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The GOP girlies are fighting
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Some Garbage News
I’ve got some housekeeping to get through before we start today’s issue. First, there won’t be a weekend edition this week. Second, Garbage Day’s schedule is changing a little bit over the next few weeks. Starting next week, I’ll be switching to “summer hours,” publishing twice a week, with a free issue on Wednesdays and the paid Garbage Weekend edition on Fridays. Before you freak out, this isn’t because things are bad!! It’s because things are good.
Garbage Day has grown by over 50,000 readers since I went full time in 2020. But my life — and the world — has drastically changed since then and I haven’t really taken a breather to adjust. I’ve been publishing three times a week and, then, more recently, four times a week, this whole time. It’s a lot of emails! So I want to pause and do some maintenance on my whole operation before I (hopefully) grow to another 50,000 readers. I’m also going to need some free time over the next few weeks because…
I have to write a 30-minute live show because Garbage Day is performing at the Latitude Festival in the UK in July!!!
I guess I haven’t really explained what all my live speaking events have been, mainly because they’ve been happening so fast I haven’t had the time to really process it. But basically, over the last year, I’ve been invited to some incredible places all over the world to either put on a suit and speak professionally about technological trends or run around a stage like a little freak and tell jokes about the Tumblr drama and furries. (This is part of Garbage Day’s ethos, which I call “the mullet method” — business in the front, party in the back.) At Latitude in July, my hope is to finally collect all of this into one big Garbage Day live experience. And I’d love to do more events while I’m in the UK this summer. I heard something about a cool festival that happens in Scotland every year. Anyways, hit me up! Let’s do some fun stuff. At the very least, expect more details about a proper Garbage Day meetup in London.
I have another fun thing to announce. The feedback I got about the Garbage Intelligence report was really great. If you emailed me about it, I will email you back, I promise. But the reactions have been good enough that I’ve decided to barrel forward with it. I’m bringing on data wiz Adam Bumas to help me do them every month. We’ll be adding new data sources pretty often with the hope of making it more and more comprehensive. Obviously, there’s some extra resources required to make this, so I’ve created a new price tier.
What was formally the $60 “Extremely Online” option is now the “Garbage Intelligence” tier. We’re currently charging $150 a year for these reports and they’ll be dropping the first week of every month. That price also gets you Discord access and paid issues, as well. If you’re already an “Extremely Online” subscriber, you’ll be grandfathered in and don’t have to do anything. Thanks for all your support. For those who want to upgrade, click this link, and click on “change” under the “Subscription” section. For those who want to switch over from free, you can do so by hitting the green button below. If you have any trouble, reply to this email or shoot me a message at email@example.com.
I really love Garbage Day and I want to spend this summer making sure it’s running as smoothly as it can for the foreseeable future. I’m excited about everything that’s coming next and I want to thank all of you for reading and supporting this crazy project all these years.
Alright, let’s get to the garbage…
Ron DeSantis is not having a good week! Obviously, the 2020 election was unique, but I do think that he could have learned a few tricks from the Biden campaign about how to better position himself against Donald Trump. The most important being that it’s a waste of time trying to out-internet Trump. It’s troll logic. Just let him rage online and ignore it and be a real person.
Of course, DeSantis is not a real person, he’s an anthropomorphic Outback Steakhouse blooming onion, a barely-functioning neural net trained on videos of dads fighting at little league games. And he’s spent his first 48 hours as a presidential candidate own-goaling himself, which has been a real blast to watch tbh. The last eight years have been such a nonstop freight train of horrifying American carnage that I actually forgot how much fun it is when all the GOP girlies are fighting. What’s Jeb doing? Let’s get him in here.
A lot of great stuff has already been written about DeSantis’ Twitter Space, but to recap: He announced he was running for president during a Space with Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday night. The Space peaked at 600,000 concurrent listeners, broke, and then had to restart and only managed to get to around 100,000 concurrents. To put those numbers in perspective, the five most-watched Verzuz battles during lockdown were all over four million. There was also a weird echo. Tucker Carlson’s got to be feeling a little nervous right now.
Fox News was quick to plaster their channel and site with big headlines about the DeSantis cringefail. But Trump’s team has gone above and beyond. Look, let’s be clear here, Trump is a bad person, a terrifying authoritarian, and for the good of the country, belongs in prison. But, also, the man knows how to post.
He uploaded a video to Truth Social that used AI audio clones to depict Musk and DeSantis in a Twitter Space with Hitler, the devil, the FBI, and George Soros. He’s also now just started calling DeSantis “Rob,” which is possibly the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen.
Obviously, the 2024 presidential race has just begun in earnest. We have a long way to go. But as I’ve written previously, I think this Republican primary will end up being a referendum on whether right-wing meme magic still exists — or ever did at all. The assumption since 2015 has been that Steve Bannon activated the depths of 4chan, aligning the various factions of incels, gamergaters, and anime nazis and used the dark tendrils of the internet to take over the country in the name of Trump. DeSantis and the anti-woke intellectual dark web of Silicon Valley seem to think so. But I think Rob and his coalition of rich nerds are going to be in for a rude awakening the further down this campaign trail we get and the clearer it becomes that people just like Trump because he’s a famous guy from TV who yells stuff that racist boomers agree with from the window of a fancy car as he drives by.
Here’s A Little Test Of How Online You Are
For those of you who haven’t pieced it together, I’ll run through it. This is a cosplayer dressed up as Nicholas D. Wolfwood from the anime Trigun. The character would typically be holding a giant casket (full of guns), but, instead, it’s a big printout of the book This Is How You Lose The Time War. The costume is the Twitter user Bigolas Dickolas, who was the Trigun fan that inadvertently turned Time War into a viral sensation earlier this month.
