Early this month, we saw one of the nation's senators interrogating our fellow countrymen, TikTok CEO Shouzi Chew, on his citizenship. You know, because it's apparently still the '90s where the Western world thinks Singapore is a part of China. Last week, President Joe Biden joined TikTok. A somewhat timely move after resurfacing age issues.
This week, we've got Former (and potentially next!) President Donald Trump with the most random sneaker drop. This comes hot on the heels of some pretty gangster remarks the Republican made about US' NATO allies at a campaign rally. Oh, and literally a day after he was ordered to pay more than USD355 million in a civil fraud case (basically, he and his entourage are accused of inflating certain property and asset values).
The all-gold kicks, which the business mogul/TV personality/politician/criminal(??) announced at Sneaker Con Philadelphia over the weekend, come emblazoned with a 'T', '45' and of course, the American flag. Also sporting a red sole, which essentially makes it you know, Louboutins for men. At USD399 a pop, the only thing we think is missing is probably a bald eagle on the tongue.
The preorders have already sold out. The highest bid for a signed pair went for USD9,000 (to Roman Sharf, who the media mislabeled as a Russian Oligarch CEO, but that's a whole other story).
Interestingly, the website states that these products are not designed, manufactured, distributed by Trump. Rather, simply using his "name, image and likeness under a license agreement". Besides having like-branded cologne amongst the strange inventory, the fine print also spells that the items only ship out months later.
What a way to remind us that you're running for a reelection.
As award season steadily marches on with the 66th Grammy Awards, the entertainment fodder for us mere mortals watching from home only piles up. Taylor Swift makes history with most Album of the Year wins (four) (still, yawn), Miley Cyrus and Billie Eilish lead with 'Flowers' and 'What Was I Made For' respectively, and Skrillex gets recognised for Best Dance/Electronic Recording (wait, dude's still around?).
Apart from those headlines, here are some key moments that the Internet's been buzzing about.
While accepting the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z had a couple of notes to raise about the system in an overall humorous speech.
“I don’t want to embarrass this young lady, but she has more Grammys than everyone and never won Album of the Year," he said of his wife Beyoncé, who looked on in the audience with an expression two notches down from a Chrissy Teigen meme, "So even by your own metrics, that doesn’t work. Think about that. The most Grammys. Never won Album of the Year. That doesn’t work.”
The rapper/producer went on to deliver some hard truths about the nominations, but also acknowledged that music is subjective. It's giving "Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you", but he might just have a point. Last year, Beyoncé became the most awarded artist in Grammy history with only one win in a Big Four category and Renaissance was snubbed. Altogether, the power couple have each been nominated six times for Album of the Year but never took it home.
Never knew we needed a Grammy for audiobooks, but here we are. As host Trevor Noah points out, “They’re really hard to twerk to, but they’re still great.”
Another notable new category would be Best African Music Performance, which 22-year-old South African singer Tyla made history for winning. With the number of times we heard/saw 'Water' in 2023, this makes sense.
We don't know why but let's just roll with it.
Less of a weird thing and more of a good one, the singer-songwriter gave a rare live performance of her timeless classic alongside Luke Combs in a duet rendition (you may have heard the latter's cover). The hit first won Chapman Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1989.
Shortly after winning Best Rap Album (Michael), Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance, (Scientists and Engineers featuring Andre 3000, Future and Eryn Allen Kane), Killer Mike was booked for “misdemeanor battery”. The 48-year-old rapper was escorted out in handcuffs after an alleged physical altercation backstage. Way to celebrate a win.
It's been four years but I don't think anyone can forget how the Tesla Cybertruck had its windows smashed during its concept reveal. Twice. It was a glorious moment for the Meme-ternet. Complete with the perfect quote, "Oh my f—ing God, well. Maybe that was a little too hard."
Fast forward to last Thursday; where the same man, Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen, repeats the throw, albeit with visibly less gusto and a much softer weapon of choice. Surprise, surprise. Unlike in 2019, the window prevailed.
So why does the vehicle, produced two years behind schedule and at almost double the initial projected price, have its performance as the main source of scrutiny? Why, with a body like that, a face like that, would how it maneuvers the road become the fixation of its creation?
One could argue it's precisely because of the price point. The top-shelf of the three announced models (Cyberbeast) goes at est. USD 99,990. The lowest rear-wheel drive variant is only available in 2025, which could only mean prices are liable to inflate. So it's fair to want to know if function matches form.
We won't get into the full specs of the plug-powered wagon when all that information can easily be found on its main site. One highlighted aspect—miles per charge (since we're talking about an American vehicle currently only available in the US)—is not exactly outdoing the market competition at 250 for the base model.
Though it supposedly excelled at well, being a truck. Being pelted by bullets. It was also cool to see the (strategically shot) premium model beating a Porsche 911 while towing another Porsche 911.
Early reviewers have also praised its smooth drive, thanks to the variable steering ratio. Basically, with features like the same turning radius as a Model S at low speed while being comparably much larger; virtually allowing big turns in one hand movement, the truck handles more like a sedan.
But c'mon. With fancy interface graphics, minimalistic touch-screen operations, toggles like "cheetah mode", can we all admit acquiring the Tesla Cybertruck or anything in its vein is obviously like scoring the latest hype collaboration—more about how it looks on you.
When a vehicle looks like the dream car of a man child if he had the money and resources to construct it (oh wait), it's safe to say buyers are not making the purchase because they need it for practical reasons. One tagline even says "Built for ANY PLANET", as opposed to "terrain". Very on-brand for the Mars-obsessed SpaceX founder, who has mentioned Blade Runner when discussing the truck's distinct appearance.
Equipped with clean aesthetics and sleek user experience, it's akin to what Apple did with phones and computers: Change the game when you show that good design is not a pipe dream. That it is possible to fashion a truck in the image of a Bond car (the submarine-esque Lotus Esprit), an iconic luxury automobile (Lamborghini Countach), and—dare we believe—a stealth aircraft (Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk).
If the engineering team had to live through the massive headache that is to mold notoriously difficult stainless steel into a viable exoskeleton amongst many other challenges, should consumers' biggest concern really be how it moves?
We're talking about a company that turned a public embarrassment into a means for profit. Yes, Tesla sold decals of its broken-glass window, specially designed to fit the truck's odd window dimensions (major plus points if the stickers were accurate to 2019's greatest hits, pun intended).
Perhaps it's because we're not the ones forking out all that cash. We can afford to be a bit more blasé about the capabilities as a spectator. But let's be real on what a vehicle like this—and should any ever come to own one—really exists for: Being a damn statement.