The Out-of-Touch Adults' Guide to Kid Culture: Man or Bear?

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This week in youth culture, everyone is asking whether you’d rather be trapped in the woods with a man or with a bear, a question that reveals a stark truth about gender. In less-depressing developments, a woman’s duet with a kitchen fan has legitimately touched people’s hearts, and a YouTuber has done some serious research about North Korean entertainment.

The “man or bear” question, explained

This hypothetical question has the online world embroiled in discussion and controversy this week: “Would you rather be stuck in the woods with a man or with a bear?” The source of question seems to be this street interview video from TikToker Screenshot, that was referenced on this video from @callmebkbk. It’s since spread everywhere, and nearly all women immediately answer “a bear.” It’s a seemingly meaningless question that uncovers a brutal truth.

The reasons women choose the bear are heartbreaking: “I’ve never been followed home by a bear,” “No one is going to tell me I’m lying or imagining it if I get mauled by a bear,” and “at least with a bear I don’t have to worry about running into them at a family reunion.” 

While women seem to understand the nature of the question immediately, if you’re a man, it can take a little coaxing. (My gut response was “A man. Bears will kill you.”) This leads to a clarifying just-for-men question: “Would you rather have your daughter/wife be alone with a man or a bear?” This seems to clear things up instantly, and the moment of realization of what the question implies is fascinating.

Another interesting twist: If you change the parameters to “a woman or a bear,” the choice of “woman” is a no-brainer.

If you were hoping that maybe, just this one time, men would just shut up and listen, you’d be disappointed. Here are some responses from Reddit’s Ask Men subreddit: “Women just like to get together and talk shit about men,” “I don’t think that they realize the unintended consequence of low key misandry is misogyny,” “they like fueling the gender war and being the victim,” and “there’s a reason our fathers and grandfathers just didn’t listen to women when they yap.” Way to prove the point, fellas.

For the record, there are about 40 bear attacks per year worldwide and about quarter million rapes. 

TikTok’s “watch my boyfriend” trend

The man vs. bear thing is so depressing, I’m following it up with a gender-related TikTok thing that is heartwarming—the “watch my boyfriend” trend. Here’s how it works: women or girls start recording a video, ask their audience “can you guys watch my boyfriend for a second?” then point the phone at their boyfriends and walk out of the room. That’s it. But the videos are heartwarming and wholesome. Some dudes sit and eat crackers, or sit and do nothing. Some tell you what’s on their minds. Or lay down you some boyfriend-y facts about flamingos. It’s good to have a reminder that a lot of young people are having normal relationships with normal people sometimes.

Is the Cybertruck a failure yet?

I used to think that the one redeeming contribution Elon Musk made to society was convincing douche bros that it was cool to drive an electric car, but the reaction to Musk’s Cybertruck might even take that away. The vehicle has been on the road since November, and if you’re wondering whether young people are coveting it like they did when the Tesla came out in 2008, it doesn’t seem like it.

Tesla sold 3,878 of the things since launch, which isn’t bad compared to sales of other electric trucks, but it’s far from the ۲۵۰,۰۰۰ a year Musk once promised. The truck has been plagued with problems since its announcement, when a demonstration of its bulletproof windows went hilariously wrong. It rusts easily. It’s prone to software errors. It might chop off your fingers. You can’t take it through a car wash. It’s being recalled due to a potentially deadly design error that could result in a stuck accelerator. And it’s really, really ugly.

Maybe the tech problems can be ironed out, and maybe there are a lot of people out there ready to shell out 80k for the next-gen Cybertruck no matter how ugly it is, but I seriously doubt it. Mainly because the Cybertruck just isn’t cool. This is a vibe thing, so I could be wrong, but when people are arguing that something “is so uncool that it comes back around to cool again,” it’s the kiss of death. 

There is hope for Elon’s folly over the long term, though. Cars that were ridiculous jokes upon their release—The Edsel in the 1950s, the DeLorean in the 1980s—tend to be fondly remembered after enough time has passed and everyone has gone bankrupt. 

Viral video of the week: harmonizing with a fan

This week’s viral video is a short clip of TikTok of musician Claire Boyer harmonizing with a kitchen fan while making dinner (tacos, specifically). It’s hard to explain why, but these 20 seconds of wordless vocalizing struck a nerve with people. The nameless tune really is otherworldly, disquieting, and nostalgic, and over 19 million people have viewed the video since it was posted earlier this month. TikTokers are suggesting lyrics in the comment section, responding with duets or posting videos explaining the emotions, memories and thoughts the song evokes. Boyer says she’s working on a full song based on the video, taking lyrical suggestions from her comment section, and I can’t wait for the fans-and-artist collaboration that will come from it. Although I doubt it will beat the simplicity of the original item.

Special bonus viral video of the week: Entertainment Made By North Korea

Since “harmonizing with a fan” is such a short video, I thought I’d include a long-form viral video to balance the scales. Most viral videos are short, amusing, and forgettable, but there’s a growing audience for content that takes extremely deep dives into niche subjects, like Entertainment Made by North Korea, a five-and-a-half-hour(!) video from YouTuber Paper Will that goes into great detail about the history, context, and meaning of movies, music, and TV shows made by and for North Korea. It’s a fascinating video on its own, but it’s also gratifying to see how many people have watched it, and how enthusiastically they’ve responded.

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