The Trend Report™: Who Are We?
So much is happening about Americans being a bit of a mess. What does that say about us, as a people and a country?
GOP questions for Jackson were about midterms
Some takeaways from Ketanji Brown Jackson’s hearings. Also, a great take on the Cory Booker moment and dumbass Ted Cruz helped The End of Policing jump up the charts.
Virginia Thomas urged to overturn 2020 election
This is a wild story which is all to say: a Supreme Court justice basically doesn’t believe Biden won the election. That’s bad! Jamelle Bouie of the Times made a great explainer on TikTok.
World's Richest People Are Driving Global Warming
I’ve actually been thinking that we need to create some sort of grading index of which public figures, wealthy persons, and celebrities are the worst offenders as it relates to the environment. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately!
"GOP senators this week”
What a mess! Another week in this backwards country.
Deepfake presidents used in Russia-Ukraine war
"this shit is finally happening"
I’ve written about the potential of deepfakes before and, yes, we’ve reached the wild future moment where they warp geopolitics already. (Also, something stupid and unique is people using this situation to excuse and praise Hitler.)
Ethiopia's War Toll Grows as the World Looks Away
Not to worry you but this has also been happening!
Follow the global youth protests this week
Climate Advocates Who Say It's Not Too Late
Two interesting stories about climate activism, namely who in young groups are doing it (Largely young, white girls!) and how the message is being shifted toward the more positively, as that spurs action (as opposed to dread).
The Latecomer's Guide to Crypto
I will continue to not-give-a-shit but, should you feel differently, learn about all things crypto with this explainer. I will probably read it…at some point.
“I wonder, though,” Charles Homans, New York Times reporter, said in a recent roundtable on the future of American democracy. “Is there a ‘we’?”
This “we” in question is the “we” of Ukranians, a people who are banding together to protect their country, their beliefs, and their land. An extreme situation, yes, but Homans is musing on the solidness of national identity and how that has created the image of an aspirational nationalism, the sort of pride that nations and people can envy. Even in the little stories about this conflict – like Resident Advisor’s reportage on a Ukrainian DJ who is serving their country or New York’s coverage of war diaries – reveal a united people, which reveal how America is full of little royals who would rather disagree and see things burn instead all because they’re waiting on their Amazon package to arrive. With so many identities, so many wars over words, this sentiment of our “we” is precarious at best because “we” don’t like ourselves, let alone each other. We’re that family where everyone is fighting, where no one gets along, but no one has decided to move on, taking steps toward a better life. Instead, everyone suffers without resolve.
This is to say: we are in a crisis. Yes, they are literal – burnout, racism, wealth disparities, poverty, drinking ourselves to death, continued opioid addiction, a 911 for mental health, mass shootings – but there’s a large person-to-person disconnect, where it feels like we just do not get each other anymore, that everyone is waiting to pull a literal or metaphorical knife. Yes, there are stupid stories about how free speech is in jeopardy because of cancel culture but the fact is: people are growing to hate each other because they’re self-censoring and too scared to say anything because of a shitty mob mentality on both ends of the spectrum. This isolation makes it unsurprising that the idea of making friends has been trending in traditional media – The Cut, CNN, Slate, Vox – and social media like TikTok, where #MakingFriends has 250 million entries. There seems to be the larger cultural feeling that we no longer understand each other, that we don’t know how to make friends, as if we have the part of our brains removed that held our manners and grace and the curiosity to socially connect or politely disagree. The pandemic has helped shape this, yes, but that doesn’t explain our having to re-learn what it means to be good. We have lost our sense of community, our connections. We’ve lost that “we.”
What a lot of this has to do with may be that we’ve forgotten how to sit with those we disagree with, that identities and beliefs are so monocultural that we’ve barred ourselves from hearing anyone else out. People talk about cancel culture being bad, yes, bemoaning that they cannot say truly awful and incendiary things without being reprimanded: that is objectively bad. But what a new wave of criticism and sentiment around lack-of-friends is trying to say is that we are completely without grace, unable to understand each other. Even if a take is bad or problematic, the feeling now is to cut-off versus rebuild or restore. There is no element of forgiveness anymore. This isn’t new, no, as we discussed this late last summer. Things have just grown, dissolving community, collective identity, and relationships of all sorts. When our “we” is placed against that of Ukraine? You can see how foolish some look, that we find it easier to cover the eyes and ears instead of do the work of helping reform.
I leave you with a must-read for the week, which is where I feel the conversation will continue to go: a survey and reflection on America’s inability to forgive from Vox. Aja Romano’s thoughts on grace sum a lot of this up.
[Grace] forces us to contend not only with other people’s human frailty but with our own: to remember how good it feels when someone, out of the blue, treats us with respect, empathy, and kindness in the middle of an angry conversation where we expect nothing but hostility. To be shown the kindness of strangers when we expect cruelty, and then bestow that gift in turn — that’s the remarkable quality of grace. But there’s little room for it when we’re barely able to handle the concept of forgiveness, and equally unable to stop being angry with the offender after all is said and done.
