Thanks for reading Garbage Day! If you like it, forward it to a friend and ruin their day. If you really like it, consider subscribing. It’s $5 a month or $30 a year and you’ll get some fun exclusive stuff every month. Hit the button below if you’re interested.
Reddit’s Year In Review Is Here
I feel like there is a lot of (rightful) criticism being thrown around right now now about how large social networks monopolize our attention spans and have fundamentally broken our sense of reality. But I want to make sure that we aren’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Highlighting good social media sites and healthy communities is extremely important, as well. If we sink into pessimism about the whole idea of a connected internet, we’ll lose something really important and crucial.
This is part of the reason I like to highlight stuff happening on Tumblr. On Monday, I wrote about Tumblr’s year in review report and called the site the “cultural core of the internet” and, while no site is perfect, but I think they’re a lot of people at Tumblr who really care about their users.
It might sound a bit surprising, but I think Reddit is another place that seems to be actively trying to make their community better. It might still be full of incels, adult Star Wars fans, and other kinds of dangerous lunatics, but I respect that the company is fairly clear-eyed about its problems and isn’t afraid to try and fix them. One of my favorite platform stories of 2020 is The Atlantic’s feature on how Reddit defeated QAnon.
Reddit’s year-end report is interesting. Instead of a self-aggrandizing investor report like a lot of big platforms put together — like YouTube’s recent clown car of a post-election report — Reddit chose to interview its moderators about their biggest challenges of 2020. It’s fascinating!
The report includes interviews with mods from r/coronavirus, r/blacklivesmatter, r/weddingplanning, r/frugal, r/applyingtocollege, and r/amitheasshole. I learned a bunch of interesting stuff. For instance, three mods of r/coronavirus are irl scientists and a member of their moderation team built a bot to auto-remove opinion pieces from the subreddit. Also the r/amitheasshole mods highlighted this absolutely WILD post from July about a Zoom wedding that I totally missed at the time.
It’s definitely worth checking out the whole thing.
The Terrifying Law That Would Make Online Copyright Strikes A Felony
Speaking of throwing the internet baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, I wanted to put a spotlight on this. I think a lot of people, understandably, completely zone out when we start talking about internet freedom and things like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. So I’m going to try and explain what’s happening here in one very snappy line:
A Republican senator wants to make it a felony to post copyrighted material — like streaming a song on Twitch or posting a clip to YouTube — and the proposed law to do so is being stuffed into a huge spending bill that has to pass next week before the government shuts down for the year.
The felony streaming provision, being spearheaded by North Carolina U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, is one of three online copyright laws that are trying to get pushed into the end-of-the-year omnibus bill. Here’s a great Protocol piece about all three and what they mean for the future of internet content.
And here’s a massive piece from The American Prospect and Sludge looking specifically at Tillis’ felony streaming bill. It will come as a surprise to literally no one that Tillis has received an incredible amount of money in donations from political action committees connected to huge entertainment companies like the Motion Picture Association, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music.
While I do think that many Twitch streamers should probably go to jail for various content crimes, I do not think they should go to jail for accidentally playing some copyrighted music on their stream. Especially when you consider that not even the teams behind huge games like Cyberpunk 2077 can figure out what can and cannot be streamed on Twitch.
The r/backrooms Subreddit
This was flagged up on Twitter by podcast host Julia Galef. It’s a really good subreddit! From the community’s description:
"If you're not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you'll end up in the Backrooms, where it's nothing but the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in. God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you" THIS IS A FICTIONAL CONCEPT
No clipping is a video game cheat that lets you exploit a glitch in the source code to move through physical objects in the game. The r/backrooms subreddit plays with the idea that you could accidentally noclip through our simulation and end up in some kind of infinite liminal space that happens to look a lot like the service hallway of a mall or a hotel.
I also love the disclaimer at the end that this is a fictional concept. I feel like in the age of mainstream conspiracy theories like QAnon, antivaxxers, and flat earth mumbo jumbo causing serious real-world harm, it’s important to acknowledge that the internet can also be a great place to post fun creepy stuff.
r/backrooms has a wiki that’s really good. There’s a ton of fun mythology, like the page on “entities” you encounter in the backrooms. It kind of reminds of SCP Foundation stuff, which if you’ve never come across it before, makes for some fun afternoon reading.
Oh, also, not totally related, but also not wholly dissimilar either, a lot of the r/backrooms lore kind of reminds me of when that Super Mario 64 player basically used a soft version of quantum mechanics to essentially put Mario in multiple places at once to clear certain levels.
Some Very Bad Egg Content
There’s so much bad stuff happening in this very short video that it’s almost dizzying. I went over to the TikTok account this video came from hoping I could some more information about why this exists and uh
This is not even CLOSE to the wildest thing this lady is doing with eggs. Last month, she made “thankful eggs,” which are hard boiled egg whites with pumpkin pie filling topped with a graham cracker and toasted marshmallows and caramel. This is what “thankful eggs” look like:
From what I can tell, this TikTok account was a fairly normal baking page run by a woman named Stefani Pollack. She’s a food blogger and chef who’s been posting stuff online for about a decade now. She has a very popular Instagram and, honestly, seems like a very nice lady.
