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The Trend Report™: Set Sun
Reflecting on the "beauty" of sunsets and trying to understand death.
Deaths in Indonesia are latest tragedies in soccer history
This story is wild, made even wilder that modern soccer and mass death are a bit intertwined. Sports are bad, no?
People are fleeing every U.S. territory. What gives?
This is a fascinating story about why people are leaving American island territories.
One of The Nation's Largest Basic Income Experiments Is Underway
This is great! But is this something that speaks for or against post-growth economic thinking? Unsure.
Joe Biden pardons anyone convicted of marijuana possession
“Oh I see”
This is good news! But not if you’re an immigrant. Gotta keep the American prison corrections system afloat somehow.
Lawmakers Confront a Rise in Threats and Intimidation, and Fear Worse
Cool! Makes me feel really good about the state of America.
Where Republican election deniers are on the ballot near you
This makes me want to vomit. But see which dumbasses are fucking things up in your area!
"Jon interviewed Leslie Rutledge, Arkansas Attorney General"
This Jon Stewart interview went very viral for capturing the mania of hateful conservative laws that do things like prevent children from getting gender-affirming care. It’s very well done.
The Humiliating History of the TSA
This story is a must read and is fucking wild.
EU passes single charger law for all mobile devices
America could never. Quite literally: we don’t care about the environment enough!
Covid Boosters Could Save 90,000 American Lives —If We Get Them
GET YOUR GOD DAMNED COVID BOOSTERS MORONS
"Scientists in Japan are hoping this cyborg cockroach"
I love the cyborg cockroach. (But I don’t love the iPad dog.)
There’s a motif in Don DeLillo’s White Noise related to the beauty of the sunsets.
The book was written nearly forty years ago and follows a family as they live through an “airborne toxic event,” a natural-and-not disaster that reshapes their world, turning the disasters they see on television into an everyday reality to keep up with. Their daily reminder of this comes in the sunsets, a unique form of entertainment at the end of the world. “Ever since the airborne toxic event, the sunsets had become almost unbearably beautiful,” the narrator explains. The sunsets recur, glutting their audience with the sublime. “Another postmodern sunset, rich in romantic imagery. Why try to describe it?” the narrator explains later. “It's enough to say that everything in our field of vision seemed to exist in order to gather the light of this event. Not that this was one of the stronger sunsets. There had been more dynamic colors, a deeper sense of narrative sweep.”
This is both a novel and timeless observation. You saw something similar in Patricia Lockwood’s neo-classic No One Is Talking About This from 2021. “We sound like cult members,” Lockwood writes. “When astrology, and crystals, and Jesus hair on dudes came back, when the apocalypse began bringing with it unbelievable sunsets, when synths appeared on the soundtrack like new kinds of hearts that might make it, when the flame leaped higher in human faces as if a gust had just come through the door, then, then! Then it was time for cults as well.” This book is a masterpiece for many reasons, but this quiet moment of a few words – “The apocalypse began bringing with it unbelievable sunsets.” – seemed to sum up so much of our lives: climate change really has brought with it beautiful sunsets. The pinks and purples and orange skies dance with life, or maybe the illusion of life, which cast the fade-to-black sunsets of my childhood as the simple powering down of a cathode ray television. Now we have a nightly vibrancy, a new streamer competing for our attention by hanging prisms in the air for show. Or maybe we’re just seeing the flicker of flames before the fire? Or maybe the sunsets have always been like this and we only now notice it because of Instagram.
Either way, there seems to be increased interest and awareness in this phenomena (Why sunsets are better in the winter, More than pretty photos: The science behind colorful sunrises, sunsets, This Is Why the Sky Turns Red, Orange, and Pink at Sunset) even if this is not a new subject (Fact or Fiction?: Smog Creates Beautiful Sunsets, Red Sky at Night: The Science of Sunsets). This has long been the nightly view for California and desert cities (Why Desert Sunsets Are Incredibly Colorful, Why are Southern California sunsets so beautiful in the winter?, Winter sunsets and sunrises really are more spectacular. Here's why) but somehow begane to become a more pervasive national item of interest, from Massachusetts (Why Are Sunrises And Sunsets So Vibrant Lately?) to Ohio (Ohio's colorful sunsets, sunrises explained) to Texas (More than pretty photos: The science behind colorful sunrises and sunsets) to Indiana (All eyes on the horizon: Here's why our sunsets have been so colorful). Perhaps the uptick in these stories aligns with the pandemic, with people having more time to stop and take in the world’s beauty, that their boredom caused them to seek nature as entertainment. Or maybe there’s something else, like the smog or the cold or the mixture of clouds and the angle of light. Why is it now that we’re thinking so deeply about the sunsets? Why are they so beautiful? Have they always been this pretty?