I’m reading it right now. It’s pretty good! But I’m going slow because I have still not been able to finish reading an entire book since the pandemic started.
Swifties In Free Fall
My theory for a while is that internet drama is actually a byproduct of exposure. There is simply a limit to how much people can handle seeing someone all over the internet and it will eventually sour, like the never-ending press tour for Don’t Worry Darling last year. And Taylor Swift has been pretty much everywhere these last few months thanks to her massive Eras tour. Even if she hadn’t started dating The 1975’s Matty Healy, I suspect her fans would have found something to lose their minds over. But, boy, have they really lost their minds about her relationship with Healy.
The very quick summary of why they’re upset is because Healy has spent the last six years trying to turn being an edgelord into performance art. I’m actually pretty well-versed in The 1975 — I like their stuff usually — and Healy’s whole “what is the internet doing to us” schtick started around the press cycle for their second album I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful yet So Unaware of It and, honestly, ended up inspiring a pretty decent first half of their next album, A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, which felt pretty fresh when it came out, but like all art created between 2015-2020, has aged into incomprehensible dog shit since.
But Healy, like all posh British nepo babies, is still very intent on figuring out how to make being casually racist into an art project. Which is how he ended up on The Adam Friedland Show in February. TAFS is the new name for the dirtbag left-adjacent podcast Cum Town. While he was on the show, he made a bunch of offensive jokes which sent The 1975’s very TikTok-centric teen girl fanbase into an admittedly very funny tailspin. If you’ve been following anything Healy has done for the last decade, nothing he said on TAFS was particularly new for him, but it definitely burst a bubble of deniability.
Now, Swifties are having a similar meltdown. Making things worse, Swift just released a genuinely very bad remix of her song “Karma,” featuring Ice Spice, who was one of Healy’s targets while he was on TAFS. (Healy laughed as TAFS hosts called Ice Spice a “chubby Chinese lady” and did racist Chinese accents imitating her.)
If you can believe it, that’s all prologue for what I actually wanted to talk about here lol. Oh, wait, also, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher recently called Healy a “slack-jawed fuckwit”. Right, ok, so, all of that lead to a Twitter thread that went real viral yesterday.
The user who posted it is now private and I’ll respect that and not link or name her. She’s just a Taylor Swift fan and, frankly, doesn’t deserve more people piling on her. That said, the reason her thread went so viral was because of how exhaustively neurotic it was in trying to find a social justice angle for continuing to listen to Taylor Swift as a white woman amid this Matt Healy nonsense. One user in the quote tweets called it an “incredible document” of “how online fandom can poison people into thinking they're important, that tweeting is virtue, that stars are their friends, that they're owed things.” Another described it as a list of “internet pathologies”.
My big take on this whole mess is that somewhere along the line rich people convinced the rest of us that consuming their content and buying their products was a direct expression of our identities and, by extension, our politics. And yeah, sure, sometimes it is! But it isn’t all the time and it doesn’t ever truly need to be. Also, no matter how often big fandoms insist that experiencing art must be communal experience, to be endlessly dissected and turned into iterative works, it doesn’t have to be. You can listen to a song, like it, and think the person who made it sucks and no one can stop you. And I think a lot of people would feel a lot more mentally healthy if they could accept that.
Look At This Cat Go Down Stairs
As one Twitter user wrote, “belly is impenetrable.”
TikTok Is Testing Out An AI Chatbot In The Philippines
This is interesting. I was actually wondering why TikTok, an app already pretty reliant on machine learning, hadn’t introduced an AI chatbot. I thought it might be related to China’s very strict regulations on generative AI, but it turns out TikTok does have one and it’s already rolled out in The Philippines. It’s called Tako and it’s a little ghost that appears to work the same just like all the other chat interfaces rolling out right now. According to Reuters, you can tap on it while you’re watching content on the app and asked it questions. The Verge has screenshots of what it looks like.
I assume if and when this arrives in the US everyone will be very normal about it.
Twitch’s Biggest Stream Will Finally Have An English Simulcast
As part of my ongoing quest to figure out what the heck is going on with Twitch, pro gaming, and Spanish language markets, I wanted to earmark this. Ibai Llanos, one of Twitch’s biggest names, and the owner of a Spanish e-sports team, hosts the most-watched Twitch event every year, which is a boxing match called La Velada del Año (The Night Of The Year). It’s in July and will, for the first time ever, have English-language commentary.
The more I’ve sat with it the more I’m pretty sure that we are watching Spanish-language streamers like Llanos turn e-sports into the FIFA or Premier League of the 21st century. And if e-sports does ever take off in the US, I expect it to be completely out of step with what the rest of the world is doing in the same space. Which is sort of a bummer, but fascinating, nonetheless.
Prague’s Scam Investigators Are Back With A New Video
If you’ve never seen an Honest Guide video, they’re great. It’s a pair of guys in Prague that expose the city’s various scams. The scam documented in the video above is a predatory toll that tricks confused tourists into waiting in line for hours to pay a huge price for something that takes about a minute to do online.
Photoshop’s AI Needs Some Work
The Beta version of Photoshop has a new AI tool. You can select an area and tell it to fill it in with a prompt. So I took this picture of a Minion and I selected it and asked Photoshop to make it Shrek. Something that I think is a fairly reasonable request! And something a human person would have no problem doing, I assume.
Instead, the AI spit out this disgusting little green man. This isn’t Shrek in the body of a Minion. It’s something much worse. I hate looking at it.
Anyways, back to the drawing board, Adobe. Better luck next time!
Some Stray Links
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***