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Dear Spotify Wrapped, what the f*ck is Goblincore?

2023-03-19 01:23:21

Dear Spotify Wrapped, what the f*ck is Goblincore?

Spotify Wrapped's moods sure have an interesting way of describing the way we feel. According to the music streaming platform, a lot of people are apparently into Goblincore. Yes, you read that correctly.

In case you haven't logged onto, well, anything on Wednesday (Nov. 30), it's Spotify Wrapped day. This is the day when we all post what we listened to throughout the year, courtesy of a playlist and slideshow curated by Spotify. The copywriting from Spotify has traditionally verged toward how do you do, fellow kids, but this year it's more strange than anything.

You see, Spotify added a feature that categorized what you listened to throughout the day into moods. And these moods, based on popular internet aesthetics, mostly read like word soup. Things like Pumpkin Spice, Indie Heads, Acceptance, were listed as moods. But strangest of all was Goblincore. No, that is not a typo. Goblincore. GOBLIN. CORE. Surely, Goblincore had to be a fan-made photoshop edit, right? But then we saw tweet(Opens in a new tab) after tweet(Opens in a new tab) after tweet(Opens in a new tab) about Goblincore, which is a weird prank for people to play all at once.

Spotify didn't immediately clarify if Goblincore was an actual mood from the platform or, if it was, elaborate on what that meant. Though it does seem odd that this many(Opens in a new tab) users would make this thing up.

Goblincore, for the not perpetually online, refers to an aesthetic for people into goblin-esque objects and vibes. Think small, weird trinkets or strange, unnatural objects in nature. As Mashable wrote in 2020, it's a gritty, semi-occult version of the cottagecore aesthetic that started on Tumblr. The goblincore subreddit(Opens in a new tab) describes it as an aesthetic "centered on the celebration of natural ecosystems usually considered less beautiful by conventional norms, such as soil-animals and second-hand objects." And Spotify does have curated mixes(Opens in a new tab) with Goblincore in the title, so maybe that's how so many people ended up with the phrase in their Wrapped.

SEE ALSO: Goblincore's feral coziness will get you through the rest of the year

But Goblincore was hardly the only strange phrase in this year's Wrapped moods. The morning, afternoon, and evening moods were full of random collages of... vibes? I guess? Things like "rebellious, amped, cyberpop" or "positive, clowncore, confident."

One person even made a great meme using the classic Breaking Bad template(Opens in a new tab) to show how weird these descriptions were.

It's yet another year of strangeness from Spotify Wrapped. That seems to be almost purposeful at this point. Wrapped Day has become A Thing online primarily because people love showing off their music taste. But it also always goes viral for some other, unexpected reason. This year that just happens to be Goblincore.

Dear Spotify Wrapped, what the f*ck is Goblincore?(图1)

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  • White House protesters were tear gassed because Trump wanted to create photo op

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    The scene unfolded outside the White House shortly after 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday. What had been a peaceful protest in Lafayette Park descended into chaos as police officers turned violent and deployed tear gas and flash-bangs. A short time later Trump spoke to the nation(Opens in a new tab) from the Rose Garden, where he threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to use(Opens in a new tab) the U.S. military to stop riots and protests across the country.

    After speaking to the country — flash-bangs audible in the background — Trump and a few others, including Attorney General Bill Barr, walked across the street to take this photo in front of St. John's Church as he held the bible. A small fire was set(Opens in a new tab) at the historic church on Sunday evening amid widespread unrest in the city.

    Let me repeat: police took violent action against peaceful protesters so the President could stage a photo op. It has since been reported that Barr was the one who personally ordered law enforcement officials to push the protesters back.

    Demonstrators kneel in front of law enforcement during a protest in downtown Washington, DC. Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    Protests have broken out in dozens of cities across the country this week following the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes in Minneapolis. While many protests have been peaceful, some have turned violent and led to looting and destruction. Thousands of people have been arrested.

    While the President invoked George Floyd's name as an opportunity to visit the church, the scene that unfolded to get there was disturbing to those peacefully protesting and people watching from home.

    As the president was speaking, his son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted this now-deleted explanation for his father's bizarre decision to do all of this outside:

    Donald Trump Jr. tweet bunker Credit: Mashable screenshot

    Don Jr. is referring to the fact that Trump was taken to a secure bunker(Opens in a new tab) on Friday as angry protests took place outside the White House.

    So what did this hasty decision to crack down on protesters for show result in? Well the photos from outside the church seem to have had the opposite of the desired effect — making him look ghoulish and stiff.

    US President Donald Trump holds up a bible in front of St John's Episcopal church after walking across Lafayette Park from the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020. - US President Donald Trump was due to make a televised address to the nation on Monday after days of anti-racism protests against police brutality that have erupted into violence. The White House announced that the president would make remarks imminently after he has been criticized for not publicly addressing in the crisis in recent days. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) / ALTERNATE CROP (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) Credit: AFP via Getty Images
    US President Donald Trump holds up a Bible outside of St John's Episcopal church across Lafayette Park in Washington, DC on June 1, 2020. - US President Donald Trump was due to make a televised address to the nation on Monday after days of anti-racism protests against police brutality that have erupted into violence. The White House announced that the president would make remarks imminently after he has been criticized for not publicly addressing in the crisis in recent days. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) Credit: AFP via Getty Images

    If you'd like to help support protesters fighting for justice for George Floyd, here is a helpful resource.

    UPDATE: June 2, 2020, 4:15 p.m. EDT The Washington Post reports(Opens in a new tab) that Attorney General Bill Barr was the one who "personally ordered law enforcement officials" to push back protesters before Trump's speech on Monday.

  • Seth Rogen has a blunt method of tackling All Lives Matter commenters on Instagram

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    SEE ALSO: How to demand justice for George Floyd and support Minneapolis protesters

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    Credit: instagram/sethrogen
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    The widely-criticised(Opens in a new tab) phrase "All Lives Matter" has been around for years, and it's often used to belittle discussion of racial injustice, especially after high-profile acts of police brutality, in response to people saying the phrase "Black Lives Matter." (Here's why people should stop saying it, explained nine different ways(Opens in a new tab)).

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    Credit: instagram/sethrogen/mashable composite

    The actor's responses have since gone viral on Twitter.

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    You can get educated on what it means to be anti-racist here, and find additional ways to demand justice for George Floyd and support protests here.

  • Grindr has removed its controversial ethnicity filters

    Grindr has removed its controversial ethnicity filters

    The killing of George Floyd by police officers has spurred not only protests across the United States, but also — often embarrassing — responses from brands.


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    "We will continue to fight racism on Grindr," the statement said, "both through dialogue with our community and zero-tolerance policy for racism and hate speech on our platform."

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    This decision to remove the filters comes after days of protests across the nation in response to killing of George Floyd, who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

    A Grindr spokesperson did not clarify why Grindr chose to remove the filters now, as opposed to in previous cases of police brutality against black people.

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  • The 49ers, Kaepernicks last NFL team, criticized for Blackout Tuesday post

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    Folks were obviously pretty quick to point out the hypocrisy.

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  • 11 racial justice documentaries to further your education

    11 racial justice documentaries to further your education

    As nationwide protests continue in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery, the Black Lives Matter movement remains as important as ever and an invaluable resource to those in and outside of the Black community.


    For non-Black people, this is a time to listen, learn, donate, and activate. One way to do that is by seeking out the many films and series about civil unrest and racial inequality. 2020's protests and curfews are not new; they are the latest boiling over of systemic issues that date back to this country's creation and beyond.

    In order to make change, we must first understand how we got here. Here are 11 racial justice documentaries you can stream right now to learn more.

