your job is eating your creativity 😵
On the merging of work life and creative life, along with a love letter to Cameo.
White House Warns Ukraine Aid Is Running Out
Biden’s $106bn aid bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan fails
"Biden are responsible for the Gaza genocide"
"Two out of three Americans of color oppose it."
2024 is looking worse and worse, not to mention all the Hunter Biden shit.
Takeaways From the Republican Debate
Who will be Trump’s VP? I want to say Haley, but she’s too sensical. Ramaswamy would be inspired. Then, the world ends. A bright spot: Christie’s take on trans parenting.
November 2023: payrolls rose, unemployment falls
You’d think this is good news but no one is feeling this in their wallet, especially considering all I see in my timeline are layoffs,needing work, and general capitalistic dissatisfaction. This doesn’t count as eating the rich, Joe!
88 dead after drone mistakenly strikes festival
A tragedy in Nigeria that went overlooked. Very sad!
Universities Face Congressional Inquiry
Former Harvard disinformation scholar pushed out
Harvard (and other Ivies) are falling from their towers, as the right hates them for elitism and the left hates them for the above items. Will this mean anything? Not really. I do think this captures a trend: the left and right extreme hate of the neo-liberal status quo.
A plane fueled by fat and sugar
I meant to share this last week but forgot: more sustainable flight fuels are on the way.
More US retailers adopt 'keep it' policies
More retailers aren’t refunding money but just telling people to “keep” things they don’t want. That’s so wasteful, babe!
Retail Retracts ‘Organized’ Shoplifting Claim
Related: as expected, retailers claiming of record shoplifting were lying.
“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,” Allen Ginsberg wrote in the poem “Howl.” This was in the mid-1950s, the “madness” a response to the jaws of the atomic age and the fastidiousness of the then “great” American way closing on the young. “I saw the best writers of my generation become ‘content strategists,’” someone wrote on Twitter last year. I retweeted it, with an image to capture how I didn’t like that this post was about me.
These ideas are on the mind becauseTweeted out something absolutely disgusting on Tuesday: “they say there are no more great american novels but what about pitch decks?” The follow up was just as bad: “tempted to say that decks are the great 21st century american literary form“
Before we go any further: if you don’t know what a “deck” is, please stop reading. Spare yourself! You are pure. Enlightened! Heavenly. You needn’t know our torment.
For those who do know what a deck is: Chayka is absolutely right and wrong. The fact is that, unless you are nepotized or elevated in a field because of a connection, you’re working a job. And this isn’t just “one” job: you’re typically working a job and working a “passion project” job that you hope will become “the job” — or you simply must work two jobs to make ends meet. This started as hustle culture in the 2010s, but now is something that everyone does to survive in this economy.
While this has always been the case for creatives, there is a bittersweetness to the modern side hustle because increasingly the tools of both our creativity and our “work” are tools of capitalism. I sit down at my computer and I work on my novel. I sit down at my computer and I write sponsored content for a brand. I work on the same Apple computer that Steve Jobs did not dream up (Or did he…?) so that I can speak the language of Gen Z on social media for multinational companies. The business suit part of the snake eats the clown suit part of the snake.
To be a creative now is work on top of work, negotiating the giving up of your identity and talents to the machine to the point that the two bleed together. Examples are everywhere. Musician Ricky Montgomery explained how aspiring artsy musicians now have to grovel on TikTok for listens while forebears like Thom Yorke never had to do this. Nicki Minaj’s assurance that her new album was like “going to Gag City” became a meme because fans used AI to show love, but this captures what AI culture actually is: a work tool that cannibalizes and confuses creativity since the technology is intended for — I don’t know. — customer service and fraud detection. Resident Advisor did a great story on the rise of the pop edit and, while I love pop edits and feel they’re an act of reclamation, the pop artists who create the basis for these banging remixes — Hillary Duff, Janet Jackson, Ciara — have made careers off elevated commercial jingles. Kids are now using decks to present their family Christmas gift ideas. I saw a hoodie that reads “Out Of The Office.” The Boss Spring/Summer 2024 show was inspired by corporate culture. “The Office Siren,” an aesthetic of the kinda sorta hot secretary, is trending. The upcoming season of Drag Race has a queen whose name is Amanda Tori Meating.
It’s a sickness, work. Less the job-work or creative-work but the expressions, the tools, the gestures of work poisoning us. There is no work-life balance anymore. As life gets more casual, as you wear the same clothes outside of work as you do to work, as you curse in any context and any situation, so does “the fun”: work, especially work in marketing, wants to feel fun while life, as fluid as it is, longs to be serious. No wonder the word of the year is “authentic” is a word of the year: culture is deeply confused, as we give and give and give our lives to work only for our creative pursuits to also be work.
This is “part of life” as a creative in these times. But will there ever be an end? Isn’t there something so wrong about this imbalance? As I write these newsletters week after week, because I too have a pile of short stories and two fiction books that have not sold, I tell you this: everything is work, even the fun things. Maybe I need to start submitting the Tweets I’ve ghostwritten for brands, the writing I’ve created for literal nepotism babies, and see where that gets me. Maybe then creativity can translate into something.
GTA 6 Trailer Surpassed GTA 5’s
This was the story of the week. The game looks good!
What We’ll Be Obsessing Over in 2024
This T list is good but funny. Some things are right on (Browns! The eighties!) but some things are ridiculous (Dada and nihilism? Where have y’all been?). Lots of rich people talking!
Pinterest’s 2024 trend predictions are here and, while consistently one of the most stellar lists of the year, I didn’t find this lineup that surprising or that interesting, but I am obligated to share.
