The haunted Chuck E. Cheese video game guy canceled himself

Read to the end for a good Nicolas Cage video

Let’s Talk About The Five Nights At Freddy’s Mess

Five Nights At Freddy’s is a horror video game franchise created by Scott Cawthon where you have to survive the night inside a haunted Chuck E. Cheese-type restaurant. It’s very popular. There are sequels, spin-offs, novel tie-ins, a film on the way. It was sort of the indie game success story. Five Night At Freddy’s reaction videos became an entire genre of YouTube video.

Last week, Twitter users discovered political contributions that Cawthon had made. According to OpenSecrets.org, he has donated thousands of dollars to Republican politicians over the last few years, including Trump.

Cawthon then went on Reddit and addressed the controversy. His post is pretty strange. He wrote that we wouldn’t apologize for donating to Republican politicians, but said he couldn’t ignore the Twitter backlash. He also acknowledged that many of his fans are LGBT and then tried to argue that by contributing thousands of dollars in donations to Republican politicians was actually trying to help the LGBT community.

“Even if there were candidates who had better things to say to the LGBT community directly, and bigger promises to make,” he wrote. “I believed that their stances on other issues would have ended up doing much greater harm to those communities than good.”

Further down the post, Cawthon is even more explicit about his political beliefs and announced that he was considering retiring.

“I'm a republican. I'm a Christian. I'm pro-life. I believe in God. I also believe in equality, and in science, and in common sense,” he wrote, then concluding: “If I get cancelled, then I get cancelled.”

Except, he didn’t get canceled. Blumhouse still appears to be producing a Five Nights At Freddy’s movie, no publishers announced they would stop publishing Five Nights At Freddy’s books, and you can still buy all the games on platforms like Steam. Cawthon, by retiring, canceled himself. Cawton has explained further on his website that he will be handing off the franchise to someone else so he can focus on other things.

But, hilariously, though, not even 4chan users are supporting Cawthon’s decision.

Cawthon’s self-cancelation grift is actually a pretty good one. He’s now become a martyr for weird right-wing reactionaries. Outlets like The Blaze, Russia Today, and The Federalist have spent the last week breathlessly defending Cawthon against the attacks from “cancel culture”.

If you’re an American conservative who wants to make a name for yourself in the post-Trump culture war, just have a public meltdown the minute a few people on Twitter get sorta mad at you. From what I could see most Five Nights At Freddy’s fans weren’t even mad, just bummed out and disappointed. But Cawthon probably made the right decision here. Bravely declaring on Reddit that he’s a pro-life Christian who isn’t afraid to be canceled is much less embarrassing than saying, “I’m a man in my mid-40s who has spent the last decade making different versions of the same video game about a haunted Chuck E. Cheese and I don’t want to do that anymore.”


The Nicest Guy On French Twitter Died

One of the weird and cool things about spending many years covering web culture around the world is that I got to learn about how other countries and cultures use the internet, which is a lot more complex and varied than you’d imagine. And a few years ago, while working in France, I learned about @philousports. He was considered the nicest guy on French Twitter (which is not particularly nice place). He was a sports influencer, but more broadly just a really positive person to follow online.

Philou, real name Philippe Vignolo, died over the weekend at the age of 49. French sports teams and players have been sharing tributes to him ever since. Here’s an English-language article that includes a few translated ones. Philou had myopathy and was wheelchair-bound since childhood. He grew his Twitter account over the years by just enthusiastically livetweeting sports, as his handle implies. And in 2016, after running into some issues getting himself a new wheelchair, French Twitter come together to crowdfund one. It was a pretty incredible thing.

Philou just seemed like a really good guy and, on a site like Twitter, it was nice to have him pop up in your feed. Online celebrity is a strange thing in every country and while it’s not always the case, it can result in some really great people like Philou getting recognition that they never would have had without the internet. French Twitter won’t be the same without him.


A Fantastic Unboxing Channel

I came across this YouTube channel thanks to a tweet from Washington Post reporter Gene Park. It’s such a great account. She’s disabled embeds on her videos, but if you click the screenshot, it’ll take you over to her channel.

Her username is Food4Dogs, which she explained in a video from last year is because a few years ago, before becoming a video game YouTuber, she wanted to start a project making and selling healthy dog food and she just kept the name.

Now, she uses her channel to unbox primarily handheld video games. She especially loves the Playstation Vita, but she also does tabletop games, as well. My favorite part of her channel is that she tries to make it feel as comfy as possible. Here’s what she writes on her about section: “If you feel like chilling out a bit from the rat race, or just want to see what I'm playing, you're most welcome here at my place. Pets are welcome too. It's cozy, it's hygge, it's gemütlich - it's Food4Dogs.”


A Real Good Tweet


Follow Friday is a very good podcast about who you should follow online. I was on it as a guest in February, which required me to earnest and nice in public, and that was weird.

​Every week, a guest tells Eric Johnson about four people they follow online, and they talk about why everyone else should follow them, too. Some other cool people who have been on the show include New York Times columnist Kevin Roose, Washington Post humorist Alexandra Petri, and the hosts of Slate's internet culture podcast ICYMI, Rachelle Hampton and Madison Malone Kircher.

