"I am not getting stoned with Amy Klobuchar."
Read to the end for a good ol’ fashioned funny cat video
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A Couple Quick Thoughts On The Concept Of “Bad Posts”
First, I highly recommend reading Rebecca Jennings’ “The Year Of Bad Posts” over on Vox’s The Goods. It gets at something that I’ve actually been struggling with a bit this year. I talked about it on the year-end episode of my podcast this week, as well.
Basically, I’m becoming uncomfortable with the idea of a “Bad Post”.
In Jennings’ piece she includes some excellent examples, such as a tweet about a group of gay men partying on a private island during the pandemic, Twitter discourse about whether or not dating short women is akin to pedophilia, a tweet about the term “himbo” being ablest, and a TikTok video embedded in a tweet arguing that men shouldn’t read the book Infinite Jest.
Jennings absolutely nails the feeling of performative social concern and hypocrisy that run through this year’s most virally bad tweets. But here’s what I find interesting, and slightly troubling, perhaps, about all of this.
The internet has always contained multitudes of horrors. In the pre-Facebook era, we had shocking content like Goatse and Mr. Hands. While message boards like 4chan and Something Awful were creating the monomyth of a typical bad internet user. Someone hopelessly addicted to pornography and obsessed with pop cultural minutiae. Someone who would become so enraged in an online discussion that they would either “ragequit” or, even better, accidentally reveal their completely deranged fetishes or belief structures via a self-own. This person was also almost always male.
The concept of bad internet content has evolved. During the Facebook era, we started to use the term “cringe.” Instead of bad internet content being something discovered, we began to think of it as something transmitted to us. It became tied to digital self-expression. It also usually carried with it the understanding that the cringey person wanted attention or fame. And thus, they deserved it. And I don’t think it’s an accident that this whole idea of cringe content appeared around the same time that platforms began asking (or forcing) us to express ourselves within their content streams. Bad internet content suddenly reflected our inability to fit within a structure meant to create more and more ad revenue for a company.
And now it feels as though the idea of cringe has evolved, again, into our current fascination with Bad Posts. This idea is even more tied to the way we use platforms than cringe culture initially was. Bad internet content is no longer a 4chan user accidentally boiling a My Little Pony figurine in a jar of bodily fluids. Nor is it Homestuck cosplayers sitting in a ball pit in an empty convention hall. It is, not always, but often, hypocritical tweets created by, or curated by, upper middle class Twitter users who are tangentially related to the American media.
This is weird!
And, like with cringe culture appearing around the same time large corporations started commodifying our data and content to feed their timelines, I suspect the idea of the Bad Post is also intrinsically tied to the way we feel about our performance on these huge social platforms. It now indicates something extremely specific: You have inadvertently become the main topic of discussion on Twitter and you will now receive all of the abuse and rewards that come with that, whether you like it or not.
But, because Twitter is a machine built on the typically violent entertainment of context collapse, the fact that Twitter has monopolized our idea of embarrassing and/or scandalous internet content also means that the very idea of bad has been flattened. As Jennings in her piece shrewdly points out, does a tweet about bodegas deserve the same reaction as people (men) defending Jeffrey Toobin?
This is all worth interrogating. Do we really want Twitter, and more specifically, Twitter power users, determining what is good and bad on the internet? Is there another way?
And Now… A Twitter Story In 8 Parts
Over the weekend, Evan Stern, an actor on the Extremely Good Canadian sitcom Letterkenny, posited a pretty anodyne question to his followers.
The replies are fun and dark and if you’re curious you can click through and read them. What happens next in our story is what happens a lot on Twitter.
This fun tweet is seized on by someone vaguely connected to the world of academia and is turned into a lengthy and somewhat joyless thread. I’m unclear why this tends to happen with historians in particular, but it seems like over the last four years we’ve become weirdly ok with the idea that there are just roving packs of historians sitting on Twitter, waiting to turn our shitposts into academic lectures.
