Every week I am glad I chose to write a pop culture column so many years ago, because I never run out of ideas. After all, we are goldfish who swim inside a big bowl of pop culture. And sometimes there is so much stuff out there that I can’t settle on one thing and have to include more than one topic in my column. This is one of those weeks, so let’s see what’s in store.
Our first topic comes from our friends in Scandinavia, and is closely related to our obsession with binge watching TV series on streaming video. According to a recent VinePair column by Tim McKirdy, “Pantsdrunk” (which was called “Kalsarikanni,” back in the long-ago world of 2017). And what exactly is this exotic sounding term all about? Well, McKirdy tells us it “literally means drinking at home, alone, in your underwear,” especially while binge watching the series of your choice. And he references a new book about this very interesting trend, written by Miska Rantanen. I located a few pages from this book, found a list of the “Top 100 Excuses For Pantsdrunk,” and was delighted to discover that this very bizarre practice needs only the flimsiest of excuses like “I’m done with work for this day,” “I have to go to work tomorrow,” “It’s raining,” “There are still some potato chips at the bottom of the bag,” “I don’t have a significant other,” “I’ve never been this old before,” “I should sort the laundry,” and “I cleaned my inbox” (I would probably succumb to Pantsdrunk if I could manage this impossible feat, even if only a few moments). Be on the lookout, if you dare, for this to become the next big thing–although we should be a little frightened by the prospect.
Next on our list is the apparent solution to one of the world’s greatest mysteries. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with socks that disappear in the dryer, but about how those enigmatic statues on Easter Island got those fascinating stone hats. In a Popular Science article written by Kat Eschner, we learn that “physicists and anthropologists used three-dimensional models of the hats, which are called pukao, and the existing anthropological record, which includes hats and statues found around the island in modern times. Based on their modeling and the existing evidence, they demonstrated that the hats were affixed before the statues were completed and situated, while they were tilted forward.” Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Of course, it looks like we might have to discard Erich Von Daniken’s infamous (and lucrative) theory that the statues were put in place by ancient astronauts.
Speaking of wacky theories, we come to one of my favorite pet explanations–the really boring idea that planet Earth is in fact flat rather than round. In a fascinating, and pretty scary, expose in The New Yorker, Alan Burdick writes about his attendance at a November 2017 flat earth conference held at the Embassy Suites in Raleigh, North Carolina. As Burdick notes, “If you are only just waking up to the twenty-first century, you should know that, according to a growing number of people, much of what you’ve been taught about our planet is a lie: Earth really is flat. We know this because dozens, if not hundreds, of YouTube videos describe the coverup.” And this, in essence, constitutes all the proof you need. If it appears on YouTube, you don’t need any other evidence, and if more than one of your acquaintances believe the world is flat, then it is. Everyone else is part of the conspiracy. Of course, if you need any more proof, you should have become a true believer when you plunked down your two hundred and forty-nine dollars to attend that first-ever Flat Earth Conference in Raleigh (in my home state, no less). Never mind that most inhabitants of our little place in the universe, from the ancient Greeks on down, have believed in the spherical nature of our home. This is, however, apparently more evidence of the grand conspiracy. And, as Burdick says, “believing in a flat Earth is hard work” because “there is so much to relearn.” In the end, it all comes down to who you trust, and who you are willing to give permission to steal your independence of thought.” And, for me, it boils down to what advantage it can have for anyone to create such an elaborate hoax. I am convinced that the world is neither round or flat, but hexagonal. And I am currently looking for a YouTube video to validate me. So, pay me two hundred and forty-nine dollars and I will convince you.
And now, we come to the most tantalizing topical question this week. Namely, what is the correct way to bite into a Kit Kat bar? In a June 2 news feed from ABC news, we learn about a life-changing argument that erupted between Haley Byrd became enraged when her boyfriend, in eating his first Kit Kat bar (if you really believe that), bit all four bars at once, leaving a graphic impression of his upper teeth. You can view the picture online, of course, allowing you to judge for yourself the enormity of this crime. As you might expect, this debate has become sensation, replacing the now-ancient arguments over what words you hear and what color dress you see. In case you are wondering, I guess I eat my Kit Kat the correct way–by separating each bar and then eating one at a time. But I don’t pull Oreos apart, preferring to eat both halves and the cream middle with each bite. Which raises an even more probing question–What is the correct way to eat an unfrosted blueberry Pop Tart? Perhaps I should save the answer until next week after I conduct some extensive research (i.e. YouTube videos).
See you next week.
In the meantime, don’t fall off the edge of the Earth.