lol first, some personal news… last night, the New York Times got the scoop on a project I’ve been working on in the background for the last couple months: A co-op Discord server for newsletter writers and readers!
I’m part of a group of independent writers that have been chatting about how we could team up without going down the traditional routes, like forming a bundle. The idea of a shared Discord for paying subscribers seemed like the most fun way to do it. I launched my own Discord at the start of the year and it’s become such a fantastic part of my day. So, next week, myself, Casey Newton, Charlie Warzel, Anne Helen Peterson, Eric Newcomer, Nick Quah, Delia Cai, and Kim Zetter are launching a group Discord called Sidechannel! It will be available to anyone who subscribes to one (or more lol) of us. The hope is that it can grow into something really unique and exciting. And no, it will not replace the Garbage Day server, but anyone who’s already on my server will be able to jump over when Sidechannel launches.
Sound interesting? Hit the button below to subscribe. It’s $5 a month or $30 a year.
Lana Del Rey Fans Reach Their Breaking Point
There was a time when Lana Dey Rey fans basically ran the fandom corners of the internet. They were known for being, well, violently unhinged. I helped uncover a racist troll account being run by a group of Lana Del Rey fans a few years ago and the abuse and harassment I received from them was worse than anything I’ve ever received from the far right.
As for why Lana Del Rey fans are so intense, I’ve seen a few different arguments. According to this Reddit thread from a few years ago, the consensus within the community is that Lana Del Rey fans tend to be on the younger side and also Del Rey’s music is providing a kind of mysterious coolness that you can’t easily find from other mainstream artists.
“Lana is providing something for people that they can't get anywhere else. At least at this point in time. Not from her music only but from her entire self and presentation. I honestly don't totally know what it is, but there are a lot of girls out there who have this need, and it can't be filled otherwise. It's this super-powerful thing,” one user wrote.
Or, as Twitter user @ldrinkh20 wrote earlier this year, “Lana Del Rey is The Joker for women.”
The ongoing Jokerification of Lana Del Rey, though, hasn’t been easy for her fanbase. Last year, she started feuding with her own fans over her possibly voting for Trump. But as Vulture and Insider both chronicled recently, she’s sort of always been “problematic,” depending on however you defined problematic over the years. Well, it seems like maybe the death of Prince Phillip last week may be the point where a lot of her fans give up.
Del Rey posted not one, but two different Instagram posts about Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip — who were third cousins. In the first post, Del Rey wrote, “I’ve always loved the way they loved.” And then she posted a second photo showing Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Users are flooding the comments with people begging to her to stop.
Could this be the point where Del Rey’s stans finally give up? Is this the final straw for a fandom universally considered to be maniacs by literally every other fandom online? We shall see!
Inside The Clubhouse “Hack”
Over the weekend, Cyber News reported that 1.3 million user records were scraped from Clubhouse and posted online. According to Cyber News, the data dump includes things like User IDs, Photo URLs, social media handles, and the name of the profile who invited you.
Clubhouse then pushed back against the idea that anything malicious happened, tweeting, “Clubhouse has not been breached or hacked. The data referred to is all public profile information from our app, which anyone can access via the app or our API,” the company tweeted.
CyberNews senior information security researcher Mantas Sasnauskas then responded to Clubhouse’s tweet, writing, “The way the Clubhouse app is built lets anyone with a token, or via an API, to query the entire body of public Clubhouse user profile information, and it seems that token does not expire.”
Henk Van Ess, an extremely good open source intelligence researcher, put together a great thread this morning looking at what’s in the dump.
Van Ess determined that, yes, it’s not a hack, but a scrape of public information, but also said that it should probably not be that easy to do this. You may be asking, OK, but what can I do with all of the public information that’s on Clubhouse Well, as Van Ess wrote, “My file allows me to see exactly what Twitter users have an Instagram account. I already found a banker in Clubhouse who has a financial bio on Twitter and a very raunchy Instagram account.”
Clubhouse doesn’t seem to understand that their app aggressively courted every major player working in tech at the moment and then basically created a very easily indexable dox of all their users.
