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The Trend Report™: Me vs. The World
Why we always win in the battle of me, when it comes to the environment.
“I knew it was a secret.”
“I am not a traitor.”
I don’t know why Reality Winner, like Chelsea Manning, aren’t given more praise for what they did!! Instead, both were incarcerated and punished for speaking truth to American power. Thankfully, as 60 Minutes reported, Reality is receiving her redemption arc – and speaking truths about the 2016 election.
Portrait Of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska
An interesting portrait of the Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine. The pictures are beautiful, naturally taken by Annie Leibovitz, but my first reaction – which stories seemed to prove – was “This is propaganda.” (Granted…it’s much better propaganda than Russian’s propaganda.)
lawmaker attended gay wedding after voting against same-sex marriage
How the backlash to 'woke' culture has made a way for racist humor
A very interesting look at the correlation between progress and taboo, and how the taboo – or politically incorrect – creates a springboard for racism and -phobic humor. This isn’t just recent, as its something observed since minstrelsy.
How Fashion Giants Recast Plastic as Good for the Planet
I missed this story from a few weeks back, which my TikTok algorithm helped point out: the fashion world has been boasting sustainability while actually obfuscating and rebranding more plastic use, through things like “vegan leather” which is actually polyurethane. Fashion, like all industries, is killing the planet.
“a wind turbine that got struck by lightning”
Thousands of U.S. cattle buried, dumped at Kansas landfill
"'$1 trillion 'linear city'"
Three very different stories, but all seem to tell different stories of environmental collapse, from the horrific and beautiful metaphorical (Turbine.) to the unjust, lazy, and cruel (Cattle.) to the bravado that comes from not caring (Trillion dollar city.).
“Satanic panic 2.0 incoming”
“monkeypox is NOT an STI”
“Should you be worried about monkeypox?”
A lot has been said about monkeypox this week, about how this is related to, say, child rape and Sodom and Gomorrah. All ridiculous satanic panicking! What is big to know is how it can spread from touching surfaces, which is gnarly. Make sure to wash them hands! And maybe try not to try on clothes or get cozy with clothing or surfaces that aren’t yours.
What to Know About the Marburg Virus Disease
At this point, the media is pointing viral shit to make us paranoid. Anyway, I’m keeping an eye on this so you don’t have to. Seems fine right now! And it’s not a new disease, but there is no vaccine, but there are remedies for restoring health.
AI makes gigantic leap in solving protein structures
"going to change everything"
This story seems like it should have been bigger: Google AI solved what scientists believe to be all of the ways that protein structures can exist, which means we can leap forward in creating new drugs because genetic maps have been laid out. Cool!
Chess robot breaks seven-year-old boy's finger
I think we should listen to the robot’s side of the story!!
Scientists reanimate spiders as robot gripping claws
In case you missed it, scientists want to use dead spiders as claw machines. Inventive! And terrifying!!
There’s a paradox when it comes to environmentalism: we all have to do our part as individuals, even though the main issue of environmental destruction happens by select industries and rich people abusing the planet for decades. Does this mean your daily actions like no longer using plastic straws is useless? Or that we should apply more pressure on these corporations? Or both? Or neither?
The answer we have collectively stumbled upon in the past week seems to be neither as this tension has yielded a hyper-selfish climate reality. Yes, Kylie Jenner taking a seven minute flight is very fucking bad, a personal act that affects so many people, which makes people believe that, well, if she can do that then I should reconsider this straw. This frustration tilts the caring to the jaded, which is compounded by thinkpieces that suggest it’s not “the most healthy way to channel our anger,” that wallowing in hopelessness is what we should do. The issue becomes more and more exacerbated as the realization that Drake and Elon and Taylor and whomever other rich person also does this, leading to a mania of excuses because, if my little actions are negated by their big actions, none of this matters.
This is a myopic, simple view, a bit of rage against the celebrity machine that turns into the selfishness-to-hopelessness pipeline – and that seems to sum up the current state of climate culture. Take everything about Joe Manchin: this one stupid man has prevented an entire country from making environmental progress since 2020. Even this week, as the climate curtain lifts in America, we see a reminder of how the individual, the selfish, can block the efforts of so many. This is good news, yes, but it shows that you can put the me before the we. You can see the same thing with Congo auctioning land to oil companies, turning over carbon neutralizing peatlands over for development. This move is being done fully knowing that it will hurt the planet. “Our priority is not to save the planet,” local leadership has said, etching these words on our collective tombstone.
