After over 20 years, we get to see Waluigi's bare HAND
Read to the end for a truly amazing use of the TikTok duet feature
So, I’ve been writing about how the people behind classic memes are turning them into NFTs. It turns out many of them are working with the same manager, Ben Lashes. We actually met many years ago when he was managing Grumpy Cat. I’ll be interviewing him on Sidechannel tomorrow night at 6pm EST. We’ll be talking about the NFT boom, memes turning 10, and what it’s like to professionally represent a meme. Hit the button below to subscribe to Garbage Day and you’ll get an invite to the Discord.
The No Reservations Facebook Page Has Become A Content Zombie
Yesterday, Colin Jones, director of growth at Courier, tweeted out that the Facebook page for Anthony Bourdain’s long-running Travel Channel show No Reservations has become a content farm.
The page, which has been around since 2007 and is still verified, is now posting Bored Panda-tier viral chum, like this recent post about that dude who was mad about how woke Disney World is.
Digging around the page I learned a few things. In 2019, the page changed its name from “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” to just “No Reservations”. And according to the page’s transparency section, it’s being run by people in Tunisia, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Spain. All of the viral articles the page is sharing come from the same domain, thoughtnova.com. Scrolling through the page, the No Reservations page has been sharing Thought Nova content since at least last year.
And aside from the Facebook share bait the page is posting, at the end of April, it began advertising “Shirts with Tony's quotes.” The shirts are all being sold from an online store with the domain name remember-tony.com, which was only registered in 2021. Which makes me think this is all a fairly recent attempt at monetizing. The merch site is hosted on a print-on-demand platform called Moteefe.
I got curious and looked up other defunct Travel Channel show pages, suspecting that maybe this was some kind of content deal the network was doing. But the Bizarre Foods page hasn’t updated since 2018 and the last post on Man v. Food Nation was in 2014. So it seems like this is just for the No Reservations page.
Active social accounts for famous dead people aren’t unheard of. John Lennon’s Twitter account gets dunked on every few weeks for posting something stupid (much in the way I’d imagine Lennon’s account would if he were still alive to be honest.) But what’s happening with the No Reservations page feels particularly grim.
Interestingly enough, when Bourdain left Travel Channel for CNN in 2012, he wrote a post about it on his Tumblr. The last straw with the network, he wrote, was when they edited footage together to make him look like he was endorsing Cadillac and sold it as an ad, without his permission.
“It’s something of a creative signature of the new guard at Travel, best I can tell—to cynically and cheaply ‘repurpose’ existing material to create additional ‘content,’” He wrote.
It seems that “new guard” is still at Travel and are now using the page for Bourdain’s old show to sell shirts and promote viral garbage.
Stuck On The Uber Internet
There are two great pieces out this month that, I think, are actually articulating different sides of the same thing. First, the always very sharp John Herrman, in the New York Times, writes, “within the disparate critiques of social media, there is a shared experience for many — a loss of patience with ‘this site,’ or a withering assessment of how people behave ‘on here.’ An urge to type ‘this hellsite’ into the hellsite itself, to like that post about how much the poster hates posting. They’re aware of the irony; still, they can’t stop.”
And, in Wired, Jason Parham wrote about the impending platform paywallapocalypse, “All of us, in one form or another, will have no choice but to practice self-sponsorship. Imagining a future where Twitter and Instagram have private monthly subscription options for users with locked accounts doesn’t seem that far off. Maybe certain platforms offer package deals. For $10 a month on YouTube, you choose which five creators you want to subscribe to, of which they get a cut.”
These two pieces are describing the same despair — the platforms we have used for a decade are quickly raising paywalls and there is simply no where else to go. Up until recently, the internet was largely free. Between still-rampant piracy, the 2010s golden age of viral user generated content, and a bevvy of ad-supported digital media companies, there really wasn’t any reason to spend money to entertain yourself online. But then a couple things happened.
Online parasocial relationships became strong enough that popular influencers became able to charge their fans for their time, using platforms like Patreon or OnlyFans. Companies like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Reddit, and TikTok effectively created perpetual user generated content machines. Streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and HBO Max are producing too much paywalled original content to ignore. Aggressive trending algorithms mean there will never be a moment where you will ever have to refresh a page again. And then, lastly, platforms like Amazon and Uber can operate a scale which means whatever you order online will be at your door sometimes within minutes.
Most of these are all actually good things. The idea of online creators being directly funded by their audiences is something that vloggers like the John and Hank Green back in 2007 could have probably only ever dreamt about and we’re at a point where user generated content like a screenshot of a guy named Josh challenging other Josh’s to a fight can go so viral that it leads to a massive spontaneous party. That’s amazing.
But I think it’s becoming clear that those upsides are actually the main focus for this kind of monetization and platform coalescence. In giving all of these companies our time, and then our data, and, soon, our microtransactions and subscriptions, we’re turning the internet into one giant Uber and it’s becoming harder and harder to go anywhere else. And scariest of all, it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll be not just paying these companies for content, but paying each other for our content on these companies’ platforms, and also trying to get paid, ourselves. A clout casino where you can’t cash out and can’t ever leave.
