Who’s having a good week? Who’s having a bad one?
Every week we track the highs, lows and everything in between. We give you … What’s Up? What’s Down?
UP: PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY
This was an understandably rough week for most American turkeys, but for Peanut Butter and Jelly — the two birds pardoned by President Biden last Friday — things are looking up.
The President said in the traditional Rose Garden ceremony that the pair were spared from the dinner table this year based on their temperament and appearance. This year’s lucky turkeys are reportedly bound for the Purdue University research farm in Indiana, their home state (and presumably, their alma mater.)
It’s a hard time of year to be a turkey — but thanks to the President’s power of pardon and a little bit of luck, Peanut Butter and Jelly are all smiles.
DOWN: J.K. ROWLING
The famed children’s author has had a rough month. First, she was left out of a retrospective documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter film’s release.
Though she will reportedly appear in archival interview clips, Rowling wasn’t asked to participate alongside the movie’s stars. No official reason was given, but rumors persisted that the author’s absence had something to do with her comments on transgender issues — comments that Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Ruper Grint have all publicly condemned.
Then, just this week, the author tweeted that trans rights activists staged a protest outside her home in England, and posted a photo of the demonstration that revealed her address. She also said she’s received “so many death threats she could paper the house with them.”
J.K. Rowling brought the iconic Harry Potter series to life — but she’s increasingly becoming known for her role in British trans rights discourse, with often disastrous blowback. Things are not looking up for the author.
UP: TARGET EMPLOYEES
If you forgot to buy cranberry sauce or needed to run out for more drinks on Thursday, you might have noticed that the workers at your local Target were nowhere to be found.
That’s because the company announced this week it would never be open for business on Thanksgiving again, allowing employees to be home for the holiday like the rest of us.
Target CEO Brian Cornell said the stores were closed last year as a pandemic precaution, but that the company decided to keep it that way moving forward to give its workers a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families.
While it’s apparently not a paid holiday, any chance to spend time at home with loved ones is a win in our book — which is why this week Target employees are trending up.
DOWN: BAY AREA RETAILERS
In other retail news, several stores in the San Francisco Bay Area were targeted in what police have called mass, organized “smash-and-grabs.”
Three businesses were robbed in as many days by mobs of masked thieves, who reportedly descended on the stores as a group to maximize confusion and minimize their chances of getting nabbed by responding police.
What’s more, that strategy appears to be working — of the 80 or so people to storm the Walnut Creek Nordstrom on Saturday, police said they only arrested three.
Law enforcement said they’re keeping an eye on high-traffic shopping centers to deter similar episodes in the future. But for now things are looking down for big-box retailers in the Bay.
UP: OHIO STATE STUDENTS
It was a great week to be a Buckeye! Ohio State University announced last week that it plans to restructure its financial aid system over the next decade so that no undergrads leave campus with student debt. The effort is expected to have an $800 million price tag, and school administrators said they hope to get the ball rolling by the start of the fall 2022 semester.
The university plans to accomplish this through a combination of scholarships, grants, and on-campus work opportunities.
Most students currently enrolled won’t reap the benefits of the “Scarlet and Gray Advantage,” as it’s been dubbed. But as for the future Buckeyes, who may have a chance to start their careers without crippling debt? They’re trending up.
DOWN: FLORIDA DOCTORS
It’s never a good week when you catch Covid. But when you catch it at an anti-vaccine conference? That’s just embarrassing.
Such was the case for a group of doctors who attended a central Florida summit to discuss alternatives to the Covid vaccine. According to local reports, attendees met to discuss “natural immunity,” vaccine mandates, and the use of anti-parasitic drug Ivermectin as a treatment for Covid patients.
But within days of the Nov. 6 event, seven of the medical professionals who went to the event tested positive for the virus, or showed signs of the illness, reports said.
Hopefully the Florida doctors have a smooth, speedy recovery — but until then? They’re showing the tell-tale symptoms of trending down.
UP: HARRY STYLES
Fans have long celebrated singer Harry Styles’ gender-norm-defying fashion sense.
This week, the One Direction alum took it a step further, launching Pleasing — his new brand of cosmetics and beauty products designed and marketed for people of any gender identity. Pleasing’s product line will reportedly include nail polishes and facial serum, with plans for more offerings at a later date.
Styles said he hand-selected the products, as he wanted Pleasing to sell items that he would use himself. He also wanted to focus on cosmetics that “didn’t mask people” but highlighted their natural beauty.
It’s perfectly on-brand for the singer and plays to his well-known public image as an LGBTQ+ ally, and so this week, Harry Styles is on the upswing.
DOWN: LEBRON JAMES
Lebron’s storied NBA career has been filled with twists and turns, but never a suspension — until last week.
The Los Angeles Laker was forced to ride the bench for one game after an on-court spat with Detroit Piston Isaiah Stewart culminated with King James hitting his opponent in the face. For his part in the scuffle, Stewart was suspended for two games.
The Lakers ended up winning the game, pulling ahead from a 17-point deficit in the second half. But the nasty incident was an unneeded distraction for the LA squad, which is off to a less-than-stellar start for the 2021-22 season.
Lebron’s been a divisive figure throughout his time in the league, but he’s not known as a “dirty” player. Still, publicly losing your cool and punching your opponent in the eye is enough to trend down in our book.
DOWN: STEVE BURTON
Fans of the long-running ABC soap General Hospital have likely seen the last of Jason Morgan, after actor Steve Burton said he was fired from the role for refusing to get the Covid vaccine.
The actor said on Instagram he had tried to secure an exemption from the company’s vax mandate on medical and religious grounds, but that both were denied. In the end, he said he chose to walk rather than take the jab, which he said he still doesn’t intend to get.
It’s not clear how General Hospital will write off his character — neither the show runners nor ABC have publicly commented on Burton’s departure yet, and the actor didn’t have any insight as to how things may end for Jason Morgan.
He said he’d like to return to the role in the future when the pandemic is over or the vaccine mandate has been lifted. But until that day comes, Steve Burton is trending down.
UP: ADA TWIST
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was back in full force this year, after organizers ran a scaled-down version of the holiday tradition last year before the vaccine was widely available.
This week’s march through Manhattan featured a new face: Ada Twist, Scientist, a beloved children’s character from the Netflix series of the same name.
Ada Twist joined the ranks of such iconic characters as Spongebob, Charlie Brown and Pikachu in America’s favorite parade — not bad for a character that first hit TV screens just two months ago!