Content Consumed: J.Lo, urban planning and TikTok cosmetology
Good afternoon and happy Thursday to ya! I’ve been so dialed into reading lately and it feels so good. If you’re wondering what’s on my desk right now, check it out.
In today’s edition of Content Consumed…
🌙 J.Lo’s cosmic feud with Virgos
🚗 Losing friends to American urban planning
💉 TikTok’s unsolicited advice issue
🔮 The dystopia of Amazon’s Ring Nation show
J.Lo’s Virgo discrimination
Have you ever been discriminated against at work due to your astrology sign? If not, you must’ve never auditioned to be a backup dancer for Jennifer Lopez.
Glee’s Heather Morris claims that she once auditioned for J.Lo, and after a full day of dancing, J.Lo walked into the room and politely asked all Virgos to raise their hand—then leave the building.
Need to know: what does J.Lo have against Virgos? Is it because her ex-husband Marc Anthony is a Virgo? Because Beyoncé is a Virgo? Please, Ms. Morris, keep us updated. I love a cosmic feud.
Losing friends to urban planning
Our friends Heather and Michael love to joke about Portland, like my fiancé and I love to joke about their native Louisiana/the South. One of our favorite topics of conversation is car travel.
Us Portlandians are scoffed at by outsiders when we suggest that a 15-minute drive is “pretty far to go for dinner” across our small city, while our Southern friends who’ve lived in metropolises like Atlanta are ready to drive however far—An hour? “That’s fine, see you there!”—for a new experience.
How far are you willing to travel to meet up with friends for cocktails on a weeknight? And why the hell is the U.S. so unwalkable? Are we at risk of losing friends because it’s just too damn annoying to drive everywhere?
It was so easy to make friends in college because the community was so geographically small. Spontaneous encounters are more difficult in this spread-out world outside of a compact urban downtown, in an America that’s so car-centric and lacking the rest of the world’s prioritization of reliable and accessible public transportation.
And crazy enough, it starts when we’re just kids trying to make friends. Since we can’t get licenses until we’re 16, kids growing up in car-centric areas like the suburbs have less independence and ability to play and traverse their communities without parents driving them around, and therefore they’ve got less opportunity to meet and socialize with others.
Read more from this piece written by a Houstonian that dives into the structural issues behind this.
P.S. Heather and Michael — we’ll drive anywhere for y’all. Almost anywhere.
TikTok has an unsolicited advice issue
Nurse practitioner Miranda Wilson (@np.miranda on TikTok) recently went viral after posting a video with her “suggestions” for plastic surgery that Stranger Things star Natalia Dyer “could get done.”
Chin filler, lip filler, a brow lift, and botox are listed by Wilson as some of the “improvements” that could be made on arguably one of the most beautiful television stars in the world.
There was backlash, Wilson apologized, and the world has forgotten. But it’s part of a trend prominent on TikTok, where creators (especially in the beauty industry) feel comfortable critiquing others, providing unsolicited feedback on everything—from how someone appears to their personal beauty regimens.
There’s always something to improve, says your TikTok feed. It’s even scarier when body shape ideals are changing as quickly as fashion trends or hairstyles.
Listen to Refinery 29’s Gloss Angeles podcast for more on the topic.
‘Ring Nation’ is the dystopian TV show we don’t want
The premise: a lighthearted show based on footage culled from Ring, Amazon’s controversial digital doorbell, expected to feature clips such as “neighbors saving neighbors, marriage proposals, military reunions and silly animals.” A wannabe America’s Funniest Home Videos, if you will.
The reality: a dystopian invasion of privacy being denounced as surveillance-state TV in activist circles, the tech press, and Congress.
I believe Senator Ed Markey put it best when he said, “Amazon appears to be producing an outright advertisement for its own Ring products and masking it as entertainment.” That’s America for ya.
And that’s it for today! Thanks for reading. I appreciate you. See you tomorrow!
Interested in more long-form pieces? Check out my extended Medium columns: