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The Internet has finally come for The Bee Lady
Read to the end for a REALLY good Tumblr post
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The Bee Lady Discourse
This is Erika Thompson, she runs a TikTok channel called Texas Bee Works. She is very popular. She has 6 million followers on TikTok and half a million on Instagram. She posts videos of herself handling bees and writing vaguely environmentally friendly things like, “save the bees!” and “save the bees!” and, also sometimes, “save the bees!” She often films herself putting her bare hand into a bee hive. Her content is perfect for modern social platforms: a pretty white lady doing bare minimum “I fucking love science”-style educational content with a cottagecore backdrop.
She’s blown up fast. Last fall she did a video with TikTok king Jason Derulo. Thompson made a mistake, though. She’s started posting her videos to Twitter. And Twitter is going through a hardcore Tumblr phase right now, so, of course, she was accused this week of animal abuse. The replies underneath this tweet, in particular, from earlier this week are a mess.
The bee drama then made the jump back over to TikTok where other beekeepers started making videos accusing Thompson of being a fraud. The most viral of the videos circulating about Thompson right now is from a TikTok user named @lahoneybeerescue.
I watched @lahoneybeerescue’s video. Her criticisms boil down to the fact Thompson doesn’t show herself using any kind of protective equipment or any proper hive maintenance and all of her content appears to be carefully crafted to look as glamorous as possible.
Of course, after making a callout video about Thompson, then @lahoneybeerescue, herself, started getting roasted on Twitter for her own past videos of her storing bees in the back of a filthy car and also handling them without the equipment she was expecting Thompson to wear in her videos. Then @lahoneybeerescue posted another video on her channel saying her video was meant for just close friends and taken out of context. Though, by entering the discourse arena, she gained 21,000 followers within a few days and she’s cited in news articles all over the internet.
There are also tweets claiming Thompson is a Trump supporter. You can see one embedded above. Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t. But she’s a beekeeper from Texas and professional influencer, did you think she was part of the DSA? Also, all she posts about are bees and apparently she’s not even doing that correctly.
CNET got a bee expert to comment on Thompson’s videos. The verdict? "The honeybees she 'saves' are in fact feral honeybees — these are invasive species and not in need of any sort of conservation measures... in most countries, including the US and Australia, [honeybees] are an invasive species and are threatening indigenous wild bee populations,” Australian bee expert Kit Prendergast told the site. Prendergast also said that Thompson showed a “blatant disregard” for proper protective measures while handling her bees.
Thompson is an influencer. The way she’s handling bees in her videos is glamorized, which is why she’s so popular. If this were the right and correct way to take care of bees, we’d probably have a lot more famous beekeepers. I grew up next to a beekeeper actually. It’s a fairly filthy and difficult job. Influencers are people who do things incorrectly in an attractive and aspirational way. I thought we all understood this!
But the other dimension to this is that clearly people have grown annoyed by Thompson. This is a natural consequence of becoming popular online. People are mad at the social structures and racist corporate algorithms that mean white beautiful women are the only people who regularly become internet famous and, this week, users decided they were sick of Thompson. Except, unlike, say, 10 years ago, when you could easily just say that someone on the internet was being fucking annoying, now, in 2021, virality comes with it a perception of financial success. And in America, we equate financial success with morality, so, instead of just saying, “I hate looking at the bee woman,” instead, users are desperate for a way to dismantle the viral person as a person because people incorrectly think that will make them no longer financially successful or viral. Except it doesn’t.
You don’t get six million TikTok followers by posting scientifically accurate content about bees and I can guarantee the majority of those followers aren’t going to suddenly unfollow Thompson after hearing she might be a Republican (she’ll probably get more followers tbh). Being viral or being rich or being both doesn’t mean you’re a good person and being a bad person doesn’t make it all go away. Have a good weekend.
lol jk here’s some more garbage…
Facebook’s Podcast Product Is Fast Approaching
Pod News reported this morning that certain Facebook creators are getting emails from Facebook about a podcast page. I assume Facebook’s podcast product will go exactly like all of their other products go:
There will be a quiet rollout at first.
Then media brands, desperate to get bigger listenerships for their podcasts, will announce that they are launching Facebook-based podcasts.
Those media companies will hire a bunch of people to make these shows.
At the same time, a bunch of randos will suddenly become very popular on Facebook’s podcast ecosystem, thus setting the standard for what does well on the platform. They’ll be like anti-vax chiropractors or megachurch pastors or magicians or something.
