Discover more from The Trend Report™
damn, rich people are D U M B
...and they'll kill us all too. Also, why does it "feel" like fall?
Putin vows to crush Prigozhin uprising
‘Scared’ Putin exiles Prigozhin
"Russia is over party when?"
I am sure you heard, but a late-in-the-week development in Russia signaled a coup, only to back down? I don’t know. Stay tuned! Regardless: things are interesting, as the country might eat itself alive.
Biden defends calling Xi a ‘dictator’
Is Biden ignoring Modi’s war on democracy?
Strange week for Biden and democracies, especially since he called Jinping a dictator but had Modi over for dinner. The math ain’t mathing, my man!!
Midwest Pride festival attracts thousands
The Transgender Family Handbook
"We didn’t want to be her first bully.”
”World’s first LGBTQ video game.”
As June comes to an end, some feel-good queer stories for you.
Sperm counts are falling. This scientist knows why.
Probably the best thing I read this week, a wild story about the global decline in sperm counts due to plastics, the importance of the gooch, and one octogenarian researcher’s quest to make this known.
A dose of MDMA transformed a white supremacist
Another very fascinating read, which is exactly what you think it is.
Key findings of the 2023 Digital News Report
Reuters did a good study on the state of news consumption. Surprising and not, as it speaks to the power of a platform like TikTok and the public’s ongoing declining distrust in the news.
A group of men went under the sea this week, in a shoddily hand-built submarine, and now are assumed to be dead. If you were on the internet this week, that is all anyone talked about. It was the story.
What is there to say? A tragedy, sure, but also a parade of incompetence, one of the greatest examples of missing white woman syndrome that we will experience in our lifetime. This balloon boy ass story is at the intersection of so many things – most notably long-logged incompetence, the behavior of billionaires, and MEN MEN MEN – that provided the world with the nonfiction, immersive, real-time entertainment moment of the year: witnessing the live awarding of a Darwin Award.
When I first heard about the story, I was reminded of the death of journalist Kim Wall, who was invited to learn about a hand-built submarine, only to die in the process. This was something different though, in that these rich people paid $250,000 to maybe stare through a platter-sized window in a space as big as a minivan (but without seats) where you have to go to the bathroom in front of each other. The hubris of money and maleness doesn’t trump reality!
Objectively, this is a fucked up and a sad situation. People died! And, yet, the response has been “eat the rich”: what this seemed to do for culture was clarify and turn direct decades of shit like Bernie Madoff and Juicero and Elon’s Twitter, exposing the sheer stupidity of the rich, a people who are believed to be the epitome of intelligence. This week was one of the greatest reminders of our exhaustion of them, that we people of the world without money have to sit and watch as dumb fucking idiots who are “very smart” and have a lot of money do things like waste money on shit like Quibi and Theranos and Meta and go90 and FTX and Max…all for them to fail. And what comes of any of this? It evolves to further stupidity, as they agree to cage matches and drain reservoirs to retrieve a phone and make cisgender a slur and film television shows during the writer’s strike and go on vacations that can kill you. All deeply embarrassing things that we, the working people, have to watch on and clap for, applauding their ability to live such carefree, ridiculous lives as we push pens around, giving our lives in their name. “It must be nice,” we scream. “To choose to kill yourself!”
In the words of James Cameron on the subject, it all is quite surreal. Consider the opposite, as many pointed out this week: at the same time, 350 migrants died in a boat accident off the coast of Greece. In situations like this, as each week there is (somehow) a different very rich person stealing attention for another ridiculous decision, one can’t help but wonder what else is being fucked up? What else should be fixed, that these “smart people” are standing in the way of? Take, for example, the global economy: as the New York Times recently deep-dived on, this system is flawed despite this being how we have lived decades of our lives, ruining the planet and entire countries as people upstairs shake hands and plan vacations from the profits.said so well, the unmitigated white male gall of it all. It shall be the death of us and, if we’re lucky, them too.
SC Student Commutes by Plane
Good for the planet? No. But smart for the wallet? Yes. This speaks to both the high-cost of cities and how disastrous internships continue to be.
More Americans Want to Attend Church Digitally
This is something, which speaks more to ideas of safety (and likely convenience). It reminds of church services that play on the television, but to be consumed in places like your commute. Very Fifth Element!
Restaurant used fake priest to hear workers' confessions
I’m sorry. They did what?
Pixar’s ‘Elemental’ Falls Flat, Adding to Worries
Cannot say this is surprising, but there are musings that Pixar is very damaged given the string of bombs. It’s particularly fascinating, given that their long-running hit-after-hit-after-hit streak defined a generation.
Why Young Collectors Are Buying Fussy Antiques
A peek at how different generations approach antiques. Unsurprisingly, younger generations are mashing the old with the new, creating a fabulous pastiche.
MSCHF design microscopic Louis Vuitton handbag
MSCHF is at it again, with a creation arguably better than anything Pharrell will put forth.
