Technicolour Dreams: Why We Love the Mermaid and Unicorn Trend

I went to a music festival last month with a friend. It was a pretty low-key affair — the first time the event had been held — and altogether we had a wonderful time. There are three things from this exciting weekend that linger heavily in my mind: The inevitably pricey beer, the fever of the music, and all the sparkles. A stall had been set up where festival-goers would have their hair done in mermaid or unicorn styles, meaning gemstones glued to the hairline, a fog of glitter sprayed onto every follicle, and a rainbow of temporary dyes to give the illusion of the sea at dusk or an explosion in a nail polish factory. Those partaking in the make-over could also have elaborate designs of rhinestones and glitter paint adorned across their faces to complete the look. Over the course of two days, I may have breathed in more glitter than anything else. On the second day of the festival, stray gems could be found embedded in the grass.

As someone who is now closer to 30 than 20 and whose dress sense can be best described as ‘perpetually waiting for a tea party’, I’ve been on the fence about this recent trend of technicolour fantasy, echoing back to My Little Pony, Lisa Frank trapper keepers, and just a hint of flower power. It seems to have invaded everything, from make-up and hair to food and fashion. Both trends have already been accused of infantilising their audiences, particularly women, which is an understandable point on some level. Even I can’t stop myself from quietly judging people my age just a little for having unicorn backpacks, before smacking myself down for being a dismissive jerk.

I’ve seen more than one person walk around in public while wearing a unicorn onesie (seemingly without the aid of intoxication), and Instagram seems to have been invaded by a barrage of glitter laden food, including grilled cheese, pancakes and burgers. There’s a lipgloss brand named Unicorn Snot. Vogue did a write-up on Mermaid Toast, and yes, there are dildos with theming to match both. It inspires equal measures of laughter, eye-rolling, and perplexity. Of course it’s weird and kind of stupid, yet I still find myself oddly endeared to the madness once I get over my instinctive rejection.

A lot of this trend’s current popularity can be found in simple numbers. Social media buzz has driven businesses big and small to pander to the fad, partly because of supply and demand but also because such products are perfectly crafted to be liked and shared. Instagram filters already add new hues to reality so why not cut out the middle man with some deep sea turquoise or iridescent glow? Mermaid Toast probably tastes gross, but damn if it doesn’t bring in the Twitter numbers. Starbucks knew this when they made their Unicorn Frappuccino. It barely mattered how the drink tastes, although Stephen Colbert did say it was akin to French-kissing Tinkerbell. It wasn’t a drink so much as it was an Instagram trap, and it worked. The particular aesthetic of that site invites a life of rose-tinted envy, one where the surface level of beauty has been achingly organized to reach maximum influence, even if the reality is more calculating and dour. In that sense, a Unicorn Frappuccino is the ideal beverage for Instagram — just look, don’t drink.

There’s more to the trend than just looking good. Right now, pop culture is pretty grim. Blockbuster films have taken on a permanent palate of de-saturated sadness, all greys and rainfall and concrete smashed with a fist of doom. Dourness has become shorthand for seriousness, and so our perpetually haunted heroes must fight not only the bad guys but the darkness within, signalled by an absolute refusal from cinematographers to acknowledge that other colours exist. Even now with hopeful and bright examples to the contrary making money hand over fist at the box office and inspiring fervent anticipation amongst fans (like the explosion of colour present in the trailers and posters for Thor: Ragnarok), producers still clamour for ‘dark and edgy’. Maybe if Zack Snyder had a unicorn, the DCU would chill out a little.

The unicorn and mermaid trend is one mostly coded as feminine in nature, and women’s pop culture is still something that’s maligned and dismissed by the mainstream even when it makes billions of dollars: The embossed fuchsia covers of romance novels; the scarlet haze of soap operas; the technicolour dazzle of hair and make-up artistry; even the welcoming pastels of baking and cozy culinary experimentation. It’s 2017 and we still have to contend with arguments over the colour pink. When you’re told to not make a fuss and blend in with the crowd lest you embarrass someone, the urge to explode with glitter and metallic is a mighty force. Unruliness in women is something we’re supposed to clamp down — don’t be loud, don’t backchat, don’t make a scene — so what better way to oppose that than being the mermaid of your dreams, dizzying and vibrant and impossible to dismiss?

Pop culture’s recent grimness is nothing compared to the smothering reality of the world at large, an increasing hell-scape of global warming, crumbling democracy, and legitimized bigotry. There’s never been a more pressing need for something hopeful and bright, even if it’s just as a minute form of self-care. Mermaids and unicorns can represent whatever you need them to: Unique strength, irrepressible joy, feminine power, a beacon of optimism in a world of grey. It’s a fairytale aesthetic but it’s not as if fairytales are empty of darkness: It’s just that we’re mostly guaranteed a world where goodness prevails. Mostly. It didn’t work out great for the original Little Mermaid.

