The Trend Report™: Highs & Lows

On why feeling really down or really happy seems to be the default right now (but, ultimately, both feelings are not-great).

Red Covid
NC hospital fires 175 unvax employees
Republicans are getting Covid at wild rates and these stories of the unvaccinated are just wild. People are very stupid!

Merck Pill Cuts Hospitalizations, Deaths
Anyway, this is fascinating and will be very helpful for people who are sick with Covid (and would be the first oral treatment).

Marines Reluctantly Let Sikh Officer Wear Turban
A very interesting story about freedom, religion, and how the military is progressing – to a certain point.

Biden seeks contractor for migrant facility at Gitmo
Literally Biden is sending persons at the border, from Haiti and elsewhere, to fucking Guantanamo Bay. I learned about this from a Twitter joke but it is very real and I ain’t heard anybody talking about this!!

Aide Played Trump Show Tunes to Calm Him
Trump refused colonoscopy anaesthesia
Fellas, is it gay to get anesthesia for your butthole surgery but not gay to have someone play show tunes to you when you’re having a temper tantrum?

Man Turns Down Bat Bite Treatment, Dies
Related: fellas, is it gay to refuse treatment after a bat fucking bites you?

Returning to the Office and the Future of Work
Somehow, as the year of Trend Reports™ have shown, the rethinking of work and the empowering of employees is the story of the year.

"Get over $600 on Venmo...report to the IRS"
This is an interesting TikTok! But is it true? Yes and no. Either way: if you make or get more than $600 through apps like Cash or Venmo, you should probably report this money. 

TikTok Hit 1B Active Monthly Users
okay

Karen Bass can do more as LA mayor
This is major!!! Los Angeles is a huge city and it’s no longer time for lil babies who want to play politicians on TV. Bring in the adults!

Cargo Ships Are Stuck Outside Of CA
I learned about this from TikTok but get ready for big supply chain failures.

Fire, Frost, Drought Upends Global Markets
Related to supply chains, for very different, more dystopian reasons. Be well, Brazil!

Earth is dimming due to climate change
Meaning, because of the changing ocean, we’re reflecting less light which means the moon is getting darker. Interesting but bad!

White Paint Might Makes AC Obsolete
Hyperbolic title but a new white paint created by Purdue scientists is the whitest white ever – and is so effective at deflecting solar radiation that it could be a climate solution. Great!

I had dinner this week with a friend who was in from out of town and, while they looked good, they mentioned being tired and I said that they did indeed look tired a bit tired. They explained they were happy, as burned out as the rest of us, but something else was missing. Between the two of us, we couldn’t pinpoint what we both felt it but there was a shared something, a sort of existential je n’ais c’est quoi getting at the non-stop-ness of adulthood and the long windedness of Covid and the lack of autonomy that is gripping us all at this intersection. We’re not unhappy! But we’re not happy.

This has me thinking about the sort of manic-depressive time that we’re in. I thought it was boredom or the getting old or the whatever someone says on TikTok but I think it has to do with these times being simultaneously the worst and the best. We’re at the top of our game and the bottom of our luck, living in heaven and hell. We are having it both ways and it fucking sucks.

As far as the bad...where do I begin? First, anyone under forty is primed to live lives marked by “unprecedented heat waves, droughts, and floods” according to a recent study, living through three times the amount of disasters as their grandparents. Kids and young adults live in a state of “eco-anxiety,” which seems to reinforce a notion that no young person expects good things to happen in their life. It’s so bad that Greta Thunberg is talking about how over it she is! People who use Instagram, a terrible zone to escape your real life, are at an historic dissatisfaction level (Facebook ties aside). Happening in a distant parallel is an interesting, shocking, and sad rise in unclaimed bodies, meaning people are dying alone and unhappy and without community, friends, or family, leaving the state with a glut of bodies that they are literally turning and burning. Turns of phrases like  “I hate it here” and “I need a gun” have been trending, as they’re a funny expression of how fucking stupid these times are.

And yet! Our frowns are upside down, perhaps because we’re intoxicating ourselves in a form of delusion that I can’t quite put my finger on. People are “dopamine dressing” in bright colors, redefining minimalism and basics as colorful happy non-boring non-neutral neutrals. The idea of discos and parties are stepping out as we have stepped back out, a trend that builds on last year’s disco phenomena. We’ve realized the brevity and simplicity of life, that our time is so short that we must celebrate small things like friendship anniversaries because who knows if we have the time or space to get married. Who wants to get married in this economy when you have friends?! While an evergreen subject, the subject of happiness is very much all around us, thanks to happiness coaching and work-life balance theories and pages and pages of magazines dedicated to the subject. It’s a timeless subject! What is timely is an expression of optimism via the word “manifesting,” which is arguably the word of the year as there have been thoughts and thoughts on the subject since January. Even noted silly boy Jack Harlow endorses it!

Where does this leave us? In this in-between place, in the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs. Perhaps this is just what the middle of your life is like! Perhaps this is the times. Either way, it truly is the best of times and the worst of times. Now to make do, to continue enduring “all this.”

iAccidentLawyer
A fiction story of mine is out! It’s a weird one, about those roadside billboards advertising for legal services and…stuff. It’s me at my most Aimee Bender and it’s maybe my favorite story that I’ve written. The rest of the issue is great too!

Love On The Spectrum
One of the best shows that I hear no one talking about is back!

