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The Trend Report™: Quit It
A look at a terrible week in politics – and why this means you need to quite supporting some social media platforms and re-join an old one.
Welcome to The Trend Report™ where you get a capturing of what happened this week.
This week was………..a lot. I regret to inform you that this newsletter is a lot too. Feel free to skip the initial politics section, in case you are over America’s insurrection and sedition, and continue on to this week’s first essay about the need to actually hold tech companies accountable by quitting certain sites. Later, explore alien visions and the new best old social media site. Dive into some gay gossip and hear about the results of a study that seeks to create Covid-friendly concerts. And, before you exit, figure out how to say “Aaron” and meet Liam Peeson.
PS. Forward to your friends and subscribe here.
News from the throes of a stupid uprising.
I Lived Through A Stupid Coup. America Is Having One Now
Life in authoritarian states is mostly boring and tolerable
Given the, uh, situation this week, I wanted to share two old stories about coups and extremism and the stupidity and boredom that comes with it. What we’re experiencing is a variety of Sri Lanka’s awful coup and Malaysia’s fallen democracy. The difference, as my friend Liam noted on Twitter, is that we are experiencing a disaster of our own making. This is a uniquely American bed. We have to sit in it – and know that it is far from being clean. In case you haven’t seen, here are headlines from around the world about this week.
Inside the Capitol, the Sound of the Mob Came First
Visualizing a Riot: Where Today’s Attacks on the Capitol Played Out
Some good play-by-plays of the experience on the Capitol. Unsurprisingly, Covid was lingering in the numbers too and, if you’re looking for names of these terrorists, a Tumblr post is going around with pretty good information. Don’t be baited by stupid apologies as these dumbasses realize their sun is going down.
5 People Are Dead Following Violent Siege at U.S. Capitol
One the result of a shooting, three others the result of medical emergencies, and one a police officer who was injured. Here’s background on the one who was shot and why you shouldn’t be memorializing her.
Trump Mob in Los Angeles Attacked a Black Woman
On the same day as the attack on Washington, a Downtown Los Angeles crowd of Trump supporters assaulted a Black woman who was just walking through her neighborhood. This shit isn’t just happening in one place, nor is this new. Despicable.
Everyone Who Has Quit the Trump Administration After Capitol Attack
"I am drawing up Articles of Impeachment."
"I will be introducing a resolution calling for their expulsion."
"For the sake of our Democracy that the 25th Amendment be invoked."
Many are resigning, many are calling for impeachments and expulsions, and many things will and won’t happen. Here’s a sampling of a few instances, despite these measures being long overdue.
What the MAGA Mob at the Capitol Had to Say for Itself
With thoughts like “This is just the beginning. People are pissed off.” and “Something had to be done,” you can see where all this is going: to not stop any time soon. As Robin Givhan wisely noted, “They want to live in an angry, polluted, heartless world.”
Congress Affirms Biden’s Victory, Trump Admits Defeat: Live Updates
Democrats take control of the Senate
Some other things happened this week! Here’s a look at the big non-civil war related political happenings.
Black Voters In Georgia Fuel 'New Southern Strategy'
To get an idea of Georgia’s Democrat win, check out the work of Black Voters Matter, a group working to bring out more Black voters. Latosha Brown, the group’s founder, explained what Tuesday’s win means for activists like her.
Pa. GOP senators refused to seat a Democrat
Police to contact Republican congresswoman after vow to carry gun
House GOP Admits It Opposes Democracy, Not Voter Fraud
Before Wednesday’s madness, you could tell something was brewing. These three stories foreshadow what was to come.
‘the next 48 hours are going to be among the worst’ ever for Republicans
Speaking of, this story was written on Tuesday, January 5.
Meghan McCain learned about the need for maternity leave
Having known and worked with Meghan for more than a year of my life, all I have to say is: you are smarter than this, Meghan.
That was a question I asked in 2017, for an article where I spoke with Millennials who didn’t have social media about their decision to be offline in an online world. The resounding answer? Being on social media has little bearing on your day to day. It didn’t mean they were better or worse at their jobs, or that they were left out of cultural moments. The moral of the story was you don’t have to be on social media.
We live in a society that makes you feel like you have to express yourself via [Insert Tech Company], a byproduct of the “I shop therefore I am.” capitalist brainwashing of American life. Intellectually, we all know this yet we continue to begrudgingly participate in these oxymoronic activities, hating ourselves for voluntarily participating in this voluntary hell.
