Pop Culture Mondays/4.1.24

The COWBOY Edition

Brooke Hammerling
Pop Culture Mondays


Welcome to my brain…

Happy Monday, my darling pop culture junkies. PLEASE know this is a safe space…NO April Fool’s jokes here because we are ABOVE this. Actually, this is incorrect…it’s just that really, that time has come and gone. The kids today don’t get what April Fool’s was like at the dawn of social media…and tech companies used services like PR Newswire to put out fake news, making those companies revise their policies. It put markets in flux. I mean, we were CRAZY. But now? Now, things are SO crazy IRL; it would take a lot not just to fool us but to make us think it wasn't possible. Flying penguins? Sure, why not? Spaghetti on trees? AGI can do it. Trump being president again….OK, sorry sorry, a step too far.

We have a lot to cover, and normally, I have an outline to help me start things off on Monday mornings, but this week, I AM FLYING BLIND, BABY. The week was a chaotic one, and then Easter and so much cooking and entertaining, and I lost the days. So, I am just going to wing it. It is the COWBOY edition, obviously, because of Beyoncé’s album that everyone is talking about. But also because I just got back from El Paso, Texas (and Juarez, Mexico), and after 48 hours and an amazing pair of cowboy boots later, I am feeling rather partial to the cowboy world. If you guys are looking for a special, one-of-a-kind pair of custom boots that MAY cost a semester at an Ivy League, here you go:

I would also like to say…the stories about the border at Juarez and El Paso are greatly exaggerated. In order to come back into the US, unless you have a SENTRI card (like Global Entry but for land borders at US/Mexico), you would sit in traffic for hours, so we walked across the border. It was definitely surreal, but no drama and everyone was cool and calm, and the border patrol officers were, from what I could see, incredibly helpful to all they were serving. I mean, how it is handled is pretty wild, but the security is intense, and there are huge walls and gates and barbed wire. NOT to get political, and I am not saying whether I heard this from people working there (but I am not saying I didn’t), but there were stories about how the Texas Governor — that PEACH of a guy — ordered gates opened so a floodgate of people would try to run through while PRESS were on the ground to capture it. I mean, I am not saying that’s true. But I am not saying it’s not. You know what I mean? ANYWAY…we are not here for politics. We are here for POP CULTURE!

If you missed last week’s pod….

But I really dug El Paso. AND THE FOOD. OMG, the food. I might be a West Texas Stan. Weird place. I loved it. Grab some TEX MEX and some 🎧 and enjoy.


I am going to start this by admitting something I don't think many would admit to…and you can come at me all you want. I get it. I am not a music reviewer so my opinion means nothing. I am here just to show you the world’s reactions have been…but I need to clear the air on this one before I get to that. Because I saw ALL my friends and all the celeb's posts, and I know I am supposed to feel differently…but I feel what I feel.

This is NOT my album. I mean, I enjoyed it…it wasn’t upsetting to me or anything. I like some songs individually, for sure. But FER ME….it’s not my album.


Now, would I announce this in public, where people could…and would…confront me? I SHALL NOT. I am doing it from the safety of this computer screen. But whether you love this album or not…that should not stop you from checking out ALL the reactions to it. Because there are a lot.

AND let me say this…I love Bey. I think she should do whatever genre she wants, and the fact that the racists in this country feel otherwise is gross and yet UNSURPRISING. But I am glad they are being drowned out.

My favorite response to the criticism is from country royalty herself, Carlene Carter whose mom was June Carter Cash:

“I’ve caught wind of some negativity over the release of Beyoncé’s ‘Cowboy Carter,’ her new country album. As a Carter Girl myself and coming from a long line of Carter Girls, I’m moved to ask why anyone would treat a Carter this way?”

“She is an incredibly talented and creative woman who obviously wanted to do this because she likes country music. In my book, she’s one of us Carter women and we have always pushed the boundaries by trying whatever music we felt in our hearts and taking spirit-driven risks. Sometimes the country music ‘establishment’ hasn’t been all that welcoming and sometimes this was accepted with open arms. Like Chuck Berry said, ‘it goes to show you never can tell.’”

