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The Trend Report™: Welcome To Normal
Reflecting on how this is it and why we all lose in meme politics.
World races to contain new COVID threat
In case you missed this, meet the omicron variant.
How Roundabouts Lower Emissions
An interesting look at how traffic circles help the environment. of course, no cars helps the environment more but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A Power Struggle Over Cobalt
What a mess this story is! This is all related to materials for clean energy cars and global economics. Let’s all just bike places, okay??
Africa will become center of world
This is a really interesting story, considering how places like Lagos will swell even more, without the infrastructure to support more people. Similar to, say, India now, just see how culture will shift on the level of creativity – but also in the sense of capitalism, that “all these people” will be seen as persons to advertise to, another market “to conquer.” Bleh.
More Adults Don’t Expect to Have a Child
To Breed or Not to Breed?
Speaking of overpopulation, there are a lot of stories about how (American) adults don’t want kids for so many reasons. I mean...look at the world we have to work with? Who is surprised?
Lush is quitting social media.
Oh this is something. What I like most about this is that brands are starting to monotask, focusing and dedicating themselves to become experts in *one* place versus all places, over-saturating conversation and trying too hard. I love this! I hope it’s a trend!!!! Everyone dump Zuck!!!
What We Will Never Know
I love this story about sciences and subjects humans will never be able to understand, things like the fastest speed ever, because our bodies just cannot withstand that. This is both gloriously illuminating and one of the heaviest existential things you’ll come across.
30,000 awarded Public Service Loan Forgiveness
I wish this were me :(
Lobsters and crabs are sentient beings
I wish this made me think “Wow, should change by diet.” Anyway. Thanks, UK report.
As I went out to dinner, inside, wearing a mask,
As I went to a work meeting, outside, on a patio,
As I had a holiday dinner with rapid tests,
As I bought refundable airline tickets,
As I started stocking up on holiday gifts in October,
As I attended a meeting with people at home and people in offices, masked,
As I cancelled plans because I felt a sore throat coming on,
As I talked to a parent who was so relieved to have their kids vaccinated,
As I heard about someone younger than me becoming a homeowner, somehow,
As I read about lockdowns resuming in Europe,
As I talked about a movie, as people compared home versus theater viewing,
As I shook my head, hearing friends talk about attending unmasked concerts,
As I listened to a group of people compare their symptoms,
As I field questions of if my job has an office,
As I read about another dying person pleading for inoculation,
As I double check that we will be eating outdoors,
As I recognized the end of a friendship chapter, due to wider social opportunities,
As I had a video call with a friend who unexpectedly moved,
As I speak to someone in another country asking how cases are where I live,
As I cancel plans, again, because something seems a little sketchy and unsafe,
As I showed my vaccination card to get into a store,
As I turned my bike around because I realized I had forgotten my mask,
As I reminded someone visiting from another state to make sure they brought their vax card, I realized that this, finally, after months and months and thousands and thousands of speculative think pieces, was the new normal, that this is what life is like now, that we have reached the point where this – This! – is just how things are. Perhaps life can (and will) get better – but if it doesn’t? We have adapted, we have learned, we have figured out how to live in “all this.” Yes, for many life is still very hard and very bad but, as life does, it goes on and we learn how to deal, despite withstanding pain and sadness and discomforts. Everything is the same, everything is different. We are the same! We are different. These are the circumstances of our present and immediate past. They may not be our future! But if they are? We have learned how to live with them. Conversations about “Is this it?” are ending because, no, it will never end. That’s life. Even if it does, we will still see bits and pieces of this time in our lives forever, fingerprints everywhere, the lenses in our glasses permanently changed. Maybe it will all be a funny story one day, us doing a scavenger hunt of memories at the end of a dinner, sharing that we didn’t make the sourdough but we did wash our cereal boxes. What marks will be left? Who will still be here to sit at the table, to share? What will change, in the bigger sense, besides the small changes in our individual lives? We will see soon enough.
Having a Holiday Gathering?
Happy holidays! I’m only a little bit stressed!! Honestly, more stressed that flights will be cancelled.
UC nixes any SAT alternative
This is big! California schools are no longer gonna require standardized tests for college admittance. Bye, College Board! Nice knowing you!!
The Little Lad? Call It Performance Art.
Now THIS is a profile. Who knew the Little Lad was a they/them performance artist?! Not me!
What you should know about set safety
Rust stores get me every time and this one highlights how weird (a la, lax) the American film industry is about guns, whereas other countries keep such weapons under tighter watch.
Ridley Scott Pins Bomb on Apathetic Millennials
God I love this story. Hollywood is the worst!
