Reality Now Is Just Different Dril Tweets Combined At Random
Read to the end for two good TikToks about AMVs
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On Friday, I wrote about r/WallStreetBets pumping the stock of GameStop, the failing dirt mall video game retailer that’s been at the center of a love/hate relationship with the internet since forever. The subreddit has been “going long,” i.e. investing long-term, in the chain for a while now. Last week, an investment firm called Citron Research tried to short GameStop. r/WallStreetBets mobilized, pumping the stock up over 69% (nice) in just one day.
The stock has continued to pump. As I write this, GameStop’s share price this morning is 3x higher than it was on Tuesday.
It’s the nature of the internet that things turn into new things only to turn back into what they were originally, only different. Emo MySpace celebrities became Viners became YouTubers became influencers became TikTok E-Boys and E-Girls. Blogs became digital media startups became online News sites became newsletters. Megafandoms like SuperWhoLock became various splintered fan army factions only to become Stan Twitter.
As I’ve watched redditors over the last few days use wildly inflated GameStop stock to effectively cripple the world’s financial systems, I’ve thought about what 4chan was like during the Occupy Wall Street era. It’s strange to think that the anonymous message board — though wildly racist and abusive — was considered, in the late-00s, to be a somewhat progressive space. 4chan’s hacktivist arm, what would formally become Anonymous, regularly battled right-wing and authoritarian bogeymen like the Westboro Baptist Church, ISIS, Scientology, and the US security state. And you could argue, and I do often, that Anonymous’ role as the main propaganda arm of Occupy Wall Street essentially set the standard for how we’ve used social media ever since, for better or worse.
In a September Garbage Day interview (paywalled), activist Gwen Snyder pointed out something I had never considered about 4chan during the Occupy years — that the users assumed they’d be considered the heroes of the movement for leading the digital warfare of the protests and, when they weren’t, it initiated (or sped up) the site’s radicalization:
With Occupy, that was one of the first moments where that 4chan gamer culture, that had really become enamored with doing a lot of online stuff, anonymous pranks, like the capital-A Anonymous hacker group, actually showed up in person for something. What we saw there were a lot of these white guys who had been online and came in and thought they were going to be the messiah of Occupy and were just deeply resentful and angry in a lot of cases that they weren't immediately hailed as saviors of the Left, or whatever. And so there was this deep reactionaryism. And it drove a lot of that 4chan backlash.
r/WallStreetBets’ tagline is “Like 4chan found a Bloomberg Terminal.” This is very accurate. The subreddit’s users regularly describe themselves as “too retarded to sell,” which is only a slight variation from 4chan’s longstanding in-joke that they’re all autistic. And, as it happened with 4chan in 2011, r/WallStreetBets’ idiotic shitposting and petty trolling has quickly reached a scale in which it must become political. This is the strange paradox of social media — things that are earnest and serious from the start rarely get enough traction to go viral, but things that go viral at a big enough scale must eventually pivot into something that matters. This explains both the Trump campaign and Fall Out Boy’s career.
Yesterday, the subreddit released an open letter to CNBC. It’s effectively a political manifesto that its users can point to now:
Your contempt for the retail investor (your audience) is palpable and if you don’t get it together, you’ll lose an entire new generation of investors.
I keep thinking about these funds that are short GME like your boys at Melvin Capital / your coverage of this subreddit and I’m getting madder and madder.
These funds can manipulate the market via your network and if they screw up big because they don’t even know the basics of portfolio risk 101 and using position sizing, they just get a bailout from their billionaire friends at Citadel. Then they have the nerve to turn us into public enemy #1 just because we believe in an underdog company getting a second chance.
We don’t have billionaires to bail us out when we mess up our portfolio risk and a position goes against us. We can’t go on TV and make attempts to manipulate millions to take our side of the trade. If we mess up as bad as they did, we’re wiped out, have to start from scratch and are back to giving handjobs behind the dumpster at Wendy’s.
Seriously. Motherfuck these people. I sincerely hope they suffer. We want to see the loss porn.
And, clearly, r/WallStreetBets is making their point very clear. In a clip from CNBC this morning, the anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin looks legitimately ill trying to explain what’s going.
There are a lot of guesses about where this is all headed, but, at least right now, the only thing certain is that eventually GameStop’s stock price has to drop. Melvin Capital, one of the hedge funds that was shorting GameStop stock, has pulled out at a huge loss — though they deny they are filing for bankruptcy. It also looks like r/WallStreetBets is beginning to pump other stocks being shorted by hedge funds. NASDAQ’s CEO Adena Friedman called what’s happening on r/WallStreetBets “manipulation” on CNBC this morning. But there does not seem to be much that the SEC can even do about this. And I’m no expert, but from what I can tell it only appears to be manipulation because it’s working class internet users organizing it.
Twitter is currently awash in A LOT of bad takes right now. I suspect it’s because a huge chunk of the media and academia have spent the last five years viewing the internet solely through the lens of extremism. But, just 27 days into 2021, it’s clear that the binaries of the Trump era are breaking down. r/WallStreetBets users are extremely politically incorrect (to put it mildly), use Pepe the Frog memes, love Elon Musk, and their logo looks a lot like Trump. They’re also now waging a multi-day campaign to bankrupt hedge funds and have moved billions of dollars into the pockets of individual investors. It’s Occupy Wall Street 2.0, only inverted. Instead of occupying the physical heart of Wall Street, they’re DDOSing its machinery until it starts to literally break down. It’s Twitch Plays Pokémon Plays The Stock Market.
