A Literary Guide to Pop Crave

Pop Crave is the pulsing center of the internet hivemind. The Twitter (fine, X) account, which fires pop cultural updates at a daily, rapid pace has turned itself into our surrealist CNN. From announcing presidential elections to noting the everyday occurrence of Jacob Elordi looking “handsome,” Pop Crave has perfected the art of the digital headline. And in its own way, it has captured the surreal essence of 2023. One day, when the aliens come upon our climate-charred homes, I hope they find Pop Crave. It is, after all, the best account of our strange and sorry times.

Pop Crave is not only a thorough account of our culture’s daily happenings, it is also an important literary contribution to the internet writ large. The account’s signature reportage, with its go-to adjectives and verbs, has slowly seeped its way into our frenetic digital discourse. And now, through both parody and osmosis, the pop culture news account’s vernacular has become a part of our collective lingua franca. This is all made even more notable by the many stan armies and culturistas who find their homes in its replies. To read the hundreds of comments underneath Pop Crave’s posts is to tap into a dadaist experiment, a found poem by Barbz and Zara Larson stans.

And it has become eminently clear to this young writer that Pop Crave has made a nearly Shakespearean contribution to the modern linguistic palate. So we’ve created a guide to the poetics of Pop Crave:

The science of “stuns”

“Katy Perry stuns for her shoe collection.” “Hannah Diamond stuns for PAPER magazine.” Within the literary puzzle of Pop Crave, “stuns” is both an action and announcement. To “stun” is to stake one’s claim as gay Twitter’s queen of the day. In the Pop Crave journalistic universe, “stuns” is the queering of the mundane, turning the simple act of being into the hallowed act of becoming eminently newsworthy.

The all-encompassing: “talented”

Another word of wide- ranging meaning: talented. Who is talented, after all, but Joni Mitchell, Khia, Penn Badgley and Kris Jenner, of course. “Talented” suggests nearly infinite possibilities. We all know the word, but what lies beyond its surface? Its ambiguity (talented at what exactly?) leaves the reader in a ponderous state of mind. Does “talented” strike us as meaning genuinely gifted, or, rather, is it closer to what Aretha Franklin meant when she was asked her opinion on Taylor Swift? “Great gowns, beautiful gowns,” she responded coolly. I shudder!

The presence of absence: “X in Newly Shared Photo”

Though Pop Crave often keeps its journalistic perspective close to its chest, its sharpest remarks come in the form of a notable absence. While it’s common for Pop Crave to announce a celebrity’s new photo, when it does so without offering any sort of journalist suggestion, one can only assume the ghastly worse. No “handsome.” No “stuns.” Simply, coldly, shockingly: “Zendaya and Tom Holland in newly shared photo.” Some fates are worse than death!

The nasty, no-good Donald Trump

Usually a coy presence, it is no mystery what Pop Crave thinks of the former president Donald Trump. With Trump, all of Pop Crave’s linguistic economy and care goes out the window. To Pop Crave, he is not the former President, but rather: “37-count federally indicted criminal defendant Donald Trump.” He is not the former President, but instead, simply, “criminal defendant.” Well, yes!

The replies: A series of haikus

But if you’re only reading Pop Crave, you’re only reading half the story. The replies are the home to the internet’s most galaxy- brain thinkers, a cesspool of stans of all stripes, of haters of all forms, all united by their shared Twitter poetics. Let us observe.

Exhibit A: “We Will Be Watching” — a statement, a promise

It is a promise one finds wherever they go on the page — under any trailer, any pop single, any mundane announcement: “We will be watching.” A decree made by the chattering masses. It’s a euphemism for applause and praise. The precursor to its cousin: “seated.” “We Will Be Watching” is a slogan for an era, and a contribution directly from the Pop-Crave-verse.

Exhibit B: “Ended Cardi” — A perennial truth, apparently

Under every event Pop Crave reports upon, one will notice scores of Barbs declaring that such occurrence has “ended” the career of one Cardi B. It is not so much observation, but manifestation. The Barbs, hellbent in their holy war against Cardi, splatter Pop Crave’s replies with calls for her downfall. And while I fear Barbs, I must say: I admire their consistency and moxy!

Exhibit C: “Ended with ease:” three words to end the battle

@PopCrave Ended chucky with ease😭😭

And finally, what would “ending” be, if not “with ease.” In a sense, all of Pop Crave’s literary offerings bring this sense of “ease.” Simple words or linguistic assemblages packed with deep, perplexing meaning. To “end with ease” is to laugh off the discomfort of struggle and prove one’s excellence with effortless abandon.

Photo via Pop Crave

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