    1. LA ’92(Opens in a new tab)

    Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s 2017 documentary would be chilling enough without its 2020 context. It recounts the stories of Rodney King, who was brutally beaten by police officers, and Latasha Harlins, a teenager who was fatally shot in a convenience store. King’s attackers were found not guilty despite damning video evidence, and in the days after, fires, riots, and looting ravaged Los Angeles. The film frames the 1992 unrest with footage of the 1965 Watts riots, highlighting the disturbing parallels.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

    2. 13th(Opens in a new tab)

    Ava DuVernay's searing documentary traces the origins of the prison system to the institution of slavery, which remains legal in the United States as punishment for a crime. The 13th amendment led to slavery's modern manifestation, in which Black Americans are imprisoned disproportionately, often for minor offenses.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab) or YouTube(Opens in a new tab)

    3. 3 1/2 Minutes, 10 Bullets(Opens in a new tab)

    Marc Silver’s 2015 documentary recounts the 2012 death of teenager Jordan Davis, who was shot multiple times in a parking lot while listening to music with friends. His attacker was found guilty of first-degree murder, but only after a mistrial and extensive media coverage, which the film follows along with Davis’ friends, family, and trial proceedings.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    4. I Am Not Your Negro(Opens in a new tab)

    From the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter to representation in Hollywood, I Am Not Your Negro examines the modern Black experience in America through the last writings of James Baldwin and his correspondences with Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers.

    Where to watch: Amazon(Opens in a new tab)

    5. Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland(Opens in a new tab)

    When 28-year-old Sandra Bland was arrested for a traffic violation and subsequently found hanged in her jail cell days later, a two-year legal ordeal began. Filmmakers Kate Davis and David Heilbroner document the family’s battle with law enforcement while sharing Bland’s own video blogs and history of activism. Though her death was ruled a suicide, it remains surrounded by questions and the undeniable fact that it can’t be undone.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    6. Baltimore Rising(Opens in a new tab)

    The Wire’s Sonja Sohn documents protests and unrest in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died due to injuries sustained after an arrest. While the six officers who arrested Gray await a verdict, the eyes of the nation fall on Baltimore, where lines of division become clearer than ever.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    7. Whose Streets?(Opens in a new tab)

    Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis direct this 2017 documentary about the death of Michael Brown and subsequent uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. The officer who shot Brown was not indicted, and eventually cleared of all charges and ruled to have been acting in self defense.

    Where to watch: Hulu(Opens in a new tab)

    8. True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality(Opens in a new tab)

    Director Peter Kunhardt spotlights Alabama attorney Bryan Stevenson (also the subject of Warner Bros.’ Just Mercy, streaming for free(Opens in a new tab) for the month of June), who has made it his life’s mission to highlight and combat racial inequality in the U.S. justice system. Stevenson regularly advocates for clients who are socially or economically disadvantaged or already unfairly affected by incarceration. In interviews, he himself outlines the United States’ history of racist legal inequality and his own efforts to challenge it.

    Where to watch: HBO(Opens in a new tab)

    9. Time: The Kalief Browder Story(Opens in a new tab)

    This six-episode docuseries recounts how 16-year-old Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack, but went on to spend three years in prison because his family couldn’t afford his bail and the system had no place for him. Browder spent two of his three years in solitary confinement on Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime, and died by suicide two years after his release. Each episode focuses on a different aspect of the incarceration, from the system to the witness to Rikers itself to what life looked like for Browder after his release.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

    10. Teach Us All(Opens in a new tab)

    Decades after the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, Sonia Lowman’s documentary covers how segregation, though illegal, persists in the American school system through demographic inequality, specifically in Little Rock, New York City, and Los Angeles.

    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

    11. (Opens in a new tab)Strong Island(Opens in a new tab)

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    Where to watch: Netflix(Opens in a new tab)

  • Wyatt Cenacs police-focused Problem Areas is now streaming for free on YouTube

    Wyatt Cenacs police-focused Problem Areas is now streaming for free on YouTube

    The first season of the HBO show Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas is now available to watch for free on YouTube(Opens in a new tab).


    While Cenac brings a healthy dose of his comedic talents to this show, it's still a very serious series talking about very serious topics. The ten-episode season primarily tackles policing in America, from murders of people of color by law enforcement officers, to the infrastructures that facilitate these oft-repeated heartbreaking and rage-inducing instances of police brutality and abuse of power.

    As people are coming together to voice their dissent against countless injustices perpetrated by police forces of the United States and police forces around the world, Problem Areas is a great source of information about the realities of what's going on.

    Cenac talks to all kinds of sources across this poignant season of television, from community activists to politicians to police themselves. It gives a well-rounded look not only at specific issues like the murder of Philando Castile by a police officer in Minnesota, but also shows how these different perspectives feed into the conversations around these broader topics.

    The first episode of the show is a great entry point into the conversation, beginning with conversations around the murder of Castile and how police are trained.

    This is a moment in history where information and context are paramount to understanding these huge demonstrations and the systems that these demonstrators are up against. For those privileged enough to not experience these issues firsthand, or to feel like they don't need to give it their attention, this show may be a great, easily digestible starting point.

    You cannot watch Problem Areas and feel like you can ignore what's going on in the world. It begins with a list of headlines about police murdering black people for absolutely no reason other than a false perception of threat. Cenac points out that these things keep happening over and over and over.

    That first episode aired over two years ago. To see that we're still seeing this time and time again, that people continue to fear for their lives and lose their lives to police officers, that the streets are packed with people right now who won't let the police get away with their abuses, is to understand how these discussions about and illumination of these detrimental systems is still so important.

    The cliché would be to say that Problem Areas is more relevant than ever. The sad thing is it's not. It was just as relevant at the time it first aired. Its points were relevant long before it ever aired, long before Cenac was born. It continues to be relevant and will likely continue to be relevant long after we're all dead, unless the systems in place are ripped out from their roots and replaced with something else entirely that doesn't rely on violence, oppression, and racism to impact its communities.

  • How to blur peoples faces in protest photos — and why you should do it

    How to blur peoples faces in protest photos — and why you should do it

    With mass protests taking place across the United States and abroad, social media safety is more important than ever.


    Enormous crowds of people are gathering in cities around the country to protest racism and police brutality in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last week. Photos and videos of these protests serve the very important purpose of documenting these actions as well as exposing police mistreatment of protestors. Posting them publicly, however, comes with its own risks.

    For the safety of those involved, if you're going to take photos at protests, you should consider blurring or pixelating the faces of those protesting before sharing them with the world.

    Thankfully, there are some easy ways to make this happen.

    Why you should blur photos

    In a word: Retaliation. It's no secret that the federal government likes to surveil anti-racism protests through social media. The Intercept(Opens in a new tab) and Vice(Opens in a new tab) both reported on government monitoring of protest movements through social media after the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.

    Buzzfeed News(Opens in a new tab) reported Tuesday that the DEA has been granted authority to collect intelligence on protestors during this current wave of uprisings, too. This is all to say that anyone who shows up to a protest and has their face photographed is at risk of being tracked down by authorities if they feel so inclined.

    Since the entire point of these protests is to end the unjust treatment of minorities by police, and end systemic racism more generally, it stands to reason that you should do what you can to protect those you photograph. You can still demonstrate the enormity of the moment without putting people exercising their First Amendment rights in harm's way.

    How to blur photos

    The good news is this isn't so tough to do on your own, even if you aren't a Photoshop wizard. A cursory Google search reveals plenty of free websites that can do it automatically or give you the tools to do it manually in a hurry. Facepixelizer(Opens in a new tab) is just one I found that seems to work pretty well. Encrypted messaging app Signal is also adding a blur tool.

    The fine folks over at Motherboard(Opens in a new tab) recommended Image Scrubber(Opens in a new tab), developed by Everest Pipkin, for covering up faces in protest photos. Image Scrubber is great because, aside from letting you easily and manually blur out faces on either a computer or a phone, it scrubs metadata from photos, too. Photos you take contain hidden data such as the date, time, and potentially even location in which they were snapped. It's possible(Opens in a new tab) for someone to get that information if they really want it.

    Load a photo into Image Scrubber and the first thing it does is list this data in plain text form. It also gives you the option to nuke it from your scrubbed photo. To test it out, I put a photo of my family's cat Max into the tool. Here is Max staring blankly into the distance, generally unaware of the world around him, as usual.

    Max, unscrubbed. Credit: barb perry

    After about two seconds of painting over Max's face with Image Scrubber's Microsoft Paint-like tools, the cat can no longer be recognized. It doesn't look professional, but it doesn't have to.

    Max, scrubbed. Credit: alex perry / mashable

    It only takes a few seconds to rid a photo of valuable metadata and blur out a face. Given the intensity of police response to these protests after less than a week, it can't hurt to do this with any photos you plan on sharing on your social feeds.

    Even if everyone at a protest is acting well within their rights, they can still face retaliation. We've seen peaceful protestors get tear gassed(Opens in a new tab) for the sake of a presidential photo op just this week. It can't hurt to go the extra mile to protect strangers you photograph.

