The #IceBae Meme Captures the Worst of 2019 So Far

IceBae is not the frozen water equivalent of Salt Bae, sending ice cubes cascading stylishly into cups across the internet. She's a US Customs and Border Protection officer, identified as Kiara Cervantes, who provided security during Vice President Mike Pence's recent visit to a Texas Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. On Sunday, a Twitter user encountered a photo of Cervantes standing in front of a crowded pen of migrants. This user found the image sexy, and shared it. Other users followed suit, and soon #IceBae—the most 2019 of thirst hashtags—was born. Emma Grey Ellis Stop Meme-ing Taylor Swift Emma Grey Ellis The Meaning Behind the #UnwantedIvanka Meme Emma Grey Ellis Why the Momo Challenge Film Might Beat the Meme …

Reddits Manosphere and the Challenge of Quantifying Hate

Away from the main thoroughfares of r/Showerthoughts and r/mildlyinteresting, far from the light of r/aww, there is Reddit’s “manosphere.” It’s a confederacy of men’s rights subreddits, so named because it’s a place where women are unwelcome. Manosphere members might think of themselves as “involuntarily celibate,” like the man who drove a van into Toronto pedestrians last year, or something more empowered and oblique, like “men going their own way.” In either mode, they are united by their belief that modern men aren’t getting their due, and the usurpers, in their eyes, are women. Though the communities themselves tend to be relatively small—even big ones have only about 100,000 members—their impact is felt across the web. They incubate predator trolls, they …

In Defense of Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is the internet’s favorite condiment villain. The egg, oil, and vinegar emulsion is a symbol not only for blandness, but for whiteness and all its attendant cultural appropriation and entitlement. It symbolizes the whitewashing of culture. It looks like something extruded from a teenage pimple or a long festering wound. Plus, haters love to point out, it’s terrible for you. It’s all fat! And salt! And because of the eggs, it's dangerous! If you leave a potato salad made with it out too long at your BBQ, everyone could get salmonella and then you're literally a murderer. Do you really love mayonnaise enough to murder a Fourth of July party for it? Yes, I do. And it's worse than …

Optimization Smackdown: Hustle Porn vs. Zen Porn

This story is part of a series on how we make time—from productivity hacks and long walks to altering the function of our own circadian clocks. Melody Wilding’s hair had started falling out. Her heart fluttered wildly in her chest even in moments of calm, and on the weekends she felt too drained to get out of bed. “I was 20 years old,” she says, “but I felt 70.” The problem wasn’t depression or disease or anything pharmaceutically fixable. It was burnout: a totalizing exhaustion created by Wildling’s self-described “typical type A, overachiever personality” and its hyperdisciplined fixation on productivity. Her mind told her to do more, but her body had had enough. The quest for self-optimization has long consumed …

While You Were Offline: Trump and Pelosi’s War of Words Continues

Man, it's been a long week. Does anyone even remember it started with former White House counsel Don McGahn defying a congressional subpoena at this point? Or that the state of New York had effectively closed a legal loophole that would allow them to charge people President Trump pardoned on a federal level? Does anyone recall the glee that was felt around the unexpected return to national prominence of denied Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland? That happened last week as well! And then there was Facebook announcing it had quietly deleted almost 3.4 billion fake accounts in the last half year, while Twitter banned the Krassenstein brothers for operating fake accounts in an attempt to build an anti-Trump movement. Still, …

HobbyKidsTV, YouTube, and the New World of Child Stars

HobbyBear is expecting a package any day now. In it will be a Silver Play Button, a plaque that YouTube gives to creators who have surpassed 100,000 subscribers. HobbyBear has a little under 99,000 now, so he hasn't quite earned the commendation. But give him a break: He's only 6. See, HobbyBear is one-fifth of HobbyKidsTV, a family-run children's channel with 3 million-plus subscribers. He and his two big brothers—HobbyPig, who's 11, and HobbyFrog, 9—each have their own channels. HobbyFrog has a plaque, so HobbyBear wants one as well. “He gets really excited whenever we get something from Amazon,” says his mother, who goes by the stage name HobbyMom. “He asks ‘Is that my silver button?!’ every time.” “Sometimes,” HobbyBear …

How the Videogame Aesthetic Flows Into All of Culture

When the science fiction film Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman, came out in 2014, WIRED called it “the best videogame you can’t play.” The film’s main character, Bill Cage, repeats the same day again and again—a day of futuristic combat with aliens. Each time he dies, Cage wakes up again on the previous day. Everything is as before, with the crucial difference that he remembers all the previous versions of that fatal next day. The repetitions are the film’s equivalent of a videogame’s replayability, and Cage’s battle skills improve, just as a player’s skills improve through replay. But Cage is not a player. He is a character in a narrative film, so the repeated days are in fact …

While You Were Offline: The Internet Will Forever Fight Over the Mueller Report

Good day to you! Are you ready for some déjà vu? Welp, the GOP, apparently forgetting how poorly it went for them last time, has decided to target the Affordable Care Act again. What else happened last week? Federal prosecutors charged Stormy Daniels' attorney with some pretty major crimes, and Chicago authorities dropped all charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett. It was also a week in which Spice Girls slashfic turned out to be real, and promotion for the next Avengers movie became a meme. But perhaps most importantly of all, it was the week when Meghan McCain threw shade and the internet loved it a lot. What else has been happening over the past seven days? So glad you …