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Elon Musk Is Cringe
Elon Musk hosted SNL over the weekend. By all accounts, it was an awkward and ultimately boring experience. I thought this take on the whole thing by The Ringer’s Alison Herman was really good — basically, Musk was a stunt casting to make the show seem relevant as it scrambles to figure out why it exists in a post-Trump world. As far as how his skits were, of the ones I could actually make it through, they all had big “popular guy in your high school receives thunderous applause for doing bare minimum at the talent show” vibes.
While Musk’s hosting was a complete non-event, the dogecoin market went into complete free fall as he stood on the 30 Rock stage. Enthusiasts of the joke crypto currency based on a meme were hoping that Musk would hype up the coin on live TV and push its value up. Musk did the opposite, calling dogecoin a “hustle” on Weekend Update. The coin’s value dropped 40% as the show was still airing.
There are a lot of people online right now are excitedly dunking on Musk fans who all thought they’d become doge millionaires this weekend. And there’s obviously a lot of delicious schadenfreude to enjoy here. Musk’s stan army is rabid and obnoxious and dogecoin is, without question, a worthless scam manipulated by already-ultra-rich investors like Musk and Mark Cuban as a way to create speculation bubbles out of nothing. As Alex Gladstein, the chief strategy officer for the Human Rights Foundation, told me recently, “It’s a dead software project that a small group of people are manipulating.”
If you go into Musk’s replies on Twitter right now, things are really grim and, honestly, more sad than funny. As he was proudly tweeting awful clips from SNL on Sunday, many of his followers were begging him to pump doge again. “The future is ruined for our family, who believed in your wisdom with Doge. Thank you for everything. And I'm sorry I'm not rich enough to laugh at this,” one user tweeted at him.
Musk, at this point, is more of a digital media brand than a person. And he uses the internet in the same way that Trump does/did. Both take viral ephemera and weaponize it to fuel a constant hype cycle around themselves. Trump uses online harassment and random memes from The_Donald, while Musk taps into an enlightened money bro audience with dank memes and “I fucking love science” content.
The difference between Musk and Trump, though, is that, weirdly enough, Trump can actually deliver on what he promises. There is literally no scam or shameless way to bleed his followers dry that is beneath Trump, but if they give Trump their support, money, or vote, they get exactly what they want in return: new ways to be cruel and vindictive to others. If you buy a reservation at Mar-a-Lago, you will get a burnt steak covered in ketchup, plane-grade wine, and a gold-encrusted venue to express all the American carnage your completely rotten boomer heart can handle.
Meanwhile, Musk has settled on dogecoin as his Mar-a-lago. If you buy doge, you can help him bring debt slavery to Mars. But, it’s a cryptocurrency, and a bad one at that. It’s wildly unstable. If you buy a bunch of doge and it completely tanks, it doesn’t matter how many 4/20 doge memes he shares, when you lose money on it, you lose money on it.
Unfortunately, all of this seems far from over, no matter how broke Musk fans get in the process. On Sunday, probably to make up for completely tanking in the market, he promised to name a satellite “Doge-1” 🙄 and SpaceX says it’ll accept doge as payment to go to the moon. But, make no mistake, he is laughing at you and he does not want to help you get rich. His doge evangelism is just like his crappy SNL skits, an easy way to make it seem like he’s some kind of benevolent visionary and not just a weird 49-year-old who tweets shit like this:
A Garbage Day Reader Goes On A Dogecoin Adventure
So, back during the height of the r/GameStop pump, we created a “finance” room in the Garbage Day Discord. It’s a really cool space because everyone posting in there seems to have skeptical, but not completely negative feelings about how weird the financial world is getting right now. Which I think is the right attitude to have with all of this stuff.
Last week, when dogecoin started pumping ahead of Musk’s SNL episode, one user in the Discord named hypirlink came up with a fantastic idea: use dogecoin to buy a bong.
Throughout the week, as hypirlink’s $500 worth of doge rose and fell, he kept us updated about what kind of bong he’d be able to buy with doge. At one very dark point, it seemed like he’d have to have to buy this pretty, but fairly basic glass bong. Sad.
