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Steven Crowder Has A Real Bad Time
To understand what’s happening in the video above, I have to dig into some fairly dense YouTuber background, but I assure you, this is worth it.
Ethan Klein and his wife Hila are the founders of a YouTube network called h3h3 Productions. h3h3 are sort of a chaotic good/neutral fixture within the world of YouTube drama. Klein’s videos started out as your typical kind of YouTube edgelord-style content, but the whole operation has matured over the years into something almost like a pragmatic voice of reason within the platform. Sort of. Klein kind of has a knack for falling into never-ending rabbit holes of YouTube drama.
Right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder (who used to be a voice actor on the show Arthur) has had his channel demonetized a few times over the years for hate speech and homophobic abuse. Crowder, back in May, went after Klein for enthusiastically endorsing getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The whole feud culminated in a debate between Klein and Crowder this week.
Sam Seder is a progressive commentator and comedian who hosts a show called The Majority Report. Seder has tried to debate Crowder in the past, but Crowder chickened out. If you’re wondering why this all involves “debates,” it’s a right-wing influencer trope. Guys like Crowder and Ben Shapiro are obsessed with the idea that they can out-debate liberals and leftists. Though, it’s worth pointing out Shapiro can’t handle a “debate” either.
All of this brings us to the big Klein/Crowder debate on Monday night, embedded above. About 10 minutes into the livestream, Seder Zoom-bombed the debate and Crowder had a full-on meltdown. He honestly looked like he was about to start crying and immediately cut the camera away from his face. There’s also a really weird part right before Crowder finally cut the feed where he keeps insisting Seder remove his glasses for some reason. It was a bumbling mess of a “debate”.
Here’s the thing, though, while I love a good own and think this entire thing has done a pretty good service in revealing how pointless and obnoxious right-wing “debate me” culture is, I’m actually a little bummed that Klein didn’t actually debate Crowder. Klein has a lot of young fans and so does Crowder and the first few minutes of their one-on-one conversation felt like it could have led to something really interesting.
Either way, the overall consensus from both news outlets and even Crowder’s own comment section is that he was summarily humiliated and exposed as a shameless and ideologically bankrupt grifter. Though right-wing media is trying very hard to spin it another way, with the Daily Wire publishing a piece titled, “OPINION: Steven Crowder Showed Why We Shouldn’t Engage With ‘Debate Me Bros’,” arguing that it was Klein who was begging for a debate, not Crowder. This is obviously not true and Crowder is, without question, the ultimate debate me bro. I mean, he’s literally the guy from the “change my mind” meme.
Five Different People Sent Me This As I Was Writing Today’s Newsletter
Look, this isn’t like specifically an internet thing, but it’s also, like, not not an internet thing. Before you ask, I would say these masks do NOT count as furry fursuits. And furries don’t even like this. There’s a lot of really unsettling pieces to this, but I think if I had to pick my least favorite thing it’s that the lips of the Panda mask move when the lady talks.
Marvel Does Not Actually Appear To Be Trademarking Norse Gods
Twitter is full of super viral tweets right now claiming that Etsy and print-on-demand marketplace Redbubble are sending cease-and-desist letters to vendors who are selling merchandise based on the Norse god Loki. This current panic about Disney’s corporate lawyers going after small-time sellers was kicked off after a tweet from a Loki cosplayer named @LordAmalthean. His account is now private, but on Monday he posted a thread explaining that Redbubble had told him that photos of his own face — which does look A LOT like Tom Hiddleston’s Loki — were infringing on Disney’s trademark.
“While I enjoy Disney/Marvel greatly... They lately sent me copyright strikes on Redbubble, for my FACE. Saying it infringed their trademark,” he said. “I'm not wearing a licensed costume. It's my FACE. Like I'm really flattered they say I look like Loki, but...wtf?!”
There’s now a Change.org petition with over 100,000 signatures demanding Disney stop trademarking the names of Norse gods. According to tweets I’ve seen, Disney is trademarking "Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall, or Frigga”. Except… they’re not.
Newsweek got to the bottom of this last night and per a statement given to Newsweek by a Disney spokesperson, the company has only trademarked the specific versions of Norse gods that appear in Marvel properties and they haven’t sent any recent takedowns regarding Loki:
The spokesperson said that art sales websites sometimes preemptively issue such takedowns to avoid any potential legal troubles whenever a well-known character appears in a new show or film.
The Disney spokesperson also told Newsweek that Disney and Marvel haven't copyrighted any Norse God's names or any general depictions of the deities.