What happened after this is also extremely typical. After the smart person decides to turn something fun into something educational, usually people (men) who don’t know anything at all about anything suddenly appear and confidently say something absolutely incorrect about the topic.
Usually this very wrong fact, like the tweet above, is rooted into neofascist concepts of white Christian nationalism. Then, of course, the extremely wrong man is politely corrected.
Which then leads the man to double down on the wrong thing they tweeted.
This turns into its own extremely chaotic thread, which is then quote-tweeted by other users who have had the extremely wrong man pulled into their timeline because of the frenzy happening around his dumb post.
And then, finally, it is usually revealed that the very wrong man in question is actually known for doing this sort of thing. In this instance, he’s a well-known fetishist on Tumblr.
Wondering why everyone has been tweeting carp? Gizmodo has a great explainer on this. The short answer is Twitter user @dm4uz3 saw another tweet — one about a cat named Bingus — that that user had turned into an ad and thought it would be funny to do the same with a tweet about carp.
You can’t tell from this embed, but if you click through, the tweet is an ad that contains a link to the Wikipedia article for the carp. If you press it, it will generate a carp tweet that you can post on your own account. Carp.
Neopets Still Exists And Will Now Allow LGBTQIA-Related Topics
This was sent to me by a reader named Erika. First, yes, Neopets, the Neopets message board, and the internal news site, The Neopian Times, all still exist. They’ve been running for 21 years.
Over the weekend, The Neopian Times editorial team announced that they were changing the rules around LGBTQIA-related content and finally allowing users to use words like “gay,” “straight,” “bi,” “queer,” “cisgender,” and “trans.” This is a huge deal. The moderation guidelines on the Neopets message board are legendarily strict. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:
5. You are free to use terminology such as “gay”, “straight”, “bi”, “queer”, “cisgender”, “trans”, “questioning”, “lesbian”, and others to describe yourself. All we ask is that you use these terms in a positive way and not about another person.
6. As with any form of harassment, we will not permit anyone to use these terms in an insulting way. If this does occur, the user in question will risk being warned and/or silenced.
7. Relationship discussions are not permitted. Casually mentioning “My partner and I went out to see a film…” is not a problem at all! Going into even borderline/graphic sexual discussions is not allowed.
Not only will this affect new posts, the team said that they will be clearing past filters. The reactions over on Twitter are wild.
This seems to be part of a push over at Neopets to reinvent the site. The company has started a new licensing program for merchandise, a new mobile site, and is converting the main site from Adobe Flash (RIP) to HTML5.
OK, sure why not!
TikTokers Are Getting Nostalgic For 2014 Tumblr Culture
Guys, I’m not ready for this. I was just becoming comfortable with the idea that kids on TikTok were romanticizing mall goth/emo aesthetics. I’m not ready for them to start making videos about what they’re calling #2014Tumblr.
It’s actually a wild tag to check out. It seems like it’s a mix of aging Tumblr adults who are reminiscing about the era of SuperWhoLock and soft grunge blogs and teenagers who wish they could have been on the site back then.
One user in particular, @gothboob, made a video — and then seems to have deleted it — teaching TikTok users how to set up accounts on Tumblr.
This reminds me, I’m going to have a special Tumblr-dedicated Christmas issue of Garbage Day for all of you on Wednesday. If any of my readers have any thoughts about the current state of the site, email me!
Here’s A Good Tweet I Refuse To Give Any Context For
A Very Important Etsy Store
This was sent to me by Garbage Day reader Juan. I don’t know why this is exists, but I love it. You can check out the store here. Thinking about messaging the user and asking them if they can make me a Joker Baby Yoda statue.
There’s Some New Elf-Related Relationship Problems On Reddit
Another day, another Redditor with an elf-related quandary. This was sent by my friend Ellie. The original post is a little long, but here are the two important parts:
I have almost waist length hair, bf compliments my hair a lot which I thought was super sweet of him. Over that past few months, he's been complimenting my hair a lot more. Our nightly routine turned into me sitting on the floor whilst bf braided my hair. It also took my dumb ass about a month to realise that the little phrase he'd been saying to me lately means "I love you" in Elvish. I just figured he was being cute.
