Pop Culture Mondays/11.22.21

The “THANKSGIVING 2021 EDITION”

Welcome to my brain…

Happy Monday my pop culture junkies! I shall let you into a little secret but this is my favorite week of ALL the weeks. It just has ALWAYS been the case and it’s not just about the food (a lot of it is about the food) but it’s about the coming together and the short week and the late sleeps. It can ALSO be a lonely, hard time for people and while it has always been my favorite week, I am highly aware of how hard it can be for many. SO my darling pop culture junkies, I ask that you all think about people in your life and maybe who you see on socials and “like” their pics and posts but haven't engaged in a while….reach out to them. Socials are not a metric for happiness…and I think if we can all just reach out to one person who we realize we haven’t REALLY connected with for a while, that would make such a difference.

My fave Thanksgiving story was when I was living in Florence, Italy in college and I had invited ALL the Americans I knew to come to my apartment for Thanksgiving. I was VERY proud of myself that I had managed to order a turkey (il tacchino) from the local butcher, and had spent hours and hours on the phone with my mom back in NY walking through all the recipes. Before this, the only meal I had ever mastered was macaroni and cheese. The butcher had explained he would bring SAID turkey to my home Thursday morning. I had all my instructions from my mom on how to prep and cook that bird so when the butcher arrived at my door I WAS READY.

But I was not ready.

That butcher brought me a freshly killed turkey. Feathers. Head. Feet. The whole shebang. I burst into tears. Any teeny bit of Italian I was able to retain was basically gone. We had no phones or internet at that time so I couldn't show him. It was basically a lot of hand gestures from both of us explaining what I needed. ALAS, the lovely and kind (AND PATIENT) butcher understood and went away only to come back an hour later with what looked like a bird I was familiar with. The point of this story? NEVER ORDER TURKEY IN ITALY (also, likely impossible tbh).

Welcome to a holiday version of PCM. We had some gnarly stuff happen this week. And some fun ones. I am prepping an issue entirely devoted to Web 3 and crypto and DAOs (FYI) but today is NOT the day. As always we are Trump and Trump-adjacent free! Sit back, grab some headphones, and enjoy.

XO…

FOX NEWS WINS

KYLE RITTENHOUSE GETS OFF…

This is a newsletter on pop culture. Most of the time we are looking at funny memes and viral moments. But sometimes, sometimes, we have to look at shocking cultural moments that captivate the nation and dig into the ways people express themselves throughout. We all know what happened here, I don't need to get into it. This is a case around what is qualified as self-defense…and for those non-Americans trying to understand, there are different laws for US citizens in different states. What is OK in Wisconsin, is NOT ok in NY for example. SO, apparently, a teen walking around with an AR-15 a semi-automatic weapon people who love guns LOVE, is ok in Wisconsin. There is this crazy article from a few years ago that explains why gun-lovers love their AR-15s the way I love NOTHING in my life. Anyway, even though this is a few years old, still worth a read:

But I digress. I was asked by my friends Shani and Lydia over dinner last week, what I thought the outcome of the trial would be. Based on the judge’s antics alone, I said I thought he would get off (so did they). Now, if he had been Black would the same have been true? I truly believe the answer we all know is…NO. Is that to say he should have been convicted because if he had been Black he would have been convicted? No. It says that we have a ridiculous justice system and gun laws and there are two very different sets of standards for America and Americans.

THAT said, we saw the Internet unleash a lot of commentaries, and the ones we are here to talk today about are the memes and whatnot as they are the simplest and sometimes cleverest ways, people expressed their feelings throughout. So here are some I have gathered and please note these include people with views of BOTH sides.

The LeBron James crying meme went around a lot due to his tweet initially about Rittenhouse tears:

The responses:

Look, there are a LOT of issues here. First of all, this is left vs right. It’s gun advocates vs anti-gun advocates. It’s been made to be a race issue. There are a lot of complexities here. And TikTok btw was a great place to see both viewpoints in smart and compelling ways tbh.

So that’s that…there are so many more. There are a lot of compelling arguments on both sides. There are also a lot of horrible ones. I thought today’s THE DAILY podcast was very helpful:

And some more:

HOT TOPIC

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?!

