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An Anime Meme Goes Viral On Brazilian TikTok
Read to the end for a very long Twitter thread of Tumblr screenshots
First off, Garbage Day reader artists, I got all your emails about collaborating on a shirt design! I was actually totally overwhelmed by the response haha, which is a totally cool problem to have. Expect to hear from me shortly. And thanks for the interest!!
Second, I have a Sidechannel event coming up next week! It’s on Monday night with the Data Society’s Cristina López G. We’re going to be talking about “content governance” — passing laws for hashtag clout — and how it led to El Salvador making Bitcoin legal tender. Hit the button below to get access to the Discord!
The Strange Life Cycle Of A TikTok Trend
I think it’s actually become really tricky to fully conceptualize all of the weird ways TikTok trends can evolve globally. The app’s hashtags, visual aesthetics, filters, and audios are all in conversation with each other. Users hop on each trend, changing it a bit every time. The app is also hoovering up content from around the web, using it as a launchpad for its own content creation. And this global free-for-all is how an anime foot fetish meme recently became a Brazilian TikTok challenge.
Per Know Your Meme, the first instance of the phrase “At first I was like ‘mmm feet’ as a joke, but bro … I don't think it's a joke anymore,” was on a post from a now-deactivated user named @downzyndrome in April 2019. It was photoshopped onto a picture of a character named C.C. from the anime Code Geass.
The image then made the rounds on all the usual places — meme subreddits, other Instagram pages, Discord servers, etc. There’s an entire content economy for anime fan cringe and this did pretty well.
Then another Instagram user named @cursed.voiceovers did a reading of the meme. You can listen to a YouTube upload of it here. Throughout 2020, the meme spread and continue to evolve. People would replace “feet” in the sentence with other things like “piss,” “cat boys,” “armpits,” stuff like that.
At the beginning of this year, however, the @cursed.voirceovers audio clip was uploaded to TikTok. The original post has been deleted, but you can find all the other posts using the clip here. If you’re wondering how and why weird anime memes end up on TikTok, it’s actually pretty simple. There’s a big intersection between Discord, streamer fandoms, and TikTok. Users on the app started messing with the meme, as well, substituting “feet” for other stuff, like “becoming a stripper” or “short guys”.
Now, to understand what happens next, you need to know a little about a new subculture/meme trending in Brazil right now called “mandrake,” or the feminine “mandraka”. You’d use it in a sentence like, “that’s very mandrake,” to mean something is cool or stylish. But it also describes a particular kind of urban fashion. To get a sense of what it looks like, you can check out the music videos for MC Paulin Da Capital and MC Lipi’s song titled, “Ela é Minha Mandraka” (or “She is my Mandraka”), which was released last year and currently has 29 million views on YouTube. The term is getting more popular right now. MC Nathan ZK and MC Rhamon put out a song with the producer Kondzilla in January titled, “Mandraka”.
Best as I can tell, while users on TikTok were riffing on the feet meme, a Brazilian user replaced “feet” with “virar mandraka” or “turning into a mandrake”. Which has since blown up into its own huge TikTok trend in the country. To the point where the app is promoting the tag to users in the country and, yes, the majority of the videos still feature @cursed.voiceovers’ line reading of the foot fetish meme.
This is especially jarring in a video like the one in the top middle of screenshot above, which is an older woman making a video to the anime foot fetish audio!
But, honestly, as weird as this all is, it’s also sort of cool. A random piece of internet ephemera made in 2019 by an anonymous person slowly bounced around the internet until it ended up colliding with a completely unrelated meme in Brazil and became a super popular TikTok challenge. Neat!
A Fascinating And Bittersweet YouTube Channel
This has been on my list for a while now, but it’s a fairly complicated story and I wanted to make sure I understood all the pieces to it. Ramon J. Reid runs a YouTube channel called ModernDayCaveman. A few weeks ago, a clip from one of his videos went really viral on Twitter.
Reid was incarcerated for 23 years and he’s using his channel to document life after being released from prison. In a video titled, “How It Came to Be” he talks about how he ended up in prison. According to Reid, the bulk of his prison time was because he violated a probation, went on the run, and ultimately robbed a bank. He’s been in prison since 1996, he estimates. For what it’s worth, I googled around and found public records that lined up with his story.
Most of the videos are just him vlogging from his driveway. Sometimes his family members show up. The views aren’t huge, though the comments are all pretty positive.
Obviously, not everyone is probably comfortable with a man charged with armed robbery vlogging, but that doesn’t make his content any less interesting. In particular, the video embedded above is a powerful thing to watch. It’s Reid reacting to all the different kinds of cereal in the supermarket. It’s human and sad and, honestly, a good reminder of how powerful a platform like YouTube can be at giving you an unrelenting glimpse into someone else’s life.
K-Pop Fans Push The Limits Of Twitter Spaces
The K-Pop community continues to push the technological limits of the internet. This morning, BamBam, a Thai rapper based in Seoul who performs with the K-Pop group GOT7 jumped on Twitter Spaces to talk about his upcoming solo mini-album. He released a teaser for it today. BamBam was able to bring over 40,000 people into the space. Which has got to be one of the biggest the site has ever had. I popped into for a bit. It was cool! An extremely casual conversation with a massive international pop star and 40,000 of his fans.
