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Hey there! A quick thing before we get into today’s garbage. I try and balance the actual business of Garbage Day with paid subscriptions that don’t break the bank and a couple ads a week because I want this newsletter to be something accessible for as many folks as possible. I also like to mix up what I offer for paid subscribers because I don’t want it to be boring or get stale. And, so, with that in mind, I’m starting up a new miniseries for paying subscribers that’s going to start dropping this Friday. If you’ve ever thought about subscribing, now’s a great chance. You get access to subscriber-only content, the amazing Garbage Day Discord, and a bunch of other goodies and benefits.
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Morbius Becomes Gen Z’s The Room
Garbage Day has covered the Summer of Morbius memes in the past, but now that the movie has been released digitally the whole phenomenon has been renewed, and is taking on an entirely new tenor. The whole thing is being streamed on Twitch and compressed into Tumblr gifs; the representative memetic phrase “It’s morbin’ time” has even been tweeted out by an official Sony account.
In the early days of Morbius, the jokes and memes centered more around the “idea” of the movie, playing its critical failure and apparent poor quality (according to reviews) into a theme of over-the-top success, photoshopping ridiculous box office numbers and hashtagging #MorbiusSweep in the vein of past “underdog success” memes like “Jeb Wins.” Since it’s streaming now, though, people are definitely actually watching it: which means it’s well on it’s way to becoming a genuine cult film. It’s turning from “an awful movie that has no actual fanbase,” as Ryan put it when the meme took off, into “an awful movie with a fanbase that loves it for being awful” a la The Room.
The reason “it’s morbin’ time” became a catchphrase was because it memetically represented an ironic, holistic conception of a film called Morbius starring a character called Morbius. But with the actual plot details, other characters, and visual elements of the film starting to leak out now through the sieve of the existing, pre-built-up meme structure, we’re experiencing the transitional moment when the movie goes from being a meme object to a genuine cult object. Meme objects are slightly less-theorized and not quite as understood than the more-familiar cult objects.
Umberto Eco’s theory of “cult film” centers around the idea that a film — Casablanca being his ur-example — must be able to become “unhinged” in order to be taken up in parts by an audience. “To give rise to a cult, a film must already be inherently ramshackle, shaky and disconnected in itself,” he says, comparing it with the possibility for a “perfect” book to become a cult object just as easily as an imperfect one (because of the ease of excerpting). You can use this frame to think about a lot of things, but these days it’s particularly interesting in the context of the way franchises like the MCU try to actively induce the cult of fandom around themselves. More and more these days, it involves a multiverse, the “opening up” of itself to all sorts of similar-but-different commercial possibilities. Essentially trying to induce, through increasing complexity, the sort of “disconnection” that will get an audience to dedicate themselves to it. Not that it necessarily works on the artist level the way that Casablanca does by “[throwing] everything into the mix,” as Eco explains, but it’s certainly not not working.
Anyway, the Morbius memetic universe emerged organically from something sort of resembling a culturally resistant avant-garde — pseudonymous leftist teen meme-makers on Discord and Twitter doing bits — but now it’s being incorporated directly into the marketing for the film. And at a certain point the engagement of the Morbians (Morbites? Morbii?) becomes something less ironic and more purely earnest, insofar as it helps Sony turn a profit by raising awareness for the movie. But honestly it’s never really a bad thing when a new bad movie gets incorporated into the cult lexicon. Morbius is dead, long live Morbius.
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A Good Tweet
Hooray! Luna Is Back — Oh, What’s That? It Crashed Again? Oh…
In case you missed this, the crypto market went into total free fall earlier this month after an algorithmic stablecoin called TerraUSD broke down and lost so much money so quickly that it was delisted from major exchanges. The short version of what happened was that TerraUSD and another crypto coin called Luna were supposed to stay in a balance that kept TerraUSD worth exactly $1, which would let crypto traders store their money in TerraUSD like a bank.
The creator of Luna, Do Kwon, launched Luna 2.0 over the weekend — sending it out to former Luna investors via an airdrop — and the old Luna has now been rebranded Luna Classic. But things have been an absolute mess since the launch of the new Luna.
Luna 2.0 dropped more than 80% in its first day (though it was pumping this morning). And the Luna Classic then shot up over 60%. And, now, on Twitter, I’m seeing Twitter accounts trying to pump both against each other. It seems not ideal!
