The Trend Report™: Woke Kids
On the ongoing trend of manufactured precociousness, all of which has to do with making a mark on the world.
Europe's Water Levels Threaten Rhine River, Hit $80B Trade Lifeline
Y’allI think trade is gonna radically change in the next few years.
"Incredible Sky5 video of a #firetornado"
Uh haha climate change really ate with this one!! Umm, yeah, sickening! *wipes brow* Incredible, yeah. Incredible.
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"trees growing in the Arctic tundra for the first time"
Arctic Heating Up Four Times Faster Than Rest Of Planet
Global heating caused ‘shocking’ changes in forests, studies find
"Satellite images of the UK"
Anyway, here’s more not-great climate developments.
Extreme Heat Uncovers Lost Villages, Ancient Ruins and Shipwrecks
A very thin silver lining here: the heat is exhuming some wild stuff, from hidden dead bodies to entire ancient villages.
Mom and Teen Daughter Accused of Illegal Abortion
This story is interesting because these allegations were made because of Facebook messages, validating fears that “social-media activity or other personal data are used to prosecute.”
The Secret History of Family Separation
This story is huge and feels very important. I haven’t read it yet (The audio says it takes three hours to read.) but it’s on my to do list, to full understand America’s concentration camps.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Raided by FBI: Everything We’ve Learned
Exclusive: See the Trump toilet photos that he denies ever existed
This week in Trump shenanigans. It doesn’t really mean something…until it means something!
"a massive banner over their stage that said “We are all domestic terrorists.”"
Did a CPAC Banner Say, 'We Are All Domestic Terrorists'?
I thought this was fake but…they really did say this at CPAP, the Conservative Political Action Conference. It doesn’t end there though: another banner proclaimed, “You’re Next: The Rise of the Democrat Gulag.”
US Housing Crisis Spirals on Inflation Pressure, Pandemic Migration
Oy. The rent is too damn high!
Malcolm Gladwell slams working from home
Work-From-Home Jobs Haven’t Made Things Easier for Women
Welcome to the Great Salary Convergence
Related and not are really stupid stories about “Working from home is BAD!!” which seem to pop up in clusters once a year, all seemingly created by a real estate lobby.
CDC ends social distancing & contact quarantining recommendations
I don’t know about you but this seems ridiculous and ill advised to me but okay CDC!!
New Langya virus that may have spilled over from animals infects dozens
Something called the langya virus has had a grip on a part of China for some time (Years.) now and, while it doesn’t seem to pose a Covid-level threat, it captures a big of-this-decade trend: zoonotic spillover, where illnesses spread from human to animals or animals to humans, creating a dangerous, complicated version otherwise “fine” sicknesses. If you’re unfamiliar, this New York Times Magazine story on the subject is one of the year’s must-reads.
Nearly forty years ago, Whitney Houston popularized the idea that children are the future. “Teach them well and let them lead the way,” she sung, in her remake of the George Benson song. In the following decades, we’ve seen just how much children are our future, as many a young person – Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Keedron Bryant, The Linda Lindas, Gitanjali Rao, Ryan Kaji, Little Miss Flint, Billie Eilish, Lorde – has been lauded for their wise-beyond-their-years-ness. Kids can and do do big things!
But…not every kid is as precocious or wise or as brilliant. Not every kid is akin to the aforementioned! And, for many of these child prodigies, their circumstance is via being thrust into the spotlight to speak on issues and keep us entertained because a parent is feeding them lines, while holding a camera and a metaphorical gun. Just ask Jennette McCurdy, who dominated this week’s news with the release of her sharp book detailing her time as a child star and the injustices she faced by her parents and Hollywood adults at Nickelodeon. You could probably ask the same of former child stars like Britney Spears or Beyoncé and you may get somewhat similar thoughts.
If children represent anything, it’s desire. They are, uh, proof of two people’s desires for each other, but also the (failed) dreams of their parents and caretakers. I remember in college telling my mother that my pursuit of the arts seemed like fulfilling an alternate reality for her, playing out a wish she always had but was never able to pursue because of her circumstances. She didn’t disagree. In so many ways, we’re seeing this play out on a grand scale as social media is constantly casting for The World’s Next Precocious Child™, an insufferable competition to yield the next great prodigy, the next young Buddha, the next Christ child, the next Dalai Lama before the current Dalai Lama departs the world of the living.
Thus, the trop of the woke child, kids who supposedly say shit like “Everyone dies one day. Everyone. Even wolves. But not books. Not words. Words don’t die.” and “Why is that man so afraid, Daddy?” in relation to Donald Trump. This child seems to pop up every week, to offer philosophies on different things – vacation away messages, Britney Griner, writing, Björk – and will very quickly converge into Halloweens’ “Look at this wildly inventive costume idea my child had!” phenomena. Happening in parallel are many people pointing out the stupidity of this, from Reddit forums to Facebook groups to many attempted Twitters dedicated to how dumb this is.
