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.
Nothing is certain except death, taxes, and gimmicky food videos, even in a pandemic. Remember a few weeks ago when everyone was making Dalgona coffee, a.k.a. cloud coffee, a.k.a. fluffy coffee? There is now another TikTok trend you can make with practically zero ingredients that has a wildly evocative name: pancake cereal.
Here is how to make pancake cereal: Make a ton of really, really tiny pancakes. Put them in a bowl. Add maple syrup. Some people are adding milk, but that sounds disgusting. Eat with a spoon.
Why do we need to tinker with pancakes, which are already a perfect food? We do not. But much like the Facebook frankenfood video tutorials of yore (remember cheeseburger-stuffed onion rings? I unfortunately do!), this kind of content excels no matter what platform it’s on, not only because humans love to watch hands making things, but because it takes recognizable,accessible objects and turns them into something surprising.
Also, a lot of people are extra bored right now. Why not needlessly complicate a standard recipe to make something that probably tastes a little bit worse but at least makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something?
TikTok in the news
- Beyoncé said TikTok! With the couplet “Hips tick-tock when I dance/On that Demon Time, she might start an OnlyFans” on the remix to Megan Thee Stallion’s TikTok hit “Savage,” Bey has reminded us all that she too has a smartphone and reads the news. Just like us!
- TikTok has officially surpassed 2 billion downloads worldwide. A pandemic, plus dozens of viral dances, surely contributed.
- TikTok hired a lobbyist to persuade Congress it is good, actually. Protocol reports that the company brought on Michael Beckerman, former president and founder of the Internet Association, “hoping to leverage his years of relationships in Congress and within the Trump administration to help the company shed its shaky reputation.” Read all about that “shaky reputation” — including TikTok’s parent company’s ties to the Chinese government and history of violating child privacy laws — here.
- Mid-aughts snark blogger Perez Hilton has been harassing TikTok stars in what appears to be an attempt at appealing to a younger audience. There’s now a petition to get him off the app; Insider has the explainer.
- TikTok creators can now add Donation Stickers to videos and livestreams to help raise funds for charities. Click on the sticker and a pop-up message will allow you to contribute.
I love discovering the new ways people express their thirst for hot celebrities. The latest one goes like this: You make a slow-motion edit of your fave on Adobe Premiere Pro, zoom in on it, and make the cuts correspond to the 2015 song “Play Date” by Melanie Martinez. This sounds complicated, but it pretty much just looks like hot people in slow motion against a moody song.
So far I’ve seen versions for all the icons of horny TikTok: Timothée Chalamet, young Leo DiCaprio, Madison Beer, BTS’s Taehyung, and, hilariously, Rodrick from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies, who is indeed very hot, and also Regina George. It’s all so chaste, really, because there’s truly never been a better time to spend your days pining for someone completely unattainable and creating elaborate videos for them that they’ll never see.
One Last Thing
A perfect recreation of what it’s like to watch yourself on Zoom.