It’s no coincidence that this symbol of femininity has also been re-energised as one for LGBTQ+ pride. What rainbow flag couldn’t be improved with the addition of a unicorn? Ariel from The Little Mermaid has long stood as a hero for LGBTQ+ kids who saw themselves in her struggle to live the life she knew she always wanted, a movie that offered a much more optimistic ending than the tragic Hans Christian Andersen story it was based on (one with frequently noted gay subtext). There’s even a wonderful British charity dedicated to supporting gender nonconforming children called Mermaids. Janet Mock wrote about the special meaning the mermaid trend has for trans women and non-binary individuals in Allure:

‘Like mermaids, trans women are viewed as half-women, half-other. Like mermaids, trans women grapple with people’s disturbing curiosity with their genitals. And like mermaids, we are fascinating and beautiful and magical.’

This trend will probably be over by the end of the year, replaced by something else that will leave me ever closer to permanent ‘Old Woman Yells at Cloud’ status (bring on robot realness). There’s enough darkness in our lives to contend with on a daily basis, and frankly, a rainbow dye-job or teal-poached breakfast is the least we can do to ensure some of the light stays in our lives. Besides, unicorns have horns and mermaids have teeth — being sparkly doesn’t mean they won’t fight hard when the time comes.


Stranger Things Age Investigation: How Old Are the Kids in the Cast?

Stranger Things has taken pop culture by storm since it debuted last year, and the young cast members on the hit sci-fi Netflix series have become celebrities in their own right. So, exactly how old are the actors? Even though they play school-age kids, some of their ages IRL might surprise you. Before the second season of Stranger Things hits Netflix on Oct. 27, check out our very thorough age investigation.

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How Long Can ‘The Good Place’ Possibly Sustain This?

Last season, Mike Schur’s The Good Place debuted with a phenomenal concept — Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) finds herself wrongly sent to «The Good Place» after her death — and we, as viewers, spent most of the season wondering how long that premise could possibly be sustained. It seemed like the end of the runway was always two or three episodes into the future, tops. Yet, Mike Schur managed to find news and exciting wrinkles, and not only did he extend the life of the premise, the show improved as it moved on.

Then that killer season finale twist arrived: Eleanor was never in «The Good Place,» she was in the «Bad Place» all along, and making her think otherwise was Michael’s (Ted Danson) torturous form of hell.

Well, that’s it, right? That should have been the end of the show.

Except that Michael zapped Eleanor’s memory, and decided to reboot the exercise.

The Good Place 2.0 began last night, and hell if Mike Schur didn’t pull another rabbit out of his top hat. (How many rabbits does he have in that goddamn thing, anyway?) This time, Michael attempted to keep Eleanor away from her friends — Chidi, Tahani, and Jason — and while the first two episodes compressed an entire season into an hour, it also offered a fresh perspective because now the audience is in on the joke. Now that we know it’s the Bad Place, we get to experience the show from the perspective of Michael and the rest of the demon actors, who are trying to pull one over on Eleanor. Eleanor remains the focus of The Good Place, but we’re looking at her from an entirely different perspective.

Last season, it was Eleanor trying to outsmart the clueless Michael, but now it’s Michael trying to fiendishly outsmart Eleanor. We understand from the outset that Chidi, Jason, and Tahini belong in the Bad Place, and now we know why, but even as they wear their sins on their sleeve, so to speak, we also know of the heart underneath. There’s an unbreakable bond between them that clearly mind erasure cannot break.

The trick now is to rewire our brains to view Michael as the villain. From Michael’s perspective, we also learn about the unspeakable conventional horrors of the Bad Place, like penis flattening and enormous butthole spiders. But here’s the twist: If Michael doesn’t pull off his Good Place 2.0 gambit, he’ll be shot into the sun, so even though he’s the bad guy, we find ourselves pulling for him in way similar to the way we sympathized with Eleanor last season.

If Schur had simply decided to reverse the point of view, my guess is that he could have pulled it off for an entire season with a minor wrinkle here and there to keep it fresh — the hilarious joke writing alone could sustain most of the season. But hell if that motherfucker didn’t exhaust 2.0 in the first hour and reboot again. Is that how this season is going to work? Is he just going to reboot every few episodes and try again? How long can that last before it gets old? How could Mike Schur possibly sustain that?

In other words, here we are again, right back to believing that the end of the runway is two or three episodes into the future, at best. By now, however, I think we’ve learned never to underestimate Mike Schur.


Jess Harbour Off The Top Rope On IG, Braves Fan Ginger 69 & A Tom Brady Cartoon

Have you taken a look at the Bama football schedule?

