Tag Archives | Trends

What Was Peer Pressure?

666girlsRemember “peer pressure”? Of late it has been largely discarded as the go-to means of explaining/demonizing youth behavioral patterns, but The New Inquiry offers a look back:

Parents have mostly given up on peer pressure as a paradigm defining element of molding their teenagers. Adults now do not believe in peer pressure so much as media pressure (“Miley Cyrus made my daughter a pot-smoking slut” instead of “Peer pressure made my daughter a pot-smoking slut”) or technological pressure (“My son doesn’t get any sleep because he stays up all night texting his friends”), fully embracing the awful politics of moral panics that dominated generational relations for the entire second half of the 20th century.

But what parents and educators so often labeled as peer pressure was actually the disease-like spread of ideas. It’s a degree of symbolic freedom and movement that made adults uncomfortable. The truly horrible things that happen to teenage lives are more the result of socioeconomic reality (gang violence), the failure of the mental health state (drugs, alcohol, shooting up the school), the horrific patriarchy of larger adult society (rape), or the all-around idiotic idea of the “school” as we construct it than they ever are the sole province of a teens en masse fearing social rejection.

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Was Mpregs This Year’s Strangest Meme?

After reading this you may wish you never knew, but if you haven’t heard, the term mpreg refers to a passionate internet subculture devoted to all aspects of male pregnancy. Mpreg enthusiasts create and spread illustrations, stories, and photoshopped images celebrating pregnant versions of imaginary and real-life males of all sorts, from celebrity heartthrobs to political figures to cartoon characters.

Mpreg Central features discussion forums and allows users to upload their own pregnancy “morph” pictures. Meanwhile, the Mpreg Archive boasts pregnant-male fan fiction for Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, The X-Files, and Pirates of the Caribbean, among offerings. With mpreg Harry Potter and touching posthumous mpreg tributes to Paul Walker rolling in, with 2014 be the year mpreg goes mainstream?

 mpreg

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Algorave: Dance Music Created By Coding Algorithms

algoraveCan all digitally-created music really just be thought of as humans manipulating algorithms? If so, why not get to the heart of things? A burgeoning, extremely nerdy subculture called algorave revolves around generating, altering, and combining electronic sound loops via on-the-spot coding, using languages such as SuperCollider, with the coding projected on a large screen. Could this be the worst new form of music, or the most honest? Wikipedia writes:

An algorave is an event where people dance to music generated from algorithms, often using live coding techniques. Algoraves can include a range of styles, including a complex form of minimal techno, and has been described as a meeting point of hacker philosophy, geek culture, and clubbing.

The first self-proclaimed “algorave” was held as a warmup concert for the SuperCollider Symposium 2012. The first North American algorave took place in Hamilton, Ontario during the artcrawl of 9 August 2013.

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Spate Of Frightening Clown Stalking Continues In United Kingdom

clownThe Guardian on the new candy-colored face of random street terror in the decaying metropolis:

A police force has told members of the public to ignore people dressed as clowns if they meet them in the street, after spate of reports of terrifying sightings.

Norfolk police received a report from a member of the public alarmed by a clown sighting in Gaywood, near King’s Lynn, on Tuesday evening. The suspect was described as wearing a “full clown outfit” with a red suit and red hair.

The following evening the force received a similar report after two clowns were spotted near a skate park in the town. These people wore “Halloween-type” clown masks. In both cases, the callers reported being alarmed and being chased a short way up the road. It follows recent reports of the circus characters scaring people in Northampton.

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Destroying Corporate Status Via HyperStyle

Circa 1990, from the monthly VHS-format periodical Dance International Video Magazine, a segment set in the future describes a hypothetical fashion movement known as HyperStyle. Swathed in “barcodes, plastic fabrics, logo wear, Nusilk fabric, virus accessories”, HyperStyle adherents destabilize the corporate order by co-opting and devaluing brand identities…including barcode-vision goggles and NASA sweatpants:

Today’s crisis can be tracked back to 1990. During one of the first green-house summers, a new fashion appeared, that pirated the emerging corporate culture.

