This Email Contains Three Monolith Updates
Read to the end for an interesting "Star Wars" fan theory
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100 gecs Made A Christmas Song
A reminder to new readers: Garbage Day is a pro-100 gecs newsletter. Their new Christmas song is very good! Also, one of the best things about 100 gecs dropping a new music video is the YouTube comments. Here are my favorites from “sympathy 4 the grinch”:
“can’t wait to ruin the family gathering with this absolute banger”
“Going straight to my ‘grinchcore essentials’ playlist. Thanks Laura and Dylan!”
“Imagine seeing these two doing... whatever this is while walking home.”
“Opposite energy to lil nas x's ‘holiday’”
“This sounds like something”
What In The Heck Is Happening In This TikTok Account
Last night, my friend Bijan dropped this TikTok video in a group chat we’re both in. Like the tweet says, it is completely demented. But, like when you lift up a rock to discover hundreds of weird bugs writhing in the earth beneath it, this video is part of something MUCH weirder.
Usually before I include a thing in Garbage Day I do a Poe’s Law check. Poe’s Law states that it is virtually impossible to determine whether someone on the internet is being insane or just doing a bit. I like to try and figure out, as best as I can, whether the stuff I include in this newsletter is funny on purpose or not.
So I did that with the video above. It comes from an account called @theblondieboys. They’re two guys from Calgary, Canada, and they basically make TikTok video versions of those weird chumbox stories that sit on the bottom of websites. They two guys behind the account repurpose unsourced stories warning their viewers against hair dye, swallowing chewing gum, and this really weird one about a boy showing up to his own funeral.
Their whole channel is basically human-made internet spam. They have 4.5 million followers.
I went all the back to their first videos, curious to see if there was a moment when they decided to pivot. They’ve only been active since February and pretty much started out doing these kinds of videos. At first I thought maybe it was a some kind of view inflation scam. They post a lot of hustle content and typically the people most interested in teaching others how to get rich on the internet are cheating. (Also a lot of them are Canadian?)
But all of the @theblondieboys videos have TONS of comments. This looks like a genuinely huge account. Which means these two have isolated a repeatable way to game TikTok’s algorithm and they are consistently getting millions of views.
What they’re doing isn’t new, of course. They take copypasta and email-foward-grade “news” stories and rebuild them in TikTok’s visual language. It’s the same psychological clickbait response behind Upworthy headlines, the endless feed of Facebook magic trick videos, or the 2018 YouTube thumbnail scourge.
But this is interesting because so much of the meta story of TikTok right now is about how it’s different from video apps that have come before it — its hype house culture, its video effects, its For Your Page. But these two bros from Calgary are proving that TikTok is basically just like any other video app.
And this is even more interesting in light of the fact that TikTok is currently testing 3-minute videos.
New Bird World Dropped
Leon Chang is one of my favorite internet creators. His been in the game for a long time now. If you aren’t familiar with his oeuvre, it’s a little hard to describe. He makes art and music and is oftentimes very funny. He’s one of those increasingly-rare artists who use the whole internet as a canvas. I’d put him in the same category of creator as Neil Cicierega, Jesse McLaren, Nat Puff, Gabriel Gundacker, and Demi Adejuyigbe.
Chang’s first big internet project was a Twitter-based choose-your-own-adventure game he released in 2015 staring a tiny bird. Then, in 2017, Chang released Bird World. Put simply, Bird World is the soundtrack to a video game that doesn’t exist. It’s very very good. This morning, Change released Return To Bird World. It is a sequel game-that-does-not-exist.
It’s an amazing double-album that somehow, through classic Playstation 1-era RPG music, continues the story of the first Bird World. But even if you’re not trying to dig into the lore behind the albums, I definitely recommend checking it out. “fight at the forgotten shrine” is my favorite track so far I think. But “the ruins of enoki village,” the sequel to “enoki village” off the first Bird World, is very good too.
Groypers Attacked A Monolith
On Wednesday, a third monolith was discovered in California. If you’re keeping track, the first one was discovered in Utah, a second one spotted in Romania, and now this third one. I’m split between thinking this is a marketing stunt (anyone check in on MSCHF lately?) or this is an Area 51 raid-style viral offline meme. I’m inclined to believe it’s the latter. The original Utah monolith was erected between August 17th, 2015 and October 20th, 2016, according to Google Maps data, which is a pretty long timeframe for branded content.