A meme this week drew the connection between this participation and what happened this week in DC. It was the man preparing to set off progressively larger dominoes format, a meme that speaks to escalation and the domino effect. What was the start here? “A website to rate women on campus.” The end? “The capitol seems to be under the control of a man in a viking hat.” The implication here is that Facebook is a breeding ground for conspiracies and right wing mobilization. Everything that happened this week is a result of social media, this meme suggests.
But it isn’t wrong: listen to the rally’s participants and realize that their intention was an open secret. It took the attack to get a website like Facebook to start thinking more critically about Donald Trump and right wing extremism. Mark Zuckerberg may seem pious and reformed by coming out and banning Trump – but this is all late lip service. The damage is done. Same to YouTube, same to Twitter.
This is why stories like “Our Shared Unsharing” and “Life Without Amazon (Well, Almost)” feel hollow: like any service, these tech items are optional in our lives yet we make much ado about bringing these problems onto ourselves. We can bask in self-righteous sharing that we want to quit yet we still keep our profiles and still enable that which we hate. Just delete your Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. It’s not hard. Until people actually delete their accounts, stories like “Our Shared Unsharing” are violin music on the sinking ship. Participation – even critical participation – blows that domino forward.
It’s the start of a new year, one that will be bad. But it’s also a time to reflect and make change in our lives. As stories of cleaning up your tech life swirl in the hopes of aiding resolutions, take this to heart: quit the tech that is ruining the world. Quit Facebook. Quit Amazon. Quit the things that you are know to be bad. We are all smarter than this – and we don’t actually need these things to survive.
Science and tech stories to offer no hope.
U.S. Surpasses 4,000 COVID Deaths in a Day for the First Time
We’re number one. :(
Was That a Dropped Call From ET?
Harvard Professor Says Alien Technology Visited Earth in 2017
Aliens have been trying to contact earth! Hopefully they call back because we need their help!!
"COVID-19 test most widely used in LA runs a high risk of false negatives."
This is very, very distressing news that Los Angeles area folks need to be aware of.
New California law gives third-party apps exactly what they deserve
For restaurants whose likenesses are being poached by food apps, there’s now a way to seek accountability. This is great, despite Prop 22’s ongoing badness.
Nature Is Not Healing
The pandemic and all the staying home seemed to help heal the planet, at least according to memes. Is that true? Not at all, as any air pollution dips were temporary – and returns to normalcy only mean barreling forward toward hell as last year was the hottest in history.
Mediterranean diet named best diet for 2021
Of all the diets, ranked, a diet that relies on eating whole grains and emphasizing olive oil stole the top spot for the fourth year in a row. Fad diets like Keto? They scored very, very low marks.
This Meteorologist Explained Exactly Why You Shouldn't Eat Icicles
As much as you want to chew on an icicle, don’t – because they usually have bird shit hidden inside.
Elon Musk is now the richest person in the world, passing Jeff Bezos
I don’t understand how this asshole is so rich. Either way, we should eat him.
Scientists Discover Short-Legged Corgi Giraffes
SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT :) :) :)
A lot of the internet is problematic. But what if I were to tell you there was a place where you could look at memes and share funny writing while chatting with like minded individuals away from the fuzz of hate speech?
That place exists and it is Tumblr.
The blogging platform lost much of its luster after banning adult content in 2018 and, while softcore porn has seeped back into the ecosystem, chatter about the platform has started to bloom, foreshadowing a bounce back for the site. This comes from 2020’s being the year many a Tumblr themes came to life: pandemic jokes before a pandemic, an aesthetic being copied by Gen Z, a dedicated hub for the cozy, and fan fiction that became one show’s canon. The platform has become a hotbed for some of the best and weirdest memes (a la, a la) which is luring people back, inspiring how-to guides for rejoining the site.
This trend may catch on too. Tumblr’s porn ban came from so-called “messy” handling of the site by Verizon, which led to the eventual sale to WordPress in 2019. And, like Reddit, Tumblr has been taking active measures to curb hate speech. Change is happening in this dormant place.
What’s most interesting about Tumblr is that it continues to quietly define contemporary life. Take “cancel culture,” which originated on the platform. Vox explains: “Call-out culture predates cancel culture as a concept, with online roots in early 2010s Tumblr fandom callout blogs.” Moreover, current internet favorite Substack is lifting items wholesale from Tumblr’s playbook.
