4chan, TERFs, And The Concept Of “Superstraight”
Over the weekend, 4chan users started promoting the “SuperStraight” movement. The term was first coined by TikTok user @kyleroyce in a video he made last month. Royce’s channel is your pretty typical trolly engagement-bait account. Royce defines the term as a sexuality where you’re only attracted to cis people of the opposite gender. This entire idea is a pushback against a conversation happening within certain social justice spaces right now about whether or not it would be transphobic for a straight cisgendered person to not date a trans person simply because they’re trans.
His SuperStraight video has been taken down, but it’s had a huge second life on 4chan’s political board, /pol/. Though, I don’t see any indication that Royce is directly linked to the 4chan threads. Users are abbreviating SuperStraight in some graphics as “SS” because of its connection to Nazi terminology. I also don’t think it’s an accident that the “straight” panel in the diagram above is half of a Jewish star.
In a /pol thread on Friday, users said they wanted to use the SuperStraight movement to create tension between trans people and other queer identity groups, undermine social justice activists, and “redpill zoomers.”
The 4chan op has been shockingly successful in a short amount of time. A tweet from a SuperStraight promotional account got 11,000 retweets over the weekend. “YOU DID IT, LEFTOIDS TOOK THE BAIT THEY ACTUALLY BELIEVE SUPERSTRAIGHT IS A THING,” a 4chan user wrote in a thread on Sunday.
4chan users try this sort of thing pretty regularly. The first time I ever encountered it was the #CuttingForBieber hashtag in 2013, where users created fake Twitter accounts and promoted a hashtag to make it seem that teenage girls were harming themselves because Justin Bieber had been photographed smoking weed. Also, this particular campaign isn’t even as insidious as something like 4chan’s Operation Lolipop from 2014, where they pretended to be progressive activists campaigning to end Father’s Day.
So why did the SuperStraight movement spread so fast? Well, Twitter has an anti-trans radicalization problem and because it’s mainly happening among upper-class liberals, it’s not being talked about nearly as aggressively as more traditional forms of far-right extremism.
“TERF” is an acronym that stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminism. The newest evolution of this movement is being led by upper-class British columnists and a British social network that’s sort of like Reddit for moms called Mumsnet. This British strain of TERFism accuses the trans community, particularly trans women, of using social justice to prey on cis women. Extremism researchers and progressive activists have been ringing the alarm bell that this new highly-codified and sophisticated style of “respectable TERFism,” popularized by writers like JK Rowling, could rear its ugly head in the US. Though, there’s evidence that anti-trans rhetoric has been building in the upper echelons of American publishing for years.
While there is certainly an anti-trans contingent on the right, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, 4chan users are way more interested in radicalizing this uniquely centrist form of TERFism. You can make a very safe bet that the SuperStraight movement won’t be the last time attempt 4chan users try to inject more overtly racist and violent ideology into the nice white lady anti-trans dinner party crowd, either.
Clubhouse Finally Gets Good
Taco Bell Makes An NFT
Like Taco Bell? Have some Ethereum to spare? Not put off at the idea of trading that Ethereum for completely worthless digital assets? Well, I have good news! Taco Bell is on Rarible now.
If you’re just hearing about all of this and the paragraph above was complete gibberish, allow me to explain. NFT stands for non-fungible token. It’s basically a way to use blockchain technology to make unique digital assets. If you’d like to listen to a podcast version of me explaining how they all work, you can click here. Rarible is a site where you can auction off NFTs.
Tons of brands are trying to figure out a way to make money with these right now. Which has got me thinking. Should Garbage Day launch an NFT? And if so, what should it be. If any readers have any ideas, let me know!
Some More Info On The TikTok Commune
On Friday, I wrote about the commune in Tennessee that is using TikTok to recruit members. A user named @treeisalive has grown an incredibly popular account that advertises the address of the compound and it seems to be working. Close to a dozen people have ended up at the commune in the last few weeks. The majority of the comments on the videos are now just variations of the same “I can’t wait to watch the truce crime documentary about this later” joke.
