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The Trend Report™: The Spooks
Theories why Halloween is *the* holiday and a trend round-up.
We May Be in for Yet Another COVID-19 Surge This Fall and Winter
These are the new COVID variants that experts say could fuel a winter surge
“some bad COVID news”
"Yankee Candle reviews indicate that COVID is about to surge"
If you aren’t expecting a surge this fall and winter, you’re not living in reality.
"People in positions of formal power"
“I love art but oil money”
"This was funded by a group started by three rich Americans"
“exhibitions have a lot of shipping”
Why climate protests are getting weirder
The Art of Oil
Honestly I was quite shocked this story was as big as it was since it’s been happening for weeks now. In any event, this went mega viral and called attention to oil money, museums, and the millionaires fighting climate change so their oceanic properties don’t go upside down.
Greece runs entirely on renewables for the first time in its history
Incredible! Now for more places to do this, which they won’t.
Women Across Iran Are Protesting the 'Morality Police'
As protests continue in Iran, the situation continues to be quite distressing as hundreds of women have been killed.
A Hidden War in Africa Rapidly Escalates
The war in Northern Ethiopia has taken a turn, after secret talks between the government and America failed to form any resolutions. It’s a very sad situation that rivals the Ukraine conflict.
"Witnessing the Moon Pie-ification of a state at war "
I’ve been thinking similarly. The big question is: when will states go full horny?
Humans wipe out 70% of animals in 50 years
We’re doing it! We’re ruining everything!
New Zealand proposes cow, sheep burp tax to curb emissions
The Supreme Court is about to decide the fate of millions of pigs
Alaska cancels snow crab season after population collapses
Some big international animal stories.
Supreme Court Hears Warhol Case That Could End Fair Use
This…has me worried!
"So fetuses don't have constitutional rights"
The Supreme Court needs to pick a lane.
Protests, anger, tears roil L.A. City Council meeting over leaked recordings
"@RickCarusoLA will only speak to the attacks on Bonin’s son"
LAPD officer who died was targeted
"why isn't anyone doing anything about Scientology?"
A round up of all the fucked up things happening in Los Angeles in the past few weeks.
Staffer fired for refusing to keep his webcam on wins $73,000 payout
A fascinating story! Good for him! That said, I am a perpetual camera-on person.
The iPhone 14 keeps calling 911 on rollercoasters
Because of the new Crash Detection. Very lol.
Facebook's Legs Video Was A Lie
Meta continues to bomb the metaverse.
Alex Jones Will Likely Be Broke 'For The Rest Of His Life’
…and that was the last we ever heard of Alex Jones.
Are there more Halloween decorations than usual? Or is it just me?
More than just pumpkins, more than bats, I recently was in Los Angeles and noticed that celebrating Halloween seems to have exploded in a way best manifested by houses showing up for the holiday. There were scenes of skeleton vampire hunters stabbing skeleton vampires. There was a bloody hanging torso, hoisted into a tree by a witch. There was a dog park made of skeleton dogs. There was an elaborate gravesite, with resting places for every person in the family the yard belonged to. There was a giant skeleton holding two small skeletons, as if making them kiss.
There was…so much! But such is October these days. This is obvious but, taking a step back, to consider context and time, there is the feeling now that everyone decorates for this holiday, turning their homes into de facto haunted houses for trick-or-treating show. We’ve spoken about this briefly in relationship to Millennials and Gen Z failing to grow up but seeing all these houses confirmed that Halloween is the top secular holiday of the year. This isn’t just me: evidence from last year’s Halloween season agreed, as think pieces (Why has Halloween become so popular among adults?) and economic analyses (You'll Never Believe How Much Americans Spend on Halloween) and comparative studies (How did Hallowe'en become bigger than Christmas?) attempted to point out evidence. Google Trends shows a yearly spike in searches too – and the spikes appear to be getting bigger and bigger.
I have a few theories about this.
The rise of individualism. Because we are glutted by (consumer) choice, we’re becoming more individualistic. This is on the rise worldwide, which may or may not be a good thing. In a less cohesive society, where communities seem to be waning, Halloween jumps out as a holiday perfect for individual expression. You get to be whatever you want for a day. You get to dress your house however you want for a month. You get to give up your diet for candy and alcohol. Halloween is all about individual fulfillment! Yes, you can go to costume parties and go trick-or-treating – but the holiday isn’t about collective experience but instead about standing out from the crowd.
The pandemic forcing people apart. We all know that the pandemic has meant not being able to go home for holidays, forcing people apart for Thanksgiving and Christmas, days centered on being in a room for extended periods of time. Halloween is all outside! Wearing masks is a part of the experience! It’s the safest form of fun people can indulge in, while still celebrating a holiday.
Shifting ideas of family. While Friendsgiving has functioned similarly for Thanksgiving, friends are becoming more important than family, yielding the “chosen family.” This is interesting given most Millennials do not have or live with family, meaning a holiday like this isn’t about celebrating with your nuclear unit but instead going out and doing your individualist thing.
Secularism. The biggest elephant in the room here is that Americans are becoming less and less religious. No, I’m not saying there is a correlation to satanism, but I am saying the grip Christianity has on us is loosening. As religion no longer meets our needs and the religious right continues to rise, the religiously unaffiliated are going to turn to holidays that are without the baggage of “God.” The lack of connection to nationalism helps too, as Thanksgiving is seen as something related to tales of savage pilgrims and Indigenous victims. Halloween? Without any of that baggage, Halloween thrives. (While all holidays are capitalistic nightmares, it is bizarre that we are choosing a commercial holiday as our go-to, where going door-to-door shopping is the norm.) (Again: Kid-ification.)
