"Positivity" never sounded so contentious
Everyone knows that it's a good and positive thing to find positivity and goodness in the world.
But not everyone is a visionary, once-in-a-generation genius capable of producing groundbreaking music, religious revival, and weird-looking shoes. If we were, then we would have come up with the party game—or "bored" game, as West punned—that Kanye and family showcased on this weekend's episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The good news is, you don't have to be Kanye West, or even to know Kanye West, to play this game with your own loved ones.
The rules are simple. Keep your pockets stuffed with pocket dictionaries so that, when the mood strikes, you can produce and distribute said dictionaries to everyone who wants to play. The only other equipment you need to play is a heart full of love and a highlighter. Pick a page in the dictionary and have everyone flip to that page together. Now take a minute to go through that page in silence, everyone highlighting the words they think are "positive." Once everyone is done highlighting, it's time to convene and discuss your results with the group.
This is where the magic happens. Did everyone highlight "precious," but only one person highlighted "precarious?" Why did they do that? Do they not know how the game works, or do they not know what that word means? If they don't know what that word means, why didn't they just read the definition? More importantly, who the hell highlighted MAGA? There are no wrong answers, but they need to explain why they think something that no one agrees with.
As Kanye says, "This always sparks these kinds of conversations." "These kind of conversations" being disagreements about whether "barter" is technically positive, since it "could also introduce so many negative things," and an insistent request for an explanation of why Kim highlighted "basic"—"You're not wrong or right, I just want to know why."
Thrilling. This is not the first time Kanye has espoused the wonders of reading the dictionary. Apparently he uses this exercise to assist in the song-writing process for his Sunday services. And now that you know how to play at home, you and the people you love can unlock your own religious muses by debating the emotional value of words such as "tedious," "hector," and "discord."
My only issue with the game as demonstrated is the fact that not even one member of the group highlighted "barrel." Do they have any idea how useful barrels have been to human civilization?! Do they hate beer, and wine, and oil, and basically the entire history of seafaring? Don't they know the philosophical teachings of Diogenes the Cynic? Do they have some kind of issue with the cooper community? Or maybe they're just a bunch of morons who wouldn't know true positivity if it bit them on the ass!
Pictured: Me in my room
I don't even want to play this game anymore! Not with that bunch of jerks! I'm going to my room!
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Protest music aside, there is a slew of good underground music out today
An invigorating slew of protest music hit the shelves today.
Detroit-based emcee Tee Grizzley collaborated with Queen Naija and the Detroit Youth Choir to craft a melodic ballad that attempts to open up a dialogue with police. Meanwhile, alt-Jazz pioneer Terrace Martin took a different approach in his collaboration with Denzel Curry, Daylyt, G Perico, and Kamasi Washington, with "Pigs Feet" being more of an angry f*ck you than an attempt at communication.
Get One Now Before it Brings on Armageddon
Last night, after work, I walked down to the Popeye's in midtown Manhattan, with a faint hope that I might be able to get in on the chicken sandwich hysteria.
Their infamous sandwich has finally returned after being sold out in an unprecedented frenzy this summer. Whatever food-science voodoo they're doing in their corporate labs has burrowed into America's cultural brain and laid eggs in the structure responsible for lifting one eyebrow skeptically and muttering, "It's just a f*cking sandwich…"
With one new item on their menu, Popeye's has cemented itself as a major player in fast food and dealt a major blow to the evil empire of Chik-Fil-A. FOMO has taken over. People are literally dying and killing for these sandwiches. None of us wants to miss out on the latest sensation in mass-produced dining, and that includes me. As much as I'd like to point to journalistic motives for making the trek, I really wanted to try this sandwich, and I was really disappointed when I found that a line of 40 people had formed…despite the fact that the sandwich already sold out.
I was not optimistic that my commute home would offer better prospects, but I was in luck. Deep in Queens, not only was the line reduced to a more modest 30 people and moving at a rapid pace, but there were plenty of sandwiches to go around. At the front of the line, three cashiers were in constant motion to keep the customers and their sandwiches flowing. They had gotten their methods down to an assembly-line science that resulted in me receiving three sandwiches, two biscuits, and a side of coleslaw within two minutes of placing my order.
A very tasty sandwich
As happy as I was to be in and out so quickly, none of this seemed like a good sign for the sandwich itself. How could any sandwich assembled in such a systematized way—sold by the thousands for four dollars a pop—deliver on the hype that this one had been receiving? I was expecting disappointment. I was expecting a soggy, sloppy, luke-warm mess. Still, I wanted to give it a proper chance. I wasn't going to wait until I got home while sauce and steam were compromising the breading, soaking into the bun. I unwrapped and bit into the first sandwich a few steps from Popeye's entrance. It was…orgasmic.
Or at least, you know, really tasty. There's no use denying the truth that Popeye's has achieved a fast-food miracle. Something so affordable has no business being this good. I've had better sandwiches now and then, but not without spending three times as much, and even then, it's been noteworthy. But Popeye's breading is crisp and flaky, without a hint of grease. The brioche bun is soft and slightly sweet, meat is juicy and tender, full of subtle flavors brought out by the mayo, with just the right amount of salt and crunch from the pickles.
Having eaten one, the insane response it has received suddenly becomes the most obvious and predictable part of the story. It is undoubtedly overhyped, but only in the way that puppies are overhyped—because there is no sandwich and no baby animal that can fill the tremendous void in your life…but it can sure feel that way for a few minutes. The real issue is not that the sandwich is overhyped, it's that the sandwich exposes what might be the most destructive force in our society: FOMO is going to kill us all.
Nice try, McNobodiesGetty Images
How much waste and human misery is spreading out from Popeye's new sandwich and the ravening masses of us that are lining up for it? How many new franchises will open to tap into the demand? The transitory hyper-focus of internet culture has bled into literal meatspace. It's the "OK, boomer" of franchise dining, the "Gangnam Style" of foods. A meal—a physical, edible object—has somehow been memeified and gone viral, resulting in new heights of employee exploitation, untold expenditures for production, shipping, and processing, and what must be a pretty slim profit margin at this price point. People will inevitably compare it to the McRib, but that sandwich is a seasonal blip compared to this. This is a true game changer for fast food—to be followed by so many failed attempts to recreate it and a restructuring of business models to maximize the potential for this sort of craze.
Even if we know we're being played…we really won't want to miss out on what everyone is talking about. And to maximize on that impulse, whatever everyone is talking about will have to be cheap, ubiquitous, and available right f*cking now. Food heightens the FOMO phenomenon, because food is universal, but the same pressures are there for fashion, electronics, cosmetics. It's the iPhone 11, New Era caps, and Kylie Lip Kits. It's a new Black Friday every week, and if you don't go line up now, you are already falling behind.
If you haven't already tried this sandwich, you are Chris Kirkpatrick's paisley bucket hat WireImage
So how do we counter the disease of hyper-consumption when consumption is the currency of our culture? If you have to consume to participate in the moment—and you absolutely have to participate in the moment—how do we save the planet? In a civilization where people will wait in line and fight and die before they miss out on the new sandwich everyone is talking about, the planet doesn't stand a chance.
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