Join 3,375 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


It's only words, unless they're motherfucking true.
February 28, 2011 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Revealing the man behind @MayorEmanuel. The Atlantic talks to Dan Sinker, who just outed himself as the voice of the brilliant @MayorEmanuel twitter feed (RIP).
posted by shiu mai baby (46 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
One of the most interesting points made by Madrigal in that article is how @MayorEmanuel operated as sort of a new breed of fiction -- real-time, interactive, and yet the power of the narrative relied heavily on the live aspect of Twitter. I'd never thought of it that way before, but yeah, that was a key aspect in what made the thing so damned compelling.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:17 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's funny, sure, but isn't "brilliant" somewhat excessive praise? You're gonna give him a swollen head, shiu mai baby.
posted by clockzero at 1:26 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dan Sinker is BitterOldPunk's sockpuppet, according to BoP's user pic.
posted by mwhybark at 1:27 PM on February 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


pres_bartlet is my favorite fictional political twitter feed. I keep finding myself hoping that its author is Martin Sheen.
posted by anastasiav at 1:28 PM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks to @MayorEmanuel, I've added this sentiment to my morning lexicon.
posted by theodolite at 1:30 PM on February 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


No way, man. I said brilliant, and I meant it. Sinker wove an engaging tale that deftly combined politics, Chicago minutia, satire, absurdism, and the most creatively coarse language to ever hit the medium, to say nothing of the new form of fiction I mentioned above.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:30 PM on February 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


I didn't follow this one because all of these seem to take a similar arch. Something hits the news. Someone runs out and pretends to be a PR department or a dictator or whatnot. Sometimes it's obvious parody, other times it's a bit more subtle and it takes a few pages of tweets to figure out.

I love this sort of stuff. I love the Yes Men aspect or subsuming identity.

This said, I don't really get this one. A couple thousand tweets? They weren't even that great.

I thought the Plan B account from Nokia was much better.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:31 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


has anyone found a complete archive of the feed?
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 1:34 PM on February 28, 2011


cjorgensen: "This said, I don't really get this one. A couple thousand tweets? They weren't even that great.
"

Your favorite band Twitter feeds sucks, in other words.

Hades assembled the whole thing in chronological order.
posted by mwhybark at 1:37 PM on February 28, 2011 [11 favorites]


cjorgensen, I think you've misunderstood the point a little bit -- if @MayorEmanuel began as a @BPGlobalPR style takedown, it quickly spiraled off into its own thing entirely, in which the spirit-questing, coffee-chugging, apartment-destroying, completely unhinged persona of the account didn't resemble even the wildest stereotypes of the real Rahm's behavior.
posted by theodolite at 1:39 PM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


pres_bartlet is my favorite fictional political twitter feed. I keep finding myself hoping that its author is Martin Sheen.

I heard that NBC was planning to bring back the West Wing for an 8th season. The new show was to star Charlie Sheen as President Josiah W Bartlet Jnr. - an ex alcoholic and coke head newly elected to the White House. Apparently the idea got shot down by the NBC suits because the new plot was too implausible for the target demographic to accept.
posted by 40glocc at 1:41 PM on February 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


For those just arriving, it's probably worth pointing out that Dan Sinker is the founder of legendary zine Punk Planet. The article goes into this in more detail.
posted by evisceratordeath at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2011


I was really hoping the person behind the feed would never be revealed. That seems more punk.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 1:43 PM on February 28, 2011


Dammit it makes me so unhappy when people like things more than I do, or less than I do
posted by clockzero at 1:45 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Brilliant literature, that's what this is. To the point where some of my friends were jokingly hoping that Pynchon was behind the feed. I read the entire thing last week, and while it's rough at first (getting most of its jokes out of the profanity), by the end it had escalated in ambition, depth and characterization into something indescribable and... important. I damn near teared up at the ending. Pretty impressive for a politician's fake twitter account.
posted by naju at 1:45 PM on February 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


I wasn't trying to do a your favorite anything sucks.

My criticism wasn't levied at this account in particular, but in this style of commentary in general. I am wondering if this phenomenon has staying power or if these sorts of accounts will be weaker in each new iteration.

That said, I read this one for about a day before bailing.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:45 PM on February 28, 2011


I would suggest posting this in the open thread, except I already had.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:47 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was probably one of my favorite parts, which started right after they initially kicked Emanuel off the ballot (Twitter time stamps removed for readability):
It's nice, this fucking city, in the dark. The snow and the ice. The bridges. The water. It's quiet. I just need some fucking quiet. We trashed the apartment so fucking bad, there's nothing to go back to. Last I saw Carl the Intern and Axelrod, they were going to drive the Civic into City Hall. They're probably fucking locked up now. Now it's just me and Axelrod's little puppy Hambone. Against the motherfucking world.

Found a spot under a bridge on Cortland. It's pretty here, and there's a hot air vent. This'll do. What a motherfucking fucked day. Woke up to Hambone licking my face. Now we're tossing chunks of ice into the river. Big fucking splash. Scared the ducks. The river water is brown like coffee, but it sure doesn't taste like coffee. I think I miss coffee the motherfucking most. There's a duck along the river here who has a bill with a little dark spot on it, like a mustache. Named him Axelrod. Quack fucking quack. Me, Hambone and Quaxelrod found a pretty sturdy sheet of ice and we're going to fucking float down the river for a while.

