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The Trend Report™: The Great Numbing
A look at how we are all expressing being at the end of our rope and exploring how education is becoming more accessible, thanks to video platforms.
The Taliban is retaking Afghanistan.
President Ashraf Ghani flees
The Taliban won.
This week’s story in three stories. I make no claims of understanding middle eastern politics but this week was bad. Maybe we all will be experts, or well-learned, on the subject soon.
"Everyone was left behind, including my parents"
There were too many takes to take on Afghanistan this week, but this thread from Georgia state rep Bee Nguyen about her parents, the life of refugees, and Vietnam is a must-read.
9/11 Was a Warning for the 21st Century
As I wrote last week, 9/11 culture has deformed into where we are today. Clearly, the implications aren’t just domestic either. This is a bigger, 21st century trend that we will undoubtedly hear oodles about in the next month.
Haiti earthquake death toll reaches 1,297
Another tragedy this week.
The US Water-Shortage Era
With water levels dropping to their lowest in Arizona and Nevada, we’ve entered a time of water restrictions. We’re deep in it, y’all.
Best Ways to Decarbonize My Home
This story offers actionable, smart ways to do your part. Decarbonize! Heal the world!
Booster Shots for Everyone Begin 9.20
Welcome to the new phase of Covid.
“man *literally living under a rock* got his shots”
Yes, this is a true story about vaccination.
Unvaccinated couple die, leave 4 orphans
Mom Dies Days After Giving Birth
man died regretting not getting vaccine
Vaccinated Florida man dies due to unvaccinated
Unvaccinated patient encourages vaccine
Covid Patients Wish They Were Inoculated
These stories are a sad, dumb trend. If you are reading this and are not vaccinated, I don’t know what to tell you and am unsure why you’re here.
Hospitalizations For Americans in 30s Hits High
“Cool.” Be safe!!
Many Pandemic Retirees Weren’t Ready
Maybe this is true for your parents or someone else in your life, but this is an interesting read on how those who weren’t ready to retire were kinda sorta pushed into it, without a plan, because of Covid. My father is one of them and – Woo. – is he having a time. “I’m stressed, I’m depressed and I’m terrified,” is a very telling quote from this story.
Moderna to Begin Trials for HIV Vaccine
"Injectable PrEP is highly effective"
Here’s a great trend I saw things about this week: cures for HIV! Or, at least, very viable vaccinations, one silver lining from Covid research.
people are secretly remote working two jobs
Workers Left Behind By “Great Resignation”
LinkedIn Memes Abundant on Gen Z Profiles
There’s a lot of talk about work and quitting and overwork and general employment trolling. More on this momentarily!
As you may have noticed from this week’s news round up, these are unsure, anxious, uncomfortable, bad times. This feeling has been building for weeks in the states, as we wander an intersection of various issues: illness, political and governmental turmoil, environmental and climate-based disaster…all placed atop of the typical shit stew we get served up daily, from racial violence to economic inequality to queerphobia. You name it, it’s going on.
And, in turn, people are feeling not great. Yes, nihilism has long been a trend amongst Millennials and Gen Z but this specific moment is different because the precarity is so multi-faceted, appearing in almost all parts of our lives. Here are the specific machinations of this moment of anti-zen.
Covid Insecurity: There’s a TikTok that’s been going around this week of a woman dancing as decisions she wants to make flash around the screen. “Should I plan a Halloween costume or are we going back into lockdown?” she asks, posing questions that she can’t even look into the camera to ask, as to not fall deep into a pit of loss. This moment is being called “No-Fun Fall” and has people rushing to go wild because we may be locked down again for who-knows-how-long. Covid, while manageable, is still fucking bad. I’ve mentioned this for weeks and month but that feeling that it’s “over” or that we’ll be “back to normal” isn’t real. Many are coming to terms with this, in real time, as they are forced to either unpack their suitcase of plans or make said plans under the thumb of potentially risking their health. Not a great feeling to be in.
Economic Suffocation: While a classic meme type, I keep seeing the “How’s the job search going?” meme getting passed around in different forms, where everything from Met Gala moments to true crime videos stand in for the distraction from participating in capitalism and being a “contributing” member of society. As a group of people who are searching for work for the first time or for the fiftieth time in their career, this is the pervading feeling of two generations converging in one: that one has no future, no job, no worth. Paired with viral posts like “Broke Bobby,” there is a financial ennui, an economic suffering that has evolved from “No one wants to work.” to literally no one working because the economic system is so fucked up, impossible, and unjust. Why would people work when our time and lives are brutalized so?
General Burnout: Piled atop of these things – the uncertainty of Covid and careers, along with the planet, politics, and personal issues – everyone is tired. The sentiment that summer disappeared this year was less about “Wow, where’d the time go!” and more a realization that, for nearly two years, no one has gone on vacation or has been given any slack to just hang. Life is on permanent hard mode and it’s not fun. Everyone is in the shits, hence why something like “Sunday Scaries” – a phrase that captures the anxiety and frustrations that you have to resume your job and workweek preocupations, that you have to end your leisure and weekend – is having a moment. This isn’t an isolated, of-this-week trend but an international awakening, decades in the making, as we’re seeing with the “lie flat” movement in China. The cruelty of the world and workplace is well known. People just want to live happy lives and are tired of everything being so hard, not to mention being taken advantage of or having our freedoms trivialized.
So where will this take us? I can guarantee nowhere, as this song and dance is neither new nor novel. Generations have dealt with this, yes, but we’re at a point where not one part of our lives in this country is great. Yes, you can cite freedom and security and blah blah blah exceptionalist ideals – but is anyone happy? No. That is an issue independent of independence.
