An Instagram Meme Account Responds To a Lawsuit
So The Arizona Board of Regents is suing Facebook and a “John Doe” over an Instagram account called asu_covid.parties. It’s been deleted, but from what I can see in screenshots, it was definitely a joke account — I’m just not totally certain what kind of joke account. The central conceit was that it was organizing COVID parties on the Arizona State University campus. At first, I thought maybe it was satirizing notoriously hard-partying ASU students, but I don’t think so tbh…
These two examples were in the initial complaint. Please do not sue me, The Arizona Board of Regents. Anyways. The account itself seems like it was actually total shit and awful and not funny. But the “John Doe” behind the page has decided to double-down on it and go OFF in his response to the complaint. Arizona Republic reporter Rachael Leingang tweeted out an excerpt on Thursday and it’s wild.
Here are a few more lines from this thing:
If you’re too fucking stupid to recognize parody and hyperbole (which is protected by the 1st Amendment) that’s your fucking problem and maybe you need to hire much better lawyers than the dumbasses at BACAL LAW GROUP, P.C (which I heard is run by a bunch of drug-addled QAnon loving pedophiles more interested in sucking the taxpayers dry with frivolous SLAPP litigation than in doing any actual legal ).
There’s so much going on in that statement. John Doe’s political compass is all over the place. He’s seemingly both anti-mask but also anti-QAnon? Anyone else surprised? Further down, John Doe writes: “Defendant is not liable to plaintiff because plaintiff ASU’s President, Michael Crow, really is a Nazi!”
Yikes. Hopefully the judge realizes how sick it is to dunk on someone for clout.
Whoops! Guess not. You can read the full response here.
Here’s A Good Meme
Looking For More Stuff On The Scots Wikipedia Furry?
You should check out this week’s episode of The Content Mines. It’s available in all the usual places, including Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, and Pocket Casts. We really dug into the story of the teenage furry who destroyed an entire Wikipedia. My co-host Luke has a history degree and has been dying to use it — which has honestly been tough on a show about memes. Thank you all who listen to The Content Mines every week! It’s been really exciting to watch that project grow into its own thing.
Also, during this week’s episode Luke and I tried to decide what is the best Scottish tweet of all time. Here’s my favorite
And here’s Luke’s, which has sadly been deleted:
If you’re trying to wrap your head around the seriousness of what has actually happened to the Scots Wikipedia, my friend Liam, a Scottish Twitch streamer, has been aggregating good takes about it on his Tumblr. This, by Scottish author Joy Demorra, a self-described “vampire nipple erotica editor,” is especially good and you should read the whole thing:
I still code switch if I need to do something like talk to the bank or talk to a client. I tell myself it’s because I’m living in America and I want to be understood. But I did it before I moved here. I did it while living in Scotland, because I knew having the “proper” accent helped.
So yeah, the idea of a brony destroying a Scots based wiki with nonsensical gibberish sounds funny. But only until you realize it’s part of a broader problem rooted in systemic cultural and class warfare. It’s also why it’s no very funny when people post things like “what language is that LOL” under Scottish media, because the answer is Scots. And it’s dying.
Here’s A Good Tweet
I Talked To A Guy Who Made 120 Bud Light Memes
If you did not know, Bud Light wants to pay someone $5000 a month for three months to make memes for them as their “Chief Meme Officer”. If you unironically say “Chief Meme Officer” out loud all the horses in a 10-mile radius drown themselves, the sky darkens, the moon starts to bleed, and ravens gather over your house and sing the song that ends the world.
A Garbage Day reader tipped me off to their friend Mickey who has made 120 memes for Bud Light. And they’re actually great!
I spoke to Mickey this morning and he was nice enough to answer a few questions for me. He said that while he doesn’t have the strongest loyalty to Bud Light Seltzer, he loves making memes and would love to get paid to make them. Also, he’s also getting married next summer, so the $15,000 would be really helpful.
Lest you think this is just some gag, he did formally apply on Bud Light’s site, but there’s one snag — Mickey is, unfortunately, Canadian. “The application asked for a zip code and wouldn’t let me enter my postal code, so I just put 5 zeros and added my postal code to the ‘about me’ section of the application,” he said.
