The perpetrators of fraudulent K-Pop activity
Read to the end for some bonus garbage
There’s A Bunch Of K-Pop Drama Happening Again
OK, so there was a big brouhaha on K-Pop Twitter this week and I think I have the entire thing worked out, but, admittedly, this story is messy and sort of confusing. Shout out to potch, DanGio, and JRo in the Garbage Day Discord for linking to a whole thread of this I had missed.
From what I can tell, the K-Pop chaos this week started when Twitter user @SweatieAngle tweeted about a member named Yeonjun from the K-Pop group Tomorrow X Together, or TXT as they’re commonly called. “Respectfully - what the fuck am I supposed to do with a dude this pretty,” @SweatieAngle asked in a quote tweet on Monday.
TXT fans did not see @SweatieAngle’s tweet as “respectful”. The tweet was quote-tweeted 1,500 times and has hundreds of angry replies. Fans have accused @SweatieAngle of being racist and, per subsequent tweets from @SweatieAngle, flooded her DMs with gore and death threats.
@SweatieAngle is a pretty big account, with around 13,000 followers, many of which are themselves large accounts that are sort-of-kind-of loosely associated with a pocket of Twitter sometimes called the dirtbag left. Though, I think that label isn’t super useful anymore and maybe never was. But I’m also sort of lacking a concise way of describing the exact type of accounts that started trolling the angry K-Pop fans in the replies of @SweatieAngle’s tweet.
Basically, a bunch of K-Pop fans started threatening to murder @SweatieAngle for insinuating that Yeonjun was possibly too pretty and then a bunch of trolly lefty accounts and 4chan tankies showed up and started either making fun of the way Yeonjun looks or saying that they would have sex with them.
The TXT fans also used a Google Doc created by an account called the TXT PROTECTION TEAM, which is supposed to be emailed to TXT’s label, Bighit Entertainment. In the current version of the Google Doc circulating, it accuses a handful of accounts of “mentioning rape jokes, wishing violence upon him, and being racist and xenophobic.” It also asks Bighit to “take legal action”.
The drama became super sticky as more TXT fans mobilized. K-Pop accounts operate as a swarm and also many users run multiple accounts. So it’s super easy for any kind of conflict to spin out into a full-on platform melee.
For instance, the account @kimpossiblefact screenshot a bunch of the responses that @SweatieAngle was getting and then got piled on by angry fans, as well. For what it’s worth, I think the majority of these angry TXT fans are just like weird teenagers who probably weren’t actually angrily emailing TXT’s record label. I tend to assume that a lot of K-Pop fans, like members of other online communities, are more in on the bit than people assume. But, hey, maybe I’m wrong!
Now, eagle-eyed readers might notice a really interesting name in that list of accounts included in the form letter above. Aside from people who follow @SweatieAngle, there was also a link to Michael Tracey’s Twitter account.
I’ve written about Tracey before. He’s a trans-critical COVID skeptic who recently started posting on Substack. Last May, he got into a huge public spat with far-right extremist Nicholas Fuentes and managed to get so thoroughly owned in the process that even antifascists and leftists were sharing it. This sort of thing happens to Tracey fairly often.
So how did a preeminent member of the intellectual dark web get sucked into a K-Pop astroturfing campaign? This is probably the part of this story I’m the foggiest on, but, from what I can tell, one of the accounts sparring with TXT fans in the replies to @SweatieAngle’s initial tweet photoshopped a tweet from Tracey that made it seem as if he was anti-Yeonjun. Tracey is a pretty big punching bag for leftist Twitter. I’ve tried to find the user who made the fake tweet, but I didn’t have any luck. (Also, quick aside, but have Google reverse image search results become way worse recently? What on Earth is Google Lens???)
Tracey appears to have received angry messages from TXT fans and even tried to tweet about it, saying the tweet was “doctored” lol. Although, hilariously, none of the TXT fans believe him and are still clogging up his mentions.
What I think is interesting here, other than it just being a very funny story, is how this is basically a perfect encapsulation of Twitter. A user posts an extremely innocuous tweet which causes violent backlash from a community they’ve never interacted with. That violent backlash slams up against another subculture that responds with memes and increasingly unhinged trolling. People start threatening to sue each other and, of course, a random columnist gets involved.
But there’s an argument to made here that the K-Pop fans are the ones who actually understand Twitter. The platform isn’t about coherent communication anymore and probably never really was. TXT fans don’t really have any incentive to not be angry with @SweatieAngle. Instead, it’s about aligning yourself with some kind of subculture — either consciously or unconsciously — and posting content to promote it. I’m going to guess that TXT fans don’t actually care if @SweatieAngle responds or apologizes or whatever. They want their favorite group to dominate the platform’s Trending Topics and death threats, worthless legal complaints, and harassment are just tools to push TXT’s name higher in Twitter’s algorithm.
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We're already drowned by the internet. It's time we smell like it.
The initial purchase from the new Spr1tz NFT collection is the only way to get access to the IRL product: a transparent perfume gel in a ketchup packet (!). You squeeze it out, smear it wherever, and you smell incredible.
The product trolls the perfume domain as a whole, as smell is the most adequate carnal adjacent to the digital domain.
