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A Bean Apology
I don’t want this newsletter to become the Bean Dad update zone, but I felt like I should put a cap on this whole saga. John Roderick, “Bean Dad,” issued an apology after his extremely dumb story about teaching his daughter to open a can of beans went viral and he became the main character of Twitter for the day. His apology is interesting. It seemed honest and clear-eyed to me. But many people did not think so. That’s the way that goes, I guess.
In his apology, he admits the whole story was extremely exaggerated. No one went with out food. It was a fun family project. He also apologized for racist and insensitive tweets that resurfaced during the Twitter free-for-all.
The whole affair makes me deeply sad and depressed in ways I’m having issues fully articulating. Perhaps my main question is why did we do this? He wasn’t famous or particularly important. He’s just some guy from Seattle. There’s one paragraph in his apology that has really been nagging at me since I first read it:
What I didn’t understand when posting that story, was that a lot of the language I used reminded people very viscerally of abuse they’d experienced at the hand of a parent. The idea that I would withhold food from her, or force her to solve a puzzle while she cried, or bind her to the task for hours without a break all were images of child abuse that affected many people very deeply. Rereading my story, I can see what I’d done.
We live at a moment where human communication is more open, instantaneous, and global that it ever has been before in the history of our species. We have access to more varied viewpoints than we’ve ever had before and that is causing all kinds of profound shifts in the way we view the world and view each other. Many of these shifts are extremely good. But, also, privacy and intimacy are now two of the biggest scarcities of the 21st century. When something private inadvertently becomes public, it creates a frenzy that activates certain signals within the algorithms of the huge social platforms we use.
And while it is important that we spend the time and do the work of learning how to make our societies more equalitarian and the way we speak to each other kinder and more accepting, I also think it is truly impossible for a single human being to consider every possible way something they write or say could be interpreted at this kind of scale. And this is not an anti-cancel culture diatribe. Garbage Day is not that kind of Substack. It is good that racists and extremists and hypocrites are exposed, but I also think we need to be careful about how much control we relinquish over the scale and size of the audience we communicate with.
I think it is worth considering what mechanisms are guiding us and what financial incentives they adhere to. Essentially, why is any of this happening? And, to perhaps ask a larger question, what does it say about the architecture of Twitter that this was so fun and entertaining for so many of us? These are questions without easy answers that go far beyond Bean Dad.
Anyways, here’s a meme:
Archive Of Our Own Releases The Top Ships Of 2020
I’ve written a bit before about Archive Of Our Own (AO3), but just to catch you all up to speed. AO3 is the internet’s biggest destination for fan fiction. The site is, in my opinion, the best-moderated community on the internet. Its tagging system is revolutionary. The community is so empowered and creative that the site, as a whole, won a Hugo Award in 2019. It is also operating at an unimaginable scale. As of April 2020, the site was receiving 48 million page views, 100,000 comments, and 13,000 new chapters of writing A DAY. Per their incredibly interesting statistics report from last year, “We currently have about 2.5 million registered users and almost 6 million works in over 36,700 fandoms.”
This week they released their Year In Review for 2020. Here are some interesting tidbits.
The top ship (sometimes-romantic fan pairing) was one I had never heard of before. The two characters are from a Chinese anime, or donghua, tilted, Mo Dao Zu Shi, or Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation. The My Anime List reviews for it are pretty good!
Number two on the top ships list is not really a surprise. Good Omens has been HUGE for shipping this year. As have a lot of the other properties on this list. If you click over to the whole list of top 100 ships, however, the anime Boku no Hero Academia appears 15 times. Which is crazy.
But the big, uncomfortable shocker here is that the ninth most-written-about ship of 2020 was, uh, Tony Stark and Peter Parker from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s not as upsetting as you’d think. This ship listed ISN’T romantic. But, I can unfortunately confirm there are also a lot of romantic fanfic, as well. I did an AO3-themed game show on Twitch recently and came across a whole pocket of Peter and Tony fanfic that is, honestly, a mess. Look, AO3 might be the most quietly culturally influential website operating right now, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not, like most websites, also full of insane perverts.
Another AO3 Thing — Let’s Talk About The Minecraft Slashfic
A warning: If you are over the age of, let’s say, 27, almost every single detail that follows will be extremely disorienting for you. I apologize in advance.
An Archive Of Our Own user named tbhyourelame has written 10 chapters of a fan fiction called Heat Waves. To read it, you need an AO3 account, but I did find a repost on Wattpad if you’re curious about it.
Heat Waves is a slashfic about the romantic pairing of two Minecraft YouTubers named Dream and GeorgeNotFound. The name for their ship is called dreamnotfound, or dnf, and the r/deamnotfound subreddit has 3,000 users on it.
Earlier this week, tbhyourelame updated Heat Waves. Shortly after the update went live, AO3 went down. AO3’s support Twitter has a lengthy thread documenting the outage, but did not given an official reason for it.
However, dnf shippers are taking credit, claiming that they effectively DDOS’d the site, all trying to read the latest Heat Waves chapter at once. As I said in the previous item, AO3 is a big site. It’s possible that that’s what happened, but I’d imagine it would require a lot of users at once.
