I’m all out of withering sarcasm, so I’ll just say it: The newest trend on TikTok involves close-up videos showing people popping their Sphynx cats’ pimples.
The PewDiePie of the craze, if you will, is one @Sphynx.cleaner, whose videos show a woman’s carefully manicured hands holding a defeated-looking Sphynx cat and popping its pimples between her formidable fingernails.
Tens of millions of people have watched her videos of puss pimple-popping, not including the millions of other views accumulated by lesser practitioners of the grotesque genre.
Sphynx cats lack fur and have skin often compared to chamois leather. Fur helps cats absorb and redistribute naturally-occurring oils secreted by the skin, so felines of the Sphynx breed are much more susceptible to acne problems than typical short- and long-haired cats. Without fur to help redistribute them, the skin oils can create a “film” that clogs pores, according to Jessica Taylor, a veterinarian in North Carolina.
Not surprisingly, popping a cat’s pimples makes things worse and is not pleasant for the kitty.
“These lesions indicate a disruption in the skin and skin barrier, and squeezing or poking them can introduce bacteria, potentially worsening the lesion, causing pain and infection,” Taylor told Newsweek. “If the lesion is already infected, handling it could spread bacteria to the pet parent.”
As for TikTok, this is not the first time one of the app’s trends has been detrimental to the health and safety of felines, although most of its inanity is focused on humans. I suppose you can view it as some sort of advanced Darwinian engine, accelerating the self-removal of human beings from the gene pool. Among the trends that have gone viral on the app:
- People who use self-tanning bottles as nasal spray out of some misguided belief that ingesting the stuff will not only achieve the desired effect, but somehow lead to a more even, natural-looking distribution of tanner. It reminds me of former President Donald Trump’s impromptu suggestion, during a national press conference, that ingesting hand sanitizer could be a “tremendous” way to stop COVID.
- Videos instructing women to eat the tablets inside Clearblue pregnancy tests as a “contraceptive hack,” claiming the tablets — which are designed to absorb urine during the chemical test — are actually morning after pills.
- People ingesting methylene blue — an anti-fungal fish tank cleaner — because “fitness influencers” say it can “cure” COVID-19, boost metabolism and slow the aging process. Think of the triumph of critical thinking here: These are people who won’t get a vaccine that’s been through three-stages of trials before getting FDA approval, and whose efficacy and safety have been the subjects of rigorous peer review, but they’re willing to drink a chemical manufactured and sold as a cleaning solution for fish tanks.
- The so-called Nyquil Challenge, in which people use Nyquil instead of cooking oil to cook chicken in a frying pan.
- Period blood face masks, which are self-explanatory. Another grotesque and potentially dangerous trend started by “influencers” who claim some sort of nebulous expertise and know that “hacks” will net them attention and clicks. The more outrageous, the better.
Of course, we’ve known for years that Chinese companies are beholden to the Chinese government according to Chinese law, which means the government — and the communist party — can help itself to TikTok user data whenever it wants.
After TikTok’s US-based executives insisted to congress that American users’ data is firewalled and cannot be accessed by the company’s employees in China — and, by extension, the Chinese government — a series of leaks confirmed that China’s government was in fact regularly accessing that data. Absolutely no one, except maybe the politicians who think the internet is a “series of tubes,” were surprised by this revelation.
China’s government can use the data to track journalists, exploit American and European users, program its algorithm to shuffle them toward harmful content, censor content the Chinese government doesn’t like, and even coerce individuals by threatening to release information on their viewing habits.
So can we evacuate TikTok’s US headquarters already, raze it to the ground, and ban the app from every mobile store?