This newsletter is presented unedited in solidarity with people who had surgeries cancelled so your weird neighbour can pretend he is a victim of Nazis trying to save his life with a vaccine.
I was reminded this week about the time I went feral.
Junior high is a bad time! Everyone is temporarily brain-drunk as their body tells them to scream and grope and ~society~ suggests that assault is bad. I wasn’t immune, but I do remember a point in grade eight where, in the back of a Language Arts (ugh) classroom watching my cohort of hooting apes swing from the proverbial rafters, I sigh-chuckled and said to myself “oh wow this is really fucking bad”. We were uncontrollable! Anyone who teaches junior high should get medals and bullion. I can’t think of a worse job, abattoir positions included. At least there the beasts come tamed.
A post on a bad website reminded me that tweens still exist and they’re broadcasting their exploits. I remember being sociopathic, sans frontal lobe. I also remember being aware enough that in 2021 I would know that youth were making fat stacks becoming notorious assholes on YouTube and TikTok. When the former purged Daily Show clips and started profit sharing with content creators I don’t know what we expected. A cornerstone of North American entertainment is doing dumb shit to people in public, from the benign Francophonie of Just For Laughs Gags to the inspired misanthropy of Beat Kids, we love to watch smirking dickheads get reactions out of unsuspecting John Q. Public (et Publique). Also nut shots. We love to see guys get kicked in their twiddleberries.
The post I read was from a tired sounding bus driver lamenting that normal tween unpleasantness was experiencing a high-level buff in the form of TikTok production. I flashed back to the various indignities visited upon bus drivers in my day, back when 9/11 was a number you called for help and not blah blah 9/11 joke blah blah. It was bad and I can only imagine the stakes now.
I remember teachers saying that precocious teens writing board books and YA novels were all the rage, the marketing built in when a wunderkind produces grist for the money mill. You should do one, they said. Reap the rewards. It was a good idea! Kids aren’t stupid, and today they know that banking a few hundred thousand followers on these platforms can be turned into a healthy revenue stream for whatever they end up doing later. They see a hype house and say “yes, okay, me too, what do I have to do” and sometimes the market says pour a can of pork and beans on the head of a guy driving 60 kids in a bus to school at 50 km/h down residential roads. Wealth is forever! Evaluation of motor vehicle danger is for suckers! And fuck it, if you keep rolling the footage of the resulting rollover is probably good enough for a couple hundred follows.
A lot of things scare me about my kids living as rough cyborgs but none as much as the profit incentive now undergirding their adolescence. Advising them against posting their shit and getting the bag also seems borderline harmful. If your goal is to set your kids up for success in 2021 North America and they find a non-criminal source of insane, relatively easy wealth, how can a parent arm them with information? Sorry Susie, I know Fenty is sending the sponcon cheques but you should rebuff them, toil at post-secondary and plunge yourself into an uncertain employment market for fractions of the pay. It’s the right thing to do. I know little Bobby just paid for his full ride to Northwestern by kickflipping over a toddler and setting the video to “Bang the Gong” but you should hit the books and do the hard thing. That’s a hard sell.
Squeezing cash out of youth isn’t new but I don’t know that it’s felt this accessible. So long as billions follow thousands because they do stupid shit online we’ll reward the dumbest in our society, and they’re not dumb by choice, just vintage. Their audiences can, properly managed, float their lifestyle for decades. It’s a gold rush and all we have to offer in competition is black lung in the old shitty job mines while the early waves in the YouKon pull nuggets. Then they pull MORE NUGGETS posting the video of them nugget pulling, and then one more nugget doing a reaction video to the nugget pulling video. Game over, capital wins, B A B A L I T Y.
🦒Nobody is ever punished for anything.
🌪The NDP didn’t win the election for some reason.
🫒Man with tiny face makes lateral career move.
🏵A pandemic won’t stop this government from taking a shot at organizations that cater to immigrants.
🏎Starbucks can eat my pumpkin spiced butt.
⛱Saskatchewan determined to lead country in dumb court cases.
⛩Man owns wife, makes sure a nurse knows it because Joe Rogan told him stupid things, probably.
🧲The damned English can’t make soft drinks because they don’t have enough CO2 because they can’t make fertilizer because natural gas is too expensive so everyone is getting a bailout and wait what now
📚McDonalds can eat my McButt.
📌Trickle down economics is real, actually.
♏️Manager is a fake job and everyone knows it now.
🆓If you’re reading this on September 23 you might still be able to get a free digital edition of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney by clicking here.
📉Paris takes us through the union drive at Amazon in Canada on Tech Won’t Save Us.
🎧The Progress Report takes on the history of Muslims in the West, a compact little topic.
🔇Frog Corner (my new cool nickname patent pending) takes us through a dogshit time to be Albertan.
🎚️My podcast colleagues explain why IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.