  • The Iraqi man who threw his shoes at George W. Bush is a Twitter hero for todays protesters

    The Iraqi man who threw his shoes at George W. Bush is a Twitter hero for todays protesters

    "Hope you know you're an actual icon and we love you," wrote Twitter user @StreaamLightsup to Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi. "This video is my daily dose of serotonin."


    The video was one many Americans know on sight — when al-Zaidi threw his shoes at former President Bush in 2008.

    @StreaamLightsup's tweet is just one of many praising al-Zaidi, who often issues charming responses of support. He's using the platform, where he has more than 56,000 followers, to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters calling out police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

    The shoeing incident(Opens in a new tab), as it's referred to on Wikipedia, occurred at a press conference at Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's palace. The Iraq War had dragged on for five years at that point and ravaged the country. As al-Zaidi later explained in an op-ed in The Guardian(Opens in a new tab), his duties as a journalist required him to report on daily tragedies. He would enter ruined homes, hear the screams of orphans — and he pledged to seek vengeance.

    When he saw his opportunity to do so that day, he took it.

    "This is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog," al-Zaidi yelled as he threw the first show. "This is from the widows, the orphans, and those who were killed in Iraq," he added as he threw the second.

    Al-Zaidi spent nine months(Opens in a new tab) in jail for the act, where he said he was tortured. In his Guardian essay, al-Zaidi explained that he threw the shoe to defend his country. "When I threw the shoe in the face of the criminal, George Bush, I wanted to express my rejection of his lies, his occupation of my country, my rejection of his killing my people," al-Zaidi wrote.

    In the piece, al-Zaidi denied being a hero — but over a decade after "the shoe," his legacy as a hero has blossomed on social media. "Dude who threw the shoe at George W. Bush has done more for the betterment of America than most of its politicians and a huge segment of its actual populace," wrote another user on Twitter, @thankfulreact69(Opens in a new tab). "Absolute king shit."

    It's a sentiment many on social media share, especially after al-Zaidi publicly threw his support towards the current protests. Additionally, al-Zaidi has dedicated his freedom watch to Floyd.

    "We stand in solidarity with these protest[ers] because they are oppressed," said al-Zaidi in an interview with Mashable. He said he'd been aware of the protests since George Floyd's death, and knew they would escalate. "We in Iraq have suffered from American power and authority since the occupation of the US military in 2003 so all the support, sympathy, and solidarity with them."

    Not only are police inciting violence(Opens in a new tab) on peaceful protesters, but they're also targeting journalists(Opens in a new tab). As a journalist himself, al-Zaidi said he stands in solidarity with them, and that the police are violating their rights.

    He also said he knew from the beginning of Trump's presidency that he was spiteful of journalists. "Who[ever] hates journalists hates the truth," he said. "And Trump is the most untruthful person, so he is hostile to journalists because they convey the truth and he wants… the journalists to convey his lies."

    SEE ALSO: Facebook engineer resigns in protest of Zuckerberg's bankrupt morality

    Al-Zaidi pointed out that when protests erupted in Iraq(Opens in a new tab) last year, it didn't get nearly the same attention as the current U.S. protests. "In Iraq seven months ago we had demonstrations and more than 700 demonstrators were martyred by the Iraqi police without the world moving," he said.

    Regardless, al-Zaidi isn't hesitant to show his solidarity with demonstrators in the US and around the world. In fact, he sees his fame as a responsibility to do so. "Since people listen to your words," he said, "you must [show] solidarity with the people and the oppressed wherever they are. When there were demonstrations in America, solidarity with them [is] everywhere in the world."

    Al-Zaidi's advice to young protestors and activists is to keep peaceful demonstrations. "The peaceful weapon does not belong to the arrogant, dictatorial, and oppressive states of freedom," he said. "Instead, it has weapons, prisons, police, and media."

    Peaceful "weapons," al-Zaidi continued, are the best and longest-lasting weapons. "The authorities do not possess and do not want" these peaceful methods, he said, "so keep the peace as much as possible until your revolution triumphs."

  • K-pop fans are flooding QAnon hashtags with memes and fancams

    K-pop fans are flooding QAnon hashtags with memes and fancams

    K-pop stans are legion and cannot be stopped.


    Just about a week after overwhelming a Dallas police "snitch" app with memes and fancams, K-pop fans are now flooding QAnon hashtags with fancams, videos, and memes. It's beautiful.

    After the hacker group Anonymous called for spamming QAnon hashtags, K-pop stans rushed in to do their part.

    If you don't know anything about K-pop — Korean pop bands — just know they have massive amounts of fans who hold the power to make literally everything go viral. The most notable band is BTS, whom you must have heard of.

    But, in the wake of mass protests against racism and police brutality, those fans have channeled their power for good. They've done the nearly unthinkable: stopped tweeting about their faves to ensure Black Lives Matter hashtags rose to the top of trending. And again, they also spammed a Dallas police department app aimed at identifying protesters with such force that it took down the app.

    And if you don't know anything about QAnon. Well, bless your good fortune. But basically, it's a very (Opens in a new tab)powerful, pro-Trump(Opens in a new tab), absolutely bonkers, winding conspiracy theory — the seeds of which were planted by a Reddit user nicknamed Q — that the president is actually in control of a plan to up-end the so-called "deep state" and expose(Opens in a new tab) countless powerful pedophiles.

    If you search common QAnon hashtags on Twitter, like #qanon and #WWG1WGA — which stands for "where we go one, we go all" — there is some typical conspiracy nonsense but also lots and lots of K-pop stuff.

    It just goes to show you: QAnon might be a powerful online conspiracy, but K-pop stans are a powerful online force with the ability to overwhelm conversations and change the dialogue.

    Of course in the wrong hands, this sort of power can be really dangerous, considering it's the sort of tactic employed by Russian bots(Opens in a new tab) during the 2016 election cycle.

  • These moments from CNNs Sesame Street town hall on racism will give you hope

    These moments from CNNs Sesame Street town hall on racism will give you hope

    On Saturday morning, CNN hosted a joint town hall for kids and families with Sesame Street, called Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism(Opens in a new tab).


    Racism and police brutality are difficult subjects to broach with adults, let alone children. But given the global protests, these issues are — and should be — impossible to ignore. This goes for children, who see what's going on either through media or their parents. In order to adequately explain these complex issues, it's necessary to talk about them even if it's uncomfortable.

    But how do you talk to children about something as ugly as racism without ruining their innocence? Guests like Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?(Opens in a new tab), fielded questions like these from children, parents, and Sesame Street characters. Here are some of the highlights:

    Children may be wondering why people are out in the streets at all. Elmo's dad Louie explained that it's an effort to end racism:

    Eight-year-old Xavier said that his nana marched in the 1960s, and asked why we still need to "do this again and again." A lot of us adults wonder the same thing. Sesame Street cast members Roscoe Orman (as Gordon Robinson) and Sonia Manzano (as Maria) discussed the importance of protesting:

    Keedron Bryant, the 12-year-old who went viral for his powerful song "I Just Want to Live,"(Opens in a new tab) visited Sesame Street to discuss the song:

    Some moments of the special were heartbreaking, like 9-year-old Saniya asking what to do when she encountered racism:

    The finale was especially touching. CNN hosts Van Jones and Erica Hill along with Sesame Street characters pledged to do better. "We can do better, we must do better, we will do better," Jones, Hill, Big Bird, and Elmo said in union:

    The town hall didn't dive deep into these issues; there's only so much that can be said in an hour. Hopefully, though, there will be more town halls like this one — and more importantly, hopefully this encourages parents to have these difficult conversations with their children.

Random articles


  • Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for September 8

    Quordle today: Here are the answers and hints for September 8

    Short workweeks go so fast, don't they? It's already Thursday, and you're about to wind down the week, but not before you can figure out this unusually difficult Quordle.


    Well, it's not hard to find the Quordle solution. Scroll to the bottom of this page, and there it is. But are you sure you need all four answers? Maybe you just need a strategy guide. Either way, scroll down, and you'll get what you need.

    What is Quordle?

    Quordle is a five-letter word guessing game similar to Wordle, except each guess applies letters to four words at the same time. You get nine guesses instead of six to correctly guess all four words. It looks like playing four Wordle games at the same time, and that is essentially what it is. But it's not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.

