your inexperience is showing 🤭
Looking at how conflict is getting personal and on how no one wants to experience anything anymore.
Harvard President Resigns
The second biggest story of the week, which started as a “Justice for Israel!” move but then shifted quickly to “Actually, this was a part of a long calculated anti-semitic, anti-DEI agenda.” This reminds of the turning of different minority persons against each other to dismantle affirmative action.
US debt hits record $34 trillion
Why is it that when the entire country has debt it’s “not a problem” but when I have debt it’s “PAY RIGHT NOW OR YOU WILL DIE”
Tracking State Efforts to Remove Trump
Trump Received Millions From Foreign Govs
Supreme Court will decide if Trump qualifies
Psychic: ‘sense of loss’ for Trump, unnerves Fox
This week in Trump stuff. Meanwhile, a new poll “suggests Biden might now be losing to Trump among Hispanics and people under 35.”
215 bodies buried behind Jackson, Mississippi jail
What the fuck is happening in Mississippi?? This isn’t the first time “a body” has been found there too!
"Welcome to the public domain"
Mickey's Mouse Trap - Official Teaser
Horror Game 'Infestation 88' Announced
Another major story of the week is that Mickey Mouse, technically Steamboat Willie, is now public domain. Of course the horror items came rolling in.
Identity politics, of gender and race and sexuality, are becoming gentler in the interpersonal. It’s a curious thing, which I realized while having a chat over the holidays with a friend: if you mistake someone’s pronouns or fumble an inclusion effort today, corrections are gentler, nicer, and more graceful. There is a more human quality to these interactions, an understanding that this is based in good intentions and respect. That’s nice, isn’t it? Of course, this is only in regards to rooms of adults, of people who aren’t rotted on the right, trying to dismantle civility through hate.
I say this because it took years to get here. Curiously, an echo of where we once were — identity politics three or four years ago, where people were fighting each other to understand ideas like pronouns or white supremacy or colonialism — is being applied to international politics. This is not a “new” idea (And I know I’m not the first person to discuss this.) but when we look at a situation like the Israel-Palestine conflict in relationship to the American left and minority support of the Palestinian people, it’s based in similar identity politics and social justice frameworks: their plight is our plight. That is true, but the circumstances we know are wildly different and far more complex.
This has been the framing too, hence the friction of “far” left Democrats bristling against more traditional, centrist Democrats who support Israel. We have seen many, many, many, many stories about Black and queer American civil rights struggles and the Palestinian struggle, which has overlapped with younger Americans similarly supporting Palestine. The symmetry here is obvious: we are oppressed, they are oppressed. I support liberation. You need to be freed. Thus, I support you. This is an oversimplification, I am aware, but it captures the baseline logic of “where this thinking comes from”: the way culture is now with identity politics stands on the shoulders of decades and centuries of civil rights fights, making a current moment where decades and centuries of struggle fit into one’s current lived experience.
This is going to fundamentally change how the world looks at conflicts, specifically how the left looks at conflicts. If you see oppression, you must end oppression: that’s the logic, which technology and information propels. There is a sort of feeling by many — especially on social media — that these problems can all be solved by voicing opinion, as if the world were a reality show (or video game) that we can change by casting a lil vote to say “I want it that way.” Obviously there are much bigger, more complicated forces at play that we can apply pressure to as far as changemaking, as oppressions become more and more obvious as they grow out of specific geographic or identity groups and into the mainstream.
A few examples of this, the most obvious being how the story of the Maui wildfire tragedy went from climate change evolutions to legacies of colonialism and how tourism is a neo-colonial act. Another obvious one from late 2023: the support of Congo liberation under (tech, colonial) occupation. Books like Cobalt Red and the issues that it raises are going to skyrocket this year, as we start to see more and more stories about exploitation in Africa that the tech world profits from. Beyond these two? Consider the other American colonies like Puerto Rico and Guam, among a much longer list than you realize, who are already making connections between their situation and Palestine. We’ll see this conversation applied to places like Japan and South Korea, where a long history of colonialism and slavery are also drawing connections to the Israel-Palestine relationship. Then there are the myriad Indigenous communities worldwide, from Turtle Island to the Navajo to First Nations, who feel the same. Name a colonial relationship and you can see a similar fight.
This is why, say, the 2024 election is going to be complicated and a slog: we “know” how the world works because we feel it in our own experiences. We crave simple solutions for very complex situations since we make everything personal and, identity-based. The issue now is changing the systems, working with them to ensure reparative works — or take the system apart, refashioning it to suit as many as possible.
The 2024 Trend Forecast
A special new year treat for you all!! A look at this upcoming year, with an eye for what storylines we can expect to hear more from.
How many books did you read in 2023?
This is a great story that shares how much people actually read. I’m actually…in the 99th percentile of readers as I read roughly 70 books last year 😱
“difficult for Japanese people”
“learning where that brand name”
Lululemon Founder Tired of the Brand's Diversity
Speaking of PR: as TikTok came for the Lululemon founder, he took the knife to his own throat.
Man leaps to attack Nevada judge
This video went massively viral this week.
Tom Scocca’s Medical Mystery
This Tom Scocca read on his medical mystery, Covid, and job troubles is a doozy. The week’s must-read for creatives working gig-to-gig. Of course, it highlights the smug “I’ll never be disabled” culture and how the line between being autonomous and needing care is thin, thin, thin.