Louis Vuitton Is the Marvel Movie of Fashion
“this notion of ‘culture is the new luxury’”
Speaking of: Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton show dropped and it was…a spectacle of Minecraft and marketed Blackness for celebrities and the white gaze. Tired. As
Influencer under fire for review of Shein factory
"they took her to the model unit"
"i have no doubt this person is sincere"
I do think this creator genuinely believes she was slipped juice from Shein instead of publicity soup. Either way: big yikes all around.
Connections: Group words by topic.
I am obsessed with this new New York Times game where you match words by trying to figure out their thematic similarities.
He wanted to pet dogs for his 100th birthday.
Feel good story of the week.
Dlisted Will Say Goodbye On June 30th
This may mean something to only a tiny portion of you, but beloved, alt-celeb gossip site Dlisted is closing for good this upcoming week. I will write a eulogy for them next week, as I have read this site every day since roughly 2006. A big loss! Where do you get your shitty celeb gossip? I need a new site!
There was a debate Bobby and I would have for a string of summers when we lived in Los Angeles: are the trees dying or is this normal tree behavior? I believed they were sick. Bobby thought they were fine.
The trees in question were the sycamores that lined the street of Sycamore Avenue, one of the most picturesque stretches of the city. In recent years, walking down the street was interesting as, from June to September, brown leaves would be everywhere. It felt like fall! But it wasn’t. The things that we believe are made for shade, used to provide respite from the hot sun, had quit. They went on strike, willingly or unwillingly, opting for what appeared to be suicide but actually is murder.
This was a silly conversation we would have while walking the dogs, debating the lives of the trees. Yes, they were dying because it was dry. No, they were fine and maybe just that one tree had a fungal infection. These debates started to tilt in my favor little be little, as trees on our block would drop giant limbs on cars and onto sidewalks. Every so often, the sound of breaking glass and an alarm would wake us in the middle of the night. Another tree, paring itself down to emaciated trunk. Eventually, for trees like these, they would be removed. Enough people would complain that they were ugly. Signs would be taped to them, proclaiming “I DROP BRANCHES” or “I AM FALLING PARK AT YOUR OWN RISK.” Some even put up signs trying to find solutions, yelling “SAVE OUR TREES” and instructing to dump leftover water on them. The city would eventually take the tree down, leaving Sycamore Avenue with one less sycamore.
When we moved to Barcelona, one of the things that struck us was the presence of sycamores. We moved from Sycamore to a city of sycamores! It’s cute and felt fitting, like the universe creating a path. What was interesting is that, in this new venue and new climate and new part of the world, we started to notice something this year that we didn’t notice last year: while walking up one of the city’s main drags, passing by clusters of perma-present tourists, we noticed everyone was passing through a layer of brown leaves, crunching and stomping over downed foliage to make their way to stores and cabs.
While we debated what was happening in Los Angeles, the situation is more obvious in a different context: the trees are having a problem. They are acting out, turning summer to autumn, refusing to shade us when needed the most. Looking up, you find green leaves half-browned, scorched from the sun, just days after the end of spring. Skip summer and go straight to fall. But is this a surprise to anyone? Spain is currently navigating a severe drought.
Maybe this is something that just happens. Maybe in Beijing, where temperatures reached 41.1C / 106F this week, a couple is walking their dogs and wondering if the trees are sick. Maybe people in Oklahoma and Kentucky and Utah and Tennessee and Pennsylvania had the same conversations, sending and sharing these queries until stories popped up to say “We might be experiencing a drought.”
Hopefully the sycamores here are different. Hopefully they, like the sycamores of Sycamore Avenue, will get record rains and live lush lives again. Maybe all it takes is waiting, for times to change as they always do. It will rain, won’t it?
There were many genres of submersible jokes and memes, so here’s a taxonomy. Some that kept it too real –
"one thing about chief engineers"
“keeping it real”
Some about the tech, the CEO of OceanGate, and the circumstance –
"The device used to steer"
“awkward it is for the CEO”
“if there’s 50 hours left”
Some about the billionaire passengers and their kin –
“12 hours from the billionaire’s stepson”
"also King Princess’ great great grandparents"
Some about orcas and the ocean –
“the fish after not eating”
"we need her nosy ass on the case"
“fun for the summer”
“why would they publish this?”
Some random ones –
“you in the kitchen”
“even if i die tomorrow”
“A TITANIC PLAYLIST??”
”WHO IS RESPONSIBLE”
"#OceanGate in the voice of Carrie Bradshaw"
Two creators I stumbled upon this week, who I love: fungkiigrll, who makes absurdist and cosmic vaporwave, past/present/futurecore videos (which backhandedly ruminate on the fall of capitalism), and sicknikk29, who does an unhinged boomer Karen character.
“like my new pants??”
Yes, yes I do! I want them in shorts!!
"most embarrassing way to be found guilty"
Moral: fedoras are bad.
"never using self-checkout again"
AI has…gone too far.
"hit the translate tweet button i beg u"
Just do it. It won’t make the video make more sense!
What an incredible misspelling.
Would you drink from the ketchup udder?
And, finally, how I look when writing this newsletter.