So, if you see any panicked tweets about Disney suing Pagan artists, it seems as if this is a little overblown. I mean, for what’s it’s worth, Netflix literally has a series called Ragnarok airing right now about teenagers becoming Norse gods (it’s pretty good!). Trademarking some of the oldest characters ever created by human beings is probably not a super easy thing to do.
A Quick Thing About The New York City Mayoral Race
Look, I know that it’s not fair to compare the Twitter following of a former presidential candidate like Andrew Yang to the online followings of anyone else he was running against in the New York City mayoral election. It’s also especially unfair to compare Yang and Eric Adams. But, god, does it feel good to see how completely pointless his Twitter popularity has been in, now, two different elections. I just feel such a fantastic, almost perverse, relief in knowing that Andrew Yang — who basically had non-stop media coverage over the last few months — did so completely terribly in the mayoral primary last night.
There’s a big argument that journalists have a lot on, of course, Twitter, about whether or not “Twitter is real life.” I think this is actually an incorrect way of thinking about it. It’s not that Twitter isn’t real life or doesn’t matter. It’s that, for folks like Yang and the many other deeply out-of-touch power users on the site who have been obsessed with him — both positively and negatively — since he first popped up during the 2020 election, Twitter can falsely convince its users that it is a replacement for real life. Sometimes it lines up, but just like any other message board throughout history, you can be super popular on the internet without anyone caring about you at all in the real world.
Joni Mitchell’s Blue Turns 50 And Quake Turns 25
Honestly, this seems like a very peaceful way to play Quake.
Coca-Cola Lets People Make Custom Labels, You Can Guess Where This Is Going
Coca-Cola is currently allowing people to customize their Coke bottle label. The label generator allows up to 18 alphanumeric characters. Twitter users after some experimentation have discovered that the site does not allow terms like Black Lives Matter, Palestine, or Transgender. I was messing with it this morning and found out it allows “QAnon,” but doesn’t allow “wwg1wga,” the acronym for “where we go one we go all.”
Messing with corporate custom label generators is a time-honored internet tradition, but I do think it’s interesting what is and isn’t considered political by companies like Coca-Cola amid our current critical race theory-led culture war nightmare.
A story: Many years ago, Lays potato chips had a Facebook integration where you could pick any combination of flavors and then give your custom chip creation a name. I’ve been on the internet long enough to know that these things types of things are never set-up properly. So, without thinking, I picked two random flavors and named my Lays bag “9/11 was an inside job” just to see if it would accept it. Not only did it accept it, it then sent my custom flavor to all of my Facebook friends asking them to try it. For weeks, my Facebook friends were messaging me asking me why I wanted them to try a bag of garlic and shrimp-flavored chips named “9/11 was an inside job”.
Anyways, apparently, you can order a Coke bottle with this on the label:
Avril Lavigne Gets A TikTok
This was sent to me by my friend Ellie. So far, Lavigne has only posted on video, but it’s pretty good! Not sure who the guy in the video is, but he seems like he’s pretty good at skateboarding.
A Truly Horrible Song
This week I built a community-run radio/music channel inside of the Garbage Day Discord. It’s been a super cool experiment so far. We talk a lot about music on the server and, so far, users have been crowdsourcing some really great songs. This song, however, which was added as a joke by jos3ph is not a great song. It is a very bad song created by Christian musician and YouTuber named Matthew West. And if I had to suffer through it, so do you.
Quentin Tarantino Autographed A Foot On TikTok
This video was posted by TikTok user @dezertflake yesterday (here’s a Tumblr mirror for folks in non-TikTok regions). It is a video of Quentin Tarantino autographing her foot. In the video, she also asks Tarantino to “rate” her foot, but he says he doesn’t want to, but does say that if he did rate it, it would be at the top. Hmmm.
Some Stray Links
“My Life as a Meme: 'I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This' Revisited”
The big incredible New York Times Subway tuna sandwich deep dive
“TikTok’s Chinese nemesis Kuaishou hits 1 billion monthly users worldwide”
P.S. here’s a true masterpiece of a Tumblr post.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
I dunno, Stephen Crowder sucks but is he really in the wrong here? I've never heard of "Zoom-bombing" before and I had to watch this part of the video a few times to figure out what was going on. Is this considered normal behavior? They organized this debate between Crowder and Ethan Klein, they're having it...and then suddenly Klein switches his video feed over to some other guy, who starts trying to grill Crowder? Crowder objects to the switcheroo, they all talk over each other for a while, and the whole thing fizzles out. It was a weird stunt and Crowder's response was predictable. This is not really on par with Ben Shapiro going into fight-or-flight mode because someone asked him some questions.