- Garbage Day
- Elon Musk's big pivot
Elon Musk's big pivot
Read to the end for a good Douyin video
An Irish Antifascist Account Got Suspended After Doxxing One Of Musk’s Favorite Dogecoin Influencers
What a sentence, huh? Earlier this week, an X account called @IrlagainstFash wrote a lengthy thread revealing the identity of the user behind @dogeofficialceo, an X account with over 200,000 followers, two of which include Elon Musk and Linda “It all happens on X” Yaccarino.
@IrlagainstFash’s thread, before it was taken down, accused @dogeofficialceo of being part of a network of far-right Irish users trying to pressure Musk into releasing an “Irish Twitter files”. The owner of the @IrlagainstFash posted an update on her personal account after getting suspended, writing, “The account I created to expose the far-right in Ireland and further afield has been removed from this platform. I speak on behalf of all our admins when I say this is a dark day for democracy and for free speech.”
Before we go deeper into why Musk is mixing it up with the Irish far right, though, let’s talk about why Ireland and why now.
As I wrote in last week’s Garbage Weekend, far-right hooligans rioted through Dublin last week, following a knife attack outside of a local elementary school. Several children and a school teacher were seriously injured and the attacker is currently in a coma. The violent anti-immigrant protests that followed were egged on, in part, by pro-fighter Conor McGregor’s X account, to the point where Irish law enforcement is investigating him for inciting violence. Also, the far-right riots started, it should be noted, before the nationality of the attacker was made public. As The Irish Times wrote recently, little is known about the attacker or his motive, but he moved to Ireland from Algeria in 2003 and eventually became a naturalized Irish citizen. He reportedly had little ties to the larger Algerian community in Dublin. Making the wave of anti-immigrant violence even more baseless, one of the bystanders who helped subdue the attacker was a Brazilian Deliveroo driver.
The attack has galvanized Irish right-wing X users and given them a clear talking point, however, which recently caught the attention of Musk. In an X conversation with @dogeofficialceo this week about the possible release of an “Irish Twitter Files,” Musk wrote, “Wow, this is bad!”
As for what was revealed about @dogeofficialceo, it was mostly just stuff from his LinkedIn and Facebook, the latter of which had photos of him in the X office standing next to Musk. Seems like he works as a social media manager for a US-based blockchain startup. In other words, he’s just some guy.
But Musk’s little Ireland side quest is one of many he’s currently pursuing amid a larger public hard-right pivot he’s been making lately. He’s warring with British misinformation monitors right now too. And while he’s made his conservative politics pretty clear over the last few years — well, aside from the much-needed government subsidies he uses to keep his businesses afloat — the last couple months have seen him dropping his formerly-liberal facade entirely. This week alone, Musk has endorsed the pizzagate conspiracy theory, compared Diablo 4 to a racist meme about interracial porn, used his AI to solve some weird racist trolley problem thing, and is currently leading a right-wing dogpile against a Deadspin writer. It’s been enough for the formerly sycophantic mainstream media to finally start asking, “what gives?”
I, personally, buy the argument that Bloomberg put together in a good piece this week, that it was the pandemic that really radicalized him. Which lines up with details in Walter Isaacon’s recent Musk biography, like Musk’s belief that his trans daughter was infected by the “woke mind virus,” which was purportedly being spread by Twitter, which was why he bought the site in 2022.
But I also don’t think there’s much explanation needed for why Musk is currently posting racist memes, colluding with an international network of fascists, and pushing far-right conspiracy theories. He has always pandered to what he thinks is cool and — more importantly — what he thinks will distract people from the fact he’s just a rich guy LARPing as a dumb guy’s idea of a smart guy. In the Obama era, he was doing Iron Man and Big Bang Theory cameos, wowing idiots with nonsense about simulation theory, paling around with fawning tech journalists, and loudly extolling the virtues of green energy. And now, after he’s seen the power people like Trump were able to amass doing the opposite, he’s switched it up for the vibe shift. It’s not complicated. It’s just marketing.
How We Talk About Talking About Games
—by Adam Bumas
This was shared in the Garbage Day Discord by user Shaqsquatch. People were quick to mock Bethesda’s Todd Howard as one does, but it got folded into a much larger conversation about the culture surrounding video games in general.
You see, there’s been a lot of upheaval in the past few weeks, not for the video game industry, exactly, but for the people writing about it. The owners of Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and a half dozen other websites announced today they’re looking to sell them all. Former staff from Kotaku and The Escapist have both launched new independent sites. And a new anthology of writers talking about games caused a fresh round of discourse, that’s ended up intensifying the usual kind we get this time every year thanks to the Game Awards and Steam sales.
Basically, everyone’s talking about how to talk about video games. And here’s a good thread from podcaster Jonathan Holmes that ties this all together. He points out that we’re coming up on the tenth anniversary of the GamerGate movement, which infamously claimed to be “about ethics in games journalism.” Of course, it was actually a coordinated campaign to hold video games back from opening up as an industry and art form, focused largely on harassing women and people of color working in and writing about games. And it’s more than a little depressing that nearly a decade later, it seems like it basically worked?
