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Volume 412

Are you in goblin mode? Or are you just being gas-lit? This week’s coolsh*t holds the answers. We’ve also got grizzlies on gear snorting ursine lines, a cashpoint making a point, and a thorough crossing of the Rubicon. Plus, all that and more in the latest episode of the podcast.

Gaslighting Vs. Goblin Mode.

You may recall a month or so ago when Collins Dictionary announced their cheerful word of the year: ‘permacrisis’. You may also recall that we did a hilarious analysis of how that isn’t really a proper word. No need to go back and read it, just trust that it was really funny – you have my word as both a gentleman and a lady. Anyway, it appears that old Collin may have slightly jumped the gun, as the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries have this week announced their own respective words of the year. Spoiler: one of them also isn’t a real world. First up, Oxford’s winner is… ‘Goblin Mode’, which is a slang term describing “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behaviour. We really do think so dreadfully little of ourselves as a species, don’t we? And finally, for Merriam-Webster, we have… ‘Gaslighting’. At last, a real word! Sort of. More of a 2021 word if you ask me, but don’t let that spoil the fun. And if you don’t know what it means: it’s when one sets fire to one’s flatulence. You can Google that. And if you don’t think that’s right, you’re mistaken. Someone must have lied to you. You ought to question the veracity of the very fabric of your reality. And you should PayPal me a tenner.

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Cocaine Bear.

We had originally called this entry ‘Packet In’, as we wouldn’t typically like to just copy the title of the actual thing we’re referring to – but this is an exception. Upon further reflection, going from ‘Cocaine Bear’ to quite literally anything else just felt like a bit of a downgrade. The trailer was just released for Elizabeth Banks’ upcoming comedy-drama, and for whatever reason (it’s definitely the title) it has captured the imagination of audiences all around the world. If you’re wondering what the film’s about, give your head a wobble. And it’s even ‘based on true events’ – although I feel those words get interpreted more liberally with each passing implausible plot. Beyond just the title, though, the intentional ‘memeability’ of Cocaine Bear’s premise may also be a factor for its virality. Film PR has entered a strange new era in which the most attention you can garner will likely come from teenagers taking the piss and sharing jokes about your film on social media. Weird times indeed. But when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. And then they make films about grizzlies on the chop.

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Rank Rankings.

We’ve been known to bang on about MSCHF quite a bit, but they’ve actually been absent from coolsh*t for a little while now. Reason being, truthfully, is that they’ve been slacking a touch; their previous few stunts have just felt a little ‘meh’. But they returned to form this week with an installation at Art Basel – which is confusingly hosted in Miami – in which they set up an ATM that puts users’ bank balances on a ranked leaderboard for all to see. That sounds pretty wanky, but as Daniel Greenberg, co-founder of MSCHF, explains: “ATM leaderboard is an extremely literal distillation of wealth-flaunting impulses”. With that in mind, you can’t help but feel that the swathes of insipid influencers and cringeworthy crypto bros queuing up to get a photo with their high score are missing the point ever so slightly…

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Parlour Talk.

Arsenal have just launched some new retro-inspired apparel, and they’ve done so courtesy of a video featuring Ray Parlour in a turtleneck ‘taking over’ as the club’s creative director. At its essence, that sounds like the type of idea that could be funny on paper but would soon be scuppered by footballers quite understandably failing to be thespians. But no, it turns out The Romford Pele is actually a pretty decent actor. What’s more surprising, though, is that half the Arsenal squad also appear to have some more-than-respectable dramatic chops. Granted, the extent of the acting rarely stretched beyond standing, walking and uttering solitary sentences, but all of those things are a lot more difficult than you might imagine. Especially when you’re a 21-year-old multi-millionaire professional footballer who would probably rather be doing literally anything else. Another top of the league display from Arsenal.

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Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. That was a slightly sophistic statement when it was first popularised by the NRA, but now it’s just patently untrue. These days, we’ve got robots that can kill people – even better: we’ve got robots that can legally kill people. The Board of Supervisors in San Francisco voted 8-3 to pass the new rule this week allowing the police to deploy robots as a deadly force option, in spite of cries from critics who claim that this is, well, you know, absolutely fucking mental. But placing the obvious sci-fi connotations aside for just one brief moment, perhaps we ought to question whether portrayals of dystopian worst-case scenarios when it comes to this sort of thing have slightly skewed our intuitions. Who would you trust with your life more: some terrified human being whose main priority will be making it home alive themselves, or a cold emotionless robot with no sense of their own mortality? As a tenuous parallel, think of the example of self-driving cars. Despite sounding bonkers, once fully-functional, they will substantially reduce on the current 1.3 million deaths a year from road traffic accidents. That’s kind of the same thing, right? Right? Whatever. Get in line before a robot blows your brains out.

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Welcome to the Future.

Sometimes we’ll highlight stuff in coolsh*t that we’re in no way qualified or equipped to talk about – and I am using ‘we’ entirely in the royal sense there. And, to save us both some time, I’m going to immediately direct you to this Twitter thread that can explain this both more succinctly and more thoroughly than I ever could, which is vaguely paradoxical. But I still need to justify my position, so should probably say something to get this paragraph to around 130-200 words. ChatGPT is the new innovation that will change our lives beyond recognition – a bold claim that has been made before, but one that ChatGPT might actually deliver on. It’s the latest product created by OpenAI, the AI organisation founded by Elon Musk amongst others, and it uses machine learning to do something no other search engine has been able to do: take in information and form coherent opinions about topics that require nuanced thinking. Apparently it can set exam questions and then subsequently write the answers to those questions and get 100%. We really are becoming redundant. And it definitely would have been able to give you a better explanation of how it works than what I’ve offered in the previous few sentences. And on that rather ominous note, that seems like a good place to leave things…

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The Coolsh*t Podcast - Ep. 33.

Boldly going where over 1 million people have gone before.

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