Each week one of Popdust's disposable clones — grown in a vault deep beneath the Mojave desert — is exposed to the outside world through a relentless feed of news, pop culture, and social media.

The arduous process accelerates their dissolution back into an amorphous clone slurry. But before they go, they leave behind a document of what they've absorbed and what they've learned — a time capsule preserving a single moment in the slow-motion collapse of civilization. We call these End Times Updates...

End Times Update 5/7/21: Dogecoin, J.Cole, and Caitlyn Jenner www.youtube.com

Transcript: [Clone]: Oh hi! Welcome to another End Times Update, presented by Popdust. I'll be your clone host for this week, Sir Shh! Ronin.

Unfortunately, as a defective clone, my actual appearance would be far too disturbing, which is why I'm being depicted by the alien from Contact, being depicted by Jodie Foster's father, being depicted by actor David Morse. Okay, maybe just one quick shot… Did you catch the little bit of brain popping out of my nose?

As always, we'll be sifting through the week's news, pop culture, and social media to pick out the latest indicators of global dissolution. So, if you find yourself overwhelmed at any point by, you know, the onrush of mankind's inevitable downfall, just pause the video…long enough to smash that like button! And don't forget to subscribe for more existential dread.

This week has been chock full of sinister omens and disturbing portents. But where better to start than with Ben Affleck?

[Ben Affleck]: We were awaiting your arrival.

TikTok star Nivine Jay shared a video message that the Gone Girl actor sent her after she unmatched him on celebrity dating app Raya -- believing that he was a catfish. While Jay claimed that she was embarrassed by her mistake, and didn't find Affleck's message creepy, other people, uh...watched the video.

[Music]

[Ben Affleck]: Nivine, why did you unmatch me? It's me.

[Clone]: People who found it creepy may also have been informed by Affleck's documented history of groping women.

In financial news, this week the joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin, surpassed a 50 cent per DOGE price, up more than 200 times from a year. This puts the total value of Dogecoin around 60 billion dollars.

Spurred on by memes and hype promoted by the likes of Elon Musk, there's no telling how high the currency's value might climb. Especially after the Tesla CEO -- AKA the Dogefather -- appears on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

In the world of music, this week rapper J. Cole announced his forthcoming album, The Off-Season, and on Friday shared the first track entitled "I n t e r l u d e".

[J. Cole]: I be comin' in peace, but **** me. Best beware of the others. This s*** deep, undercovers creep. This Southern heat make unbearable summers

J. Cole - i n t e r l u d e (Official Audio) www.youtube.com

[Clone]: The hosts for this year's Met Gala were also announced this week. Widely recognized as the fanciest, most fashionable party in New York, the event will be helmed by an all-star crew of up-and-coming talents, with Call Me By Your Name actor Timothée Chalamet, Tennis Champion Naomi Osaka, inauguration poet Amanda Gorman, and "Bad Guy" singer Billie Eilish.

In political news, this week has been especially eventful for California Republican candidate for governor Caitlyn Jenner. Perhaps the most famous trans woman in the world -- because Laverne Cox, the Wachowski sisters, and about a million other trans women are badly underrated -- Jenner was once an Olympic champion decathlete known as the greatest athlete on Earth.

So it's only natural that people would want to know her opinion on the controversy that has recently been drummed up about trans girls competing in sports.

[Caitlyn Jenner]: This is a question of fairness. That's why I oppose biological boys who are trans competing in girls' sport in school. It just isn't fair, and we have to protect girls' sports in our schools.

[TMZ reporter]: But if someone transitions and now identifies as a girl, isn't it delegitimizing their identity to prevent them --

[Caitlyn Jenner]: Have a good day.

[Clone]: In 2015 Jenner received ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award for coming out as a trans woman. But that's nothing compared to the courage of her latest stance, especially considering that Jenner herself has competed in women's golf tournaments, and also said this while receiving that award:

[Caitlyn Jenner]: I also want to acknowledge all the young trans athletes who are out there, given the chance to play sports as who they really are.

[Clone]: Whoops…

Another fun campaign trail highlight involved Jenner's appearance on Fox News' Hannity, where she made it clear why she's running for governor, championing the plight of California's beleaguered private plane owners, beset on all sides by the oppressive institutional power of, uh… homeless people.

[Caitlyn Jenner]: My friends are leaving California. Actually, we're -- my hangar, the guy across [unintelligible] airplane, he was packing up his hangar, I said, "Where are you going?" And he says, "I'm moving to Sedona, Arizona. I can't take it here anymore. I can't walk down the street and see the homeless."

[Clone]: Okay then…

Well, that does it for this week. If the world survives longer than I do, we'll send another clone with more updates. Until then, byyyyyyye...

TV

Why Women In Sports Need #WomenInSports

This is what it is to be one of the #WomenInSports: It is a duality of being pushed down and lifted up solely because of our gender.

