The Trend Report™: Growing Up
On the increasing overlap between generations, and the longing for the ancient man.
"The scope and severity of the flooding in Pakistan"
Pakistan floods death toll passes 1,000
"no country in the world can build this type of infrastructure resilience"
How to help Pakistan’s flood victims
The first of three trends this week regarding absolutely devastating climate happenings. First, an unfathomable flood in Pakistan that has the majority of the country literally underwater, with more than 33 million persons displaced.
Sichuan residents flee heatwaves and power cuts underground
“supermarket packed with elderly people”
“we haven’t seen temperatures this high in China ever”
Second of three is the heatwave in China, which is distressing for myriad reasons (not to mention the disinformation that has come out of it).
Record-setting, long-duration heat wave is roasting Western U.S.
"The most powerful heatwave ever"
The third of three: the West coast is baking, with many areas in the triple digits, raising concerns for fires and power issues.
Ethiopia forces accused of deadly attack as Tigray war escalates
"officials say it’s still nowhere near enough"
This has been building for a few weeks now but some awful things are brewing in Ethiopia, as the country continues in a civil war. This week included a bombing of a kindergarten.
The shit-posting social media army taking on Putin one meme at a time
One of the biggest-but-forgotten stories of 2022 will be about Ukraine’s meme war against Russia – and how successful it was. Great story!
Documents at Mar-a-Lago Moved, Hidden as U.S. Sought Them
I don’t care about this 2022 storyline but you might. This will continue to nothing-burger while offering continued gifts to the right!
The Office’s Last Stand
Stop trying to make offices happen!! It’s so exhausting and corny. The world is ending! Let people work from home and save energy by keeping people in one place!
$3 movie tickets for one day
Speaking of offices, theater box offices are down bad. This is such flop behavior!
Odds of falling home prices in your local housing market
Looking to buy a house? Seems like prices are about to fall in some areas of the US!!
How Quickly Can You Get Infected With Omicron After An Exposure?
Saved you a click: it’s faster than you think, a little over three days.
What to Know About the New Covid Booster Shots
In any event, Omicron boosters are coming very soon!
What People Who Survived Monkeypox Want You to Know
A very good story on the queer people in New York City who have come out the other side of monkeypox.
I’ve noticed something about Gen Z and Millennials, that the generations are starting to converge into peer groups. It’s less to do about cultural commonalities, even if many of the ideals and circumstances are similar, but instead the aging of younger people meaning a bridge being built between groups.
Hear me out. This starts with the loss of time, with the “What’s my age again?” sort of feeling that comes from living enough years where the years no longer matter. We’re seeing this in a few ways: the year 2000 has made trending jokes about being twenty when you’re not or 2000 and concepts, which is converging with observations about time passing, a la 2040 is closer than 2000 happening in tandem with cultural relics being old enough to drink. I’d point to the Y2K comeback as a reason for this too, which has effectively held up a mirror to our aging to say “Time has passed.”
This dovetails into the exhuming of cultural materials from “when we were younger.” For Millennials, it’s offering real-time commentary on things Gen Z is just remembering or discovering, like Ashlee Simpson’s SNL disaster. For Gen Z, this means revisiting nostalgia items and figures from a decade ago and finding the joy in them as an adult. Related are items like Spongebob and Minions and Shrek getting a renewal via memes, turning the nostalgic into the present. This sets a table for us all to sit at together, to share our cultural memory soup, exchanging information to reconstitute years past.
Combine this with our caring about the same issues, with very similar points of view given the parallel nature of our circumstances. For example: this story about how Gen Z and Millennials aren’t having kids is far from new as it has popped up once or twice a year since 2015, happening again and again and again and again and again. We see this same grouping of generations in media, with subjects like student loans, retirement, and ideologies. This is leading to more stories about generational commonalities.