    Is Quordle harder than Wordle?

    Yes, though not diabolically so.

    Where did Quordle come from?

    Amid the Wordle boom of late 2021 and early 2022, when everyone was learning to love free, in-browser, once-a-day word guessing games, creator Freddie Meyer says he took inspiration from one of the first big Wordle variations, Dordle — the one where you essentially play two Wordles at once. He took things up a notch, and released Quordle on January 30(Opens in a new tab). Meyer's creation was covered in The Guardian(Opens in a new tab) six days later, and now, according to Meyer, it attracts millions of daily users. Today, Meyer earns modest revenue(Opens in a new tab) from Patreon, where dedicated Quordle fans can donate to keep their favorite puzzle game running. 

    How is Quordle pronounced?

    “Kwordle.” It should rhyme with “Wordle,” and definitely should not be pronounced exactly like "curdle.”

    Is Quordle strategy different from Wordle?

    Yes and no.

    Your starting strategy should be the same as with Wordle. In fact, if you have a favorite Wordle opening word, there’s no reason to change that here. We suggest something rich in vowels, featuring common letters like C, R, and N. But you do you.

    After your first guess, however, you’ll notice things getting out of control if you play Quordle exactly like Wordle.

    What should I do in Quordle that I don’t do in Wordle?

    Solving a Wordle puzzle can famously come down to a series of single letter-change variations. If you’ve narrowed it down to “-IGHT,” you could guess “MIGHT” “NIGHT” “LIGHT” and “SIGHT” and one of those will probably be the solution — though this is also a famous way to end up losing in Wordle, particularly if you play on “hard mode.” In Quordle, however, this sort of single-letter winnowing is a deadly trap, and it hints at the important strategic difference between Wordle and Quordle: In Quordle, you can't afford to waste guesses unless you're eliminating as many letters as possible at all times. 

    Guessing a completely random word that you already know isn't the solution, just to eliminate three or four possible letters you haven’t tried yet, is thought of as a desperate, latch-ditch move in Wordle. In Quordle, however, it's a normal part of the player's strategic toolset.

    Is there a way to get the answer faster?

    In my experience Quordle can be a slow game, sometimes dragging out longer than it would take to play Wordle four times. But a sort of blunt-force guessing approach can speed things up. The following strategy also works with Wordle if you only want the solution, and don’t care about having the fewest possible guesses:

    Try starting with a series of words that puts all the vowels (including Y) on the board, along with some other common letters. We've had good luck with the three words: “NOTES,” “ACRID,” and “LUMPY.” YouTuber DougMansLand(Opens in a new tab) suggests four words: “CANOE,” “SKIRT,” “PLUMB,” and “FUDGY.”

    Most of the alphabet is now eliminated, and you’ll only have the ability to make one or two wrong guesses if you use this strategy. But in most cases you’ll have all the information you need to guess the remaining words without any wrong guesses.

    If strategy isn't helping, and you're still stumped, here are some hints:

    A semi-useful hint about today’s puzzle

    Synonyms for all four words are in the following sentence (in no particular order).

    Chauvet cave wasn't occupied by some supernatural demon, just some hunter-gatherers who would tiptoe into this place and create the occasional wall painting to commemorate the spindly legged horses, pigs, and donkeys they had seen.

    Are there any double or triple letters in today’s Quordle words?

    One word has a double letter.

    Are any rare letters being used in today’s Quordle like Q or Z?


    What do today’s Quordle words start with?

    D, M, S, and L.

    What are the answers for today’s Quordle?

    Are you sure you want to know?

    There’s still time to turn back.

    OK, you asked for it. The answers are:

    1. DEVIL

    2. MURAL

    3. SNEAK

    4. LEGGY

  • No, NyQuil chicken isnt a real TikTok trend

    No, NyQuil chicken isnt a real TikTok trend

    Maybe I've just been online for too long. After all, I saw the Tide Pod craze (but not really a craze)(Opens in a new tab) come and go. So when I saw TikTok's so-called NyQuil chicken challenge making headlines this week, my initial reaction was neither concern nor laughing astonishment.


    It was immediate disbelief.

    First a disclaimer: I'm not saying no person ever has cooked and consumed chicken braised in NyQuil. Humans are strange, resilient creatures, and we've done just about every dumb thing imaginable. What I'm saying is that, no, NyQuil chicken isn't a real trend.

    In short: This is not something you need to worry about.

    So why are people talking about it? Because the FDA warned against it, thus sparking a rash(Opens in a new tab) of news articles about the apparent trend.

    "A recent social media video challenge encourages people to cook chicken in NyQuil (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine) or another similar OTC cough and cold medication, presumably to eat," the FDA wrote in a news release(Opens in a new tab). "The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is. But it could also be very unsafe. Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways."

    I understand the FDA's desire to tell people, don't freaking do this, jabronis. But I suspect the FDA's post, the following news articles, and hell, maybe even this post, only served to amplify the existence of NyQuil chicken — the Streisand Effect(Opens in a new tab) in real time.

    Now if you're online as much as I am, you might be thinking, hey, haven't I seen NyQuil chicken around for a while? Yes, you'd be correct. This fake trend(Opens in a new tab) has resurfaced(Opens in a new tab) several times, usually proliferated by one or two satirical videos. No one is actually saying cooking chicken in NyQuil is a smart cold remedy. It's shitposting, through and through. People aren't actually doing this.

    E.J. Dickson, a reporter for Rolling Stone who covers digital culture, noted that the faux-trend started years ago in the cesspools of 4-Chan.

    To prove my point, I search TikTok for "NyQuil chicken" and, surprisingly, was met with a
    "resources" page from the social platform warning me not to participate in the trend. It seems TikTok is trying to shut this thing down before it even becomes A Thing.

    The page I was greeted with when I searched for "nyquil chicken." Credit: Screenshot: TikTok
    TikTok basically telling me it is not smart to do dangerous online challenges. Credit: Screenshot: TikTok

    Undeterred, I searched around for just NyQuil and NyQuil chicken with purposeful misspellings to dodge the resources page. Nearly every highly watched TikTok was either an astonished reaction to the same two videos of someone basting chicken breasts in NyQuil or it was someone warning not to do it. People weren't actually eating the stuff. They were reacting to a shitpost, thus causing others to engage in the shitpost and make a faux trend.

    Reaction videos, all. Credit: Screenshot: TikTok

    So parents across the U.S. breathe a sigh of relief: Your kids are not braising chicken in NyQuil. You can rest tonight, no medication necessary.

  • Taco Bell made a huge Cheez-It and is holding it prisoner in California

    Taco Bell made a huge Cheez-It and is holding it prisoner in California

    Well, I guess someone had to make a giant Cheez-It eventually.


    And who better to do that than the fast food restaurant that replaced taco shells with Doritos? Yes, Taco Bell(Opens in a new tab) is back at it with dark food sorcery, this time producing a Cheez-It that’s 16 times the size of a normal one for use in multiple experimental menu items at one restaurant in Irvine, California.

    Meet the Big Cheez-It Tostada and the Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme.

    Golly. Credit: Taco Bell

    The photos pretty much get the point across. But if that doesn’t work for you, allow me to explain: The Big Cheez-It Tostada is literally a humongous Cheez-It cracker with beef, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese layered on top of it. It looks astoundingly unstable and messy, and a little bit like something a guy in his 20s who never learned how to cook would make for himself. 

    Holy mackerel. Credit: Taco Bell

    The Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme is literally just a regular Crunchwrap Supreme with the big cheese cracker in place of the hard taco shell that normally comes inside one of those bad boys. 

    Let’s cut to the chase: It sucks that this is only happening in one restaurant in southern California.

    I’m not confident that a huge Cheez-It will actually be good (that’s a lot of artificial cheese powder) but I need to try it to feel alive. The world around us is burning, the biggest jerks on the planet have a firm grip on the steering wheel, and I can’t even try the big Cheez-It?

    SEE ALSO: The 10 best Taco Bell menu items, ranked

    Please, people of Irvine, I beg you to buy a billion of these things so Taco Bell makes it available nationwide. We need this.

