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Parler Has Been Defeated
Parler, the already barely-functional Twitter clone funded by right-wing dark money, has taken the brunt of the post-coup deplatforming. It has been effectively removed from the internet — its servers are down, its blocked from every major app store, and one of its key investors, Dan Bongino, has been having a tantrum about it on Fox News all morning. Also, all public info was scraped from the site before it went down. Apparently, because it was a terribly made platform run with the sole purpose of grifting right-wing internet users because modern conservatism is powered by the exploitation and hatred of its own base, Parler didn’t wipe EXIF data from its media uploads. Meaning, if you uploaded a picture or video to the website, chances are it included metadata you probably didn’t want being made public, like your address.
But, across the internet, the once omnipresent Trumpist digital army, is in retreat. Trump, himself, has been kicked off every major platform. As have most of the big nodes in the QAnon ecosystem. Russell Brandom in The Verge has a pretty good argument for why the deplatforming this week needed to happen — basically, these private internet companies in the span of a few days had to haphazardly figure out a way to remove an extremist movement because our public institutions refused to deal with it years ago.
And it’s true. Trump and his network of influencers should have absolutely been deplatformed years ago. Parler was only live for three months before it turned into American ISIS. Good riddance. But, also, to be blunt, none of this really fixes anything. Already, digital life rafts for the Trumpist movement abound.
DLive, the livestreaming platform of choice for far-right Groyper influencers like Nic Fuentes and Baked Alaska is still up. As is thedonald.win, though, it now requires a CAPTCHA to enter it. Also, Gab is still trying to make Gab a thing. And perhaps the most lazy and openly opportunistic attempt to siphon off purged Twitter users was organized by Donald Trump Jr., who instructed his followers to head over to donjr.com, which, turned out to just be an email signup form and a bunch of links to buy his book. (I don’t think I will ever hate anyone as much as these people hate their own supporters. Truly incredible stuff.)
So far, Trump’s base has had the most success building new strongholds on Telegram, the Russian-owned WhatsApp competitor, which was already extremely popular with far-right militias, street gangs, and extremists. There is no doubt that if we see violence on January 20, Telegram will be involved.
Here’s the thing. These deplatforming frenzies are a fun way to feel like we’re doing something about all of this. Journalists, researchers, activists, and those guys who livetweet cable news scramble to document who has been banned from what as all the platforms fall in line like dominos. Endless Twitter dunks for every banned fascist. At one point my entire TweetDeck on Friday night was nothing but different screenshots of Trump’s suspended account. But we have done this dance many times before. Yes, Milo Yiannopoulos is a bankrupt nobody and Alex Jones has basically been reduced to running around with a tiny megaphone. And, yet, everything continues to get worse.
No matter what Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube do in the next 9 days, they cannot undo what they've already allowed to happen. They created an infinitely scaleable radicalization engine. They allowed far-right cults and militias to openly recruit on their products for years. Their recommendation algorithms fed on our insecurities and preyed on our cultural divisions to keep us constantly liking and sharing and commenting and watching. Deleting thousands of already-radicalized users from Twitter and deplatforming Parler, a website that only had about 8 million users, can’t undo this. These users have already met each other and now they can run around various dark social messaging apps forever.
Not only are militias, street gangs, and assorted QAnon wizards planning to storm Washington, D.C., again, during the inauguration, just this morning, according to an FBI bulletin, it was reported that armed protests are expected at all 50 state capitols the same day. We are in a dangerous place. We are about to see exactly how radicalized we are and I fear it’s a lot worse than we thought it was.
Another Huge Loss For Trump
This was sent to me by Garbage Day reader Erika. I think this makes the scene a lot more watchable, what about you?
Grimes Comes Out As Otherkin
For those who aren’t familiar with the term, otherkins are a very old internet subculture based around the belief that you can spiritually be something other than human. It’s semi-related to the furry and energy vampire communities. Typically, otherkin “kin” with something — a wolf, a fawn, a plane, the pope.
It’s unclear what Grimes currently “kins,” but as a Tumblr user pointed out, her birthday listed on Twitter rightn ow is July 16, 1945, which is date of the Trinity nuclear test, the first ever denotation of a nuclear device? So maybe she’s kinning with a nuke? Unclear. Meanwhile, her husband is now the richest man on Earth. Normal stuff.
A Trump Supporter Did Not Die From Tasing Himself In The Balls At The Coup
I’ve seen this rumor everywhere. Snopes has a good debunk of it. The meme above was bouncing around my Tumblr dashboard this morning. Per Snopes, the rumor went viral thanks to a tweet from comedian Karl Hess.
Hess, later, in a thread beneath the tweet, wrote that he didn’t have a confirmation about it.
Snopes spoke to the wife of Kevin Greeson, the 55-year-old man from Alabama who was believed to have been the testicle taser-er. It turns out he died of a heart attack and, for what it’s worth, he didn’t appear to have any kind of taser or firearm with him. He was holding a flagpole.
“He just stopped talking, and I could hear all the people. That’s when he had the heart attack,” Greeson’s wife told Snopes. “He died instantly.”
The New York Times did a piece on how Greeson ended up at the coup last week. There’s been a fair share of criticism piled on the Times and other outlets for painting a portrait of Greeson as a “wonderful father and husband who loved life.” I think it will take us a very long time to figure out exactly how to reconcile with seemingly normal Americans who, last week, decided they were cool with overthrowing the government and helping a deranged authoritarian reality TV host remain in power. But, at very least, we know that none of those insurrectionists tased themselves in the balls and then died.