A Tumblr User Predicted The Venom 2 Trailer
On Monday, the first trailer for Venom: Let There Be Carnage dropped. It’s a sequel to the first Venom movie, starring Tom Hardy as Eddy Brock. I’m a huge fan of the first one which is basically the plot of Liar, Liar, but with space aliens. It’s great and horny in a way that is sort of hard to pin down, yet, also, undeniable.
The trailer for the sequel opens with a scene where the Venom symbiote is cooking Eddy Brock breakfast. The space alien is making a huge mess as Brock tries to ignore him. The whole sequence is set to the song “Let's Call The Whole Thing Off”. It’s incredibly endearing. It was, also, almost entirely predicted by Tumblr user ashidaii a year ago.
Look, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Tumblr users, through the power of raw posting, routinely get very concrete glimpses of the future. It’s weird, but it keeps happening!
Twitter Briefly “Deactivates” An Account
Last night, VICE’s Casey Johnston tweeted that Palestinian-American journalist Mariam Barghouti’s Twitter account had been made “temporarily unavailable”. According to researcher and journalist Joey Ayoub, Barghouti’s account was hijacked while she was being teargassed covering protests in Beit El, in the West Bank. Ayoub said he spoke to Barghouti while she was locked out and she said she was told that her account would be restricted for 12 hours.
VICE was able to get a comment from Twitter. The platform claimed it was an “enforcement action” made in error and was quickly reversed.
Pretty weird error if you ask me, considering the particular way that Barghouti’s account was restricted has, to my knowledge, literally never happened before. If you’re familiar with what a suspended Twitter account looks like, you know how deeply unusual this is whole thing was. Typically, if Twitter suspends an account, it’s because a particular tweet of yours is reported. Twitter sends you an email with the tweet or tweets that triggered the suspension, and tells you to delete them before you can get your account back. I have never seen what they did here, which is switch out her individual tweets with the message, "@MariamBarghouti's account is temporarily unavailable because it violates the Twitter Media Policy."
Also, as another user noticed, whoever at Twitter was restricting her account actually made a few mistakes editing the unavailable message into her tweets, which is further proof that this was probably done haphazardly by hand.
“Important point, my account was suspended then reinstated without me having to do much, because you all spoke up,” Barghouti tweeted after getting her account back. “For that, thank you all for being so quick, for refusing to just be shocked. Thank you for those that offered your own accounts for me to use. let’s do it for others!”
A Good Meme
A Redditor Has A Revelation About Dead Bodies
The absolutely brain geniuses over at Reddit’s r/Showerthoughts have broken new philosophical ground yet again.
For what it’s worth, the top comment on this post actually makes a good point. This isn’t quite right. It’s probably not about the quantity of corpses, but your proximity to them. “I think it's more about proximity than ratio. I wouldn't swim in a pool with a corpse in it, but I also wouldn't swim in the ocean if I was aware of a corpse in the water within the length of a swimming pool from where I was swimming,” user feor1300 wrote.
New Embarrassing Zoom Thing Dropped
It’s very important to make sure that your Zoom display name isn’t “Buttfucker 3000” when logging into Zoom court!!!
People Are Horny For Waluigi Again
Nintendo released a new render of Waluigi on their official YouTube channel this week. Why? I have no idea. But he looks like this:
This prompted The Mary Sue to publish an extremely cursed piece, titled, “Nintendo Reveals What We Already Knew: Waluigi Is Full Of Raw, Sexual Energy” and then went even further, tweeting the piece with the caption, “The sexual magnitude of Waluigi is unmistakable.” Is it???
Polygon also joined in on the Waluigi thirst party, writing, “The image shows Waluigi posed with his knees together and booty busted out. His profile looks beautiful, with his tongue flying out of his mouth and his red rose.” 😕😕😕
Oh, also, Waluigi has a new look in the upcoming Mario Golf: Super Rush, which prompted one user to tweet this extremely off-putting post:
Why are Nintendo fans like this???
Someone Gave The Big Resident Evil Woman A Sweater
If you didn’t already know, there’s a big vampire woman in the new Resident Evil game and a bunch of people on the internet want her to crush them to death. Typical. Her name is Lady Dimitrescu and a modder on Twitter going by @xZombieAlix created a mod that put her in a sweater and skinny jeans, calling it a “casual” look.
It turns out, this has caused a pretty intense reactions! There’s a lot of real anguish from folks seeing their beloved giant vampire lady dressed up like she’s about to go to the farmer’s market. Here are some of my favorite reactions:
“She's just had two boxes of store brand wine and is about to pick her son Bryden up from soccer practice in her minivan”
“getting flashbacks to working at pier 1 imports when women who look just like this would regularly ruin my day”
Another Good Meme
P.S. here’s a truly amazing use of the TikTok duet feature.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
Imagine a paywalled blog where every third post costs $5.