The narrative of generational battles is also starting to subside (or take a new form) as we continue to see Gen Z making fun of Gen Z, drawing attention to how younger personal and cultural expressions mirror older personal and cultural expressions. A good example is how the corn kid song is the most 2000s thing ever, which is funny because the corn kid song comes from a group known for viral hits for over a decade. As post-cringe (or self-accepting and graceful era) continues as a theme, we’re realizing that Millennial slander is actually critiquing the runoff of Buzzfeed and Pixar cultures. We also are collectively realizing that…these generational “beefs” are stupid. Yes, there are circumstantial differences – but also: why are we wasting our times talking about differences instead of gathering together in our similarities? The generational “wars” are a distraction from progress.
There is so much to benefit from as these differences dissolve because there is so much we can learn from each other. A recent example is our approaches to complex subjects, as played out by reactions to media on TikTok versus Twitter. Take the viral friends of different political beliefs post, which sparked intrigue by someone saying they “just want the trains to run on time.” This bit was met with wonder on TikTok (“So many different, complex views co-existing!”) while Twitter jumped in to shoot that idea down (“That’s facism baby!!”). In parallel are lessons of digital indoctrination, as the slightly older reflect on the atheism-to-right-wing pipeline of the aughts and how pseudo-communities create monocultures and fascism.
Growing older and realizing what aging is is undeniable. It’s universal! Now is the time to share in our lessons, to learn and grow together. Instead of looking at each other from a capitalist lens, as check boxes to market toward and categories of consumers, we should look out for each other. There’s more to be gained in togetherness and, hopefully, this pattern brings younger adults across generations closer together to change the world. We need it!
Thanks for reading The Trend Report™! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
“The greatest to ever do it.”
"I wouldn't be #Serena if it wasn't for Venus."
The GOAT's Career Ends With Epic U.S. Open Battle
What an athlete, what an icon. A few standouts in the coverage of Serena Williams’ final match!
The Ambition of Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson
Not to be Spanish-biased but Loewe is just one of the best brands there is today, largely because of the hand of Jonathan Anderson. This story is a great sketch of him who, fun fact, studied theater in Washington, DC, which I also did. (I guess we’re the same??)
Natasha Rothwell Used to Be Paid in Beer
This feature on Natasha Rothwell is so relatable! Love a story about an actor who did the work and “was discovered,” getting her due after a putting in the time. (This was particularly resonant for me as I too was a military kid trying to get by. Get that Emmy, Natasha!!)
Massive Roman Phallus Relief Uncovered in Spain
This apparently is to signify protection and the “masculine generative power,” to which I will say: show me this man’s Grindr profile.
What is a museum? Icom finally decides on a new definition
Years ago, I pitched a story about how “interactive experiences” branded as museums (Think Museum of Ice Cream and the like.) have stretched the imagination of what a “museum” is and confused the public as to what these institutions are. It seems like the International Council of Museums finally caught wind, as they have redefined the word to clearly ladder into education and being not-for-profit. Good for them!
Birmingham's 'four lads in jeans' get statues outside city bar
Simply an incredible work of modern sculpture.
Critics and Fans Have Never Disagreed More About Movies
This finding about the divergence between what critics think of movies versus what audiences think of movies captures a lot about the world right now. It speaks to intellectualism, it speaks to thoughtless capitalist movie products, and the dissolving power of criticism (think Amandala Stenberg, think Charli XCX, think Lana Del Rey).
"JK Rowling released a new book"
Babe, wake up: JK Rowling found yet another impressive way to be transphobic, via a a 1,000+ page book about a YouTube animator who gets “canceled” because of their racism, ableism, and transphobia. I think Ms. JK is officially the new Ayn Rand!
How one TikToker convinced folks he was an AI-generated character
That TikTok person who said he was AI that we talked about last week? He…isn’t! An interesting story and it definitely got a lot of people talking.
"Alice Coltrane, who would have turned 85 today"
I love Alice’s music but never connected that the strings in her work was from her playing the harp. Seeing her in action is just mesmerizing and now I want to listen to “Journey In Satchidananda” over and over again.
