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Baked Alaska’s Racist Livestream Tour Continues
Last week, I wrote about how far-right edgelord Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet had resurfaced with an unfortunately popular livestream show. After backlash from well-known Twitter users, like Tim Heidecker, Gionet was successfully pushed off both YouTube and it looks like Twitch, as well. That, of course, hasn’t stopped Gionet. He’s now streaming on DLive, a live video platform that touts the fact it runs on blockchain. It’s bigger selling point is that it’s a haven for the far-right Gen Z Groyper movement.
Nicholas Fuentes, the 22-year-old de facto leader of the Groypers, was using DLive for a while to stream darker and more extreme content, while winking about it to his audience on YouTube. Fuentes was banned by YouTube in February of this year, but clips with him are still all over the platform. He now exclusively streams on DLive. Gionet appears to be trying a similar strategy — use DLive as a home base and then try and pop up on mainstream platforms with the assumption he’ll be banned immediately, but create shocking enough content it catches the attention of users, activists, and journalists.
The video is down now, but yesterday, he showed up on a presidential debate stream from a channel called YOBA NEVER DIES. “YOBA” stands for “Year Of Baked Alaska” btw. The YOBA NEVER DIES channel appears to be connected to ip2always.win, which is a network of streamers. I clicked into one while writing this and it was a guy named Ricky Two Shoes driving shirtless in a car and fighting with people in his YouTube chat. From what I can tell, the ip2 community started as a group of insanely toxic Ice_Poseidon fans that made their own subreddit called r/Ice_Poseidon2. They’ve been kicked around the internet for a while, but it looks like their newest incarnation is running on the same .win domain that r/The_Donald runs on. ip2always.win is currently attacking Heidecker and a group of ip2-affiliated streamers are currently traveling around the country in an RV. Gionet is now on the RV, as well.
Far-right or pro-Trump social media platforms like Gab or Parler get rightfully dunked on a lot. Those sites can’t really replace something like Twitter because Twitter, for MAGA influencers, serves two functions — it lets them trigger activists and journalists and pay fealty to Trump. But I think the universe that Gionet is wading into right now has the makings of being something else entirely. It’s a separate internet. And it’s definitely small — one of the top livestreams on the ip2 network as I was writing this had 761 concurrents — but the users on it are both building working mirrors of mainstream sites they aren’t allowed on and those sites are all networking together. And that infrastructure is getting better every day.
A Very Wholesome Instagram Post About Chicken Cutlets
I came across this post on Reddit’s r/MadeMeSmile (I like wholesome content sometimes). It’s just a really nice post about chicken and being in love. I've been repeating the phrase, “sometimes love is a chicken cutlet” in my head all week.
Facebook Is Fine
This is a really good and deeply upsetting account to follow, by the way. It tracks the top 10 best-performing posts on Facebook. And if you aren’t familiar with Dan Bongino, he’s a former secret service agent that made his name peddling pro-Trump #SpyGate conspiracies in 2018. He was able to parlay that into a regular gig on Fox News. He blocked me on Twitter. Sad! He also appears to be singlehandedly delivering America’s news to Facebook users. Totally normal and good.
Well, at least Facebook has successfully blocked QAnon from its platform.
The New Global Protest Movement To Watch
Reddit, as a community, is at a real impasse right now. If you spend your time on it, as I do, only using a super personalized feed of subreddits you care about and occasionally browsing r/All, it feels as though the site has become a lot less horrible than it used to be. There is a growing (not super toxic) leftist community there. It feels more progressive and even more openly queer than it used to be. I’m a big fan of r/AreTheStraightsOK. But that doesn’t mean the site isn’t without its many faults.
I also think that Reddit’s political mobilization around the Hong Kong protests last year helped guide the site back to its Occupy-era roots a bit. The r/HongKong subreddit has close to half a million subscribers and it was fairly effective at translating and transmitting material from Hong Kong’s local Reddit-equivalent, LIHKG.
So it’s been interesting over the last few weeks to watch that global democracy coalition that came together for Hong Kong begin experimenting with what the users are calling the Milk Tea Alliance. Thailand is in the midst of a huge pro-democracy protest and the activists there are learning from Hong Kong’s protesters and that is extending to digital international collaboration, as well.
As you can see in the screenshot above, it’s still very early days. The subreddit only has about a thousand members, but the content they’re sharing is worth keeping an eye on. Out of curiosity, I went to see if the recent #EndSARS anti-police brutality protests in Nigeria were breaking through on Reddit and was pleasantly surprised to see r/Nigeria is extremely active right now. (Also, hackers aligned with the Anonymous are mobilizing in support of #EndSARS, as well, which is interesting.)
