Last year around this time, the internet briefly worried/hoped that the New York Times innovation report would lead the paper to become more like Buzzfeed. That didn’t happen—or did it? The Gray Lady has not become obsessed with viral stories or replaced page A1 with its Twitter feed, but it did run a Sunday op-ed titled What You Learn in Your 40s. It’s nice. Its premise is also remarkably similar to this Buzzfeed listicle, or this one, as well as this one and these. The difference is that the Times essay is built around a tone of humorous reflection rather than GIFs from Friends, and it’s about being 40 instead of 20.
The internet likes nothing better than a stunt food, so Arby’s Meat Mountain has gotten a lot of coverage over the last two weeks. Over at Slate, however, LV Anderson wonders whether the ostensibly grassroots demand for this wad of processed protein wasn’t manufactured by corporate. First of all, this story on whether people really want a particular Arby’s menu item appears in Slate’s “Brow Beat” section, ostensibly devoted to high culture. That’s not the kind of high I thought they meant. Second, a technical note: because possessive nouns are difficult to pluralize in American English, this post will use the generally accepted plural of Arby’s, “landfills.”
Brad alerted me last weekend to the existence of the hands-free Whoppper, ostensibly a product released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Burger King in Puerto Rico. Sadly, the HFW is not real. When you know that it is not real, the commercial above looks like exactly what it is: a gentle exercise in absurdity that also provides occasion to say that word “Whopper” 78 times. It seems impossible to believe that such a product could exist. Yet the hands-free Whopper was the first thing I thought of when I woke up this morning, and I was all set to write some funny (read: lazy) screed about it. Apparently, I was not alone. At all.