If you dig into art history, you find sunsets cast in similar and different lights. Many of the more breathtaking sunsets came from capturing volcanic eruptions, beauty as an indicator of poor air quality. Regardless of air quality, every sunset has the potential for beauty, the potential to reflect our world back at us. Take Camille Pissarro’s Late Afternoon in Our Meadow from 1887, which sees the sun starting to set in the sweetest, clearest way. It feels idyllic, charming, both everyday and extraordinary “The whole world seems to stop and think as a warm golden day comes to a close,” The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones wrote of the painting this week. “This elegiac mood is intensified by the sense of almost infinite colours contained in the sunshine.”
Perhaps this time, perhaps this light, will persist. Maybe the sky is trying to tell us something, to consider what’s in the air. Do you like what you see? And do you understand what is lying before you, to emerge in a new day?
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Her Majesty's Loyal Pleasuredrome
This account of the Queen’s death, from the vantage point of a queer bath house that remained open during her funeral, is a read of the year.
What Is the Purpose of a Fashion Gimmick?
The Bella Hadid “sprayed on” dress is so dumb and I feel like this piece properly captured the meaninglessness of it.
Deepfake tech allows Bruce Willis to return to the screen
I warned y’all about this nearly two years ago!!!!!!!!!
Billy Eichner: 'Straight People Just Didn't Show Up'
"The Birdcage was a blockbuster comedy smash in 1996"
More could be written about this but I won’t: this is very bratty behavior! That said, I think people didn’t show up because it was positioned in a way that was too specific for non-queer persons and too “I’ve seen that already.” for queer people, making it ultimately feel like you would be doing community service just for watching the movie. No one wants to be told to eat their vegetables, no matter if they’re gay or not! (I feel like the film is good – but the marketing was just bad-bad.)
"if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us."
Christian Walker, Warrior for the Right, Now Battles His Father
"Bros flopped because it failed to capture"
“Christian Walker airing out his daddy”
This was a dramatic week and I think this was my favorite drama.
How Charlie Puth Got His Groove Back
Queerbaiting is bad but, because Charlie Puth is so bad at it, it somehow is endearing. Also the pictures are so awful, a poor 1970s imitation that somewhat embarrassingly conjures William E. Jones’ The Fall of Communism as Seen in Gay Pornography.
Michaela Coel on Creativity, Romance, and the Path to ‘Black Panther’
"A look at #MichaelaCoel’s November 2022 cover shoot"
If you’re looking for a good magazine story this week, the Michaela Coel Vogue story is great. The pictures are gorgeous and were taken in Ghana. I didn’t think US Vogue had it in them!
There Is No Excuse for Ye’s ‘White Lives Matter’ Shirt
"Kanye West and Candace Owens"
“Vogue stands with Gabriella”
"Gigi Hadid slams Kanye West"
Kanye West Says Attacks On Lizzo's Weight Loss Is Evil Plan
"Kanye gossiping about Anna Wintour"
“kanye slut shaming kim is particularly laughable”
“don't let Kanye's behavior mischaracterize bipolar disorder”
Speaking of Vogue, this week was very dumb because of Kanye. I would like to not hear from this man ever again!
Dream Reveals Face, Gets Bullied For It
The Dream face reveal was a huge item this week, which was great and funny given the bullying that came after the fact.
Try Guys Fire Ned Fulmer in Searing Video Statement
The Try Guys speak on the Ned Fulmer situation, which is…lol.
