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Let’s Untangle The Trump Clone Thing
I’ve seen off-hand comments over the last week that QAnon supporters are beginning to come to a consensus that Trump never actually left Walter Reed Hospital. It makes sense tbh. He’s a 74-year-old man with coronavirus who has spent the last week absolutely zooted out of his mind on steroids having a national-scale manic episode. It’s easy to see how people might begin to wonder if something weird has happened to him.
Also, for those not in the know, Q supporters already believe in Trump clones. So it wouldn’t take much for them to start believing in a new set of clones. Plus, at this point, you can pretty much throw a dart in any direction and find something completely nuts a whole bunch of QAnon people believe.
So I went searching for some serious QAnon discourse about a new COVID Trump clone. Facebook, to its credit, has made QAnon content slightly harder to find on its platform. (It didn’t just immediately come up without me specifically looking for it.) But what I think is interesting about the clone theory is that there are million versions of it flying around right now. InfoWars host DeAnna Lorraine is claiming Biden has been replaced with a clone and that’s why he won’t participate in a physical debate. But Alex Jones is also claiming on InfoWars that Walter Reed hospital might have killed Trump. I’ve also seen a few #Resistance people touting their own Trump clone conspiracy. Meanwhile, the remaining public QAnon Facebook Groups and Reddit’s r/conspiracy subreddit have been so fully astroturfed by anti-QAnon trolls that it’s become completely impossible to figure out who is making legitimate content and who is sharing legitimate content.
Believing that famous people have become secretly replaced with clones or body doubles isn’t anything new. It’s the natural result of having too many images of someone over a period of time and the natural paranoia that seems to manifest after too much time using Google.
But what I do find interesting about all of this is how, after four years of having our lives dictated by authoritarian populism and all our information controlled by corporate-owned social networks, our sense of reality is just completely broken. None of us have any agency. Everything is just fan fiction now. The country is a Twitch stream of a car crash and we’re all just shitposting in the chat not realizing we’re in the dang car.
The average person can’t trust anything they read in the news. They also can’t trust each other. Everyone’s a clone. The conspiracy theorists don’t even agree with each other. The president is rolling face on Fox News and talking about wanting to dress up like Superman. QAnon is banned from Facebook, but only after everything on Facebook became part of QAnon. Now, we just aren’t allowed to name the thing we’re all talking about. Nothing is real, but also everything has consequences. To think we got to place because companies like Facebook wanted all of the power and influence of media companies without having to ever make any of the typical ethical or logistical decisions that come with that role. It’s exhausting and, more importantly, just embarrassing.
Anyways, if you want to figure out whether or not you’re looking at the real Trump or the clone of Trump the Deep State created in a laboratory, the trick is to pay attention to his ear lobes, apparently.
Here’s A Good Tweet
A Video Game Lost To Time Shows Up On Reddit
In 1999, a Japanese surrealist named Tomomi Yuki Sakuba created a video game called Garage: Bad Dream Adventure. There were only 3000 copies ever made and according to one review, it’s a “profoundly uncomfortable game to look at, much less play.”
You spend the game wheeling (literally you have wheels instead of feet) around a nightmarish steampunk environment and you have a “sense of self” gauge that, if it dips too low, makes you incomprehensible to others. Wow, huge 2020 mood.
The game would probably have disappeared into obscurity forever if it wasn’t for a group of 4chan users in 2013 who pooled together thousands of dollars to buy it in an auction. And now a version of it has popped up on Reddit’s r/CreepyGaming. Not only does it seem like the full game, there’s an English patch for it, as well. I haven’t tested the link, so if any adventurous Garbage Day readers go check it out, it is not my fault if it’s full of malware! But it’s still cool nonetheless that something like this has been preserved.
There’s a playthrough of the game on YouTube and it looks extremely creepy and weird.