  • Watch golfer Grayson Murray lose it, throw one club then break another

    Watch golfer Grayson Murray lose it, throw one club then break another

    Golfer Grayson Murray did his best Happy Gilmore impression on Sunday during the final round of the U.S. Open. In short: The dude totally lost his shit, chucking his putter at top speed and then subsequently snapping an iron over his knee.


    In the buttoned-up, stiflingly polite world of golf, this kind of temper tantrum isn't seen all that often. And he did it during a major — one of the game's four marquee events — no less. This guy chucked his putter like he was trying to put it into orbit. It wasn't a toss. Murray hit his top velocity. And then, as if that wasn't enough, he later snapped a club over his knee. Kind of impressive, sure, but pretty juvenile.

    Frankly, I found it hilarious and exciting and I also hope some golf purist out there is losing their shit thinking this kind of act desecrates their sacred game. Here, watch the videos of Murray, posted online by CBS's Will Brinson.

    Just...amazing, right? Murray finished the day ten over par, which in layman's terms is really freaking bad.

    It's not totally unheard of for a golfer to chuck a club. In fact, you're likely to see some weekend warrior do it at your local course — though the pros are typically more reserved. The fact that Murray followed up his club chuck with a club snap, however, is an all-time performance. Absolute record levels of angst. Anyway, his final round has wrapped up, so it seems just two of Murray's clubs will get abused today.

  • Vanessa Bryant and others share emotional memories of Kobe on his birthday

    Vanessa Bryant and others share emotional memories of Kobe on his birthday

    Kobe Bryant — basketball legend, beloved father, husband, mentor, and sports icon — should be celebrating his 42nd birthday today.


    Tragically, he and eight others, including daughter Gianna, died in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26, 2020. But as his friends, family, peers, and fans are making clear today, legends live on forever in the hearts of all those who loved them.

    Vanessa Bryant shared a heartbreaking Instagram post(Opens in a new tab) honoring her late husband's birthday. (While her profile is currently set to private, the message was screenshotted(Opens in a new tab) and shared(Opens in a new tab) by several notable public figures on Twitter.)

    "To my baby~ Happy birthday. I love you and miss you more than I can ever explain. I wish you and Gigi were here to celebrate YOU! I wish I could make you your fav food or a birthday cake with my Gigi. I miss your big hugs, your kisses, your smile, your loud ass deep laugh. I miss teasing you, making you laugh and bursting your bubble. I miss you sitting on my lap like my big baby that you are. I think about your tenderness and patience all the time. I think about everything you would do in situations to help me deal with everything thrown my way," she wrote.

    "There's so much I wish I could tell you and show you and Gigi. So many things you would both be happy to see and be a part of. So many milestones for our girls. So many things you would be proud of. I’m so thankful I have pieces of heaven here on earth to wake up for- thanks to YOU," she continued, before ending with more words of gratitude. "Thank you for loving me enough to last several lifetimes. In every lifetime I would choose YOU. Thank you for showing me what real love is. Thank YOU for everything. I know my Gigi is celebrating you like she always has on our special days. I miss my thoughtful princess so much! Natalia, Gianna, Bianka, Capri and I wish you a happy birthday my love. I love you for now, forever and for always."

    Daughter Natalia Bryant shared her own message to her father on Instagram(Opens in a new tab) as well, alongside a baby photo: "Happy Bithday Dad❤️ I miss your smile, laugh and big bear hugs. Happy Birthday to the best movie buddy I could have ever asked for. I will always remember our late night drives to the movie theater with the windows rolled down and listening to our favorite songs. I love you forever and always. Always, Slim," the post reads.

    Kobe Bryant touched countless lives. Others close to him also shared bittersweet messages of celebration and mourning on Twitter. Fellow NBA legend and friend, Bill Russell, sent love and strength to Bryant's family members, as well as his own feelings of devastating loss.

    But Kobe's impact went across all aisles of the sports world. NFL player Russell Wilson marked the NBA legend's birthday under the hashtag #MambaForever.

    His former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, posted a montage highlighting many of Bryant's accomplishments on and off the court, especially as a father and husband.

    Bryant spent much of his time in retirement supporting women's basketball, as seen in a video on his impact from ESPNW. His daughter Gigi's former AAU team thanked their mentor and coach with a montage as well.

    ESPN and Snoop Dogg teamed up for a tribute video as well. The rap shows how much he meant to people across America, from Philly where he grew up to Los Angeles where he became a national champion.

  • Is Gen Z bringing flip phones back?

    Is Gen Z bringing flip phones back?

    For Millennials, there are few devices as iconic as the Motorola Razr. The sleek, high-fashion flip phone was t(Opens in a new tab)he world's best-selling cellphone in 2005(Opens in a new tab). A handheld status symbol, celebrities even took home a limited-edition matte black Razr in their 2005 Academy Awards gift bags.(Opens in a new tab) That same year, Motorola released its coolest, most coveted iteration: the hot pink Razr that had everyone from Paris Hilton to Rihanna flipping out(Opens in a new tab).


    It may seem like Gen Z will never know the satisfaction of slapping a phone shut after ending a call, or the tactility of typing in T9. But the flip phone may be making a comeback.

    Sixteen years after the Motorola craze of the early aughts, 26-year-old Amber Giesen bought herself a pink Razr on eBay. The social media manager from Amsterdam was throwing a Y2K party in May and needed the perfect throwback accessory. She documented the unboxing on her TikTok account(Opens in a new tab), @wuddleboo. In the video, uploaded May 6, she shows off its two-megapixel camera and the limited array of games, while playing "Toxic" by Britney Spears.

    While Giesen never experienced thrill of owning her own pink Razr in 2005, she does remember playing with her mother's flip phone as a child.

    "Buying it was very nostalgic for me because I saw all the features my mom used to have on hers, like the camera and the little games," Giesen told Mashable.

    The pink Motorola Razr Giesen bought on ebay for her Y2K party. Credit: Amber giesen

    On TikTok, the "flip phone" tag(Opens in a new tab) currently has over 226 million views. For every video of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3,(Opens in a new tab) a smart flip phone device launched in August 2021(Opens in a new tab), there's one of a young person evangelizing a flip phone lifestyle(Opens in a new tab) as a way to take a necessary break from social media. There are unboxing videos like Giesen's, clips of the trendy AliExpress Hello Kitty flip phone(Opens in a new tab), and TikToks of users buying "burner phones with bestie" and decorating them with gems and stickers.

    SEE ALSO: Best headphones for iPhone owners: Think outside the (AirPods) box

    The Digital Fairy, a creative agency with internet and youth culture specialists, coined the term "vintage tech nostalgia" on TikTok(Opens in a new tab), where they examine the "fall of the Apple aesthetic" among teens and young adults. They posit that minimalist tech is out — and that Gen Z is ushering in a new, recycled era of bold, customizable products and busy vaporwave visuals.

    Wired headphones are back; vloggers are turning to old camcorders to capture authenticity; and you can now buy a $25 phone case to make your iPhone look like a classic pink Razr. The concept of vintage tech nostalgia is tied to young people's fascination with Y2K style.

    "Aesthetically, flip phones are a lot more exciting than today’s slick smartphones," Biz Sherbert, a culture specialist at The Digital Fairy, told Mashable over email. "There was more variation in the style and design of flip and slide phones — from invincible, utilitarian Nokias, to business-y Blackberrys, to blinged-out hot pink Motorola Razrs. There was more customization and flair to flip phones."

    It isn’t just TikTok teens who are harnessing the power of Y2K nostalgia and flip phone imagery. In Louisville rapper Jack Harlow’s latest music video(Opens in a new tab) for "Luv is Dro (feat. Static Major & Bryson Tiller)," everyone is seen communicating on flip phones, even the 23-year-old artist himself. If you look closely, one young woman is even seen with a pink Motorola Razr — the same device that's featured prominently in K-Pop artist Sunmi's "You can't sit with us" music video(Opens in a new tab).

    Jack Harlow with his flip phone in the "Luv is Dro" music video. Credit: Screenshot / youtube
    Sunmi with her pink Motorola Razr flip phone in the "You can't sit with us" music video. Credit: screenshot / youtube

    But are young people buying flip phones for more than just the aesthetics? Wired headphones and flip phones reigned supreme in the early aughts when social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat were just ideas on whiteboards. For a generation of digital natives like Gen Z, they've lived their entire lives on screens.

