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The Trend Report™: Stan Up
On the power of fandoms and hate of the rich.
The tragedy of King Charles III
An interesting story about King Charles (Still funny to say.) and his views, which are largely good – but will they play into his reign? (Either way: the idea of abolishing the monarchy is trending, obviously.)
No private jets, no helicopters, and a bus to Westminster Abbey
To the previous items! This is a bold, incredible move, even if…we know people aren’t going to follow these climate-conscious moves. (I could be wrong though!!)
"what having lips looks like"
I see the UK racism machine is working well!
Spain lauds Queen Letizia's modernizing role as she turns 50
Related and unrelated, Queen Letizia of Spain just turned 50. Why does this matter? Because she is the first non-royal, of-the-people commoner to transcend into the monarchy and has reshaped the country’s relationship to the royals. Very interesting!
Migrants Lied to, Then Dropped on Martha's Vineyard
"a complete lack of compassion"
There’s a lot of conversation around Ron Desantis, who ostensibly is gearing up for a GOP presidential bid. This stunt reveals the depravity – and evilness – of this person, who literally used vulnerable people for props, to make a “gotcha” moment for the libs. Fucked up and big GOP low, as if that’s still possible.
Modern slavery has risen significantly in last five years
Related and concerning, largely as migrants often are enslaved. This isn’t a happening-in-other-places thing: it’s happening in America.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez apologizes after Rep. Higgins calls witness “boo”
Video appears to show Marjorie Taylor Greene kicking a Gen Z activist
Continuing this, GOP leadership are just so rude and so mean. It’s awful. (Also: I just……..love AOC. And who the fuck is Rep. Higgins? What a fucking asshole.)
Bay Area squirrels are splooting amid recent heat wave
Don't worry about that squirrel 'splooting'
A cute but concerning climate related story but: splooting is trending.
The Mystery of Why Some People Don’t Get Covid
“Imani was right”
We’re getting into an interesting news cycle with covid, that activist and TikToker Imani Barbarin has been warning about: a eugenics-adjacent conversation, where some people “miraculously” don’t get sick.
Ukraine’s Astronomers Say There Are Tons of UFOs Over Kyiv
…but are they Team Zelensky or Team Putin?
If you haven’t heard, there’s a new Kelela song. It’s pretty great! And fans have been waiting a long time for this, so much so that the roll out of the new music was in conversation with online demands that Kelela return. With conspiracy style “Where is Kelela?” visuals and accusations of her lying about new music, culminating in a video interviewing people about their Kelela theories, the song dropped to say that, yes, Kelela has heard you and that she is here for you.
This isn’t that surprising or shocking for an artist like Kelela, who is small enough to still be a “working artist” but needs to be in conversation with her fans to keep going. It does, however, signal a new era of fandom and the growing pains of celebrity/stan relationships: unlike in times past, artists now are in deep conversation with their fans, speaking to and with them in ways that are unprecedented, that dissolve both groups’ power, showing that the emphasis on the parasocial is somewhat overblown because, yes, celebrities and their teams are listening to you.
Take the new Beyoncé album. It’s a dance album! Politics are gone!! Like the Kelela example, this move is in response to what fans have been saying for the past few years, that they don’t want “black power music,” that they want emotion and non-politics and dance music, so they can vibe without politics. This is a statement from fans on many things – Society is too political, we’re all exhausted from having to always be politically and identity politically “on,” that we want things to be simple and uncomplicated in our leisure. – that Beyoncé and team listened to. This isn’t surprising, given Beyoncé as a cultural institution is to music what McDonalds is to food: she has enough arms and legs, eyes and ears, on her team to listen to what people are saying, crafting music and a narrative that is research grouped to perfection. The end result is music that “listens to the fans” while also doing what Beyoncé wants.
The importance of this is that, if the fans weren’t appeased, they would revolt. Fan power is truly powerful at this point in culture – and it’s a language and universe that needs to be understood. The best example of this was the easy-to-overlook but huge cultural moment earlier this summer when American Horror Story fans unionized. This sounds stupid and ridiculous but their critique of the show they love revealed how modern fan relationships aren’t one-sided: as AHS fan accounts explained, they are tired of doing the work of promoting a show and building excitement for new episodes when the creators are giving them nothing to work with. "We struggle to attract a wider viewing audience to this show we are devoted to, when there is no news to draw them in with,” the statement reads, revealing this as a labor issue, that these accounts and fans sharing out of love cannot do “their jobs” if the creators and the show itself aren’t holding up their end of the deal. The message here is clear: if you, the artist, don’t listen, we are walking out.
Other examples of navigating this come include Nicki Minaj fans (The Barbz.) doxxing a culture critic for making a critique, resulting in Nicki propelling the drama and misbehavior, a two-character play that fed the fan machine. (Note that this isn’t the first or second time this relationship has been exploited for doxxing.) There’s also the the Amazon show A League of their Own seeming to use (Empower? Weaponize?) fandom as both marketing and receipts for new business, as the showrunner emphasizes that fan art contributes to new season pickups while teasing crossover opportunities like the cast reading fan fiction. There is also the ongoing Ana de Armas versus Ana de Armas Updates, a fan feud that started in 2020 and continues to this day. This doesn’t even begin to touch the power that fan groups like the BTS ARMY and Blinks have at their fingertips, or the culture of stans continuing to stan while grounded or in prison. Then there’s the emerging language happening from fan fights in the Pop Crave replies.
There was a time when being a fan was an isolated act, unshared save for conversations with peers and events like concerts and movie premieres. Now, the conversational touch-points and “live events” to bring fans together happen at all times online – and the objects of fandom are watching closely. This isn’t a new observation, no, but we’re reaching a fever pitch of fan power, as they realize more and more that being a fan isn’t a simple something but a profound act of patronage. Celebrities are investments and, if our investments aren’t paying off, we will make it be known to them.
