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...

Culture News

Timothée Chalamet, ​Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman: The Met Gala Co-Chairs of Our Dreams

We thought it couldn't get better after Harry Styles in 2019, but the 2021 Met Gala is already our favorite.

The Met Gala hosts were just announced and they're a Gen Z dream: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman.

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Armie Hammer

How did it all happen so fast?

Are Timothee Chalamet and Luca Guadagnino really making a film about cannibals? Is cannibalism actually a kink, is shaming it kink-shaming, and what does it all mean? These are the questions we have about the Armie Hammer story, which continues to grow more upsetting and sordid (or surreal and hilarious, depending on who you are).

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Celebrities often have money and relative stability compared to the rest of the world during quarantine—but they often lack the ability to maintain successful relationships.

We've seen some of our most beloved couples collapse during COVID-19. It's unclear as to whether these breakups were due to the stress of the virus, the struggles of self-isolating, or disagreements about what actually constitutes a "socially distanced" hangout, but regardless, goodbye to these perfect unions.

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FILM

An Early Look at Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in "Dune"

The indie-movie heartthrob will be bringing his jawline to a sci-fi classic this December

Frank Herbert's Dune trilogy has received multiple screen adaptations over the years.

But with Denis Villeneuve—the visionary director of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049—teaming up with indie-movie heartthrob Timothée Chalamet for a new take on the sci-fi classic, a whole new generation is about to be introduced to sandworms and the spice. The first sneak peak of Chalamet in costume—dressed all in black, with spaceship in the sky behind him—has just been released, and is already hinting at the menace and ambiguity of the film. With that in mind (and with spoilers ahead) let's look at the universe of Dune and the character of Paul Atreides, whom Chalamet will be portraying in the new film, scheduled for release in December.

When the series begins, the known universe is ruled over by Emperor Shaddam IV, and Paul Atreides is a privileged teenage member of an aristocratic family that is about to be exiled from their home planet to rule over the desert world of Arrakis, commonly known as Dune. Little does Paul know, this upheaval of his spoiled life is actually part of a secret plot against his family. Before long Paul is left to fend for himself in the wastelands of Dune, and he must develop skills in strategy and combat in order to survive, while exposing himself to the dangerous, addictive drug melange (the spice) to unlock his psychic powers.

While Paul's story invites us to side with him as he avenges his family and frees Dune and its spice mines from the hold of the cruel empire, Paul's ascension to political power as an unquestioned, godlike figure opens questions about the role of charismatic leaders in global (or interstellar) events. Is Paul actually the hero that he seems to be—a super-powered savior? Or is he a drug-addicted, genocidal fascist? As Herbert said of his epic saga, "The bottom line of the Dune trilogy is: beware of heroes."

Sting in a metallic speedo Sting in David Lynch's "Dune" (1984)

While Dune is a big budget sci-fi adventure and marks a distinct break from Call Me By Your Name and the kind of movie Chalamet has become known for, the nuance of the original novels and the directorial subtlety that Villeneuve brings to the table should make for a film that is much more than just a simple blockbuster. That said, it will never live up to Sting in a metallic speedo.

Still, Vanity Fair has released preview pictures that hint it's trying.

Paul and his mother Vanity Fair


Jason Momoa as Duncan Idaho Vanity Fair


Sharon Duncan-Brewster as Liet Kynes. Vanity Fair


House of Atreides Vanity Fair

TV Lists

Was “Saturday Night Live at Home” Better Than the Usual Show?

In a world increasingly moving away from traditional TV formats, maybe this is the way the show should be.

When's the last time you actually watched an episode of Saturday Night Live all the way through?

If you're younger than 60, you probably consume the iconic short form comedy show mostly in clips shared on the Internet. It used to be that fans would have to watch the entirety of the broadcast to see the few comedic gems amidst the mediocre filler, but now all you have to do is wait for your social media algorithms to decide which skits are worth your time. This has had the affect of making SNL much less about the flow of the entire show and much more about the individual skits and bits. Now, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, this is more true than ever.

For the first time ever, SNL aired a special non-live version of the show this past weekend. All of the skits were pre-recorded in the comedian's various homes. Tom Hanks hosted, which only consisted of an opening monologue, introducing the musical act, Chris Martin, and a good-bye. Tons of famous SNL alums and other regulars made appearances, including Larry David, Alec Baldwin, Fred Armisen, and more.

This version of SNL was not the polished, high-budget production audiences are used to. Instead, it was simpler, messier, and incredibly charming. One might even argue that in removing all the usual frills of the show, the "At Home" version allowed the brilliant comedic talent of the SNL cast to shine in a way that isn't usually possible.

One thing is definite: We got way more viral, ultra-sharable clips than usual. So maybe this is the future of skit comedy: shorter, simpler bits ready to be shared online. Whether you preferred this version of SNL or not, it's definitely worth checking out some of the show's highlights.

5. Tom Hanks Opening Monologue

Tom Hanks hosts 1st remote 'Saturday Night Live' at home l GMA www.youtube.com


4. Larry David as Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Address - SNL youtu.be


3. Kate Mckinnon RBG Workout

RBG Workout - SNL youtu.be


2. Zoom Call

Zoom Call - SNL youtu.be


1. Quarantine Masterclass With Timothée Chalamet

MasterClass Quarantine Edition - SNL youtu.be