Hyperinflatation on the Neopets black market
Read to the end for a good Tumblr post about a TikTok
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A Correction And Clarification On Chet Haze
On Monday, I argued that perhaps Chet Haze’s White Boy Summer thing could be good. As long as he wasn’t advocating for this summer to be the White Boy Summer, but instead, was giving advice for how white boys could dress this summer, I supported it. I am pro Vans and anti-salmon shorts. Several readers alerted me to the fact that, no, Haze is literally saying this will be White Boy Summer. Making things even worse, he’s now made merch and it all says “White Boy Summer” in the racist font.
Even worse, Haze released another set of merch last night which says, “Black Queen Summer”. Look, this whole thing is a mess. Some even suspect there might be some kind of White Boy Summer song coming or something. I don’t know what Chet Haze is doing. Garbage Day disavows White Boy Summer. I still think more people should wear Vans and Hawaiian shirts this summer, though.
The Fast Food-fluencers of TikTok
I’ve been really fascinated by a creator named Milad Mirg. He’s had an incredible success cross-posting his short TikTok videos to YouTube, which I feel like signals a huge shift in how YouTube’s algorithm works. TikTok, though, is still his biggest platform. If you aren’t familiar with him, his whole thing is making Subway sandwiches with a GoPro strapped to himself while he tells slice-of-life stories about working in fast food.
Well, it turns out, he’s not the only fast-food-fluencer out there getting huge amounts of views doing this kind of thing. Twitter user @spamofthemic tipped me off to this. He recently did a crossover with another fast-food-fluencer named Dylan Lemay. Lemay and Mirg made a couple videos of both of them working behind the counter at a Cold Stone Creamery in Florida. Lemay’s story is extremely interesting.
In a video posted to his YouTube channel this week, he explained that his top-down voiceover Cold Stone videos became such a hit on TikTok he was able to grow his channel to almost 9 million followers. And in another video on his TikTok from earlier this month, he explained that since December he’s basically been touring restaurants making content while working behind the counter.
In China, short-form video platforms like Douyin, TikTok’s sister app, has essentially replaced traditional advertising. So I’ve been waiting to see how short-form video and commerce intersect in America. There are obviously a ton of creators making loads of money on TikTok right now, but this, to me, feels closer to how platforms like TikTok have been used in China and, I think, speaks to what a modern influencer is now. Find a popular young person, strap a camera to them, let them work at your store, and watch the view count go up.
The Clubhouse Wars Continue
I am extremely bearish on Clubhouse. I have used it. I thought it was boring and janky. I also think it’s one of those things that will almost instantly feel weird the minute people are vaccinated and able to go outside again. Also, unlike the medium of podcasting, which eventually figured out how to create content that can really only be done via audio, I’m not so sure an app that simulates a conference call will be able figure out how to create something like Serial or Welcome To Night Vale. (Although, I suppose Clubhouse could facilitate a decent tabletop RPG campaign)
But any interesting use case you could come up with for Clubhouse would probably work better on Discord. Also, unlike Clubhouse, Discord’s audio features do solve a real problem, how can you and your friends communicate while playing video games together — your voice. Anyways, I, unfortunately, don’t run Silicon Valley, so there’s now a real live-audio-only arms race happening. Here’s the latest:
Slack is getting new audio features, which, honestly, they probably need. The Slack call definitely needs some love.
Mark Cuban is launching a podcast app called Fireside, which will be “like a cross between Clubhouse and Anchor.”
Spotify has acquired Locker Room, a live audio app that was built for sports fans, and will be using it to create a Clubhouse killer.
Also, who could forget (I did while writing this), Twitter has Twitter Spaces now.
Oh, LinkedIn has one coming too.
Anna Wiener, in the New Yorker today, dove deep into Clubhouse. Wiener seemed frustrated by the whole experience. “Over time, I found myself moving quickly from room to room on Clubhouse, restive and unsatisfied, as if at a party that hadn’t yet found its groove,” she wrote.
My friend Bijan, in a tweet, described the feeling of being on Clubhouse even more succinctly, “Clubhouse is just twitch for boomers.”
The Neopets Community Is In Free Fall… Again
I’m convinced Neopets is actually a CIA experiment studying the effects of how to use Otaku impulses to destabilize a population. Being an adult Neopets fan seems like agony. I was not aware of this, but the Neopets community is in even more dire straits than usual at the moment.