    This makes a more analog existence appealing in 2021. Gen Z is disconnecting from plain, modern tech and encouraging others to do the same. As one TikTok advises(Opens in a new tab), "This is ur sign to get a flipphone for summer and to take a break from toxic social media

    Today's teens are suffering from social media overload. They are in search of lost time. A 2019 Common Sense Media report(Opens in a new tab) revealed that teens' average screen time is seven hours and 22 minutes — and that doesn't include time spent in front of a screen for school or homework. Flip phones represent an alternate way of living, one in which you can have seven more hours in a day. It forces you to live in the moment.

    Singer-songwriter Lorde spoke openly about her quest to lower her screen time(Opens in a new tab) in a 2021 interview with The New York Times. She didn't get a flip phone, but she did log out of social media apps, set her iPhone to grayscale mode, block YouTube from her laptop, and get rid of the internet browser on her smartphone.

    The desire to go offline is something Nicky Shapiro, a 23-year-old UC Berkeley graduate and proud owner of a modern AT&T Alcatel SmartFlip Phone, can relate to. He doesn't follow trendy aesthetics. Instead, Shapiro wanted to replicate an older time when you had to call someone to reach them. "I would watch these old movies, and I was jealous of the pay phones. I watched Desperately Seeking Susan, an '80s movie with Madonna, and I was like, this is incredible. Like they had to rely on the newspaper! I don’t know it just seemed so fun," Shapiro said.

    I'm not addicted to social media, but I definitely feel addicted to my iPhone.

    He used his flip phone from February to May 2021, only stopping once he graduated college, moved to a new city, and needed a smartphone for his job.

    "I'm not addicted to social media, but I definitely feel addicted to my iPhone. I'll just pick it up and open Safari for no reason or look at sports scores," Shapiro explained to Mashable.

    "I constantly feel its presence in my pocket. I just reach for it for no reason, I am not even checking the time. I felt a complete reliance and addiction to it," he continued.

    Shapiro channels his inner Y2K aesthetic by using his flip phone to recreate an image of Brad Pitt in Oceans 11. Credit: Nicky shapiro

    Part of the appeal of the flip phone is the possibility it holds. While Giesen initially bought the phone as an accessory for a Y2K party, she plans to use it as a second phone at music festivals once COVID restrictions are lifted. "It would allow you to live in the moment. You'd be offline and wouldn’t get distracted by your smartphone all the time," explained Giesen.

    Using a flip phone sounds like a good way to unplug, but in a time where menus are scanned using QR codes, young people rely on Venmo to pay each other back, and you often need two-factor identification to log into any account, is it feasible to completely transition to a flip phone full-time?

    "I think it is pretty untenable to do any modern job or live in an urban place without a smartphone," Shapiro shared. "You have to be in an extremely privileged specific situation to actually pull off living with a flip phone full time."

    Shapiro used his flip phone during his last semester of college. He was living with his best friends, and like most of us, he was mainly plugged into the outside world on his laptop.

    Other young people fantasize about getting a flip phone, but don't take the leap. Jacqueline Racich, a 22-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student, considered getting a flip phone because she feels like she's less productive when her smartphone is around. "I don’t like how much time can be wasted and how it kills opportunities to be fully engaged and social with other people," she told Mashable over Instagram DM.

    SEE ALSO: Why Gen Z is plugging in wired headphones and tuning out AirPods

    Ultimately, the functionality of apps like Google Maps and Spotify keep Racich from actually trading in her iPhone.

    Is living with a flip phone worth the logistical nightmare it poses? Shapiro thinks so. "It was truly incredible, I felt no urge to reach into my pocket. I did miss listening to music and podcasts, but it forced me to focus on — this sounds corny as fuck — focus on talking to people and just, like, thinking, which sounds ridiculous but is true," Shapiro explained.

    The release from the stress of texting and social media was super nice.

    Leo Levy, a 22-year-old living in Los Angeles, agrees. He used a flip phone for six months while in a sober living program. "The release from the stress of texting and social media was super nice," Levy told Mashable over Instagram DM. He found that because of T9 predictive texting he had to be intentional about who he messaged because it required more effort. "I have considered getting a flip phone again because of the simplicity of it and the lack of distraction," concluded Levy.

    The flip phone is attractive to Gen Z both because of its throwback aesthetics and its limited functionality. It offers an alternative to the screen-first life young people live now. The fascination with the flip phone lies in the possibility it represents: Imagine what you could do with all the time you spend looking at your phone?

    "Our relationship to our cell phones in the era of flips and slides was quite different to what it is today," Sherbert said. "Today’s smartphones distract us and stress us out, as we find ourselves constantly scrolling through social media... But, back in the 2000s, the heyday of the flip phone, you could use your phone to basically just call, text, and maybe send emails or surf a very pixelated web. [There was] no social media to doomscroll."

    Talk to any young person and chances are they've dreamed about what it was to come of age before smart phones and social media. It doesn't help that the lack of smart phones in older movies make plots so much more interesting. Before Sunrise could have never ended the way it did if they could just look each other up on Instagram.

    Maybe Gen Z is onto something. Giesen hopes that the flip phone trend catches on.

    "It would be really nice and beneficial for people to just log off for a bit and live in the moment."

  • 2022 was the year of bad sex

    2022 was the year of bad sex

    It seems like everywhere I looked this year, I saw discussions of bad sex. From tweets to books to podcasts, people — mainly women — divulged that sex, lately, isn't very sexy. 

    This certainly wasn't the first year the topic has been discussed, but the conversations grew louder in 2022. Given that we saw the end of Roe v. Wade and the rise of "tradwife" feminism, it's not surprising that we're further examining relationships and sex. 

    As I sifted through this media, some of it no doubt struck a chord. Take the second season of The Second Circle(Opens in a new tab) podcast, which was all about bad sex. Through six episodes, journalist and host Franki Cookney dissected why good sex can be so unobtainable — reasons ranging from lack of sex education to fear of rejection.

    A lot of talk about bad sex, however, missed the mark. One example is the book Rethinking Sex by Christine Emba, which argued that we should stop having casual sex in favor of doing the deed only when you're in love. The book The Case Against the Sexual Revolution by Louise Perry argues much of the same, with more anti-sex work and anti-trans rhetoric thrown in ("gender critical" UK writer Helen Joyce blurbed the book, if that's any indication). In addition to neglecting the nuance of sexual relationships, both Rethinking and The Case also neglected any agency women have. 

    Then there was Bad Sex by Nona Willis Aronowitz, which was more a feminist memoir of Aronowitz's own experiences than an exploration of the phenomenon. 

    What was missing from the dissections of bad sex was the acknowledgment that, at its core, bad sex is a systemic problem. We're not educated about sex, and we're shamed when we have it. It's no wonder sex sucks. 

    Stop ignoring sex education

    In our discussions of bad sex, it means consensual sex that was unsatisfying. While not exclusive to casual encounters, it's usually discussed as such. Bad sex doesn't mean "unwanted sex,"(Opens in a new tab) which is sex one agreed to when they didn't want to have it.

    The dearth of sex education in the United States can't be understated, especially when it comes to explaining bad sex. As of December 2022, only 28 states and Washington, D.C. mandate sex education(Opens in a new tab) according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization centered around sex and reproductive health and rights. Only 17 states require sex education to be medically accurate.

    This is a disservice to all Americans, especially given the wide benefits of comprehensive sex education. Comprehensive sex ed(Opens in a new tab) covers the "physical, biological, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality," according to Guttmacher, not just STI and pregnancy prevention. Decades of literature have proven that comprehensive sex education leads to healthier relationships(Opens in a new tab), fewer sexual partners, and improves media (porn) literacy, to name only a few benefits.

    There isn't anything wrong with having lots of sexual partners, if that's what you want to do. But there is incessant pearl-clutching about both casual sex(Opens in a new tab) and pornography(Opens in a new tab) — in Rethinking Sex and The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, among social media spaces — and about how those activities hurt women, that they completely ignore a "solution" to their concerns: Teach young people about sex, relationships, and pornography, and empower them to make their own decisions. 

    Instead, these books decry porn and casual sex as evidence of the feminist movement gone wrong. One particular example Emba and Perry pointed to is nonconsensual choking during sex, which — given the absence of consent — is sexual assault. It's true that such choking happens, and that pornography popularized and normalized activities like it. But that's not the only thing going on here.

