The monkey’s paw curse of recycling intellectual property
Read to the end for a really good Tumblr
Garbage Day Becomes The Garbage DAO
OK, so I’ve been working on something and I can finally unveil it. I’ve launched three Garbage Day NFTs on Mirror.xyz. I’ve been closely following other creators like John Palmer and Kyle Chayka who have used Mirror to crowdfund really cool projects and I thought I’d give it a spin.
If this doesn’t reach its goals, nothing will happen to your beloved Garbage Day lol, but if it does reach its goal of 10 ETH, the plan is start growing this bad boy into a full-fledged little media company and just make cool stuff for you, the readers. I’m not sure how it’ll all go, but I figure, at the very least, it could pay for some exciting guest writers. If you’re curious about what I’m talking about, click the big green button below.
The Spider-Man: No Way Home Leak Is Community Moderation Problem (Not A Copyright Problem)
Yesterday, an extremely pixelated and blurry video of a phone playing the new Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer leaked to TikTok. It was unfortunately watermarked with the name of a well-known FX artist, which has led users to speculate that it was leaked by them or a possibly a family member. Marvel and Sony quickly scrubbed the whole trailer from the web. And I won’t share any of the contents of it here, but from what I could see, it looks like a cool movie!
Here’s my hot take though: the leaking of the trailer, as well as pretty much the entire lead up to the movie’s release, has actually been a fantastic example of why everything now is content moderation and any company playing by pre-2020 rules to promote their film is going to have a very bad time in our new online/offline hybrid world. Allow me to explain.
Over the last decade, franchise entertainment has both become a billion-dollar industry as well as a vast and completely out-of-control internet unto itself. These massive digital fandom communities, based around things like Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel movies, and various cartoons and comics, are largely only moderated by volunteers. Most of these properties have social media channels, of course, but those channels are pretty much only used to promote content and sometimes share memes.
These largely unofficial fandom spaces, after a franchise ends, or after the hype cycle of the newest iteration of whatever thing it is they’re talking about is over, tend to go into weird circular posting patterns. If you want to see how this works, head over to the subreddit for the Amazon show Invincible. Fans there basically spend all day talking about why they hate the character Amber.
On bigger subreddits, like the ones for the Marvel universe, fans, when they run out of content, start to make their own, but, unlike the more female or queer-dominated spaces on platforms like Tumblr or Archive Of Out Own, redditors don’t just make their own stories with fan fiction. Instead, due to either entitlement or just lack of imagination, they spend their time speculating about future releases or begin to “fix” past movies. The downright violent and toxic Star Wars subreddits are a good example of this if you want to see what happens when a community of mostly men can’t just, you know, write a fanfic and move on. (btw I’m not saying that Tumblr or AO3 can’t be toxic. They can. It’s just different.)
One of the branches of this — the speculating about future movies — has spawned an entire content economy around film franchise leaks. Leakers have become pseudo-celebrities and make thousands of dollars off Patreon subscriptions, which give ravenous fans their leaked content even earlier. These fans hang out on places like Discord and Reddit and treat leakers like players in a video game, keeping score of what they do and do not predict correctly.
Rumors have been circulating on Reddit about the plot of the third MCU Spider-Man movie pretty much since the end of the last one. Fans quickly glommed on to the idea that the third Spider-Man movie would be a live-action Spider-Verse movie, bringing back actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield who previously played Spider-Man. The hype for this still, largely hypothetical movie, has become downright feverish and the fact that the movie comes out in December, still without any kind of trailer, has made Marvel fandom spaces honestly unbearable. And this sort of out of control fan energy led to the leak yesterday.
For the most part, due to both luck and the close handling of the MCU by mega-producer Kevin Feige, the Marvel universe has yet to devolve into the weird situation that the Star Wars fandom is in right now, where it’s literally being held hostage by viciously angry fans. But, perhaps due to the amount of red tape required to release a Spider-Man MCU movie, which requires Sony to play ball, as well, Marvel fans are getting antsy and viral momentum is picking up. If Spider-Man: No Way Home turns out to not be a multiverse movie, at this point, fans will riot. But if it is a multiverse movie, fans and their professional leakers will suddenly be a lot more emboldened. There are now even conspiracy theories about the timing of the leak. It’s a mess!
I’m not saying that having an official Marvel subreddit run by Marvel reps or something would fix this. The company has official YouTube channels, which did little to curb the “Mephisto is coming” WandaVision YouTubers, but I do think many studios still view their audiences as, well, audiences. Which, thanks to forays into both cinematic universes and streaming releases, is no longer accurate.
Movies, trailers, post credit scenes — it’s all just content for internet communities now. It’s, perhaps, the monkey’s paw curse of recycling intellectual property. Sure, you don’t have to write brand new stories from scratch, but the minute you add a sequel, a prequel, or a reboot, you’ve suddenly given life to an online subculture that will spin out of control if you don’t constantly feed it content.