Mod Drama Comes For The E-Girls Posting Their L’s Twitter Account
Mod drama. It happens. It’s a natural part of life. It can happen to big subreddits, the New York Times cooking Facebook group, and even the E-Girls Posting Their L’s Online Twitter account, as my friend Brian shared over the weekend:
Let’s get this out of the way first, this account is pretty hateful. It’s part of a larger trend right now where (typically) younger Twitter users create one-off accounts to document different kinds of users. You see this with the whole “new guy dropped” meme. So you pick a kind of user — E-Girl, journalists, Trump supporters — and then screenshot those kinds of users tweeting stuff that makes them look silly. There are also posting Ws accounts, like Dudes Posting Their W’s, which shares your typical Reddit-sourced vaguely pro-man content, but packages it in a Gen Z-friendly surreal wholesomeness. These posting L’s (losses) or posting W’s (wins) accounts are interesting because they seem to exist across the political spectrum. There are just as many targeting conservatives as there are targeting liberals or leftists.
So why did an anti-E-Girl Twitter account hand over the page to an “OnlyFans thot,” well, the new mod, who has returned from the psych ward, explained over the weekend, “long story short I took the account too seriously and got kinda anxious about a decrease in quality when the other mods had to leave.” A tale as old as time. Anyways, here’s another tweet from the same account:
This Cat Does Not Exist
I love these! It comes from a site called thiscatdoesnotexist.com and it’s exactly what it sounds like. This is a picture of a cat that’s been generated by a generative adversarial network. One of my favorite misinformation researchers, Conspirador Norteño, created this and shared it over the weekend. According to his Twitter thread about the project, “Unlike the GAN-generated human face pics provided by thispersondoesnotexist.com etc, the placement of the major facial features on the GAN-generated cat pics from thiscatdoesnotexist.com varies from image to image.” If you’re interested in this stuff, definitely click over and read the whole thread, it goes into the nitty gritty of how the fake cats are generated and how you can tell they’re fake.
Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” Is The Hot Vax Summer Anthem
TikTok has turned Natasha Bedingfield’s 2004 single, “Unwritten,” into a huge 2021 hit. I’ve watched the song bubble up across different platforms all month. A few weeks ago, this video of a club full of people singing “Unwritten” was all over my Twitter timeline. The song is also hitting that perfect 15-year semi-ironic reevaluation cycle. The thing that really pushed it over the edge and turned into a TikTok anthem, however, was this remix of “Unwritten” created by ÈscoUpp & ShawnP. The remix ended up in two super viral TikToks. One of which, a dance video posted by the troupe @gleefuljhits, was then dueted with by Bedingfield, herself.
🎶 “Staring at the blank page before you / Open up the dirty window / Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find.” 🎶
Find Out If You’ve Been FLoCed
Last week, I wrote about a new test that Chrome is doing on its users without notifying them or giving them the ability to opt out of it. What it does is group you with other users who have similar browsing types and then bundles that information to sell to various third parties. It’s called Federate Learning of Cohorts. The Electronic Frontier Foundation created the site amifloced.org, which will tell you if you’ve been chosen to be a part of Google’s FLoC trial. I found out this morning that I am not. Too bad! I’m sure advertisers would love to know why I spend my evenings impulse buying random synthesizers and old Pokémon games! Also, if you’re looking for a way out of this whole thing, it seems like the Brave browser disables FLoC.
The TikTok Dove Guy
The @thedoveguy is one of the new big accounts on TikTok. His name is Steven Sandoval. He runs a professional dove release for funerals. His videos are wild, but I sort of like his whole attitude, he seems to genuinely care for his doves, he’s sort of sweary and rude, and he beefs with rival dove release guys. If you’re looking for more creators who work in the business of dying, definitely check out Caitlin Doughty’s Ask A Mortician YouTube channel.
A Quick Merch Update!!!
On Friday afternoon, I turned my mom’s kitchen into a Garbage Day shipping room. Everything should arrive some time this week 🤞🏻. I’ve been looking into an easier way to send out merch without having to do it all myself and also make it easy for international readers, so hang tight! Also, I have just a couple larges and extra-larges left if anyone is interested! If you’d like one, just reply to this email and we can sort it out! And lastly, I’ll be throwing Garbage Day merch updates on the @iwannabuygarbage Instagram account!
P.S. here’s a really good Spanish KFC tweet.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
Presumably the Brave browser disables FLoC because they want to sell Attention Tokens or whatever weird form of cryptoadvertising Brendan Eich is doing these days. If one doesn't wish to be FLoC'd, really just using Safari, Firefox, or Vivaldi will get you there too.
thiscatdoesnotexist.com is not linked in text fyi