Erin Andrews, Joy Taylor, Jourdan Rodrigue and Jessica Kleinschmidt illustrate the experiences women face in the sports industry.

On December 2nd, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers played against one another in a rugged divisional matchup. Millions of Americans tuned in as announcer Cris Collinsworth intended to pay a compliment to an impressive group of Steelers fans he met. They just so happened to be women.

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This past Monday, a panel of physicians for the WNBA denied Elena Delle Donne, of the Washington Mystics, her health exemption request to sit out this season inside the Florida bubble, despite her being at high risk for health complications due to her Lyme Disease.

Delle Donne published an emotional essay for The Players' Tribune in which she opens up about her battle with chronic Lyme disease and her feelings of betrayal by the league that she cares for tremendously.

Elena Delle Donne was diagnosed with Lyme Disease 12 years ago. Although Lyme is usually treated and cured within a few weeks, some people, like Elena, suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). Although little is known about what causes PTLDS, it is known to trigger an auto-immune response. For someone like Delle Donne, even the common cold could turn into something far more lethal.

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TV Features

Can We Talk About Michael Jordan Being a Jerk?

Maybe y'all aren't ready for that conversation.

Being the most famous man in the world is hard.

You can't leave your hotel without being swarmed by fans, your every action is analyzed and often criticized, and you're made into a role model you never asked to be. In the 80's and 90's, this was Michael Jordan's reality. At the height of his famous winning streak with the Chicago Bulls, his image was plastered on billboards, TV ads, and sneakers. He was, definitively, the man who changed professional basketball forever and while doing so, he was among the most recognizable and talked about people in the world. Netflix's new docuseries The Last Dance has made all of this abundantly clear. But its also made something else clear: The Michael Jordan of that era was not a kind or compassionate man. In fact, he was arrogant, often selfish, and even cruel to his teammates.

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CULTURE

Dwyane Wade Opens Up About Parenting a Transgender Child

The NBA star visited The Ellen DeGeneres Show to share his experience raising a teen in the LGBTQ+ community.

Dwyane Wade might be best known for his work on the court, but he's also gaining popularity for being a stellar ally to the LGBTQ+ community.

The NBA star caused a buzz late last year when he began referring to his 12-year-old child with she/her pronouns. During a recent visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show to promote his new ESPN documentary, Wade spoke further about his experience as the father of a transgender teen.

www.youtube.com


"Me and my wife, Gabrielle Union, we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community, and we're proud allies as well," Wade explained. "We take our roles and responsibilities as parents very seriously, so when our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it's our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can."

Wade explained that when his child—who was assigned male at birth and originally named Zion—decided to go by Zaya and use she/her pronouns, he and Union wanted to do everything they could to educate themselves on transgender identities and gender fluidity. He said Union reached out to the cast of Pose, the FX show that focuses on LGBTQA POC in New York City. "We're just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self," Wade added.

By speaking publicly about Zaya's identity and the experience of parenting a trans child, Wade and Union serve as heartwarming examples of genuine unconditional love. Last year, the American Medical Association referred to violence against transgender people as an "epidemic"; especially in the current climate instilled by an often anti-trans administration. It's worth noting that black trans women are killed at especially alarming rates. Parenting queer and trans children might be confusing and require some adjusting, but Wade is showing the world the difference that a loving heart and s willingness to learn can make.

Queen Bey is not known for following rules or compromising her personal values, and so it's really not surprising that she walked out of a Reebok pitch meeting because the staff wasn't adequately diverse.

Image via Houstonian Mag

According to ESPN's Nick DePaula, she previously turned down a deal with Reebok because no one who would be working on the line reflected her race. "She had a meeting at Reebok and they had a whole presentation of everything, potential products, how this could all look," DePaula wrote, "and she kinda took a step back and said 'is this the team that would be working on my product'?"

When the answer was in the affirmative, Queen Bey reportedly told the pitch room, "Nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin color, and where I'm from and what I wanna do," before walking out.

Her actions will hopefully serve as a wake-up call to Reebok and companies like it, who have to understand that if they want to capitalize on the work and star power possessed by people of color, the very least they can do is provide a staff that features adequate representation. Beyoncé may be famous enough to abandon partnerships like this one, but certainly, not everyone does—so in demanding more diversity, her actions are setting an important precedent.

Gif via iam.beyonce.com

Instead, Beyoncé will be partnering with Adidas, which announced that it will be re-releasing Beyoncé's activewear line Ivy Park as part of an initiative "aimed at empowering the next generation of athletes and creatives" by "driving positive change in the world through sport." The relaunch "will still respect Beyoncé's ownership of her company which continues her journey as one of the first black women to be the sole owner of an athleisure brand," the press release concluded.

"This is the partnership of a lifetime for me," Beyoncé stated. "Adidas has had tremendous success in pushing creative boundaries. We share a philosophy that puts creativity, growth and social responsibility at the forefront of business."


Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.


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