After about three-to-six months, the media brands will realize that the kind of content they would have to make to get the scale on Facebook required to be seen as a success is too grotesque and low cultured to be impressive to investors or board members or at upfront conferences and start quietly dismantling all of their shows.
A few of the randos will amass audiences bigger than every major radio station combined and, because of the lowest common denominator content they’re producing to stay viral on Facebook, the professional audio world will never acknowledge them ever.
A Good Tweet
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Can TikTokers Identify As TikTokers?
Right now, a bunch of influencers are holding boxing matches. I assume this is the natural endpoint of what happens when you spend your early 20s making viral thirst traps and doing cocaine in hype houses.
The most notable of the influencer boxers right now are Jake and Logan Paul and KSI who are, apparently, “an embarrassment” and a “farce”. But these guys have audiences and audiences mean attention and attention means money, so it seems like everyone’s going to let these guys punch each other poorly until they get bored.
Recently, LiveXLive, a “global digital media company dedicated to music and live entertainment” that I have never heard of before, organized a fight titled, “Social Gloves: Battle of the Platforms”.
The fight was between former basketball player and current YouTuber Austin McBroom and TikToker Bryce Hall. McBroom runs the Ace Family channel, which I’ve written about before. They do weird pranks and stuff.
ByteDance, however, sent LiveXLive a cease-and-desist for using the phrase “YouTubers Vs. TikTokers” in the promotional materials for the fight, claiming they were using the TikTok trademark to promote a “violent” and “unsafe” event.
Regardless of how you feel about whether or not these fights should exist, it’s an interesting little example of how little ownership platform-based creators have over their own output or brand identities, to the point where Bryce Hall can’t refer to himself as a “TikToker” in promotional materials. idk seems unsustainable to me!
(Non-Radicalized) Influencers Go To The White House
Talk about retro. The White House is hosting a “first-ever social media briefing” today. I like the phrasing of that. I assume they want to make sure it can’t be confused with the 2019 “social media summit,” which involved Trump giving a boring and weird speech to a bunch of right-wing internet extremists, which ended with Sebastian Gorka getting into a fight with Playboy reporter Brian Karem.
Today’s “first-ever social media briefing,” instead will feature a bunch of brand-safe Instagram influencers (and also the Property Brothers?). Anyways, the resounding reaction from people online has been “lol ok” and “who?”
Some Killer Pride Swag
This was dropped in the Garbage Day Discord by HarryJ. It RULES. This shirt is being sold by queer performance artist and hyperpop musician Dorian Electra. They’ve made a bunch of off-the-wall bangers with Rebecca Black. The shirt is called “The Dorian Electra® Official Pride™ T-Shirt” and it’s covered in a bunch of Pride-Month-afied rainbow corporate logos, including Amazon, Nintendo, Info Wars, Fortnite, Hobby Lobby, the NYPD (lmao), and The Avengers. You can head here to pre-order it before it’s inevitably copyright-struck out of existence.
4chan Predicted The Newest Phase Of The AMC Meme Pump
OK, so, the financial world is colliding with the internet culture world in a big way right now and I keep ending up with a bunch of weird stuff every week, but I don’t want to overload Garbage Day. So, I’m actually currently trying to make my way up the leaderboard over at mirror.xyz, where I’m hoping to launch a more finance-focused spin-off publication (or zine? A zine as an NFT maybe? A ZineFT?). But in the meantime, here is some business news:
AMC CEO Adam Aron has been on two different livestreams with the YouTuber Trey's Trades. This is all part of Aron’s strategy to embrace the meme stock pumping of the movie theater franchise happening online right now. However, Trey’s Trades, real name Trey Collins, thinks AMC is only worth half of what it’s currently worth. My buddy Julia has a good breakdown over at IGN about the larger AMC meme hell. The company will be giving investors free popcorn, which people have realized is literally this 4chan post coming true:
All The Amazons Tweeted At Each Other
If you’re looking for a good podcast dive on this, look no further than this week’s The Content Mines! We did a live reading and really tried to get into the psychological profile of the kind of person working at Amazon who thought this was a good idea.
Drum & Bass Bike Guy
This was dropped in the Garbage Day Discord by my eFriend, Mitch. It’s great and also sort of terrifying to watch.
P.S. here’s a REALLY good Tumblr post.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***