What Halloween does is replicate the feeling of an amusement park, that you can walk around in your unit and enjoy everything – but there’s no need to interact with others. You can keep your beliefs, be in your bubble, and embrace whatever you want in your own world while still “participating.” It offers the sense of community, of group togetherness, but all you’re really doing is giving away your money.
If I was, say, able to do whatever I wanted, I would track all the houses in this neighborhood to see how many decorated for Halloween versus Christmas they are – because I have a feeling less houses will be decorated for the December holidays. And, even if they do decorate, I’m sure they won’t be religiously affiliated: while Christmas does dominate global search trends, holiday searches have less to do with religion as top related searches for Christmas are “ugly sweater,” “christmas lights near me,” “bad moms,” and “christmas movies on netflix.” Everything is becoming lonely shopping experiences. Halloween just seemed to get to the point quicker than the rest. Raise a glass of blood to celebrate!
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Role Playing With Chloë Sevigny
I would like to age like Chloë Sevigny, which is to say: I would like to not-age.
The Transformation of Jonathan Majors
Drool over these pictures of Jonathan Majors because they are steamy.
Dan Souza Is Strategic With His Chowder
I love this interview with Dan Souza. Come for the takes on clam chowder, stay to get teary about the importance of friendships.
Geriatrics Trying to Start Shit With Gen Z Over Emoji
Everyone needs to take a seat and take themselves less seriously.
“I’m not calling anyone out.”
I think this says a lot about the state of creativity online, actually.
“screenshotting NFTs is officially over”
Quick, everyone screenshot NFTs!!
"saw ted chiang give a talk yesterday"
The only take on AI, from the sci-fi king himself.
I recently removed 23 contact lenses from a patient's eye
Put both of the doctor and patient in jail.
"Pong is being played by brain cells grown in a lab"
Time for a brief trend round-up, as a lot of things seem to be trending right now and seem to be a new something. Let’s break it down, hopefully in as brief a way as possible.
Oldies Are The New Hits: Have you noticed that a lot of new songs are just old songs? There’s Madonna rereleasing "Hung Up" and, more famously, Elton John hiring Britney to do "Hold Me Closer.” This is basically doing your own personal jukebox musical, estate planning in real time (as we talked about with Mariah), by rereleasing your own music to reap all the profits versus having someone who covered your song get all the money.
Sequels Are The New Novel: I don’t love this trend but recent buzz books include Less Is Lost, the sequel to Less, andx Tracy Flick Can’t Win, the sequel to Election. The latter is not a good book (I read it and it really is bad.) but it highlights how we’re seeing more and more high-brow literary sequels, even to the point that we’re getting a follow up to The Joy Luck Club. Everything is a franchise now!
Emma Chamberlain Is The New Kim Kardashian: Speaking of franchises, this is a hot take: I feel very strongly that Emma is the new Kim. Like Kim, Emma is self-made via YouTube videos, has an incredible don’t-give-a-fuck relatability, is a businesswoman (via Chamberlain Coffee), and is the fashion horse right now. The difference is Emma is unproblematic and unpretentious (not to mention more secular), truly someone of the people who keeps her audience hungry via a Rihanna style elusiveness. That is hard to do, and is exactly why something like her Architectural Digest home tour exploded a few weeks back. Invest your stock in her because she’s going to get bigger.
Psyiconic Is The New Ziwe: For the unfamiliar, Psyiconic – a drag-adjacent character TikTok star known for wild live interviews – has stolen Ziwe’s crown as the go-to person for digital conversations. She’s brash and ridiculous, stretching into the unhinged with celebrity witnesses. This week, Madonna was her subject (which was absolutely wild) and she very recently went viral via her Doja Cat interview and, funny enough, a Ziwe interview.
SNL is the new ad agency: I don’t know what Millennial needs to hear this but SNL fucking sucks. Not only are they perpetually late and doing really questionable clout chases, their content now positions them as a strange advertising agency that is months late on trends, showing up to illustrate that a trend has died. When one has aged out of fashion while trying to stay “safe,” something has to give: relevance, which yields coming off as disconnected, old, and a poor facsimile of entertainment. This is to say: despite Meghan working overtime, SNL is just commercials now.
“that’s not the truth Ellen”
”this isn’t the cast of Sex and the City?”
“kinda crazy how quickly they recast”
“I fixed it”
M3GAN Is Allowed to Murder
A big week for gays, as there was so much good M3GAN content. The Gawker story is a highlight.
The only Negroni content that made me laugh. Again: great week for gays.
"Happy National Coming Out Day"
I love a good FaceApp fan fic-ification of media post.
"I’ve literally performed in front of hundreds of ppl"
"How to pick up chicks"
This sound is not new but is trending recently and I cannot get enough of it.
“I’m sorry, what?”
Never get something made and just, uh, pick it up the day that you need it. Always give notes!
“YouTube clickbait cooks”
“first female to reply”
Someone get this man.
“IM IN TEARS”
Men wild this week!!
“Thailand is lightyears ahead”
I want to go there and be touched by the naked men.
"New favorite tiktok"
The girls are fighting and they are brain damaged.
“boy names, but for girls”
I would name a child this. (Also I told a friend this and she said she has a cousin named “Boy” which I’m obsessed with.)
“she came back for round three”
If you are going to show me a baby, it better fucking be voguing.
“i’ve complained about breastfeeding BUT OH MY GOD”
Here’s a horror story for you about nipples.
"360-degree action cams finally finding a valid use case"
Any 360 video has me losing my mind.
“98-year-old has been selling”
Obsessed with this “clapback.”
And, finally, me versus you.