As I said, things come back around, only different.
The Mystery Of “Oppa Homeless Style“ Has Been Solved
I was so excited about this that I held it until today because I wanted to make sure I had enough room to really do this justice. Buckle up because it is WILD.
There’s a blog on Tumblr called Heritage Posts. It’s a great blog that is archiving all of the embarrassing internet artifacts from the 2010-2017 era of Tumblr cringe. The blog is absolutely brutal to scroll through and every time it shows up on my dashboard I can feel my soul leave my body.
Late last year, Heritage Posts started investigating an extremely infamous Tumblr post commonly referred to a “oppa homeless style”. You can see the whole screenshot of the post here. It’s a text post that describes an extremely fake sounding story about a homeless guy who danced to “Gangnam Style”. Here’s the ending of it:
There’s a lot of wild stuff in this. I feel like I notice a new awful thing every time I see it. Today I noticed the phrase “pitch-perfect Korean style dance.” Incredible.
Anyways, Heritage Posts and their army of cringe archivists have been trying to find the original version of this post. It seemed to really only exist as a screenshot. Heritage Posts began asking a controversial question… did “oppa homeless style” actually… happen?
Well, this month, we finally got our answer. It was made up by a Redditor! A user named MechaMew2 is very active in a subreddit called r/ThatHappened. Heritage Posts discovered dozens of fake Tumblr conversations that MechaMew2 was posting to the subreddit in 2014. “Oppa homeless style” was one of them!
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the majority of MechaMew2’s fake Tumblr posts are written to make social justice advocates look dumb or crazy. Even more are specifically fixated on fat-shaming women. Shocking, I know.
So what is MechaMew2 up to these days? Why they’re just fabricating Facebook posts about pitbulls, of course. Seriously, though, head over to Heritage Posts and read the full investigation, it’s wild.
The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Made A Bunch Of Diseases Into Hot Anime Characters
This was sent to me by a reader named Erika. Thank you, Erika!
If you click through on that tweet, there’s a whole thread of diseases drawn in similar styles. The one of various strains of hepatitis as an E-Sports team is particularly inspired.
And, in case you’re wondering, because I know you are, COVID-19 is depicted as a sexy hacker.
Let’s Revisit The 4chan GameStop Bank Guy
This is from 2014! User mlc dropped this into the Garbage Day Discord the other day. I had completely forgotten about this guy. Talk about being ahead of the curve! Here’s the post written out in case it’s sort of hard to read:
Does anyone else use Gamestop as a bank?
I got really pissed off with US Bank because I kept overdrafting my account even though I opted out, and the same thing happened with my credit union when I got a debit card.
Now whenever I get paid I go preorder a whole shitload of games. Whenever I need money, I go to the nearest gamestop and ask for my money back on a game I don’t want and make a withdrawal. The lines are shorter at gamestop than at the bank and I can trade in old games and have money go straight to my savings account. Gamestops are just as prevalent as banks in my town and I work at a mall so it’s even more convenient than running an errand to the bank or using an ATM and getting charged.
The gamestop people are starting to catch on that I’m just moving money around and only buying one preordered game a year, if that, but there isn’t shit they can do about it. The best part is, since I always preorder every game coming out I’m still guaranteed to get all the exclusive content whether or not I’m sure I want a certain game. It’s like they’re rewarding me for banking with them.
From what I understand, this is basically what Reddit is doing now? But at such a scale that it’s breaking the stock market?
Here’s What The r/WallStreetBets Discord Sounded Like Yesterday
If you press play, turn the audio on. It’s everyone screaming at each other in the server’s voice rooms.
Twitter Continues Its Decentralization Push
Check out this terrible meme I made. Twitter is in this is Thanos and a few of their recent announcements are, uh, Infinity Stones. Get it?
Anyways, there have been a few updates in Twitter’s decentralization expansion this week. I know I’m projecting a bit more organization and forethought onto Twitter as a company than it has ever really seemed to display, but I think it’s very clear that it has decided its Trump-less future is a decentralized one.
This week, Twitter announced Birdwatch, a community-based misinformation tool. Based on Twitter’s press release about it, it sounds like an open-sourced version of Genius annotations, but for factchecking. It sounds both cool and something that could be manipulated very easily.
Twitter has also purchased Revue, a Substack-like email platform. I’ve read a few newsletters over the years supported by Revue and it seems pretty good! I’ve never used it myself. But, most importantly, it will give Twitter users the ability to monetize dark social content.
This decentralization campaign is smart, in my opinion. If you think about it, compared to Facebook and YouTube, Twitter, up until now, has been woefully unprepared for a decentralized future.
Facebook has groups, messenger, Instagram stories, Instagram DMs, and WhatsApp. YouTube’s algorithm has become aggressively personalized over the years, effectively eliminating the average user’s need to ever seek out content. But Twitter is still heavily dependent on a central feed. It has DMs and you can build a network of private accounts, but beyond that, there’s really no way to use the app without the main public feed. Which is how we end up with Bean Dad.
Reality Now Is Just Different Dril Tweets Combined At Random
P.S. here are two good TikToks about AMVs.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
Re Twitter's decentralization attempt, so we're all just ignoring that Mastodon has been a thing for like five years now?