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you write like chatgpt lmao
Some concerns about new, A.I. inspired put-downs and why Uniqlo has the 2020s' biggest "it" product.
Subway Killing Stuns, and Divides
I Was Always in Awe Seeing Him Dance
The murder of Jordan Neely is going to continue to be a big story. This is a sweet recounting of who he was: a beloved Michael Jackson impersonator. (Twitter believes that this is the murderer.)
First Republic's Problems Stood Out
I don’t like all this banking stuff and I am too gay to understand it!
A New Batch of Battleground States in 2024
Surprisingly, Georgia isn’t on this list (yet).
Black, Youth Voter Turnout Way Down in 2022
We’ll see what it means!!
Most Americans support anti-trans policies
These polls are…something. As you’ll see, this story captures people’s complicated feelings on the subject. I do think shit like this is going to make the left go “Oh, trans persons aren’t a good political opportunity.” and they’ll dump support.
Behind Trump's musical tribute to Jan. 6 rioters
This isn’t new but Trump’s “hit song” was made with the “J6 Prison Choir.” Who are they? The recorded singing voices of January 6 insurrectionists. This Washington Post story shows who they were in the crowd, and reminds that their “visual forensics” is some of the best journalism now.
Thomas Had a Child in Private School. Harlan Crow Paid.
Clarence Thomas’ goings-on are one of the most compelling political dramas of this decade. It just doesn’t end!
Tucker Carlson’s Text That Alarmed Fox
The “how white men fight” was the lede for so many stories, but it was the creeping knowledge that Tucker himself is realizing he is evil in the message that was most interesting to me. It’s truly a wild story.
Russia claims Ukraine attempted attack on the Kremlin
Russian mercenary chief says fighters will withdraw
"Ukrainian MP smacked a Russian delegate"
Some Ukraine/Russia updates from this week.
I don’t want to talk about AI anymore but here we are. This week’s top stories on the subject you probably saw – the “godfather of AI” bemoaned the tech, Amnesty International very questionably used AI pictures to depict real-world conflicts, Google is surfacing AI pictures inspired by artists instead of their real artworks, Americans are ready for AI regulation – and that is not what I want to talk about. Instead, let’s explore another brewing conversation: artificial neologisms.
An extension of the mediocre uncanny and mediocrecore, artificial aesthetics we discussed less than a month ago, there’s an emerging online jab that uses AI and related gestures as a dehumanizing punchline. It’s funny! And it’s going to become a new part of our daily way of speaking, which will have larger implications as it relates to mental health and personhood. Here’s an example that I saw this week: in reaction to “the studios” addressing the writers strike, writer Clarkisha Kent sagely diagnosed the memo as “this ChatGPT-ass statement.” She’s right! The writing is so generic and poorly written!! It’s funny!! Clarkisha isn’t alone, as comedian Taylor Tomlinson’s observation that the work of entertainment executives “sounds like something a robot could do” plays into this, converging into expressions like “you’re chatgpt” and you “look like AI” being used more and more, all playful, rich burns adjacent to “ratio” and the related runoff.
This shit is funny. I love it! It’s absolutely sick. But, when taken seriously and applied to the lowest in society, you can also see a very clear line from “you’re so boring and unoriginal that you remind me of AI” to a 29 year-old adult stabbed an 11 year-old child for being called a non-playable character in real life. (For context, “you NPC” is definitely a jab being used a lot.) ChatGPT, AI, and NPC used as adjectives for real people is a new genre of neologisms that seek to undercut humanity by pointing out a real person being supremely uninteresting, to the point that they are not worthy of the title of human. The feeling this evolves is similar to the “White Christmas” episode of Black Mirror, where you could block or negate a person in real life, but obviously isn’t as drastic.
AI is all about confusion, duping, and the bait-and-switch. Every AI gesture is intended to feel real when it is not real at all. See: Rick James’ 1979 home in Los Angeles. Have you seen the pictures? Barstools talked about it! It went very viral on TikTok this week too. Reddit says it was from Better Homes and Gardens in 1979. The reactions are predictable – “u almost had me,” “it looks like an AI render” – and all ostensibly ladders back to a Facebook post from early April posted to a Midjourney group. See also: the AI-made graphic novel where the entire piece is protected as “an original idea” but the individual AI-images are not. Related and not, you have Ed Sheeran narrowly avoiding quitting music because people thought his song sounded too similar to another song. AI or not, confusions of if someone or their creation “is real” is creating a hoax cycle that occurs day after day after day after day after day these days. (Not to mention that AI itself is a dupe that exploits labor under the veneer of being “advanced technology.”)
To say someone is duping you into thinking they are real is a very low blow, especially as legitimate situations of voice cloning via AI are scamming and harming people’s lives. Do you need to lose sleep over being called AI? Not at all. But, while AI models itself after us, we are starting to model ourselves after it, which is going to mean more people getting called AI, ChatGPT, NPCs, and the like. Soon enough, we’ll be texting each other reCAPTCHAs to prove our humanity.
King Charles 'bullied' out of showing 'sausage fingers'
I hope everyone sees “the king” and his awful sausage fingers.
