This week covers the whole spectrum of kid-internet-culture, from Britney Spears stuck in a conservatorship, to a movie about family stuck next to the ultimate Karen, to a TikTok lady who got stuck in her own chair. Let’s dive in—here’s what you need to know.
This week in Supreme Court rulings: Teenage cheerleader vindicated
I don’t usually cover Supreme Court decisions, but this case features a disgruntled teenage cheerleader, vulgar Snapchat messages, and a school district petty enough to take a discipline matter to the Supreme Court. The trouble began way back in 2017 when Brandi Levy, then a high school student in Pennsylvania, was not moved up to varsity cheer.
Angered, the teenager posted, “Fuck school fuck softball fuck cheer fuck everything” to her SnapChat, and the school responded by cutting her from the cheer team. Her parents filed suit, arguing that she wasn’t in school when she cursed on the internet, and maybe the school should stop being such fascists.
The case moved from Pennsylvania district court up the legal pyramid to the Big Show—the Supremes. In a win for free speech and The Cheeristocracy, the Court ruled 8-1 that The Mahanoy School district violated Ms. Levi’s First Amendment rights by disciplining her for off-campus speech (and maybe they shouldn’t be such fascists). It’s not a total victory though: The Court hedged by allowing that there are circumstances in which off-campus speech could be grounds for school discipline.
This week in life hacks: Free t-shirts at Disneyland?
I don’t usually cover beat-the-system hacks, but this one features a TikTok influencer, underboobs, and free Disney swag. Disney fan Amanda DiMeo recently posted a video detailing an ingenious but totally unethical way to get a free t-shirt from Disneyland.
“If you’re wearing a shirt that shows a little under-boob, they’ll write you a ticket so you can get a free shirt at the nearest gift shop,” DiMeo said in a video while showing off the $75 shirt.
While many of her commenters vowed to give the hack a try, others Disney-philes were not happy at all. “Please don’t abuse this,” a commenter wrote. “They’ll just pull the feature & send people back to change.”
So far, Disney has offered no comment, but their website says they reserve the right to deny admission to folks wearing clothing that “exposes excessive portions of the skin that may be viewed as inappropriate for a family environment.” I don’t know if it works for hairy man-underboobs, but I’ll be driving to Anaheim to find out.
This week in music: Britney fights for freedom
I don’t usually cover conservatorship hearings, but this one features an imprisoned pop star battling her own father and a long-running online hashtag campaign.
In 2008, Britney Spears’ dad, James, was granted control over her money and her person after she apparently struggled with mental health and substance use problems. This arrangement led fan speculation that the reclusive pop star was being held against her will. Now Britney confirmed the rumors.
Spears phoned into a Los Angeles court hearing Wednesday to allege she’s been drugged, forced to work against her will, and has been prevented from getting pregnant due to the legal control her father has over her life, and she’d like it to end. “I just want my life back,” Spears told the court, adding, “I’m not happy. I can’t sleep. I’m so angry it’s insane…I truly believe this conservatorship is abusive.”
Outside the courthouse, hundreds of Britney supporters gathered, many carrying “#FreeBritney” signs, and listened to speeches in favor of the pop star and against abuses of the conservatorship system.
Despite the ubiquity of the FreeBritney hashtag, legal experts are doubtful that Spears will be freed. “Britney has said in this case that the father is doing more harm than good, but there are reasons that she’s still under the conservatorship,” Tamar Arminak, an attorney who worked with Amanda Bynes’ parents in her 2014 conservatorship case, told NBC. According to Arminak, the most likely outcome is the removal of Spears’ father from the conservatorship and a loosening of its terms, but she probably won’t be left to her own devices.
This week in TikTok activism: Black TikTok on strike
I don’t usually cover the roiling morass of race relations in America, but this story features online influencers, Megan Thee Stallion, and white peoples’ notorious lack of dancing skills.
It started when online celebrity Addison Rae demonstrated a bunch of TikTok dance moves on Jimmy Fallon’s show without crediting the Black people who invented the dances. Influencer Erick Louis responded by calling on Black TikTok dancers to not create any moves for Megan Thee Stallion’s new joint “Thot Shit.” In a story at least as old as Elvis Presley, Louis and company argue that white TikTokers are appropriating their moves, getting paid, and not giving credit, and they’d be standing around with no moves but clapping off-time if not for Black people.
Viral videos of the week: Trailers for Karen and Candyman
I don’t usually link to two viral videos in a single week, but I’m making an exception to point you to a pair of horror movie trailers that couldn’t be more different.
The first is the trailer for Karen, an upcoming BET-produced flick where a racist white lady named Karen moves next-door to a Black family and lives up to her famous name. The trailer has stirred much internet blowback, with people saying it looks more like an SNL parody than a real movie, pointing out the weirdly white-washed racism the trailer depicts, and digging up some actual right-wing nuttiness from the actress who plays Karen, Orange is the New Black’s Taryn Manning, whose name even rhymes with Karen.
Karen looks like third-rate Jordan Peele imitation, but the Peele himself is behind upcoming horror movie Candyman. The reboot of the awesome 90s movie was written and produced by Peele and was directed by Nia DaCosta, whose directorial debut, thriller Little Woods, is just amazing. Candyman is slated for release in August, and even though I haven’t seen either movie, I can tell you for sure that it will be better than Karen. Check out the trailer.
This week in kink: Fetish stunt goes wrong
I don’t usually cover people being stuck in chairs… okay, I do usually cover people being stuck in chairs. So let me tell you the story of Sydney Jo, who got stuck in a chair on the internet.
Before the incident, Jo had a sleepy little TikTok where she posted videos discussing sexuality. A recent video of hers was about the “Stuck Fetish.” I’d never heard of it either, but there are apparently people who are aroused by people being stuck to, or in, things.
To spice up her video, Jo demonstrated with a folding chair…but she actually became stuck. Not “I’m really turned on by this kinky being-stuck-in-chair action” stuck, but “I’m going to call the fire department now because maybe I’ll die” kind of stuck.
Because this is 2021, Jo documented the whole drama on video, including the arrival of the fire department and their attempts to extricate her from the folding chair. (This is not the set-up to a porn, I swear.)
The firemen first tried bolt cutters but that didn’t work, so they employed the jaws of life, designed to extract accidents victims from mangled cars. That did the trick, freeing Jo and giving her the millions of views that content creators dream about.
Post Script: After doing a few media interviews, Jo seems to have taken down her TikTok account with no explanation. Maybe she got stuck in a couch or something.