We all want the kids in our life to be brilliant. We all want them to be successes, for the world to see them as we see them: the best child in the world! But it’s okay for kids to be non-spectacular. The longing for and creation of the woke child is to mutate parental desire into capitalist production, to create fame, success, and other lottery-winning style financial aspirations out of the small person you made. It’s okay for a kid to not-be-brilliant! Most of us weren’t baby geniuses and most of our kids aren’t baby geniuses. Why? Because they’re fucking dumb ass kids. They have yet to live a life and they should have their innocents kept intact. Let them muse about corn! Let them ride amusement park rides in peace! Let them be not-special, for their sake and for the sake of our feeds.
I Was A Famous Child Star In South Korea. Here’s What It Taught Me.
Speaking of brilliant kids…I wasn’t one! But I was a ~child actor~ in Korea and I wrote an essay about it for Huff Post, which required about a year of research and interviewing as it’s a more complicated subject than one may think. Anyway! Come for child stardom, stay for the surprising soft power political implications. Everything has an agenda!
CEO Posted Crying Selfie After Layoffs To Show Execs Are ‘Normal People’ Too
This is so embarrassing!! Ban CEOs!! And ban LinkedIn too!!!! Living wages and universal income now!!!!!!
Serena Williams Retires: ‘I’m Evolving Away From Tennis’
Huge story this week! Good for Serena!! Also: I’m willing to put money on “I’m evolving away from ______.” as becoming something akin to conscious uncoupling as far as expressions tied to a moment in time.
"The year is over boom 💥"
The saga of Damien Hirst burning his art in exchange for NFTs is one of the stupidest things to have happened in contemporary art. On one hand? Interesting way to approach NFTs! On the other hand? What a wasteful, stupid, indulgent, self-serious, pointless practice. Imagine being bequeathed a Damien Hirst NFT in someone’s will instead of an actual physical piece? Y’all gotta be fucked up. Go somewhere else and drink that poison kool-aid that is this web3 fantasy.
A Woman Paid Psychic to Convince Mother Art Collection Was Cursed
…and was able to steal $137 million in art as a result! I love stories like these. It has everything I want: drama, thievery, the occult, and art!!
Data reveals what really defines the American South
As someone who grew up mostly in the South, this is a fascinating “study” via Airbnb data to reveal what the South is, according to listings. The results are somewhat surprising, as people claim the South stretches further west (and not as far south) as one may have thought.
Are You Sure You're Not Guilty of the 'Millennial Pause'?
“millennials are aging out of the internet”
This is so fascinating: something called the “Millennial Pause” has been coined, to represent when Millennials who are filming themself pause before speaking, to make sure the camera is rolling. This captures a generation who were more analogue with video production versus the TikTok style start-talking-when-recording. This is genius and I maintain that Kate Lindsay is the best tech pop culture reporter now! (Also related: an emerging trend that I’ve been following, where Gen Z is starting to realize all the cringe-y shit Gen Z is doing.)
Issey Miyake, Who Opened a Door for Japanese Fashion, Dies
Wear your pleats in honor of Issey Miyake this week! An icon. He will be missed!
Author Salman Rushdie on ventilator after stabbing
This is one of most fucked up things that happened this week. Awful!
Anne Heche not expected to survive crash
Ellen DeGeneres & Others Respond to Anne Heche's Death
The Anne Heche situation is all bad and very not-good, sadly ending in her death. As if things couldn’t get sadder: her legacy seems to have converged with conspiracy culture.
Abuse of VFX Artists Is Ruining the Movies
One of the summer’s biggest trends: Hollywood, VFX, and workers rights converging. This is going to continue! And hopefully brings about some changes in that terrible industry.
Wanda Sykes To Host Viral Video Show Featuring Ring Doorbell
This will be like the show Cops but all the hijinks that happen before the footage cuts, so the tech brand can give the rest of the video to the police.
“this is what happens when you get all of your beliefs from tumblr”
“Women were better off as housewives”
A trend that isn’t great: young people talking about why feminism is a scam and why being a housewife, in the early twentieth century sense, was better. Sure, aspiring to be capitalist is bad – but inequality is worse, not to mention this being aspirationally white. bell hooks is always right!
“this is really scary omg”
"I’m disturbed by the genuine disgust"
“the fact that y’all can’t tell that this is a filter”
This innocuous post, of a seemingly old woman putting on makeup, has attracted so many strong takes. It’s a fascinating social study, in that some people are reveal tech illiteracy (It’s a filter!) while others reveal their sexism and ageism (Why can’t she wear makeup?) all via one lil video.
“does every fig have a wasp in it?”
This “Are wasps in figs??” idea has been all over TikTok and this is a great explanation of the facts and fictions about wasps and figs. (Spoiler alert: wasps do get all up inside figs.)
“You have such wonderful hair,” my therapist says.
“Oh, yeah, thanks.” I gesture to my head, as if it doesn’t belong to me. “I just got a haircut. I started to feel like one of those fortysomething male-types who look like they’re trying to be a surfer boy when they’ve actually aged out of the style.”