Apparently Mickey has gotten really into meme making since he started working from home at the beginning of the pandemic. “Being able to make them and get paid seemed like a true calling,” he said. Bud Light’s application only asked for four examples, but Mickey wanted to go above and beyond and show them what he’s got.
I asked Mickey to pick his favorite Bud Light Seltzer he’s made and he said that was a tough question, but settled on this one, which I think is pretty great too.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission Wants You To Know Birds Are Real
I was tipped off to this Twitter thread by my friend Alan. We had a good long talk about whether the account was hacked or not. It turns out the CPSC just tweets out a lot of e-gibberish.
It’s definitely a jarring account to scroll through, where, in between very real and genuine tweets about how people in Texas and Louisiana can keep themselves safe during Hurricane Laura, it also tweets memes about fox astronauts.
The “birds are real” tweet is in response to a long-running Gen Z meme about how birds are actually drones created by the US government to spy on Americans. There’s a website and merch and stuff. It’s a whole thing.
I’m not saying it’s bad that the CPSC is having fun online, by the way. But I have the same complicated feelings about it that I have about the e-boy that runs the Planet Money TikTok or any big brand account that’s beginning to lean into Gen Z internet dadaism. It’s interesting to watch these accounts become essentially self-hacked meme pages. And while I think generational obsessions are completely overblown and everyone needs to chill out, I also think this kind of meta Gen Z internet culture is new and notable.
It feels as though it’s defined by and made in response to the limitations of internet platforms. I’m fascinated by the comedy, art, and music Gen Z is making right now because, to my decrepit 30-year-old eyes, it looks like a jumble of not just internet content streams and references, but platform-dependent behaviors. And that worries me as much as it excites me.
It’s often been said that millennials had their brains turned to mush by sheer limitless connectivity of the open internet. It explains why so many of us have no attention span and a million failed hobbies and can’t stop talking about ourselves on whatever new social app appears. Meanwhile, Gen Z has really only ever known a closed-off proprietary internet full of self-promotion and corporate over-reach. So their forms of expression tend to rebel against it by deemphasizing the individual, instead leaning into the network effect of online platforms. The single influencer becomes the hype house. The viral celebrity becomes the TikTok challenge. The musical artist becomes a series of stems for remixes.
In the course of writing this, I’ve come to realize that for the last decade I’ve been operating under the quiet assumption that our current era of internet cul-de-sacs is temporary and the internet will eventually revert back to its natural state of open anarchy. The CPSC’s birds are real tweets may just be another indicator that I’m wrong. The open internet of my youth will probably never return. Or if it does, it won’t return in a way I can recognize. The cultural guardrails set in place by companies like Facebook, Google, and now Bytedance, that Gen Z is both defined by and constantly opposing and subverting will probably never come down. And, instead, old farts like me that will just have to learn to deal with it. Oh well.
Birds aren’t real. All of the birds died in 1986 and were replaced with drones that spy on us. The birds work for the bourgeoisie.
Finally, One More Good Tweet
P.S. here’s an interesting painting.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
"Meanwhile, Gen Z has really only ever known a closed-off proprietary internet full of self-promotion and corporate over-reach. So their forms of expression tend to rebel against it by deemphasizing the individual, instead leaning into the network effect of online platforms."
Taylor Lorenz's piece today in the NYTimes "College is Everywhere Now" (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/28/style/college-collab-houses-coronavirus.html) supports this thesis.
Appreciate your take about how an open-ended internet led to a million failed hobbies and no attention spans.
"There’s so much going on in that statement. John Doe’s political compass is all over the place. He’s seemingly both anti-mask but also anti-QAnon? Anyone else surprised?"
No - but I think you're falling into the hole many folks do while being #VeryOnline: forgetting that we're talking about individuals under a blanket term like anti-mask. I would not be surprised if this John Doe is anti-vax, for example, or talks a lot about the "corruption and/or lies perpetuated by MSM."
In recent months, I've noticed more of the issues previously identified as near and dear to the fruitloop-y section of the right (such as questioning the legitimacy of COVID and concerns they're being lied to by the "MSM", among conspiracy theories of varying shades) coming out of the mouths of folks that fall further left. The cross-over has been something to watch, indeed.