Life is pretty stressful right now, and if you're like much of the rest of the world, you've turned to the Internet for solace.
Some of us find escape in video calls and games, others in Netflix and music, others in endless scrolling. But if you're looking for a new, relaxing, visually stimulating way to ease your frayed nerves, perhaps consider watching videos of slime, soap-cutting, or any other form of "oddly satisfying" content.
The world of "oddly satisfying" content is large and undefinable. There are thousands of different types of content optimized to satisfy and relax you—from ASMR to binaural beats to zit-popping, the list goes on and on. The Reddit thread "oddly satisfying" is a hotbed of these types of posts, as are YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
For the purposes of this article, we'll stay away from auditory ASMR, instead focusing purely on visual content. This is your invitation into the safe, magical, fanciful world of colorful paint, billowing slime, and deliciously skilled workers doing their jobs well.
The New Mini Cheetah Robots From MIT Are Just the Latest Sign
Footage of MIT's new Mini Cheetah robots doing backflips, moving in formation, and jumping out of hiding places set Twitter off with a fresh round of comparisons to the horrifying Black Mirror episode "Metalhead."
Similar comparisons seem to crop up any time MIT or Boston Dynamics releases new footage of their competing quadruped robots, but that doesn't mean that the comparisons aren't apt. Honestly, they could hardly be…apter. Look at the way they move! That faceless, predatory flow. They're nightmarish, no matter what their creators want us to believe.
No, the parallels to Black Mirror are not in your head. Reality is slowly melting into that show, and we all need to be prepared for it. Here are some tips for surviving the awful future that show is inflicting on us.
Don't Slip Up
This is a recurring theme in episodes like "Crocodile," "Nosedive," "The Entire History of You," and "Shut up and Dance" Characters are swallowed up by the immutable record of events in a world where every moment is recorded and preserved. This obviously includes people being canceled for dredged-up old tweets, but it also covers the panopticon of corporate and government surveillance: the NSA is recording every phone call, Facebook is recording all your browsing, and those smart devices that make your life so much more convenient are also recording everything you say and everywhere you go. You cannot escape detection, so you might as well just behave. I would say something about George Orwell, but I don't know who might be reading this…
Don't Bother Fighting Back
You can't stop the coming change, and if you resist it, your efforts to change or break the system will just be absorbed by the system and used to make it even stronger. We can see this phenomenon in the Black Mirror episode "Fifteen Million Merits," in which Daniel Kaluuya goes to incredible lengths just to speak and be heard. To take over a platform where he can say what he really thinks about the crushing, alienating system he's trapped in, along with everyone else he knows.
And what he says when he finally has his chance is so raw, so impassioned and real…that the powers that be decide to give him a job placating the populace with his cathartic rants. Likewise, if you want to protest police violence, or homophobia, or environmental devastation, don't be surprised if the forces of the status quo latch onto the symbolic power of your protest and turn it into an advertisement.
Let Yourself Grieve
With all the holograms of dead musicians, AI chatbots that mimic dead loved ones, and the new movie starring "James Dean," it's easy to get confused and think that you don't really need to let go—that death isn't final. But the Black Mirror episode "Be Right Back," taught us the importance of moving on. Those simulations will never replace the people we're bound to lose as this futuristic sci-fi hell-world descends upon us. Domhnall Gleason cannot be replaced by a robot, no matter how good that robot's impression is! And that fake James Dean is definitely going to be off-putting and creepy.
Don't Piss Off the Robot Dogs
Have you seen that episode?! Have you seen the new video?! Those bastards are terrifying! F*ck the teddy bear! In fact, stay out of warehouses altogether. Better just to stay locked in your room, playing video games until your brain melts.
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Gender identity is complicated. But no matter if a person identifies as "genderfluid," "genderqueer," or "non-binary," we all watch too much TV.
Public fascination with the British Royal Family inspires Internet fodder ranging from how royal titles are defined to whether or not Meghan Markle ate a pigeon in Morocco.
Recently, at the Duchess' baby shower in New York, she shared that she and Prince Harry plan to raise their child with a "fluid approach to gender" so as to avoid "imposing any stereotypes." Aside from choosing gender-neutral colors for their nursery (they chose white and gray, if you care to know), the couple can take advice from a slew of other celebrity parents raising their children to be gender-neutral. Will Smith, Bryce Dallas Howard, Adele, and Pink have all advocated letting children choose their own gender expression, from clothing and haircut to hobbies and pronouns.