As people continue to hold onto problematic social media sites responsible for enabling hate and right wing extremism, wander back somewhere safe. Consider Tumblr, which isn’t monopolizing on technology or stuck in political battles. Consider Tumblr, which wasn’t blamed for the siege of the Capitol. Consider Tumblr, which many like myself consider to be the best place on the internet.
The stupid culture files.
Ariel Pink Tweets About Attending Pro-Trump Rally
I regret to inform you of this. John Maus, one of my favorite artists of all time, was there too. How can you write a song called “Cop Killer” and be like this? Granted, it’s from an album called We Must Become Pitiless Censors of Ourselves which now reads as libertarian instead of egalitarian. Even if they went “as a goof,” out of irony, this says so much about their beliefs and character. The craziest part? Pink has been openly Trump-y for months and it’s seemingly been ignored. (And to keep this pile-on going: Molly Nilsson, the Swedish singer who John Maus covered in the aforementioned record, has renounced him in a recent Bandcamp post. She’s rereleased the song he covered with all proceeds going toward Black Lives Matter.)
Same-day Covid testing as path back to indoor music events
Thanks to rapid testing and two weeks of being negative, a test found that concerts might have a sustainable path back to being safe again. Will be interested to see who signs up to go to events like this. (Not me!!!!)
Best of 2020: Music
Best of 2020: Internet, Technology, & Games
Best of 2020: Movies & TV
Best of 2020: Books & Writing
If you cannot get enough of my hot takes then feast on my 2020 culture reviews. Music and books/writing are most important, in my opinion.
Denmark Launched a Kids’ Show About a Man With a Massive What?
imo we need more shows like this, shows that treat kids like adults instead of hiding shit from them as if they live in an alternate reality. Then again, who am I but a childless adult who thinks the whole world needs to grow up and ditch Judeo-Christian trappings?
RuPaul Finally Gives Thoughts on Gottmik's 'Drag Race' Casting
Gottmik is an out trans man who is on this season of Drag Race. This is big! But Ru is parading this news as breaking new ground in drag when such inclusivity is old news outside of the show. The real news? RuPaul still won’t let trans women and cisgender women and drag kings compete.
A Conversation With The Admin of @GaysOverCovid
A very interesting, elucidating conversation with everyone’s favorite mystery Instagrammer of the moment.
"Go, Fararh, Go!"
In a twist I did not see coming, drag queen Farrah Moan has been calling out other queens for their unhealthy behavior. Is...Farrah Moan @gaysovercovid?
The vagina dialogues: 33-metre artwork draws far right's ire in Brazil
I love this giant hillside puss.
Ratatouille: The Musical Is a Full-Length TikTok Extravaganza
The Ratatouille musical has been the talk of the town for a few weeks, mostly over break. It’s incredible because it raised $1 million dollars for charity, not that it got made. It’s being made is another example of Hollywood and entertainment enterprises capitalizing and cannibalizing on a more contemporary means of art, which in this case is TikTok.
Discovery+ Needs to Be Part of Your Streaming Life, It's That Good
The leading nature channel has a streaming service and it’s apparently a lot more than animal documentaries: it includes shows from HGTV, the History Channel, OWN, A&E, Food Network, and more. Only $5 a month!
Get your hope here.
How the theory that Kanye West cheated with Jeffree Star got started
As if we could be this lucky to have this gossip saga take this strange, YouTuber turn.
This Robot Plays the Perfect Sad Trombone for 2021
Play it again, sad trombone robot.
"Animaniacs is the key to all of this"
Just brilliant. Cry them tears. Cry!!!!!!
This is very much soothing my brain.
Me @ myself and Bobby.
This is some family DRAMA.
"Aaron Earned An Iron Urn"
Just some dudes trying to say Aaron Earned An Iron Urn.
13 Times Jon Ossoff Was Such A Millennial On Twitter
lol what a dork
What a monster, that Via Getty.
"i’m so obsessed with this 6 seconds of an eminem freestyle"
It doesn’t seem real but it is.
"I've never felt more emotional from any piece of cinema."
A hole lot of trouble.
“no, you can't eat a whole ass capybara”
Blessings, you thick headed feather thing.
Meet Liam Peeson.
And, finally, my techno hot take of the week.
Next week, we’re talking about other things that I haven’t figured out yet but maybe Brittany Broski.