The Trend Report™: Migratory Feelings
Why birds are so hot right now and why mirror images are fake.
When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated
5 health experts revel in simple pleasures
4 July is ‘Independence Day’ from virus
We’re approaching a strange finish line, strange in that...it might move, it might change, it might not be the (nationalist) holiday that we think it is. As more information comes out about what it means to be vaccinated, the more the veil of the future lifts. These stories – the CDC’s post-vaccinated guidelines, a Washington Post interview with health professionals, Biden’s July 4 manifesting – offer an idea of what we have ahead of us.
"bombs are expensive"
As stimulus checks begin rolling out, I want to highlight a common feeling: forward thinking, working class Democratic socialist types who are recognizing political inefficiency and hypocrisy from their own people.
Biden’s Dog Bites Man
The dogs behind the cringiest political Twitter account ever made big news this week and got themselves exiled. Perhaps this is delayed revenge for when Biden buried a dog.
"statements that read like tweets on letterhead"
From who? A former president that we’d all like to forget.
Evangelical Splits From Southern Baptists
The story of Beth Moore’s denouncing of the ideologies that come with Southern Baptist evangelical Christianity got some coverage this week and is one of the most fascinating modern religion stories. This is the real culture war to watch.
I was a well-meaning White teacher.
The teacher, under the pressure of her principal and school, was overly harsh on her Black students. This story is interesting because it illustrates racism in action – and how so many of us participate in white supremacy under the guise of “doing a job.” The story recognizes and realizes one’s culpability in the system and seeks to make change.
The Robots Are Coming for Phil in Accounting
Stories like this pop up a few times a year and this one is one of the more sensical. Strive for more creative jobs!
If Skynet Takes Over, Write ‘Robot’
lol then again maybe not
Slugs Decapitate When They Want New Body
God, I wish that were me.
"Songbirds are dying."
Saved you a click: some disease is spreading through bird feeders. Everyone’s got a pandemic! More on this next.
A meme was going around at the start of the pandemic about how quarantine was a government conspiracy, that it was a scam to keep people home in order to change the batteries inside birds. This is ridiculous, we know, even if some people are taking this joke way too seriously to this day. Then there was the joke that “nature is healing” because humans had removed themselves from the world. Remember that? It was a statement of life going back to normal because we were acting abnormal. There’s a poetry embedded in this idea, one that’s too complex for society to grasp yet as it requires us to undo so much of society. All we can do is laugh, thinking, “We can’t change. The world is fucked.”
But let’s pause on birds. The past year has seen these creatures flying all around us, taunting us out the window as we sit inside. They’re free, we’re caged. No wonder we’re attracted to them, as they faceplant and have babies and defy logic and cry and dance in groups: they’re doing all the things we wish we could be doing. Bird culture has been building since last May, the first breakout moment being support of birder Chris Cooper after his being the target of a racist attack in Central Park, a venue notable for viral birds like the sexy duck and elegant owl. They’ve intrigued all year – What does bird behavior really mean? How complex are their thoughts? What languages are they speaking? – on top of their ability to fly and imitate speech. Anyone who has access to the outdoors ostensibly has access to birds: it’s only now that we had the time to stop and look and listen to them, to consider taking them more seriously and get into birding, which many publications noted as a pandemic hobby.
As we stare into our futures from an unstable present, a constant are the birds. We saw fireworks and ambulances and protests and cheering outside our windows in this strange year – but those came and went. The birds remained, watching, living, doing what they have always done. They’re a metaphor for a freedom that is on the tip of the tongue, as we weigh how we want our post-pandemic lives to be and consider why everyone is so grumpy right now. We’re looking at now and then and observing how things changed. What can we do better? How can we live be better? How can we be...more like the birds? As spring begins and birds return from migration, we too return from a migration.
This may have always been the appeal of birds. Unlike us, they’re anti-technological and, as many of us were forced to go analogue this year, we were able to notice the beauty and simplicity in their lives: we learned to do nothing. (Unsurprisingly, Jenny Odell, the author of How To Do Nothing, is a fierce bird watcher.) There’s a lesson here, something about minding the slowness of this moment and to keep that sacred. Nature is healing and so are we. There are many things to keep in mind as we begin our great uncaging. Look to the birds, as many have. Fly carefully.
Special shoutout to Amanda Brennan, whose insight helped bird-feed this concept through conversation.