Gisele Bündchen spiritually cleanses her car
Gisele Bündchen makes change to tattoo
These are not stories shared because they are good but because I am obsessed with how hard Gisele is going to distance herself from (and potentially curse) Tom Brady.
McDonald's Workers Begging People To Stop Adult Happy Meals
I wrote about this last week but something about, to reiterate, Adult Happy Meals are bad.
“One of the most gleefully twisted things you’ll see all year”
I watched Resurrection this week and it’s wild. It’s very well acted and has one of the most insane premises that…goes to even wilder places.
He was a man I did not know. He was not someone in my world, just someone on the internet whose interests vaguely aligned with mine. I didn’t follow his stuff but, every so often, a post of his would be suggested to me and I would look. One day a post popped up of something I had already seen. The repeat was because it was a memorial post. I looked through similar tagged photos of him, trying to find the cause of death. Nothing. I went to Google, only to find pages for funeral homes hosting digital eulogies for elderly men with the same name.
He was a man I did not know. He was the boyfriend of a gallerist I followed. She would always post pictures of him and her dog whenever they went to a new city for an art fair. They were New York cool kids with an aspirational life of beauty. She eventually posted a photo of him, mentioning that she will miss him. That was it. The comments were confused, asking where he had gone and why she would miss him. His own account had been un-updated for months, if not years. The tagged photos mentioned his death. Google offered no more information since his name was a pseudonym. Every year she posts photos in memory of his life. I even bought a piece of artwork from a memorial fundraiser held in his honor.
He was a man I did not know. We had been on a few PR trips together, he on the press team who helped facilitate these trips. for journalists like me. He was charming, a person everyone wanted to talk to given his warmth. For whatever reason, we never overlapped but we were aware of each other. Every so often, when I came across a product from these trips, I’d wonder what he was up to and would check his accounts. He posted infrequently but enough – until his updates stopped. Tagged photos from February of this year, from his birthday last year, and from the February before show that he died of Covid. Everyone writes about how much they miss him.
What are we to do with the deaths of people we don’t know but are curious about? We’re humans, we’re curious – but is it okay to wonder, to want to have some clarity for the mind of what happened when someone you don’t know dies? I think about this a lot, but I’m hardly the only one as it’s an internet touchpoint, a commonality that itches our brains. This viral recent TikTok gets at this, which is echoed by Quora and the Chicago Tribune and Women’s Health, the consensus being: yes, this sucks – but it’s impolite to ask for the answer. You have to live with this lack of information. You have to search for your answers, even if you never find them. That’s life. It sucks and we hate it because moments like this are unpredictable, a celebration of the unknown, which makes us feel incredibly uncomfortable.
Yet we search. What is the internet if not a place to find out every sing answer to every single question we may ever have? But some questions have no answers, perhaps because they are the quietest and most intimate of occurrences, the things that happen at such a speed and at such an intensity that they escape documentation. Can the internet ever be a proper container for the heaviest of human emotions? Or can we ever learn to quiet our curiosities?
“How to do a media interview while being carried away by police”
Now this is great news television. I hope she brings down Liz Truss!
"Living plant controls a machete through an industrial robot arm"
I could write an essay about the beauty of this piece by David Bowen as it says so much about the environment with such a (literally) sharp image.
"somewhere in a hidden part of Queens there is an exact replica"
“serving nothing but c*nt”
The Nathan Fielder At A Baseball Game moment of this week was great, this second Tweet being a perfect Rehearsal callback.
“I watched that Mario trailer”
Great Mario post. Also: I heard a great theory that Pratt’s voice is so bad because, like Don’t Worry Darling and Barbie, it’s a marketing move to build buzz in the style of Sonic.
“3 years on T!”
Another great Mario post.
"they’ll figure it out if they get hungry enough"
An interesting question about fish.
"some billboards have sensors in them now"
Great Planet Money TikTok about reactive billboards dropped.
I hate the new and old versions equally.
“how to ACTUALLY pick something up in a ladylike manner”
Just watch this and laugh.
"How wild wolves greet each other"
This video of a woman explaining why you need to let wolves kiss the inside of your mouth is the reason why I got through this week.
And, finally, something Joni Mitchell and I have in common.