The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: Is Halsey an Industry Plant?


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I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to think that every human on earth being constantly connected to a source of infinite, unverified information might actually not be the best avenue to a healthy, productive society. My evidence this week: Music industry plants, stupid new slang, a ruined Disney life hack, and a truly vile political smear.

Halsey refuses to be an ‘industry plant’

The recording industry using cheap gimmicks to earn success and sales for manufactured musical acts is not new, but the practice is reaching heretofore unknown heights of ridiculousness on TikTok. Singer Halsey recently pointed out an example: in a going-viral video, she says, “i have a song that i love that i wanna release ASAP. But my record label won’t let me.. I’ve sold over 165 million records, and my record company is saying that i can’t release it unless they can fake a viral moment on tiktok.”

Thanks to posts like Halsey’s (and common sense), kids are starting to wise up to the business of manufactured attempts online virality, and have adopted the term “industry plant” for artists who pretend to be grassroots but are actually backed by the recording industry. There’s nothing new about fake authenticity in music, of course, but incidents like singer Leah Kate (maybe) faking boyfriend drama to get plays for a (just terrible) song are becoming more and more common. And when it doesn’t work, it’s so embarrassing; consider the case of “punk” band Tramp Stamps, who weren’t fooling anyone.

Transphobic internet rumor makes it to Congress

There’s a decidedly darker strain of manufactured virality oozing through the internet, and if you haven’t already decided that computers as a whole should be thrown into a volcano, this story might change your mind. A day after the tragic mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, transphobic internet misinformation was so widely spread and accepted among the right wing that U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, tweeted about it. Gosar’s now-deleted tweet pins the blame for the shooting on a “transsexual leftist illegal alien” even though there is literally no evidence for any of those claims.

The lies about the shooter seem to have originated on internet cesspit 4chan, where nameless users reportedly assigned blame for the massacre to a specific reddit user (who had nothing to do with it.) This anonymous post on a message board for trolls made its way up the slimy, virtual pipes that lead to Washington, DC, where it was spread by a congressperson. It’s mind-blowing that hate posts from 4chan cretins are influencing the minds of the most powerful people in the world in real time and we all just walk around like it’s not the End of Days. I hope that younger generations are better at seeing through this kind of thing than we are.

Slang watch: What do ‘ocky’ and ‘poggers’ mean?

Below are two new(ish) slang words that you are definitely too old to use in conversation.

  • Ocky: This versatile slang word can mean a lot of things, but it’s most commonly employed as an adjective to describe someone who is behaving strangely or awkwardly. Its popularity spread from bodega owners in Brooklyn who serve sandwiches “The Ocky Way,” as you can see in this video. The word “ock” is older slang that means something like “dude,” or “man” and is used to say something like, “yo, ock. What’s up?” (Or at least it was when I was in high school, in New Jersey.)
  • Poggers: This one is an exclamation of joy used among gamers and other very-online communities. It’s akin to “wow,” or “awesome,” like so: “Poggers! I got a date to prom!” It comes from the name of a Twitch emoji, and seems like something that is mainly typed as opposed to said aloud. At least, I hope so, because, “poggers?” seriously?

Disney closes free-shirt loophole

Nearly a year ago, Disney fan and genius Amanda DiMeo posted her hack for getting free shirts at a Disney park: Show up in a shirt that shows a little under-boob and the park will give you a free shirt as a cover-up. Sneaky, but DiMeo says she got a $75 t-shirt for nothing, so, effective. Other guests said they’d followed her lead and got the swag too.

Well the party’s over, people. Maybe too many folks tried it, but for whatever reason, it seems Disney isn’t giving away clothing to guests who flout its dress code any more. According to Disney fan site insidethemagic, two recent attempts to get free gear from Mickey failed, and both park patrons were told to either buy a shirt themselves, or hit the road.

Viral video of the week: I tried to profit at an arcade

In this week’s viral video, YouTuber Drew Gooden answers a question I’ve had in the back of mind for a long time: Can you make a profit at an arcade? Can you get so good at a machine that awards tickets that the prize you win is worth more than the tokens you spent?

Personally, every time I take a trip to an arcade with prizes, it begins with me eyeing the lava lamp that costs 6,400 tickets, spending $87, and leaving with a pair of Groucho glasses and an Abba Zabba, but Gooden is more committed to the ticket-grubbing lifestyle than me, and he makes a serious go at it. I won’t spoil the dramatic question at the center of the video; watch it to see how it comes out. As a bonus, you will also find out whether a hot dog toaster is worth the tickets it costs to get one. (Spoiler: It isn’t.)



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