Let’s just start by clearing the air here. I am not an “originalist” who believes the US Constitution should be looked at in 2021 word for word. Because OBVIOUSLY a small group of well-off and in power white men at a time when slavery was legal, women had no rights, militias were the norm…does NOT really land the same today. THAT said, the US constitution is a piece of memorabilia that is important to US history and there are not many original copies and all historical documents should be preserved and SHARED with the American people. So, last week was a doozie for the US Constitution which found itself trending on the socials. Constitution AS influencer. Got to love it. It was also maybe the first time, mainstream Americ heard of a DAO. I have spoken a LITTLE bit in PCM about DAOs and as I said up top, we will dive into this more closely when I have the energy but let’s just say this…if you had not heard the term before, you have likely heard of it now. And while some of you laugh or shrug shoulders or just write them off…I do think that is a mistake. DAOs are going to be very much more mainstream over time. I remember when I first started my career in Silicon Valley in 1997 in the DOT COM madness and most of my parent’s friends thought what I was doing was “cute” and “silly” and they actually thought joining the circus would work out better for me than this silly INternet thing which was where people could go to see cute pics of cats. SO….here we are. I am now at an age where people I know feel the same way about crypto and DAOs. Or they talk like they are authorities but really don’t always understand — and I am readily admitting I am still learning and trying to understand. But crypto made a BOLD move last week with this:

Which set off a lot of memes obviously:

OK I digress…we are talking CONSTITUTION and DAOS here…

So here is what happened in the simplest way I can explain:

  • The auction house, Sotheby’s, announced that one of the original 13 copies of the US Constitution was coming up for auction.
  • A group of people who were connected through a Discord server decided they were going to come together and try to buy it.
  • The group, known as Constitution DAO, crowdfunded more than $40 million for the purchase. Which is …a lot.

This Insider article is really helpful and here is how they explain (via a partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz):

Here’s how Ali Yahya, a crypto general partner at the Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm known as a16z, puts it: A DAO “enables online communities to form, pool resources, and coordinate towards common goals — all run trustlessly via code.”

That code runs on blockchain technology and enforces the rules that govern the group. Members can be from all over the globe and even remain anonymous, Yahya said to Insider via email.

Plus, it’s both cheaper and faster to set up than something like an LLC, he said, noting that a lot of the behind-the-scenes work is automated through the code. The group generally raises capital using an ethereum-based wallet, CNBC reported.

SO the idea of a DAO is that people don't get in the way to mess things up like they do in governments and other organizations. You can begin to understand why the idea of a DAO is really powerful to a generation that has seen nothing good come from governments. A nation divided. A global climate crisis. I can go on.

I got really invested in this primarily because one of the group’s representatives was named BROOKE so since I have the Brooke handle on Twitter I got to see a lot of things tagged accidentally to me that was fascinating. It went from being a “NO WAY” scenario to a “Holy fuck they might get it” scenario where people were, on one hand, cheering for them to others saying this was going to cause crazy dilemmas with ownership and likely the document would live in storage never to be seen again. SIGH.

BUT then LITERALLY out of an episode of “Billions” (your turn Brian Koppelman , your turn) hedge fund giant and bajillioanire founder of Citadel, Ken Griffin, outbid the DAO with $43.2 million which took place over 8 minutes in a series of bids via the PHONE. SO retro. Now Ken is also already well known in this world as he was the GAMESTOP villain who bailed out Gamestop short sellers during the Gamestop madness. (CAN YOU EVEN???)

Now I have no idea if Kenny boy is a meditator but so many of his billionaire hedgies are so I imagine him being deep in his twice-daily TM (transcendental meditation) moment while his guys were furiously bidding over the phone. In my best Brian Koppelman scene in my brain, Ken comes out of his gorgeous Palm Beach meditation room in his light weight Loro Pianna outfit (it IS Florida after all) with his rosemary-infused cold towel and glass bottle of Voss to be told he won and he fist pumps in the air and then goes to his Infrared sauna.

IT IS MY BRAIN GUYS.

So alas, there were a lot of memes…obviously. Let’s take a look:

So the crypto world has its villain. THAT said, Ken claims he will have the historic document on display for the public but yet…let’s be clear, this was an investment pure and simple. Maybe one for ego. Maybe one to stir the pot. What do people call it? SCHADENFREUDE.

