Reply All Episode #114 Apocalypse Soon (Basically Everything That’s Buzzed on the Internet in 2018 So Far)

Excerpt from the transcript: (listen to the whole episode at that link too)

Ok. I think this is the most complicated tweet that you’ve brought into a Yes Yes No. Um, and I think you’re right. Like, I think if you can understand this tweet, it is like a codex for everything that has happened on the internet in 2018 so far. Like all two weeks. I also think that probably the reason that it’s called the four horsemen of the apocalypse is that I think the person who made this tweet feels like “once you understand and combine these four memes you will sort of feel like we are approaching the end of the world.” Um, so that’s where we wanna get you. But this is like dense. There’s a lot there.  

And every panel is this tweet tells its own long, long story. There’s the story of the Tide pods, (laughs) which is “famine,” because people love to pretend to eat them and people loving to pretend to do something on the internet leads to hijinks and consequences.

There is the story of the next panel, the echidna, which is “war,” which involves… It involves Ugandan filmmaker and the way his work has been employed in online gaming platforms.  

ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, then there’s the story of Logan Paul, Youtube star extraordinaire, who took it too far when he filmed a dead body in a forest in Japan. And that’s “death.”

And then, final quadrant, “pestilence,” is, um, I’m not exactly sure what that has to do with pestilence, actually. But it’s basically… I think the user doesn’t know what pestilence is. I think that is… Yes. So anyway, but I think they think it means poverty. Anyway, it’s like the three bears from this 1930s clip that has gone viral because of, um, a disgraced Youtuber trying to sort of like get back at the other gra- disgraced Youtuber from the previous quadrant.

The four quadrants correspond to:

 

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Five Times the Internet Was Actually Fun in 2017

Excerpt from this article:

It would be fair to argue that the internet was, for the most part, a rancid stew of awful in 2017.

But it wasn’t all bad.

Let’s not forget those flashes of light, the videos and memes that brought genuine joy into the world. There were moments of goodness and humanity, and they deserve to remembered.

A Meme About Taylor Swift Is Being Used To Teach The History Of “Bad Bitches”

Excerpt from this article:

OK, so back in early November, a fan of Taylor Swift asked their Twitter followers to “name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift.”

… Twitter began sharing and celebrating the stories of “bad bitches” and incredible women throughout history who’ve been overlooked and underappreciated.

“It Me,” You and Everyone We Know: A Look at the Web’s Most Ambiguous Meme

Excerpt from this article:

Enter the meme simply known as “it me.” On Twitter, “it me” often accompanies a selfie, a quoted headline or images from the web. Usually used as a punchline to a joke, the set-up to “it me” jokes are consistent: a mortifying, self-deprecating, factual or quirky image or statement. Or sometimes, though this is rare, a pun.

…My friend Sarah Hagi thinks “it me” is often used as a deflective tool, “For example, people don’t really believe mercury’s in retrograde, it’s just another way to pin how you feel on something else.” In that sense, “it me” functions as ironic humor. There’s a deflective quality to ironic humor. It masks the truth, though not the whole truth, revealing only a sliver of reality.

We Need to Talk About Digital Blackface in Reaction GIFs

Excerpt from this article:

If you’ve never heard of the term before, “digital blackface” is used to describe various types of minstrel performance that become available in cyberspace. Blackface minstrelsy is a theatrical tradition dating back to the early 19th century, in which performers “blacken” themselves up with costume and behaviors to act as black caricatures. The performances put society’s most racist sensibilities on display and in turn fed them back to audiences to intensify these feelings and disperse them across culture.

 

… For while reaction GIFs can and do every feeling under the sun, white and nonblack users seem to especially prefer GIFs with black people when it comes to emitting their most exaggerated emotions. Extreme joy, annoyance, anger and occasions for drama and gossip are a magnet for images of black people, especially black femmes.

Now, I’m not suggesting that white and nonblack people refrain from ever circulating a black person’s image for amusement or otherwise (except maybe lynching photos, Emmett Till’s casket, and videos of cops killing us, y’all can stop cycling those, thanks). There’s no prescriptive or proscriptive step-by-step rulebook to follow, nobody’s coming to take GIFs away. But no digital behavior exists in a deracialized vacuum. We all need to be cognizant of what we share, how we share, and to what extent that sharing dramatizes preexisting racial formulas inherited from “real life.” The Internet isn’t a fantasy — it’s real life.

The ‘Distracted Boyfriend’ Meme’s Photographer Explains All

Excerpt from this article:

You’ve seen it by now, maybe enough times to be sick of it: A man walks down a city street with his girlfriend, head turned backward, face curved into a Tex Avery ogle directed at a woman walking the other direction. This is the “distracted boyfriend” stock photo, an image that launched a thousand memes. And no one’s more surprised at its popularity than the man who took it.

A Very British Response to Terror

Excerpt from this article:

These moments encapsulated something about Britain’s calm, defiant response to the threat of terror. Even as we face an increasing number of attacks, we are learning to cope with grief, loss and violence in our own way…

In the face of this, we’re choosing vigilance, calm and just a little bit of humor. And any fear projected on to us will be met with a very British response: Sarcasm.

…A New York Times headline that said that London was “reeling” from the Manchester attack also became the subject of British Twitter’s wrath. Brits turned #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling into a hashtag that started to trend higher than the news of the attack itself.

See also this article on #ThingsThatLeaveBritainReeling.