- Garbage Day
- You are tearing me apart, e/acc!
You are tearing me apart, e/acc!
Read to the end for a good Tumblr post
The Remelia Guys Moved Over To TikTok
More than a few readers asked me to look into a new TikTok subculture called BRG, which stands for Based Redacted Gang or Based Retard Gang, depending on what social platform you’re on. The group was investigated recently by “maia arson crimew,” the “mentally ill enby polyam trans lesbian anarchist kitten” hacker that got ahold of the TSA no fly list earlier this year. I’m aware that this is already A Lot Of Internet, but this is only going to get weirder the further we go.
I was surprised to find out that BRG, what I’ll be referring to this group as from here on out, is actually, itself, just a rebrand of an online collective I’ve covered a few times in this newsletter — the Remilia Corporation.
I first came across Remilia in January 2022. They were the organizers behind the failed Spice DAO project. A bunch of crypto evangelists got into a Discord and tried to raise money to buy Alejandro Jodorowsky’s story bible for Dune so they could turn it into an animated Netflix series. Except they didn’t seem to realize that simply buying a copy of the book wouldn’t grant them the actual rights to do anything with it other than look at it. The DAO bought it for 2.6 million euros, regardless, and disbanded a few months later.
Remilia then launched a line of NFTs called Milady Maker, which allowed users to make customized chibi anime avatars and it quickly turned very racist. I interviewed the former “head” of Remilia for Fast Company at the time, a pseudonymous user that went by Charlotte Fang, among other names. And came away from it with more questions than answers, but I think I got the gist.
Remilia started as a Twitter DM group of edgy shitposters that wanted to court the attention of reactionary bloggers like technofeudalist Curtis Yarvin, who was building a crypto-friendly operating system called Urbit. And Urbit was getting funding from Peter Thiel, which Yarvin was then using to bankroll a lot of the fascist digital “art” coming out of New York’s Downtown Scene in the years immediately following the pandemic. Remilia’s whole schtick was reinventing “schizoposting” for Gen Z. Schizoposting is a 4chan trend where users pretend to — or actually have, I guess — a mental breakdown via memes. It’s been linked to at least one mass shooting, but it’s not always political.
Anyways, my understanding is around the time the Spice DAO was imploding and Remilia was getting “canceled” for Milady Maker going off the rails, there was a schism inside of the group, with some members wanting to go legit and become a proper crypto startup with others wanting to lean further into extremely esoteric occult fascism. A story as old as time. I lost touch with them after that, but I’ve seen a few Milady avatar accounts try recently to pivot into being AI guys.
Which brings us to BRG. I thought startup investor Julie Fredrickson’s X thread on BRG was a pretty useful explanation of what’s happening here: “An aesthetic ironic meme account that combines the aesthetic of AI-generated content, Chinese propaganda, fake woke spiritualism, hyperpop/glitchcore, and schizoposting.” That is, if you can understand any of that.
More simply, I would just say that it’s a bunch of trolls trying to trick young women on TikTok into sharing far-right memes and hopefully convince a couple of them to buy some NFTs. And, incidentally, BRG’s perceived success seems to hinge on the same right-wing misunderstanding about TikTok and its scale that every other conservative group has right now. A lot of BRG accounts are proudly declaring that they’ve infiltrated and schizopilled the social network. And yeah, one of their videos has gone sorta viral, which was just a Remilia copypasta dubbed over footage likely stolen from a Chinese video app. But most of the BRG-related content I’ve seen is borderline invisible in terms of views on the app and is largely being shared by other BRG-affiliated accounts.
This is where you ask if any of this matters. And the answer is, unfortunately, yes. Groups like Remilia and BRG are one half of an extremely stupid ideological battle tearing apart tearing apart Silicon Valley — and OpenAI, specifically — right now. And before last Friday, idea that the biggest names in tech could read too many blog posts and end up developing what are essentially two competing religions and could then be willing to blow up billion-dollar companies in defense of those religions was, honestly, too stupid to believe. And yet, here we are…
Which means it’s worth understanding what these two sides want. And it essentially comes down to speed. On one side is effective altruism, or EA, and on the other is effective accelerationism, or e/acc, which is mainly what BRG is promoting on TikTok right now.
