Out of Scope

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Written by

Hirsch Leatherwood

Out of Scope

You Go, Girl Internet

Plus: A superconductor fake-out and Prof. Peyton Manning

Banner Photo: The New York Times

Happy Friday! This week, we were captivated by indictments, indictments, and also more indictments. Turn on your TV and check that news out. But first…


  • Even condensed matter physics can go viral under the right circumstances. Global hype surrounded the discovery of purported room-temperature superconductor LK-99, which might have accomplished everything from levitating trains to solving climate change. Despite LK-99 failing to truly exist, it offered a new technological optimism we haven’t seen online in a while, labeled “foomscrolling.”

  • Entertainment giants are facing a new, pressing challenge: how do we make it 2009 again? With the pipeline of new streaming content blocked for now, audiences are turning to a finite, precious natural resource instead: TV shows from the past with hundreds of episodes, like Netflix’s summer hit, Suits. The problem? They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

  • Understanding the tragic headlines of today is easier when you’ve got the lingo down. This week, Michael Oher, the subject of the 2009 movie The Blind Side, came forward claiming the Tuohy family did not, in fact, carry out his benevolent adoption. Instead, they created a conservatorship for him. Once a little-known legal term, there’s no need for an explainer piece on conservatorships today, thanks to the long-fought battle to #FreeBritney Spears from hers in 2020.

💡ON OUR MINDS: You Go, Girl Internet

  • The hottest internet trend this summer is "girlhood.” As Michelle Santiago Cortés wrote for Dirt, “the internet has been seized by girls, girlianas, and their gaggles of girlie-pops.”

  • Between "hot girl walks," "girl dinner," and “sad girl music,” girlhood micro-trends are taking over FYPs and watercooler chat, and entering the mainstream — fueled by the momentum of the wildly successful Barbie movie and Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, which both fulfilled girls’ hunger for emotional catharsis.

  • While marketers and cultural commentators attempt to cast these trends as a form of reactionary feminist politics, there’s a simpler truth: In the words of James Brown “this is a man’s world,” but it’s a girl’s internet.

  • Take “girl dinner,” for example. After debuting on TikTok to more than 30 million views in July, the trend — where grown women showcase their snack-based dinners akin to “an aesthetically pleasing Lunchable” — was lauded by The New York Times as a feminist act and “conscious choice to opt out of the tyranny of cooking and doing the dishes.” But in the words of a TikTok user: “it’s no preparation, just vibes.”

  • It’s this kind of authenticity that’s made The Summer of Girlhood so successful. As Rebecca Jennings of Vox points out, marketing teams aren't responsible for the summer’s biggest trend, it's the girlianas themselves: "what was once the province of marketing teams or journalists or magazine editors to christen cultural trends is now up to the public, and, it turns out, the public does a much more efficient job at this than the traditional gatekeepers ever could."


In case you missed these reads.

  • Going, going, gone— Threads has lost nearly 80% of its daily active users. 

  • Peyton Manning, the man, the myth, the legend, adds a new title to the stack: University of Tennessee Professor.

  • Introducing the working man’s espresso martini. Dunkin’s boozy canned beverages are here. 

Thanks for reading,


This week’s newsletter is brought to you by Janet Yellen’s “trip” to China.