"down so bad im 3rd wheeling an e-couple 🤦♂️"
Read to the end for a Twitter thread about Liam Neeson peeing his pants
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Bean Dad Is Twitter’s Final Form
Last month, I wrote about “the main characterification of Twitter.” TL;DR — I believe that Twitter is a dying website and that it has entered a period of deep insularity and cultural decline and is now virtually unintelligible to outsiders. Put simply, 2021 Twitter is 2015 Tumblr, 2016 Reddit, or 2013 4chan. The only difference is that its hopelessly-addicted user base is made up of journalists, politicians, celebrities, and academics. So we’re forced, as a society, to take Twitter’s inane message board drama more seriously than we would if we were talking about a Something Awful goon building a wildly unsafe house. Toxic Twitter power users have filled vacuums where community moderation should be and now they police the site like warlords, serving up public vigilante justice for their restless and angry followers.
Which is how we end up with Bean Dad.
Over the weekend, John Roderick, a Seattle-based musician, tweeted a thread about how he forced his nine-year-old daughter to learn how to open a can of beans. Jesus Christ, this is all so stupid. In his thread, Roderick claimed his daughter spent six hours trying to figure out how to use a can opener to open a can of baked beans. In the thread, Roderick repeatedly refers to himself as “Apocalypse Dad,” which makes me assume he’s some kind of casual doomsday prepper. I also, just in general, assume that every white man on the American west coast who lives north of Los Angeles is some kind of doomsday prepper. I have yet to be proven wrong about this.
Roderick’s daughter eventually got the can open and he tweeted about it like it was a fun and inspirational story. It’s just beans, but sure, ok. Here are screenshots of the whole thread if you want to check it out?
Anyways, people pretty quickly started accusing Roderick of all kinds of wild stuff. The main reaction seemed to be that forcing his daughter to go six hours without food was child abuse and he was setting her up for a life-long eating disorder. Once again, it’s just beans. Roderick decided to make the worst possible choice you can make when you’re at the center of a Twitter storm. He engaged. He jumped into the replies and got into it with people. Which, of course, made things worse. People found old tweets of his where he used the N-word and a bunch of other gnarly liberal-guy-from-Seattle-who-absolutely-does-not-get-it kind of stuff. Roderick’s last tweet before nuking his account was basically something to effect of, “lol whatever!” Weirdly, Roderick also wrote the theme song for one of my favorite podcasts, My Brother, My Brother And Me. The song will no longer be used on the show. That’s too bad. It was a decent song. But Twitter is a video game and he became a boss battle for the day and was successfully vanquished.
When something like Bean Dad happens, there is usually a simultaneous conversation happening about the ontological meaning of it. Which is funny because there is no meaning to something like this. It’s utter nonsense. But, like a Twitter equivalent of sportscasters or political pundits or Twitch commentators, a cadre of (typically verified) users will appear and start publicly discussing what the societal implication of the newest Twitter drama is. “What is the internet doing to us, etc.” (I grew up near Salem, Massachusetts, so I can tell you without complete confidence that the psychological mechanisms that lead to something like Bean Dad are not new.)
In this particular case, there was a big thread yesterday started by New York Times writer Charlie Warzel, where he and a few other tech writers ruminated on the bigger pictures questions raised by Bean Dad. It’s actually a good discussion and Charlie is very smart and you should go check it out. I won’t deny that there are definitely some interesting techno-philosophical aspects to how we engage with the newest Twitter beef of the day.
But also, in my opinion, Bean Dad is very simple. It means one thing — your website is poorly run. That’s it.
It means that context collapse has gotten so bad and the scale of your trending algorithms are so completely out of whack that a total moron tweeting about beans can create the same level of discussion within your community as the Trump Georgia call. It means that your users are so desperate for your made up internet points that they would consider turning an extremely mundane story about using a can opener into a TWENTY-THREE tweet thread and are also so vicious and insane and bored that they would turn that thread about beans into a national scandal.
Bean Dad can only happen because every feature of Twitter is working exactly how they’re meant to:
Twitter’s public engagement metrics — follower counts, retweets, quote tweets, replies, and likes — have gamified on-site behavior to a degree where users can no longer be expected to authentically communicate with each other. Everything is perceived to be for clout, even if it’s not.
The site’s trending algorithms are so thoughtless and robotic that literally anything that achieves a certain level of engagement is beamed into global feeds.
Community moderation is so poor that users have resorted to waging daily tribal warfare with each other as a way to keep themselves safe and secure (and entertained).
Verification is only given out to the site’s most prominent users, granting them special permissions and behaviors, which creates a class structure and user inequality.
And verification also ties a user to their real-life identity. Which means verified users are more interesting to attack than non-verified users. There are real world consequences for the site’s verified class. You can cancel blue check @WaPoJeremy, it’s much harder to cancel @DiaperGoku69.