A Very Relatable Musical Problem
My friend Bijan sent this to me. *shakes fist* Damn you Aeolian mode! Here’s a really good response from down in the comment section:
Here’s A Really Neat Anti-TERF Chrome Extension
TERFs — or trans-exclusionary radical feminists — operate a lot like your typical far-right group, except they’re obsessed with euphemisms. 4chan-adjacent white nationalists create memes and slang terms that are meant to be used as weapons, but TERFS, online, tend to use them as codes or secret handshakes. I imagine it has something to do with the online TERF movement being led by upperclass British women. (Here’s a good explainer on that.) The UK website Mumsnet, which is kind of like a Reddit for middle class British moms, has been almost completely radicalized by TERFs. Which is sad. In 2015, when I first moved to London, Mumsnet users helped me figure out how to use my British washing machine.
Because TERFs are constantly changing their terminology and trying to covertly guide the direction of more mainstream feminist spaces, a lot of the trans activists I follow on Tumblr have begun using a Chrome extension called Shinigami Eyes. Its name comes from the anime Death Note, in which a character is given “Shinigami Eyes” which allow him to secretly see the date that other people die.
The extension allows users to crowdsource TERF accounts and websites and catalog the movement’s ever-evolving lexicon. It’s how I learned that TERFs have recently begun using the term “hygienic” to mean cisgender.
One Last Thing About The Fleetwood Mac Cranberry Juice TikTok, I Swear
I’ll admit, I did not expect that the TikTok of the dude skateboarding and listening to Fleetwood Mac would be the piece of content that took up the most space during these not-so-quietly tense pre-election weeks. But we live in a 24/7 digital content economy, so here’s where we are.
The video has inspired a lot of parodies. In a sense, that’s what TikTok’s algorithm is designed to do. Take a random piece of content, recommend it to all of its users, provide tools for them to remix it or copy it, turn that piece of content into a trend, sand down its edges, remove its context, and then sell ads against it. Turn videos created by individuals into aesthetic movements that no longer have any meaning or ownership. Which is how we ended up with this deeply cursed video:
There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over the last few months about TikTok’s relationship to Chinese soft power. American conservatives, in particular, are convinced that TikTok must be a data-harvesting operation or that it could turn American teenagers into communists. So far, it’s got them all into hip hop/country songs and made scrunchies popular again.
Ironically enough, though, I think if you left TikTok alone, it would have absolutely radicalized into a hard-right ecosystem, as Facebook has. I mean, the app was full of QAnon stuff over the summer. TikTok’s algorithms, like all large-scale corporate-owned recommendation algorithms, exist to maintain a status quo. And that status quo differs from country to country. In China, it might mean stifling government criticism and promoting countryside cooking videos. But in America, it means beautiful white 20-somethings doing makeup tutorials in McMansions and SWAT team officers doing the backpack kid dance while curb-stomping antifascists.
This Reddit Dad’s Kraftwerk Saga Is So Good
A few days ago, a dad posted to Reddit’s r/vinyl subreddit with an extremely peculiar question. The user, u/vinylemulator, showed his 5-year-old an album made by German electronic music band Kraftwerk. Well, apparently, the 5-year-old REALLY liked it:
Here’s my favorite line from the post:
The kid is now literally obsessed with Kraftwerk. When we try to listen to other music he's like "this isn't Kraftwerk" and even when I try to lie to him and be like, yeah sure Moana is Kraftwerk he sees through my subterfuge and demands actual 70s German EDM rather than whatever bs I'm trying to pass off on him. He's 5.
So u/vinylemulator asked Reddit for some advice. How could he wean his son off 80s German techno? Well, the dad came back a few days later, after getting a bunch of recommendations from other users, and posted an amazing update. He showed his son a bunch of new artists and now the kid loves DEVO. The 5-year-old was apparently not a big fan of Aphex Twin.
And Finally, Why Is This Dog Wearing Shoes???
P.S. here are some very cool Vine tarot cards.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***