The Trend Report™: Short Stories
With too much going on, we dive into a few short-long current trends of note.
The Media's War in Ukraine
“what does the black sun patch mean”
“going full fascist”
A concerning subplot in the Ukraine-Russia conflict is just how much fascism is underlining why this is all happening. What’s interesting (“interesting”), is that the signs are so out in the open, as soldiers on both sides seem to be wearing them, all suggesting a bigger plot that is still developing.
Russia the World's Most-Sanctioned Nation
lol this is all stressing me tf out especially with that photo
Amazon Approaching a Critical Tipping Point
The forest, that is. Very depressing. I can’t believe we’ve…………turned one of the most important forests in the world into grasslands.
images tell the story of the pandemic
It’s been two years of Covid. Look back at the time in pictures.
Covid is not over yet
The title of this is foreboding but it’s an interesting story, about why caseloads and deaths are higher in Hong Kong than ever in the past two years. Brace for the next wave!! My TikTok Covid girlies keep saying this.
Why Some People Haven't Gotten COVID
Saving you a click: it’s because these people (Me.) followed directions, by masking and staying away from crowds.
Senate passes $107 billion USPS overhaul
Instagram to curb 'inequality in creator ecosystem'
This is an interesting feature! And a way to credit the creators of trends, who are often Black creators. This is clearly a jab at TikTok.
Man Who Received Pig Heart Transplant Dies
This ongoing story has been fascinating. These transplants, called “xenotransplantation,” often don’t work because the body rejects that of an animal. This specific case included a “gene-edited pig.” The future is wild! But also bad (see everything above).
Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Cleared for Release
Hell yeah. I hope these genetically supercharged mosquitoes kill all mosquitoes.
Giant spiders to drop from sky across the East Coast
HATE THIS granted this scary looking, invasive species isn’t that big of a threat since their “fangs are too small to break human skin.”
Even Moderate Drinking Might Shrink Your Brain
I get it. All drinking is bad! But why does it have to be bad? EVERYTHING is bad! Can’t one thing be good??
It’s time for a mini-trend round-up, as there has been a lot of “Huh.” kismet moments of multiple storylines converging to mean “something more.” Some I’ve been meaning to write about for a while, others are new, all are short stories to make you go hmmm.
At The End: Fashion rarely trends in political, urgent matters but a series of recent shows are hitting an eerie “We’re gonna die.” theme, creating an urgency that sets the recent Fashion Week programming apart from the norm. Balenciaga’s literal cold war, Rick Owens’ suffocating smoke screens, Sunnei’s can’t-get-away-fast-enough: these show elegant reactions to “the world” right now, from capturing everything from climate chaos to Ukraine-Russian conflicts to simply being unable to get away. This is what dressing up for the end of the world looks like. I almost wrote a deeper dive on this but it’s just too dark and I’m frankly bored of the darkness.
Runway Always: The idea of “runways” is dominating culture. Whether it’s the glorification of aforementioned fashion week runway or the runways of any reality show like Drag Race or the countless new games in the genre of you-walk-on-a-weird-runway, the runway is the setting for so much these days. Perhaps this speaks to all of our wanting to be seen? Unsure but I’ve been seeing the visual and vocabulary of the runway all over the place.
Absurd Spam: Speaking of runways, there’s this bizarre spam TikTok called @fruitandvegetablecarving that features 3D animations of objects morphing into each other and babies dancing, with runway videos peppered in. They’re interesting and seemingly trying to sell something but have become a bit popular from one TikTok where all these themes literally crash together. The video’s sound is becoming used and reused in absurdist ways unique to the app, with this single-serving grandma post capturing the mania best.
Flop Tech: Have you noticed a rash of content about bad startup people? From that Uber show to the WeWork show to that Theranos show, stories of bad, wannabe billionaires (and bad billionaires in general) are very en vogue in entertainment. Who is watching this shit though? That’s my question, since it’s all so boring and about how you got scammed (see also: Anna Delvey).
Show Wines: Another TV trend, there are so many wine shows – Grand Crew, The Kings of Napa, Promised Land – that speak to both the interest in and building culture around this type of drink. What’s interesting is that all of these shows are about non-white narratives in this historically white space.
Unmasked: This is a very colloquial observation but, as I was in Silver Lake and Downtown LA this weekend, going into a few different stores and into a bar and into a hotel and a gallery, I was struck by the prevalence of no one wearing masks. I get it! We’re in our unmasked era! But, sheesh, it’s weird and slightly concerning how relaxed people are – but also I get it! In any event, my mask is still on.
Homogeny Culture: This TikTok about how plastic surgery trends have created a homogenous visual culture is fascinating. I can’t quite put a finger on this but I keep feeling that homogeny culture – in what’s trending in a given day, in what styles people are wearing, in what we’re watching and talking, in how we’re expressing ungendered gender – is the culture of the now. This is giving the feeling of disneyfication in a way, that everything – even you – is now corporatized, simplified down to what is becoming uniform. This isn’t a new idea (It reminds of Mark Gevisser’s thoughts in The Pink Line, about queerness and capitalism.) but homogeny never feels good as it means a creeping toward monoculture, a monoculture we’re starting to see on faces.
