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The Internet Is Now Just A Distribution System For Lil Nas X Content
On Friday, Lil Nas X debuted his new single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”. It’s really good! The video shows Nas being tempted by a humanoid version of the snake from the Garden Of Eden, put on trial, and then sent to hell where he gives the devil a lap dance, before killing him and becoming the devil himself. It’s rad.
Lil Nas X understands the internet probably better than any other artist currently working. His music isn’t meant to be consumed as just music or watched just as a video, but it’s also meant to be remixed, transmitted, shared, parodied, and commented on. His years as a teenage tweetdecker and member of the Barbz fandom (Nicki Minaj stans) have given him an innate ability to dominate the internet when he wants to. Like he did with the endless remixes of “Old Town Road,” he understands that in a digital world, music isn’t static, but meant be facilitate an ongoing conversation. He literally released an extended version of “Montero” as I was writing this.
The homoerotic spin on the biblical imagery in the video for “Montero” has put it right in the crosshairs of the American right’s new Biden era respectability politics machine. (More on that in a sec.) So Nas spent the weekend scrapping with right-wing influencers who came out against the song. It’s actually impossible for me to embed everything that’s happened (here’s a Tumblr masterpost), but here’s a sampling for you:
He threatened to fuck Gun Girl Kaitlin Bennett’s dad.
And told right-wing author Nick Adams that Adams couldn’t last 30 seconds in bed.
He tweeted, “ur a whole governor and u on here tweeting about some damn shoes. do ur job!” at South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem.
And tweeted, “you know you did something right when she talks about it” at right-wing influencer Candace Owens.
He’s also threatened to sample right-wing Pastor Greg Locke who claimed Lil Nas X was a satanist.
And just generally spent most of the weekend doing TikTok dances to haters on his Tiktok.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Satan shoes, yet. Over the weekend, he announced that was releasing 666 pairs of Nikes that contain human blood and a pentagram on them. Absolutely in awe of this lad. Nike isn’t involved with the shoes. Lil Nas X partnered with internet stunt-based art collective/marketing agency MSCHF to release them. They’re the same folks behind the “Jesus shoes” Nikes from 2019 that had holy water in them. Guys, I love culture right now!
Lil Nas X using the country’s post-Trump right-wing digital echo chamber to promote his new single comes at a useful moment. He’s revealed how it functions and now we can look at the whole thing. Let’s dive in, shall we?
We’ve been slowly watching the American right rebuild their info war machine since Trump left office. It’s basically r/KotakuInAction, the subreddit that is/was home to the Gamergate movement, on a massive national scale. All day, conservative influencers dig through news stories for outrage bait, crawling tabloids for stories about people of color doing bad things, sharing videos of progressive saying stupid stuff on TikTok, and accusing celebrities of being degenerates. If someone points out that what they’re doing is organized concern trolling, they brigade that user until they’re so overwhelmed with abuse and threats that they can no longer post.
This was what they tried to do with Lil Nas X, but there’s not much they can do to him. But these influencers can go after journalists, who typically aren’t rich enough to afford private security and work for media organizations that are still more than happy to throw their employees to the wolves. Here are two good recent examples of what I’m talking about:
Over the weekend, former Gamergate influencer and current right-wing Twitter troll and sometimes OAN contributor, tweeted a horrific video of an Uber driver dying during a recent carjacking attempt. Two teenage girls tased an Uber Eats driver and attempted to steal his car. The ensuing crash killed the driver, a 66-year-old Pakistani Immigrant. Yahoo News White House correspondent Hunter Walker tweeted out an observation that right-wing Twitter users were extremely focused on the fact the teen girls are black. And then he was completely brigaded for it.
Hamza Shaban @hshaban"Mohammad Anwar, 66, of Springfield, Virginia, was killed Tuesday afternoon near Nationals Park... Anwar was working as an Uber Eats driver..." "The girls, 13 and 15, assaulted Anwar with a Taser while carjacking him..." https://t.co/9q3mhl1wkB
The exact same scenario happened again this morning. Glenn Greenwald attacked a USA Today intern named Brenna T. Smith for a story she wrote about Capitol insurrectionists using GoFundMe to crowdsource their legal defenses. Smith was then swarmed by abusive conservative Twitter trolls. Rachel E. Greenspan, like Hunter Walker, pointed out that Greenwald and his supporters are extremely fixated on attacking women journalists. And now her mentions are dumpster fire, as well. Even Donald Trump Jr got involved.