The altruists, which includes folks like Elon Musk and Sam Bankman-Fried, believe that maximum human happiness is a math equation you can solve with money, which should be what steers technological innovation. While the accelerationists believe almost the inverse, that innovation matters more than human happiness and the internet can, and should, rewire how our brains work. Either way, both groups are obsessed with race science, want to replace democratic institutions with privately-owned automations — that they control — and are utterly convinced that technology and, specifically, the emergence of AI is a cataclysmic doomsday moment for humanity. The accelerationists just think it should happen immediately. Of course, as is the case with everything in Silicon Valley, all of this is predicated on the unwavering belief in its own importance. So it’s very possible that if we were to take the actually longtermist view of all of this, we’d actually end up looking back at this whole thing as a bunch a weird nerds fighting over Reddit threads.
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Where Did Tate McRae Come From?
Turns out the answer is Canada!
Like most people this week, I went online and was bombarded with videos of a singer named Tate McRae. She played SNL this weekend, which likely explains the mainstream crossover. But McRae’s song “Greedy” was a big TikTok hit a few months back. The video for it has 36 million views on YouTube. It’s set in a hockey rink with her riding a Zamboni around. Like I said, she’s Canadian. And a pitch-shifted remix of “Greedy” was the audio used in a mega-viral TikTok from Sabrina Bahsoon, the tube girl.
I chalked my complete unawareness of McRae up to the fact I’m 34 years old, but it seems like a lot of people this week are discovering that, at least, according to Spotify, she has more monthly listeners than Beyoncé. Which seems wrong?
There’s two possibilities here, as far as I can see. Either TikTok has completely demolished our cultural institutions and we just can’t process popularity anymore. Or TikTok, and also, Spotify, are morphing into passive-massive platforms like Facebook. It’s possible that, in the same way you can come across a video on Facebook with 10 million views from a creator you’ve never heard of, TikTok and Spotify are now producing similarly large unknown content icebergs. So the question for McRae is whether she can bridge this digital gap and actually feel as popular irl as Beyoncé.
Some More Taylor Swift Stuff
After my newsletter went out on Monday, there were a few more developments in the Taylor Swift Brazil situation and I, once again, haven’t seen US outlets covering it. So I figured I’d close the loop here.
There were reports of a “mass mugging,” or “arrastão,” on Saturday, after Swift canceled her show due to extreme heat, but it looks like it was actually made up by fans. It seems like fans saw a delivery guy going in the wrong door and panicked.
Choquei, Brazil’s equivalent to Pop Crave, was promoting a fan-organized moment of silence at Swift’s show on Monday night in memory of Ana Clara Benevides, the fan that died allegedly due to heat on Friday night. This angered other Swift fans, especially American ones, who said it would make Swift feel bad (lol ok). The moment of silence didn’t happen, but there was a bunch of backlash against Choquei for promoting it, to the point where “choquei é um lixo,” or “Choquei is trash” was trending on X all day yesterday.
And, finally, Swift’s PR team appears to be in backchannel overdrive right now. Contrary to what many American tabloids have reported, Swift and her team have not made any contact with Benevides’ family. Folha, one of Brazil’s largest newspapers, translated an interview with Benevides’ mom into English. "As far as I know,” she said. “That's fake.”
OK, I Finally Watched The Cringe True Crime Podcasters Drama Report
To be clear, this video is not cringe, it’s actually very well-reported. But every single person involved with this entire debacle is very cringe.
The formally-biggest podcast on Patreon, True Crime Obsessed, has ballooned out into a network of shows called the Obsessed Network. Most of these shows build on the winning formula of True Crime Obsessed, which appears to be “failed millennial theater actors gossiping about horrific human tragedies.”
Shockingly, one of the founders of this network is, allegedly, not a very good person to his employees or his fans. Even more shockingly, the core audience for these podcasts have built intricate Google Docs and sprawling Reddit threads to track the personal in-fighting happening inside of this world.
Out of morbid curiosity, I went and listened to True Crime Obsessed’s most recent episode and it gave me a literal headache. I wish all of the unwell people trapped inside of this cultural prison the best, though.
Cool Beer Toss
Make This The New Minnesota State Flag, You Cowards
Minnesota is taking submissions for their new state flag. Someone uploaded this JPG of a dog. I think it should win.
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a good Tumblr post.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***