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It's All Kicking Off At Adrian's Kickback

Read to the end for a really good animated GIF of a dog

Anyone Go To Adrian’s Kickback This Weekend?

On Saturday night, almost 150 people were arrested at an event in Huntington Beach that went viral on TikTok called “Adrian’s Kickback.” The event started trending on the app via the hashtag #adrianskickback, which currently has 270 million views.

The whole thing started with a now-deleted TikTok video posted by a user named @adrian.lopez517. Even stranger, it was the only post the account ever published. The now empty account has 230,000 followers. The post was a flyer basically saying, “let’s go hang at the beach this weekend.”

New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz found Adrian and tweeted out a short interview with him. He told Lorenz that he and his friend had promoted the event on Snapchat, but it didn’t really take off until it hit TikTok.

The originally very chill event, though, was turned into a TikTok trend which had millions of views by the time Saturday rolled around. It’s estimated that over 2000 people showed up. The Huntington Beach Police Facebook page posted about it several times leading up to the event. The police declared an unlawful assembly and put a curfew in place and then fired non-lethal weapons at the crowd when they wouldn’t disperse.

If you’re looking for a good thread of the kickback devolving into chaos, click through on the tweet above.

For as long as we’ve had internet connections, we’ve used them to organize meet-ups. I went to my first internet-based meet-up in 2010 and, like most of them, it was awkward as hell. But as mobile technology has brought the internet further and further into our lives, moments where internet users collide irl is happening with more and more frequency. I, personally, think Pokémon Go was the turning point, where the idea of an internet meet-up no longer felt like an internet meet-up. Post-Pokémon Go, the viral mechanisms behind this weekend’s kickback-turned-riot have become stronger and also more chaotic. Let’s raid Area 51? Sure. Should a bunch of people named Josh fight in a field? Why not. What about storming the Capitol?

And, yes, obviously, events like this show exactly how desperate young people, in particular, are to do literally anything post-pandemic, but there’s also the undeniable connection between Adrian’s Kickback and the TikTok cult from a few months ago. TikTok is essentially The Ice Bucket Challenge as an app. It takes hand movements, dances, hair styles, fashion trends, and even gatherings of people and turns them into micro-aesthetics. And most importantly, if the app’s users get interested in something, it can mobilize a lot of people very quickly. I watched this happen at VidCon in 2019 when a couple users spotted Chase Hudson outside the convention hall, posted videos about it, and suddenly dozens of teenagers were chasing Hudson through the crowd.

But the last point I want to make with all of this is that Adrian’s Kickback is also probably what most live events are going to be like going forward: hybrid online/offline mass gatherings that, unless they’re extremely well-organized, can turn into viral chaos. After a year of socializing through screens, I’m not sure we’re going to abandon them once we can all go outside again. Instead, I think the way we socialize will be augmented by them. Like Pokémon Go, you’ll be somewhere in a physical space, but consuming it in the moment via your phone. It won’t be wholly different from how things used to be, but, also, completely different.

Twitch’s Battle Over Hot Tubs Rolls Onward

For the last few months, Twitch has been dealing with “the hot tub meta,” which is a trend among predominately women streamers where they go live wearing bikinis usually sitting in some kind of hot tub or kiddie pool. I first wrote about it back in April.

On Friday, annoyingly right after I published Garbage Day, Twitch published a blog post titled, “Let’s Talk About Hot Tub Streams”. Here are some interesting takeaways from the post:

  • Twitch defended the hot tub streamers, who have been the targets of widespread harassment from mostly men on the platform, writing, “no one deserves to be harassed for the content they choose to stream, how they look, or who they are, and we will take action against anyone who perpetuates this kind of toxicity on our service.”

  • The company clarified that their sexual content guidelines are not meant to stop women from streaming in bikinis if they feel like it. I particularly liked their phrasing of, “being found to be sexy by others is not against our rules, and Twitch will not take enforcement action against women, or anyone on our service, for their perceived attractiveness.”

  • Advertisers can and have asked not to be included in pre-roll before hot tub streams.

  • And, lastly, Twitch created a “Pools, Hut Tubs, and Beaches” streaming category.

