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First Up, Someone Has Finally Found A Way To Make COVID Sexy
This comes courtesy of my dear friend Rega. As longtime Garbage Day readers know, I’m a pretty big fan of terrible erotic ebooks and this looks like it’s a good one. Kissing The Coronavirus is the debut erotic ebook from author M.J. Edwards. Here’s the Amazon summary:
She was supposed to cure the Coronavirus. Instead... she fell in love with it. Dr Alexa Ashingtonford is a part of a crack team of scientists tasked with finding the cure to the devastating Coronavirus. Little did she know she would end up falling in love with it, in this steamy viral-erotica. Kissing Coronavirus is a steamy tale about forbidden love and dark desires come to life. The book is M.J. Edwards debut book, and is her attempt at trying to pay the bills following her job loss.
I’m always extremely interested in who is actually reading these things. Kissing The Coronavirus has 3.5 stars and the reviews are pretty good. Here are a few of my favorites:
“This is on par with the work of the famous Dr. Chuck Tingle, except this story is hetero so you might have to be into that sort of thing to fully appreciate this.”
“Do you want to read some truly strange erotica featuring the coronavirus in both vialed sample and Hulk like mutant form? Then this might be for you. This book is 16 pages of descriptors that are all competing with each other to be the one that will make you reach for that bleach.”
“I don't know what the author smoked but it was definitely too much.”
“I dont regret it. Except for the microwave fish tounge. That...I don't like that part.”
Not sure what that last one is referring to and tbh I don’t actually want to find out!
Modern Life Is A Nightmare
For what it’s worth, my mom watches Kelly Clarkson’s show sometimes and says it’s actually really great. Clarkson opens the show with a segment called Kellyoke, where she and her band remotely perform a cover song and it’s really fun.
YouTubers Are Shooting Guns At Each Other Now
I feel like in many ways, this was always going to be the natural endpoint of YouTube drama. There’s also something classically American about it. Like a 2020 version of Earnest Hemingway poising with his shotgun. Because this involves YouTubers, I assumed this was completely staged and not real at all and just a way to goose up channel views, but this is looking more and more legit.
The YouTuber in the screenshot above is boogie2988, real name Steven Jay Williams. He’s an OG vlogger, who is extremely chaotic. Politically, he’s all over the place. I actually met him once at a VidCon and he was definitely nicer in person, but still, a little prickly, especially to a journalist. All that said, what’s happening to Williams is genuinely troubling.
Williams has been feuding with a former YouTuber named Frank Hassle for weeks. Things between the two escalated after Hassle’s channel was suspended by YouTube. His videos basically involved him harassing random people on the street. After he lost his channel, Hassle became convinced that Williams had led the campaign to mass-report his videos and get him banned. Hassle now makes videos on the far-right video platform, BitChute.
This all led to Hassle driving across state lines and showing up at Williams’s house. Williams came out and fired a warning shot at Hassle and now police have opened an investigation into the matter.
The entire feud is also playing out primarily via Keemstar’s Twitter account. If you aren’t familiar with Daniel “Keemstar” Keem, he’s the de facto TMZ of YouTube. Williams uploaded footage of the incident between him and Hassle. Then Keem broke the exclusive on it and made it go viral. Which adds an interesting dimension to all of this.
Hassle doesn’t have a channel anymore, but Williams does. And if Hassle continues his alleged harassment campaign of Williams and Williams keeps filming it and uploading it — as YouTubers are wont to do — Hassle, in effect, stays on YouTube. Other platforms have dealt with similar issues to this before, for instance, Twitch bans people across all streams, not just their own. Which makes me wonder how long this can continue before YouTube intervenes.
Some Interesting Debate Analysis
Some More Debate Analysis
David Mack @davidmackauyep pretty much https://t.co/qetGspEUIN
The tweet above comes from my former colleague Saori. She’s a Japanese reporter based in Tokyo. In a followup tweet, Saori said that the Asahi Shimbun — Japan’s biggest newspaper — translated “shitshow” as くそみたいなショ (Kuso mitai na shō) or “a show that is like shit.” Pretty accurate tbh!
I initially planned to include some actual serious debate content in here today, but the debate last night was so dark and upsetting that I actually decided against it. I tweeted out a bunch of live commentary last night if you’re looking for that kind of thing. But I found the back-half of the debate particularly upsetting. Biden was forced to defend the military record of his son who died of brain cancer and his other son’s recovery from drug addiction. And then Trump instructed white supremacist street gang the Proud Boys to “stand down and stand by” and then refused to against accept the legitimacy of the election and leave office if he loses. I think any attempt to treat what’s happening right now as normal is, frankly, insane and it’s time to start accepting we no longer have a political roadmap for what comes next.