The fact that conservatives are concern trolling on a mass scale while GOP lawmakers try and pass free speech laws and anti-cancel culture legislation isn’t an accident. This seems to be the primary mode of operation for the Biden era. It all feels very in line with what conservative activist Christopher F. Rufo described earlier this month in a series of tweets about critical race theory. “The activists are realizing that their ideas, once put into practice, are generating discontent,” he tweeted.
He went on to explain he aims to turn the idea of critical race theory into something toxic. And then, a few weeks later, he bragged, “Last year, nobody had heard of ‘critical race theory.’ Last month, I spoke to an audience of 500 baby boomers and *all* of them had heard about critical race theory.”
This is what is happening with cancel culture right now, as well — shriek about cancel culture while weaponizing it against vulnerable users. Make the very idea of talking about systemic inequality feel toxic. But, at the top there, I said that Lil Nas X shows the limitations of this kind of info war. Without a central node at the highest levels of the American government guiding the whole frenzy, like Trump did, it’s a lot easier to redirect the massive viral energy generated by this kind of thing. I’m not saying it’s not terrifying when the machine comes for you, but it’s a lot clearer how hollow and blusterous it is.
Goodbye Suez Canal Boat
A Meme Prophecy Comes True
In 2016, a redditor named u/DanknessIn_MemesOut posted the above meme. My favorite comment from the original post was from u/felicheAT, who wrote, “Glad to see meirl memes will still give me crippling depression in the future :)”
The meme has kicked around the internet ever since. It went on to spawn an entire genre of “memes from the future” which are either funny or stupid depending on what kind of internet brain poisoning you suffer from.
Well, Twitter user @voises had a shocking realization over the weekend. It looks a hell of a lot like the Ever Given. 🔮🔮🔮
Jimmy Fallon And TikTok
Over the weekend, Jimmy Fallon posted a clip of TikTok influencer Addison Rae doing various popular dances from the app. The video went viral, but definitely not for the reasons his team probably wanted. Fallon also didn’t credit any of the dance’s creators, either one air or on the show’s socials. And, as you can imagine, almost all of the most popular TikTok dances were created by Black users. If you want a good rundown of how the bit has gone down on Twitter, Decider has a good roundup.
Can I also just take a moment here to point out how weird and lifeless this whole bit is? TikTok dances are absolutely not meant to be shot in wide. They use movements that make sense when they’re filmed with a phone camera and then watched on a phone camera. Plus, they’re not typically recorded by a static camera, but one that’s moving and also implementing different filters. Filming this whole routine in a wide shot in an empty room gives all of these dances to a weird midwestern state fair Macarena line vibe to them.
Chet Haze Releases The Rules Of White Boy Summer
Over the weekend, Chet Haze, Tom Hanks’ other son, outlined the rules of “white boy summer”. What does that mean? Great question.
No plaid shirts
No Sperry Top-Siders
No calling girls “smokeshows”
No salmon-colored clothing
Haze said that it’s “time to evolve.” A lot of people are dunking on Haze for his White Boy Summer video. One Twitter user said the term sounds like a threat, which, fair enough lol.
But I want to clear something up! Chet Haze is not arguing that THIS is going to be White Boy Summer, he was laying out the rules FOR white boys this summer. This isn’t like Megan Thee Stallion declaring 2019 was Hot Girl Summer. Chet Haze is, instead, announcing that this summer there should be no Bar Stool Sports nonsense. And, as a guy who has worn pretty much only worn Vans, Hawaiian shirts, and 5-inch inseam shorts since 2008, I am in full support.
Let’s Check In On Brazilian Twitter
This was sent to me by a Brazilian reader named Talles. This is Cristiano Zanin Martins. He’s a famous Brazilian lawyer. He recently did a Zoom call which has gone viral in the country because it, uh, looks as if he may have purchased a book shelf wall sticker and hung it up behind himself… But, also, as users have pointed out, it seems as though he hung it up upside down. Whoops! One user flipped the photo if you’re curious what it SHOULD look like.
Brazilian Twitter is truly undefeated in the global content Olympics so, yes, users did find the exact wall sticker that Martins seems to be using. Anyways, someone go tell that weird cliquey room rating Twitter account about this.
Check Out This Twitch Stream Of A Stop Sign
This was dropped in the Garbage Day Discord by bobbieyaga. It’s called stopsigncam and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a camera pointed at a stop sign and you watch to see if the cars will stop at it or not. The AV Club have a good piece on it. This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. Back in 2016, a livestream of a random intersection in Wyoming went viral. Humans, we really are amazing.
B U F F C A K E S
There’s a TikTok user named @bakingthursdays. She makes buff cakes. That’s the whole deal. You’re welcome.
One More Cursed Suez Canal Meme
P.S. here’s a very important emo discovery.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***