Sh*t I Found Interesting (MAIP - Culture Newsletter)
Updated: Aug 9, 2021
Note From Me:* Hi I’m Amber, I’m an aspiring strategist and a senior at Boston University. SIFI, short for sh*t I find interesting, is a series I hope to do as I collect things that I see happening in culture. Much like collecting shells on the beach, there will be beautiful shells that show humanity in its purest and kindest forms. But there will also be broken shells that reflect the bad and trama we face in this world. Yet, that is life, isn’t it? We wouldn’t be complete without both the Ying and the Yang, so stay a little, maybe you’ll find something interesting too. If not, shoot me an email and let me know what happened in the world right now interests you :)
SIDENOTE: This week, the world saw the violent insurrection conducted by right-wing-extremist groups that took place at the United States' Capitol. We have long ignored the increasing divide faced in this country, believing it will get better, however, the action executed on January 6th by the president and his support shows we are far from united. This week, we saw the aftermath of the event and how different brands/companies responded. As advertisers, we have the power to shape culture, policies, government, people, and eventually society. The industry holds a lot of influence and responsibility to bring positive change for the better.
The Power Social Media Holds
The Block: Trump No Longer has a Social Media Presence.
More than 13 platforms have removed the 45th President Donald Trump's account or accounts affiliated with pro-Trump violence and conspiracies. Twitter and Facebook were the first to temporarily lock Trump’s accounts after he had issued statements that vaguely praised the rioters and calls for peace. Now, Twitter has permanently banned Trump's account and Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg announced in a statement that Trump will be suspended from Facebook indefinitely. Followed by Reddit, Twitch, Shopify, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, Apple, Discord, Pinterest, etc. All these platforms have reasonable beliefs that the president and his supporters have promoted and spread hate and incite violence.
For more details on what actions each platform took:
Some of these sites have "previously resisted cracking down on Mr. Trump’s posts and other toxic content, saying that the posts were in the public’s interest." Though they started taking actions against political misinformation months before the election but only to an extent (like putting a warning lol). This led people to question the lack of actions taken by these platforms in the past and wonder whether the insurrection on January 6th could have been preventable.
This puts the future of 'free speech‘ or what defines 'free speech' on the platform in question, is the problem solved, or more platforms that allow these times of content are going to show up?
The Event on January 6th was Planned on Social Media
Parler is a social networking service that was launched in August of 2018. The platform brands itself as an unbiased social media that promotes 'free speech' without censorship. It was also one of the platforms that right-wing extremists have been using to plan the protest which eventually led to the attack on the capitol on January 6th. Other similar platforms include MeWe, Gab, and other pockets of the internet.
After the election was released, a Facebook group called Stop the Steal started to gather 'evidence' that the election was rigged. The group was gaining "100 new members every 10 seconds," and kicking out anyone that questioned or threatened their narrative. When the group was finally shut down by Facebook (48 hours), it was already too late. They gained more than 320,000 members and transferred their conversation to platforms like Gab and Parler, which gained popularity among Far Right in the Trump era for speaking without any consequences.
On these platforms, members of Stop The Steal discuss possible dates when the election result will be overturned, and every time it doesn't, their anger and frustration grows. By December, there were signs that January 6th was a date they focused on - as Congress was planned to meet to certify Biden’s victory in the election. From calling it a "revolution" to "god's plan" - it was clear Trump's supports were going to take some sort of action. They planned hotel stays, routes to the capitol, fights, and car rides for weapon carriers. It was evident they were planning to occupy the Capitol.
All of this was going down on these platforms, and it was happening very quickly. Anyone who paid attention to the far-right saw the event coming, yet nothing was done. Criticism rose for the police and government for their failure to anticipate the violence and now people are demanding accountability.
Listen to The Daily - "How They Storm Congress" for a more detailed report of the topic:
Currently, Google has suspended Parler from its Play Store and Apple is threatening to remove Parler from its App Store for not complying with the content-moderation requirements. John Matze, the chief executive of Parler in response to Google and Apple has said, "We won't cave to politically motivated companies and those authoritarians who hate free speech!" Despite the action of Google and Apple, users are surging on these conservative platforms. After President Trump was banned across different social networks, Parler is now the 10th most downloaded social media app in 2020 with 8.1 million new installs.
