The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: What is Manifesting and HellMaxxing?

The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: What is Manifesting and HellMaxxing?
Photo: Nikki Zalewski, Shutterstock

While you’re suffering through your workaday, Joe-Lunchpail life, kids are running around wrecking social media platforms before they even launch, playing Squid Game on the playground, and getting anything they want — just by wanting it.

Why is everyone on TikTok ‘Manifesting’?

There’s nothing new about wishing really hard, but TikTok is taking the process in exciting new directions. “Manifesting” — that is, focusing on something with the intention of making it real — is finding tons of converts on the site. Videos tagged #manifestation have over 10 billion views. You can manifest wealth, love, weight loss, telepathy, and anything else you could imagine.

TikTok gurus will gladly teach you how you, too, can literally make your dreams come true, although the instructions are not always clear. Maybe you need to play this love-attracting tone? Maybe you need to make sigils? Maybe try the secret numbers connected to a shadowy eastern European cult?

Someone seems to have manifested some backlash too: Christian TikTokers are bashing manifestation as Satanic and urging us to pray instead. Some TikTokers worry that people might accidentally cast magical spells through manifestation. It seems like you could end the debate with a simple experiment to figure out whether affirmations, magical spells, or prayers are ultimately more effective, but I have a feeling no one would be happy with the result.

Viral video of the week: Maths teacher’s offensive lesson

This week’s viral video is of a high school trigonometry teacher creatively helping her students remember “SohCahToa,” a mnemonic aid to help them remember “sine, cosine, and tangent.” What’s so viral about that? Well, the teacher decided to drill the concept home by dressing up in an approximation of a Native American headdress and screaming “SohCahToa!” like some kind war chant while stomping about the classroom and doing the “tomahawk chop.” So people shared it. A lot.

The video, reportedly filmed by a Native American student who felt that “violence was being committed against him,” racked up millions of views across Instagram and Twitter.

While the unnamed teacher almost definitely succeeded in her mission — no one’s going to forget SoCahToa in her class — it’s hard to fathom this level of cultural cluelessness and racism.

Trump media network trolled out of existence before launch

This week, internet wags shut down Donald Trump’s new social media site months before it was scheduled to launch, perhaps establishing a new speed record for online trolling.

Trump announced that Truth Social would open to the public in 2022, and the beta would begin in November. Within hours of the announcement, Aubrey Cottle tweeted a link to a non-public signup page. From there, handles like @DonaldTrump, @donaldjtrump, @realdonaldjtrump, and @mikepence were claimed, and many shit-posts were created, including a picture of a pig pooping on its own balls posted from “Trump’s” account.

Rather than run with the pre-launch publicity, whoever is in charge of Truth Social banned all new users and disabled all their accounts within two hours. But according to the people who were there, it was a good two hours.

What is Hellmaxxing? And why should you not worry about it?

After covering both the Slap a Teacher challenge, and the Lug Nut Challenge, I swore I was going to stay away from fake viral hysteria, but I just can’t quit them. I have to tell you about “Hellmaxxing,” a TikTok trend that involves “committing serious sins and filming them.”

Hellmaxxing is fake, but unlike those two previous examples (and edibles in your kid’s candy, and a billion other fears), it’s not a hoax born of paranoid parents, teachers, and police departments, then spread by credulous media organisations. It’s a parody. Based on this tweet.

Hellmaxxing has been reported as true by a few online sources, although maybe it’s too brazen and obvious to be widely shared. It’s early yet in the fake-hysteria lifecycle. Speaking of, here’s are a couple stories about “victims” of the “lug nut challenge,” and a report of a student assaulting a teacher that “could have been part of a TikTok challenge” (that doesn’t actually exist).

Kids are playing ‘Squid Game’ on the playground

I have written a short dialogue about what your children are doing on the playground this week. Please read the emboldened sections aloud.

Steve, what are my kids doing on the playground this week?

Many of them are playing Squid Game with their little friends.

You mean that violent Netflix series from South Korea!? How did they even see it?

Most of them probably didn’t. But one kid told them the whole plot.

Gary?

Gary.

Should I be worried that they’re actually going to shoot each other, like in the show?

No. It’s just pretend. You should worry about having adequate life insurance.

But aren’t other people worried?

Yes, other people are worried. But it’s just pretend, I swear.

It’s interesting that the plot of Squid Game involves adults playing kid’s games, and now real adults are worried that kids are playing games based on a show about adults playing kid games.

Right? It’s like a recursive pop cultural loop.

…are you high?

Extremely.

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