Ozy Media & a $40 Million Call Gone Wrong
This story is juicy and weird, about executives impersonating each other on phone calls. If you want more, Garbage Day has a great deep dive on this.

David Dobrik 'Stranded' in Slovakia
lol (they let him back in) (sadly)

2021 Events
In case you were wondering who the main character of Twitter was since the start of the year, here you go.

Memoir Reveals Unique Culinary Collab
I haven’t heard of this foodie book but it sounds good!

"Which one?"
One of my new favorite TikTokers explains the difference between Latino/a, Latinx, and Latine for all who are wondering. Does this help with my personal identification? Absolutely not. But is this the best summation and explanation of the complicated nature of these identifiers? Yes.

Merkel zeigt sich als Papageienflüsterin
Look at these photos of Angela Merkel and parrots taken at a zoo recently.

"allowing Scott Rudin to bully...it contributes to suicide"
oop (this is about Joel Coen and Frances McDormand)

"Rebecca Hall is a Black woman"
I was wondering what her draw to adapt Passing was! Very interesting.

Mushrooms! Splashy sex! Clothing hacks! We’ve got it all this week, with bigger trends that broke through the fray this week.

  • Kid’s Play: The bad-and-not “finsta” thing in Congress got a lot of coverage this week but what’s most interesting to me is how something like Facebook and YouTube and Instagram and TikTok are reshaping how children communicate. It’s more than, say, gross things like using playdates to expand social networks but is best exemplified by this TikTok of a teen reading her 7 year old sister’s texts. This is notable because, uh, the texts aren’t that far removed from what any of us text, signaling a sort of neo-literacy that I can’t fully wrap my brain around yet. In any event, I’m keeping an eye on this because you can see how text-savviness can lead to a literal child having the wherewithal to text not-a-friend. Pro: greater writing skills at a younger age, even if via dictation! Con: uhh...you know.

  • Kids Cuts: This may be nothing but, speaking of kids, I feel like I’m seeing lots of content about kids who just want normal haircuts getting wild ass, over-the-top hairdos. Y’all parents need to chill!

  • Giant Mushrooms: I posted about “ghost meat” last week, which was what food and wine writer Tammie Teclemariam called a giant mushroom being used as “steak” in a TikTok. Cut to a week later, and giant mushrooms are taking over TikTok, from puff balls (more, more) to giant maitake (more, more). It’s mushroom season, baby!!!

  • “Happy Hispanic Heritage Month”: This content is catered to me but I’ve noticed soooooo many hysterical posts that simply say “Happy Hispanic Heritage Month” before sharing an image or video or general joke that is meme-adjacent with a specific texture of humor by and for latine people. There are so many examples but this one and this one and this one are my favorites. (Also of note: this great story from the Washington Post on being latine now.)

  • Splashy Sex: Two left-of-center sex stories happening now: videos that see people dunked in shit, smothered in food, etc. is a sexual act called sploshing and it’s subtling being surfaced on TikTok while a joke of real-or-not Mormon sex attempts called “jump-humping” and “soaking” are having people really confused about what people believe sex to be

  • Deeper Fakers: I’ve talked about deep fakes being the future of entertainment and I’m here to share that this trend is turning more direct, thanks to “speaking portraits” that can reanimate photos of people. Get ready for videos of your dead grandparents singing “WAP”!

  • Re-Corded: Apparently cool girlies are into headphones with cords, making the act of listening to music more literal, eschewing status “buds” for plugging in. This sounds stupid but is real, as Vogue saw this coming in 2019.

  • Fashion Hacking: Earlier this year, the Balenciaga / Gucci crossover was dubbed a “fashion hacking,” where one brand lifts imagery and design gestures from another. It appears to be the newest collab trend for the high-end as we have a new iteration this with “Fendace,” where Versace and Fendi cross their wires to come up with some cool shit.

  • Full Hospital: A downer trend, which has been coming since Covid started: people are dying because there’s no room for treatment in hospitals, or that the healthcare system is so slammed right now that people are dying waiting. Stories like this are going viral – a cardiac emergency in Alabama, a burst appendix in Florida, a fall in New Mexico – as ICUs and emergency rooms are simply too busy to help anyone who doesn’t have Covid. Be safe out there!

"Amazing. Just amazing."
Yes, the “home office” Fisher Price toy is real. [withrewojak.jpg]

"No, It’s not like honey Mariah!!"
I………..had no idea Mariah Carey’s “Honey” was saying that.

"Ben Platt choreo for Dear Evan Hansen"
Love BTS footage. (And: here’s another take on the source video.)

"Emma K, aged 6, said it best"
so true bestie ;_;

"this is making me lose my mind"
This makes me want to buy a Barbie remote control car.

"Throwing a punch with acrylics"
Obsessed with self-defense for people who wear acrylic nails.

"I hope I never see one"
Giant Australian worms are cool and disgusting. The sound!!

"Evolutionary Arms Race"
Why do moth wings have ripples? They’re to combat bats through evolution!!

"That baby loves her some Rick James"
This baby is incredible.

“not her pronunciation of Linda Evangelista"
I’m obsessed with this pronunciation.

"my wife would have been 95"
the way this made me CACKLE.

“MALIGNANT SPOILER AHEAD”
I have been thinking about this Tweet for like two weeks now. Please look at it only if you have seen Malignant because it will mean nothing to you if you haven’t and will spoil the movie in ways you won’t realize.

And, finally, why I ride a bike.


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