It's All Kicking Off On Train TikTok Right Now
Read to the end for a good Tumblr post about "King Of The Hill" getting cancelled
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There Sure Is A Lot Of QAnon Stuff On Etsy
This ended up on my radar thanks to the r/QAnonCasualties subreddit. Which I highly recommend checking out. I’ll be honest, I sort of forget about Etsy when I think about platform rot. I still think of the site as the quirky place to buy knitted uteruses and a cool pin a girl in France made out of one of my tweets that that one time.
But it makes sense that QAnon stuff is all over the site. The movement is a virus. Its followers view social media platforms as a series of inputs that they can fill with their propaganda. It’s even spreading over to LinkedIn now. The QAnon wedding section on Etsy is especially grim.
By the way, if you’re looking for a piece looking at whether or not any of this will have a serious impact on the election, I interviewed a few of my favorite QAnon researchers for the i newspaper in the UK this week.
Members of the r/QAnonCasualties subreddit are emailing Etsy, requesting the site ban QAnon-related items from their marketplace. Etsy told Business Insider in August that they don’t prohibit the selling of goods affiliated with “certain movements” unless they’re promoting violence. This has been the generally-accepted safe response from most companies, which is, of course, based on a usefully naive understanding of what QAnon is. There is no nonviolent interpretation of movement. It’s centered around the idea of the mass-arrest and subsequent execution of Trump’s political enemies. The site seems to be pretty tough on similar groups. After a cursory search this morning, I could not find anything celebrating the KKK as a social club. And Etsy told WIRED in June that they would be banning confederate flags from their platform. I did, however, find Proud Boys merch there this morning…
My assumption for many years has been that the people running these sites haven’t been doing anything about QAnon and similarly internet-native hate movements because of how ridiculous they all sound. QAnon believe JFK Jr. is still alive and the Proud Boys got their name from a song from Aladdin. They don’t fit into our Hollywood-enforced ideas of what hate movements look and act like. There were no scenes in American History X where they all sat around sharing frog memes on Discord.
And as someone who has been a community moderator before, QAnon sounds exactly like the type of thing you would notice, alert your boss about, and then your boss would not take seriously at all. Imagine writing a memo saying users were beginning to talk about underground tunnels full of satanists. Now, imagine that happening across every platform on the internet. As always, this could have all been fixed if, 10 years ago, we started viewing community moderation as the fifth estate of a fully-online democracy.
I actually got an email about this from an Etsy spokesperson after today’s email went out. The Proud Boys merch was pulled down today.
“Sellers on Etsy agree to follow our policies, which prohibit, among other things, hate against protected identities, and attempting to incite violence against individuals or groups,” the spokesperson said. “We have removed the items in question, and we continue to actively monitor the site and review and remove merchandise that violates our policies.”
Neil Cicierega Dropped Mouth Dreams
Neil’s back baby! I assume all my readers know about Neil Cicierega, but just in case you don’t, he’s basically a man who is very good at the internet. He’s responsible for Brodyquest which might be my favorite piece of internet content ever made? He makes mashups, animates stuff, works with puppets. A real renaissance man.
His first Mouth mixtape was titled Mouth Sounds and it’s incredible. Spoiler: the “mouth” refers to Smash Mouth. Anyways, put on Mouth Dreams and let your brain get turned to meme mush. I feel like it really peaks around 15:30 with the Chili’s Baby Back Ribs/Tears For Fears/Marilyn Manson/Lion King mashup.
Here’s A Cool New Facebook Group For Frog Enthusiasts
You know how I love a weird niche Facebook Group! (Especially one that hasn’t radicalized into a hate movement.) I saw this one going around Twitter and I was very excited to dig into it.