Pepe Le Pew Won’t Be in ‘Space Jam’ Sequel
Why Is Miss Piggy Canceled?
We’re reaching a Black Mirror point of liberalism that is going to reach an even stranger conclusion that I cannot predict.
Bon Appetit Inspires HBO Max Comedy Series
The funniest non-subtweet-but-subtweet of the year.
Which Celebs Support the Amazon Union
Not many of these Amazon stars answered the question, save for literal saint Stacey Abrams who of course supports the union.
MacKenzie Scott Marries Science Teacher
Not enough people talked about this but love an anti-rich rich person who is actually a common person at heart.
Why Jonah Hill’s Paparazzi Response Is Radical
This is a great story, about a great moment in men’s mental health and body image. (Still: Jonah hasn’t denounced Amazon or supported unionizing.)
When PC Game Packaging Was a Work of Art
I remember these days, staring at these giant, weird boxes, wondering why they were so beautiful and so empty inside.
A Padded Cell to Call Home
How did they make the felt room in Search Party? The story is as fascinating as the set, which hopefully will win some awards because it’s so mesmerizing.
Funniest Tweets About Meghan & Harry
"I don’t have a horse in the race"
"It’s 2021 and we are all Whoopi."
There were a lot of great takes on the Meghan and Harry interview, one of the most interesting being a prank some UK based influencers did to expose how racist local media is. Also great: Whoopi’s anti-nationalist reaction to Meghan McCain.
Digital life is fake. It’s all a performance! It’s a false reflection of reality, which is why we love it and hate it so much.
Here’s a great, even if on-the-nose example of it: the theory that high-gloss mirror selfies as fake. You know the images, of alt and fashion influencers like Ella Emhoff and Danielle Bernstein posting literal selfies that seem to defy the limits of a mirror, reflecting a warped sense of reality that seems straightforward but isn’t. The con here? No mirror was involved. It’s simply another camera, imitating the style of a mirror selfie without the act of finding yourself and perfecting a reflection. It takes online performance to another level.
TikTok user @katathomedoingnothing went viral with this observation that mirror selfies are fake, opening an eye to yet another way people fake their likenesses. “There’s no mirror,” @katathomedoingnothing explains. “She took another camera and she took this camera...Once you start seeing it, you can’t unsee it. None of the influencers have mirrors. They have other cameras.”
Think about this: in so many images of high-gloss, influencer selfies, the mark of the mirror is missing. There is no frame. The mirror image is remarkably clean. There is no interaction, no tell that this reflected image isn’t defying space. For example: look at Teen Vogue’s mirror selfie guide, or even Marie Claire’s or Refinery 29. All of these retain a sense of realism and reality, despite warping perception: you can see the mirror. There is an acknowledgement and interaction that they are looking at themselves. The reflected image is markedly real, aware of it’s reflection. These faked ones? They’re distant, they’re clean, they do not illustrate a real mirror image. They’re just a photo of a photo being taken. It’s ironic that this is happening, given the rise in statement and art and smart and haunted mirrors. Of course the conclusion of the mirror trend is the revelation that the mirror, the reflection, isn’t real.
Because this is a TikTok theory, because TikTok itself is a fabrication of reality, I asked someone who would know the answer: Bobby, a designer, someone who deconstructs images for a living.
“Debunk this,” I asked and sent him the link to the TikTok.
“Yeah, she’s right,” he said. “That’s how their photos look so great.”
So there you have it. This theory may not be completely bonk. Does that mean you need to setup a camera and tripod to take photos of yourself from here on out? No. Don’t take the bait and create more of a false sense of reality by entering a completely different looking glass. Embrace your mirror. Embrace reality.
My dog Oliver has a TikTok now where I post videos of him growling and I am having a lot of fun.
“not a single human can conceptualize this”
How Earth Moves
"planets spin and their respective axis angles"
This week I learned that Earth is very small and that our entire solar system is moving, orbiting something else entirely as they spin in their own unique ways. And you? You are a special bundle of energy in this wide, wide unknown, my friend!
You telling me some fish-lizard got smart and now I gotta go to work? No.
Always my favorite origin story! And by that, I mean: fuck you.
Rosie O'Donnell on Woody Allen
I don’t care enough to watch that Woody Allen documentary but this video from decades ago captures my feeling.
This is the funniest fucking thing I have seen all god damned week, maybe all year. What a dumb looking dog.
And, finally, me picking out a movie to watch.