WOO BOY I need a nap.

AND JUST A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS (AND SOME DESPICABLE ONES TOO…)

So let’s just get to it as there were some other moments incredibly this past week! And content I enjoyed…

  • This moment from the Laura Ingraham show made its rounds. Right out of Abbott and Costello’s WHO’S ON FIRST but centered around the Netflix show “YOU. (Which is dark and great). I watched this 100 times and not once did it seem authentic. It seemed staged. And guess what…it was. OBVIOUSLY. So first here is the video:

The show’s star, Dan Humphrey…I mean Penn Badgley, also saw this was not real and tweeted:

And Netflix agreed:

Ingraham later acknowledged it was staged but also turned it POLITICAL obviously by saying she believes liberals HATE seeing conservatives have “fun”…hahahahha. OK. Here is her quote after that one and this is 2021:

“You know what else I think? I think they haven’t gotten a laugh in like 30 years and a thing that we practiced for, what, like, 30 seconds, we got like 20 million views on YouTube.”

  • Shawn Mendez and Camila Cabello break up. Now, you could be a person who is like WHO? Or another kind of person who is vaguely aware of them as individuals or a couple but not really interested one way or another. But they are GEN Z’s stars and while many people believe to have been a staged relationship due to people’s belief Shawn is gay BUTY I will say this…they lived across the street from me since I moved to LA. They were adorable and very awesome neighbors as they were quiet and low key and had an adorable dog. While the news reports the split as to JUST happened, they moved out of their house back in early October so….but I digress. There were some memes:

I liked this one because YES:

  • This is a very hard video to watch so if you are triggered by things like this involving men hitting women, please don’t watch. But it was powerful. Kristin Evans, the ex-girlfriend of former NFL player Zac Stacy and mother of his young child, very wisely set up a camera to record her being attacked as this was happening with more frequency. Amazingly, this asshole got out on bail. Kristin had to take matters into her own hands as this abuse escalated and yet still he is out on bail. She believes he won’t stop this abuse. I truly hope Kristin will be protected from this abuser. Like I have said…our justice system…

AGAIN THIS IS VERY HARD TO WATCH:

  • Ok so we need to cleanse ourselves after watching that. SO may I present you Vegan Egg girl. A vegan influencer did a TikTok where she showcases vegan eggs. They look and taste JUST LIKE REAL EGGS! Because they are. She believed them to be vegan I BELIEVE because they were eggs of chickens raised on a vegan diet. ANWAY, Vegan Egg Girl made great content.

And some funny DUETS resulted but this was my fave:

  • BANKSY GIRL. God I hope this turns out to be real and this girl is a HERO. So, you guys remember when it turned out that BANKSY, the highly secretive street artist who I KNOW is friends with some people I know who will take his identity to the grave…has true to prankster form done some things like have street sellers sell his art to unsuspecting tourists for a few bucks only for them to find out they are real Banksys? SO here is this young commuter in NYC telling her story:

Well, this went viral. AND then BANKSY responded. Sort of. BTW Banksy is on TikTok. Anyway here it is:

SO…we shall follow this story closely.

  • MORE ADELE PLEASE. And man, is she rolling this album out in ways that are just remarkable. THIS IS HER MOMENT. And if you are ready for tears here you go (with some help from Emma Thompson):
  • Ok the other week I told you about my darling angel Charlotte “Tiarlie” Freud’s new single Table Bitch which now has over 30K views on YouTube because it’s great:

And her lovely and talented fiancée, Luke, has an album out that he put out himself. I love that artists today have all the tools to push out their own music and promote it themselves.

  • So I watched this. It was hard to follow and also caused a little PTSD in me and also reminds me that there is nothing that makes less sense than TIME. Because the Von Dutch thing was actually a while ago but still seems like yesterday. But I loved this 3 part series:

THAT IS IT my darlings. My brain hurts. I am SO glad it is a short week. Remember, calories don't count on Thursday so ENJOY. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT AMERICAN! You are welcome.

Have a beautiful holiday week and reach out and say hi to someone you think of who you haven’t in a long while. Be safe. Be kind.

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