A couple nights ago, bf asked if we could talk. He was pretty nervous. He went on to tell me about how he'd been reading a lot of Legolas and Gimli fanfiction lately and he'd really like to try that sort of roleplay in the bedroom (he'd even ordered the ears for me). This is where things went a bit downhill. I just sort of laughed. It wasn't a malicious laugh. I tend to giggle a little when I feel a bit awkward. I apologised as soon as possible and told him that I was just a bit caught off guard.
And here’s how things played out with the elf boyfriend:
He has since told a handful of friends that I humiliated him by laughing at him. They believe that I kink shamed him and that there's no trust in the relationship anymore, because now bf doesn't want to talk to me about intimate thing (in case I laugh at him again).
The comment section has decided that the OP is not the asshole, but also a lot of them are weirdly fixated on the fact the boyfriend purchased elf ears without asking as if that’s the weirdest part of this, not the fact he’s been talking to her in Elvish and giving her Legolas hair for months without explaining why. Also, was he going to dress like Gimli? Lots of questions here!
Let’s Check In On How The UK Is Doing
This was also sent to me by Garbage Day reader Juan. Thanks Juan!
My Sister’s Bad Holiday RomCom Review Corner
I’ve been ending the last few Garbage Days with a section cowritten with my sister Caroline. She loves terrible Christmas movies. She loves them so much she subscribes to the Hallmark channel’s streaming app and watches them all year long.
Cross Country Christmas
What’s It About?
Caroline: “Lina, while traveling home for the holidays, runs into Max, a former classmate, when they end up on the same plane together. When their flight gets grounded in another state due to bad weather they are forced to team up to get home in time for Christmas.
This one starts being weird right away. Lina and Max are a row apart on the plane catching up a little bit when she decides to bribe the flight attendant with holiday candy for a first class sleep mask kit? Max asks for one (without offering a bribe) and they’re all out. So Lina gives him hers and says, ‘I actually got this one for you since I remember you being a big napper in high school.’ WHAT? Could you imagine saying that to someone you went to high school with and haven’t seen in years?
This is complicated, but here’s the how the whole cross country trip unfolds:
They hitch a ride with a girl leaving the airport in an elf costume who just got broken up with, who drops them off at a Christmas tree farm.
They help the tree delivery man with his deliveries so he will drop them off at train station.
They buy cross country train tickets for a nice private train car with sleeper rooms, only to then miss the train while eating in a restaurant.
While they’re running to catch the train, they end up on a cargo train in a cattle car with cows. Not quite sure how you make that mistake.
A widowed farmer and his two kids find Lina and Max sleeping in a train car at the last stop, which is states away from where they started.
They help the farmer with an annual nativity play. They play the Mary & Joseph and a dog is baby Jesus.
Instead of buying bus tickets SHE BUYS AN OLD DOG GROOMING DELIVERY VAN, literally BUYS it and surprises Max so they start driving in that.
The van breaks down so then they use a farm equipment bartering app (that Max actually created?) to get a tractor to drive to Max’s cousins house — I guess he lives close by LMAO.
The cousin and his wife invite them in for Christmas barbecue brisket... outside in the snow (weird).
And then they get home.
How Does It Involve Christmas?
Caroline: “It’s not always about the destination, but sometimes the journey that you learn the most from. Like how you should just buy bus tickets like a normal person and not a dog grooming van.
Is The Movie Any Good?
Caroline: “I would rate this a 1.5/5 since they have NO chemistry and Lina described the dog van as ‘dope.’”
P.S. here’s just a good ol’ fashioned funny cat video.
***Any typos in this email are purpose actually***
I highly recommend the movie Snowmance for your sister's holiday movie bit - it usually gets played on ion television, I've accidentally seen it twice, and it's *horrible*. It's not as bad as Christmas Crush, (another ion original) but the badness of Snowmance is remarkably unbelievable.