The Frass Apprecition Group describes itself as “a group for those who appreciate the butts of frogs and toads! they have such nice cheekies!” And it is exactly that. Just lots of photos and videos of frog butts. And don’t worry. It’s not a fetish thing. The comments on all the posts are very wholesome:
A Thoughtful 4chan Thread About Potatoes
Regarding The President’s, Uh, Current Situation
Let’s Talk About The Peepo Videos
There are two videos going viral right now — “When your favorite streamer sees your post” and “Spending time without your favorite streamer” — that tell the story of a small CGI Pepe The Frog who briefly gets banned by their favorite Twitch streamer. In the first video, the Pepe makes a meme and posts it to their streamer’s Reddit. The streamer sees it, gets insulted, and bans the Pepe. In the second video, the Pepe tries to go outside and get their mind off what happened. They ultimately come back to their bedroom and send a message to the streamer, writing, “I only wanted to make you laugh.” The video ends with the streamer briefly “typing” back on Discord. Though, he ultimately doesn’t reply, instead, a notification appears alerting the Pepe that they are no longer banned. The last show is the Pepe having fun sharing emotes back in the chat.
There are a bunch videos of streamers reacting to the video. They get emotional. The overall response from the Twitch community is Pixar-level sentimentality. I, however, found these videos deeply grim. The image of a prepubescent Pepe sleeping in a gamer chair in a dark room lit by the glow of their computer made me deeply uncomfortable. The emotional weight given to a parasocial relationship the Pepe has with the streamer is also really dark. There is a deep undercurrent of loneliness that permeates through the whole thing.
I also think it’s interesting how Pepe The Frog is beginning to evolve back into something closer to its original meaning — an avatar for the everyman internet user. Off-color and awkward, staring beleaguered at a screen, with eyes bulging and weary from overstimulation.
I could obviously point out here that I probably had very intense one-sided relationships with emo bands that were very similar to the ones kids today have with streamers and that I’m just being an old crank about all of this. But this definitely feels a lot more isolating than whatever I was doing at 13. Although maybe not! Not to undermine my whole point here, but maybe the modern loneliness kids are escaping watching Twitch is just a different kind of loneliness than the kind I was running from growing up.
Train TikTok,,, Welcome To The Resistance
I went over to this guy’s page and honestly he seems like he rules. I’m also realizing that “millennial train guy” and “folk punk banjo player” have very similar aesthetics. His name is Jack Dickinson and he works for an independent radio station in Chicago. His videos are a great mix of cool train stuff and extremely on-point social justice commentary. Which is a mix of things I did not previously know I liked, but honestly, it rips.
I have several train guys in my life. My good friend Jon hides out on the MTA’s message board and monitors their internal radio frequencies with an app on his phone. And my uncle is a big train-sets-at-a-Christmas type of guy. I, myself, am not a train guy, though I enjoy getting drunk on them and looking wistfully out the window. I also find the unlimited possibility of arriving in a centrally-located European train station extremely romantic.
Dickinson posted a second response to the video above and it’s also extremely great.
Brazilian Crash Bandicoot Is A Great Dancer
A Twitter follower of mine sent this over to me, writing, “this will interest you” and wow, they were right! It combines my love of nu metal Sonic The Hedgehog Crash Bandicoot and my love of Brazil’s trenzinho carreta furacão. For the uninitiated, the Carreta Furacão is a group of dancing mascots who ride a little train around the city of Ribeirão Pretol. It literally translates to “little hurricane train,” which I also love. One these groups went super viral a few years ago and their GIFs are a common sight in Brazilian WhatsApp groups.
As for the video above, it seems as though, Activision decided that the best way to announce the upcoming release of Cash Bandicoot 4 was to add Crash to a carreta, or a Crasheta lol. I think Crash is a pretty good addition! But he’ll never be as good as Fofão.
And Finally, Fellas Is It OK To Eat A Hot Dog In Public?
For what it’s worth, I think this is a pretty funny joke. There are a lot of quote-tweets of it with comments like “are men ok,” which, of course, the answer to, is always, no. I’ve actually spent the last few months really confused about the the spread of the glizzy gobbler meme. Like all new internet trends being shared predominately by men, I assumed it was a nazi thing. But according to this very helpful explainer by Junkee writer Michelle Rennex, it’s actually a Washington DC slang for both a gun and a hot dog!
That said, joke or not, I do think more men should be using modesty shields when eating in public.
P.S. here’s a good Tumblr post about King Of The Hill getting cancelled.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
Kinda related to the Crash Bandicoot videos, but this week a couple of videos have gone viral on Mexican Twitter with captions along the lines of: "Imagine living in Switzerland and missing out on this":