A side profile of a green goblin with a sword, a wooden shield, and steel and wool armor and clothing. He is barefoot and scowling.

Goblin Mode

Spotify Wrapped was stolen from an unpaid intern, Keke Palmer is pregnant, and anti-intellectualism

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🎵 Top Sounds 🎵

Our curated picks of the top sounds on TikTok

  1. My Heart Will Go On 🚣🏻‍♂️Pair with our effects highlight, the boat filter, to express where you’re leaving to. One interaction I’ve been enjoying is immigrants’ and BIPOC folks’ take on the trend.
  2. Is It Me? 😒Time to call out who is really to blame— and use this sound to do it.
  3. Fruity Pebbles Castle of Torment 😈Welcome, babies! Use this sound to introduce your audience to your own personal hell.
  4. Pointless 💞Lewis Capaldi has been everywhere lately. Here’s a song he deliberately suggested to use on TikTok. He might even duet your video. I have to say, this is an ‘artists do TikTok marketing’ strategy I can really get behind.
  5. You Make Me Un Poco Loco 😑What drives you crazy? Let us know with this sound.

🔉 Our Sound Highlight 🔉

Don’t Gatekeep, Bestie

Mood: Smiling emoji surrounded by three hearts

This sound is being used with the photo feature to showcase people’s holy grail products. A twist on the trend could be really fun and effective. Instead of being the zillionth account to recommend Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream (valid, don’t get me wrong), consider hyping up orgs or actions.

🎥 Video Highlight 🎥

The boat effect requires CapCut, so here’s a little tutorial on using the effect. It’s fun and versatile, use it to show where you’re heading to or make fun of where other people think you should be headed.

 The Moment 

Issues that are at the forefront of online discourse— anti-intellectualism.

We live in unserious times. Twitter, the not-dead-yet social media site, has brought us magnificent discourse over this past year; the ethics of making chili for your neighbors, why having coffee with your husband is classist (and maybe evil), Simu Liu insisting Marvel uplifts AAPI representation more than auteurs. To be ‘very online’ is to be buffeted by the constant thoughts and feelings of others, to be swept up in waves of collective emotion. This is very important. That opinion is ableist. Haven’t you read theory? The last ten years online, on Twitter especially, have molded so many minds. It can feel like being stuck in a Bo Burnham song. Hopelessly reflective. Stuck all the same.

Lately, I’ve seen this culture described by the same word— anti-intellectual. The term is, like many terms that pick up steam online, unfortunately malleable. Who is to say what anti-intellectualism is? Particularly when intellectualism is so caught up in our fraught notions of intelligence, education, and class.

At the same time, Scorsese defender that I am, I cannot help but believe there is an issue with intellectualism online. No amount of discourse can convince me bookshelves are inherently ‘performative’. There is an openness missing, I think. An availability of mind to consider other perspectives, to step outside of one’s self, to learn. That openness extends to art, to conversations.

The right weaponizes ‘intellectualism’. They suggest pronouns and ‘wokeism’ are overly intellectual, and thus worthy of rejection. Our culture’s discomfort with new ideas, and hyper-focus on the individual, will only harm us. We are in a reckoning, shaped by culture and public discourse. However fraught the notion of anti-intellectualism, the urge to simplify and reject learning, is a problem.

☕ The Zeitgeist ☕

Hot topics from across the internet

  • It’s Spotify Wrapped time! Shoutout to my too-concerning-to-post besties.
  • A camel beauty contest was underway in Qatar. In a wild twist, some camels were banned and disqualified for the usage of botox.
  • One word to rule them all, ‘goblin mode’ is The Oxford Dictionary’s Word Of The Year.
  • Kanye West continues to spread antisemitic hate. I think it’s beyond time this man is fully de-platformed.
  • TSA can scan your face at security now— just fun little privacy things.
  • Keke Palmer is expecting a child! She also hosted SNL. A busy queen!
  • Big win for Agent Mulder or at least it might be if he wasn’t fictional, as Northrop Grumman unveiled a UFO bomber.
  • The BBC published an article on the ‘soft girl’ trend focussing on Black rest. While i-D published a piece on the issues with the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic, further proving the ubiquity of TikTok trends.

🥡 The Takeaway 🥡

AI image generators are everywhere.

On TikTok, we’ve seen AI filter trends and features like the MyHeritage AI image generator take off. The images produced can be deeply impactful. A chance to see oneself in a different light, affirm identity, and experience euphoria.

That being said, AI image generators are not without issues. Beyond privacy concerns, artists are often placed in a strange position with AI. Claiming AI-generated images as art is one obvious issue, but so is the reliance on the work of artists to generate new images. Lensa, in particular, is under fire for creating copies of artists’ work.

While it is fun to enjoy these tools (even I partook in the MyHeritage one, I fear) it’s key that we keep artists in mind, and support artists through commissions. The AI might be new and relatively cheap, but there are thousands of artists out there to support working on representation.

Made it to the end of this newsletter? Here’s a treat, African cinema and LOTR.
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