Twitter Spaces, at least to me, feels like a slightly more-open version of Clubhouse, but is still largely being used by media and tech folks. Though, I have seen some cool stuff being done with it. And events like the one that BamBam organized makes me think that Spaces will beat out Clubhouse if social audio actually does become a thing — which I’m still pretty bearish about. The scale of K-Pop really just blows everything else out of the water. For instance, I tweeted about BamBam’s spaces event and the fan reaction to just my very basic tweet crashed my Tweetdeck.
It really makes you wonder why an app like Clubhouse would focus exclusively on white, male dark enlightenment grustle bros and weird tech founder stans, only for that entire scene to tank their download rate and overall community experience. But it’s a phenomenon that seems to keep happening. I see more and more startups launch social networks by inviting the same 150 product managers and venture capitalists from the Bay Area and have them talk about doge coin and the various women in journalism they don’t like until everyone gets bored and goes back to Twitter. Instead, they could just give out invite links to like a dozen K-Pop influencers and build a community large enough to technically count as a sentient DDOS attack.
Here’s A Good Tweet
A 4chan User Has A Problem With Steam
FYI Steam is a video game platform and this 4chan user has spent users trying to build up 1,000,000 unread notifications from the app. Absolutely heartbreaking smh.
Welcome To Horsegate
It’s been a while since we’ve had a good totally insane Reddit post. Though, my friend Ellie recently sent me one about a horrible man ruining his wife’s work part with his anime tattoos. But this one, Horsegate, is REAL GOOD, guys.
It has everything:
Renaissance Fair-based adultery
Jousting circuit gossip
A semen ponzi scheme
And horse fraud
I don’t want to spoil it too much. Really do yourself a favor and jump in.
A VTuber Goes On A Date
OK, so, I look at a lot of nutso stuff online, but this story right here is WILD. A bilingual Japanese streamer named Shibuya Kaho recently went on an “IRL date” with a VTuber named Projekt Melody. For those not in the loop, a VTuber is a VR-based anime girl influencer. Prokekt Melody was able to go on a “date” with Kaho thanks to a stand-in body. This is what that looks like:
Just so we’re clear. That’s Project Melody on an iPad strapped to the “volunteer body” of a guy named Highgai.
Obviously, Kaho and Projekt Melody went to Tokyo’s bustling shopping district Shibuya for their date. You can watch the whole video here. And if you’re looking to read more about Projekt Melody, Grapee Japan has a good interview with her.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” Is Not Becoming An NFT
*Dril voice* go ahead. keep screaming "stop writing about Crypto and meme stocks in your newsletter" at me. it only makes my opinions Worse
First up, If I have any readers on Mirror, I’m back on the leaderboard over there today. Trying to realize my dream of crowfunding an NFT zine.
Second, this was dropped in the Garbage Day Discord by lusername. In case you come across anything claiming otherwise, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” is not becoming an NFT. At least, not yet. As Twitter user @Foone explained, this is just a hoax to get people to Rick Roll themselves, which is, honestly, very funny.
Next up, El Salvador made Bitcoin legal tender this morning. I wrote a bit on Monday about why this is not exactly a huge victory for democracy. Also, as Joe Weisenthal points out, the value of Bitcoin in El Salvador will be based on USD. So this might be a huge victory for crypto either.
And finally, #Cummies started trending on Twitter this week. Cummies is the hashtag for the cumrocket coin, which is currently worth $0.09392 USD. It was launched in April and was meant to work as a currency for the CumRocket NSFW NFT platform. Gizmodo has a work-safe explainer on it.
brb getting in a time machine and reading the previous paragraph out loud to a young Tim Berners-Lee on his first day at CERN.
Jigsaw Memes Are So Hot Right Now
I’m seeing Jig Saw content everywhere lately! Definitely something to be said about the crowd psychology of everyone, one year into a pandemic, making memes about a psychotic doll that captures people, puts them in confined spaces, and slowly tortures them to death. Anyways, here’s a good tweet:
And, yes, someone did a live reading of it, which is also great.
A Really Good Alcohol Review
Prescott Vanmeyer III is a character who makes videos under the name unemployedwineguy. The story behind the channel is that Vanmeyer is sommelier who lost his job during the pandemic and now has to review gas station booze on YouTube. It’s a very funny bit. The character appears to be played by a screenwriter named Michael Egan. I came across Vanmeyer’s everclear review last night and while it’s obviously a skit, I thought it was pretty funny! And it definitely made me sorta-kinda-almost miss trying to make jungle juice with everclear in college. My buddy had a recipe for something he called “skibbies,” which was a bottle of everclear, a 30-rack of Natty Light, and an entire container of lemonade mix, which was actually better than it had any right to be.
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a very long Twitter thread of Tumblr screenshots. (This was sent to me by AJ, thanks AJ!)
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***