This week it’s Vandy. Now Vandy isn’t that bad this year. The Dores are 3-0 and coming off a win over competent Kansas State. That gets you the 3:30 slot on CBS against Bama. But let’s be honest here, it’s still Vandy and they’re still incredibly outmatched. It’s been 33 years since Vandy beat Bama. 1984. The Tide finished 5-6 that season, the same as Vandy.

We’ll suppose Bama gets by Vandy by 21 to 28 points this weekend. Then it’s a home game against Ole Miss. And then it’s a schedule that features a bunch of coaches fighting for their SEC careers. The roadie against A&M on Oct. 7 shouldn’t be a problem.

This isn’t good for college football. What the hell happened to the SEC West? I need insane matchups on a weekly basis. Instead we get Vandy-Bama in the 3:30 slot. And we get LSU – last week – getting beat by 30. Something needs to change, quick.

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Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

Elisabeth Moss’s New Movie Role Is the Perfect Follow-Up to The Handmaid’s Tale

Elisabeth Moss took home a trophy for outstanding lead actress at the Emmys on Sunday, but the Handmaid’s Tale star is wasting no time in lining up her next project. In addition to The Seagull and Old Man and the Gun — due out in 2017 and 2018, respectively — Moss has been cast in Call Jane, a historical account of an underground abortion organization from the 1960s called the Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation in Chicago, later nicknamed the Jane Collective (and then simply Jane).

According to Variety, the drama is being directed by The Woman in Gold and My Week With Marilyn‘s Simon Curtis, while Hayley Schore and Roshan Sethi serve as cowriters. Call Jane is set to follow members of the Jane Collective as they gave women covert access to abortions between the years of 1969 and 1973, until Roe v. Wade finally made abortion legal at the federal level. Though her character is still unnamed, Moss will play the main character, a married woman who seeks out help from Jane when she becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Given the themes in The Handmaid’s Tale, Moss could not have picked a more perfect follow-up project.

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People Are Not Happy About This Hurricane Irma Sign Made By Kentucky Fans

Love or hate BBN, you know they aren’t going to hold back when it comes to making these frat house banners. Is this one over the line? I’d say yeah. Once you get into that death and destruction territory, you may be taking things a little too far. But this is what BBN does. They took shots during the NCAA tournament and they’ll take shots during football season no matter how shitty their team is.

Luckily this one got out and ridiculed before anybody sees it hanging from a front porch on Saturday morning.

I’m actually surprised we didn’t see one of these borderline offensive signs earlier. College kids are dumb and drunk 99% of the time, so I was fully expecting to see Tennessee fans toe that Irma line last week when they played Florida. Good for them for holding back.

Just stick to jokes about your opponent’s QB’s DUI or how shitty their degree is and everything will be fine.

Another one…not as ruthless I guess

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Now this may be too tame

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Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

Katy Perry’s Up To No Good, Ricky Williams’s New Mugshot & A Washington Capitals Zamboni Gravy Boat

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Raise your hand if you’re excited for Rams-49ers. NFL Network will make it feel like the Super Bowl. Wall-to-wall coverage. You’ll also get Temple-South Florida over on ESPN. It’s a shame that CFB doesn’t look at nights like this and fire off a solid ACC game. Maybe something like NC State-Miami. Oh well, sports fans will still act like Rams-49ers is something important.

I’m not sure what Katy Perry’s up to here

Lawrence O’Donnell has a meltdown for the ages (go to 4:00 mark & keep watching)

Ricky Williams smiles for new police mugshot

A Washington Capitals Zamboni gravy boat!

Buy Jeremy Shockey’s penthouse

Saban lap dog Cecil Hurt is mad about bad Bama home games

Florida Man: Gimme money or I’m gonna whip it out

Here’s Victoria from Ohio State!

Bama Kids Are The Best Video of the Month

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Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

9 Chilling Facts About Infamous Cult Leader Charles Manson

Charles Manson is one of the most infamous figures in criminal history. He ordered one of the most horrifying murders in Hollywood: that of actress Sharon Tate. He was the leader of one of the world’s most infamous cults. And he’s even going to factor into American Horror Story: Cult. With Charles Manson’s recent resurgence as a person of interest in the public eye, it’s entirely possible that a lot of people in the present day don’t know his story. After all, he committed his most prolific crimes in the late 1960s. Here’s a primer on who he is, what he did, and where he is now.