Despite this, we know better. The personal does matter. Your little action to use that paper straw is the same as forgoing that private jet is the same as disallowing fracking in your country: your seemingly little decision, in your life, functions at different scales. When we forget this, when we get to the “fuck it” point, we give into the selfish, deciding to ruin the planet further. We know the personal is political and, when it comes to the environment, we like to blind ourselves. This feels particularly important now as air conditioning used en masse is a climate and power nightmare, suggesting that individuals need to ration use for the sake of the greater grid and greater good. The same goes with food waste: take an active role in what you consume, versus throwing away plates of food, which means plates of water, which means plates of carbon are being thrown out into the open. When our leaders don’t show up to climate talks? Hold them accountable! That’s how we solved the Joe Manchin problem. The fact that a little story about Kylie Jenner seems to have blown up the entire high-class literal jet-set lifestyle? That’s a great thing because more people know about this problem and more people can speak up about the problem.
It’s easy to feel hopeless, lost, like nothing you do matters when someone like Kylie Jenner diminishes you. Radical change doesn’t come easy: radical change from…making radical change! The swell of others like you will make a difference. It won’t happen fast, it won’t be perfect, but it will happen. All it takes is little you and little me making this little we that can change the world.
2022 Writer's Retreat Reading Series
Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices
I’m one of the 2022 Lambda Literary Fellows!!!! What does that mean? It means that I’m spending this upcoming week in a queer writing space, to develop my (speculative) fiction while connecting and communing with other, similar writers. It’s a big validation of, uh, years of work. Anyway, Wednesday night I’ll be participating in a reading: pop in!! My part will literally be five minutes but, hey, I hope it makes someone’s day.
How can I keep my pet cool and safe during a heat wave?
I thought this story would be silly but it does a good job of outlining what you need to know if your pet is heat exhausted along with how to offer aid so that they stay cool.
DALL-E Is Actually Kind of Good at Designing Walkable Streets
A great use of DALL-E: rethinking how our streets look, to make them more accessible and non-car friendly. What a concept!
I'm Tired of Getting 'Pixel-F–ked' by Marvel
I noted this last week and I think this trend of clawing back at Hollywood is so great. Another example of “little me” combating the system.
How Sign Language Evolves as Our World Does
A fascinating story on how ASL has been shaped by current culture.
Why Does the Prison-Life Content on TikTok Feel So Familiar?
A very good story on TikTok, domesticity, and how incarceration weaves in and out of these subjects.
“Halcyon On & On”
I have been obsessed with this song for weeks now and it seems to be having a moment, opening a Courtesy mix and appearing in articles about the TR-909. This is also colliding with Orbital’s recent 30 year retrospective release, which is all to say: big ambient trance is back baby.
Artist’s restaurant chain replica sparks confusion and conversations
Alexander Si’s spoof of Sweet Greens is maybe not-perfect as far as art but the fact that it’s confusing people into thinking it’s a real establishment is perfect. Is there a better capturing of “Don’t bother me: I’m not poor!” American culture than Sweet Green?
The city that pioneered Europe’s car-free future
This isn’t Spain propaganda (I swear!) but it’s interesting how the city of Pontevedra reengineered itself without cars and has thrived…and they’ve been car free for over twenty years!!
Matt Gaetz Body-Shamed a Teen
This was a big story this week, about how noted ass and pedophile Matt Gaetz body shamed a teen on Twitter, which inspired her to use the moment to raise money for abortion rights – and she raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Good for her!!
"made herself look worse"
In this week’s round of random celebrity beef, Jojo Siwa said Candace Cameron Bure was the rudest celebrity she’s ever met. One to be obnoxious, this inspired Cameron to literally call Jojo Siwa, give her a parental scolding, and ultimately prove the initial point: no one likes a self-righteous buffoon.
"me and jenna and julien slaying 🤭🤭"
On the other side of the world from beefs was the Jenna Marbles photo. Jenna, if you recall, was a creator “canceled” for older videos featuring politically incorrect behaviors. She wisely apologized, ended her channel and disappeared, leaving fans both appreciative and missing her. Now, she resurfaced in a fan photo that led many to accuse said fan of taking advantage of her privacy. Where this gets interesting is Julien, Jenna’s partner, went on record to say the picture getting posted was consensual. This seems like nothing but it’s something huge: it points out the sophistication relationships between non-Hollywood celebrities and their fandoms, that there is respect and caring for these figures as people versus unattainable, rich people products. Semi-feel good story, which persons attempted to make into “drama.”