But I am excited to announce that hypirlink was able to sell at the right time and successfully bought a very fancy doge bong! He made a profit of $250. Not too shabby! “Playing with doge was fun, but exhausting,” he said. “It required me to babysit an app for a week to make sure things didn’t bottom out before I got out. Ultimately my per hour was probably lower than minimum wage, if my job was to watch a graph in Robinhood and talk on Discord.”
He said he managed to invest just early enough to get a good price on the doge and then sold literally right before the SNL crash. He had a limit order set for $.705. Always a good idea!
“I feel pretty lucky I got out not just ahead, but to have hit my highest return target before I sold out,” he said. “I immediately transferred everything back to my bank, unlinked my account, deleted Robinhood, and will never install it again. We were all suckers.”
Oh, and if you’re wondering, this is the bong he ended up buying. It’s pretty nice!
If Columbo Were Anime
The Mouse Hacker
If you haven’t been following Philip Clyde on TikTok, you absolutely need to. He’s been doing a series called “Hacking Portrayed In Movies” and, guys, it really goes places. (Here’s a Tumblr mirror of my favorite one for readers in non-TikTok countries.)
A Good Tweet
The Definitive Recap Of The Tramp Stamps Saga
This was sent to me by a reader named Rory. I’m not sure if this is just true of my personal algorithmic corner of YouTube or it’s an actual trend (man, living in a post-monoculture world is getting pretty confusing), but it seems like there are a lot more people making great deep dives into various Tumblr controversies. Sarah Z, who I’ve written about before, does great content about this stuff.
I was tracking the Tramp Stamps drama for a while last month. TL;DR: a girl band of 30-something millennials got trashed by younger users on TikTok and pretty aggressively bullied off Tumblr and were accused of being “industry plants”. But I’ll admit, things were happening so fast that it was actually hard to keep up with every development. Another issue with all Tumblr-related stories is that the culture on the site is so insular and dense that I think it can be sort of hard for reporters, in particular, to get their bearings when writing about this stuff. This video, created by STRANGE ÆONS, I think does a really good job of clearly laying out why the Tramp Stamps were chased off Tumblr in, literally, about five hours.
As STRANGE ÆONS described, “Their brand is just like if 2014’s worst hits were distilled in a laboratory and then fed to the most ‘cringy hello fellow kids’ marketing team that has ever existed and it went exactly how you would expect based on that description.”
The NOFARTS Joker
The “10 Guy” Finally Reveals Himself
If you haven’t been following this, a lot of people behind classic 2010s memes are now selling them as NFTs. I’m conflicted about it. I want the people who helped build internet culture get compensated, but I’m sad that this is how they’re doing it. I recently spoke to Amanda Brennan, a social media researcher who used to work at Know Your Meme and Tumblr, about this very thing (paywalled).
Recently, the guy behind “10 guy” or the “stoner Stanley” meme, finally came forward. It’s somehow been 10 years since the original meme went viral and the man behind the photo, Connor Sinclair, is now selling the picture as an NFT. Also, huge news, he’s British.
If you’re interested in following Sinclair’s NFT auction, he launched a Twitter account. Annoyingly, in none of the content he’s released has he answered the most important question of all: was he high in the photo?!
Thankfully, the Daily Dot interviewed Sinclair and got at least a bit more context. The photo was taken on a lad’s holiday in Ibiza. Infer from that what you will about what kind of substances led to the photo. He also told the Daily Dot that there was no air conditioning in his hotel room when the pic was snapped.
If you’re looking for even more classic meme NFT stuff, Know Your Meme recently interviewed May Oswald, the creator of the “Me Gusta” Rage Comic. She goes into a bunch of stuff about how the NFT market keeps fake minting old memes. But here’s the wildest part of the interview: Oswald told Know Your Meme that she purposefully posted the first Me Gusta comic to 4chan to make it go viral and had a devious plan to make it start trending. She replied to her own original post with follow-up comics to make it seem like other people were using her rage face and then, right when someone else could accuse her of secretly bumping her own thread, she went and accused HERSELF of being a plant, which then made other users rush to her defense. It’s WILD. You got to read the whole thing.
A Video That Is Cursed In A Way I Can’t Exactly Articulate
As I said, I’m not sure what this is, but it’s done something to me. It’s activated something strange in my brain. There’s a sequel too.
P.S. here’s a good tweet about a Dril tweet.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***