Sweden Gets Roasted On Twitter
This is a bit convoluted, but, over the weekend, a user on Reddit asked, “What is the weirdest thing you had to do at someone else’s house because of their culture/religion?” The post is pretty wholesome, but one comment in particular was screenshot and shared on Twitter, where it went super viral.
Apparently, it is common in Swedish homes for guests to wait in another room while a family eats dinner. The replies underneath this comment are full of users saying this is fairly normal.
Over on Twitter, things really spiraled out of control. Because there are too many different communities of users all jammed together, forced to fight with each other all day, quirky internet things like this can’t really stay fun and light on Twitter. I saw more than a few users even say this was why the country’s track record on accepting refugees was so bad, which seems like a bit of stretch…
That said, as Twitter user @samqari pointed out, this shocked and horrified reaction this Reddit comment provoked was actually fairly unified, which might be one of the first times Twitter has really come together as a website and agreed about a particular topic: feed your guests, Swedes. Here’s my favorite meme about the whole thing.
As for why Swedish families don’t feed guests, the two plausible explanations I read from Swedish users who chimed in on Reddit and Twitter were:
It’s assumed that a kid playing at a friend’s house might have their own family dinner later on and they don’t want to mess with that.
There’s a culture in Sweden of cooking exactly what you’re going to eat and apparently there isn’t a lot of leeway for improvising.
Monetizing Twitter Bait
I’ll admit, I had not really considered this before. Parker Molloy, who writes a great newsletter called The Present Age, pointed out that a lot of those tweets that ask a super basic, but also incendiary question like, “fellas, are you really letting your girl use a phone that can text” are a really just a way to sell random shit in the replies. I knew this was a thing that a lot of Twitter users do, but I hadn’t thought about it being tied to those annoying question tweets.
The tweets whip everyone up into a frenzy and then, most of the time, right beneath it are a bunch of replies from the original poster, full of sponcon. Recently, I’ve seen tweets promoting Telegram groups for porn and gambling, which is an interesting little innovation in the space.
As Molloy points out, the bulk of these kind of tweets right now are linking to dropshipping operations, pumping out a bunch of novelty T-shirts. “I mean, hey, engage with it if you want, but the people who tweet these things aren’t actually asking, they’re just trying to game the algorithm,” Molloy wrote.
The Air Fryer King Has Returned
Twitter user @KLobstar, who previously air-fried both a hot dog and a hamburger for 120 minutes, and also made a hamburger with a waffle maker, is back with another banger. He air-fried a Taco Bell Mexican Pizza for 120 minutes. Usually, I don’t spoil these threads, but I will say that the Mexican Pizza does not make it the full 120 minutes, though there’s plenty of surprises in store after that. According to @KLobstar, at first, it just smelled like “hot pizza,” but after about 40 minutes, it got much worse. “The smell is bad, but it’s just sort of a fire smell, whereas the Big Mac was so sickeningly sweet you had to leave the room,” @KLobstar tweeted.
There’s A Facebook Group Of Polish People Who LARP As Americans And It’s Spectacular
This might be one of my favorite internet things I’ve ever seen. I came across it thanks to a super viral tweet from user @penbercifield. It’s a Facebook page called “4th of July Larp,” and it’s a community of Polish roleplayers who stage elaborate photoshoots as Americans. You can find all of their photos here.
But wait, check this out. I put their page bio into Google Translate, thinking it would be kind of a fun summary of what they’re doing, but it’s actually WAY different from what I expected:
“Larp 4th of July” is a drama about the wasted American dream. It is a story about hope, about a small homeland, about finding one's place in the community. On July 4, 1776, the United States declared independence. The newcomers from the Old Continent wanted to create a new state in America, built on democracy, freedom and equality. For decades, millions of people, led by the American dream, have drawn to this beautiful country to finally — regardless of birth or social class — become someone else.
More than two hundred years later, many Americans live under conditions different from what the nation's founding fathers imagined. Barely making ends meet, striving to be family members and worthy Americans despite poverty and exclusion. Although they live on the fringes of society, their home — a small town lined with caravans and shaky houses — is for them the essence of "land of the free and the home of the brave."
This is a story about them.
YO WHAT??? But, also, fair enough.
There’s Simply No Way You Can Guess How This Video Ends
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a real good Twitter interaction.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***