She nods. “I love the color.”
“Thanks. I’ve had chartreuse hair for, um, five years?”
“Yeah, it’s been a long time. I had had pink hair for a long time but had tried everything – rainbow, leopard, blue, red. It’s interesting what people think about your color versus what you think about the color. Pink? People didn’t care, but I thought it was cute. Blue? Older women loved it but I thought it was so lame. Red? Everyone loved it but I hated it. Chartreuse was the first time both myself and people around me had a reaction.”
“That’s very interesting.”
I nod. “Once I landed on this color, it felt like I found the color of my soul.”
“Why do you dye your hair? Why does anyone?”
My face squishes. “For a lot of reasons,” I say. “I’m not a therapist but I have my theories.”
She tilts her face forward. And those are?
“Well, um. There are the literal reasons, that it serves as a business card. I started dyeing my hair this color in grad school and, almost immediately, people I would meet at writing events and at fellowships and at parties would call me ‘the guy with green hair.’ Once that would happen, I had my ‘in’ to follow up with them, to say I was ‘the guy with green hair’ and then we would start talking.”
“Yeah, it was for networking or branding or whatever. But” – I gulp. – “it’s also so people literally remember me, you know? Our lives” – I hold up fingers pressed together, a space impossible to see. – “are the eye of the eye of the eye of a needle within our universe, let alone the universe’s universe’s universes. I’m no one. In our time here, in our little lives, if we can do something to get someone to remember us, that’s special. It’s hard to be memorable when you are a blink in reality. It also” – Another gulp. – “makes people happy. Bright hair makes people feel brighter, even if for a quick moment. It’s like a reminder that they can have fun, despite how bad things can feel.”
“There’s a lot less color in the world, you know? I just wrote about this because my aunt had recently mentioned that my friends were so colorful, while I thought that they could be more colorful.”
“Why is that?”
“It feels like contemporary life is to battle the loss of individuality, like we’re forgetting that we can be ourselves or that we can be creative under capitalism. Color is one part of it, and is maybe why we hear so many stories about people on TikTok wearing such wild outfits when, in fact, the ones being talked about are exceptions. Most young people probably wear boring things too, you know? Comfort is seductive, but the thing about comfort is it’s boring. The same can be true of ‘uniform dressing.’ I’m always colorful, because of the memory thing but because I’m trying to express myself in a context that craves for us to be non-individuals.”
“Do you find that you become less colorful when the weather gets colder, or when it’s gray outside?”
I twist my lips. “Not really,” I say. “But I’m from Los Angeles, where it’s mostly sunny. Before I lived in LA, I would dress similarly and, now, after LA, nothing has changed. I don’t think this is for attention – Although I am a middle child. – but it may be because we’re all longing for more, to be seen and discovered, in a world that sees us as temporary or disposable. It’s like they say: born to slay, forced to work.”
She squints. “And what does that mean?”
“Um.” I close an eye. “Well,” I sigh. “It’s not important.”
"my friend's dad is performing an original ambient piece"
"ambient fans when"
Something is happening with ambient memes and I take them all personally.
“this makes me want to burn fossil fuels”
“but as a theatre artist”
We gotta do something about the environment, yes, but we also gotta do something about theater kids.
"y’all when this video gets deleted"
"That's So Raven (2003-2007)"
This reaction video had a major moment this week. She’s everywhere!
"reminder of this special moment in time"
This week in bot and bot-adjacent brand activities.
"ppl think i wear th0ngs"
When we talk about climate warriors, we’re talking about this person.
“watch me make”
There is no lie here and this is all I think when I think Starbucks.
“if u did a tv show”
The best critique of modern television.
"Orville Peck's identity was known"
I, too, did not know Orville Peck’s identity was known. Also: don’t watch this if you don’t want the image of Orville Peck ruined because it is a bit of a boner killer.
Save the horses, Beyoncé.
“MEANWHILE IN MONTANA”
Love these cows that broke into a house, filling it with literal shit. Good for them! Nature finds a way.
These before and after videos of wet animals really healed me.
"holy shit y'all"
This is a phenomena adjacently related to the “T-Shirts That Go Hard” thing: language that crashes hyper-self-care with hyper-sexuality. It’s hilarious and also very much a neo-neologism, an evolutionary echo of “screaming crying throwing up.”
“me after a phone call with my mom”
This is not me after a call with my mother but, for some people, this is accurate.
"My Ghetto Maternity Photoshoot"
The greenscreen work is…….incredible.
"I SCREAMED every time they put up a side by side!"
"Olivia Coleman was so mother for this"
A brief synergy of boy children who look like grown ass women. This Olivia post? A top Tweet of the year.
“lin manuel miranda cosgrover cleveland”
“the nintendo we did it jojo siwa”
I forgive New Yorkers for the insufferable “Hottest Club Is The Catholic Church” thing this week because of these two incredible TikToks.
And, finally, a live view of me enjoying my weekend.
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