The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: What’s Behind the ‘Girl Bro’ Meme?

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Screenshot: Twitter

This week’s happenings in young people culture might give you whiplash. We’re going from extremely great internet things—hilariously stupid memes, positive YouTubers—to extremely terrible ones—manfluencer Andrew Tate, Meta’s horrifying VR platform Horizon Worlds. The falcon cannot hear the falconer; things fall apart; the center cannot hold; etc. Enjoy!

Stare into the dead eyes of the future with Meta’s ‘Horizon Worlds’

This week, everyone’s favorite Meta king Mark Zuckerberg released a screenshot of his avatar in the magical virtual reality land of Horizon Worlds. It’s not good at all. It’s hard to believe that this image was posted to attract people to the game/platform. It looks like a warning about the terrible soulless future we all will endure if we don’t mend our ways.

The screenshot was roundly mocked by just about everyone. Kotaku said Zuck looks like a “legless knock-off of a Nintendo Mii with some really weird buttons and the eyes of a corpse,” and thousands of twitterers dunked on Zuck, with spicy takes like this one from @CybernetSauvig1: “This is for kids who grew up playing wii sports but are somehow simultaneously in their 60s, one year away from retirement.”

What’s behind the “Girl Bro” meme?

I am in love with the “girlsplaining” meme, aka “Girl Bro,” which has taken over the internet this week. According to Know Your Meme, the image of a young woman yelling into the ears of a bored-looking young man originated among Spanish-speaking memers in 2019, but it really blew up this week on Twitter. It was originally used to poke fun at stereotypical “girl things” like astrology and Titanic, but it morphed quickly into something more interesting—people using the meme template to explain an esoteric thing they’re passionate about…in ALL CAPS. (Like all memes, it’s better to look at some examples than to explain it.) Who doesn’t relate to screaming the most fascinating thing ever to a disinterested world? It’s pretty much all I do.

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What is TikTok’s “Ring of Fire” trend all about?

Sometimes you need to watch some videos that are entirely stupid, utterly meaningless, and without a shred of redeeming social value—videos like the ones posted under TikTok’s #ringoffire tag. Here’s how it works: You put Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” on the soundtrack and you run down the street at night carrying the most ridiculous things you can think of—a fish, a table, 15 Big Gulps, a propane tank, a 40, a pizza, and some bongos, whatever. That’s all it is. I know it doesn’t sound good, but it’s hilarious. Or maybe I’m drunk. Anyway, check out the hashtag to dig up your own treasure.

Who is Andrew Tate?

I really don’t want to write about Andrew Tate, but I’m going to, because if you know a young man between the ages 0f 16 and 25, he’s heard of Tate, and might even be taking him seriously. Called “The King of Toxic Masculinity” Tate has nearly five million followers on his Instagram, and videos with the #AndrewTate tag have been viewed 12.7 billion times on #TikTok (although a lot of that is deserved criticism).

What’s drawing all these eyes? A combination of misogyny and get-rich-quick, hustler hot air—the kind of “content” that makes me want to take a shower to wash the stink off. Anyway: Tate was once a kickboxer and was banished from a reality show because video surfaced of him beating a woman with a belt (he says it was consensual). He now he calls himself a “life coach” and sells something. I’m going to stop thinking about Andrew Tate now.

Viral video of the week: Staying at an underwater hotel

YouTuber SafiyaNygaard runs a friendly, appealing YouTube channel that has earned her more than 9 million subscribers. She does interesting things like letting Instagram choose her outfits, and visiting a cheese-themed theme park in Korea. This week’s adventure: Staying at an underwater hotel. You literally have to SCUBA dive to get into Jewel’s Lodge in Florida. The hotel used to be a research station in the 1970s, so it’s not exactly the most luxurious digs in the world. It’s cramped, and looks like it would smell moldy, and all there is to do is stare out the window at the green, mucky water where there aren’t even many fish. In short: I wouldn’t want to stay at this hotel, but I’m glad there’s a video about it so I can see what it might be like to stay there.

And that’s the point: Watching someone do something that’s vaguely interesting, but that wouldn’t be all that fun. I’m glad SafiyaNygaard does it so I don’t have to.
  

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