WhY iS tHIs a mEme? (to be honest, we don’t know...but is kind of funny?)
More memes to come, only if you think it is funny tho :/
This week the most popular memes were surrounding the storm of the capitol on January 6th, mostly around the lack of law enforcement or national guard presence. Though the event was horrific, with the internet being the internet, let's see what people had to say.
Where is Chad When you Need Him? : Security Lax in the Nation's capitol
Twitter Users joked by saying newly pledged fraternity brothers guarding frat parties do a better security job than the Capitol did on January 6th. Many other variations of the meme are shown below.
Some memorable memes:
Rebranding CIA (from 🚫 to 🥰) (this is a lowkey kinda a meme)
This past week, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has revived its rebranding on social media aimed at attracting a more diverse group of employees. However, the redesign has received backlash on social media for being too modern or edgy (someone said it looks like a Mutek poster), which doesn't seem to fit with what people previously saw as the CIA's identity. The mystery aspect was added when the CIA refused to disclose who the designer behind the change was, which led to a lot of speculation and even a few claiming credit. This was the first design update since 2013, after recognizing they face similar problems like other federal agencies (or the world in general) regarding minority representation, with BIPOCs only making up 10.8% of the CIA leaders.
Twitter users mocked the rebrand with a wave of memes and questions:
2021 Started With a White-washed Mahjong Set Priced at $300
(I hope no one can tell that I am Asian from part of the newsletter, I tried to contain myself!!)
The Mahjong Line, founded by three white women in Dallas on the basis that they have 'discovered' the traditional Chinese tiles needed a 'refresh'. Annie, Kate, and Bianca wanted something that 'reflected fun' and 'mirrored their style and personality'. According to NBC News, "The company launched its neon-colored mahjong tile sets with a price tag between $325 and $425". People were angered by not only the outrageous prices but mainly by the blatant ignorance and disregard of Chinese culture, especially with the increasing xenophobia happening because of Coronavirus. Is important to remember that one can't pick and choose the best pieces that make up a culture, yet, that is exactly what The Mahjong Line has done, intending to make a profit.
The difference between appreciation and appropriation is acknowledgment and respect. Appreciation means one has understood the history and traditions behind an aspect of culture and continues to honor them. Whereas, appropriation is the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of a different culture to either reinforce stereotypes or altered to fit an aesthetic.
It is seriously concerning to the American education system that these women did not know what they were doing was wrong. However, it is also not surprising with the lack of diversity in the company and euro-centric views praised by American society. POCs are not hired to educate white people but hired because of their knowledge, skills, performance, and their work. Is very easy to tell when a company doesn't have diverse employees because it is reflective of their work and it doesn't make any sense because the United States is such a diverse country. This event was just very disappointing to see in the New Year of 2021. We can do better, we have to do better.
Burger King logo change, but it's more than just logo - it's an idea.
This week, everyone in and out of the advertising world was talking about Burger King's first complete rebrand in over 20 years, returning to an old logo they first used in the late 60s. The redesign of the look is reflective of Burger King's mission to focus back on a quality-centric chain instead of quantity production. The new-look shows a vibrant design that expresses a natural, yet, simple look. Part of the reason behind this redesign was to adapt to digital spaces, as-well-as keeping its identity. Burger King wants to emphasize fresh ingredients and change people's negative perception of the fast-food industry by keeping their brand feeling less synthetic, artificial, and cheap. Their new typeface "Flame" gives off a 70s look that feels more laid back and groovy. The logo looking more like a real burger than before showing Burger King's authenticity and genuine desire to change.
this week's reco: podcast and book :)
my recommendations are solely based on thinks I did or enjoyed this week, it ain't serious (ah maybe a little)
The hardest thing to learn is self-compassion. However, as we slowly learn to love and be kind to ourselves, we begin to have an easier time enjoying the scares moments we have on this Earth.
“It was a relationship, and also not a relationship. Each of our gestures felt spontaneous, and if from the outside we resembled a couple, that was an interesting coincidence for us. We developed a joke about it, which was meaningless to everyone including ourselves: what is a friend? we would say humorously. What is a conversation?”
Easy to read, easy to love.