So, who knows, maybe Reddit’s community is actually turning a corner and evolving back into a hub for global democracy. One can hope, at least!
It’s All Kicking Off On Indonesian Mistress TikTok
This story is CRAZY. It was sent over to me by my friend Cameron. I am completely out of the loop on this. Indonesia has issued a new employment statute that would strip protections from workers. The law kicked off huge protests in the country. And according to Coconuts Jakarta, women in Indonesia are taking to TikTok and threatening to expose various politicians they’ve been having affairs with. There are bank receipts and cropped sexts being passed around. It’s messy as hell and I love it. So far no actual names have surfaced, but I think this is a very innovative form of online protest and I’m excited to see where this goes.
And Here Are Some Guys Just Being Dudes On TikTok
An Animal Crossing Love Story
This picture has been bouncing around the internet for years. Back in 2005, a man named Adam Stipp proposed to his then-girlfriend Sara Buck using her favorite game, Animal Crossing. Here’s a very cute IGN article about the proposal. There’s something just very mid-00s wholesome about this whole image. The Gamecube graphics, their extremely How I Met Your Mother clothing, the TV, the digital camera aspect ratio of the photograph. It’s perfect. Well, Stipp posted an extremely adorable update back in July, which then went viral on Facebook this month during the How it started...How it's going!” meme.
TIL that 2005 was 15 years ago. Gotta go lie down for a little bit.
An Important Question About Netflix
I wanted to highlight this great piece from my dear friend Julia Alexander over at The Verge. (She also writes a dope newsletter about Disney.) Julia’s piece asks a question that’s actually been bothering me lately: “Is Netflix actually making the cultural equivalent of billion-dollar movies?” Here she sums up the problem pretty neatly:
Culturally, most Netflix movies are not within the same conversation that other $1 billion films are. They just don’t feel as big. There are some exceptions: The Irishman (not a $1 billion movie) generated a lot of conversation, as did Marriage Story (not a $1 billion movie either). The idea, however, that Extraction produced the same kind of cultural moment that Joker or Captain Marvel did doesn’t add up.
Since the pandemic started, I’ve definitely consumed more Netflix than I ever have before. I watched two entire TV shows last weekend. And yet, I can barely remember them. What I think is interesting about Netflix’s 100 million-viewer movies is that they’re running into a problem that seems to occur with all algorithmically-driven entertainment — you just don’t really think about it after you consume it.
Every day I see videos on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube that have millions of views and yet I’ve never heard of them. No one in my real-life has ever mentioned them. These pieces of media are consumed, maybe shared, and then they’re gone from memory. I think this is actually the biggest obstacle Netflix’s current model faces — and one that doesn’t actually seem as much of an issue for streaming platforms like Amazon or Disney+ (yet). Netflix’s competitors aren’t really operating at the scale that Netflix is, nor do they appear to be as reliant on data for creative decisions as Netflix is. Algorithms can help you bring in an ungodly amount of eyeballs, but can they really create a piece of culture that stays? Perhaps it’s maybe just a matter of time before they can. And when that happens, well, that’s an even more comfortable thought.
The Child Trafficking Conspiracy Theorists Have Come For Borat
Here’s something I noticed this week. I keep a private Twitter list of far-right internet users, extremists, trolls, and MAGA influencers. The idea is that I can easily look at the column on Tweetdeck and immediately understand what their version of the internet looks like. I’ve watched as these accounts have absorbed QAnon-affiliated ideas about child trafficking rings over the last six months. Every enemy of Trump suddenly also became a child predator. And then I watched those same accounts had to psychologically deal with the fact Rudy Giuliani appears to be groping himself in front of a possibly underage girl in the new Borat movie. lol quick aside, but imagine reading that sentence out loud to someone from 2010.
The right-wing internet operates like a room full of monkeys with typewriters. They’re constantly workshopping an angle to spin Trump World’s latest failure into some kind of success. I actually believe this is what has made them so much more effective than the American left over the last four years — they’ve just got more monkeys with typewriters and less ashamed to use them.
The main narrative I watched emerge on this far-right Twitter column of mine following Giuliani’s Borat scene was basically, “actually it’s illegal and against terms of service to disseminate this footage because it counts as revenge porn.” Which I hope finally puts to bed any inkling you may have had that any of these pathetic grifters give a shit about anything other than playing a deranged pro-Trump video game inside of Twitter for clout. They care about nothing and they stand for less than nothing. Anyways, wawa wee wa, very nice!
And Finally, A Very 2020 Pumpkin
P.S. here’s a good TikTok about men.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***