Admittedly, gender identity becomes a quagmire once we acknowledge that gender is a spectrum, with varied experiences being assigned their own terms. More confusing is the fact that many definitions are written by and for social scientists rather than the general public. One large umbrella term is "genderqueer," defined as "a gender which is neither male nor female and may identify as both male and female at one time, as different genders at different times, as no gender at all, or dispute the very idea of only two genders."
No matter if a person identifies as "genderfluid," "genderqueer," or "non-binary," the main message is that two categories of only male and female don't fit everybody. But we might be more familiar with this concept than we think. Here are five genderfluid TV characters you might recognize:
1.Taylor Mason - Billions (Showtime)
Asia Kate Dillon on ShowtimeShowtime
Actor Asia Kate Dillon (Orange Is the New Black) is vocal about her own non-binary identity. After accepting the part of the first non-binary character in American TV, Dillon was nominated for a Critics' Choice Award for best supporting actor. The 33-year-old actor notes, "Sometimes you have to see the thing to know that it exists. Maybe there's a queer person in a town but they don't feel comfortable or safe coming out, frankly, and the only representation they feel that they have or connection they have is on television or in a movie, and that's really powerful."
2. Susie Putnam - Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
Lachlan Watson as Susie PutnamTeen Vogue
Lachlan Watson is the non-binary actor who plays Susie Putnam. Watson told Teen Vogue, "I think that [Susie being a trans man] was originally the concept for the character, but I think in bringing me on board and having me talk about my own identity, I think it may have swayed the writers just a little bit to maybe hold off on labeling or defining [Susie] just yet." The 17-year-old added, "I think that's been very nice to be able to almost tell my own story through Susie a little bit."
3. Yael Baron - Degrassi: Next Class (Netflix)
Jamie Bloch as Yael on DegrassiNetflix
Played by Jamie Bloch, Yael Baron comes out as non-binary in season 4. Bloch is not non-binary herself, but the show's executive producer Stephen Stohn spoke about the show's interest in gender fluidity to EW: "It's an ongoing story. We've seen it in America… With [more] people coming out as transgender, the whole discussion has really changed over the years and there's confusion out there about what [being gender fluid] is. And not just it, there's a whole bunch of different variations. The scene I actually like the most is not one that Yael is in. It's one where all their friends are expressing their own confusion about their gender: "Do I say 'they'? Or do I not say 'they'?" And they're using the terms incorrectly and they're sort of correcting each other. That's the way we and our young audiences all are. We know there's something out there that's different and we want to be supportive. But we can get confused about it."
4. Sam - Vida (Starz)
Michelle Badillo plays Sam on VidaIMDB
Vida's creator and showrunner is proud that the series features four queer women. She told Vulture, "This is our chance to have a femme queer girl have sex with a nonbinary, gender nonconforming person and see what that looks like." She praised the role of Sam, played by Michelle Badillo, "When you first see Sam, you don't know if they're male or female, and then we see the breasts, and then we see them be on bottom — not on top, like you would think. All of these moments were workshopped and everyone went around the room and shared their experiences. It was a lively few days making it as authentic as possible."
5. Sadie - Good Girls (NBC)
Izzy Stannard plays Sadie NBC
Jenna Bans, the show's creator, originally wrote the role of Sadie as a boy named Ben. At the casting director's suggestion, they chose Izzy Stannard for the part, a young actor who identified as female at the time of casting. Shortly after filming began, Stannard clarified that he identified as a boy. Bans told Variety, "We realized we had a really great opportunity to tell a story about a character who was gender non-conforming, but at the same time not necessarily have that be what leads the story." Instead, Sadie's storyline revolve around Sadie and her mother (Mae Whitman). "We liked the idea that the character of Sadie was exploring her gender [expression] in the show," Bans said, "but I think what we responded to more was that the Mae Whitman's character just couldn't care less."
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JUNE 22ND-24TH | What's Coming to Theaters this Weekend?
They roamed the Earth once and now they're back again in a big box office sequel.
In Popdust's column, Box Office Breakdown, we aim to inform you of the top flicks to check out every weekend depending on what you're in the mood to enjoy. Looking to laugh? What about having your pants scared off? Maybe you just need a little love? Whatever the case may be, we have you covered. Take a peek at our top picks for this week…
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