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The Repeated Cancellations Of The MyPillow Guy
Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and raging pro-Trump conspiracist, was banned from Twitter earlier this month because he wouldn’t stop posting about election fraud. Then Lindell took over the official MyPillow account and started posting election fraud stuff there. Then the MyPillow account was banned.
So Lindell decided to go on Newsmax, one of the right-wing cable news channels with Brazzers-tier production standards competing to become the official propaganda arm of whatever Trump’s next political move is going to be. Lindell got on Newsmax only to be kicked off the broadcast because he, once again, wouldn’t stop talking about election fraud.
Hilariously, Newsmax is currently facing lawsuits from both Dominion and Smartmatic election technology firms, which the network had been falsely alleging were part of a voter fraud conspiracy. Which meant that every time Lindell started shouting out voter fraud conspiracies, the Newsmax anchor Bob Sellers had to read a prepared statement denying that there was any fraud during the 2020 election. This happened a few times live on air until Sellers literally just walked off the desk. You can watch the clip below. It’s incredible.
I had a brief interaction with Lindell last April. There was some hoopla around the MyPillow site offering a “Q” discount code. A bunch of QAnon accounts noticed it and started hyping up MyPillow as a Q-friendly brand. I actually called Lindell and, at the time, he told me he had no idea what QAnon was.
His explanation was that there were MyPillow discounts for all kinds of letters of the alphabet and that week it happened to be “Q”. He seemed too frazzled and confused for me to think he was lying. He also told me he didn’t know how to log into his Twitter account and asked me if I could help him retrieve his password. I politely explained that I could not.
He has clearly come along way in the last year! Not only did MyPillow literally offer a QAnon discount last week, now he’s able to log into not just one, but two different Twitter accounts. Life truly is a journey of self-discovery.
Let’s say Lindell was telling the truth and last April he wasn’t fully redpilled by QAnon, that’s actually a pretty incredible radicalization timeline. But it’s not totally unheard of. There does seem to be a pretty close correlation between people bored in lockdown and being sucked into QAnon. Lindell’s Q transformation seems pretty similar actually to Giggle Palooza’s, the boomer meme Facebook page I wrote about recently that went completely off the rails last year.
But Lindell’s swift double-removal from Twitter and on-air deplatforming by Newsmax feels like we’ve reached a breaking point for right-wing craziness. Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re at a dangerous impasse, where the violent extremism that we saw manifest on January 6 is far from gone, but it does feel like whacky say and do whatever you want time is ending. Maybe I’m being optimistic!
The Trump era was defined by a certain nouveau riche grotesqueness. A gaudy boomer California Pizza Kitchen ugliness — tanned, white, and tacky. According to The Atlantic, the average age of the close-to-200 extremists they analyzed was 40, two-thirds of them were over 35, and 40% of them where business overs or white-collar workers. “They work as CEOs, shop owners, doctors, lawyers, IT specialists, and accountants,” the study reads.
This violent revolution of America’s aging white racist professional class is still a hurdle for some to wrap their heads around. Trump’s most violent supporters aren’t unemployed hillbillies, they’re chiropractors and real state agents. This seems like it will be extremely tough for establishment Democrats, in particular, to understand. The insurrectionists eat quinoa too! In fact, just this week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's new chair, Sean Patrick Maloney demonstrated this exact kind of class confusion.
"[The Republican party] can do QAnon, or they can do college-educated voters. They cannot do both,” Maloney told POLITICO this week. Fair enough, if Democrats understood how class worked in America they wouldn’t be Democrats.
So, no, I’m not expecting a coherent deradicalization plan from the Biden administration. But in lieu of any meaningful action to clamp down on this sort of thing, at least we got to watch Lindell get the boot live on air. It actually made me reflect on just how insane middle-aged white men have allowed to be in public over the last four years. It’s a real “the 80s are over” kind of vibe, watching him get shouted down as he rages like a big mustached baby. It gave me a catharsis that I could feel deep in my bones. There’s no more well-done steak left at the golf club, everyone go back to your condo. These guys don’t get to control reality anymore (at least not nearly as much as they were able to before) and it feels great!
Here’s one more good Newsmax video from this week:
r/WallStreetBets May Have A Bot Problem
Right now, outlets like CBS News and CNBC are reporting that r/WallStreetBets is moving their meme pump powers over to the silver market. r/WallStreetBets, however, denies that they are buying silver. Except there is no center to r/WallStreetBets anymore. They can make as many popular posts as they want about not pumping silver, but if even a fraction of their users see headlines saying the community is moving over to silver, some will move over to silver. This is a textbook problem for a decentralized internet movement. Occupy had this problem. Even QAnon has issues with this.
My take on this is that nothing malicious is actually happening (which is typically my read on almost everything). I suspect the total communication breakdown within r/WallStreetBets is quite simple:
It started as a totally insular community and has grown way too fast to retain the tight-knit groupthink that made it flexible and powerful.
Mainstream financial media outlets like Fox Business and CNBC simply aren’t equipped to understand any of the internal culture of the subreddit.
This leads to the users distrusting news outlets.
The influx of new users who have no idea how to function within the community and the distrust of outside journalism sources leads to mass confusion inside the community.
All of this is why it’s so hard to tell which way is up when reading big posts on the site right now.
There’s a r/WallStreetBets spin-off subreddit called r/WallStreetBetsELITE. It was created last March. As it says in its about section, it’s supposed to be a less-moderated version of the main sub. According to this really fascinating r/DigitialManipulation post from yesterday, almost half of the users posting in it appear to be bots.