    So, exactly why is this happening? To Emba and Perry, it's because of porn itself. For so many young people, though, porn is their sexual education. They're not getting comprehensive sex education at school — and even if they could, 35 states and D.C. allow parents to opt-out(Opens in a new tab) their children from such classes. 

    As Mashable's Features Editor Rachel Thompson wrote in Rough, a book about sexual violence, "Porn's relationship to sexual violence has been extensively researched over the course of several decades since the 1970s, but academics have not reached a consensus. A 2020 meta-analysis of research(Opens in a new tab) found that evidence did not suggest that non-violent porn was associated with sexual aggression."

    Researchers have found an association between porn consumption and certain behaviors, but a casual link — causal effect — hasn't been proven to exist. As sex educator Justin Hancock told Thompson, "People may have these attitudes in order to be drawn to watching porn, so there could be a change in attitudes as a result of watching porn, or it could be that there isn’t." He continued, "Or someone who is interested in porn may have some of these attitudes in the first place."

    We live in a place where porn is someone's introduction to sex, but they never get a full lesson on their own bodies or sexuality. They never learn about unwanted sex — when someone agrees to have sex when they don't want it — nor how to communicate about it, or communicate what they actually do want.

    What if young people learned porn literacy? What if they knew that porn is a performance, meant for entertainment, and doesn't portray how sex happens in real life?

    Many young people don't learn about consent, nor receive helpful information about sex at all. "Research by the UK’s Sex Education Forum found that half of young people hadn’t learned about real-life scenarios(Opens in a new tab) concerning sexual consent, and over a third had been taught nothing at all regarding sexual consent," Thompson wrote. In a 2021 U.S. research paper on the prevalence of young people using porn for information on how to have sex(Opens in a new tab), 43 percent of adolescents and 45 percent of young adults said they haven't received any helpful information about how to have sex from any source in the past year.

    What if young people learned porn literacy? What if they knew that porn is a performance, meant for entertainment, and doesn't portray how sex happens in real life (just like sex scenes in mainstream movies)? What if young people had the opportunity to learn about the emotional and social as well as physical components of sex before they were sexually active?

    Misinformation abounds when entertainment (porn) is used as education. Take BDSM scenes: Porn often doesn't show the negotiation and discussion of consent(Opens in a new tab) and boundaries that happens before a session, nor the safety protocols taken, nor the aftercare. All of these are essential in the BDSM community.


    Erasing pornography and chastising people to only have sex if they "love" their partner won't rid us of bad nor unwanted sex. Providing education, however, is a big step towards better sex.

    Anti-porn tradfems

    In The Case Against the Sexual Revolution, the author makes sweeping sex-negative generalizations about what (cis, heterosexual) men and women want. Men want lots of sex, women want a single loving partner. If women want casual sex, they've been brainwashed by our sex-crazed society, in the author's view. With a whole chapter entitled, "Loveless sex is not empowering," the author shoves that point down our gullets as if it's gospel.

    The author also conflates sex work with trafficking, which is absolutely false. The former is a choice to work in the sex trade, the latter is the illegal force into it. Meanwhile, actual sex workers call for rights, not rescue(Opens in a new tab).

    Breaking news: Women can make their own decisions, even if you don't like them.

    Breaking news: Women can make their own decisions, even if you don't like them. Women can choose to become sex workers; to have loveless sex; to be choked during sex. They can even choose to watch porn: Twenty-nine percent of Pornhub viewers in the U.S. this year were women.

    The anti-porn reaction to the agency question is that women have been manipulated by porn and, I don't know, third-wave feminism. But this conservative insistence that they know better than women know themselves goes hand-in-hand with the tradwife trend

    Tradwives and tradfeminists are people, usually white women, who believe in a "traditional" Christian view of womanhood. For tradwives, a woman is subservient to a man. Her place is to provide for her husband in terms of domestic and emotional labor and sexual gratification. 

    Not only do tradwives and their supporters ignore the harsh realities for mid-century housewives, but they also ignore science: There aren't inherent differences in gender(Opens in a new tab) that make women better at housework or childcare, but men do weaponize incompetence and act as if that's true. Weaponized incompetence is when people, in this case men, claim to not know how to do something (or aren't good at it) so that the burden of the task falls onto someone else.

    In fact, weaponized incompetence is killing heterosexual women's libidos. In a recent study, an unequal division of housework was associated with lower sexual desire(Opens in a new tab) in women partnered with men. Two factors researchers observed was perceiving their partner as dependent, and perceiving the labor division as unfair. 

    Young people have less sex now than in years past. Credit: Vicky Leta / Mashable

    Bad sex, or no sex?

    The handwringing over casual sex is especially absurd considering that people, especially young adults, aren't having much sex. Twenty-six percent of American adults didn't have sex at all in 2021, as reported by the General Social Survey, an annual nationally representative survey. Recent research shows that this is an ongoing trend: Teens and young adults have sex less frequently(Opens in a new tab) now than in years past.

    Anti-porn feminists will blame porn for this. While it may be true that the ease of finding immediately gratifying sexual images can lessen the urge to want sex in real life, it's reductive to believe this is the sole reason behind the downward trend. A 2022 study on the frequency of penile-vaginal intercourse(Opens in a new tab) from 2009 to 2018 suggested numerous other reasons for this, including decreasing alcohol use, increased discussions around consent, and an increase in identification of non-heterosexual orientations, including asexuality.

    Another explanation is that they don't have the money to date or live on their own so they, like a quarter of young people, live with their parents(Opens in a new tab). Maybe it's because we're still in a pandemic(Opens in a new tab).

    SEE ALSO: How the cost of living crisis is impacting the way we date

    Or, in the case of knowledge around consent, they just don't want to have sex. Look at Gen Z "puriteens"(Opens in a new tab) who reject casual sex not for morality reasons, but for the above reasons, and/or because they don't find casual sex satisfying. (It's almost as if they have their own agency, and can make their own decisions.) 

    Is it that young people aren't having sex because "internet," or is it because we haven't equipped them with the tools to have good, healthy, satisfying sex? Is it because they were born into a world full of disasters — economic inequality, climate change — and it's no wonder they're not horny?

    Many of us older adults aren't equipped, either. We didn't get the sex education we deserved, we too treated porn as education as opposed to the stylized entertainment that it is, because we didn't know any differently. 

    Is it that young people aren't having sex because "internet," or is it because we haven't equipped them with the tools to have good, healthy, satisfying sex? Is it because they were born into a world full of disasters — economic inequality, climate change — and it's no wonder they're not horny?

    Shame spiral 

    Another missing piece on much of the discussion about bad sex — apart from The Second Circle podcast — is shame. Shame is entrenched in our culture at large and especially around sex, even if people like Emba and Perry will have you believe that we're in an "anything goes" society. 

    When you try to erase sexuality, or — in the case of religious conservatives — confine it to marital, cishetero penis-in-vagina (P-in-V) sex, desires outside of that become dirty. (It's no wonder that states in the Bible belt have higher frequencies of "porn" Google searches(Opens in a new tab).) This shame compounds if you're of a marginalized identity, say a queer person, who may have been shamed for who you are and what kind of sex you have. 

    Shame makes us feel like there's something wrong with us; it makes us want to hide. An essential component to good sex is communication, but it's difficult to voice one's desires when you've been told that they, and you, are wrong. 

    Sex is meant to be pleasurable, and there's nothing wrong with pleasure. Even with that knowledge, however, sexual shame difficult to eradicate. Education is one step, and another is talking about both shame and sex. If that's especially difficult for you, reach out to a mental health professional. You can also read and watch the recommendations below.

    How to have better sex

    Bad sex is no doubt a problem, an emblem of society's issues just like how one billionaire bought the "town square" social network and drove it into the ground. 

    Like all of society's ills, bad sex won't be solved overnight — and it certainly won't be solved by shaming people. So, how can we have better sex?

    The first step, in my opinion, is to go inward. Investigate what kind of sex you want to have, and who you want to have it with. This can be beneficial to talk to a therapist about, especially if you've experienced trauma. Once you know what you do and don't want — your desires and boundaries — talk about them with your partner.

    In case it wasn't already obvious: Expand your sexual education. Read books like Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski and Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters — And How to Get It by Laurie Mintz.