To sum it up, Bean Dad is simply how Twitter works. Or, put another way:
OK, Let’s Talk About Air Fryer Hot Dog Guy
On January 1, 2021, Twitter user @KLobstar announced to Twitter that he would be air-frying a hot dog for 120 minutes. I like a couple things about this. First, I recently started using an air fryer and wow, I’m converted. I’ve become convinced that all millennials can be classified as Instant Pot people or air fryer people and, gang, I’m an air fryer person. Second, I like that he doesn’t explain why he’s doing this or why he chose 120 minutes. This is how all good internet content starts — no explanation, no context, we’re in it, baby, let’s rock ‘n roll.
The thread is very long and very good, so I don’t want to spoil the whole thing for you, but here’s what the hot dog looked like at 60 minutes:
And here’s what the hot dog looked like after the full 120 minutes:
@KLobstar described it as “mummified”. Cool. I would have reached out to @KLobstar for comment about his hot dog journey, but he’s publicly threatened to show up journalists’ Zoom calls dressed like the Joker and I don’t want to mess around with that kind of energy.
Looking For A Good Anticapitalist Library Meme Account?
This was sent over by Garbage Day reader Molly. The account is called @james.patterson.official, which is hilarious.
Mr. Boop Has Come To An End
It’s pretty hard to explain what Mr. Boop is to the uninitiated. Watching it slowly evolve over the course of the year was one of 2020’s few highlights. Essentially, Mr. Boop is a parody of a bad DeviantArt fan comic. It’s similar to Tails Gets Trolled or Scoob And Shag.
Mr. Boop was created by cartoonist Alec Robbins, who published the comic via one single huge Twitter thread over the course of the year. The premise of the comic is that he, the main character, is in an incredibly sexual relationship with Betty Boop.
It was a really cool use of Twitter. The comic works on its own, but there was a larger meta story around it tied to Robbins’ Twitter account and the performance of him tweeting out each new installment. And Robbins also built up a huge transmedia mythology around Mr. Boop. There are YouTube interviews with Robbins where he plays a sort of megalomaniacal R. Crumb-version of himself.
It’s funny. It’s almost kind of profound. It’s wildly meta. It deals heavily with intellectual property right. It completely goes up its own ass at the end. It’s a perfect metaphor for how all of American culture works now. If you want to read Mr. Boop, but don’t feel like navigating an unwieldy Twitter thread, Robbins set up a website which is also incredibly meta and weird.
The Culture War Has Come For Guitar Pedals
According to Mario Fusco, an Italian software developer, the above screenshot of a schematic is currently circulating within Italian antivax communities on Telegram. The conspiracy theorists are claiming this is the diagram of a chip that will be secretly injected into recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine. Turns out it is, in fact, the schematic of a guitar pedal. Whoops! I can’t believe there wasn’t anyone in the Telegram group who understood enough English to wonder why a microchip would need a “footswitch”.
Guitar World has a good write-up about this. The schematic is for the Boss MT-2 Metal Zone distortion pedal, which, according to reviews on Sweetwater, has a great equalizer, very good sustain, and is excellent if you’re looking for a good heavy low end for djent metal. I can’t believe Bill Gates and the illuminati are using the pandemic as a cover to bring back metalcore.
A Weird TikTok Thing
This was flagged to me by a Garbage Day reader named Sami. It’s outrageously weird. The above video is a clip from the extremely awful David Spade film The Wrong Missy. If you click through and watch it, it ends with Rob Schneider punching a shark. But the video is captioned, “Ants secretly drink beer so horrible,” and it’s been edited to look like a reaction video of some kind. The woman in the bottom left there is CGI and she cycles through a few weird facial expressions as the video plays.
All the videos on the channel have a “bertha” watermark on them, but that doesn’t really lead anywhere. There are tons of videos like this on the @isabellatk6 channel. Sami told me this video appeared on his For You Page.
What’s crazy is this account has 1.8 million followers and the comments on these videos appear to be very real. A lot of people are asking about which movies these clips come from. It’s a really unsettling page, to be honest. It’s like watching an A.I. try and recreate TikTok videos. The visuals are almost correct, but the words are all gibberish. But even weirder, the page is getting more sophisticated. The most recent post makes it look like it’s a FaceTime call with another virtual face.
I really don’t know what this page is doing. It doesn’t appear to be trying to sell anything, which is usually the main reason these kinds of things exist. I don’t like it! If anyone has any insight on what’s happening here please let me know.
The Family Guy/Among Us Simulation
I sent this clip to a bunch of group chats I am in over the weekend. It’s truly awful. I had absolutely zero problem believing it was real. It turns out it’s not!
The video is based on a viral tweet from user @lolwutburger.
The tweet was then animated by user @hi_blnd. Apparently, @hi_blnd had a much more complex plan for the video’s rollout. They were going to record it off a TV monitor to make it look like it had actually aired. Apparently, the whole project was leaked by a few Discord users.
Imagine explaining literally any of this story to someone from 2015. While @hi_blnd’s full plan was thwarted, the video was convincing enough to trick the official Among Us team.
Also, most importantly, one user pointed out that while the whole video is deeply deeply cursed, the worst detail is definitely the fact that @lolwutburger gave the Among Us crewmate a Family Guy mouth.
And Finally, This…
P.S. here’s a Twitter thread about Liam Neeson peeing his pants.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***