Was the BAFTA Weekend Behind Industry COVID Cases?
'West Side Story' star Rachel Zegler invited to Oscars
Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot
A round up of the messiness happening in Hollywood!! Granted, I appreciate Rachel Zegler’s messiness: non-nepotism babies have to act messy sometimes to be heard in this industry.
Janelle James Explains Why Jeff Bezos Is Going To Space
The standout of Abbott Elementary is clearly Janelle James (Everyone agrees.) and her The Standups special was so funny. The above item was a standout!!
Disney LGBTQ employees plan walkout over Florida bill
Florida 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Is Even Worse Than It Sounds
It’s impressive how much Disney goofed this. They’re making Netflix’s transphobia seem tame! If you need something uplifting in this story, these protesting Florida teens are indeed good.
Grimes Admits to Hacking Indie Blog Hipster Runoff
I mean, good for her…but why bring this up now? Poor Carles is probably fucking running some local brand’s Twitter, as she is in the orbit of a literal billionaire.
Charli XCX on Her Best, Hardest, & Most Mainstream Music
The new Charli album is great and this story reads like a director's commentary.
This Mykki Blanco and Michael Stipe song is good. This is also the first song where Blanco doesn’t rap and………it’s great??
2022: Year of the mushroom?
I feel like mushrooms are everywhere right now.
"I never trust those couple accounts"
"let’s also not leave out that she is Filipina"
TikTok Star Pleads Not Guilty
This story is technically from the end of 2021 but was trending this week, for whatever reason.
There’s this thing where we spend too much time online, writing and reading and listening in ways that create very interesting expressions in our speech. Technically, this is slang. Sometimes, slang can be popularized by quoting a movie or show – Take “my bad” or “irregardless.” – but a lot of conversation today is being pulled from audio bites from TikTok.
TikTok’s audio share functionality is the driver here, in that someone can take the audio from one person’s video and create a new video, thereby creating a trend out of a sound, song, or spoken expression. We have so many examples of this in late 2021 and 2022 – Picasso, tomato tomato, material gworl, purr, gorgeous gorgeous girls, the girls who get it get it – which are then translated into text and spoken language, best seen by how often these statements appear on Twitter (a la: Picasso, AOC using "tomato tomato," Lil Nas X using purr, material gworl, gorgeous gorgeous girls, the girls who get it). Because of the speed with which these expressions get created, we have a sort of fashionability of language, where if you’ve missed the TikTok trend cycle, you may have missed that “the girls who get it get it” is a new take on the still-new “if you know you know,” both of which are ways to say “you had to be there” in a more macro sense.
This feeling keeps coming up online and off, as TikTok and Twitter keep parroting these expressions only for encounters with young-er people in real life to see these expressions used in speech when they just emerged weeks before. You could talk to someone almost entirely in these TikTok expressions and, in many ways, I have done that and it’s a strange sensation. It relates to the Gen Z versus Millennial generation war, where one group thought an emoji used in a certain way was passé: in this moment in culture, words and expressions and emojis are now as fashionable as clothing. If you aren’t on TikTok, you are missing out on a very huge lexicon creator, a language being created in real time that says how in the know you are.
I have been feeling this way – but it’s not just me. It’s been well documented that TikTok is inadvertently developing a new generation’s Valley Girl speak by crowdsourcing expressions and patterns of speech. Much of these are rooted in niche and community languages, a la from Black creators and queer creators who express something in a way unique to their group. But when something is shared and able to re-shared? These expressions become an item to trade in one’s deck of cool cards. As writer and linguistics professor Nicole Holliday explained last year, “what really is different about TikTok is that face-to-face visual and audio stimuli [is a] part of the social network,” which means you have “your whole body and voice and face out there” for consumption. This creates a high school style expression factory occurring daily – and it’s fascinating and exciting and certainly a wave of the future. If you’re still a not-on-TikTok person, this is yet another way that you are further isolating yourself: you are quite literally missing what everyone is talking about.
"Someone decided to jump a Tesla"
In case you missed this giant story, a stupid ass creator made a mess of their car in Echo Park recently.
"#oscarisaac singing GAY GAY GAY"
re: don’t say gay, this is gonna be everywhere on TikTok soon.
"#blacklivesmatter #gushers #fruitbybthefoot"
Reminder that brands don’t mean shit when they say shit! That said, Gushers did reply – but did it really need a TikTok going viral for them to care two years later?
“losing my mind”
Is this Ariana Grande?
"at least she thinks i'm str8"
"we showed each other our music"
Train Guy™ collabed with Rosalia.
“two years to the day”
“ain’t no way”
The best reaction to this look.
"why do they have the same voice?"
This is fucking wild. They really do have the same fucking voice!!!!!!
“he turned into a little slut”
I didn’t think calling-your-peer-daddy and other uses of this word in this way, especially by non-gay men, actually existed. Now I know! And it’s cheesy but funny!!
“two guys enjoying the swans”
I love them.
"all hell broke loose at the AMC Burbank 16"
As I said on Twitter, if North Hollywood were a person, it would be her.
And, finally, me looking at Twitter.