Baked Alaska Is Back — Oh, Wait, Nope, He Got Banned Again

Read to the end for a cool video about Snoop Dogg

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Baked Alaska Popped Back Up On YouTube As An IRL Streamer

I have a private Twitter list I use to monitor far-right users. I also used to be in dozens of their Discord channels, as well. At one point, my account was banned by Discord because of the amount of hate servers I was lurking in and I had to petition Discord to reinstate me. It’s because I still quietly lurk in this world that I noticed last week that some of the younger far-right users I monitor were sharing Baked Alaska livestream clips. Baked Alaska, real name Tim Gionet, has been laying low for a while. His whole schtick actually feels a bit old fashioned these days if I’m being honest. The wave of fascism-as-performance art influencers like Milo Yiannopoulos he rode in on with feels very much over to me. But still, Gionet’s streams were becoming pretty popular.

Before his channel went down, I watched a few of them. One had 30,000 views and was around 8 hours long. The clip above is pretty typical of what Gionet was streaming. If you’ve never watched this kind of video before, life-streaming, or “IRL streaming,” is a whole genre of internet content. The most notable IRL streamer would be Ice Poseidon. Adrian Chen’s New Yorker profile on him is a must-read.

I have a really dark fascination with IRL streams. They seem like something out of a bad edgy mid-00s scifi movie. Streamers build IRL streaming backpacks out of GoPros and SIM card hubs, and basically let a chatroom of several thousand people decide what they’re going to do. Usually this means the streamer just walks around a city and harasses women and people of color. One well-known Ice Poseidon clip features him going into a Sephora and putting sample bronzer on to his face until it looks like he’s wearing blackface.

So it makes total sense that this would be Gionet’s newest pivot. The footage he was streaming, though, was actually a pretty grim and upsetting look at what life is like for someone who has been, by all accounts, left behind by the far-right wave. In one stream of Gionet’s I watched, he basically sat in a crummy hotel room and got in a fight with his girlfriend. All the while, the stream’s chat is egging him own to say and do nastier things to her. Can’t really think of a better encapsulation of the relation someone like Gionet has with the internet.

After public outcry, including tweets from comedian Tim Heidecker, Gionet’s YouTube channel was banned. It looks as though he was banned from Twitch, as well, even though he was allowed to stream there for years. He briefly tried to rebrand as a Fortnite streamer. He’s also not done doling out street harassment for internet views, either. I’m not linking to it, but he’s now over on DLive, along with far-right influencers like Nicholas Fuentes.

I received a few messages from Garbage Day readers after I admitted last month that I’m a deplatforming skeptic. I don’t think it’s totally worthless, but it also seems like it’s only step one of a very long and complicated moderation strategy. I’m beginning to change my thinking a bit. I think people like Gionet or movements like QAnon are closer to a computer virus than they are your typical internet troll. And social platforms without proper protections in place will leave themselves open to their constant ideological whack-a-mole of bans and suspensions. So, yes, Gionet is in the wind again. For now. The story isn’t really done here.

But that’s OK. We can talk about it again when Gionet starts going viral on TikTok.

Here’s A Terrific Song About Libraries

This song was created by the Duke University Library. It’s honestly a banger. Also, it’s available on Spotify! I agree with YouTube commenter Steve Graham, who wrote, “This is a hundred times better than it has any business being.”

And Here’s A Good Meme

The Beauty Influencer To QAnon Pipeline

I saw this tweet going around and I also agree that it’s extremely creepy. I did an interview recently for paying Garbage Day subscribers with Amsterdam-based developer Tomo Kihara, who created an app called TheirTube, which simulates how YouTube rabbit holes work. We spoke a bunch about how conspiracy channels work, but one thing I think that has become even more apparent in the weeks sense I interview Kihara is how non-conspiracy channels are being infected with QAnon misinfo. Once again, like a computer virus.

I looked up who this YouTuber is. She’s fairly small time, only about 12,000 subscribers, with about 30,000 Instagram followers. I’m not going to link out, but her Instagram page is particularly heartbreaking. Her videos from February seem like they’re mostly fun and practical makeup tutorials and standard beauty content. By March, they start getting a little more emotional, with posts about staying positive. By the time we get to June, she’s posting videos about defunding Hollywood. Last month, she made a video defending Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse.

I don’t know much about this person’s life. I cannot know what this year has been like for her. But I think her political transformation, documented via her social media accounts, is a useful way of thinking about how people get pulled into movements like QAnon. The formula seems pretty clear now: Scary and uncertain times, algorithms that suggest conspiracies over real information, and platforms that incentivize you to create more and more extreme content. Maybe in few years we’ll have a better idea of exactly how profound a shift we’ve all gone through. But I don’t think she’s the only person who is coming out of this pandemic a very different and darker person than they were going in.

Ever Wonder About Many Potatoes You’d Need To Run DOOM?

If you don’t know, there’s basically a long-running internet challenge of trying to find the most insane ways to play the video game DOOM. Here’s a Tumblr that documents it.

As for how the YouTuber Equalo ran DOOM on potatoes, he bought about 100 pounds of potatoes, boiled them, cut them up into chunks, and wired them. It’s a pretty wild video. He has to race the clock to wire the potatoes before they decompose. The actual hardware he tries to power was a Raspberry Pi single-board computer. He ultimately isn’t able to get the potatoes to power it, so instead, he switches to a TI-84 graphing calculator. He then installs DOOM on the calculator and plugs that bad boy into this potato power grid and… it works! Two hundred rotting potatoes generated enough electrical current to power a calculator that ran DOOM.

Also, apparently, his garage smelled completely disgusting.

Here’s A Good Tweet

4chan Users Discuss Movies

(via pissvortex)

The Story Of Me Becoming A Chinese eStore Model Has Come To An End

I’ve written a few times in Garbage Day about how my face ended up being used on a Chinese Amazon store. Here’s the TL;DR for new readers:

  • I was minding my own business on Twitter one night when I discovered someone had screenshot my face from an Amazon listing for those bibs you wear to give yourself a haircut.

  • The person who had screenshot the Amazon store was a podcaster named Billy Disney, who is one of the hosts of the Underunderstood podcast.

  • Billy and I spent several weeks piecing together exactly how my face ended up on Amazon.

  • My photo seems to have first gone viral on Korean blogs, then translated into Japanese and Chinese, and became one of the top results for “foreigner” on Chinese search engines.

  • I’m no longer selling Chinese hair bibs, but I am still selling neck gators on a Mexican Instagram account. It also looks like I’m part of a weird marketing scam on Medium selling auto parts.

This week, Billy’s episode about the whole story dropped. Definitely check it out! It’s a totally wild ride and I have to give Billy a huge thanks for chasing this all the way down the rabbit hole.

Here’s a little exclusive thing I can share with Garbage Day readers. Billy a few weeks ago had a great idea. He asked me to take a new photo and see if I could get the Chinese eStore to replace it. So, I took a new pic, photoshopped a hair bib on it, and emailed it over to them. I, sadly, did not hear back from them. But I can now show you the photo I sent. Here you go!

One Last Tweet For You That I Can’t Stop Thinking About

P.S. here’s a cool video about Snoop Dogg.

***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***