Discover more from The Trend Report™
WARNING: that meme is propaganda 📵
On the meme-to-propaganda pipeline, and musing on making time meaningful.
Because there are lots of new faces after anfeature, I wanted to welcome and thank everyone for being here!! My name is Kyle and I’m a writer-person who has green hair and wears shorts 99% of the time. The Trend Report™ is a distillation of the week, broken down by top news, top culture, and top memes along with two culture deep dives. I’m always looking for ~new opportunities~ to write so, if anything comes to mind, I’m all ears. Enjoy, angels!! 🐣
Biden unveils American Climate Corps
Interesting! The tldr is Biden made a “climate” New Deal of sorts, to create jobs while addressing the climate. I hope it works!
Thousands march, demand Biden 'end fossil fuels’
Young people to take 32 European countries to court
California sues oil companies
Speaking of, big week for (young) people advocating for climate policies. I’m feeling optimistic!
Dementia Among Officials Poses Security Threat
This was put out by a Pentagon-funded think tank, mind you.
US Government Shutdown Is Looking Certain
Trump Says Abortion Ban ‘a Terrible Mistake’
Hackers claim ex-president dead on son’s account
"mayor of Dallas is switching parties"
wtf is going on with these crusty people and their bunk party
Tensions between Canada & India over killing
What’s interesting about this story is how it reveals just how geopolitically relevant local happenings can be. We truly live in a global world – and that means the politics and tragedies travel too.
Twitter Users Don't Want To Call It X
Twitter could go behind paywall
“X.com’s disastrous launch video”
This week in Twitter: the name change and marketing of such change ~is not working~ and Musk seems to be so desperate that all accounts could go behind a paywall. (Also: Twitter is closing down circles and ranked last at managing climate misinformation, which is wild considering it did worse than Facebook.)
Microsoft documents limit highest ratings
Marc Benioff says he's a remote worker
"Google tried to put out some propaganda"
This week in corporations being wishy-washy and weird with their employees. As someone put it, we’re in an era of “corporate gaslighting.”
Airbnb Really Is Different Now
This was mentioned last week, but Airbnb is officially ~on the outs~ at least culturally. I still use it, but they gotta really revamp their approach to not completely die out.
Did you hear about the book burning in Missouri?
A candidate running for governor of the state gathered people together and burned “the liberal woke” agenda with flamethrowers. The event – which happened in Defiance, Missouri, an actual, real place – was posted to social media, where it was eventually fact checked to be not-books but empty boxes. The image is concerning because, um, it feels familiar. The candidate, State Senator Bill Eigel, brushed off concerns as casual fun. “If the only thing in between the children in the state of Missouri and vulgar pornographic material like that getting in their hands is me burning, bulldozing or launching (books) into outer space, I’m going to do that,” Eigel told the Associated Press.
Yes, this may have been niche, American micro-politics – but did you hear about the creator Sneako?
A video of him went viral, where he encountered a group of pre-teen and early teen fans. “Fuck the women,” one of the boys says, gleefully, jumping up and down. The creator tried to correct them, emphasizing love, only for others to say “but not, like, transgenders” and “all gays should die.” The creator laughs, hand to head, telling them no, before posing for photos and looking into the camera to ask “What have I done?” This sparked a big debate about the media kids are consuming, as the creator is known for rant videos that overlap with right wing targets. The creator went on to release a fake apology, where he doubled down on saying boys are just like that. It’s all fun! To be controversial on purpose, especially when things like identity are forced in their face. They don’t get it! And they act out when forced!
These two situations are very specific but similarities reverberate when encountering news like the group who think JFK Jr. is alive and aesthetic TikTokers who place fascistic language within vibe posts. “It’s all for fun!” they say. “It’s not that serious.” This is not a new “trend” but is something that keeps popping up and will keep popping up, as we slide through the rest of 2023 and into the election year of 2024. While none of these things are memes in the traditional sense, they all lean into online ways of thinking, digital copy-and-pasted gestures made for online consumption that translate into real world behavior. The meme-to-violence pipeline, as has been said.
This gets at something that creators like @thepocketreport have been saying all summer: stop engaging with this stuff. It starts as liberal rage-bait and ends up as a meme – and the meme then ends up reshaping the world. When Vivek Ramaswamy collabs with Jake Paul, the point is to get you mad enough to re-share. When something like Trump’s mugshot happens, it’s absurd and ridiculous – but the memes propel the moment, shaping a narrative that benefits him. If we want to look to the future of this, @thepocketreport maps it very well with how Italian neo-fascist leader Giorgia Meloni rose to power: a line of her vitriol was turned into an ironic techno anthem intended to mock her – but it helped her rise to power. All in good fun, yeah? Well, now queer rights in Italy could be rolled back.