Here’s A Good Tweet
The Blockchain OnlyFans Are Coming
The rapper Tyga deleted his OnlyFans this week and announced that he’s creating his own platform for NSFW content called Myystar. Tyga’s announcement comes only a few days after OnlyFans announced that, as of October, it will no longer be supporting sexually explicit content. The graphic for the company included in the press release looks like a Brokencyde album cover, which is cool.
“This new platform will only take 10% from creators’ earnings as opposed to OnlyFans 20%, and in addition to subscription content, creators will have the ability to sell NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, as well as features relevant to the music industry,” the press release reads.
Per Complex, Tyga actually had an agency for helping people build audiences on OnlyFans, so it’s possible this is actually a serious project. At the moment, Myystar is invite only and, based on what it’s asking of signups, it looks like it’s trying to poach big influencers from Twitter and Instagram.
I wrote about all of this on Friday, but cryprocurrency and NSFW content platforms could, in theory, be fantastically aligned. When it comes to managing the decentralized payment systems needed to support online sex work, crypto is actually really great. The issue — and it sounds as if Tyga’s new platform could involve this — is that blockchain is a disaster for moderating NSFW platforms, especially ones that allow users to upload their own content via NFTs. If you mint something on the blockchain, it’s extremely hard to get it off. NFTs have already been abused to distribute revenge porn and it seems like as the interest increases in the crypto porn market, there will be more and more platforms offering this sort of thing.
Also, another thing in this world to keep an eye on. It is becoming clearer and clearer that the pressure against OnlyFans to remove NSFW content and sex work is connected to a similar movement against PornHub and it is probably worth beginning to think about what this movement will go after next.
Brazilian Twitch Goes On Strike
This is super fascinating. Twitch streamers in Brazil are on strike today. The streamers are protesting a 66% decrease in Twitch sub value, according to this English translation of the group’s demands. The price of a Twitch sub in Brazil has dropped from R$22.99 to R$7.90 they say.
According to the group’s Twitter account, they are a leaderless movement and they’re making decisions via consensus. They say that price of a standard subscription has dropped from $1.42 to $.47 for streamers in the country. You can read a whole thread of tweets here, which machine-translate from Portuguese pretty well.
Even more interesting, there is apparently a Brazilian Streamers Union, which, while not organizing today’s strike, is aligned with it. According to the Streamers Union, Brazilian creators are paid 30% less than North American streamers by platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook. The Streamers Union also has very good art:
This is actually a really interesting issue for monetized user-generated content platforms as they become more popular. It’s not just remote US employees moving out of expensive cities that want standardized payments, it’s also international creators, who all have different markets, labor laws, and expectations of compensation. (Brazil has very intense labor laws, just talk to someone there about their 13th month payment.)
Was The Taliban Ligma’d?
There are screenshots going viral right now that purportedly show a Twitter user named @MilsimH ligma-ing a member of the Taliban. If you go to the original thread, @MilsimH’s tweets are still there, but @MalangKhostay’s tweets have been “temporarily” deleted for violating the platform’s media policy. Here’s a screenshot of what the interaction looked like before the @MalangKhostay account was made unavailable.
So, I can’t say for certain if Khostay’s account was an official one or not. The Taliban is allowed to have a presence on Twitter, but the main Taliban spokesperson quoted by media outlets is Zabihullah Mujahid. What I do know though is that users have been following the Khostay account for a week or so now. It’s popped up a few times on the r/TalibanTwitter subreddit. And, also, over the weekend, a Twitter user DM’d the account asking if the Taliban would ban anime. What a brave new world we live in.
The Milk Crate Challenge Is Being Gentrified
Chances are, by now, you’ve seen a bunch of these videos. It’s called the Milk Crate Challenge and it’s been circulating on black Twitter spaces for the last few weeks. The first real viral milk crate video got popular after being posted to an Instagram page called @h4gwalla. If you haven’t heard of the Milk Crate Challenge, you almost certainly will this week because every digital media outlet published an explainer on it within about an hour of each other this morning.
The idea is you try and walk up a bunch of milk crates and then walk down them without falling or knocking over the tower. It’s a perfect viral challenge and it has produced some great videos. I’d say the most impressive one was from a guy named “White Mike,” who was able to complete the Milk Crate Challenge while rolling and then smoking a blunt. Look at this. Poetry in motion. Incredible stuff.
Anyways, this morning, a bodybuilder and YouTuber named Bradley Martyn, who is, honestly, is just too muscley, did a crate challenge video. It’s really bad!
Boo!! This sucks! Also, as many Twitter users have pointed out, he didn’t even do it on grass! That’s what’s so hard about it! The grass can be slippery or uneven!
Right now, amid the viral content explainers and now influencers jumping on the trend, we are in the quiet before the storm. We’re days away from Good Morning America segments and attempts on celebrity Instagram stories. I’ve even seen local news outlets talking about how dangerous the trend is. The mainstream American viral content economy will try very hard to make everyone forget that this was started by black Americans and went viral organically within that community first. When you see Addison Rae or whoever faceplant doing this in a week, just remember, no one can top White Mike’s blunt walk.
Here’s Some Good Romania Content
Yes, this comes from a verified Romania TikTok and, no, it is not the only scythe video on there.
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a really good Tumblr.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***