Perpet[r]ators of this style hijacking corporate technology graphics and exploited them through wearable clothing. First seen in London, England, c1990.

The designers did not vandalize the corporate imagery, but rather reproduced it exactly. The resultant confusion led to devaluation of corporate status.

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Unveiling The Delusion Of Disruption

disruption

Balkinization on the techno-utopian cult of disruption:

Why is the term “disruption” so popular nowadays? Elite media features a parade of thinkers keen on “disrupting” old institutions. Talk of social contracts is passé in an America obsessed with technocapitalist visions of a prosperous future.

The yen for “disruption,” an empty term for empty minds in empty people, makes traditional obstacles like social contracts suspect or downright pernicious. This has led to an embrace of proceduralism by those true believers who want an app economy to be the engine of capitalism. And such people rule the world.

The view of society as an institution-free network of autonomous individuals practicing free exchange makes the social sciences, with the exception of economics, irrelevant. What’s left is engineering, neuroscience, an understanding of incentives (in the narrowly utilitarian sense): just right for those whose intellectual predispositions are to algorithms, design, and data structures.

Unfortunately, the “disruptions” pursued by Silicon Valley giants (and their well-heeled consultants) often have little to do with challenging the biggest power centers in society.

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Plastic Surgery To Create A Permanent Smile Debuts In South Korea

permanent smileI’m guessing this terrifying procedure is nonetheless cheaper than a lifetime on antidepressants. The Atlantic reports:

South Korea has helped paved the way for double-eyelid surgeries, dimple injections, calf reductions and even double-jaw surgery, to name a few. Now South Korean plastic surgeons are taking on surgery that alters the appearance of emotion. A new technique called “Smile Lipt” (whose name combines “lip” with “lift”) carves a permanent smile – the procedure turns up the corners of the mouth.

The procedure is increasingly popular among men and women in their 20s and 30s—especially flight attendants, consultants and others in industries aiming to offer service with a smile. The Seoul-based Aone Plastic Surgery has patented the procedure. For $2,000, it now offers patients the chance to be thus transformed:

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In Japan, Getting Plastic Surgery On Your Palms To Influence Your Destiny

palm reading

Hazards of the procedure: the surgeon misunderstands palm reading, and inadvertently puts a curse on you. Fox News reports:

Japanese intent on changing their fate have begun having plastic surgery to alter their palms. The new trend relies on the ancient art of palm reading, or palmistry, the belief that you can tell a person’s future based on the lines on their palms.

Plastic surgeons have reported an increase in patients asking for operations to extend or add lines associated with luck or marriage. The surgeries cost around $1,100 and are performed with an electric scalpel.

Takaaki Matsuoka, a surgeon at the Shonan Beauty Clinic’s Shinjuku branch in Tokyo, said: “You have to use the electric scalpel and make a shaky incision on purpose, because palm lines are never completely straight.” Around 40 palm plastic surgeries have been performed at the Shonan Beauty Clinic alone in the last two years.

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The Emerging Speculative Genre Of “Cli Fi”

climate fiction

Is environmental change poised to thrust us into new worlds? NPR writes:

Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow is the latest in what seems to be an emerging literary genre. Over the past decade, more and more writers have begun to set their novels and short stories in worlds, not unlike our own, where the Earth’s systems are noticeably off-kilter. The genre has come to be called climate fiction — “cli-fi,” for short.

“I think we need a new type of novel to address a new type of reality,” says Rich, “which is that we’re headed toward something terrifying and large and transformative. And it’s the novelist’s job to try to understand, what is that doing to us?” As far as Rich is concerned, climate change itself is a foregone conclusion. The story — the suspense, the romance — is in how we deal with it.

Of course, science fiction with an environmental bent has been around since the 1960s (think J.G.

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