Ernestine the telephone operator calls General Motors
This is old but I came across it as this week was Lily Tomlin’s birthday. Interesting because…it’s a very present critique of environmental destruction from over forty years ago!
Jack Russell Uses Pool Filter as Her Own VIP Exit
"my very best friend Baby Girl"
Sad news: the viral swimming-out-the-pool-filter dog died.
What is the TikTok sound bite looping in my brain right now? It’s not the corn song (Love that kid.) but instead is the “an ancient man” woman.
If you’re not familiar, an interview with a seemingly confused or drunk or on-another-level woman popped up in June where she replies to a simple question – “What kind of guys do you prefer? Nice guys or assholes?” – with an absurdist but earnest answer. “An ancient man,” she says. “Like 1800s? Don't you want to go away with me? It'll be like humans never existed – or technology?” She laughs and then runs away. Everyone surrounding her stares blankly.
It’s funny and weird, inspiring many a TikTok obsessions, seeming to speak to our desire to be empty-headed – but allow me to draw a line from this ridiculous sentiment to the state of economics.
I’ve been opining for the past few weeks that we’re reaching a point of communal sentiment that our economies are too productive, that technology hasn’t made human life easier, that we and the planet are at our limit because of “productivity.” This subject is starting to gain traction as places like the EU are losing energy. Part of this solution is to work less, adopting a unique climate solution that puts a cap on productivity via climate-preserving efforts like the four day work week and remote work. Are these perfect solutions? No. But they get at understanding that overworking and capitalizing and optimizing and maximizing is ruining everything.
This brings us to “an ancient man”: this silly TikTok’s resonance is less about the mania on display and more about our collective longing to run away, to get back to nature, to be in a before-human and before-tech time. Are the 1800s and the pre-Industrial Revolution eras better? Of course not! But, there is a simplicity to the past that we’re all craving. The draw to this video, to the “ancient man,” is that he’s uncomplicated, that he works less, and that he’s happy. And don’t we all want that in our life?
"CAKE POP STARBUCKS"
At first, these videos appear to be official Starbucks posts – but they’re not. What’s great is they are brand-parodies that could actually be brand posts, showing a glimpse into the welcome future of brands-on-social: the “safe” shitpost. I welcome this and hope this will be the chastity belt that brands deserve.
"How many yrs"
Huge week for old pop stars on Twitter. (Yes, the Cher one is real.)
“she has to explain this”
The fallout of Sydney Sweeny’s MAGA family has yielded some fantastic memes. (Which isn’t helped by the racism rumors.) (Also this meme of the Euphoria dolls continues to kill me. Pop Crave has rotted stan brains!)
"Harry Styles and Charlie Puth after watching Bad Bunny"
In case you missed it, Bad Bunny turned Bi Bunny this week by kissing a man at the VMAs. To this I say: Bunny and Charlie should kiss next!
“lifelong friendship is so funny”
“what’s more embarrassing”
These Tweets have very similar energy.
"the number of man"
This week in tattoo trends.
I have a feeling “the Wario of” is about to pop as a trending phrase.
“dressing like you’re from New York”
Bless her heart.
"Me and the bad bitch"
Very similar energy to straight persons calling their spouse “partner.”
“I was just curious”
This seems to say a lot about the advances and not-advances in queer culture!
"Linda visits the same car wash"
To be a dog named Linda, getting full body pets from a big car wash brush.
"this makes them all look really bad????"
Can you imagine paying $1300 a month on a car payment? That is criminal!!
"collect me off the floor"
Nathan Fielder memes and posts continue to slap. The greatest artist of our time!
"Why does Mariah Carey’s mom look like old Taylor Swift"
I can’t explain why but this makes me sick to my stomach. (And it’s true, not-new observation!!)
"showing my dad a photo of a friend"
Very accurate, very good Danny Devito reaction video.
“I can’t stop watching this.”
Move over corn because this avocado song is good.
“which answer shocked you most?”
Young people are very smart!
And, finally, me getting ready to go out this long weekend.
Give a tip & subscribe to The Fox Is Black.