THIS WEEK IN HOT GEN Z TRENDS: PESTO PASTA WITH A SIDE OF SZA 🍝 

Andrew Tate just suffered his latest defeat — this time, at the hands of Gen Z climate activist Greta Thunberg. With no context, Tate Tweeted at Thunberg about his “33 cars” and their “respective enormous emissions.” He then replied “she ain’t ready” to a Tweet saying the pair should “stop flirting and just f*** already.” Luckily, karma was on Thunberg’s side for this altercation. A day after Tate responded, he was arrested by Romanian police; though he moved to Romania from the UK because “rape laws are more lenient there,” he was taken in along with his brother on December 29 on charges of sexual assault, human trafficking, and forming an organized crime group. We last covered Tate in the August 30 edition, when he was banned from the social media giants; since then, it seems his life is going even further downhill. And, Thunberg’s Tweet telling him to email her “at smalld***energy@getalife.com” has become the fourth most liked Tweet of all time. Can someone say, “Karma is a god?” 

Not even one week into session, and the House of Representatives has already descended into chaos. First off, the Kevin McCarthy debacle. Poised to be the Speaker of the House, McCarthy faced a whopping 15 votes before assuming his position. Other representatives brought popcorn, read books, and cared for babies. On MSNBC’s TikTok reporting McCarthy’s successful vote, and Gen Z had a field day. @misterzee7 commented, “This House of Cards episode has me shook,” while @stuckonlevel1 joked, “Kevin McCarthy is a S.I.M.P. Speaker in MAGA’s Pocket.” McCarthy is redefining “flop era” for all of us. As if this wasn’t enough, freshman Representative George Santos has become embroiled in scandal over his web of campaign lies. Seven of his falsehoods, as reported by Tristan Snell, are his Judaism, his mother’s 9/11 death, his education at Baruch and NYU, his jobs at CitiGroup and Goldman Sachs, his profession as a landlord, his leadership of a charity, and his employees’ death in the Pulse shooting. In reality, he is Catholic, his mother died in 2016, he didn’t work or study at any of the locations listed, and he had no employees die at Pulse. Santos is now facing charges on every level (including international!), and is being memed for not hearing his own name during Speaker voting and glitching out. Lastly, Santos was captured making a white supremacist symbol in the House, despite saying he is biracial. The worst part, though: “Grab-N-Go Pizza & Salads” being canceled

In Keith we trust! Keith Lee is a popular food reviewer who is “single handed[ly] carrying tik tok right now.” Lee’s calming reviews of local restaurants, which he rates from 1 to 10, have made him a digital star. He often records with his young children Riley and Karter and wife Ronni, making Lee the wholesome food creator the internet needed. He has been credited with helping out dozens of family businesses, as he chooses to check out restaurants that are struggling (and avoids any sponsored or fake reviews). Las Vegas pizzeria Frankenson’s desperately reached out, saying they could not afford rent and other influencers had charged them thousands for a review. In return, Lee’s reaction brought them a line out of the door and hundreds of thousands of TikTok followers. Anah Passed noted that “Keith Lee’s video has [her] on a 4 hour road trip to try” the food. Lee has become the unofficial ambassador of tons of small restaurants around the US, as well as garnering a reputation for honest promotion or critiques. One user commented, “Keith needs to be president of food,” and we’re strongly in agreement. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) creations have caught attention in recent weeks — whether “portraits” trending on TikTok or text generators being used in cover letters. New York City Public Schools are not entertained by this discourse, however. The school system has banned the use of ChatGPT for teachers and students on school computers and wireless networks. Education Department spokesperson Jenna Lyle stated, “it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for … success.” In December, the New York Times challenged educators to differentiate between childrens’ and AI’s essays, something most couldn’t do. The Atlantic called ChatGPT the “end of high school English.” However, Gen Z seems to be very divided on this issue. Project GenZAI is a multinational organization pushing young people to interact with a “human first AI future.” @BaSingSeUpdates, a young humor account based on the “Avatar” series, Tweeted, “AI ‘art’ is banned from Ba Sing Se.” Voice actors, artists, and authors have all shown fear at their job prospects with the increasing dominance of AI. Whether you’re acceptant or skeptical of the technology, there is no doubt it will change our world. 

K-Pop girl group NewJeans are giving the most Gen Z energy! The group of five idols (Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, and Hyein) are the first group to launch from the ADOR label. NewJeans focuses on a nostalgic feel to their songs and music videos. “Attention” was the first song to catch on mainstream TikTok, and they’ve blown up since, with 10.9 million monthly Spotify listeners. The majority of the music video for “Ditto” was filmed with a camcorder, channeling NewJeans’ nostalgic energy. @swooningfangirl noted that “they scream young adult and coming of age vibes added with fun nostalgia.” From Olivia Rodrigo’s “Brutal” to chloe moriondo’s “Fruity,” many Gen Z artists are channeling earlier times in their music videos. Young people’s love of all things retro is here to stay! 

✨ IYKYK ✨

✨ Gen Z have taken “that’s so last year” to a new level with in/out Notes app lists. So, what’s in? Loving me, taking up space, dancing every day, and outfit repeating, to name a few. Make your brand an “in” by curating a post like these. 

✨ Show some appreciation, scrumdilly yum yum style! This sound is used to appreciate others, whether it’s claw clip girlies or people who write “_ days until break” on the whiteboard. Through all the negativity on TikTok, this trend shines through. 

✨ For my last meal, I’ll take pesto pasta with a side of SZA! This TikTok trend, to Bhad Bhabie’s “Gucci Flip Flops,” asks users what they’d have as a final meal. However, they choose one hot meal and one … hot person. See examples by @demibabyy2001 and @maditasbibliotheca

Screenshot of the Week 

2013 was only 5 years ago, … right? Somehow, we’re out here celebrating the 10-year mark of a year full of Katy Perry lyrics, the PRISM leaks, Margaret Thatcher’s death, and way too much galaxy print. Whether 2023 brings more of the same or brand-new cultural moments, only time will tell — but we’ll keep you posted on all of them. 

Harmonie Ramsden