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The Trend Report™: New Old
Reflecting on the collective Millennial realization that, uhh, wow: *we* are the old ones in the room now.
Vaccine for Kids Likely Available by Halloween
Some good news!
China's Evergrande debt crisis
This was all over the place this week and I don’t exactly know all the details but I do know this is bad and that macroeconomic issues are in the horizon.
Apple Works on Depression Detection for iPhones
Apple trying to get your iPhone to detect if you’re depressed. This is funny for whatever reason since the phone has all the things that depress you!
"here we go"
This TikTok will ruin you for Zillow. Will this kill the housing market? Maybe. Guess we have to stay tuned for the next episode of Recession!
I have a story I keep telling people about age, being a Millennial, and this moment right now. I was at a happy hour earlier this year a group of people spanning from their early twenties to mid-thirties. There were about twenty of us, a handful being people that I knew were of-a-certain-age, the type of adult who views Y2K as a moment in time versus a timely moment.
We were talking about bands we loved as kids and almost everyone said they loved the Spice Girls growing up. As one of the elders of the group (if not the eldest), I reserved my direct experience of the Girls. They hit in the mid-nineties, when I was living in Kansas followed by Korea, in the 5th, 6th, and 7th grade, when I was called “gay” all the time and didn’t quite know who I was or what “being gay” actually meant. I loved the band because they seemed to capture my spirit, one that I had to contain in private, ravenous listening sessions to Spice and Spiceworld and Forever. I never went to a concert of theirs, no, but I did have a giant box of Spice Girls ephemera that I collected, a sacred space stored under my bed full of magazine clippings, strange swag I stole from friends, and drawings and short stories I wrote about the Girls. I hid all this because, you know, self-preservation. I was getting called “gay” at school and “swishy” at home: it was a bad idea to share my love for Posh Spice so openly.
I digress. The group was talking about how great “Wannabe” still is, who in the group is which Girl, and other related items that bubble up when people share their cultural consciousness. Then, one of the persons who I believed to be older, broke out of the pack to draw a line in the sand of age. “I actually went to a Spice Girl concert,” they said. I was intrigued as I, the Catholic Puerto Rican military family middle school closet case, wanted to go to one of their concerts so badly but never had the opportunity to. “I was five,” the person said.
I nodded and smiled and nodded and smiled, my ears plugged up with internal swirl of brain between the ears: this person and myself are in two entirely different universes of age. I realized, then, that I was an adult in baby clothing, the odd one out. I didn’t reveal that I was in an entire school age demographic away but I did turn to someone else who I knew to be the same age as myself to make a side-comment, to share that I was having a bit of an out-of-body experience, confronting age in real time as I held up my personal timeline with that of the cultural events at hand to reveal the differences. The difference, we chatted, was that we are old. This may have been known in the abstract but, now, we were very close to the sun, where the scaffolding of blending in with the younger generation yielded our grayness.
I’ve been thinking about situations like this a lot in the past year because, for Millennials, especially Millennials of a certain age, we’re increasingly finding ourselves in situations where we are revealed to be the not-youngest. Intellectually, we know this. But the world, and our lives within it, are growing in multiple directions, along so many more timelines than we realized. I can’t tell if this has been exacerbated by being online more, if this is because a new generation has entered the chat, or if your mid-thirties is generally the time when you realize “Oh, fuck: I have a life experience that isn’t universal and I’m no longer the new kid.”
Likely a mixture of the three, this isn’t as much of a trend as it is an observation, something that I suspect we’ll be hearing more and more about as I keep seeing stories hinting at this phenomena. For example: just this week, Ryan Broderick of Garbage Day (which is maybe the best Substack) (besides this one, duh!!) waxed on about the end of Demi Adejuyigbe’s 9/21 videos as fitting into the larger phenomena of Millennials feeling old online. “Things are changing online and new traditions and inside jokes are being created,” Ryan writes. “And I’m sure this is uncomfortable for millennials.”
We’re seeing inklings of this phenomena pop up in different ways, be it in relationship to Olivia Rodrigo or Gen Z or writing about the Internet – and I think this will continue indefinitely. The more persons in their thirties experience moments like this in public, online or off, the more we’ll hear about it.
LulaRoe Has Taken Over My Thrift Store.
Luluroe is ALL OVER my TikTok and this story about the runoff of all this dumb, cheap clothes in thrifts stores is interesting.
Clothing Donation Drop-Offs Are Fast Fashion
Sigh. I guess we can’t win!
a brother's obituary for his 'Special Sister'
You may have seen this viral – and moving – obituary. But have you read the story behind it?
Fornite’s collaboration with Balenciaga
Great and dumb and great and dumb. This is obviously very high-level trolling and it’s great and dumb!
Awkwafina's PR Team & Her "Blaccent"
This story has been exploding on my TikTok and Twitter, coalescing in actual articles about this.
Peter Thiel's Pursuit of Power
I keep seeing stuff about Peter Thiel, likely related to his new book. Expect to hear more about him! The stories are interesting though, as he’s a complicated and smart-dumb gay figure.
Trans Guys Struggle with Eating Disorders
A good read on eating disorders and trans maleness.
John Waters Explains 'Good Bad Taste'
Really, really needed this John Waters cover story for Town & Country magazine.
Meet Ghost Honey
One of my favorite TikTokers got the profile treatment!!!!
Behold, the Book Blob
I love a story about book trends and this look at the (Duh.) graphic design trend of covers featuring ~blo faces~ is great.
Students with search engines might change STEM
This is fascinating look at how different generations talk about and treat files and documents, and how younger people have zero knowledge of the literal words and systems used to describe and organize what is saved on a computer.
