The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide to Kid Culture: What Is ‘Gas Station Heroin’?Reading Time: 4 minutes
And who is Jordan the Stallion, and why does he know all of McDonald’s secrets?
When I was younger, I vowed I’d never be end up a clueless old jerk with no idea what was going on in the world, but I realized today that it’s time to give up on that dream. What I’m saying is, this week’s viral video broke me. Even though it’s literally my job to understand what young people are doing, I cannot think of a single reason why millions of kids have watched this dumb video. But they have.
Luckily, I still understand why young people are watching Jury Duty, getting sucked into fast food conspiracies, and taking drugs that make them feel like they just shot up some heroin.
Everyone is watching Jury Duty
In unexpected media news, a comedy/reality show from relatively obscure streaming service Freeeee is the new hotness this week. Jury Duty‘s viewership is seemingly largely thanks to TikTok, where #jurydutyonfreevee has over 218 million views and counting—numbers that the marketing departments behind big budget
HBO Max shows would kill for.
Jury Duty’s premise is a throwback to classic reality shows of yore: a real person is placed in a fake jury for a fake trial; hilarity and awkwardness ensue. The show is perfect for bite-sized internet clips, and conceptually hits the sweet-spot of the post-truth moment. Plus, it highlights the unique talents of Los Angeles’ improv performers—that is, it’s really funny—and the rube at the center of it all seems to be just a lovely guy.
TikTok gives terrible diet advice
It’s depressing that the same generation that loudly champions bodily acceptance simultaneously spreads the worst weight-loss advice imaginable. It’s hard to imagine a single app could contain the volume of bad advice on #diettok, so I’m going to narrow my focus on one thing: videos that promote unreasonable, unhealthy ways to lose weight quickly. These videos usually offer ‘tips’ that amount to starving yourself, losing water weight, or just old fashioned lies.
Check out this video promoting a ‘probiotic’ as a way to lose seven pounds in one week. Sure, this might technically ‘work,’ but it’s a bad idea, and would mainly cause you to lose water weight. TikTok is not all terrible advice—there are plenty of sensible suggestions mixed with the snake oil— but the whole concept of dieting is suspect, as this article from MediaDownloader’s Beth Swarecki explains. I guess I was hoping that the younger generation wouldn’t fall into the same traps we did.
Who is Jordan the Stallion, and why does he know all of McDonald’s secrets?
Speaking of unhealthy eating, TikToker Jordan The Stallion is building a TikTok and Instagram empire on a simple idea: becoming the self-proclaimed head of the Fast Food Secrets Club, exposing the skeletons in the closets of various chain restaurants. So far, over 9 million people are following him on TikTok alone, hungry for insider dish on McDonald’s, Dominoes, Krispy Kreme, and others. Most of what he shares isn’t all that secret, but his whispered, conspiratorial tone makes you feel like you’re getting privileged info, or are part of an underground clique devoted bargains and cheap grub. It’s such a good schtick, Jordan says fast food companies have started to reach out to him—maybe to find out how he knows what he knows, or to feed him ‘secrets’ they want revealed so more people show up to order their horrible food.
What is being ‘zombied?’
We’ve all heard of being ghosted—that’s when a would-be romantic partner disappears on you without explanation—but have you ever been ‘zombied?’ The term was coined by singer Mariel Darling: ‘Have you ever been ghosted, except they just keep coming back? That’s called being zombied,’ she explains.
Darling’s first video describing the term went mildly viral, so she’s really leaning into it hard, repeating a few sound bites in multiple videos and even writing a song about it. It’s a terrible song, and the whole thing is super annoying. I hope I never hear the word again, and I say this as a huge George Romero fan. But if the term does catch on, this is the cultural ground zero: the moment the first human got infected by the undead.
New drug alert: ‘gas station heroin’
Back in my day, we smoked weed and got blitzed on cheap vodka and we were happy about it, but kids today are taking Tianeptine. The substance is not FDA approved, but since it’s being sold as a supplement, it’s easy to get everywhere but Michigan, Minnesota, and Alabama. An antidepressant, Tianeptine supposedly has the similar effects to powerful narcotics, hence the street-name ‘gas station heroin.’ Like its namesake, Tianeptine can lead to abuse, addiction, overdose, and death, or so says the FDA.
‘There’s absolutely no understanding of the dosage,’ Dr. Kirsten Smith, a researcher with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told NewsNationNow, ‘It’s not approved for any medical use. And it’s absolutely not approved as a dietary supplement. In fact, it’s actually on the FDA’s list of concerning substances.’ As anyone who remembers the days of over-the-counter salvia sales knows well, those words are music to a dumb teens’ ears.
Viral video of the week: one, two, buckle my shoe
Sometimes videos go viral for reasons beyond anyone’s understanding. Chalk it up to the mysteries of the almighty algorithm or the position of the stars, but this week, kids are sharing a short TikTok that a riffs on that ‘One, two, buckle my shoe’ nursery rhyme you probably remember from kindergarten. I’m way, way outside the demographic that can tell the difference between this particular kid (EdmondX) saying something stupid in a video, and the hundred thousand other kids who say something stupid in videos on any given day. But so far, Edmond’s video has over 50 million views on TikTok, and the rest have like 9. Something about his high pitched warbling and the stupidity of his ‘joke’ has young people all over the world watching, sharing, and meme-ing, but what is it? Life is often mysterious.
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