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Youth pop culture has its peaks and valleys, and this week is a definite valley. Maybe it’s because so many school-aged people are studying for finals, or maybe everyone is glued to the Jan. 6 congressional hearings, but not much seems to be happening out there in young people culture. Come on, Youth of America, entertain me with scandals, dangerous TikTok challenges, and impossibly complex memes, already! Here’s what’s going on during this slow week.

Johnny Depp joins TikTok

Fresh from his civil court victory against actress Amber Heard, Johnny Depp has started TikToking. So far, the Pirates of the Caribbean star has only posted a single video, in which we see him riding around in a car and jamming with his (certainly absolutely terrible) rock band.

“To all of my most treasured, loyal and unwavering supporters. We’ve been everywhere together,” Depp wrote in his video description. “We did the right thing together, all because you cared. And now, we will all move forward together. You are, as always, my employers and once again I am whittled down to no way to say thank you, other than just by saying thank you. So, thank you.” So far over 12 million people have subscribed to Depp’s feed. Because it’s so compelling.

Hulu’s Pistol is great

There probably aren’t too many teenagers addicted to Hulu’s Sex Pistols mini-series Pistol, but maybe there should be. While the specific story of the chaotic rise and fall of an extremely dysfunctional rock band from a million years ago probably won’t matter to them, Pistol’s portrayal of the futile beauty of youthful rebellion is timeless and meaningful, even if you never dyed your hair purple or stuck a safety pin through your nose. So introduce older younger people (punk rock involved nudity, swearing, and violence) to the young blades of the past. Just don’t show them what the surviving Sex Pistols look like now; that shit’s more depressing than a 1970s London housing block.

Kids: Are they fucking stupid?

Adults, especially childless ones, often forget just how stupid children are. It’s really the key to understanding them. The subreddit r/kidsarefuckingstupid, provides irrefutable evidence. The never-ending stream of childhood stupidity posted includes kids who fall for transparent bandwagon advertising, a kid who eats an onion after being repeatedly warned not to, and glorious comment chains like this one, which includes three examples of outstanding dumbness from our nation’s youth. Unlike many online “look at those people” hubs, this reddit hive is generally affectionate—because while kids are stupid, they aren’t mean-spirited (usually), and sometimes the stupidity comes from such a magical place you wish adults were a little less smart.

Who is Graggle Simpson?

I love the way anyone can use simple tools and their imagination to reimagine fictional universes, from the internet’s venerable “fan fiction” tradition, to the strange story of Graggle Simpson. If you’re not a huge Simpsons fan, Graggle was only recently added to the series. Most viewers hate him, but he is being inserted digitally into older Simpsons episodes, outraging fans. Or maybe his name is “Gumbly” and he was an unpopular early character who disappeared and is now being shoved into current episodes? Either way, Graggle/Gumbly Simpson isn’t actually in any Simpsons episodes. He was created by the internet, but his popularity is growing anyway, as fans create their own screenshots as proof and share memories of their favorite Graggle moments. Graggle even made it into The Simpsons Hit & Run video game! I can’t decide if the real Simpsons putting him in an episode would be awesome or terrible, though.

TikTok asks: Is gas losing its smell?

Not long ago, a user called yungvec made an interesting observation on TikTok: He can’t smell the gas at the gas station anymore. The video started spreading, and many others users reported the same phenomenon. There are two main theories: Either the government is changing the makeup of gasoline to make it less efficient and thus make more money, or many more people have lost their sense of smell from COVID. While the government actually is changing the amount of ethanol in gasoline (but to lower, not raise, its price), and there might actually be more COVID cases than we know about it, I’d like to propose a third theory: Gas pump technology has improved, so less gas fumes escape now, leading to less odor.

Viral video of the week: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II

Folks are very interested in the new trailer for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: Over 23 million people have watched it so far, after just two days online. But the trailer isn’t the only content out there: You can also watch more than 7 minutes of gameplay footage from a level called “Dark Water” involving a tense mission on an oil platform with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II comes out Oct. 28 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. Hey, that’s just in time for the holiday shopping season! Put it on your lists, kids.





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