If you live on earth and made the questionable decision to download TikTok at some stage, you’ve undoubtedly heard about The Roman Empire trend. Women, mostly, are asking men in their lives “how often do you think about The Roman Empire?” – and the stats are astonishing. Man upon man reports thinking of this empire long gone, from a few times a week to 5 or 6 times a day. Naturally, we wonder why are men thinking about the Roman Empire so much?
Before I launch into my silly blog post – I want to broach the issue that “what are women thinking about?” would never be a TikTok trend, outside of it being a response to this trend. Realistically, there are endless reasons that women on average aren’t spending time pondering the roman empire. Non-men are pretty concerned with basic safety, and preoccupied with navigating the world without befalling great distress. We might think about the roman empire more if we had the time and mental space to ponder such things.
That said, here is a list of more lighthearted things that I would consider my Roman Empire – important events that I find interesting that I think about very consistently.
Part 1: My Roman Empire
Being a fan since I was about 8 years old, I’ve collected a lot of knowledge about this woman. Way more information than I ever need to retain. As a result, things happen day-to-day or someone will use a certain phrase and bam. Or I’ll hear a song somewhere, or someone will talk about her. She’s all over my TikTok feed. She pops into my mind. The use of language, the marketing, the projection of the values of society through her persona and career, the idea of celebrity, the list goes on, past earworms. I probably think about her 5-6 times a day.
I think about anti-escapist media a lot. The first time I saw Bo Burnham’s Inside and wound up feeling so aware of myself as an audience member, and yet still focused on the screen, it blew my mind. I said something about that in my Barbie Review too. It’s something I noticed and can’t un-notice. Fleabag is big on this. With the forth-wall breaking, you’re aware of being an audience member and still invited in and included in the story in an interesting way. Also, I just wonder what the full uncensored screen play is like. I think about it a lot in a referential sense. I probably ask “have you seen Fleabag?” at least twice a week. I think about this about 3-4 times a week.
My own ADHD
I’m constantly just trying to remember stuff, or prompt myself to remember something, or manage my attention direction. I’m just always thinking “I’m gonna forget that”, “how can I remember that?” and then I leave an email open on my computer to remember later, or I put things I need to bring with me in front of my door. I also think about it genuinely in how everyone I know has some symptom of neurodivergence and attention dysregulation – and how it’s reflective, less of individual people and more of the world we live in and the pressures we’re under. I think about this 3-4 times a day, unless I forget.
That one quinoa salad I had in Byron Bay during the summer of 2019
What can I say? It was superb.
The epilogue of 1984
In the copy of George Orwell’s 1984 that they gave me while we were at school, there is an epilogue which talks about Newspeak, and how the language we use influences the possible thoughts we are capable of having. The language we are not allowed to use, or the words that are discarded over time, limits our possible thoughts. I think about language a lot in general, how the meaning of words is malleable and how that can be played with, for comedy, art or to explain ideas. I think about this 2-3 times a week.
Part 2: Things that are None of My Business
There’s also a less pervasive TikTok trend I like, where people list things that are, quote “none of their business” ‘. Which to me feels like the equal opposite of the roman empire trend. So here’s my list.
To quote Lucy Dacus “I think that is none of our business!”. And I agree. I don’t feel the need to explain, so I’ll leave it to Lucy.
The Roman Empire
I think this one is just out of spite now. I feel like I know the basics, but I don’t need to think about it. Everyone else is. That’s YOUR business, not mine.
Whatever is in a sausage roll
I don’t know what they have ground up into this wonderful savoury pastry for my enjoyment – and I don’t care. It’s none of my business. Can I please get two packs of tomato sauce with that?
People don’t like when I say this. Particularly, my journalism professor didn’t enjoy the commentary. It’s just got nothing to do with me. You might think “it’s important to stay up to date with the world around you” and to that I say, is it? There’s a 24 hour news cycle. It’s a whole other ball game the next day and 90% of the previous day’s news is rendered irrelevant. I’m not saying it’s not important to know what’s going on, I’m just saying – have you thought about why it’s important to you? Or have you been told that it’s important and just ran with it? A really easy way to stay up to date without watching the news is talking to other people. Crowdsource the news, so to speak. Everything’s got a pay wall and an ulterior motive behind it, anyway.
My little toenail
It just looks really weird. It’s a strange nail that looks like someone just glued it onto my foot at a weird angle. I want nothing to do with it. It’s none of my business.
My HECS debt
I don’t have any idea how much debt I’ve racked up in my time at university so far. It would mean nothing to me if I checked. To my understanding, you slowly pay it off and you don’t notice the money missing if you make enough money to start paying back. If not, your debt gets erased when you die. No worries, none of my concern, none of my business.
True Crime media
This one is just because I don’t like it much. I don’t mind a good crime show, but true crime, and particularly that pertaining to victims & family members who are still very much alive, – makes me so uncomfortable. Imagine having your absolute worst experience passed around the pop culture zeitgeist for entertainment value. It’s weird to take pleasure in the sincere pain of other people, and it’s none of my business.
The back of my head
I should never be made to see the back of my own head. It’s not right to put someone through that. It’s got nothing to do with me and it’s none of my business.