“My dad watches television all day while he works,” someone told me recently. “He watches everything. Name a show, because he’s seen it.”
I laughed, saying that was wild, trying to remember the last time I had watched anything with that brand of abandon. But then I realized something.
“You know what,” I replies. “My parents do the same thing.” I explained that, while they don’t watch television at their jobs, they somehow are always able to tell me about all the hours of television watched in the past week, as if consuming entire catalogs via Netflix, as if paid to pitch me what I should and shouldn’t watch. They aren’t, say, simply watching but likely watching while doing chores or unwinding – but it’s been striking that the volume is so high, or that it seems to play such a big part in our conversations.
This could be a simple, silly colloquial observation but it seems to say something about a group of people: our parents are watching a wild amount of television. By one study, the oldest Americans watch at least ten hours of television a week, which seems quite conservative as that would be, say, 20 episodes of 30 minute show – and I know many people who watch 10 episodes a night after work. What compounds this – and complicates this – is the rise in Boomers streaming stuff, meaning that the television now has no off switch, no commercial breaks, no time to step away from the television to collect yourself. Collide this with the near decade’s long fixation with Fox and you get a snapshot of a generation’s consumption.
While young adults step away from entertainment, older generations seem to be stepping closer because they quite literally television grew up with the television, a technology whose advances mirrored the advances in their own lives. Millennials grew up with iPhones and mobiles transforming with us – but the television? That’s the Boomer road dog and is exactly why they have shaped broadcast trends and why streamers are buying up older shows: this aging audience is the television. Is it healthy for the brain? No. Does it keep you on the couch? Yes. Is all of our communal consumption bad for us? Absolutely.
Yet, the reality is also the television is a facsimile of relationships, of things one wants to do, of space and times one wishes to go to, be they literal (“I want to go to California!”) or figurative (“I want to go back to a simpler time!”). The television gives the fantasy, the drama, the first virtual reality system to truly transport someone somewhere else. No wonder Boomers are always on their phones: they’re trying to keep up and connect. The draw to the television, for anyone, is connection, which I’ve discussed before in relationship to the death of dinner party conversation. It’s not inherently unhealthy to watch something, no, but it does say a lot when a defining feature of a people is indulging in unrelated realities.
This is to say: maybe call your parents today? Send them a text! Be the person in their life that you want in your life at that age.
“never in my life”
“of course it is”
“words are fake”
There’s a TikTok trend of pronunciation happening now, which I think speaks again to the cache (lol) that words and language have, that (correctly saying) expressions are the ultimate form of fashion. This phenomena of saying something aloud that you’ve only read I’ve always called the “intellectual’s
"halfway through 2022 memes y mamadas"
A great collection of Latinx related memes and funny things, courtesy of the LA Times’ Latinx Files newsletter writer.
“Upcoming 2022 Horror Movies I'm Excited About”
Nirupam is one of my favorite creators (Their beat is Drag Race, horror movies, and general pop culture.) and this list of upcoming horror movies of note is quite good. I didn’t know there was a new Evil Dead coming soon! Nor did I know about a new Predator movie where the alien fights a Comanche warrior in 1719, all directed by the guy who did 10 Cloverfield Lane. Obsessed!
Woman 'Almost Had a Heart Attack' When She Saw Chucky
The Chucky in question? A five year old in a costume. I would like to give this kid a high five!
"Gumball no budget scene"
I have never seen the show The Amazing World of Gumball but this scene is just…….genius – and represents the post-modernity of now available for children’s humor, in that they “understand” the complexities displayed without having them “be explained.”
“the evolution of Instagram”
A good summary of that flop ass app.
“Christian vlogger couple reveal”
Obsessed with this very accurate depiction of Christian couples.
“Mariko Aoki phenomenon”
Do you have to poop when you go into a bookstore? I don’t. But, for whatever reason, some people get the sensation of needing to take a shit when in a bookstore and it’s called the Mariko Aoki phenomenon, which…no one can explain the cause of.
"mascot for the Halifax Oyster Festival"
“birds at 6AM”
I could talk on and on about this Hasbulla fan account but this specific post is just so great.
“parrot of 43 years might not be male”
The only gender reveal that matters.
And, finally, my best non-writing skill.
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