There are a bunch of theories as to why bots would be flooding the subreddit, but the main one is karma farming — using the popularity of the main subreddit to post in a less moderated subreddit to build up the appearance of a popular account. Or it’s part of a hedge fund psyop. Who knows. There a lot of similar accusations of coordinated bot activity happening within the main r/WallStreetBets subreddit, as well.
The main theory emerging right now is that bots want the redditors to buy silver because Citadal — a hedge fund that is one of Reddit’s biggest targets right now — has huge silver holdings. But, once again, it’s hard to separate the bull shit from reality.
And I assume things will only get more confusing as we close out the third week of the pump and the pumped stocks start to really tumble.
Gen Z TikTokers Are Making Fun Of Millennials For Wearing Skinny Jeans
Sheera Frenkel @sheerafFeeling very harassed by the Tiktok teens telling me to part my hair in the middle and stop wearing skinny jeans. Why did the algorithm decide we all needed bullying this weekend?
Look, I hate generational warfare stuff. I think it’s dumb. All generations are bad in their own special way. I think baby boomers are all fascists who killed the planet. I think Gen X is secretly the main demographic for QAnon. I think millennials are child-brained sociopaths who live in intricate fantasy worlds instead of acting like adults. And I think Gen Z are like those kids from The Leftovers that choke each other and get high in basements because they’re alive during the apocalypse.
All that said, I will not stand for Gen Z making fun of skinny jeans. As a kid who loved punk and emo and grew up in the suburbs between 2004-2009, it was virtually impossible to find skinny jeans that fit me. And if you could find them, they were like $80. The closest Urban Outfitters for me was like 3 hours away. And if you were lucky enough to find skinny jeans, you absolutely got made fun of for wearing them. What I’m saying is, getting skinny jeans to become an acceptable thing to wear was hard. I still remember the excitement I felt when my local Kohl’s started selling skinny-ish jeans. It was hard work and I refuse to watch it all go down the drain for nothing.
This was sent to me by a reader named Johnny. Back in August, I wrote about Something Awful’s famous Groverhaus. If you aren’t familiar, basically, a Something Awful user (named Grover) documented an insanely dangerous home renovation.
Well, someone has tried something similar, only this time it’s a tiny home inside of a truck. The build is being done by a user named Rytheric and he’s called it the Grovertruk.
I took a skim through the thread the other day and it is wild. There’s also a good Twitter thread with some of the highlights if you don’t feel like checking it out yourself.
The Great Guy Fieri Conspiracy
OK, so I will admit that I don’t have a total grasp over what’s happening here. If anyone has any information on this, please email me. I’m desperate to get all the details about this.
On January 22, Tumblr celebrated Guy Fieri’s birthday. They changed their logo into a version of Guy Fieri and members of Tumblr’s staff started posting weird stuff about Guy Fieri. Then in the weeks since, Tumblr users began making romantic fan art depicting Guy Fieri dating the Dr. Phil version of the green M&M. The tag for the ship is #phileri.
After I wrote about #phileri, a Garbage Day reader named @bbogboy sent me some more information about this whole thing. Apparently, there is an ARG (alternate reality game) being played on a Discord server and the players of that ARG are the ones responsible for the flood of weird Fieri content. It seems like the anchor point for the ARG is the Fieri Frames blog, which takes screenshots from Diners, Drive-Ins, And Dives and puts weird and unsettling captions on them.
Even stranger, I’ve seen conflicting posts about whether or not this ARG is being played by members of Tumblr’s staff or just normal users.
So, please, if anyone out there has any info on this, I need to know what’s going on. Please help me.
Coffee Dad Is Back
If you aren’t familiar with Coffee Dad, it’s a single-purpose (sorta) Twitter account that chronicles a dad who loves drinking coffee who is also mourning his son who died in a car crash. It’s very dark and very funny. It’s been posting since 2012 and occasionally takes some time off. Well, Coffee Dad’s back and it seems like the last few months haven’t been kind to him.
A Garbage Day Reader Makes A Chart
On Monday, I tried to write out a framework for understanding how 4chan culture has evolved into mainstream culture. I wrote it off the back of an ad Popeye’s made for “tendies”. I argued that things like the tendies meme helped 4chan radicalize itself, reducing users to mentally ill manchildren who could never reenter society. This, in turn, helped movements like Gamergate flourish on the site.
A reader named GalaxyBrainWorms left a comment saying that my take on the whole thing was off. Here’s the crux of their argument:
Think of the James Damore type. He doesn't want to see himself as retarded or a loser, he wants to see himself as holding a special truth that others are too PC to discover. This is the type of person Gamergate was built on and Gamergate catered too. And this brand identity of intellectualism is incompatible with neckbeard meme culture. If I was gonna make a big conspiracy alignment chart I'd put Gamergate, SlateStarCodex, JordanPeterson, and r/MensRights in the same sphere of influence. All of these things have a metanarrative of a hyperintellegient man using logic and reason to destroy the lies of the "SJWs".
GalaxyBrainWorms said they would make me a diagram of how they saw things if I wanted. I am never one to turn down a diagram! And here’s what they cooked up:
Click here if you want to read the whole thing. It’s pretty good! I think it also illustrates how we’re all still trying to figure this stuff out. We’re still very much in the process of figuring out exactly what happened to our online spaces over the last decade and it’s useful working together to figure it all out.
They Accidentally Made The iPod Again
Twitter’s New Factchecking Initiative Takes A Stand On Boss Baby
Birdwatch is Twitter’s new community-led factchecking initiative. Glad it’s already getting results. Boss Baby DID NOT commit suicide!
P.S. here’s a good cartoon.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***