This week, nostalgia ruled the young people internet, with everyone in Gens Y and Z paying attention to the trial involving past-his-prime actor Johnny Depp and listening to music from timeless chanteuse Kate Bush. So let’s get ready to go back to the present, Marty.
Heard v. Depp trial mercifully concludes
Everyone, everywhere, is talking about the end of the big dumb trial, so lemme get this over with: There was a verdict this week in the dispute between ‘90s heartthrob/2000s pirate/lavish spendthrift Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard. The trial, which began in early 2005, ended on Wednesday with an outcome largely in favor of Depp. The jury found that Depp, the star of 2000’s The Man Who Cried, was defamed by ex-wife Heard in a Washington Post editorial published in 2018 in which she described her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse, even though the op-ed did not name Depp as her abuser and she presented well-documented evidence of her claims during the trial. A counterclaim by Heard found that Depp defamed her too. Both Depp and Heard seem pretty famed to me.
I’ve been studiously ignoring this imbroglio since it began, so I’m happy that will be easier now. The verdict is being seen as vindication by the very worst people on earth (Men’s Rights Activists, sexual assault deniers, misogynists, etc.) and it actually has some fairly far-reaching implications in terms of freedom of speech. But hey, the handsome actor guy is getting millions of dollars, and it’s all finally, mercifully over, so it’s a win, I guess?
Meet cross-generational counterculture hero Nardwaur the Human Serviette
The other day my kid said, “Dad, you have to see these videos from Nardwaur the Human Serviette!” and it knocked me back in time. Long-dormant synapses fired in my brain, and I remembered a long ago evening in a friend’s shitty student apartment watching a 10th generation VHS rip featuring an impossibly nerdy Canadian dude conducting strange, heartwarming interviews with alternative rock heroes like Henry Rollins and Kurt Cobain. “That guy cannot still be around,” I thought. But he is, and he’s a hero to your children. Nardwaur’s YouTube videos boast exponentially more views than there are pirated VHS tapes on earth—dude has more than 2 million subs on YouTube.
These days, Nardwaur interviews rappers like Kendrick Lamar and singers like Billie Eilish instead of Blur, but the formula hasn’t changed, and the interviews have the same magic I remember from back when: Nardwaur, dressed in mismatching plaids and bearing weirds gifts, begins by asking everyone “Who are you?” even if he’s talking to Jay-Z, and then proceeds to ask about impossibly obscure details from his subjects’ lives, like friends they had in 7th grade, or obscure records their father produced. Nardwuar’s absolute lack of polish or hipness results in weirdly touching and personal interviews that are about a billion times more interesting than typical, “tell me about your new song” content. All hail Nardwaur! Living proof that the only way to stay cool is to never try to be cool in the first place.
A new generation becomes obsessed with Kate Bush
In an encouraging sign for the future, an entire new generation of smart, artsy, weird, and awesome kids are devoting a sizable chunk of their internal real estate to Kate Bush. The mysterious singer’s “Running up that Hill” is blowing up on TikTok and Spotify, has earned the number one spot on iTunes, and has entered the top ten in 34 countries—Not bad for a song from 1985! The resurgence comes thanks to the number’s use in the new season of Stranger Things on Netflix. Famously reclusive, Bush stopped playing live in 1979, then did a few shows in 2014, and doesn’t license her music very often. Reportedly, Bush lent her song to show because she’s a fan—or so says Stranger Things’ music coordinator—it’s not like Kate Bush is going to talk to the press.
Lizard people take over TikTok
There’s always a counterweight. It’s not only great thing from the past that are coming back to the surface this week. The electronic generation is also digging up shitty, terrible things. Case-in-point: Weirder corners of TikTok are talking about “reptoids” a disturbing conspiracy theory that was last popular among idiots in the 1990s when British sports announcer David Icke went off his nut and started telling everyone that reptile aliens ruled the world. The new, supercharged version of the story is spreading fast, with all kinds of videos on TikTok claiming famous people and politicians are actually outer space reptiles in fake human skins who want to eat babies. (I think?) Anyway, Joe Biden, Meghan Markle, Kamala Harris, Lady Gaga, and Mark Zuckerberg are all reptiles. (They might have a point with Zuckerberg.) The “evidence” is mostly either videos with feed glitches (supposedly moments when the masks drop) or just footage where famous people have weird looks on their faces—that vid has been viewed over 1.5 million times, by the way. The whole thing would be amusing if it didn’t eventually go where all conspiracy theories end up: It’s the Jews’ fault.
Viral video of the week: I Survived On $0.01 For 30 Days
YouTuber Ryan Trahan is going viral this week for doing something good. His video series where he tries to get across the country starting with only a single penny is exactly the kind of compelling stunt content you’d expect from a YouTuber, but Trahan is exhorting his growing audience to donate to Feeding America, a legit charity (I checked).
Content-wise, the three videos posted so far are tributes to the power of arbitrage and the possibilities of capitalism—anyone can make it in America—as long as they’re a handsome, charismatic white kid with boundless energy and confidence. I have no doubt Trahan will complete his cross-country journey with his pockets full of money and 1,000 more friends than I have ever had. But hey, maybe he’ll be hit by a bus. Check out the adventures yourself, and donate a little coin, why dontcha?
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