Your Daily Guide To Trending Topics

Every day there are some topics that are trending. Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

Wisconsin Recall

The top two trending terms on Google today have to do with Scott Walker, the first-term Republican governor from Wisconsin. Walker is now the first ever governor in the history of the United States to have won a recall election. See, after Walker was initially elected, he introduced a plan to save money for the state by cutting public employee pensions and eliminating bargaining rights. This was enough for the state’s labor movement to force a recall election. The joke’s on them, sadly, because Walker killed it, defeating his opponent with a 10% margin. Walker’s earned a fan in no less than Mitt Romney, who said, “Governor Walker has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back – and prevail – against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses. Tonight voters said ‘no’ to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and ‘yes’ to fiscal responsibility and a new direction.” 

Amber Portwood

Before we get too comfortable with all of this political news being searched for on Google—honestly it’s enough to make a guy’s head spin!—here’s Amber Portwood. The star of the MTV train wreck Teen Mom has been sentenced to at least two years (but perhaps up to five) in prison on drug charges. Originally the reality TV monster avoided the clink by going to rehab, but she brilliantly dropped out of that program. Portwood has had a long relationship with the law, including a 2010 arrest on felony domestic violence charges and a more recently May arrest thanks to a probation violation, care of a failed drug test.

Amanda Bynes

Yahoo! users have no obvious political interests this morning, as the misdemeanor DUI charges against once adorable teen actress (now former actress) Amanda Bynes top the search trends. Bynes was arrested in West Hollywood back in April after she slammed her BMW into a cop car and arrested on the suspicion of driving under the influence. Bynes is standing up for herself in a rather unusual way: tweeting at the President. Tuesday night she wrote, “Hey @BarackObama… I don’t drink. Please fire the cop who arrested me. I also don’t hit and run. The end.” 

Miss New Zealand

Avianca Bohn might soon be stripped of her beauty-queen title of Miss New Zealand now that it’s been discovered she’s not an actual citizen. The situation is, of course, of great concern to Yahoo! readers. As it turns out, the 22-year-old beauty moved to the country from South Africa at age 16. Her citizenship, she has said, is pending. “"Everyone’s got contacts, and it’s one of the first things that we’re going to do and sort out," she said in an interview. "It’s just the paperwork. I mean New Zealand is such a multicultural country. It’s not an issue to me at all, I’m not even worried about that." The director of pageant (owned by Donald Trump, an expert in citizenship) has said that Bohn should not have won and was, in fact, only in the competition to build her confidence. “"It’s not embarrassing for the competition. It’s embarrassing for the [chief] judge, who should have taken on board what I said to him," the director said. "It says that in their entry form. [Ms Bohm] and I both had a clear understanding that she couldn’t win.” Except she did.

Vampire Skeletons

Bing is all excited about the discovery in Bulgaria of two skeletons whose chests were pierced with iron rods, making it seem likely that they were staked for being vampires. "These skeletons stabbed with rods illustrate a practice which was common in some Bulgarian villages up until the first decade of the 20th Century,” the head of Bulgaria’s National History Museum has said. To date over 100 skeletons bearing the marks of vampire slayers have been found in the spooky country. But really, news story of True Blood marketing? 


The year’s about half over and already Twitter is cataloging what’s been wrong with it. There’s also a huge number of posts congratulating Miley Cyrus and her big-headed beau Liam Hemsworth on their supposed engagement, but that is a much less popular hashtag than the one that allows you to complain.

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Morning Links: Hugh Hefner Almost Ditched at Altar, Natalie Portman Gives Birth

● Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied welcomed their baby boy into the world yesterday. No word yet on name or photos, but surely, we’ll be made more familiar soon. [People] ● Scandal in Playboy land! Just five days before they were scheduled to walk down the aisle, Hugh Hefner and Crystal Harris have called off their wedding. And according to today’s Page Six, they did so with good reason: Apparently Crystal Harris had been secretly offered $500,000 to ditch Hef at the alter in order to make a “media sensation” of their Lifetime TV special wedding. They called things off early when she decided she couldn’t go through with it. But Hugh, ever the playboy, already has new weekend plans. [Page Six] ● L.A. music promoter Robert Ross told a court yesterday that he had been kidnapped by gang members who were looking for a Shaq sex tape. When they couldn’t find the tape, they settled for Ross’s diamond earrings, a Rolex watch, and $15,000 in cash instead. [CNN]

● If you were thinking about flatware as a wedding gift for Kim and Kris, make sure it’s Hermes. According to their wedding-registry, they’ve got $155 cereal bowls on order. [PopEater] ● Lil B broke news yesterday, tweeting about his feature on an upcoming Lil Wayne mix tape. Mack Maine went on to confirm that a new tape, Thanks 4 Waiting, is in fact on, to tide over fans while they wait on the oft-delayed Tha Carter IV. #C4boom [RapRadar] ● Troubled Teen Mom Amber Portwood was rushed to the hospital after a possible suicide attempt. Season 3 should be a good one. [Radar]

‘Teen Mom’ Amber Portwood’s Nude Photos & the Beginning of the End for Teen Moms

Nude pictures of Amber Portwood, one of MTV’s Teen Moms, have surfaced online. (This is the same teen mom who was charged with domestic battery of her baby’s father and neglect of a dependent, by the way.) Nude photos of the tabloid-famous in and of themselves aren’t that big a deal these days, but still. How did these girls, totally normal and unremarkable except for the fact of their young motherhood, go from being interesting case studies to tabloid celebrities followed to the pumpkin patch by Us Weekly?

Teen Mom started in 2009 as a spinoff of 16 and Pregnant, which followed very young mothers during their pregnancies and births. Teen Mom follows them into their early years of motherhood. It’s fascinating to watch them do mundane things like take their babies to the grocery store and fight with their baby daddies about money. Even though they’re mostly pretty boring and vacant. I would know – I’ve seen both series in their entirety.

The dissonance of a 16-year-old high school sophomore waking up in the middle of the night to nurse her baby, of a 17-year-old moving in with her fiancé and a toddler and keeping house like a grown adult – it’s not as if it’s new or anything. And whether we’d like to think about it or not, it’s the story of more teenagers than we’d like to admit (although less than in the past). But remember what it was like to be 16, and then add a screaming baby on top of that. The drama quotient just explodes.

Admirably, the series uses that palpable drama in a really servicey way. Teen Mom shows us just how hard it is, just how taxing and unglamorous and un-fun, to become a mother before you’ve even graduated high school. Before commercial breaks, there’s even a screen that pops up directing viewers to a MTV-sponsored site about preventing teen pregnancy. This stuff should be required viewing in sex ed classes all over the country.

But now that the moms are becoming famous in contexts outside the show – now that they’re being gossiped about and photographed everywhere – the efficacy of the series’ message is diluted. I’m not in the camp that thinks these shows “glamorize” or “encourage” teen pregnancy – that argument is silly and incomplete at best. I don’t think any sane teenager could watch an episode of Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant and think, “I want that.” But when the moms become personalities, it does, in a way, make the whole thing seem glamorous, or at least it makes you momentarily forget the dirty diapers and colic and the cheating boyfriends and lack of money.

And now that they’re posing for nude photos, however amateurish and sad they may be? Yikes.