There’s something for everyone this week in kids’ popular culture. Gamers can enjoy a ton of leaked video of in-development mega-game Grand Theft Auto VI; music fans can enjoy an official, non-leaked listen to Blackpink’s new album Born Pink; and fans of dead monarchs will have to faint to escape coverage of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.
Blackpink’s new album released
Blackpink is by far the biggst thing happening in youth-oriented pop culture this week. The K-Pop mega-group is famous on a scale that seems impossible in 2022. Its new album, Born Pink, sold over a million copies on its first day of release, immediately shooting to the top of every streaming service; the video for the single “Shut Down” has been viewed 87 million times on YouTube in its first three days; and Blackpink’s world tour is expected to attract more than 1.5 million concert-goers. As an added bonus, Blackpink’s music is actually good — the album is short burst of perfect pop that unashamedly mines hooks and ear-worms from everywhere and anywhere. It’s the kind of music that’s so infectious you almost feel bad for liking it so much.
A crap-ton of Grand Theft Auto VI footage leaks
An anonymous user on GTAForums posted nearly 100 videos of Grand Theft Auto VI, revealing a ton of new information about the in-development video game. GTA VI will feature a female protagonist (at least part of the time) and will be set in Vice City, the Miami of the GTA universe.
Developer Rockstar Games is famously tight with information on upcoming titles, but it confirmed that the footage is genuine, and reassured fans that the imbroglio won’t delay the development or release of GTA VI.
The leaker was reportedly seeking some kind of “deal” with Rockstar, but then pulled their posts from the internet, presumably so they have time to find a good lawyer. As for the response from fans, it’s been mixed, with many complaining that the footage of the unfinished games looks rough, which is a little like eating some dough and complaining that it doesn’t take like bread.
The rise of BeReal inspires new TikTok feature
BeReal has been around since 2020, but the photo-sharing social media app has achieved critical mass/take-off velocity in the last few months. It’s become so successful that the reigning king of social media, TikTok, has announced a new feature that sounds almost exactly like BeReal.
If you’re unfamiliar, the hook of BeReal is that it prompts users to to take and upload a single at random times of day. Everyone in your friend group gets the notice at the same time, and you can only see your friends’ results if you post yours. The result is more natural than the carefully staged pics so common on “traditional” photo sharing platforms. Along with posting photos, TikTok’s Now will also support users uploading 10-second videos at random times.
I’d give you my BeReal address, but it’s just filled with an endless stream of me watching 1979’s Phantasm, every day, all day, for months.
What is TikTok’s “If I Was” trend?
This week, teenagers in love on TikTok are making cute-but-gross videos using the format of “if I was/were.” It works like this: You ask your significant other a series of questions like “if I was/were a tree, what kind of tree would I be?” And then edit together a video of the responses. You can check out a ton of them on TikTok’s #ifIwas hashtag which has over 200 million views, or the grammatically preferable #ifIwere. I tried this with my wife and it resulted in the following dialogue:
Me: Honey, if I were colour, what colour would I be?
Her: What are you talking about? You’re already a mottled pink colour. It’s gross.
Me: If I was an animal, what animal would I be?
Her: You are an animal. Do I need to call a doctor?
Me: If I was a thing, what thing would I be?
Her: You are a thing already. Is this one of those of those midlife crises? Did you buy a motorcycle and you’re afraid to tell me?
Viral video of the week: A guard collapses before the dead queen
A guard stationed to stand at attention before the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II spoke for everyone on earth this week when he collapsed in exhaustion just feet away from the royal carcass. Video of the ceremonial face-plant has been viewed millions of times on every format imaginable since it happened several days ago. When reached for comment, a spokesperson for the royal family did not say, “Oi, oi, what’s all this then? Some knackered rozzer havin’ a right ruck-a-bout before the queen mum?”
Not to be outdone, an on-duty a policeman fainted during the queen’s funeral today. Guards fainting while just standing there is reportedly not uncommon in the British military and probably explains why Great Britain lost its empire.
Despite the failure of the coffin-guard, the queen was not able to escape.
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