The Out-of-Touch Adults’ Guide To Kid Culture: What Is ‘Cheugy’?

There’s a culture war raging across the TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, and I’m not talking about the urban vs. rural political quagmire that’s destroying our nation. I’m talking about something important: Generation Z and millennials squaring off over skinny jeans.

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This week in generational battles: Gen Z vs. millennials

The simmering pop-culture war between millennials and Generation Z has been spilling over lately. The main battlegrounds are skinny jeans and side-parts, with minor skirmishes over Harry Potter fandom, saying “adulting,” and BuzzFeed quizzes.

According to Gen Z, all these millennial things are uncool, canceled, or cheugy (see below). Millennials, clearly stung by no longer being the coolest kids at the party, are responding with their own salvos, vowing that you’ll have to pry their skinny jeans and extra-whip, half-caff lattes from their cold, dead fingers, and pointing out that you shouldn’t take fashion advice from people who string LED lights up in their bedrooms and eat TidePods.

Personally, I think millennials should surrender: You can’t win a war about being cool with teenagers. But as a member of Gen X, I don’t inject myself into it. I’m happy to shrug and say “whatever,” darkly satisfied that none of this matters and we’ll all die alone anyway. For a deeper dive, check out Mina Le—this fashion YouTuber’s video lays it all out and even delves into the history of skinny jeans.

Definition of the week: “Cheugy”

“Cheugy” is an adjective used to describe someone or something that is corny but is trying hard not to be. It’s doesn’t mean “basic,” exactly; it doesn’t describe the generic. It’s more aimed at people trying too hard but still missing the mark. In other words, it’s an insult tailor-made for Gen Z to throw at aging millennials.

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The word seems to have picked up popularity on TikTok and is used to describe things like saying “I did a thing” when posting a picture of a thing you did, or being really into Disney as an adult. The trick to avoid cheugy-ness is to live long enough for the cultural signifiers you consider “cool” to become corny, then come back around to being cool again. (See “mom jeans” and The Linda Lindas below.)

This week in party’s gone wrong: Adrian’s kickback

Los Angeles area teenager Adrian Lopez experienced the joy and heartbreak of internet celebrityhood in only a few days. The saga started on Monday, when Adrian posted a simple TikTok video inviting the kids from his school to attend a graduation celebration on Saturday night at Huntington Beach near Los Angeles. Something about the invitation caught people’s attention, though, and before long, it went viral, with teenagers sharing it, TikTok’s almighty algorithm boosting it, and influencers like 24kGoldn and Noah Beck influencing over it.

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By Friday, videos tagged #adrianskickback had attracted nearly 280 million views, and people vowed to come from all over to attend “the party of the century.”

Only there was no party. There was only Adrian Lopez’s vision of some mates from school hanging out at the fire pit at the beach. With the help of a promoter, Adrian tried to get a venue and put something together, but dude did not have the time. By Saturday, the night of the party, everything had fallen apart.

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Thousands of kids who had been locked inside for a year descended onto Huntington Beach. As you might have expected, there was a riot: Fireworks were shot off, walls were tagged, bottles were hurled at cops, rubber bullets were shot at partiers, arrests were made, and lessons were learned. Just another week on the internet.

Punk band of the week: The Linda Lindas

A few weeks ago, I wrote about sad, fake, all-girl punk rock band Tramp Stamps. In contrast, check out The Linda Lindas, basically the anti-Tramp Stamps. Clad in band shirts and plaid skirts, these four Asian and Latinx girls between the ages of 11 and 16 ripped out a killer set of bangers worthy of the The Ramones recently at the Los Angeles Public Library. (How punk rock is it to blow the doors off the damn library?)

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The Linda Lindas sing about how sad it is to not be able to eat dinner at your grandma’s during the pandemic, a racist boy who was mean to them, and other subject of passionate interest to teenage girls. Anyway, the video went viral, labels got interested, and, for the 11 millionth time since 1957, Rock ‘n’ Roll was saved.

Viral video of the week: McDonald’s BTS meal

K-Pop boy-band BTS has teamed up with McDonald’s to release the McDonald’s BTS meal, and in a testament to the ongoing popularity of BTS, the promotional commercial was one of the most viewed videos on YouTube this week.

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The meal consists of a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, a Coke, medium fries, and (according to the ad) two “exclusive sauces picked by BTS: Sweet Chili sauce and Cajun.”

I’m not sure why these meal items are synonymous with BTS. I’m not sure why BTS is still around. I’m not sure why anyone would care, but the fact is, Korean pop stars promoting multinational corporation’s food product is what kids want to watch on YouTube. We just have to deal with that. It’s a strange world. I’m going to shoot myself into space to escape.

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