A Baby Yoda Scandal Is Currently Unfolding In Mexico
I want to thank Garbage Day readers Molly, Carlos, and Elena for sending me this story. This newsletter continues to introduce me to some great people. Here’s what’s going on with Baby Yoda in Mexico.
On January 6, Mexico celebrates the epiphany. It’s a Christian feast day and typically, on that date, Mexicans eat a Rosca de Reyes, or king cake. It’s a sweet circular pastry that often has a tiny baby Jesus figurine baked into it. Who ever finds the figurine wins a prize.
This year, a burger joint in Mexico City called Kraneo Food replaced the usual baby Jesus with a 3D-printed Baby Yoda, or “el niño,” from The Mandalorian. Here’s what the Baby Yoda king cake looks like.
It’s actually a very cute thing. If you head over to Kraneo Food’s Facebook page, they had a delivery guy dressed up like the Mandalorian handing out King cakes. Kraneo Food’s Baby Yoda epiphany special went viral thanks to Mexican Twitter user @Luz_AdrianaK.
Apparently, though, leaders within Mexico’s religious right did not find the Baby Yoda king cake cute at all. According to a local news site, infobae, Eduardo Hernández, the president of Mexican Christian conservative organization, the National Front For Family, called it an “attack on family values” because “they are putting aside the holy family.”
The whole controversy was written up in English last week by Tumblr user bellezalatina. “Conservative groups are extremely upset about it,” she wrote. “So now, Baby Yoda is considered a LGBT icon for making furious those conservative, homophobic people.”
So, if you’ve seen any passing references to Baby Yoda being an LGBT icon. That’s why. Hope this clears things up!
Chiquita Banana,,, Welcome To The Resistance
Following the coup last week (still feels weird to say that!!!), brands started coming forward to denounce the violence in the capital and put pressure on the Trump administration to peacefully transfer power to President-Elect Joe Biden on January 20. As this was happening, a Twitter user named @mikedewint renamed his account “Chiquita” and tweeted out that the company “has always supported democratic values and the peaceful transfer of power.”
@mikedewint had his account suspended, but a screenshot of the tweet continues to spread across Twitter.
This is a very good troll because Chiquita was founded, as the tweet says, as United Fruit Company in 1899 and, throughout the 20th century, it helped the US government completely destabilize Latin America. It’s where the term banana republic comes from! Here’s a good NBC News piece from last week about why, following the coup, the whole “this is not who we are, America loves peaceful transfers of power, blah blah blah,” is so nefarious.
Many people fell for the fake Chiquita tweet. So much so that the official Chiquita Twitter account is basically just blasting out the same tweet to every user who shares it. Even in Spanish.
So, if you’re confused. TL;DR - We validate your concerns about our history in Latin America. Since 2015, Chiquita has been under new ownership and has taken extensive steps to become a new company, focused on sustainability and employee welfare. Read more here: http://bit.ly/chiqsustainability2019
Welcome To Sea Shanty TikTok
If you want to check this out on TikTok, the account for the guy on the most recent layer of the duet can be found here. It’s full of really bassy acapella videos that all kind of do that fuzzy vibrational thing to my brain.
The Great Gatsby Arrives On Archive Of Our Own
On January 1, 2021, The Great Gatsby entered the public domain. As I noted on Twitter a few weeks ago, this brings me one step closer to realizing my decades-long dream of creating a goth Great Gatsby jukebox musical set to the first three albums of My Chemical Romance. “He calls the mansion not a house but a tomb / He's always choking from the stench and the fume / The wedding party all collapsed in the room / So send my resignation to the bride and the groom / Let's go down!” The whole thing would obviously end with Gatsby shooting himself in the pool and then singing “Welcome To The Black Parade”. I really think it could work, guys.
Anyways, the derivative Great Gatsby works have already begun. Over on fan fiction mega-platform, Archive Of Our Own, there has been a flood of Gatsby content. One of the best, though, has got to be The Great Gritty, which appears to be literally just The Great Gatsby with “Gatsby” ctrl+F’d and replaced with “Gritty”.
Here’s an excerpt:
Gritty who represented everything for which I have an unaffected scorn. If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"—it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No—Gritty turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gritty, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
While we’re on the subject, I have an Archive Of Our Own correction and update from last week. I wrote two items about AO3 last week. In one of them, I noted that Peter Parker/Tony Stark fanfic was very popular last year. I want to clarify that the most popular Peter/Tony fanfics were platonic. While there are some very gnarly erotic ones on the site, those weren’t the ones that were part of the site’s top fanfics of 2020.
Also, I wrote that I was skeptical that an erotic Minecraft YouTuber fanfic had been read by so many people that it had briefly taken AO3 offline. Well, according to The Verge’s Adi Robertson, it did not. It is apparently only the third most-popular fanfic on the site.
P.S. here’s a nice comic I liked.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
I think "Russian-owned WhatsApp competitor" is a very misleading way of describing Telegram. Founder Pavel Durov is Russian, but the app is not based in Russia, and Durov himself lives in exile because he would almost certainly be jailed by the Putin regime, which has tried to block Telegram in the past due to it being used for organising anti-Kremlin protests. It's also a major (if not the major) platform for pro-democracy organising in Hong Kong, so has far more uses beyond a handful of right-wing groups on it in the US.
this is a twitter account that I think some readers might like twitter.com/foundgoodoutfit