The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: Did Ancient Rome Even Exist?

The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: Did Ancient Rome Even Exist?
Photo: klempa, Shutterstock

With the holiday season in full swing, the young people are shifting to different dimensions, denying the existence of Ancient Rome, and learning more about snowflakes than you’d even think was possible.

TikTok historian disputes existence of the Roman Empire

I never get tired of the crazy crap TikTok people come up with, like this one: @momllennial_ thinks ancient Rome didn’t exist. Like, at all. According to her, ancient Rome is a “figment of the Spanish Inquisition’s imagination.” “It’s not real, dude,” she insists. “It’s bread and circuses. It’s a circus, man.”

According to @momllennial, the Hadrian’s Wall in the UK is actually a road built by Greek merchants, despite it being, clearly, a wall built by Romans. (I mean, it’s right there. You can visit it.) Actual historians and classics professors strangely are not lamenting the end of their careers. They are pointing out that “ancient Rome, actually, was real” and “Oh my god, this is so, so stupid,” (paraphrasing).

TikTok’s dimension shifters and quantum jumpers

Since I’m doing weird TikTok conspiracies, how about this one: You can “switch” from this universe/dimension to alternative ones. @kadyroxz moved to an alternative universe in 2017 while on a school trip. This dude thinks we all switched dimensions in 2021. “The vibe was really weird,” he explains. (But don’t worry, we’re back in the regular dimension now.) Check out the awesome Quantumjumping hash for endlessly entertaining videos.

I believe this one is 100% real. I figure I can either live in a timeline where scientists in Antarctica discovered anomalous radio signals that indicated a parallel universe where Time runs backwards, then kids on TikTok figured out how to get there, or I can live in the boring “real” timeline where the whole thing was caused by compacted ice or underground lakes and kids on TikTok are just kind of silly. I know which I prefer, and I’m going there. Right. Now. (Disappear!)

What is the “Kool-Aid Man Challenge?”

I keep vowing that I’m going to stop reporting on false TikTok hoaxes that the media and police departments fall for, but The Kool-Aid Man Challenge is just too good. Credulous news outlets from Ktvb7 News in Caldwell, Idaho to silive.com in Staten Island, N.Y., to the local police and Fox8Live in Massillon, Ohio are breathlessly reporting on a new TikTok Trend where kids are screaming “Oh Yeah!” and busting through fences like the Kool-Aid Man.

I so wish this was really happening, but sadly, it isn’t. While a few people in the country seem to have had their fences damaged over the last few months, I can find no videos posted on TikTok challenging anyone to do it, and TikTok denies they ever existed. There’s no reason to think the possible vandalism has anything to do with Kool-Aid, either. I guess “Fence Damaged in Ohio, Possibly by Wind” isn’t as sexy a headline as “Area Youth Imitate Sentient Drink Pitcher, Destroy Fence.”

Spotify Wrapped is live

Let your music-liking friends know: Spotify’s yearly “wrapped” feature has dropped. Wrapped compiles stats on your most streamed artists, songs, podcasts, and genres, and presents them for you in a little video so you can determine exactly how lame your musical tastes are — or how awesome they are, if you happen to be as tasteful as I am. (“Kid Charlemagne” is a banger.) The top most-streamed musical artists of the year on Spotify include Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and BTS, but the overall winner, for the second year in a row, was Bad Bunny, who earned over 9 billion plays, despite having not released any new music in 2021.

Viral video of the week: The Snowflake Mystery

This week’s viral video is season-appropriate. “The Snowflake Mystery” is a mini-documentary about Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, the world’s undisputed king of snowflakes. A professor of physics and department chair at CalTech, Libbrecht has published four books on snowflakes, his snowflake photos have appeared on stamps, and he was the official snowflake consultant for the movie Frozen. Dude lives full-time in a Winter wonderland. He even designs his own snowflakes, changing snowflake criteria until they’re perfect for him. “I like to think they’re better than nature,” Libbrecht says ominously, and I can’t help but worry his mastery of the world’s snowflakes has gone to his head and he’ll soon turn into a super-villain. Anyway, if you are even a little curious about snowflakes, join the more than 2 million YouTubers and jump right in.

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