Hello from The Goods’ twice-weekly newsletter! On Tuesdays, internet culture reporter Rebecca Jennings uses this space to update you all on what’s been going on in the world of TikTok. Is there something you want to see more of? Less of? Different of? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and subscribe to The Goods’ newsletter here.
In case you have not yet looked at a calendar today or, alternatively, have had the date burned in your memory for the past several years, it is Election Day. (Go vote if you haven’t already!) For the latest updates, see Vox’s election coverage.
But on TikTok, the election is already over. In fact, we’ve skipped Thanksgiving and moved straight on to December: Surprise, it’s Christmas now! This week, far from searing commentary from galvanized youths making passionate cases for their presidential candidate of choice, my TikTok feed was full of the familiar sounds of Perry Como’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” (there are literally millions of videos set to this song), cookie decorating tutorials, gift ideas for dads, and zero politics whatsoever.
It’s fairly obvious what’s happening here: People are desperate for anything remotely akin to warm fuzzies, and Christmas imagery — garlands, glittery home decor, and cutesy clothing — brings up feelings of nostalgia and comfort for a lot of people.
No song better encapsulates holiday energy online than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which every year is the subject of countless memes and videos (a personal favorite: the kid who times the song so that the jingle bells start ringing at exactly midnight on November 1). Queen of Christmas Carey herself also officially declared it Christmas season when she published a video over the weekend celebrating the transition from Halloween to the holidays.
Though jokes like this have been around for years, the annual internet argument around “when is it socially acceptable to play Christmas music” sounds a lot different during a pandemic. Who knows what the holidays will look like for any of us — fewer people might be traveling or seeing their families and friends; more people might be spending the holidays alone. We don’t know what the world will look like in two months. We don’t even know what the world will look like tomorrow! All we can do, ultimately, is reminisce on the ghosts of holidays past, back when things were simpler.
Plus, 2020 has already messed with our sense of time enough. It’s Christmas if you want it to be.
TikTok in the news
- Don’t worry about the election, people — the TikTok witches are handling it.
- BuzzFeed attempted the “hot cocoa bombs” on TikTok. They seem like a lot of work?
- This vaporwave influencer is making TikToks stanning nuclear energy. “I think if we’re having an honest conversation about decarbonizing our economy, saving existing nuclear power plants is the most important thing we can do right now,” she told Vice. “We are in a climate emergency and have to phase out of fossil fuels immediately.”
- A Lutheran college in Michigan tried to make merch. It turned out a lot … sexier than anticipated.
There’s this dude on TikTok who is essentially the physical embodiment of the sort of man who refers to women as “females,” who makes these silly videos from inside his car. They’re short — like, only five seconds long and full of little platitudes that you might see as Instagram quotes or on Local Twitter, many of them rather sexist (e.g. “Women swear they’re broke then all of a sudden here comes the UPS/Amazon truck”), but they are absolutely haunting TikTok. He also has these incredibly piercing hazel eyes that he clearly thinks are very sexy, which will be important later on.
Anyway! His name’s Jordan Scott, and he made a video earlier this month where he claimed “I ain’t never seen two pretty best friends. 1 always ugly,” and now it’s a meme. A lot of the videos are just making fun of his face (it’s objectively chiseled and striking but also very unsettling?). As my friend Kevin pointed out, this is a clear example of someone with interesting eyes having been told their entire lives that they are exceptionally gorgeous and wise and yet are mistaken. (This should forever be referred to as the Paul Hollywood effect.)
But now the meme has moved past Jordan and his eyes, and people are Rickrolling each other with “I ain’t never seen two pretty best friends,” tricking viewers into thinking they’re watching an unrelated video only to insert the line at the least expected moment. In honor of today, here’s an extremely convincing one about FiveThirtyEight’s election predictions.
One Last Thing
Give your brain a break with this very, very, very long Rube Goldberg machine.
And before you go ...