The main thing that separates kids from older people isn’t the technological divide or that kids haven’t fully internalized the inevitability of their own death. It’s that young people have so much more time on their hands than we do. The freedom from having to support themselves and clean everything leaves plenty of time to participate in a grassroots movement around a dumb kids movie, discover the benefits of “brown noise,” and eat at every damn Rainforest Cafe in North America.
Why are #gentleminions being banned from theaters?
Last week I brought you the news that kids worldwide were planning to dress in suits and dresses to see Minions: The Rise of Gru. Well, the crazy bastards actually did it. Spurred on by TikTok videos and rocking snazzy clothes, hordes of “gentleminions” attended The Rise of Gru over the weekend. They reacted enthusiastically with cheers and shouts, boosted box office returns, and posted about seven million videos to #gentleminions on TikTok to prove it happened. They even brought bananas, the minions’ favorite food.
So some kids had a good time at the movies, and a studio made a monstrous amount of dough—everyone should be happy, right? Of course not. Some theater owners, apparently angry at the influx of paying customers enjoying a film, started kicking gentleminions out of their cinemas. In some places, the police were called to roust the well-dressed ruffians. Some theaters in the UK are preemptively banning “unaccompanied children” from screenings of The Rise of Gru if they are dressed too nattily.
I’m sure some of the teens were incredibly obnoxious and ruined the nuance of Minions: The Rise of Gru for other cinephiles, but maybe people need to lighten up? At least Universal Pictures is happy. The company tweeted: “To everyone showing up to @Minions in suits: we see you and we love you.”
Brown noise takes over TikTok
I’ve heard of the “brown note” before, the mystical frequency that will make anyone hearing it empty their bowels, but brown noise is new to me. The audio trend taking over TikTok sadly has nothing to do with forcing people to shit uncontrollably. Instead, it’s similar to “white noise” played to drown out other distractions and aid sleep. The difference: white noise is made up of sounds covering a wide range of frequencies, from very low to very high. Brown noise contains only the mids and the bass, omitting high pitches entirely.
According to brown-noisers, the sound drowns out internal distractions and allows greater concentration and relaxation, particularly for people with attention deficit disorders. I was ready to dismiss the whole thing as another dumb trend, but there’s actual science to back up the benefits of white noise for people with ADHD, so it’s not that wide of a stretch to think brown noise might work too. But the real kicker came when I visited the #brownoise hashtag and played some videos. Damned if it isn’t relaxing!
Plastic wrap treehouses and ridiculous food: the online virulence of intentional incompetence
This week, a video seeming to depict a camping hack went viral on Twitter. In the clip, a woman in a wooded wilderness begins constructing a treehouse out of rolls of plastic wrap. It’s mesmerizing, but commenters almost universally pointed out all the ways this is a terrible idea: It’s expensive, wasteful, time-consuming, a suffocation risk, why not just buy a tent, and so on.
The video offers no context, but I’m pretty sure an incredulous response is the point, and that no one actually thinks it’s a good idea to build a plastic wrap construction in nature. You’re supposed to comment “this is the dumbest thing ever” before sharing it on your feed. It joins “food that no one would ever make or eat” and “life hacks no one would ever use” in that sub-sub-genre of demonstrations of purposeful incompetence, like this guy’s cat food in aspic recipe, these dumb life hacks, and a lot of 5-minute crafts content (although they might not be doing it on purpose.) I’m sure nothing like that has ever been posted on Lifehacker.com…
Viral video of the week: I Drove to Every Rainforest Cafe in North America
I love travel documentaries, pointless challenges, and pop culture ephemera that should be gone but somehow survives. This week’s viral video has them all. In “I Drove to Every Rainforest Cafe in North America,” YouTuber Ted Nivision and his partner Eddy Burback do just that. They drive nearly 10,000 miles to visit malls from California to New Jersey to Canada, just to soak in the inexplicable vibe of the Rainforest Cafe, where the animals are animatronic, the food is mediocre, and there’s an indoor thunderstorm every 22 minutes.
The chain was founded in 1994, in the midst of the themed restaurant craze, and somehow it’s still alive, unlike shuttered bad-food-ideas The Fashion Cafe, Mars 2112, Dive! (Steven Spielberg’s submarine themed restaurant chain), and WWF New York (a restaurant about professional wrestling). Sadly, the writing may be on the wall for the Rainforest Cafe. There were once 34 locations in the US, but only 17 remain, so don’t put off a visit.
This video is one of those projects that divides people into two groups: Those who say, “But why would you do that?” and those who say, “Why would you do anything else?” I’m fully in the second camp, because as Nivision put it: “It is the stupidest, most ridiculous restaurant to exist, and I love it so much.”