“I am here to let Beyoncé and to all those nay sayers know that I admire and love her and all she does. I am delighted to know that Carter spunk is in her just like it’s been through nearly 100 years of us Carters choosing to follow ours hearts, hearts that are filled with love not just for country music but for all kinds of music.”

“Here’s a warm welcome to the Carter Girl Club! It’s only a matter of time before those nay sayers become Bey sayers,” Carlene concluded.

And now for some of the reactions:

I do LOVE the love…and women supporting women…

But brands do, too. Like Uber:

I mean…NEVER seen anything like it. And I could add dozens more. But were only have so much time.

As great a week as Beyoncé is having, the opposite can be said for her husband’s pal, P Diddy/Puffy/Puff Daddy/Sean Combs. We have all seen the news of the raids on his homes and the video of his sons in handcuffs while they raided one of the homes and the fact that HOMELAND SECURITY is investigating him for things INCLUDING sex trafficking. And the Gen Z kids are all like, HELL NO to Diddy. And to his associates….which INCLUDES JAY Z. So in a wild alternate universe, the TikTok kids are using Bey’s “Jolene” cover to let this one thing be known:

However, all in all, people love it and love talking about it. Though this mom’s take was pretty funny:

I am sure there is SO much more to come. And I am here for the cowboy GENRE, even if country music isn't really my thing (small doses for me…) I will appropriate the fashion ANY TIME. And be mocked for doing it, I understand.


I am not sure if there is a news publication that is more talked about at the moment than New York Magazine. I have long thought that it is one of the most enjoyable and relevant outlets of the moment, but this past week, the people behind NYMag decided to give ZERO FUCKS and take over the Internet.

Let’s start with their profile on ANDREW HUBERMAN, an associate professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine — a neuroscientist AND podcaster and all-around WELLNESS BRO very much known to a particular genre who obsesses over fitness and the science behind it. He is not my genre, and while I SORT of had him on my radar, he was not really known to me tbh. But he is a god to many…MAYBE I would say mainly MEN, but that’s also unfair. But he definitely has a BRO following. But his podcast is one of the most popular in the universe, so there’s that. And with popularity, so come the people sniffing around. Hence:

Yes, NY Mag did an investigative piece on him that made the cover. I suggest you read the article and make your own opinions:

I mean, OK. So he cheated on girlfriends and had lots of girls in different ports, and each of them thought they were the only one.

SHOCKER. Is this a cover story, though? I am happy to provide the team over there a list of some of my past boyfriends and they are welcome to go after them too. HAHAHAHA. Ok, I think what they were trying to show PERHAPS is that this man many around the world are hanging onto his every word is not a god but a mere mortal who lies and cheats and gaslights women and controls them and yadda yadda. And therefore not someone to trust when it comes to your health and wellness? I THINK that’s the connection?

But they did get everyone talking.

It caused a spur of reaction articles like:

AND so many more.

In a SINCE deleted tweet, media personality Katie Notopoulos posted:

I'm not sure why she deleted it because she’s not wrong. Well, some may not know who Meredith is, an online personality as well. And someone who obviously had thoughts on Huberman:

But the responses on social have been amusing:

I mean, funny.

But I don't know. Was that cover story material? Clickbait for sure, and all the power to them, but they just gave this man more oxygen for his fanbase, to be perfectly honest.

But we are NOT done with New York Magazine because they SHOULD be given all the awards….for making Twitter fun again for a minute.

I was wandering through a recycling facility in Juarez, Mexico when I started getting all these alerts on my phone, and I went to the socials, as I am apt to do, and started seeing all this stuff about REDSHIRTING…a phrase I was not familiar with. And I saw my friend and New York Times writer, Lydia Polgreen, post about it, and I was not following it all yet…so NATURALLY, I reached out to Lydia asking her to break it down for me.

“Twitter is fun again!” she replied.

And sure enough, we were back for a brief moment.

Let me back up.

The FUN resulted from this piece posted by The Cut, a part of NY Mag:

With parts like this:

My husband isn’t my partner. He’s my mentor, my lover, and, only in certain contexts, my friend. I’ll never forget it, how he showed me around our first place like he was introducing me to myself: This is the wine you’ll drink, where you’ll keep your clothes, we vacation here, this is the other language we’ll speak, you’ll learn it, and I did. Adulthood seemed a series of exhausting obligations. But his logistics ran so smoothly that he simply tacked mine on.