You should follow or subscribe to Follow Friday in your podcast app — here's a link to a bunch of places to do that. And you can find all the past episodes, plus links and transcripts, at FollowFridayPodcast.com.


The Reddit Double Wedding Turns One

A year ago, a redditor named u/Wedding_Error posted a legendarily awful post on the Today I Fucked Up subreddit. It’s since been deleted, but you can find screenshots of it shared recently by Twitter user @MuskTillDawn. Here’s a good chunk from the original post:

I was the best man at my friend, Torkbuzz's (fake name), wedding awhile ago. Me and Torkbuzz have been friends for over 15 years.

I had been dating my then-girlfriend for 4 months, and we decided to get married. I had the idea to just do it as a quick surprise at the reception for Torkbuzz's wedding. Just hire a online minister to do it quick, it'd take 5 or 10 minutes. It would save me and my wife money from having to pay for a fancy wedding, and I thought Torkbuzz and his new wife and the guests would get a kick out of it. I thought they'd be happy about it and get the chance to celebrate a Double Wedding.

So during the reception I stood up and said I had a quick announcement. I then got everyone to gather around, and I said "Oh my god, it's a Double Wedding!" In the tone of that famed "double rainbow" video. Nobody quite got it yet, but then I had the minister start going. Everyone seemed to be respectful but what I see in hindsight is that it was actually awkward silence. It took less than 5 minutes, but I married my wife.

I then shouted "Let's get this Double Wedding back to Partying!" Or something like that.

It is, objectively, a completely ridiculous and awful idea. The comments are full of accusations of this being an elaborate troll and the OP was eventually suspended. But as users attacked him in the comments, he was super active in defending himself, writing even more deranged stuff about why his double wedding idea was a great one. Luckily, another user saved all of his comments. Here’s my favorite one:

I am respectful of Experience, Art, and Inter-connectivity.

If we imagine that Reality, including the structure of events on society, is an inflated balloon, your Perception Point is currently on the outer surface of the balloon on a point. You see only the immediate surroundings of the balloon surface and have no comprehension as to what it means to consider more freeing alternatives. Yet my Perception is a floating orb INSIDE the balloon. As such, my perception is capable of free-flotation within the space of the balloon, allowing me to innovate new structures in the wide empty space.

I am not saying your surface-stuck-outlook is wrong, everyone has their own style. But someday, you might want to look Inside the Balloon.

I am crafting a more thorough outline of this philosophy if you are interested in learning more. 

His “Perception is a floating orb INSIDE the balloon,” guys.


Because Twitter In 2021 Is Just Tumblr in 2014, The Room Rater Twitter Account Is Getting A Book Deal

I don’t follow the Room Rater account because I don’t have cable news brain sickness, but a lot of people do, apparently! It has almost 400,000 followers and all of its tweets follow the same basic conceit: A screenshot of a person doing a remote TV interview from home with a rating out of 10.

Anyways, as I wrote above, because Twitter in 2021 is just a rehash of Tumblr in 2014, only with users who have genuine social capital and not awkward anime dorks and weird Doctor Who adults, the Room Rater account appears to be geeting a book deal.

The Room Rater is almost impossibly unfunny — and actually can often be sort of weird and mean — and the fact it has almost half a million followers is a testament to how completely devoid of genuine joy America’s upperclass is. The account was, of course, started by a former Clinton White House staffer, which is the exact kind of person who would have the peak liberal cable-news-is-just-fanfic-of-reality kind of mindset that could sustain running this account for over a year. Excited to see which awful novelty account gets a book deal next!


A Really, Really Good Tweet

I recommend clicking through and reading the full thread, too.


A Wild YouTube Video About Mega Man Battle Network

I stumbled across this video over the weekend and it’s kind of mindblowing. Mega Man Battle Network was a series of video games for the Gameboy Advance. I really liked them as a kid, but they were also unbelievably difficult. Capcom ended up making six installments of the franchise.

Due to the games’ very unique battle system, which combined a card game-like system with real time fighting, the game has had a huge second life as an burgeoning Esport. The video above, from a channel called Akshon Esports, chronicles how a group of fans had to rebuild the game — literally — from the groundfloor up to turn it into something that could support online tournaments. It’s a pocket of the internet I knew nothing about and I found it totally fascinating.


Is Magical The Watch Video Real???

Everyone on Twitter is going nuts over the video of a watch restoration. The full video can be found on a YouTube channel called P Restore. The Twitter clip, which went viral after being shared by Adil Najam, the dean of Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies, shows a scuffed up and broken Tissot watch being fixed up into perfect working condition.

The full video, however, opens with an extremely suspicious scene where P Restore, while filming a biking ride, spots the watch just laying on the sidewalk. This is always happening to me. Even weirder, in the full video, someone on the sidewalk that isn’t P Restore, picks up the watch, inspects it, and throws it into the grass, as if to immediately establish that this watch is completely unrepairable.

Alice Caldwell-Kelly, a podcaster that’s part of the Trash Future podcast network who I totally recommend following, posted a lengthy breakdown of why the watch video is probably bull shit.

“It sounds crazy, but there is a whole cottage industry of guys throwing dirt onto basically working watches, ‘finding’ them and then ‘restoring’ them for YouTube,” she wrote.


Some Stray Links


P.S. here’s a good Nicolas Cage video.

***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***