Photo: Bob Riha Jr / Contributor (Getty Images)
It’s a hodgepodge of young-people trendlets this week. I’m looking at the surprising reemergence of a slightly mysteriously 90s singer-songwriter, an innovative use for “deep-fake” voices, and the popular “de-influencing” trend, in which online viewers are urged to not buy things.
“Enyacore” is taking over—but what is it?
Are you old enough to remember Enya? The Irish singer-songwriter had a hit in 1989 with her ethereal anthem “Orinoco Flow” and continued dropping whispy, nearly-new-age tunes like “Only Time” into the 1990s. Lately, the kids are connecting with her music and style in a big way. Enya is joining Kate Bush and Fleetwood Mac in the pantheon of older, slightly gothy icons that TikTok is vibing on. “Enyacore” is all about billowy sleeves, velvet, and a cool, dreamy, almost Ren-Faire vibe. It’s related to “whimsigoth” but a bit more mature. Enya, like Kate Bush, doesn’t tour. Her real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin. She lives in the castle by the sea pictured above—so it’s that kind of vibe: aloof, artistic, careful, and highbrow. I can only hope that the kids will rediscover the Cocteau Twins next. They’re like Enya with tougher guitars.
Meme of the week: Presidents playing video games
The deployment of artificial intelligence in the form of “deep-fakes” has the potential to undermine our democracy by destroying any possibility of verifying anything that anyone has ever said, done, or experienced, but in the meantime, you can make some really funny TikTok videos with it! In honor of President’s Day weekend, let me share the latest video-meme-template coming up: Footage of U.S. presidents playing video games with each other, complete with AI voices that sound scarily accurate and lifelike. You got Obama popping in early Drake to play Modern Warfare 2, Trump chiding Biden for wasting all his time shooting down balloons, and even George W. showing up with a jet to provide overwhelming firepower no one asked for. I’m glad the kids are out there using their free speech while they still have it.
The perils of breaking up online
The ending of romantic relationships has always been complicated, but when the couple on the rocks are very-online influencers, things get infinitely worse. Félix Lengyel (@xQc) and Samantha Lopez (@AdeptTheBest) are streamers, and they got together in 2017. The next year, they broke the news to the people who matter most: their millions of followers on Twitch. From there, the ups-and-downs of their relatively tumultuous relationship inspired fans to dissect and comment upon them endlessly. But now they’re breaking up, and it’s getting worse. There’s a court case where their marital status is at issue (are they common-law married?) and the monetary fallout and various gag orders are being hashed out by the legal system.
All of this would be difficult and sad if it was private, but these two are (sort of) public figures, so the court documents—and old videos—are being pored over by fans. Everyone is offering their opinions, taking sides, and sending death threats (of course) over matters that are not their business. Celebrity break-ups are nothing new, but hiring a PR person to explain things to the tabloid press seems quaint compared to breaking up when your fans are right there in front of you, all the time, and your fame is based on interacting with them. In other words, it’s a mess.
“De-influencers” advising TikTokers to not spend money
Given the number of videos on TikTok that exist to market products in a slightly underhanded way, “de-influencing” is a welcome trend. These are videos, usually in the makeup and self-care space, in which creators tell people what products not to buy, whether it’s because they’re too expensive, low quality, or they suck in some other way. The “deinfluencing” hashtag has over 179 million views, and is full of videos like this one, in which various TikTok-trendy products are eviscerated, and this one, that offers alternatives to Dior products that won’t empty your wallet.
“What we often see in marketing, which is deeply integrated with pop culture, is a constant pendulum of trend and counter trend; an ebb and flow such that when one consumer sentiment goes extreme, there’s a natural course correction to move the other way and towards the ‘middle,’” Wharton School professor Americus Reed II told Huffington Post.
Viral video of the week: How Does The Sidewinder Missile Work?
If you’ve been following the news recently, you’re aware that an American F-16 jet shot down—something—over Lake Huron with a sidewinder missile. If you were asking, “What actually is a sidewinder missile? How does it work? Why did we need two of them to shoot down whatever we shot down?” Luckily, YouTuber SmarterEveryDay has the answers for you. Some of them, anyway. In How Does The Sidewinder Missile Work?, we get a look at the incredibly expensive missile systems we’re paying for, with details on how its gyroscopic guidance system works, how it’s launched, how it explodes, and more. Sadly, this YouTuber does not provide any details on what was flying in the air that we needed to blow up with a couple of $400,000 missiles, so I’ll go ahead and assume “enemy spacecraft” until I learn otherwise.