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 POP LOSER No. 92

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When You Live on a Planet the Size of a Town

As part of a thing I'm working on, I spend a little time every weekend cracking open my Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll and randomly learning about old bands I've never heard of. Last weekend it was The Flamin' Groovies. Spotify radio then took me to a Television song and I Googled Richard Hell, who it turns out played a corpse in the 1985 classic Desperately Seeking Susan. The film was also one of Laurie Metcalf's earliest roles. Anyway, I spent the rest of the day watching the first season of Rosanne on Amazon Prime.

The internet is a giant rabbit hole that will destroy us with wasted time.
 

CONFUSIONS

Welcome to NewTube. YouTube refreshed their logo and site/app design. My preferred YouTube watching method is to lean heavily on the "Watch Later" queue. The new design has two big flaws from that perspective: 1) They moved the little "Watch Later" shortcut from the bottom-right to the top-right when you hover over the preview image (I'll get used to it, but it's going to be a long week), and 2) There's no more "Remove All Watched Videos" button on my "Watch Later" page. Which... fuck. Why? Why make me delete each video manually? Am I using "Watch Later" wrong?

While the service has grown up, the app and website have not. Both can feel cluttered and unhelpful, showing too much navigation and not enough stuff to watch. YouTube knows that, and today, it's showing off a totally redesigned platform. Now, whether you watch videos on the website or the app on your phone, you'll find a YouTube that looks a lot cleaner, a lot simpler, and a lot more focused. In both cases, YouTube seems to have taken stock of how video works now and built a service around it.

Also: Netflix is 20. Nobody cares.


📺

The Aria of Babyface Cauliflower Brown. Trailers for Black Mirror season 4, Metropolis 90th anniversary and Borg vs. McEnroe. This is a generic millennial ad.


You'll be shocked to learn that people watch porn. Kids are going to look at it too. They can use Firefox's new mobile porn browser.

What’s the effect on those boys?

Research suggests a positive correlation between heterosexual guys who look at porn regularly and those who support same-sex marriage.

Great!

Ah, but they’re also less likely to support affirmative action for women. And among young men, exposure to porn has been correlated with seeing sex as purely physical, regarding girls as playthings, and measuring their masculinity and their self-worth by their ability to score with hot women.

And one study suggests that female porn viewers are less likely than other women to intervene if they see another woman being threatened or assaulted.

Also: Vintage porn posters.


It's who you know. A few months ago Facebook suggested that I might know one of my wife's friends. The thing is, my wife has never been on Facebook and we had no other common people to connect us. After an hour I realized Facebook had put us together with Instagram data and felt stupid at how long it took me to figure that out. But it's not always that simple and occasionally it's even creepy.

What makes the results so unsettling is the range of data sources—location information, activity on other apps, facial recognition on photographs—that Facebook has at its disposal to cross-check its users against one another, in the hopes of keeping them more deeply attached to the site. People generally are aware that Facebook is keeping tabs on who they are and how they use the network, but the depth and persistence of that monitoring is hard to grasp. And People You May Know, or “PYMK” in the company’s internal shorthand, is a black box.


Hashtags don't look a day over 9. But actually they are now 10 years old. I once pitched a SXSW talk called "The Battle for #YYC" about people not understanding the utility of hashtags. It wasn't picked up. And a decade later people still don't know how to fucking use hashtags properly.

An average of 125 million hashtags — as those pound signs came to be known — are shared every day around the world on Twitter, the company said. Indeed, Mr. Messina had given birth to a tool that would infiltrate our vernacular, aggregate conversations and, yes, fill screens with unnecessary, meaningless garble.


The web's hottest meme is staring at an ass. Here's the evolution of the "Guy Looking At Another Girl" meme. The photographer behind the image (which is a pretty paint-by-numbers stock photo) is as surprised as anyone.

Also: That Watchmen panel people keep sharing isn't quite right.


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Photogrammer. Photographs of Teenagers in their Bedrooms 1960-80s.


The Kleenex of search engines. Should Google lose its trademark? It seems kind of reasonable in a world where you can google with Bing.

Words like teleprompter, thermos, hoover, aspirin, and videotape were once trademarked. They lost the status after their names became too generic and fell victim to what is known as "genericide."