We’ve had The Great Depression. We’ve The Great Recession. Now we’re in The Great Numbing, a time when everything sucks and everyone is mad. There is no escape. There’s only distraction, uncertainty, as nothing is stable in these unstable times.
What's a Master's Degree Really Worth?
As I said literally a few weeks ago on a podcast, as someone who has an advanced degree, you don’t need an advanced degree unless you have a specific reason, to learn a specific form or get certain information. Most things? You don’t need it. Just work in and around that space. You’ll learn!
I don’t care for Lorde’s music but I find her very entertaining as an entertainer, whose relationship technology is quite enviable. Case in point: “Lorde’s phone, set to grayscale, now has no internet browser; she is locked out of her social-media apps, with others handling the passwords; and a coder friend even made YouTube inaccessible on her laptop.” I wish.
Brave Little Toaster Traumatized a Generation
I feel like we don’t talk about this movie enough, particularly as an insubtle metaphor for American consumerism and throwing away literally anything at a moment’s notice.
A Bunch of Dogs Are Named Fauci
i am TIRED y’all
Conservatorship battle of 'Star Trek' star
Conservator ships are hot and stupid right now.
OnlyFans Will Ban Pornography
If you didn’t hear about this, now you know, to which I ask: um, excuse me?
Facebook's Next Target: Religious Experiences
A few weeks late on this but want to say that this is...uncomfortable.
Barbara Kruger: ‘Thank God I’m not a Tiktok star’
calm tf down Barbara people are dying
Journalists & Fans COLLIDE, Everyone LOSES
An interesting story about rabid fandom and truth, which is very interesting. Silly times!
The A.S.L. Interpretation of ‘WAP’
A story on the appropriations of Black TikTok creators who helped make songs like “WAP” understandable in ASL. This gets at the line between co-opting and reference, culture and information.
Riis Beach, NYC's Queerest Seaside Destination
I was just looking at some public figure gay man’s Insta and was so bummed to see that so many of his photos were in a Speedo, showing off muscles and abs, which really made me feel terrible for a day but that’s ~life as a gay man~ sweetie. This story made me feel better though! Queer normalcy, please. It’s literally sexier and better for us all.
Why Adopting a Rescue Dog Is So Hard
I finally read this story about dog adopting, which is fucking bonkers. What a dumb system! But I guess it works...?
Never have I ever watched a TED Talk. I’ve skimmed some, for work, but I’ve never actually sat down and listened to one, hoping to sponge up inspiration and information from [Insert Thinking Person]. I don’t think many outside of Gen X or Boomers think about TED at this point but I will say one thing about this phenomena: the TED Talk culture in the late aughts and 2010s, the need to watch successful people blather on a stage, led to a current style of social media presentation, where one person is imparting information or giving a lecture in a non-school and non-work context, with the intention of entertaining through education and vice versa.
This style of video content is taking over the internet too. For example: on TikTok, many rising influencers are using a format that sees them as a talking head giving a lecture against a green screen backdrop or with props, where they can point toward search results and visual examples to animate their story. mvvvc does this with structural engineering, healthy__punk does this with interiors and buildings, The Digital Fairy does this with Gen Z culture, onlinekyne does this with math, Melina Benches does this with design and architecture (She’s my personal fave!!), hungryrye does this for liberal politics: there are so, so many like them – and these creators aren’t even that big.
These creators are building upon vlog culture and informational presentational video styles popularized by figures like theneedledrop and AsapSCIENCE, video makers who found innovative yet classic ways to share information. The style straddles, say, journalism and academia but is firmly positioned as entertainment with an educational slant. These are people who may or may not have jobs that align with their passions, jobs and positions in the world where they have no authority. But these videos? They are the authority. They are the professor, the teacher, the expert. Both then and now, this style of making aims to make education and information even more accessible and easier to digest, positioning anyone with a passion as someone who can share, as someone to learn from. It’s beautiful, one of the better parts of the Internet meeting a need.
These creators almost always hit a ceiling, carving worlds too niche and too specific to crossover – but it’s not about crossing over. These are the types of people who are in it for the love of the game, to geek out with others, to keep the door to their passions open so they can share it on main instead of on the weekends, without others, and in private. And that’s the difference: were TED was exclusive and an almost you-had-to-be-there sort of thing, these creators and this style shows that you can dip into info anywhere, in any way.
Gone are the TED talks. Here are continuing ed talks.
In case you missed it: obsessed with this fake movie website.
Are Celebrities Gorgeous No Matter What?
Story about my new favorite IG account, which reminds me of the heyday of blogs devoted to plastic surgery in the late 2010s.
Italians Do It Better’s Madonna covers
Give this a listen, in honor of Madonna’s birthday. It’s very good! And the “What It Feels Like For A Girl” cover is just ~great~
This isn’t a great TikTok but it’s style is going to be replicated a lot, hence the big numbers.
“a sphere of human goo”
Gaze into the projection of a meatball made of all the humans on earth, which would fit nicely into Central Park.
"killing first responders"
This is blowing my mind but also: good.
"when i have no 4G and no wifi.."
so true bestie
“french friends can’t say”
I love these videos of French people trying to speak English.
"Please watch this omg 😭… "
I think this qualifies as toxic adorkability.
Modern times call for modern heroes.
"y'all sure y'all ready for this??… "
RISE AND GRIND WE DRINKING MILK
"I’m fried cause this shyt got me crying"
new spelling just dropped
"this site is as beautiful as a painting"
Yet another day we are blessed to behold the majesty of Twitter.