Oh it is good. HIGHLY recommend. Perhaps the reason I am single is I have aged out of the genre of men I have dated in the past… they are now just too old. Truly. When I was 22, I fell madly in love with a man 14 years my senior and promptly moved in with him, only to find I was, in fact, the mature one. But fret not…a couple of years later, I found another true love, and he, in fact, was 16 years older. Were they older? Yes. Were they rich? Richer than me, that’s for sure!

And on and on. So now, following this science…my genre would be grandfathers with money. But that’s another newsletter. 🧘‍♀️


I have SO many thoughts, but it was clear to me that the editors were like, “Yes, girl, keep writing this, you keep going, we got you. YES GIRL.” Because they knew what they were sitting on.

The TRAD WIFE we have talked about here before comes out strong in this. But the reactions have been great:

I mean…there are a MILLION more.

Media is BACK, BABY.


There are so many other things that have happened.

I will not get to all of them. But here’s a taste!

Getting Punched in NYC:

At first, when I saw this unfold on TikTok, I was skeptical. I am like, how are these girls able to film themselves calmly telling their followers about randomly being punched? And then I remembered a time like six years ago when I was with some colleagues at the time, walking down the street in San Francisco as we were approached by a clearly delusional and intoxicated homeless woman. As she approached my colleague, I stepped in between, and the lady slugged me. And I kept myself together and got my team to keep walking. I didn’t call the cops, and I just wanted to get us out of the situation. I was likely in shock and only processed it later that day with a little space. Here are some women who talk about their experience:

And some reactions:

Stay safe kids. While one guy has been arrested, it is unclear if he is the same one for all of these or if there are multiple offenders. the guy they did arrest has been arrested so many other times it is absurd he was able to roam the streets. We jail finance guys for 25 years but violent criminals we are like, you’re good…I don’t get it.

Please No:

Gen Z are killing Millenials. Millennials are Killing Gen X. We need to be better, you guys.

These little mesh, bejeweled slippers were ones WE wore in the 90s with our grunge chic. NEVER forget.

Then, the Millennials went through their phase, thinking they had discovered them.

And now, here we are again.

New York Times is a Gaming Company Now:

I mean, to be fair, SOME of their journalism has been questionable lately, so what a time to pivot! I joke I joke…I love the NYT and I am a subscriber like I get the paper delivered to my house OLD SCHOOL style. Are they perfect? No. None of us are.

But the news is not the number one thing drawing people into the NYT these days.

It’s Wordle.

It’s the mini-crossword.

It’s Connections.

My routine in the morning is I wake up around 6. I say good morning to my dog, who will not wake up at 6, so he doesn't respond. I turn on my bedside light very low, to a soft light. I look at my Oura app to see how I slept and how my sleep score is.


I go to Wordle.


I do the mini-crossword.


I go to Connections. And sometimes, like today, I throw my phone in anger which motivates me to get up and make coffee.







Well, they have a goldmine now…

AND from the editor of WORDLE…we are basically doomed:

Who Got Roasted This Week?

I might make this a series. But SO many to choose from. But this week, we have this creator who….well, just watch:

The responses have been amazing.

THAT IS IT, my darlings…

A little late today but we DID IT JOE.

It is April 1st. We have entered into the month I turn 50 which is really wild to me. Wild because I am still stressing over conversations I had when I was 22 and thinking about how I made an ass out of myself. Wild because I still think I am 22. Wild because I have had 39 lives already.

We can all aspire to be ERNIE HUDSON, though…this man is OLDER than Donald Trump. LOOK AT HIM. 🔥


I do have to correct something here…I talked about being excited to watch Palm Royale in last week’s newsletter. I was wrong. I am sad to say. I was very very wrong. Watch at your own peril.

There’s some stuff I skipped this week because of time…if you are curious about the “PUSSY IN MY BIO” trend, then well, PERHAPS, I will get to it on the pod or next week. NOT TODAY, SATAN. Not today.

And remember, if you aren’t already a subscriber and you want this in your inbox, please send an email to:


Have a fantastic week.