  1. He had a tumultuous early family life. Charles Manson was born on Nov. 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, OH. His mother, Kathleen Maddox, was 16 at the time. She was allegedly an alcoholic and a sex worker. At one point, reports say she sold him for a pitcher of beer to a mother who wanted to have children. According to the story, his uncle had to track him down to get him back.
  2. He was getting into trouble from a very early age. Charles began spending time in prison as young as 16 years old. He was first put behind bars in 1951 and served time almost continually until 1967, when he was released. He moved to San Francisco once he was let go.
  3. In the late 1960s, he started to amass a group of followers. It’s not entirely clear how Manson managed to get so many people under his control. He called these devoted individuals his «family.» Sometime around 1968, he moved to a huge ranch in Chatsworth (a city near Los Angeles). This became his home base of sorts. The Manson «Family» cult grew to about 100 followers, mostly young girls.
  4. His main anger toward Hollywood and the music industry stemmed from an early rejection. At some point during this period, Manson met a music teacher named Gary Hinman. Gary introduced him to Dennis Wilson, a member of the Beach Boys. From there, Manson became acquainted with Terry Melcher, a record producer who was the son of actress Doris Day. Terry initially showed interest in some music Manson was working on, but eventually decided not to work with him.
  1. A big switch-up precipitated a deadly event. In this same span, between 1967 and 1968, Terry Melcher lived in a Beverly Hills home on Cielo Drive. He moved out, and the home was rented to director Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate.
  2. Charles Manson ordered a horrifying, high-profile Hollywood murder in August 1969. Knowing the address as Terry Melcher’s home and presumably wanting revenge, Charles Manson ordered his most loyal followers — Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian — to go to the house and kill everyone in it. The «family» members did as they were told and murdered the eight-months-pregnant Sharon Tate and four other people: Wojciech Frykowski, Folger’s Coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent, the family gardener.
  3. Charles Manson and his most loyal followers were convicted in 1971. Manson and his followers were arrested in November 1969, not because of the murders but because of suspected auto theft. Eventually, through a series of confessions, Manson and the aforementioned murderers were all indicted for the murders and put to trial. The proceedings began in June 1970.
  4. The entire group received the death penalty, with one exception. Manson, Patricia, Susan, and Tex were all found guilty in January 1971. Linda Kasabian received immunity in exchange for her testimony against Manson.
  5. He’s still alive today. At age 82, Manson is serving his time at the Corcoran State Prison in California. He was denied parole for the 12th time in 2012. His next hearing is set for 2027. He’ll be 92.

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Youth Football Coach Puts Another Coach In A Headlock On The Sideline During A Game

(fight starts at about the 1-minute mark)

HELL YEAH. Now, THIS is what youth football is all about. It isn’t about these THIRD GRADE kids who need to learn how to tackle correctly so their brains aren’t mashed potatoes by the time they’re 35, it’s about winning ballgames. If that means a grown man needs to be put in a triangle choke, then so be it.

Of course, what started this fight was playing time. One coach wants his son to play, the other tells him his son sucks, next thing you know, they’re both rolling around in the grass.

News9 has more:

The Union third grade football coach who put another coach in a chokehold speaks out.

This coach asked to remain anonymous; he says for his own safety and the safety of his family.

He admits to instigating the entire situation, and now, he just wants to say he’s sorry.

“I did it,” said the Union Silver coach. “I accept responsibility. I did what I did.”

Emotions ran high at Union’s 3rd grade Silver football game on Saturday.

It escalated quickly for a game Union was winning, 31-6.

“I asked the offensive coordinator Coach “A” if he could put some substitutes in and let my son carry the ball,” he said. “He turned around and he said, ‘Your son is slow, and he’s not ever gonna run the ball.’”

Let me say this again… THESE ARE THIRD GRADERS. These kids are more worried about picking boogers and chewing on their mouthpiece than learning how to properly run a Power-O.

I think I can confidently say that they aren’t particularly worried about how many touches they’re getting. But I’m down for a dad fight every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Sports Gossip, Sexy WAGs, NFL and Hot Cheerleaders: BustedCoverage

The Most Physically Intimidating Person in This Picture Isn’t the Superhero or Supervillain, It’s The Butler

Gotham: A Dark Knight on Fox at 8:00pm ET. Fourth season premiere. Listen, I’ve seen the kid playing Batman in this and I am… not intimidated? I know he’s supposed to be a teenager still, but there usually comes a point when teenage boys get their full adult size and he’s… not. Or that is his full adult size, which is a different problem. But everyone in Hollywood is like 5 feet tall anyway, so maybe they can work with it.

The Orville on Fox at 9:01pm ET.

Better Things on FX at 10:00pm ET.

Nathan For You: A Celebration on Comedy Central at 10:00pm ET. This is a one-hour special presentation that will be a sort of follow-up with people who have been on the show before. I went to see one of his live shows a few weeks ago and saw a couple clips from the upcoming season and if you were a fan of his previously, you will continue to be a huge fan. If you are someone who reacts to the show with a strong desire to crawl under the couch and growl like an agitated cat at the awkwardness, you will continue to have that reaction. (I am the agitated cat, my beloved gentleman friend is the delighted fan.)

Zoo on CBS at 10:00pm ET. Third season finale.


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