'White Lotus' Season 3 Cast
A gift for all you little gay people in my phone.
Jacob Elordi’s Drink & Scented Candle
Y’all are so corny. GET A LIFE GET LAID GET GET YOURSELF TOGETHER
"repeating something several times?"
"what the fuck is going on with threads"
"haven't used Threads"
"was gunna be a serious twitter"
Ostensibly the first crossover meme of the Threads era, which was all right wing, anti-woke hot takes using the same repeated short sentence structure.
US teenager claims to be first to beat Tetris
Wild this is “the first” time??
I think I really noticed “it” in the aftermath of the Simone Biles’ husband drama right before Christmas: he was wearing the sweater.
It’s a fuzzy off-white with yellow outlined black striped sweater. I knew it immediately because I’ve seen versions of it for weeks, if not months, all over the internet. It was a part of one creator’s best buys of 2023 haul! A K-Pop star wore a version of it in album artwork. A version of it popped up in this style creator’s haul. Various dupes have been bragged about! The sweater was around $1K but now retails for $500 and seems to have first arrived summer 2019, which Harry Styles went on to popularize. This plays into a multi-year rise of light knits, which boomed with men thanks to mohair fuzzies.
It’s a cute sweater! But itself is a reference: it is a very 1960s something, a style popularized in the 1990s by Kurt Cobain, a style that resonates age and wear and the nice things that happens to fabric when you wear it too much. Mohair naturally feels wispy, from another time, a thing that you “trained” to look lived in. It dovetails into two other trends popping right now: the “eclectic grandpa” style, which takes inspiration from older men who have lived interesting lives, and “bookshelf wealth,” an interiors vibe about objects being out, a bit crammed, and emblematic of having been places and done things. All of these evoke words like “cozy” and “lived in.”
None of this is bad! It’s quite cute, actually. But it does highlight a very broken thing in our culture: we just don’t have experiences anymore. We don’t wear and tear things, we don’t live in things, we don’t “live life” enough to have things that are aged and to have the stories that come with it. There aren’t even stories of our acquiring such goods, from vintage searches or flea markets: these things just “arrive” to us, histories in tow. Why distress something over time when you can buy something distressed? Such is consumer culture: buy the age, don’t live the life. These critiques are popping up and popping up, this idea that “inspiration comes from living life,” that people (Millennials, but more so Gen Z.) aren’t seeking out experiences, or doing much of anything. It’s all aesthetic gestures, without meaning. It’s drag. Playacting!
This is crashing into another part of culture that had a breakout this week, which is essentially the same: overactive hyper-consumption. While it doesn’t feel connected, as people getting trampled at Target buying Stanley cups and the selling out of the Stanley x Starbucks crossover are the bottom of the pit, but Stanley cups, the most basic of basic items — It’s a cup designed for your drink holder, by a 100 year old company otherwise known for creating high-performance gear for camping and job sites. — have incidentally become highly betted on resale commodity. While parents fight over aesthetic Big Gulps, their children aren’t children but tiny Bravo housewives as the idea of living a life, of experiencing childhood, has been deleted: enter the Sephora Kid, demanding, bratty, expensive, skincare obsessed literal Gen A children who want to have (And are having!) birthday parties at Sephora instead of Chuck E. Cheese. There is no “experience” to be had, for kids or adults, when life is about buying “experience”: thus the insanity that is ten year old girls going to Sephora, spending hundreds of dollars on skin and beauty products that they do not need, while parroting parental Karen behavior, as Sephora Kids and Stanley Adults are the same person who are equally as rude. This then turns young women into girls while actual girls aspire to be their peers.
(Naturally, this plays into one of 2024’s biggest trends: shifting the cultural focus to Gen A — and their problems. This is now the third time this issue has come up since October, following how kids parrot our poor behavior and how kids are much dumber now.)
The sweaters and the cups and Sephora don’t seem related but, again, they are: it is all about buying experience. There is a confusion that you can buy a new sweater made to look old so that you look like someone who spent decades refining taste, becoming more assured in yourself. There is a confusion that you need a giant, constantly cold drink because you’re going to be busy, doing things, out and about, instead of driving or sitting in the same place. There is a confusion that, because you want to be old, that you have to buy anti-wrinkle cream before you hit puberty to signal that you have lived such a life. Consumption is deeply uncool. As has been pointed out, this culture of conspicuous consumption, of buying things to signal that you are something that you are not, capturing how insecure and identity-less so many people, cultures, and realms of society have become. This is impatient, “skip to the good part” behavior that explains why vintage stores sell Shein and why Ikea is making new versions of their vintage goods: no one wants to wait, to experience, to do the work of living. Life is hard: I get it. But cheating your way to “experience” is worse, especially through redundant products that already exist or can be found through resale, vintage, etc. Everyone loses when you as a person base your life around cultural Cliff’s Notes. You’re acting, not living.
It’s like Sally Singer via Lynn Yaeger said: “If you’re interested in fashion, learn about everything except fashion.” Learn! Grow! Live a life! That is how you acquire taste and style and the sort of uniqueness that no money, no sweater, no big cup, and no Sephora product can buy.
“Kandy Muse is a bottom”
Obsessed with Drag Race hooligans.
“that lady security guard”
This is SO RUDE but it’s also a good performance.
Really makes you think!
Really makes you think!
A soothing song to play you into the weekend.
And, finally, me reading all your lovely comments.