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The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York's Hottest Attraction
This is a story from a few years but is an excellent essay on September 11, personal tragedy, and the rejection of mythologizing and grandstanding tragedy in the way that America loves to do. Some tragedy should be quiet and personal.
6 Planets Are Currently In Retrograde, & Another Is On Its Way
Shit has felt real weird for the past few weeks, which people are attributing to so many planets being in retrograde. That may or may not be the reason but, if anything, Mercury is in retrograde now through through early October. (I also will eventually write an essay about the loss of religion and retrograde worshiping replacing them. It’s become a very Gen Z and Millennial culture point!)
“Bill Hader is me”
There weren’t any masks at the Emmys! Bill Hader is me too!!
The Chess World Is Absolutely Losing It Over Cheating Allegations
Chess Grandmaster Denies He Cheated
I will abstain from sharing the recent, non-shoe related development but: I keep hearing about the madness happening now in chess and it keeps getting wilder and wilder.
What Is Going on at Kanye West’s Mysterious Private School?
I’ve been very intrigued by the whole Donda school thing and this article…makes it sound like rich people scam that it is!! Wild.
“cockatoos have entered an arms race”
I love this story about how cockatoos in Australia and local humans are at war because the cocktaoos keep figuring out how to open trash bins, resulting in trash everywhere. Birds are the best! A lesson here is maybe produce less trash.
There’s a really dumb TikTok that went viral this week about Cara Delevigne’s post-Burning Man behavior, which a TikToker attempts to connect to substance abuse. The content itself is questionable, at best, but I’d like to draw your attention to the comments.
While most people either pile on (“That’s the ice walk.”) or expressing sadness (“This breaks my heart.”), one of the top comments has nothing to do with observing what is being shared. “Why do people care so much about rich people?” one person comments. “They don’t care about us.” This statement has over 23K likes.
This is all seemingly benign, fan-adjacent conversation – but the context of 2022 paints this much differently. As we witness the rise in anti-rich and anti-nepotism content (as mentioned before and before, think celebrities talking about being nepo babies and posts pointing out celebs who were born rich), all set against the dimming light of industries like Hollywood, comments like this articulate our communal experience: why the fuck should I care about this rich person, who has all the money in the world, when there are so many others in the world who are refused this compassion, attention, or care? Why should I care for them if they aren’t helping me?
This is all to say: online content and culture is signaling that the appetizers are arriving before we eat the rich. This is playing out offline in major ways – railroads (narrowly avoiding) being shut down by CEOs, Patagonia’s founder giving all his money away to the planet (or is it to avoid taxes?) – that are rippling into mobilization. This may seem distant and unrelated but stories of inflation in Latin America leading to strikes and Afghanistan turning to crypto currency as a financial lifeline paint a picture of financial inequality turning to concretized action. Online conversation capture the soft power echoes of Occupy Wall Street and Bernie Sanders, which is leading to (and critiquing) the so-called effective altruism movement as billionaires become trillionaires.
The heat is rising for the rich. Grab a seat, as dinner is on the way.
"trans exclusionary and pro monarchy"
"When I die, please don't bring"
“soldiers serving inches”
“he is what Prince Charles thinks he looks like”
“an interim solution for the queueing”
“2020 - 2030 predictions”
This week in post-Queen memes. (To the last one: I said this earlier this month, but this style of video is going to be the next big thing.)
"OBSESSED with Queen Margrethe II"
Why Gen-Z TikTokers Are Obsessed With Princess Anne Right Now
Fashionable royals are having a moment, amongst royals everywhere having a moment. (See: the Spain queen story, at top.) (Along with critiques of the royals, which is and will collide with anti-rich storylines of the now.)
“and are the ‘bad fallout boy lyrics’”
”And are all the artists that saw”
”so is this ‘agenda’”
”is the transphobia”
I love the new clapback trend of “in the room with us right now,” a joke about imaginary things via therapy language. It kills me every time.
“if this isn’t in the charts”
”Baby Tate. Period.”
”I got bored”
In TikTok duet trends, get ready for “period ah period uh” – the product of a TikToker who is Bhad Bhabie combined with Honey Boo Boo – to seep into brands in the coming weeks.
“But I found out today”
Jennifer Coolidge just knows what audiences are looking for.
“I really love this website.”
“Drake dm’d Anthony Fantano”
Drake Slid Into My DMs
I thought the Drake-Sent-The-Needle-Drop-A-Cookie-Recipe storyline was fake but it’s real. Is this promotion for something? Stay tuned but it’s funny and weird and I think I like it. Another example of fan culture gone wild!
“men and their horoscope signs”
Cardi read my Taurus ass.
“all the men who were cruel and evil to me”
I’ve talked to people a few times this week about the sort of, say, dark humor of the moment and this really captures it. Less because it’s a joke about death in the face of the American military industrial complex and more that this is just how one copes when you have to do fucked up things just to survive. Coping mechanisms!
“asking BYU students”
Are Mormons okay.
“the vibe felt like a sims game”
The only review of the Kourtney Kardashian Boohoo show that you need to experience.
“Tiny Asparagus Man”
And this is why I have stopped keeping up with movies, television, etc. There’s too much! And most of it is dumb!
"when I press the scary button"
We’re all this babe.
“how many tampons”
I am this final man and I need someone to answer this question for me.
“I won’t spoil it”
If true, the story behind the N-Gage is just……..fucking bonkers.
“I didn’t even know who Dua Lipa was”
Great celebrity content..
And, finally, me reading the Trend Report™ to you.