Pantone’s 2024 color of the year
ZZZZZZ SNOOZE TOMATO TOMATO MAY AS WELL BE GRAY
Rizz is Oxford's word of the year
ZZZZZZ SNOOZE TOMATO TOMATO GEN A BAIT MOVE ON
Return to office is dead
Michael Stipe Is Writing His Next Act
The Times Michael Stipe feature is very good!
Grinch stands with 'Santa is Fake' sign
'Is Santa Real' Search Results
I keep seeing news and jokes about “Santa isn’t real.” This seems like the right getting what they wanted: truth, in the name of Jesus. Fortunately, the kids can’t read.
Astroboy - Bubble Bobble Jungle
Absolutely crying listening to Martin Bootyspoon’s deranged Bubble Bobble jungle edit.
Outside of #GagCity and GTA 6, one other thing got us through the week: George Santos Cameos, short video greeting cards made by the disgraced politician. He literally talked about anything — douchebags, his not-so-real MBA, spending money on botox, furry coming out stories, singing Taylor Swift, diva down — for a surprisingly low cost of $500. The Cameos are so good (“good”) that Jimmy Kimmel bought a series of them, proving Santos will say literally anything.
I want to take this opportunity to say a controversial but brave non-sponsored something: Cameo is one of the best entertainment services of this century. I say this as a dedicated Cameo user, someone who has purchased nearly 30 Cameos since 2019. Why do I love it? There is so little joy in life and one sure way to bring joy is to text, show in-person, or to share your screen to reveal a video message from a celebrity with a direct message to a loved one. It is honestly where I feel entertainment is heading, as customized and personalized media will eventually be all media. Just ask Black Mirror!
But don’t take it from me: let me tell you about some of the Cameos I’ve purchased as so many are wild. I bought my dad a birthday message from Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson who spent a minute talking about Covid. I bought a coworker a message from Countess Luann who sang “Feeling Jovani” unprompted. Amanda Lepore did her best Marilyn Monroe for a friend’s birthday. Once for Bobby and once for his mother, Carson Kressley gave earnest life advice for just $79 whilst seated in front of a grand piano. On three separate occasions, I had Miss Juicy from Little Women: Atlanta deliver the best $100 pep talks you can imagine from a cancelled Lifetime reality show star.
But these are just scratching the surface of Cameo’s greatness, which the Santos videos get at: you can buy a celebrity’s voice to say…anything. Who needs AI when you can go to the D List source? These are gifts that create next level group chat memes, if not literal memes as we’re seeing with Santos. An example: in 2019, shortly after Jeffrey Epstein died, my coworkers and I — like the entire world — couldn’t get enough of the “didn’t kill himself” meme. We’d slip the phrase into emails, presentations, conference calls: you name it, we slipped it in. To cap off the year and wish our boss a happy birthday, I hired noted race grifter Rachel Dolezal to make a Cameo. It was a joke and I didn’t expert her to grant our request. Then, via text, her video message arrived. What did she say? “Just a quick side note,” she said with a smile toward the end of her minute. “Epstein did not kill himself.” I watch that video every so often. Maybe one day I will share it widely.
Another example, as recent as last month: I needed a video to inspire coworkers. Who do you turn to for inspiration? Dedicated Trend Report™ readers know that you turn to modern philosopher Azealia Banks. Her Cameo was a near five minutes of slate-blue-eyed Slay-Z hitting all of her talking points — people not having enough sex, ironic queerphobia, racism, rape, anti-American sentiment, gay love, the importance of being broke, “the girls,” why you should use ChatGPT to slack off at work, the word “pussy hole” — in front of a purple guitar mounted to a wall and two posters with illustrations of calisthenics. She did offer some inspiration, despite thinking we were a part of the writer’s strike which, at the point of ordering the video, had ended two months prior. I watched the video with my team and, when I tell you I felt every cord of muscle in my abdomen from laughing, I mean that.
You may not “get” the George Santos Cameos, but let me tell you: there is a thrill, a brief power in being able to pay a random celebrity to say something. In a world of so little power, of robbed time and creativity, there is one way to get off if you can afford the booking fee: paying a celebrity in need to say the wildest shit. Get your Christmas orders in now. You won’t regret it.
“name a woman”
“name a woman”
“name a woman”
I enjoyed the “name a woman” trend, mostly because it randomly surfaced (and made viral) my friend Danielle! Billy Eichner’s impact + this is the new Roman Empire.
“TV has never been better”
We need Kathy Lee back on the TV.
“Kyle and Tucker”
This poor Photoshop of Kyle Rittenhouse and Tucker Carlson went very viral obviously.
“rancid hair off”
Not Photoshopped. I really am over Timothée and need the world to be over him too.
"how long until I'm dead?"
Does anyone actually know what might happen? Genuinely curious as I am always frightened I will eat chicken like this.
“432 Park Avenue”
I love flop things so of course I’m obsessed with this vacant, expensive Manhattan building.
"My little cousin"
Sick to my stomach that I understand this.
“I’m a little drunk”
I miss her :(
“on this banger”
Catholic school girlies…let’s go.
“a new icon”
She’s so me coded.
“mile high bathroom”
“worst things I’ve seen”
If I had to see the mile high airport bathroom shrimp and mashed potato video, then you have to see the mile high airport bathroom shrimp and mashed potato video.
"there had to be a less terrifying way"
No, I think this is the best way to ask for skincare advice.
"Happy Patti LaBelle Day!"
This week was the 27th anniversary of WHERE MY BACKGROUND SINGERS??
“no more girlbossing”
We all need a girlrest.
“gloves in german”
The word is and is not exactly what you expect.
“my boyfriend broke up with me”
Best film I watched this week.
You’re welcome, Lee Pace hive. I always got your back.
And, finally, how I think I sound speaking to you.