Either way, here’s my favorite take on the whole debacle:
An Interview With The Air Fryer Hot Dog Guy
On Monday, I wrote about Twitter user @KLobstar. He had an extremely good thread about how he put a hot dog in an air fryer for 120 minutes. Here’s a photo of the hot dog after it had been air fried for the whole two hours. According to @KLobstar’s thread, it made his whole kitchen stink like hot dog for a very long time after.
@KLobstar had tweeted that he would show up on a Zoom call dressed like the Joker if any reporters reached out to him about the hot dog and, as I wrote on Monday, that’s not the kind of energy I want in 2021. But luckily, @KLobstar was nice enough to grant me a non-Joker-related interview. So I’ve got some more details for you! Here’s a little interview we did:
My main question is why did you do this?
I had a hotdog on a plate no one want to eat and I had an air fryer.
Yeah, that makes sense.
And I’m currently unemployed, so there really wasn’t anything else for me to do. I had made them regularly with an actual intention to eat them. And figured that two hours on 300° was just enough to not need to catch fire.
Have you tried air frying anything else for a really long time.
I have not. I’m a little hesitant to become like “the air fryer guy”.
Totally get it, yeah. Last question. Did you learn anything interesting about virality or the internet through this experience?
I’ll say this, I’ve been on this website since like 2008, and I’ve noticed that it’s very clear, the difference between manufactured virality and natural Virality, based on quality. It’s also very clear from sifting through whatever replies and quotes I can actually see (because it’s moving so fast) that Twitter almost wholly exists within a pretty serious simulacrum. And if you’re not actively part of a certain sort of inner circle, then it just doesn’t make any sense
You’re so right about the simulacrum. It’s like nothing makes any sense anymore. I can’t tell if the site is too big or too small or what’s changed but it’s such a mess.
It’s undergone a LOT of changes over the years, and a lot of us who were ‘weird twitter,’ or whatever people called us, really struck apart and striated. Especially after the election. But it really had its peak of intensely original and unique content around 2013. It means some of what I think is my best work goes unnoticed or barely noticed in comparison.
A Truly Unbelievable Dog Dancing Video
This was sent to me by a reader named Mara. Thank you. I love it.
Some Weird New Copypasta That Will Absolutely Get You Audited By The IRS
I’ve seen this come across my various feeds a few times this week. Here’s the most viral version of the tweet. The full text is:
Take $150 out your Stimulus. Go get you a LLC. Now you own your own Business. Now go online and get the 5k small business grant(SBA). That's how you turn $150 into 5k. Now you have 5k and your own Business. Take out a credit card in your Business name. Use half then pay it off. Make your Business credit perfect. Everytime you spend a $1 file it under the Business. End of the yr file those Taxes. Pay those Taxes. Start living good. All off $150 Thank me later.. This is FREE GAME
According to many other people on Twitter, this is, in fact, not free game, this is fraud. But that hasn’t stopped it showing up all over the platform. I tried to dig into some of the accounts sharing this, but it’s become really hard to find ones that are sharing it genuinely now versus ones that are doing it as a troll.
I thought maybe it was attached to a weird marketing scheme or some kind of crypto scam, but according to a Twitter search I scrolled all the way back through, the earliest version of the tweet comes from a rapper named King Roy. After he posted it, it got picked up by a bunch of porn bots, and then amplified by a pocket of the internet I’ve recently learned is called LLC Twitter, which I’m now completely obsessed with.
I Absolutely Love This Domino’s Guy’s Energy
If you’ve been trying to use TikTok to replace the American suburban chaotic weirdness of Vine, boy, do I have a good account for you.
Last month, TikTok user @angrypooflingr shared a video of him and his friend, user @sagemartinglassett, jamming out to Sleeping With Siren’s 2011 post-hardcore banger “Let's Cheers to This”. In the video, which you can watch here (sorry I can’t find a Twitter mirror for it), @sagemartinglassett hits an OUTRAGEOUS high note and all around crushes singing along to it.
If I had to explain to an alien what TikTok is, I think I’d start by showing them this screenshot.
The Sleeping With Sirens video blew up. It has around half a million views. And it’s inspired @sagemartinglassett to start making his own videos, which are pretty much just as good as the original video. He made an All Time Low video that is honestly great. My friend Katie dropped it into a group chat I’m in last night and it was also recently retweeted by professional Fortnite player Tfue.
I just want to put a thing here and say that I really, really hope that Domino’s doesn’t do anything bad to this guy. Like how Sherwin-Williams recently fired the paint mixing TikTok guy. The world is a mess right now. We are facing an unimaginably bleak immediate future — especially for young people just entering the workforce. We’re all doing whatever we can to survive and make our lives a little bit better. And if this dude wants to rock out to pop punk songs on the way to dropping off pizzas, the world is slightly better place for it.
The State Of Twitter, As Told By Two Tweets
And Finally: Tabs, Returned
If you like Garbage Day, I highly recommend subscribing to Today In Tabs by Rusty Foster. The newsletter went on a hiatus in 2016, but has recently resurfaced on Substack. Foster’s emails were a tremendous inspiration for me over the years. Tabs is funny, insightful, and gossipy in that great 2012 media happy hour kind of way. Really can’t say enough good things about it. Welcome back, Tabs!
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***