week (And I hesitate to use a word like “important”!) actually took place on Colbert, where journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa was on to discuss how dictators rise right now, and how the Philippines offers a glimpse into social media-based political disasters. She is a genius! And a peach. I downloaded her book immediately.
Gaslighting: Merriam-Webster picks its word of the year
Sure. Why not.
A man won the legal right to not be 'fun' at work
This man is a hero. Mandatory fun is dumb! Let people have lives!!
These Are the 10 Most Streamed Songs on Apple Music in 2022
This list is actually…very surprising, straight through the end!
Todd Field accepts the Best Screenplay Award
A takedown on the word best, by the writer of the movie Tár.
Good Morning America Co-Hosts Having Very Good Mornings
“Oh They Were FUCKING Fucking 😭”
I am obsessed with everything about the Good Morning America hosts who both left their spouses for each other. I want nothing but the best for them.
Is the music industry over TikTok?
An interesting take on how music executives still don’t understand entertainment and music on TikTok, courtesy of
This is corecore
Related: this amazing read on the idea of “corecore,” a post trend chaos world based in TikTok. Less the specific name but this concept is a big trend of the year.
“let’s talk about the Jon & Kate + 8 situation”
Collin Gosselin says 'Jon & Kate Plus 8' tore his family apart
I’m sensing post-reality show culture becoming a bigger talking point in the next few years. This is fascinating!!
"A Toxic Stan Case Study"
Related and not, as far as being an emerging subject: this discussion of stanning stans, as is the case with Brittany Broski.
One thing about Emma Chamberlain? She will be aspirational. The vlogger turned clothes horse turned next-gen-Kardashian has been defining trends for some time now, but she’s leading a softer trend that we’ll be hearing about more and more and more as things like Twitter disappear: indulging in the opulence of post-social media life.
Two signs point to this, both from TikToks that seemed to converge the idea in my head: first, as was seen in Emma’s Arch Digest tour, what her house does is solidify the fashion-to-interior-design girlie pipeline, which is just another form of style with a higher barrier of entry (more expensive, requires physical space); second, Emma is proudly unaware of internet trends, picking up on our fatigue and frustrations with sites like TikTok and Twitter, creating an opulence out of being able to live life.
We know attention, time, and the ability to not-addicted to media is a new luxury real estate and, as Twitter and Instagram become more and more precarious (or dangerous, or boring), the “nowstalgia” of Y2K is taking a turn for wanting to…simply not see it, to be in cozy spaces by yourself, living in the moment. No one wants to post anymore! Posting is now a job no matter who you are. And it sucks. Yes, work-is-work and we have to work under capitalism – but what if the rest of our life wasn’t online? What if our joys were for ourselves and not others?
That’s what Emma is positing with her house and with her disregard of social. She’s running a generation back to 2001, when they were born and when things were “simple.” Every generation has that back-to-their-roots feeling! And, even though we tell ourselves that our shitty jobs are a form of triumph, we all just want to figure out how to simply walk away from it all. Emma has figured it out – and we love her for crafting a new form of aspirational anti-FOMO.
Thai monks fail drug tests leaving temple empty
I would hire them all.
“how is this allowed”
I keep seeing this gay ASMR guy’s posts and keep meaning to share.
There is no better television right now than the Drew Barrymore daytime talk show.
"mellow mushroom threw the first brick"
The front runner for 2022 best picture.
“he’s a 40 something year old divorced dad”
Guess who he’s talking about!!
"I Know She Be Running A McDonald's Like It's The Navy"
I went to high school with her! Her name was Summer and she played bass saxophone.
“LEARNER FORGETS TO TURN THE ENGINE”
This woman is an inspiration. A better driver than me!
And, finally, me getting into the holiday spirit.