This is a matter of digital literacy and how “jokes” become political advertising. As we wander into fall with the second GOP debate on Wednesday, the jokes and the gags will continue. But how will they repave our reality? That’s the big question.
What It’s Like to Be a 13-Year-Old Girl Today
I Asked 65 Teens How They Feel About Being Online
Teen mental health & social media: what does evidence tell us?
Publications are talking about teens and social media. Backhanded back to school content, I think!
Chioma Nnadi to head of British Vogue
Big news, as we now know who is replacing Edward Enninful.
Largest 'Baby Exporter' Confronts Painful Past
This is fascinating, and certainly something that is happening (and has happened) all over the world.
Katy Perry Sells Catalog for $225 Million
This is so wild to me but also plays into the longer trend of artists auctioning their work off to effectively…get a payday to pivot. Katy is also having a moment, for better or worse, thanks to Russell Brand, reflections on Witness flopping, and a 2021 performance in a bathroom trending.
How Terrible Meetings Took Over Corporate America
Oh, I definitely feel this. Meetings are…a tool of the panopticon, in my opinion!!
Inside 'A Court of Thorns and Roses'
Who is reading A Court of Thorns & Roses? I was in a meeting recently where everyone went “All women are reading it right now,” which was backed up by it blowing up on TikTok. I’m going to request it from the library and see if it’s any good!!
Angelica Ross Accuses Emma Roberts Transphobia
The biggest DRAMA of the week. Emma Roberts…we always knew you were a brat!!
A Viable Alternative to Conventional Lawn?
A far from perfect story that captures a growing desire: to not have lawns. The progress made here is super interesting!
“the quality of sweaters has declined”
“in a crisis”
"RECREATE EVERY GOOD OUTFIT"
Stupidest “conversation” of the week was dumbasses simping over Billy Crystal’s sweater from When Harry Met Sally. Says a lot about fashion and taste, and that people don’t shop for vintage items.
Do you know Jenny Odell? She’s an artist and author known for espousing an anti-tech, pro-human ethos, made popular by her 2019 book How To Do Nothing, which led her to do talks at Google and on Obama’s book list. Her recent book, Saving Time, explores our relationship to the clock and how efforts to “control” time are tools of the machine. The book aspires to have a similar do-nothing vibe, but the results are less linear.
I read the book this week, after encountering a Times interview with Odell that they reshared from earlier this year. The story is great, but I want to draw attention to one moment that has stuck with me and feels very “now.” The interviewer asked if she could explain why time management is absurd, limiting, and generally anti-human. The bolding is the interviewer.
There’s something about that culture of making everything more efficient that risks avoiding that question of why. A life of total efficiency and convenience? Well, why? What is left if you were to make everything super convenient? It is helpful to make certain things more efficient, but that can tip over into becoming its own end, which moves the focus away from that larger question of why.
Do you have any advice for how people might answer that question for themselves? Like, what is the meaning of life?
Yep. The closest thing that I have to an answer is that I want to be in contact with things, people, contexts that make me feel alive. I have a specific definition of alive, which is I want to feel like I am being changed. Someone who’s completely habitual, is set in their ways of thinking and doing, that type of person is liable to see days in a calendar as being pieces of material that you use to achieve your goals. There’s all kinds of degrees between that and someone who’s so completely open to every moment that they’re dysfunctional or something, but I want to live closer to that second pole.
I want to feel like I am being changed. That’s been poking at me, an arrow trying to shoot through my chest.
We all have our own meanings of life, our own pursuits and reasons for being. What is existence if not an opportunity to grow, change, and learn? For me, I’ve been feeling that the ceiling is falling in, that there isn’t anything “for me.” That is the work and the loneliness speaking, but it gets at a good barometer for fixing oneself: am I being changed?
It’s particularly important when we consider a generation (Millennials, maybe Gen X and Gen Z) coping with the loss of non-capitalist rallying points like religion and our search for third places. What are the environments, situations, and people we need to make meaning in our life? When it’s just us and a calendar, when your life is a to-do list, nothing matters. You are a body and not a person, which is to say: a machine – and machines do not seek out opportunities to be changed. That’s what life’s all about, right?
“Our dog has been barking”
This thread has gone very viral, all about some “creature” stalking a person in the Chicago area. It’s definitely not-real but it shows that Twitter storytelling isn’t dead yet!
“why i don’t do #potlucks”
One of the wildest coworker food stories.
“culture is so toxic”
Someone had to say it! Thank you for your bravery.
This is the best gay TikTok in a long time.
I know I posted this TikToker before but I just need you to see this Italian (I think??) person with REALLY high heels. In my head, I’m them.
"when an unemployed mf"
I am obsessed with this Tweet.
“NEW NPR INTRO”
Look. They’re cooking with this!!!
Best actor in a leading role: this roach.
And, finally, me signing off from every Report™.