My friend Trish sent this to me and “hypernormalisation” seems to capture how we all feel now, which is the feeling of seeing society collapsing and not knowing what to do. It gets better??
UNSW Face Test
Think you can recognize a face? Go on a computer (not a phone) and do this test. I thought I did really well but I scored 61%, which is basically average. My friend who sent this to me got a 99%!!!!
Linda Evangelista “Deformed” From Cosmetics
I am fascinated with Linda Evangelista’s CoolSculpting deformity scandal.
Billy Eichner Sets Historic LGBTQ Cast
Why am I surprised by this being a FIRST???
Hosts of 'The View' Tested Positive, On-Air
I worked in TV long enough to tell you that this is staged. Y’all being dramatic for views!
Do plant-based nuggets taste like chicken?
A great, existential look at what it means to make – and eat – chicken nuggets, a food product that is an abstraction of the animal it claims to be.
As Blink 182 once said, “all the small things.” Writing those words inspired me to rewatch that video and experience eighth grade again, all to say that this is a round-up of macro-trends from the past week.
The Great Resignation: I have written about current job culture and job trends for months and months and months and there is finally a word for what’s happening: “The Great Resignation.” This movement of quitting, of reclaiming your autonomy, of screwing capitalism has gotten so, so, so, so, so many think pieces and explainers this week which is all to say: we’ve arrived. This is the sequel to Occupy Wall Street and change likely won’t come, but there may be a rewiring of society’s brain.
Gun Violence: Not mass shootings, no, but I keep reading stories about gun violence on a macro-geographic level that is as obvious as it is concerning. We’re seeing this on local levels – Generations of gun violence: DC's broken families, Gun violence in Georgia is not limited to the city of Atlanta – which is laddering back into a national problem – Murder Rose by Almost 30% in 2020. It’s Rising at a Slower Rate in 2021., The spike in gun violence continues, with 2021 on pace to be the worst year in decades. What does this mean? Guns are bad! We know this! All reminds of a great recent Atlantic story about this that says it all in the title: Responsible Gun Ownership Is A Lie.
Missing White Woman Syndrome: You probably saw this but, following the Gabby Petito disappearance, we saw the logical continuation of the conversation evolve toward the privilege that comes with being lost-while-white: national media coverage. This story yielded a few revelations – 710 Indigenous People Missing in Wyoming, "Daniel Robinson, a geologist who went missing in the desert outside Buckeye" – that point out how problematic finding this one person is when so many others have been missing for longer. This gets at the whiteness of missing persons, that one has to be “normative” and “telegenic” to be found. Hence, Joy Reid’s must-watch segment where she coins “missing white woman syndrome.”
Tech True Crime: Related and not, the other story about Gabby Petito was how modern social media and tech culture has yielded a sort of living true crime story, which we will undoubtedly continue to see as person’s lives and their nefarious happenings collide with influencer culture. From videos that reveal the body’s location to twee shareables capturing the story, the internet’s involvement in this narrative is fascinating.
@lowkeyvibing: This could be a larger story in and of itself but I don’t think this account or this person is real – and I feel like accounts like this are happening more and more. Every week, this account that was started in August 2021 has a Tweet trend and trend and trend and trend and trend, seeming to be a sort of viral Tweet factory that is used to pump out ad requests and sell shitty products like sex toys and blackhead removers. There is something very scammy about this and, like this TikTok about fake humans, I feel like there’s something larger happening around commercial catfishing. Maybe I’m wrong but, either way, I smell something weird happening here!
Malignant: Y’all. I watched Malignant this week and it is a modern camp classic. It is fucking insane and I cannot recommend it enough because it is so, so bad. What’s interesting about this movie is that it is a streaming movie that’s also in theatres that seemed to break the internet wall, becoming a word-of-mouth phenomena via crazy memes that speak to the absurdity of the film. This feels unique because, even though The Suicide Squad and Cruella and Mortal Kombat were “big” releases that went straight to digital they didn’t get the buzzy meme treatment that Malignant has, finding conversation via posts that do-and-don’t spoil the movie like this and this and this and this and this and this. Anyway, it’s a great wife guy movie and, if you have seen the movie, find more spoiler-y memes here. (The last one killed me and please, everyone, help me convince Bobby to watch this monstrosity.)
Still Skulls: I wrote about the big skeleton last year and, a year later, skeleton culture is still in. From skull logs to the dragon skeleton to the “skoilet,” this year is repeating last year’s trend of revealing our naked insides in the name of Halloween decor.
Sirenhead: To that! I keep seeing shit iterating from a dumb short film called “Siren Head,” where a giant monster with a siren for a head terrorizes people. While young Millennials had Slender Man, young Gen Z has this. My theory is that the short film hit kids via YouTube and has now is running off, seeping this figure into shows and content again and again and again and again and again.
"how is this not a scene from a sitcom"
Didn’t see enough people talking about Justin Trudeau’s LDP2+ queer agenda this week. The replies are rich too.
“Well… so far 40 is 🔥”
I have watched this Nicole Richie video many, many times.
"beautiful or creepy or a bit of both"
I can tell you one thing: I don’t like these animals.
"No but these replies 😭😭😭… "
Been thinking about “thueen” for days.
"the pumpkin size mushroom intimidating"
As Tammie goes on to say, this is “ghost meat.”
"TF did she get hired"
This sign language interpreter story is so funny but is not funny at all.
"My kids not gonna watch YouTube"
Look at the follow up Tweet, as this is clearly a creator prank-trend that is ewwww. TMI, yall!!!
"dude puking his brains out"
Please watch this guy failing at a chugging challenge, only to vomit up bubbles.
"when it's the weekend but you live in nebraska"
I have been thinking about this all week.
"I want answers"
I love Notes App culture.
And, finally, my Halloween costume.