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NTMP #47: Chaotic Neutral Paper
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New-to-me Phrases, January 1, 2023
Vote for Your Favorite Phrase of 2022!
I probably should’ve done this last week but I wanted to include this week’s phrases—which were actually gathered last week—aaand nobody cares, Toni.
Anyway, exercise your right to vote for your favorite phrase from last year:
The Phrases, With Context
This week I’m writing to you from isolation in my bedroom. Living the dream over here. One family member has COVID and two (maybe three) of the five of us have some sort of cough and are testing negative. ‘Tis the season, yada yada.
I was going to do some fun data analytics (as it were) with the 406 phrases I shared with you in 2022, like the number sent to me by friends and the number that are actual names of actual people. Sadly, this virus has me out of steam.
This week we have carby presents, malevolent greens, a bit of delightful branding and more.
Let’s get to it before I take another nap:
1. Potato gifting
My friend Stef posted a pic of a sweet potato on IG, thanking a friend for the holiday gift.
I replied, “Normalize potato gifting” and I stand by this assertion.
Don’t believe me? Read this story of a Milwaukee family who gave out potatoes for Halloween. Spoiler: They were a huge hit.
2. Evil paper
My friend Rebecca texted this to me and it’s all the context you need:
One could argue (and I will) that kale is the real evil paper MVP.
3. Poetry Phone™️
I have no idea what this is other than the description and the seriousness of the title case and intellectual property rights.
The Atrocious Poets have a Poetry Phone™️ in their new hovel under the stairs here in my town. Is it a phone you can use to hear or share a poem? Is it a phone made from poetry? I can’t wait to check it out one day when everyone isn’t sick with something.
4. French oven
Few people make me giggle like an idiot quite like Drew Magary does. (Sam Irby ofis another person whose writing makes me snort-laugh while trying not to pee.)
Magary mused about the French oven in his venerated-because-it’s-deeply-hilarious Hater’s Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalog, 2022 edition. What is a French oven, you ask? Just read the whole guide, I promise it will be worth it (though a French oven is pretty gross; you’ve been warned—but don’t let that stop you from reading the guide.)
5. Piece & Love
This winter I’ve been working my way through a gorgeous bird and botanical-themed puzzle my friend Ashley sent me for Christmas. Because I’m edgy and cool and forever young.
While staring at the design on the box in deeply maddening puzzle frustration, I noticed that Piece & Love is the name of the puzzle brand at Eeboo toys. How brilliant is that? I can feel my naming wizard pal Rebecca’s antennae tingling as I type this.
Have you heard of COVID toes? (Also a new-to-me phrase?) I had not until last week, when my pal and workshop facilitator extraordinaire Nicole Antoinette (who writeson Substack) mentioned having it after catching COVID earlier this winter. She dubbed it TOEVID because she's awesome like that.
TOEVID is a form of chilblains, which I had heard of because I read a lot of historical fiction and fantasy novels, lol. Chilblains—swelling and itchy, discolored skin on toes or fingers—usually result from cold air exposure.
There’s some debate over whether TOEVID is actually caused by COVID-19, but my money’s on that fucker messing with us in ways we still don’t comprehend. It’s a vascular disease, so this tracks. #notanepidemiologist
7. Walking pickup truck
Drew Magary strikes again, also from this year’s Hater’s Guide to the Williams Sonoma Catalog. I am SO mad I didn’t think of this phrase that describes a certain good ol’ boy/Trump supporter/paragon of insecurity (and often, unsurprisingly, all of the above).
I wish I didn’t know this one, but here we are. And now you will, too. Unrelated to the French oven1, sharenting refers to parents who share details of their kids’ lives online, sometimes for money as influencers. The clickbait-y headline of this reported essay is harshly direct about the topic, but the piece itself is a bit more nuanced. (Also, props to writer Katie Collins for the heading “Meet the Sharents.”)
I’m sure some parents are exploitative, while others, as the piece notes, are naive. For example, I used to share photos and stories about my kids when they were younger on a family travel blog and on Tumblr. That ended when a pornbot site lifted a pic of my kid, and as they got older, I realized that they should have a say in whether and how they are featured online in relation to me. Sometimes we’re just proud of our kids or work as a travel writer like I did—or both—and we don’t always think through the repercussions.
Either way, the blame for child exploitation on social falls equally if not more on social media outlets built by tech bros who gave little to no forethought as to the societal consequences of their platforms, such as foreign influence on elections and the high human cost on both sides of moderating threatening and hateful speech. Insta and TikTok don’t give two shits about your kids’ safety and they never will in any ways that will prove either effective and equitable. Hell, employees at TikTok owner ByteDance have used the app to spy on journalists, which seems totally fine.
I’m noticing that people are increasingly getting tired of social media’s shit and I hope that trend continues. I welcome the resurgence of blogging and newsletters and other fun shit that isn’t driven by algorithms designed to further enrich soulless shitheads.
The NTMP Poll is Still Open!
You mean I’m giving you even more ways to give feedback? Yes, yes I am.
It’s not too late to give your input about what’s working and what’s not with the NTMP experience. Make your voice heard!
That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading, and remember to stay curious and remain furious.