Speaking of grotesque displays of human indignity…
The Custom Fleshlight Guy Made A New Horrible Fleshlight
Back in May, I wrote about Austin-based artist Malek Lazri, who had created a fleshlight that looks like the character Heimlich from A Bug’s Life. He did an interview with VICE about it! I confess, I have not been curious was Lazri has been up to in the last few months, but apparently, he’s been busy making more novelty fleshlights.
He has an Instagram where he’s been sharing photos of the “MATER BATER,” which is shaped like Mater, one of the Cars from Cars.
It’s not good and I don’t like it. If you click through, there’s a video of him like sticking his finger in it or whatever. It also lights up and talks. No thanks! I want to thank Garbage Day reader Devin for bringing all of this to my attention. This newsletter is a curse.
Lazri posted a video of the Mater Bater to his TikTok and users have done duets with it. According to his TikTok bio, it seems as if his account has been temporarily suspended. Not sure if it was because of the Mater Bater or not, but I’m going to assume so. If for some unholy reason you’d like to buy the Mater Bater, Lazri is selling it on Ebay currently for $2000 and there are four more days left on the listing.
Thinking About “The Founding Fade”
Let’s Talk About Productivity Software
I know that productivity apps were becoming more pervasive, but I suppose I didn’t really grasp the full extent of how awful they are until I came across this extremely upsetting comment left in a thread on the 90 Day Fiancé subreddit. (Don’t ask lol.)
I tweeted it out a few days ago, asking if this was really a thing and the responses I’ve received are nuts!
So I wanted to do a call out here in Garbage Day, as well. Send me your craziest workplace tracking stories. Leave them in comments or shoot me an email. I want to compile them into a big list. I feel like there are a lot of really insidious ways this is happening and I haven’t seen a big resource listing them all out.
Tumblr’s Election Interference Prevention
A user that I’m not going to name or link to (not that it matters anymore) looks as appears to have had their account deactivated by Tumblr after posting about how they would vote for Biden for $300. The initial post was completely scrubbed from the site. The user then posted the email they received from Tumblr, as well, which said that they had violated the site’s policies around election integrity.
It might sound funny that Tumblr even has election integrity policies, but keep in mind that:
Tumblr was home to at least 84 different Russian troll accounts during the last election.
Tumblr’s traffic is on par with, if not more than, Twitter’s.
I was able to read the takedown email before the $300 Biden vote post and the blog it was hosted on were completely scrubbed from the site. As with 2016, Tumblr is surprisingly aggressive about transparency and site integrity. It’s refreshingly no-nonsense. That said, I know for a fact, the site is also home to pretty active white nationalist communities and I wish they’d be as aggressive about rooting those out as they were with an ironic leftist shitpost.
Let’s Talk About Deplatforming
To say that I have complicated feelings about deplatforming is an understatement. While I have to concede that it’s had a palpable effect on folks like Alex Jones, I’m not actually sure it really does much meaningfully in the long run. I think the most immediate effect of deplatforming is removing a someone from digital spaces occupied by journalists. American media is essentially mass-edited by whatever’s happening on Twitter and if you remove a person from Twitter, as far as many journalists are concerned, you no longer exist.
Which is fine and dandy, except famously-deplatformed Laura Loomer won a Florida congressional primary in August. QAnon’s main hub, 8chan, was taken offline, eventually replaced by 8kun, and is now bigger than ever thanks to its displaced followers spreading it all over the web. And Alex Jones’ videos are still getting millions of views on Facebook, even if they aren’t directly connected to his page anymore.
None of this is to say that deplatforming is bad, but I think the general reaction of “the evil is defeated,” is extremely naive. And I think the screenshot above, sent to me by my buddy Alan, of exiled r/The_Donald users crowdsourcing online polls about last night’s debate they can manipulate is a great example of this. Reddit’s r/The_Donald was banned back in June. The users were quickly able to rebuild the site on their own server. Now there’s no oversight over them whatsoever. It’s a game of whack-a-mole. It keeps these communities small, but it also makes them harder to track and monitor.
I also think it’s interesting that somehow, eleven years later, we’re still talking about groups of anonymous bad men screwing with online polls.
Finally, What Is Happening In This Video???
P.S. here’s a $1.8 million pirate house.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***