The Out-of-Touch Adults' Guide to Kid Culture: Uh, an $8,000 'Curb Couch'?
This week, kids are committing crimes for likes, finding expensive couches on the street, and making heartfelt apologies for being too edgy. There's something for everyone.
The rise of "performance crimes"
Internet view-chasers and clout-hounds have invented a new category of crime: Welcome to the age of "performance crime." A performance crime is a criminal act that is committed in order to share the video on social media, whether it's people exploiting a software bug they saw on TikTok or YouTube to steal Kias, an internet "prank" that leads to a non-prank shooting, teenagers making videos of themselves walking into random houses, a YouTuber engineering a plane crash, or political CHUDS filming themselves committing treason.
While authorities all over are sounding the alarm about various permutations of the practice, it actually makes their job much easier. Gathering evidence is a snap when the criminals do it for you. For the record, "I was making a video" is not likely to prove an effective legal defense for criminal charges like "assault," "breaking and entering," or "destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation."
What's the deal with the free $8,000 street couch?
If you found a couch on the street, would you drag it home? How about if the couch was worth $8,000? This question lit up the internet this week when TokTok user @yafavv.mandaa posted a video of her once-in-a-lifetime NYC street find: this designer couch from Sacha Lakic's Bubble collection. The couch was fairly dirty, but after a deep clean, she put it in her living room like she owned the thing.
The internet of course, reacted. Some questioned whether it was actually a cheap knockoff. Some wondered why anyone would throw something like that out to begin with. But the biggest concern was also the first thing I thought of: What if it has bedbugs? The couch-finder reports that she left the sofa in her dad's warehouse for two weeks as a precaution against potential bedbugs, saying, "If there was bed bugs, we would have seen it!" But she may be mistaken, according to Jim Fredericks, senior vice president at the National Pest Management Association: "In my mind, it may not be worth the risk,"he told NPR.
Bedbugs can hide for a long time in even the most expensive couch--they can live as long as six months without feeding. While it's possible to clear bedbugs out of a piece of furniture, it's not easy, and if you don't get every one of them, they multiply, and before long, your entire life is ruined. So far, @yafavv.mandaa reports no problems with bedbugs and general satisfaction with her new couch. But who can say what horror the future will bring?
Fear on the job
Most members of Gen-Z aren't criminals, performatively or otherwise. They're law-abiding nobodies who need jobs to buy couches. They're just trying to get by in a confusing world they don't understand. Maybe that's why I found this video from TikToker @thelizjane so compelling. In it she explains that she's started a new job, and "everything I do feels so embarrassing." Like anyone at a new job, she doesn't know where anything is, or how to do anything. But unlike you or I, it seems to bother her.
It's easy to forget what that felt like. When you've had a billion shitty gigs, you get wise (or at least jaded) and realize that you should milk not knowing how anything works for as long as you can. But when you're bright-eyed and still think any of this matters, that's hard. So this is a PSA to all the crusty bastards out there to be extra-nice to anyone starting out. It's the right thing to do, and it'll pay off when they become your boss in six months.
Are you giving off "beige flags?"
We all know what red flags mean in the dating world--clear indicators that you should stay far away from someone. Green flags are easy to understand too. But have you heard of "beige flags?"
There are two definition for beige flag. On the #Beigeflag hashtag, the term describes something like a minor red flag, but one that you find oddly endearing. Examples include a boyfriend who calls suddenly ripping off tattered underwear "the grand reveal," calling your girlfriend "The King" because of her Elvis eyebrows, or simply never knowing the plan.
Coined by Caitlin MacPhail, the second definition for the term is both funnier and more useful: A person is throwing up beige flags if they're just too boring. There's nothing wrong with them exactly, but they're basic. They're mid. They're beige. Examples of beige flags are things like including "going to the gym" as a hobby on a dating profile. Or a profile that mentions The Office, being a "foodie," or "going on adventures." Those are all beige-ist of flags.
Viral video of the week: "I miss the old idubbbz"
YouTube can be a heartless place. While no single person is responsible for the uniquely coldhearted and crass culture of the world's largest video sharing site, Ian 'iDubbbz' Jomha definitely had a hand in it. But this week, the longtime culture-shaping creator issued an apology. In the widely shared video, Idubbbz said, "I have made some cruel hurtful content, and I need to acknowledge that, and I'm really sorry."
There's nothing fake-seeming about the video; this isn't a half-apology or a non-sorry. It's the real thing. "I was being very bigoted in a lot of my videos, and I justified it because I didn't think it was too serious...but casual racism is still racism. Casual bigotry is still bigotry," Idubbbz said. "It doesn't matter what my intentions were. If I'm hurting people, I'm hurting people," he added.
Many of Idubbbz's over 7 million followers loved his "content cop" series, in which he would critique other YouTube creators, often savagely, and inspire his legions of fans to wage harassment campaigns while denying that he could do anything about the hate his targets received. In keeping with his new attitude, iDubbbz delisted all those videos, and even took responsibility for what his followers had done.
iDubbbz gained popularity when the internet (and YouTube in particular) was going through a particularly "edgy" phase, but he stuck around long enough to see it pass, and also grew up enough to gain some personal insight. He's working on empathy, and if a professional edgelord bastard like Idubbbz can find redemption, maybe it's possible for any of us.