I assume the first one was a weird art piece and then the media attention around it has now inspired other folks with monolith-building capabilities to start installing them in various locations. Who knows! Maybe it’s aliens.
Either way, the culture war has finally come for the monoliths. A pack of Groypers — Gen Z Christian fundamentalist white nationalists — tore down the California monolith and streamed the whole thing on DLive, a Twitch-like streaming platform very popular with Groypers.
VICE has a good write up of the whole incident. The groyper leading the raid on the monolith goes by CultureWarCrimnal. The young men pulled down the monolith and erected a cross in its place. Here’s a meme they’re now sharing on Twitter:
Obviously, there wasn’t any larger meaning behind tearing down the monolith besides getting attention. Groypers were teenagers when 4chan radicalized. They instinctively understand that all of popular culture can be hijacked to spread white nationalist ideology — including weird monoliths appearing in the desert.
An Instagram Photographer Claims He Saw The Utah Monolith Get Dismantled
Another monolith update for you! A photographer and drone pilot named Ross Bernards claims he was at the site of the Utah monolith when it was dismantled. There’s a photo in the Instagram post below of the structure being pulled down.
Bernards’ caption is interesting. He claims that four men pushed down the monolith and pulled it apart and hauled it away in a wheelbarrow. The reason why? To protect the desert.
4 guys rounded the corner and 2 of them walked forward. They gave a couple of pushes on the monolith and one of them said “You better have got your pictures.” He then gave it a big push, and it went over, leaning to one side. He yelled back to his other friends that they didn’t need the tools. The other guy with him at the monolith then said “this is why you don’t leave trash in the desert.” Then all four of them came up and pushed it almost to the ground on one side, before they decided push it back the other when it then popped out and landed on the ground with a loud bang. They quickly broke it apart and as they were carrying to the wheelbarrow that they had brought one of them looked back at us all and said “Leave no trace.” That was at 8:48.
If you’re asking why we didn’t stop them well, they were right to take it out. We stayed the night and the next day hiked to a hill top overlooking the area where we saw at least 70 different cars (and a plane) in and out. Cars parking everywhere in the delicate desert landscape. Nobody following a path or each other. We could literally see people trying to approach it from every direction to try and reach it, permanently altering the untouched landscape. Mother Nature is an artist, it’s best to leave the art in the wild to her.
Bernards corroborated his story with a local CBS affiliate earlier this week.
Man, this monolith stuff is really complicated. White nationalists hate them because they’re not crosses? But environmentalists hate them because they’re destroying wildlife areas. Interested to see what strange and weird directions this goes in next!
Wait, More More Monolith Thing
Earlier this week, Brazilian DJ Alok accidentally caused an uproar on Brazilian Twitter by posting this video of the monolith rising up into the air. The tweet immediately kicked off a bunch of speculation that Alok was behind the Utah monolith.
The idea that Alok was somehow connected to monolith wasn’t a totally insane idea. He’s known for really elaborate stunts. In November, he played a massive light show in the sky over the city of Recife. Still, planting this thing in the desert for five years is a long time for payoff.
It seems like Alok quickly realized that he had insinuated he was somehow connected to the monolith and published several updates. “We have no connection with the initiative,” Alok tweeted. “And the animation is an independent creation of the artist Hamid Ebrahimnia.”
OK, so, white nationalists hate the monolith because it’s modern or whatever. Environmentalists hate it because people were destroying the desert to go see it. And it was not created by a Brazilian DJ. Got it?
A Good Tweet
Another Good Tweet
An Incredible Video
The attention to detail here is just amazing. Dog cam? Check. Slowmo footage of someone kicking a fruit in a parking lot? Check. Someone trying to crush a bottle or something with their head and then hurting themselves in the process ? Check!!! There’s a part 2, as well.
This reminds me of a high-concept theme party I always wanted to throw (back when parties existed). I called it “early-00s Teen Movie Party”. There would be different zones for different teen movie cliques — “stoners” out in the backyard, “nerds” playing D&D and watching The X Files in the basement, goths doing The Craft stuff up in a bedroom, jocks and preps playing beer pong in the living room, there’d be that one weird character wearing like a Hugh Hefner robe making really fancy cocktails in a secret room maybe?
But here’s the real twist of this party idea though. At 1am, a bunch of actors dressed like cops would show up to “break up” the party and Blink-182’s “Dammit” would play over the speakers and everyone would have to run out.
And Finally, Another Good Santa Denier Meme
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***