A Curious TikTok Mystery
This was sent to me by a reader named Tritton. A TikTok user named @danielswall has noticed something extremely interesting about the viral song “abcdefu” by the TikToker Gayle.
I first wrote about Gayle’s song back in December. If you missed it, basically, a TikTok user named Gayle asked her followers what she should write about and one of them suggested she should sing a breakup song based on the alphabet. Looking back on it, that’s kind of a weird request, sure, but the resulting song was cute and the whole thing had a very spontaneous energy to it. And the huge hit that came from Gayle’s viral TikTok has been using the lightning in a bottle backstory as a major marketing narrative.
What @danielswall noticed is that the comment Gayle originally responded to asking her to write an alphabet-themed breakup song (which, once again, is weird) came from a private account named Nancy Berman. And Nancy Berman is also the name of a New York City-based digital marketing manager who works at Atlantic Records, which is the same label that Gayle is signed to.
Oh, and here’s a Billboard article detailing how Gayle has kicked around the music industry for years and her being signed to Atlantic was actually based on a decades-long friendship between two music industry executives.
“I really love the development of Atlantic,” GAYLE told Billboard. “When they sign an artist, they’re not like, ‘Let’s release music right now.’ They look at somebody’s potential and are like, ‘We want to nurture and build this, and once you’re ready, let’s start putting out music.’”
Now, I should say, none of this makes Gayle a bad artist or makes her song any less of a hit. Also, accusations of being an “industry plant” are overwhelmingly made against women artists more so than men. But, as I said, this is all both weird and, I suppose, also kind of a no-brainer. Record labels know that TikTok now determines what succeeds in pop music in America and so any good song needs a good TikTok story.
But, also, who knows. Maybe this is all more innocent than it looks and Gayle just happened to respond to a comment from a private account sharing the same name as a major record label’s marketing manager!
There Is No Such Thing As A Coincidence On The Blockchain
The “No Such Thing As A Coincidence” guy, William Knight, did a collaboration with Coin Center’s Director of Communications Neeraj Agrawal. Knight and Coin Center are auctioning an NFT of Knight with all of the proceeds going towards Coin Center.
I saw a few people lament that this kind of ruins the magic of Knight’s TikTok fame, so I wanted to point out that Knight’s TikTok account was actually a giant marketing operation from the get-go. As I wrote about when he first went viral, all of his videos were actually ads for his own wellness app, Grand Rising. So I’m not totally shocked Knight is up for this. It’s actually, in my opinion, more notable that Agrawal and Coin Center are doing an NFT. In fact, I’ve been meaning to share a tweet from Agrawal about NFTs and this is a perfect excuse to drop it in!
I’ve interviewed Agrawal a few times and he’s been long-considered the most reasonable guy on crypto Twitter. You can read a Garbage Day Q&A with him here. I find his thoughts on NFTs pretty aligned with my own. As I’ve previously written, I think the technology has some utility, particularly with crowdfunding or collectibles, but I’m not sure expensive vector art of a lion’s cum face is a step in the right direction.
Anyways, while we’re talking about Web3 stuff, here’s a Turkish cow being subjected to the metaverse.
It’s Blorbo From Your Shows
If you see any references to “blorbo from my shows” it’s a new Tumblr meme based on the post from Tumblr user thelustiestargonianmaid. Tumblr’s Twitter account has also posted a tweet referring to it as “blorpo from my shows”. And I also saw a few posts saying it was “blorko” from Marvel movies. Anyways, that’s the meme. It’s blorbo from your shows.
The Hot Tub Meta Meta
Last year, there was a ton of drama on Twitch about what was being called “the hot tub meta,” which was where predominately women streamers were going live from kiddie pools and hot tubs. It led to Twitch creating a new section called “Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches”. The whole thing was yet another skirmish in Twitch’s ongoing culture war over who exactly gets to be on the receiving end of the platform’s parasocial relationships. The platform blew up thanks to gamers, but it has become increasingly mainstream over the course of the pandemic. But the site’s still largely-male user base has a deep anger and resentment towards women streamers. The popularity of the term “simp” I think is a good example of this whole dynamic.
One streamer named Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragus became the face of the “hot tub meta” and she announced this week that she was acquiring an inflatable pool company. This objectively very funny and pretty smart. But this also isn’t the first clever investment decision Amouranth has made. A few months ago it was reported that she started buying gas stations. Gotta get the passive income!
A Good Tweet
Finally, A Good Year-End Mashup
Ahhh! I love this so much. I had totally forgotten about end-of-year mashups. I remember really actively looking forward to DJ Earworm releases and then weirdly that entire thing just vanished from my content diet. This mashup rips. It’s cut up into different sections and I obviously love the pop punk-tinged “Envy” section, but there’s a real wild surprise for anime fans in the “Lust” section.
Some Stray Links
BONUS GARBAGE: What It Was Like Inside The Cryptoland Discord
I’ll be experimenting with Substack’s new paywall line to put bonus content in Garbage Day issues once or twice a week. If I didn’t do this right I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m trying to delete it, etc.
I spoke to @widesauce, the user who trolled the Cryptoland Twitter account last week, who gave me some more information about what the project’s Discord was like before it spiraled into chaos. I also got a hold of the Cryptoland white paper…