Last year, the company behind the site started actually investing in bringing the game into the modern era, including the launch of a site that worked on mobile. Amid Neopets’ modernization, there are lot of huge issues to fix. One ongoing problem, per this great write-up from r/HobbyDrama, has been the standardizing of different kinds of custom Neopets. The site seems to have left certain Neopets with specific custom colors, which made them very valuable within Neopets’ in-game economy, which is essentially a black market.
This was thrown into chaos recently when users discovered a way to simply create those rare “unconverted” Neopets. The process went viral among different Neopets Discord servers and has created massive economic inflation. From the Reddit post:
Now regular users of the site are pissed, because the neopets team spent so many years telling them to fuck off about their pets being stolen. And unconverted pets will (most likely) be used as another cash grab. And users who are into trading are now pissed that their high value pets will no longer be high value.
Reading about the current state of Neopets this morning was like picking up a rock and discovering a colony of bugs had basically created a hyper-accelerated history of the last 200 years of capitalism — like that scene in Men In Black where Will Smith finds the alien race in the bus station locker. But if you’re looking for someone who has done a bunch of great reporting on the ongoing Neopets nightmare, I definitely recommend checking out Nicole Carpenter’s work on Polygon. The site has real 2012 Silk Road vibes at the moment.
Here Come The Suez Canal Truthers
The boat’s out of the Suez Canal! Hooray! Now it’s time to talk about the next pop cultural hyperobject that fills up every single digital feed simultaneously. If I’ve been keeping track correctly, this year we’ve had:
The GameStop pump
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview
The Ever Given being stuck in the Suez Canal
Reminder to self: I should write something about mass media’s increasing dependency on Twitter creating an episodic structure to reality. Anyways! If you weren’t aware, the Suez Canal debacle has been catnip for the increasingly desperate people still playing the QAnon ARG. VICE has a good look at how the very stuck ship has gone down within that community over the last week. That’s not who I’m talking about. I’m talking seemingly non-radicalized users who can’t fathom that it could happen:
I’ve seen all kinds of tweets pushing this same argument. I think it’s a really useful way of thinking about all forms of conspiracy theorists. The idea that a boat getting stuck in the mud could block 10% of the world’s trade and take almost a week to dislodge is so terrifying that, I think, as time goes, we’ll see even more and more people to start to claim it never happened at all. Sorry, folks. We can go to space and also a big boat can get stuck.
This was dropped in the Garbage Day Discord by posting champion Mitch. Tom Neill, the creator of IsTheBoatStillStuck.com, wrote a fantastic behind-the-scenes post about what it was like to run the second most-popular Suez Canal-related website (behind the Vesselfinder map, itself, I imagine) during the viral frenzy. He shows how affiliate marketing worked, what it was like to to try and mint the site into an NFT, and what his plans were for a Cameo campaign. Definitely worth checking it out.
The Jiggly Key Limes Bars
A reader named Keith sent this TikTok to me. For those of you who don’t want to click through, or my international readers who can’t access TikTok, it’s basically a very short video of a girl crying and poking her incredibly jiggle pastry.
The caption of this particular TikTok reads, “I’m a failure 😭 we didn’t have any eggs so I had to improvise 😓” Which, of course, led many in the comments to ask how @ashleyjohnson844 “improvised” without eggs. Well…
Also, a quick thing: some of you already know this, but if you’re in a country that doesn’t support TikTok and want to see one that appears in Garbage Day, email me! I’ll see if I can help.
The NFT Bubble And Thicc Pokémon
The NFT boom is dying down a bit. Users are realizing that storing them is a massive pain in the ass and also it’s really easy to steal them. Also, if you bought an NFT while the crypto market was high, there’s a possibility whatever you bought is actually worth a lot less now.
But let me tell you about one kind of NFT that will surely never depreciate in value: Thicc Pokémon. They’re digital trading cards of Pokémon drawn to have really big asses.
Pretty cool right? Here’s a thicc Raichu that’s currently on the market for $6,000 USD. It has had four previous owners. Do you ever think about the forces that led us to a world where the richest 1% are now all shameless weirdos spending thousands of dollars worth of fake internet money on hentai?
A Slam Jam Masterpiece
This was sent to me by my buddy Brian. You should read his very good internet culture newsletter. I have never listened to the Hamilton soundtrack before, which means, my first time hearing many of these songs was this morning, mashed up with the Space Jam theme song by Quad City DJs. Who lives, who dies, who slams your jam?
P.S. here’s a good Tumblr post about a TikTok.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***