This week is all about forbidden knowledge, so read on for a look inside the hidden worlds of YouTube celebrity, superhero sexuality, fast-food fries, and the White House itself.
Celebrities you’ve never heard of: Emma Chamberlain
You’ve probably never heard of Emma Chamberlain, but the 20-year-old has close to 20 million followers on her YouTube and Insta, a hit podcast, and millions of dollars, and she did it all by being authentic.
While most internet influencers spend tons of time and money presenting themselves in a perfect light, carefully controlling every aspect of their personal-brand, Chamberlain lets it all hang out. She doesn’t wear makeup, her hair is messy, she doesn’t censor her weirdest thoughts, and her videos are shaky, shot-on-her-iphone, verité documents instead of slickly produced self-commercials. The kids identify with her.
Chamberlain’s latest video, alterations, is a 20-minute slice-of-life in Emma-world, where she tells the camera, “I am the worst with avocados,” and “in the majority of pants, it’s like saggy-city in my butt region,” and “I love wearing a hat, but I’m getting next-level forehead sweat.”
If I ignore the fact that her “authenticity” is as manufactured as anything else, I gotta admit, Emma’s videos really do feel like hanging out and having a conversation with a 20-year-old; mainly because they make me want to scream “Jesus, who fucking cares?” Then I remind myself that other 20-year-olds clearly care, and that the narcissism of the young is a necessary step toward forging an identity and realizing how little you matter.
This week in memes: The Delta variant is coming for your fall plans
The hot meme on the interwebs this week makes light of the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Here’s how it works: You caption an image of a hopeful thing—say a character from a movie or a historical figure—with “My fall plans,” then you label a second image “The delta variant” showing the thing that brings tragedy. Thus, a southern plantation could be labeled “My fall plans” and Sherman marching to the sea would be “The delta variant.” (It’s funnier in practice than description, trust me.) Anyway, here are some of my favorites.
This week in comics: Robin likes men
It’s not exactly a surprise—I mean, they call him “Boy Wonder”— but it turns out Batman’s sidekick Robin likes other men. Specifically, the third “Robin,” Tim Drake, is bisexual. Drake, who’s been backing up Batman since 1989, is featured in anthology comic Batman: Urban Legends, and in issue #6, Drake goes on a date with another boy and confesses his feelings—gay feelings. Drake joins Deadpool, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Loki among superheroes who enjoy same-sex relationships. I don’t want to start any rumors, but I’m pretty sure Aquaman plays both sides of the fence too.
This week in TikTok trends: Invasion of the sorority girls
I love using TikTok to look into weird subcultures I spend my life avoiding, like college girls rushing sororities at the University of Alabama. The almighty TikTok algorithm (praise its name) started serving up a boatload of wanna-be Greeks from ‘bama this week, with PNM (potential new members) uploading videos of themselves showing off their OOTD (outfit of the day), detailing the brands they’re wearing, parties they go to, and otherwise being very…blonde. They are so blonde.
As you’d probably expect, TikTok’s non-Greeks responded first by asking, “Why are all these vapid freaks in my feed?” then “What the hell is “Pants Store?” then making hilarious parody videos. Anyway, check out the madness on the #BamaRush and #AlabamaRush tags on TikTok.
This week in food: How the fries are made at Five Guys
Continuing our look at forbidden knowledge, we move now to TikTok’s @Maezthegreat who made a couple of videos that reveal the secret behind Five Guys French fries. The most shocking revelation: They make French fries correctly.
Five guys doesn’t defrost some corporate-approved starch-slurry and stick into two-day-old grease. They takes actual potatoes, slice ‘em, put ‘em in a vat of water to remove dirt and starch, then dunk ‘em in the deep fryer for two minutes.
You might think this is where they get put in a paper bag and I eat them, but nope. This is where they wait. Then, when someone orders some, they’re fried again. Once double-fried, the cook shakes the basket exactly 15 times to remove excess grease, adds some salt, Then I eat them. Then the regret.
Viral video of the week: Benny Drama encourages Gen-Z vaccinations
In its ongoing effort to get young people to take the stupid vaccine already, the federal government has teamed with Gen-Z influencer Benny Drama. In his persona as “Kooper the Intern,” Drama visited the White House this week, caused havoc, and shot a hilarious video video. In it, Kopper works for Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Among other shows of incompetence, Kooper asks if Olivia Rodrigo is still there, and a stone-faced Psaki deadpans “No.” (Our press secretary is an excellent straight woman.) It ends on a “get vaccinated, ya damn kids” message, as you’d probably expect.
Also as you might expect, Drama’s flamboyant personality reads as “gay” to our nation’s conservatives, who widely panned the video, even imagining it would prevent some people from getting vaccinated, lest, presumably, they get some gay on them. Better to inject yourself with bleach like the last guy suggested, I guess.