The Market for Disney Adults
This story about the Florida Disney adult real estate market made me sick to my stomach. I mean, “I once listed where the owner spent $600,000 on a Star Wars home theater.” VOMIT.
Hungry student eats Maurizio Cattelan’s banana
Good for them!
Dildo Man Photographs Huge Ice Penis in Canada
Climate change bad, penisberg good.
Howard Stern Stung That Black Knicks Players Ignore Him
"Why would any NBA player under the age of 30 know"
As everyone said on Twitter, it’s not a “racial” thing: it’s a you-are-irrelevant-to-an-entire-generation-and-demographic thing.
"lifted millions of children out of poverty"
There’s something happening right now with both the evangelical right and tech people converging to say “Have more kids!!” Unfortunately, this precludes the reality of these situations as pretending economic issues and child welfare problems don’t exist.
"stop trusting TikTok detectives"
"I'm confused. Reporting?"
"looks to be the end"
Remember that guy on TikTok who was like “THERE ARE SERIAL KILLERS IN CHICAGO AND TEXAS!!” and went viral beyond the platform? Turns out, he scammed people with a shady app he was pushing. This week’s TikTok main character!!
Last summer, at the demands of TikTok, Bobby and I marched to our local Uniqlo and bought the bag that everyone was saying we needed to try: the swooping, crossbody, chunky-but-parenthetical Uniqlo Round Mini Shoulder Bag. It’s a simple, utilitarian bag, something that blends into any outfit without being too fussy or too complicated: it’s an object of understatement. It also costs less than $20, which speaks to variety and being able to get one “for each season.”
The bag was hyped this time last year, with publications wondering by summer’s end if it really was as good as people were saying it was. Now, a full year since the bag dropped, it continues to dominate the market becoming 2023’s hottest product and earning a second wind as far as gushing press. Uniqlo’s Round Mini Shoulder Bag is to the 2020s as Fjällräven’s Kånken is to the 2010s: a unisex, utilitarian product fit for everyone that makes a statement while saying nothing.
Here, in Barcelona, a city largely populated by international tourists, I cannot walk a block without seeing the bag. They’re typically swooping under the armpit, tucked under a breast, sometimes hugging around the lower back. We now own a cream, an orange, and a black, which we rotate out against now-vintage Uniqlo bags like the minimalist shoulder bag and variations of the padded mini-shoulder. Unlike the Telfar tote or Jacquemus Le Chiquito, the point of the bag is to not stand out: it’s about personal styling, blending in, fitting your style without having a style. It’s lack of a point of view is the point of view. No one is going to go “Are you wearing the Chanel boots?” to this Uniqlo bag. That’s the point: it’s for everyone. No celebrity or “it” person can elevate or ruin the bag. (Will it evolve out of style? Absolutely. We’ll probably see it’s cycle continue until the end of next year.)
So why isn’t this happening with a Zara bag? Or H&M? Target? Shein? It’s not business practices, as you can draw the same circle around Uniqlo and these other brands as far as questionable labor practices. But, unlike their peers, Uniqlo isn’t as blatantly trend reactive or in the market of ripping off specific artists. Paired with an exclusivity factor – there are 2300 Uniqlo stores worldwide, compared to Zara’s 3000 and H&M’s 4400 – Uniqlo’s “thing” is minimalist approachable luxury with character. The brand stands above with their beloved simple socks and affordable, utilitarian, and compact down jackets. This is to say: there is a purpose to shopping at Uniqlo. In an economy of the enlightened shopper, the brand is meeting people where they’re at.
Where next then? We’ll certainly see more Uniqlo bags break out, amongst other Uniqlo items that people are finding to make simple statements without appearing too desperate or too trendy. The obvious trendy sequel is an item that I bought recently and am already seeing everywhere: the U Drawstring Shoulder Bag, which is a bigger, more “statement” version of the Round Mini Shoulder. Another contender is the adorable, tech-adjacent Mini Drawstring Bag, which has hype-boys written all over it. The Issey Miyake duping Pleated Straight Pants are also predicted to be an “it” item. (I bought three pairs earlier this year.) You also have anything from their collaborations too, as the recent Marni crossover proved.
But, regardless of product or trend, here’s the thing about Uniqlo: anything is an “it” product with them because they’re selling utopia – and everyone is craving utopia. All their clothes and their marketing are the inclusive, quaint, modern visions that people imagine the future to be styled as! Think HER think, think “San Junipero,” think Arrival, think Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor Who, think Deep Space Nine: these are the clothes you wear when the world is better, where everyone lives in a place that is both France and Japan. These are clothes for people who are more loving, more curious, and more quiet. That’s the aspiration being sold – and we are buying, one bag at a time.
“a barefoot contessa fancam”
"it calls for GOOD olive oil"
I feel like Ina is having a moment, but I dont know why. Maybe because it’s spring? She gives spring energy. (Also this type of shirt is really popping right now too.)
"never be able to unsee this"
One of the best ads for subscribing to
"a thriller about 3 absolutely psychotic triplets"
I would watch this movie because I love Emma Roberts.
“Donald Duck if”
If this impression is AI, I’m going to be mad.
"The people behind him"
I wish I had as much confidence as K-pop stans.
And, finally, me on the matter of making friends in a new city.