The Twitch statement, from its fiery defense of women streamers to its admittance that it allows advertises to pull their content from channels as they see fit, seems to speak to an interesting dynamic between platforms and advertisers right now. I’ve been hearing for almost a decade now that online advertising is “broken,” but I’m also hearing that a lot more often lately. The expectation 10 years ago was that platforms could make online advertising better, delivering better, more useful tools for marketers to reach different users. But that isn’t what’s happened. The platforms are bigger and more powerful than they’ve ever been, but the ads and advertisers still suck. And internet content is becoming stranger and weirder at a speed that most brands can’t keep up with.

My big takeaway from Hot Tub-gate is that if 14,000 people are concurrently watching a streamer like Amouranth play Minecraft in a bikini while sitting in a kiddie pool, why should Twitch cave to advertisers who don’t know what to do with that? More broadly, it makes me wonder how long it will take a platform to just give up on dealing with advertisers, full stop. Especially a platform like Twitch, which is part of the “digital busking” movement I wrote about on Friday. If you can make money from your influencers making their own money, why not invest in that and just finally give up on ads?

Andrew Yang Talks To Ziwe

Comedian Ziwe Fumudoh blew up largely thanks to her absolutely hilarious, but also extremely intense interview series, Baited. And, more recently, she did a bunch of killer IG Live interviews during the pandemic.

She’s now at Showtime and just put out an interview with former presidential candidate and current NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang. I assumed this was going to be a blood bath. Yang is not, uh, the best when it comes to handling complex social interactions, particularly ones amid the backdrop of social justice and progressive politics!

But his Ziwe interview went pretty well. The biggest WTF moment that people have latched onto is the fact he said his favorite Subway stop was Times Square, which is an objectively deranged thing to say.

Here’s A Tweet From Jim Belushi

Belushi recently went all-in on growing weed, excited to see how he adds cryptocurrency to the equation.

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The Lofi Beats Girl Is In France

In February 2020, after almost 15,000 total hours and over 200 million views, ChillCow’s channel was banned by YouTube, ending one of the platform’s longest running videos, “lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to”.

YouTube claimed it was a mistake and the channel was restored. ChillCow has since rebranded as Lofi Girl and has spawned an entire musical movement. You may not remember it, but the current Lofi Girl wasn’t the original image for the stream. It was actually a GIF from Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart. It was changed after a copyright strike from Ghibli in 2017.

And people have made a bunch of different versions of Lofi Girl, there’s Greek Lofi Girl, Ecuadorian Lofi Girl, and Romanian Lofi Girl. But, as far as I know, no one has been able to figure out where the actual Lofi Girl is! Until now, that is.

Twitter user @edgytatar figured out that the skyline from her window is Lyon, France. Cool! Weird, but very cool!

Tumblr Invents A Fandom Out Of Thin Air

There is a lot of stuff going on here, but the TL;DR is that Tumblr users created a fake fandom for Minecraft YouTubers who do not exist.

Tumblr user slashkid posted a now-deleted text post making fun of the extremely intense and, frankly, rabid fandom for the Dream SMP fandom. SMP is a Minecraft term that means “Survival Multiplayer” and Dream is a Minecraft YouTuber. It was a Dream fan that went viral back in February for stealing grave dirt.

Tumblr users took the fake YouTubers named in slashkid’s post, shittyfartbaby69 and penisunavailable, and started making fan art and fanfic about them. The fandom for these fake Minecraft YouTubers is called the Penismp. And there’s a lot of lore. One of my favorite explainer posts starts with the sentence, “I am not a PeniSMP historian…” lol.

When screenshots of the Penismp fandom made their way to Twitter, actual Dream fans latched on to it and catapulted it to number 3 on the site’s Trending Topics. Even crazier, some Dream fans are now saying they’re actually more invested in the Penismp fandom than they ever were in Dream. There’s now an official Penismp Discord server, all kinds of weird ironic fake-discourse, and an ever-growing cast of characters.

I actually hopped into two different Penismp Discords and they’ve both got a few hundred people in them. There’s a “timeline,” lore discussion channels, and, honestly, coolest of all, actual cosplay. Also, a few Penismp fans have decided that they want to turn it into a real thing and are going to attempt livestreaming it on Twitch.

This is all patently ridiculous, but also insanely interesting. This is a fandom for YouTubers who do not exist and now the fans are going to make these YouTubers real. Will definitely keep you updated on what happens with this because this feels like the future of… something?

Here’s A Really Good Series Of Tweets About Weezer

***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***

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