In August, she posted a video for “angeled eggs,” which she claimed were “so much better than deviled eggs.” Hmm. It turns out “angeled eggs” are hard boiled egg whites full of cookie dough and drizzled in chocolate and covered in sprinkles.
I guess after this video was watched almost a million times and inspired dozens of horrified reaction duets, Pollack decided to lean into being “the weird egg lady on TikTok” and is now regularly creating wildly cursed egg content.
Earlier this month, she drank egg nog out of a hard boiled egg. Safe to say, her psychic damage TikTok content strategy is working. Here’s a top comment from her egg nog egg video:
The TSA’s Community Manager Knows A Surprising Amount About Naruto
If you don’t want to click through to the original post, here’s what the caption says:
Obviously late for their Chunin exams, this passenger opted to fly and forgot the rules outside of the Hidden Leaf Village.
This is no genjutsu, keen eyed officers at Spokane International Airport (GEG) discovered these kunai in the passenger's carry-on bags. Genin or not, throwing knives must be packed in your checked bags. We also recommend checking with your state and local laws regarding traveling with kunai as they may be illegal in your state.
Looking for the best way to pack your village's headband? Well, Naruto run over to our friends at AskTSA. They are available seven days a week, and can answer any travel related question you may have.
Now, I want to be clear. The Transportation Security Administration having an Instagram account is Starship Troopers-level creepy and I feel the same way about all forms of law enforcement trying to be relatable on social media. Contrary to what the many local news networks across America that make up Sinclair Broadcast Group’s vast conservative propaganda machine may report, there is nothing charming about cops making viral videos.
THAT BEING SAID…
…whoever wrote this Instagram caption knows a jaw-dropping amount about the anime Naruto. The question is, though, would a true Hokage help prop up the machinery of a post-9/11 security apparatus? Much to think about there.
An Interesting Emo Thing Is Happening On YouTube
Thanks to my utterly shameless YouTube history, the site has been recommending videos from a guy named Matt Cutshall. I have never heard of him before, but he’s verified on YouTube and has 238,000 subscribers. He caught my eye because he appears to have made 17 videos with more or less the same name over the last year.
Based on the thumbnails alone, I was wildly insulted that YouTube thought I would enjoy any of these. Imagine, me, an “internet comedy video” enjoyer. Ridiculous.
Apparently, Cutshall used to be part of one of those mid-00s Metro Station-knock off boy bands called It Boys. This video of theirs is apparently from 2011, but feels like it came from 2004.
Anyways, since leaving It Boys, Cutshall has had a pretty successful second life as an influencer. He was really big on Vine and he was behind that “daddy’s new whip” viral video from over the summer. I guess Cutshall’s “felt emo might delete” campaign has finally reached its conclusion, because earlier this week he released this:
It is a genuinely very good emo song! Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional appears makes a cameo. I have listened to it a lot.
It feels like it’s part of a larger trend right now where a lot of dudes in their early 30s are trying to make pop punk and emo a thing again. Oh no, wait, does me liking this mean that I’m basically the same as those cringey Gen Xers who tried to make hair metal a thing again in the early-00s? Am I a millennial version of Debbie from Bowling For Soup’s “1985”???
What Exactly Is Happening Here
Garbage Day reader Keith sent this over to me. It’s a real trip. If you don’t feel like pressing play, let me explain what this is. It’s called “Discovery (Remastered)” and was posted by a channel called “Daft Punk” but that is absolutely not what this is.
It seems like this is actually a fan recreation of Daft Punk’s 2001 album Discovery, but as it goes along it completely and totally falls apart. The result is something that kind of sounds like a panic attack. The comments beneath the video are great:
The Yaoi COVID Vaccine Connection
This tweet is one of my favorite kinds of internet things — someone casually mentioning something absolutely outrageous with the expectation that everyone else will know exactly what they’re talking about. After reading this tweet I had several questions, the main one being who is the yaoi Christmas song guy. I suppose my second, less important question was why was COVID censored?
After a bit of digging, I think I have the whole story here.
First, for those out of the loop, yaoi is a Japanese term that means “boys love” and it’s the name of a genre of homoerotic manga. Aside from featuring gay male sexual pairings in stories meant to be read by women, it’s also known for its fairly low production values because yaoi titles aren’t usually given the budget that hentai is.
The “yaoi xmas songs” guy that Twitter user @padsyeu is referring to up there is Steve Warky Nunez, a YouTuber and voice actor who guys by the name @warkythechocobo. In 2016, Nunez made a bunch of yaoi-themed Christmas songs. Here’s a playlist of all of them if you’re curious. They’re, uh, fine, I guess.
A few weeks ago, Nunez revealed in a Twitter thread that he was part of the Pfizer COVID vaccine trial. “If by volunteering, I help save even one life with this vaccine, then I'm so grateful that I did it,” he tweeted. “No one should have to suffer with this disease. Too many are already gone. *bear hug*”
In a way, this is kind of like the end of the movie Independence Day, but instead of random guy from a trailer park helping take down the non-human menace, it’s a random guy from the internet best known for writing anime smut songs on YouTube.
P.S. here’s an utterly breathtaking Tumblr post.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***