The COVID Vaccine Finally Gets A Brazilian Funk Anthem
Read to the end for an extremely cursed TikTok video
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Parler 2.0 And The Rise Of The Far-Right Fediverse
When Parler first emerged, I speculated that it would never fully catch on. I assumed that without some kind of liberal menace to wage digital warfare against, most Parler users would get bored and eventually go back to Facebook or Twitter. This is because modern American conservatism was created by Gamergaters and modeled off of incel terrorism and has no ideological purpose other cruelty and violence.
Turns out, I was sort of half-right. Without liberal users to antagonize in pointless daily online skirmishes, Parler users, instead, radicalized into an American Al Qaeda within a matter of weeks and then used the site to coordinate an IRL insurrection of the US government. Hate it when that happens…
A cascade of bans took Parler offline, but, as of this weekend, Parler is back.
Parler’s domain is currently registered with Epik, the same registrar as fellow right-wing clown car, Gab. Parler’s homepage now features a message from its CEO, John Matze, promising to let users back on soon. I have to say, I think it’s very bold of Matze to claim Parler is somehow defending internet privacy seeing as how it inadvertently got all of its users doxxed by antifascists last week because it was too much of bumbling Republican dark money cash grab to remember to clear EXIF data from its media uploads.
It seems like the overwhelming lesson of the Trump era can be boiled down to: sometimes things that are expensive are worse.
I did not know this until last week, but as of July 2019, Gab has run off federated social network Mastodon. (It’s the place where that guy ate gorilla food for a while.)
I’ve had some really interesting conversations recently with Garbage Day readers about Mastodon. One reader named David told me that Mastodon was actually his main social network. The easiest way to explain how it works is — imagine you could create different Slack or Discord servers, but instead of chatrooms, they were Twitter-like social media timelines. These different servers are called “instances”.
I started poking around Mastodon over the weekend. Here’s what one of the Mastodon instances I was on looks like:
Mastodon instances can connect to each other, which is why people call the platform federated. The interconnected constellation of Mastodon servers is usually referred to as the “fediverse”. It sounds complicated, but in practice, it basically just means your individual pocket of Twitter has the ability to restrict how public you are. It’s an anti-Bean Dad platform.
Some Mastodon instances “fork” their code, allowing more customization. Gab is a forked Mastodon instance, and one of the bigger ones on the platform. Many instances in Mastodon’s fediverse, as well as third-party Mastodon clients, have blocked Gab. And Mastodon condemned Gab, writing in 2019, “Mastodon is completely opposed to Gab’s project and philosophy, which seeks to monetize and platform racist content while hiding behind the banner of free speech.”
Right now, Telegram has become the new online hub for right-wing terrorists, most likely because it’s way more user friendly than Mastodon, but forked Mastodons can be streamlined quite a bit. And there’s already fairly large right-wing and far-right communities on the platform. I found one instance this morning that appears to just be a bunch of right-wing media bots.
So the big question I have is — now that Parler is registered with the same company as Gab — will it also run on Mastodon? And if so, will Gab and Parler federate? Obviously, this is all seems a lot more sophisticated than either of these two apps have ever shown themselves to be, but it’s not unimaginable.
Interestingly enough, it’s not just right-wing tech grifters that are exploring the possibilities of a federated open source social media standard. Following the banning of President Trump, Jack Dorsey wrote a long faux-philosophical thread about a project Twitter has been working on since 2019 called Blue Sky, which, uh, oh, wait, oops, you’ve just made Mastodon again.
It seems like the complete and total deplatforming of Parler was the nuclear bomb-level event that decades of unregulated internet monopolism have been building to. Only, instead of it inspiring a healthy and useful national conversation about exactly how big a social network or online platform should be allowed to get and how much influence they should have over a person or company’s ability to exist online, it seems like we’re just not going to do that.
All roads right now seem to be pointing to a federated online future. And maybe it’s the right way to do things! Companies can’t properly moderate these platforms at the scale they exist at. So maybe we just need the tools to manage our own plots of digital real estate. Maybe Reddit, Discord, Twitch, and Mastodon have it right, and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube do not.
But we also might be building what Columbia’s Knight Institute calls an “alt-tech ecosystem,” which it defines as “a slick, modern version of the old racist social media.” Right now, most of these “alt-tech” sites are barely functional facsimiles of the platforms these extremists have been banned from — Hatreon, thedonald.win, 8kun — but they might not stay terrible forever. We might be completely demolishing the networking power of these groups, but we also might be giving them quiet dark corners to better, more permanently organize.
It’s worth reading the whole Knight Institute piece, but I found their conclusion extremely interesting:
Alt-tech presents powerful questions about speech online. Is it better to exile toxic speech from popular platforms if it risks making communities even more extreme? If toxic speech becomes harder to study and track? How do we ensure that deplatforming toxic speech isn’t weaponized to silence any dissenting point of view?
These are all really important questions and the unfortunate thing is, as violent extremism spreads across the country at an ever-greater pace, we simply cannot know what the decisions we make to contain it right now will mean for the future of the web.