Gavilán Rayna Russom on Why She Left LCD Soundsystem
I love Gavilan! And this is an interesting little story about aging, creativity, and the ongoing grips of Covid on avant-garde expression.
'Make-A-Wish' kid wishes to feed homeless
Oof. Depressing ass, extremely America shit.
Another Problem for 'Latinx'
Sigh. Another week, another exhausting story about the word “Latinx,” which continues to stress me out.
"this is one of the most gorgeous outlooks on grief”
I do not care for this man, Andrew Garfield, but, damn, this really is something.
I won’t say much about this but social media managers with an eye for memes (“memagers,” if you will) have successfully infiltrated politics. The most obvious case is that of Arizona representative Paul Gosar, who recently became infamous for sharing an anime edit of him “killing” AOC. It’s stupid! If you’ve spent any amount of time online, you know this is digital brain leak meant to goad the reaction that it got. It was a joke! Not a good one but it was a joke by and for Twitter subgroups, like how stan Twitter speculates how Beyonce has locked Sia in a basement. Is it real? Should Sia worry about her health? No. But if such a joke were shared by a GOP person in relationship to a left-leaning Democrat? Woo wee, welfare checks would be sent out to Sia, the news cycle would spin, and we would all become sick of the weaponization of the songwriter-turned-singer.
This is all to say that, like Kyle Rittenhouse telling Tucker Carlson, "If they did this to me, imagine what they could've done to a person of color," the tools and resources, talking points and strategies of the left are so easily gobbled up by the right and exploited in so much better ways. One of those ways are memes, expressions made through popular media and humor. Paul Gosar’s team has tapped into that, building off of someone like AOC’s technical savvy and internet tendencies to create something bigger and better, embracing troll tendencies to stoke political fires that hyperbolize poor tasting humor into (dumb) action. A great example of this is how memes about Kristen Sinema’s bad clothes and bad politics turned into a bad real-life meme which then turned into Senators criticizing the New York Times for “sexist” coverage of Sinema’s clothing. Are you exhausted yet? I am, and so are so many as the flimsiness of meme politics have created a new brand of (rightful) political criticism, that representatives need to get the fuck offline and do something for a change.
It goes without saying but there is a symmetry between meme politics and brands becoming horny: these are desperate distractions for attention, all the Wizard trying to get you to buy into their fantasy instead of looking behind the curtain, to demolish capitalism and the two-party system. It’s a coping mechanism, a symptom of something far more disgusting than “ew [INSERT BRAND] is speaking in the first person.” The wrench in this is that, with posts as such, Paul Gosar’s team reveals that they are actually really good content creators, independent of subject. When I tell you that video made me laugh, I very much mean it. It made me jealous that I didn’t think of it! The right will win with these meme tactics and we can expect someone like shitty Ted Cruz’s bad clapbacks to evolve in this way, taking Trump’s very advanced internet politics in an even more annoying direction. It will all end poorly. The race to 2024 will shift from Facebook to troll-style memes. Like a fire, oxygen is needed to fuel flames. Unfortunately, stupid people online and on the left are happy to give all the oxygen needed to burn the house down. All this over an unfunny joke, by and for people with post-Adult Swim niche humor.
“if i’m lying i’m dying”
“this is the one”
“has this been done yet”
“i love this”
“absolutely the best one”
“Pete Davidson has been spotted”
The two-views-of-the-bus meme is the only meme that matters right now.
"newest cruise ship"
“best job ever”
Something is happening with cruise ships right now. I don’t think this is a trend, no, but I think this dying industry is paying influencers like woah to post as a counterbalance to Covid creating bad press and killing their income streams.
"we found dad's missing airpod"
“god this is bleak”
“20 times more insulting”
“no free clout”
There is an unspecified synergy here, between the language of animals behaving badly, signs posting for low-wage work, and brands trying to take advantage of people’s posts. This is all very 2021!
"Whoever takes the photos at the DMV took this pic”
Show me a worse magazine cover. Please!
"George Jetson is going to be conceived"
The future is now. Truly!
"im sitting here high as fuck”
I’m sitting here, not high as fuck, also thinking this is a great artist.
I spent a good twenty minutes last night watching these weird videos where this guy walks “normally” but is clearly walking backwards.
“what did you do to my soap?”
This is a perfect prank.
“my interviewing my h0l0caust survivor grandpa”
I think most of our grandparents were bisexual.
I hope this girl is okay!!! Don’t tug on refrigerators!
"oh my god"
Best new trend are parents making fun of their kids without their knowing on TikTok. Millennial and Gen X parents, this is your moment.
And, finally, my music opinions.