Discover more from Follow Friday
Star Wars limericks, wealthy women at IHOP, and bad trailers
I'll just do my crêpe here
Welcome to the Follow Friday newsletter, and goodbye to Twitter. I downloaded an archive of all my tweets this week, and set my account to private so that new people can’t follow me. I don’t think anyone currently joining — or being reactivated — is someone I want to associate with.
I encourage you to do the same. If you haven’t already deleted your account because your Twitter account has been an important professional tool, then going private is a good middle ground. But if you are planning to delete, remember to allow 24 hours or so for Twitter to generate your archive.
The single best (and also scariest??) thing I saw online this week: OpenAI’s new chatbot, ChatGPT, is really, really good. It’s designed to let you have a natural-sounding written conversation with an AI, which has powerful implications for business, education, and more … so naturally, the entire internet is using it to generate memes. It’s not perfect: It took a few tries before I could get it to write something passable, but holy hell did it deliver. I asked it to rewrite the opening crawl of Star Wars as a limerick and it produced the above result in just a few seconds. WOW. Then, I wasted some time trying to make it rewrite “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” as a political speech, and it didn’t really work, so I settled for this:
The best podcasts I’ve heard this week
I loved the latest episode of Switched on Pop, in which Charlie Harding and Nate Sloan take a look at just a handful of new Christmas songs that have been released in recent decades, most of which I had never heard of! They analyze the ways these songs hearken back to the baby boomer bops that consistently rule the charts, and debate which one has the best chance of entering the Christmas music canon. Also, don’t miss the list of The 50 Best Original Christmas Songs Since ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ written by their Vulture colleague Maura Johnston. I’ve been listening through it and discovering some new songs to put in my rotation.
Before we stop thinking about Thanksgiving for another 330-plus days, I have to include the annual reunion of Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway on the Home Cooking podcast. I listened to the episode when it first dropped, then re-listened to it this week with my partner, and it was delightful both times. The story about how Hrishi impressed a car salesman with his knowledge of Persian food is an all-timer. Also, if you live near a Salt & Straw and like good ice cream, I can personally vouch for the Mom’s Mango Pie flavor. YUM.
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help i’m addicted to this instagram series
I’m not actually on Instagram or TikTok at the moment, but I see a lot of videos that start there thanks to my Discords and newsletters — and my partner, who got me hooked on comedian Leah Rudick. She’s a comedian who does a variety of characters, and there’s one she can never stop doing because she’s SO good at it: A very earnest, very clueless, very wealthy person talking about her experience doing regular person things, like voting, going to Chuck E Cheese, and shopping on Black Friday. After watching about a dozen of these videos, it finally clicked why I like them so much: The lack of cuts. Each video is a rapid-fire string of jokes, which is a common find online, but part of what Leah’s videos great is that she delivers all those jokes in one breathless tumble:
Why do we watch movie trailers?
There is a great tweet going around about Steven Spielberg’s new autobiographical movie The Fabelmans, which is especially funny if you (like most people, unfortunately) have not seen The Fabelmans:
In reality, The Fabelmans is not really about anything that happened to Spielberg in the decades he has been famous. Instead, it’s a moving family drama about some pivotal events in his childhood, and his complicated relationship with filmmaking and art. It’s really, really good.
But here’s the thing: The trailer for The Fabelmans makes it seem a lot more treacly and self-indulgent, like the imaginary movie of that tweet. And at Vox, Alissa Wilkinson points to that trailer among others to argue that we should stop watching movie trailers altogether. She has a point: Modern trailers frequently misrepresent the movies they’re advertising, or give away all the best material.
And yet … I can’t make myself stop watching trailers. I’m OK with judging them as an art form all their own, “divorced from their actual movies” as Wilkinson says. They’re basically movie tapas to me, a quick hit of something tasty that I might not enjoy as a main course. That’s not what the movie studios want me to think, of course, but … tough?
Like a gambling addict drooling over the slot machine, though, I live for the occasional jackpot, the exceptional trailer that’s both an effective ad AND a standalone work of art. The first one that comes to mind: The teaser trailer for David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which spoils nothing but singlehandedly convinced me I had to see the movie.
10/10, no notes.
The best meme I’ve seen in a while
Related: Why do Christmas movies hate cities?
The second-best meme I’ve seen in a while
The best thing I’ve read this week
After terrorizing his acquaintances and loved ones on every social media platform with promotional content for his improvisational Star Wars podcast for over three years, Brendan Phillips has shocked everyone with his random act of kindness of shutting the podcast down for good.
Okay, benevolent king!
Palate cleanser: CHEWBACCA DOG
There’s a lot of The Star War in this newsletter already, so we might as well end on this:
… And the rest
Here’s a great Christmas mashup song; this sounds suspiciously like good news; squish painting; you are not prepared for the noise this beaver makes; an excellent essay (with spoilers) about an excellent movie (Tár); don’t you hate it when you run into a force field?; what’s the deal with all those blobby book covers?; RIP Christine McVie from Fleetwood Mac; here is a very funny tweet about her; and finally, here’s a video of two, uh, roommates trying out the bed of the future.