I’d like to start the new year by passing on some sage advice once given to me by my grandmother, may she rest in peace: Don’t film yourself attempting to walk around with a blindfold on just because you saw the characters of some stupid horror movie doing it, you doorstop. Hmm. You know what? My bad. I just rechecked my notes and that was actually (the gist of) Netflix’s response to the latest Darwinian self-endangerment viral craze, the #BirdBoxChallenge , inspired by the blindfolded cast of “Bird Box,” 2019’s most meme-fecund film (thus far). They were just a little nicer about it: “Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE,” tweeted the official Netflix account. “No can do,” said the Internet (again, paraphrasing). So yeah, sorry about that mix-up. Guess I just miss my Gram.
Elsewhere in lemmings, the annual Coachella music festival was announced, complete with its now iconically typographically challenged lineup poster listing every band ever plus a hologram or two. But more importantly for those who can’t spare two grand to watch Mac DeMarco from a quarter mile away (or would simply prefer their money end up in different hands), the fake Coachella lineup memes arrived. Now an anticipated annual tradition, this year’s selection of poseur posters includes a Disney-themed fest headlined by Hannah Montana (with Lindsay Lohan fine-printed!); a “Gaychella” featuring Cher, “Drunk Jessica Simpson,” and “Fergie (Only Singing Jazz Renditions of the National Anthem)”; and a particularly surreal one featuring three iterations of Cate Blanchett, “The Olsen Twins Smoking Cigarettes,” and “Men apologizing.” Take my money.
And elsewhere in rowdy mobs, a new super-diverse freshman class of Congress was sworn into the House of Representatives (complete with actual swearing), making for many a celebratory meme on Twitter. But in true “Dazed and Confused” style, the hazing from the seniors only made the freshmen seem that much cooler (even though Parker Posey and Matthew McConaughey completely owned that movie, but we’re getting off track). Case in point was a video “leaked” of New York rep and GOP obsession Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, showing the then-BU student dancing across a rooftop in the style of “The Breakfast Club.” The ploy to discredit the 29-year-old first-termer royally backfired, with her dancing receiving Ellen-esque approval across the Internet. Even cast members of “The Breakfast Club” thought it made her look cool. (Not, like, Ally Sheedy cool, because how could she? God, she’s amazing in that. Anyway.)
Oh and speaking of Ellen DeGeneres, her approval, and her knack for dancing around, the talk-show host invited Oscar-exiled comedian Kevin Hart on her program to forgive him for a fondness in the recent past for particularly nasty homophobic “jokes” that resulted in widespread calls for him to drop out as host. DeGeneres also revealed that she’d made calls to representatives of the Academy to try and get him his job back. “I believe in forgiveness,” she posted to Twitter. Twitter, not so much, with many in the LGBTQ community wondering why she appeared to be speaking on their behalf. Ugly stuff. I just hope things don’t get this messy when Louis C.K. hosts the Teen Choice Awards.
MICHAEL ANDOR BRODEUR