The commune is called The Garden. Interestingly, many of the people who have appeared in TikToks filmed there are semi-well-known within communist and anarchist communities. Another TikToker named Milo has been doing a parallel TikTok series investigating the people who are living at The Garden. Milo has accused the commune of being a cult and is fielding questions from young users and trying to talk people out of quitting heir jobs and going to live there.
As for what’s actually going on at The Garden, most of the public faces of the commune went dark on TikTok over the weekend. @treeisalive hasn’t posted anything since Friday, which is more than a little ominous. The last big update last week came from several members of The Garden who were telling other TikTok users that VICE is filming a documentary about the commune last week.
Oh, also, there’s a bunch of allegations that a member of The Garden ate a cat, but that seems to be unconfirmed.
Let’s Check In On The Royals
The Hong Kong Playbook Continues To Evolve In Myanmar
Hong Kong activists have spent the last year networking with other pro-democracy activists in Thailand, India, and, most recently, Myanmar. This pan-Asian pro-democracy movement calls itself the Milk Tea Alliance. Two weeks ago, activists claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous translated a protest toolkit called the HK19 manual, developed by Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, into Burmese.
The Hong Kong protest model is unique for several reasons. Its big innovation is that it separates out protesters into a series of classes and roles, similar to a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Fire magicians handle molotovs, black magicians throw bottles of feces and urine, gear vendors maintain medical supplies, armor, helmets, googles, and shields.
The ongoing coup in Myanmar has become extremely violent. Live ammunition is being used against protesters. Press credentials are being revoked. This morning, UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews tweeted that he had received credible reports of security forces in Yangon forcibly penning in peaceful protesters. And, complicating any sort of online support, internet access has been largely turned off in the country since the coup began.
Though, there may be some evidence that the HK19 manual has made its way to protesters on the ground in Myanmar.
The above image is a screenshot from a video posted by a Facebook user called AkoHandsome. The user claims they are living in Yangon and they have been posting and sharing videos from Myanmar over the last several weeks. The account is eight years old and was active before the coup began. They claim to be a journalism student.
In the photos and videos that AkoHandsome posted on March 4, which were labeled “training,” there is the unmistakable influence of Hong Kong. The protesters wear goggles and work helmets and practice building large-scale roadblocks with sandbags. And, most tellingly, in a video from AkoHandsome that is now going viral on Reddit and TikTok, protesters practice building shield walls, a common tactic used in Hong Kong.
British People Experience Pharmaceutical Ads For The First Time
Last night, British people stayed up late to watch the Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. There were lots of revelations in the interview, but, perhaps, one of the more surprising things for the viewers watching from the UK were…the pharmaceutical ads. Ayesha Siddiqi has an incredible thread of reactions you should absolutely click through to se.
Here’s my favorite:
If you didn’t know, advertising medicine on TV in the UK is highly regulated. You basically never see drug ads. After living five years in the UK, I still, two years after moving back to the US, get surprised when I see medicine advertised on TV. Once you live without it, it’s really hard not to see drug ads as manipulative and unethical. Luckily, every other part of the American healthcare industry is fine and works great.
A Very Helpful Video About Cutting A Pizza
This video is from 2012, but it’s just really really good.
The Lola Bunny Thing Becomes The Aunt Cass Thing
Back in 2016, a DeviantArt user named Rastifan photoshopped a picture of Aunt Cass from the Disney movie Big Hero 6 to give her visible cleavage. In the original version, her shirt goes all the way up to her neck.
The cleavage version Aunt Cass became a pretty popular fixture on Reddit over the last three months. In fact, it became so popular, that seems like more than a few users don’t actually know that the image was photoshopped.
So, last week, when all of Twitter had a huge meltdown over Lola Bunny’s design changing, users started sharing this version of Aunt Cass, basically saying, “well, if we’ve lost Lola Bunny, at least we still have Aunt Cass.” Now, there’s just an unfathomable amount of Big Hero 6 porn all over Twitter.
A lot of times when I say things like, “don’t google this” or “don’t search this on Twitter,” I’m sort of half-joking. I am NOT joking this time. Do not Google Aunt Cass. Do not search it on Twitter. I’m not even linking.
God, we need that vaccine so bad. We can’t keep living like this.
P.S. here’s the entrance to The Matrix.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***