And Bethesda going after random Steam users shows that publishers don’t even respect the opinions of their fans anymore, let alone professional journalists. It’s also a bad sign for the power of the press that even after coverage from multiple outlets, Bethesda is still very comfortable being this Mad Online.
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It’s Spotify Wrapped day, everyone! Mine was my normal yearly mix of emo, pop punk, hyperpop, J-Pop, and folk music. I contain multitudes.
As for what normal people are listening to, according to Variety, Spotify’s top charts were overwhelmingly homogenous, released by artists who have been making music for at least a decade now. “Flower” by Miley Cyrus was the top song of the year, “Kill Bill” by SZA was second, and “As It Was” by Harry Styles was third. The only names I didn’t personally recognize on the list were from international artists, like Peso Pluma and Feid, who are from Mexico and Colombia, respectively.
Which links back to something Billboard actually asked about back in August, writing, “Why have so few major new pop stars emerged lately?” Well, I have a hunch as to why, based on my own interactions with Spotify’s algorithm this year.
Last spring, one of the platform’s artist radio stations introduced me to a musician that I started listening to all the time. Enough that he ended up in my Wrapped this year. Emperor X, he’s like if The Mountain Goats were based in Berlin. And then, a few weeks after discovering him, I went to go see him play live.
It was great, but it was also a funny experience for me, a millennial, who, for most of my life, had a music taste that was shaped socially, rather than digitally. I discovered music through friends, through tour lineups, through my local scene growing up, through subgenres of interconnected bands and the blogs that covered them, etc. And the shift over the last few years, away from discovering music like that towards, primarily, having it recommended to me by algorithms, is why my music taste has become a lot weirder and, I suspect, why I don’t go to concerts as much as I used to. They are still, for me, in the back of my brain, something I would go to with friends if we all liked the same band. And we don’t all like the same bands anymore. My music taste is now a personal set of recommendations that Spotify is delivering me. I still share music I like with my friends, of course, but it’s now secondary in the stack.
Which may explain both the majority of Spotify’s biggest artists are pre-algorithm acts. They are simply the last crop of musicians to get famous before culture fractured.
Accelerationism Has Forked!
I’ve had a bunch of questions this week about e/acc, or effective accelerationism. Mainly, what is it and how does it interact with effective altruism. Well, here’s how the “founder” of effective accelerationism, a psuedononymous X user named Beff Jezos, describes it: “e/acc is simply a viral memetic metacognitive hack to cybernetically control the civilizational meta-organism to hyperstitiously induce an acceleration of its own growth and thereby produce massive widespread prosperity and cosmic hyperproliferation of intelligence as a whole.” Does that clear things up?
You’re going to hear a lot about these philosophies over the next couple months, I think. So I’m going to put a really quick summary here, so I don’t have to write it out over and over again (although, I most certainly will have to).
In 2009, a blogger, catgirl connoisseur, and Harry Potter fanfic writer named Eliezer Yudkowsky launched a site called LessWrong. It is ostensibly a place to argue about artificial intelligence, but through those arguments, several internet-native philosophies were born. The main one is modern rationalism, but other notable ones include the dark enlightenment, or neoreactionaryism, which is a type of anti-democractic techno-feudalism supported by folks like Steve Bannon. LessWrong also birthed the aforementioned effective altruism, the most famous supporter of which is crypto fail-king Sam Bankman-Fried. Elon Musk also now claims to be an effective altruist, but I don’t think he actually believes in anything. The main idea behind effective altruism is that long-term human happiness can be solved by maximizing capital.
Over the last decade, more and more effective altruists have inserted themselves in positions of power in Silicon Valley and, recently, a very small protest movement against this group has begun to spread, mainly as a meme. Which is effective accelerationism. Contrary to what you will be no doubt reading in the press in the coming weeks, these groups are not opposites in any way. The accelerationists want the same thing as the altruists, and also agree with them that AI superintelligences are coming and that capitalism is fucking sick. The accelerationists just want them to arrive as fast as possible and to smash society to bits in the process.
Mike Flanagan’s Intro To Horror Films List Is Great
Horror director (and guy from Massachusetts like me) Mike Flanagan has a Letterboxd profile and a couple days ago updated his “Recommended Gateway Horror for Beginners” list. It’s pretty good! His gateway horror movies include:
A Serbian Film
All perfect movies for people who want to tip their toe into the shallow end of the horror genre. As one user in the comments wrote, “mike flanagan is insane???”
The Make It More Meme
It turns out if you tell an AI to generate a picture of something and then you ask it to “make it more” it will eventually create a version where it has become a being of pure energy. This one was my favorite:
A Very Cool Twitch Setup
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a good Douyin video.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***