This week the kids are debating whether COVID is a thing and falling off milk crates. I know Whitney Houston said, “the children are our future,” but I’m not so sure.
Online trend of the week: The milk crate challenge
Back in my day, we stole milk crates to build janky bookcases, but kids today stacking them up, climbing the resulting pyramid, then posting videos of their spectacular falls to Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. The vids are so popular, #cratechallenge had more than 82 million views on TikTok before it was yanked.
As is expected with an internet trend, scolds, parents, and doctors are pointing out that this is a very dumb thing to do because falling off a stack of hard plastic crates could result in any number of broken bones—plus vaccine-deniers might be hogging all the beds at your local hospital.
As a responsible adult, I agree with the doctors, but I can’t lie: I definitely would have given this a try when I was young and indestructible. Doing stupid shit that could get you hurt is as much a part of young adulthood as condemning it is part of being an old fart.
Reversal of the week: OnlyFans isn’t banning porn
Last week we learned that reigning DIY adult entertainment site OnlyFans was planning to ban sexually explicit content, citing pressure from its payment processors. This week, OnlyFans is like, “pretend we never said that. You can post whatever you want.”
The company says the reversal was due listening to its fans and creators, as well as the assurance from payment processors that the money-spigot will not suddenly be shut off, but a conspiracy theorist might suggest the whole thing was corporate kayfabe—a publicity stunt that netted million/billions of dollars’ worth of free advertising for OnlyFans with a single press release. The funniest explanation, though, comes from perennial internet satire site TheOnion, that posted this headline: “OnlyFans CEO Admits Decision To Ban Pornography Was Made In Shame-Filled Moment After Orgasm.”
Internet drama of the week: Reddit users demand ban of COVID misinfo. Reddit says “nah.”
There’s serious pandemic drama brewing over at Reddit. Earlier this week, a coalition of diverse subreddits called upon Reddit to “remove dangerous medical disinformation that is endangering lives and contributing to the existence of this ongoing pandemic,” with subreddits ranging from powerhouse, 20-million-users+ boards like r/showerthoughts joining up with teeny little niche outlets like r/stonedswifties to demand something be done about the growing spread of pandemic nonsense on the site.
In a response statement, Reddit CEO Steve “spez” Huffan threw cold water on the idea of banning ‘Rhona misinformation, posting: “We believe it is best to enable communities to engage in debate and dissent.” (User comments were banned from spez’s post, of course.)
Part of what makes Reddit so damn Reddit is the site’s commitment to allowing the expression of both sides of an issue. On the pro-vaccine side, there’s the world’s doctors and epidemiologists urging you to take a tested, safe, free, and effective vaccine to prevent the spread of a deadly disease. On the anti-vaccine side, there’s the dumbest people you went high school with suggesting you treat COVID with horse-deworming medicine from the feed store, so it’s a valuable, useful debate.
Viral video of the week: “I bought every weird ad I saw for a month”
In a recent video, YouTuber Drew Gooden did something I’ve always wanted to do: He bought every “miracle” product he saw advertised online and tried them out. Gooden tested innovative products including the Grip 6 belt that looks more like a cargo tiedown-strap than clothing, something called the “SpineNeck,” Magic Spoon’s “keto-friendly” breakfast cereals, and, best of all, a paper hand you tape to your forehead designed to make you better at playing basketball(?). Gooden is a hilarious online stand-up comic, but he gives the products a fair chance, rating each on a one-to-five scale. (Spoiler: Most products you see advertised on online are total junk.)
Mini-trends of the week: LeBron action figure destruction and bossa nova
Here are a couple of youth culture trends that are too small really ping the pop culture radar now but may (or may not) grow into something larger.
- Destroying LeBron James action figures: There is a tiny subculture of TikTok users who enjoy videos of people destroying LeBron James action figures in creative ways. The toys are filled with goo and are designed to stretch, so it’s enjoyable to push them to their limits. You can fill ‘em with water until they spring leaks, manipulate the internal goo to grow Lebron’s package, or just give your Lebron doll the decent burial it deserves. (You know you did all of this and worse to Stretch Armstrong.)
- The return of bossa nova. Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to only early sixties jazz/samba music lately, but I predict bossa nova is going to make a huge comeback with the kids. My evidence: Brand new K-pop band CRAVITY released a bossa nova track, “Go Go,” on its debut album, which will expose millions of rabid K-Pop fans to the bossa-virus, and the great Billie Eilish’s released “Billie Bossa Nova” this week, a full-on bossa banger that will have kids swaying their hips subtly. Is this the start of a widespread revival? Are millions of Eilish heads and K-Pop stans getting hooked enough to try the hard stuff like Antonio Jobim and Stan Getz? Humor me and say, “sure.”
This week in games: SplitGate is the game of the moment
According to my gaming sources, everyone is playing SplitGate. The first-person shooter combines the teleportation of Portal with the run-and-gun fun of Halo 3 and has been called “The best arena shooter I’ve ever played.” SplitGate had been quietly languishing around Steam since 2019, but it took off last month with the launch of an open beta that ended up attracting over 10 million players. This week, the game’s developer, 1047 Games, dropped a new, improved open beta across all platforms. Players can expect a slew of new content in Season 0, including a new map, a new “Infection” mode, new gear, and a Season 0 Battle Pass. See ya, Fortnite.