Jokes On You: What was it going to take to silence brands from trying to talk like 19 year old pubes? War. As brands like McDonald’s are proving, the strategy of using trendy, text-y, meme-adjacent, bestie styles of writing has collapsed – or are revealed to be the corporate drag that they are – as the real world hits them via geocapital conflict. Some of the biggest dank Twitter brands, particularly in the food space like Burger King, have gone quiet as a result of this. When these brands start talking again, pretending that they didn’t play into a conflict, we can expect it be like a match being lit in a room.
Protest Replies: Related to the above, have you looked at the replies in a brand’s tweets lately? This is a great site to peek into the mind of the world, to see protesting in action, either to bend a brand’s voice against themself or to speak to the grievances that they’re doing nothing about. You can see this happening in Coca-Cola’s replies, Disney’s replies, Twitter’s replies, YouTube’s replies, Pringles’ replies…and undoubtedly in more! Replies to brand posts seem to capture the state of international discontent best.
Using My Words: Look at this Netflix Geeked post. Notice anything weird there? It’s seemingly benign and great but, to me, my eye zooms in on the pushing of pronouns. This is a great thing, objectively, but it plays into corporate gaslighting, how a brand like Netflix is using their master’s tools (a la, queer language and signifiers) to rebuild their house, assuming we will forget about their problematic practices. Always sniff for rot when corporations use cultural signals! This is a big lesson for both audiences and brands alike to consider – especially when it comes to advertising.
Epidemic of Brain Injuries From Domestic Violence
This is a brutal story but it’s very good, exploring the relationship to traumatic brain injuries and domestic violence. It’s something that goes overlooked as brain injury care is typically coupled with football, both in media and science.
"african women were disproportionately murdered"
This Tweet about this story highlights a hole in the American “witch” folklore: most of the women “burned to the stake” were Black, African women. It’s an interesting look at history from another angle!
35 Things That Happened Just Before The Pandemic
This story is really stupid but it did make me go “Oh, huh.” a few times, largely regarding Charlotte Awbery.
Kim Kardashian Has Unhelpful Advice
Rich-kids-turned-rich-people telling not-rich-people to “work harder” is just not the look. Call me back when you can walk properly in your clothes, you big baby! In any event, glad this has become a meme.
"Kris Jenner has a church"
This is very much a conspiracy theory, I know, but apparently the Kardashians engage in a tax loophole by using write-offs to a church that they…own. I thought this was interesting but bogus but of course it’s been well documented for years and is true!
The Lucrative Evolution of Nerf Guns
Fascinating and obvious, given that these toys are…….guns.
Painting of one of the first transgender women
This is interesting! And speaks to how queer subjects have been around forever (and that queer support and tools aren’t new). (Although the lack of the phrase “gender affirming” for the more retrograde and inappropriate “reassignment” is eeeeeee. Come on Art Newspaper.)
I wanna touch the friction texture temperature screen.
This Trans Artist Collected 200 Gallons Of Urine
I recently watched this video from 2017 about the work of Cassils and a performance project where they captured their urine for years, to protest Trump’s restricting of trans rights. It’s interesting! Mostly because of the technical aspects of transporting and preserving years of urine.
SUPPORT UKRAINE ARTISTS & LABELS
A great list of Ukranian artists who you can support right now, through Bandcamp.
Nilüfer Yanya - anotherlife (Official Video)
This song is killing me. The album’s good too! But this song? 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺 I want to vomit it’s so beautiful.
A Plea to Abbott Elementary: Let Ava Stay Terrible
I have finally watched Abbot Elementary and, yes, believe the hype: it is as funny as it is sweet. Best part? Principal Ava, Janelle James, who is the definition of a scene stealer.
depop: KYLE FITZPATRICK
I’m prepping for a move in the distant-but-near future and have a bunch of clothes I customized and intended to sell but never got around to it…until now! Thus, this depop with really bad photos but some cute, customized things for not-that-much. I’ll upload more when I have the time!
"This man moved from his apt into his work cubicle"
Going “back to the office” is a big storyline right now and is very stupid. These two items capture the mania of office culture, from how pointless commuting is to the redundancy of having a “work space.”
“notes app apology coming soon”
This trend continues!!
"what's the most common dog name"
All these dog names sound like dumb Millennial baby names (which I guess they technically are).
"this fucking vid"
As the comments say, love being Puerto Riccus.
Belated Valentine’s content!
"i got death threats over this post lmao"
Landlords hate being called out!
"what holiday is it for them?"
To be that out-of-the-loop.
"POV: it's 2014 and you're watching buzzfeed"
What a silly time.
"Tis the season for one of the greatest videos in all of sports"
Sports girlies can have emotions about mundane things too!!!!!!!!!!!
"terrified to post this"
Stream “I Don’t Know The Driver” now.
And, finally, how I learn new languages on TikTok.