    If you're more of a visual learner, there are several sites with NSFW yet educational sexual content. One example is Beducated, a platform with deep dives into a range of sexual topics, from cunnilingus to BDSM. For BDSM and kink-focused resources, check out Zipper Magazine(Opens in a new tab).

    Mashable's sex positive weekly column Come Again has a range of guides covering everything from how to finger your partner, how to perform cunnilingus, how to give a blowjob, how to give a handjob, and comprehensive, accurate answers to questions about sexual health, sex toys, and beyond.

    If you want to learn more about porn literacy — and help alleviate shame around it — there's a free How to Watch Porn course(Opens in a new tab) by Lustery, a porn platform for real-life couples to share videos. 

    Much of the "bad sex" discussion in 2022 didn't drill down into the systemic factors of bad sex. Let's hope for deeper conversations — and better sex — in 2023.

  • How to curate your Instagram Reels to show you content you actually like


    How to curate your Instagram Reels to show you content you actually like

    Whether you consider it a feature or a bug, Instagram Reels are becoming a mainstay in our collective internet experience — another constant, droning pull to keep us online and on our phones. I've come to accept that Logging On is a distinct part of my life, but as part of my ongoing attempt to hate myself less, I've been trying to trick the Instagram Reels algorithm into serving me content that makes me feel good.

    I have decided that I no longer want to see anything on my Reels page that bums me out. This includes but is not limited to: people talking about their diets, creators doing scripted bits that are meant to appear organic, those animal abuse rescue stories, anything about productivity, things I want to buy, and news reports (sorry). I can get all of that information from other sources that offer more nuance and don't make me sad. What I do want to see on my Instagram includes: wildlife, homes in the middle of the forest, steam coming from a hot cup of coffee, people's nighttime routines, recipes for teas, cute animals, simple crafts and DIYs, OOTDs, and Reels my friends create.

    Over the past few weeks, I researched just how Instagram works(Opens in a new tab) and took steps to create the ideal Instagram Reels experience.


    Instagram describes its process of showing you Reels as such: "We first source Reels we think you might like, and then order them based on how interesting we think they are to you."

    The majority of Reels we see are from accounts we don't follow, so unfollowing people doesn't really change the kind of content you'll find under the Reels page. Instead, I skipped past videos that made me feel bad. This worked, in theory, but when my willpower deflated it was really difficult to maintain. My brain is attracted to videos that make me feel bad. We're drawn to content that makes us feel some sort of way(Opens in a new tab), and I feel a great deal of emotion when I watch something devastating. This is the exact reason people are radicalized online(Opens in a new tab). So, to remove the ability of choice, I started marking those posts as "Not Interested" and, if I really hate something, I'll mute the account entirely. According to Instagram, the platform will "do our best not to show you similar recommendations in the future" when you mark a post as "Not Interested." 

    "The most important predictions we make are how likely you are to watch a Reel all the way through, like it, say it was entertaining or funny, and go to the audio page (a proxy for whether or not you might be inspired to make your own reel)," according to an Instagram blog post(Opens in a new tab).

    Because of that, if there's a video that I think fits the general vibe I would like to curate on my Reels page, I'll watch it all the way through — whether or not I actually want to watch it all the way through. 

    The platform also puts a lot of weight behind how you engage with the content through liking and commenting on a video. I often find commenting on content from users I don't know to be a bit embarrassing, so I don't do that. But I did start liking and saving videos that I want to see more of. 

    Beyond watching the video and engaging with it, Instagram also looks at your activity, your history of interacting with the person who posted, information about the Reel, and information about the person who posted. I have no control over that last option, so I have chosen to ignore it. But I do have control over my history of interacting with the creators who post the kind of content I like. So, if I find a video I really adore while I'm scrolling through my Reels, I'll go to their profile and like a bunch of their more recent posts. 

    I also add folks to my Close Friends in order to see more of their work — which primarily works well for me because I don't really post to my Close Friends. According to Instagram, Close Friends for Stories "was designed as a way to let you share with just the people closest to you, but we will also prioritize these friends in both Feed and Stories."

    After spending more time on Instagram Reels in a week than I had in the entirety of its existence, and using all of the tools I could to direct the correct content to my page, it worked. Now, when I log on and slide over to look at Reels, I'm met with videos about rainy fall days, book recommendations, and multiple videos of ducks. This is what success looks like.

    I'm sure I'll be sad in 2023 — but I won't be able to blame the Instagram Reels algorithm.

    If you, like me, spend time skipping past videos with bad vibes, even if you're drawn to them, here's what you can do to curate a better experience: mark posts as "Not Interested" if you are not interested; watch videos all the way through when you want to be shown similar content; and engage with creators and videos that bring you joy. I promise you're going to have a better time if you follow these simple rules.

    In an ideal world, we would spend less time online. However, we do not live in an ideal world, so we can trade that for the ability to at least have a bit more control over how the content we view makes us feel. I'm sure I'll be sad in 2023 — but I won't be able to blame the Instagram Reels algorithm.

  • Rick Astley getting rickrolled was Reddits most upvoted post in 2020

    Rick Astley getting rickrolled was Reddits most upvoted post in 2020

    Listen, if the Rick get rickrolled, people are going to love it. Reddit has proof.


    According to the tech platform's Year in Review report, its most upvoted post of the year was a post from Rick Astley, singer of the now-infamous tune(Opens in a new tab) "Never Gonna Give You Up." The post itself is kind of unremarkable, if neat. It's an old photo of Astley riding a bike.

    Reddit(Opens in a new tab)

    The real reason this post was so popular was because a comment from a clever Redditor with the username theMalleableDuck(Opens in a new tab). They responded to the post with a brilliant rickroll — you know, linking to "Never Gonna Give You Up" under false pretenses — designed to rickroll Astley himself.

    "I think I might cry!!! It’s actually you," theMalleableDuck wrote. "I met you at a backstage event(Opens in a new tab) when I was 12. Seriously a big fan. I’ve seen you in concert five times."

    Reddit(Opens in a new tab)

    I'm sure you can guess where that link leads. And it worked. Astley responded with the clap emoji and later wrote, "u/theMalleableDuck(Opens in a new tab) I salute you!"

    The post, overall, received nearly 418,000 upvotes.

    Reddit's 2020 Year in Review report also touched on the all-consuming topics of the year: COVID and the election. Two of the three most awarded posts of 2020, for instance, dealt with politics.

    Reddit noted that this post(Opens in a new tab) on Joe Biden winning the 2020 election received the most awards with 10,044, followed by(Opens in a new tab) a megathread of all the different news outlets calling the race at 7,913 awards. In third, because this is Reddit after all, was a Star Wars prequel meme(Opens in a new tab) about General Grievous.

    Reddit(Opens in a new tab)
    Reddit(Opens in a new tab)

    Overall, Reddit said people used the platform quite a bit in 2020.

    According to Reddit, in 2020, it saw a total of 303.4 million posts (up 52.4 percent compared with last year), 2 billion comments (up 18.6 percent), and 49.2 billion upvotes (up 53.8 percent).

  • Lowes has a 12-foot mummy to rival the 12-foot Home Depot skeleton

    Lowes has a 12-foot mummy to rival the 12-foot Home Depot skeleton

    Halloween is not soon, but we always have time to think about Home Depot skeleton. He's tall. He's handsome(?). He's regularly restocked. And most importantly, he was a good friend during dark times — one of the only sources of happiness we had during the fall of 2020.


    It's especially important to keep him in your thoughts at this time, because he's not the only skeleton in the subdivision anymore. There's a spooky new boy on the block: the 12-foot Lowe's mummy(Opens in a new tab).

    That's right. Lowe's mummy. He's just as tall, just as imposing, and 100% more animatronic. This towering dude moves, lights up, and "makes terrifying moaning sounds"(Opens in a new tab) — his best trait by far.

    After you spend multiple hours assembling his gauze-wrapped body, he'll collapse down for "easy" storage. Or you could just leave him up all year.

    If you've got $348 to spare and you want to make everyone on your street jealous (or scared), you can get your hands on Lowe's Mummy(Opens in a new tab) now. Jim next door isn't going to know what hit him.

    (Opens in a new tab)
    Credit: Lowe's
    Haunted Living 12-Foot Lighted Animatronic Mummy (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)
    $348 at Lowe's
    (opens in a new tab) (Opens in a new tab)