Everything old is new again. There's a Kickstarter for a solitaire game that you get on a floppy disk. Which I guess must be like an art project? I dunno. FUNDED!

Related: The story of Zork.


🖥👾🤷‍♂️

UX Brutalism. Dance Tonite. Blocks. North America in roads.


How much news is too much news? FOMO in the 25-hour news cycle.

Paradoxically, one strategy for coping with the overload is by adding to the stream. Kross says research has shown that people who actively engage more with social media—by tweeting in response to news, commenting on stories, posting messages, joining online groups—tend to be slightly happier than those who do not.

There's no way that's good advice. 


The smoothest move. Would you like to sit on my bed with me and check Twitter?

This may be a bit forward, and I do want to take things slow—we don’t want to spoil a good thing—but do you want to come over to my place? We can cook or we can just do Seamless, whatever you prefer. I just want to get to know you better. We can listen to records in my room. I have some great old jazz LPs my dad gave me for occasions like these. We can dim the lights, sit back, and get comfortable.

What I’m really trying to ask is: Would you like to sit on my bed with me and check Twitter?


Miscellany: The style and influence of McSweeney's design. When will robots finally replace umpires? Skeuomorphic design in audio software is stupid and out of hand. The producers of Dune were so horny for a sci-fi blockbuster like Star Wars, they made activity books.


Buy this from me please. Selling shit with selfies is the new Tupperware party.

But fueled by social media testimonials and a robust direct selling force, the serum, Lash Boost, briefly sold out this summer and the company said that sales of the product — which costs up to $150 — should top $175 million in its first year.

The popularity illustrates the modern dynamics of direct sales companies, which were once mostly associated with door-to-door Avon visits and social gatherings. In the social media era, selfies are the new Tupperware party, influencing the types of products the companies can persuade people to buy.
 

PROPOGANDA

The Destructive Character // The Baffler
The eternal return of culture's alienated oddball white guy.

A History of Chuck E. Cheese’s Animatronic Band // Motherboard
Chuck E. Cheese recently announced that its always iconic, occasionally terrifying animatronic band would be phased out of restaurants starting this year, beginning a time of mourning for children across the nation. Sure, progress had to overtake our novelty pizza joints at some point, but at what cost?

Wonder Year // The New York Times Magazine
Near the end of a conversation with Roger Federer earlier this month, in a small dining room that had been set aside for us off the lobby of the Mount Stephen Hotel in Montreal, I asked if he happened to catch the final poignant seconds of Usain Bolt’s remarkable career as a solo runner in the 100 meters two days earlier at the World Track and Field Championships. Bolt finished a disappointing third, behind his longtime rival Justin Gatlin and another American sprinter, Christian Coleman. “I meant to, but I missed it,” Federer said. “So I caught it on the highlights.”

The Worst Pro Baseball Team of 2017 Doesn’t Want Your Pity // The Ringer
Indy ball’s Salina Stockade barely have a past and likely don’t have a future. They’re never the home team. They’re way out of their league. They and their renaissance-man manager know it. And they don’t give a damn.

Shooting Gallery: John Cena, Roman Reigns, and the Awakening of WWE // The Ringer
Last week on Raw, John Cena exercised his free-agent status and jumped ship from WWE’s Tuesday show, SmackDown Live. Normally, this could be seen as a craven move to get WWE’s biggest star on its next pay-per-view (No Mercy is Raw-only), but this was immediately something more than a guest-star role. In the face of a characteristically uneven welcome from the Brooklyn crowd, Cena didn’t waste time. He didn’t call out a stock villain (old-school Cena’s stock and trade) or an up-and-comer (the go-to move of his contemporary shtick). Instead, he immediately called out the post-Cena face of the company: Roman Reigns.

The Great Pot Monopoly Mystery // GQ
Some very powerful people are trying to corner the market on legal weed and turn their company into the Monsanto of marijuana. Who are they? And can they be stopped?

 

When you live on a planet the size of a town

You can't get your kicks by getting around, yeah

Fun's hard to find on such familiar ground

So you invent it: the mental it's better than found, well 

 

Look out, here he comes again

(Look out) They say he's dead, he's my three best friends

(Look out) He's so honest that the dishonest dread

Meeting the kid with the replaceable head

— Richard Hell



Pop Loser is a weekly newsletter of innumerable confusions collected and written by Tyler Hellard.

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