Some Very Strange Meme Alchemy
This was dropped in the new Garbage Day Discord by my long-time antagonist, Mitch. It has sufficiently blown my mind. Last month, Twitter user @JkScruf discovered that the version of the math lady meme we all know is not actually the original version.
First, math lady’s real name is Renata Sorrah, she’s a Brazilian Telenovela star. The meme is based on a scene from a show called Senhora do Destino (Lady Of Destiny). The GIF was very popular on Tumblr and Beyonce stan message boards back in 2016. Along the way, someone put a bunch of textbook math equations on it. Here’s what the original version of the meme looked like:
At some point between 2016 and 2019, this version fell out of fashion and a slightly different version started gaining popularity. In @JkScruf’s tweet below, in the second picture, you can see the new version of the math equation overlay. It’s loss.jpg.
If you aren’t familiar with loss.jpg, it’s bit of a hard meme to explain. People essentially rearrange images to resemble an infamous issue of the four-panel webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del.
I’m not positive this came from Tumblr, but I do vaguely remember a post about this a few years ago. I spent all weekend trying to find it, but Tumblr has terrible discovery. A Redditor noticed this last year, however. Also, Know Your Meme confirmed that the loss.jpg version is extremely popular among their math lady submissions, as well.
Speaking of Brazil…
The COVID Vaccine Finally Gets A Brazilian Funk Anthem
I was once told by a blogger in São Paulo that all viral content in Brazil either begins its life as a funk song or becomes viral enough to inspire a funk song. It’s the conduit of all internet culture in the country. This appears to still be true!
In 2017, a funk producer named MC Fioti created a song called “Bum Bum Tam Tam,” which was a huge hit. The song was the first Brazilian video to break a billion views on YouTube. The song’s title is play on the name of a São Paulo neighborhood, Butantã.
Well, it was announced over the weekend that the Butantan Institute in Butantã had successfully developed a coronavirus vaccine in partnership the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac. The fact the coronavirus vaccine was developed in the birthplace of “Bum Bum Tam Tam” was not lost on Brazilian internet users. The song has gone viral a second time. And, even better, the institute invited MC Fioti to do a photoshoot with the vaccine.
You can click here to see all the photos Fioti shot at the institute, which are wild.
Fioti also released a new version of the song and the whole thing has inspired a bunch of COVID vaccine fancams, which, honestly, I love.
Two Great Zoom Meeting Hacks Courtesy Of Japanese Twitter
Back in December, Twitter user @13237sora came up with an excellent way to spice up the job interviews he was having on Zoom. The tweet reads, “Online interview, I'm nervous so I made a romance game style filter.”
Japanese culture site Grapee has a bit more context. The dating sim overlay reads:
"You're an interesting girl.
Come on over to my place (our company).”
@13237sora’s tweet went viral enough that he decided to make a follow-up. This one is perfect for big group Zoom calls.
Have a depressing work “happy hour” Jackbox game coming up full of quarantine-mad sweatpants people? Turn it into Super Smash Bros!
A Good Tweet
This was sent to me by my friend Julia. It begs the question, who is Pickle Rick for women?
A Good Tumblr Post
This post is from 2016!!!
You might recognize the bidoof account from “Bidoof’s Law,” which is one of my favorite rules of internet behavior. Bidoof’s Law states, “will there ever be anything more timelessly funnier on this site than seeing some joyless idiot asserting their stupid controversial worldviews internet toughguy style and then checking their blog and they’re just, completely openly and shamelessly addicted to hentai.”
Clearly, Tumblr user bidoof understands the rhythms of the internet better than the rest of us. I’ve tried to contact bidoof before but the blog has been dorment since 2018. His last post was about Bowsette. If anyone reading this knows him and can connect me, let me know!
The Sea Shanty DeepFake Lads Did An Interview
This interview is truly incredible. Apparently, they were drinking vodka on the train heading into a Birmingham for a night out. The viral photo was taken right as they got to the train station. They told LadBible that they didn’t take any other photos because they were “too fucked” lmao. Incredible.
Also, here’s a fun connection for you. The interviewer in this video? Why that’s Joe Gilmore, the wigan kebab guy. I’m not exactly sure how to describe Gilmore’s beat, exactly, but whatever it is, he’s absolutely CRUSHING it.
The Only Good Political Compass Meme
This comes from Reddit’s r/PoliticalCompassMemes subreddit. I hate that sub, personally. It’s basically just Gen Z Hetalia. But this? This is good. Click here to see the whole thing. All I’ll say is it’s called “Alien Invasion Political Compass but its many years in the future...” and I’d like to read an entire novel series about it.
P.S. here’s an extremely cursed TikTok video.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
A lot of smaller or single-person instances on Mastodon are actually run through a service called Mastohost, which does all the techy stuff for you, and, importantly, blocks a lot of trolly fashy right-wing instances by default. If the Parler dipshits want to come to fedi, that's fine, but I will not know a single thing about it. (Also the dude who brought us pellets guy isn't really around anymore, since the big furry instance imploded in a rash of racism and bad faith, just uhhhh fyi there)