Quaxelrod just started quacking like crazy. It's foggy, but I can see someone else fucking floating toward us. It's Daley! Floating the other way. "You're a hard man to find, you know. Here's some bread for your duck. Shut him the fuck up."

"First off, you're back on. I mean, for now. Probably forever. The Supremes are assfucks, but they're my assfucks." Daley's hands are HUGE. "But really man, pull yourself the fuck together. You're running for mayor. Of Chicago. People are going to fuck with you all the time."

"You think when I wanted to close Miegs Field, and they told me no, that I went adrift? No. I fucking closed Miegs fucking Field. You think when they started pissing on the parking meter sale that I fucking tucked tail? No, I sold off everyfuckingthing else too. Here's something my Dad told me once: The role of the mayor is to be the guy that everyone takes a shit on. And then to shit on them back.

"Except he didn't say 'everyone,' he said 'Blacks, Jews, Poles, and Hippies' but those were different times. Fucking substance is the same. So you're going to turn this ice floe around, pack up your pets, and run for the goddamn mayor of Chicago and you're going to win. And once you've won, you're going to fuck with every last one of these motherfuckers until they wish they'd never even heard your name.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I'm floating my way down to Chinatown right now for some Dim Sum." And Daley's gone again, into the fog.

Fuck this noise. Quaxelrod? Hambone? We've got a motherfucking election to motherfucking win. Let's do this shit.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:49 PM on February 28, 2011 [29 favorites]


Horace: Well, damn. I missed that original thread. MetaFAIL.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:50 PM on February 28, 2011


Hambone is a great name for a dog.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:52 PM on February 28, 2011


I was wondering what the hype was about, thinking perhaps Alexis Madrigal had forgotten about Fake Steve Jobs who started back in 2006, or perhaps he had overlooked the (largely Japanese) cell phone novel phenomenon (for lack of better word), but it sounds like a well-done combination of the two. I read a few tweets that I found amusing, but never realized there was a friggin story arc in there.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:53 PM on February 28, 2011


goddammit, when will I learn not to click on twitter links. stupid back-button breaking anti-internet bastards.
posted by DU at 2:14 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


It was probably inevitable, but there was a part of me that was hoping we'd never know for sure who wrote @MayorEmanuel. I got actually verklempt when he finally went through the time vortex. Genius writing.

Also, that night there was a thundersnow thing going on, and I swear to god there was a clap of thunder right after the final post.
posted by sparkletone at 2:22 PM on February 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I got actually verklempt when he finally went through the time vortex. Genius writing.

YES, I loved how it ended on the word "fucking" and I was a little teary.
posted by Nattie at 2:28 PM on February 28, 2011


shiu mai baby: "Horace: Well, damn. I missed that original thread. MetaFAIL."

This absolutely deserves to be its own FPP. Thanks for posting it.
posted by zarq at 2:31 PM on February 28, 2011


Are the fake Christopher Walken tweets from back in the day available anywhere? They were great.
posted by kersplunk at 2:55 PM on February 28, 2011


It seems a little weird to me how the whole thing started in October and ended last week, but the Atlantic's tagline is "the mystery writer was never revealed - until now." We're not talking about Deep Throat here.

Is this part of that "everything happens faster on the Internet" thing I've heard so much about?
posted by kittyprecious at 3:17 PM on February 28, 2011


How is it brilliant?
posted by agregoli at 3:17 PM on February 28, 2011


"The offer still stands to the man behind my foul-mouthed Twitter counterpart @mayoremanuel - $5K to the charity of his choice" about 2 hours ago by @RahmEmanuel via TweetDeck (Retweeted by 100+ people)
posted by zarq at 3:20 PM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


The whole thing (well, apart from the end, obviously) seemed reminiscent of Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It, I thought - which certainly isn't a bad thing.
posted by adrianhon at 3:28 PM on February 28, 2011


God I want his pick for a charity to be the Green Party or something. Just cuz Punk Rock.

Love the account, love the dude, loved Punk Planet, love Chicago, love Twitter, love love love.

Love,
Me
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:50 PM on February 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. The atlantic just became one step closer to being TMZ. Not a judgment, just an observation. This isnt news like "who wrote primary colors?", this is more like "who does LiLo's hair?".
posted by hal_c_on at 4:10 PM on February 28, 2011


hal_c_on, I trust you didn't read the article, correct? Because I don't recall TMZ ever once referencing Mamet, Russian cultural criticism, the picaresque, or the social equality of the carnivales of the Renaissance, much less all in the same article.

Then again, if all that shit is equivalent to "who does LiLo's hair" for you, then you're definitely in a rarefied academic air far, far above my academic level.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:15 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder how long it will be before the next "big rock star" / "big money" politician sets up a fake "fake" twitter account... designed to spin the satire the "right" way.

Fake_Sarah_Palin: I may have missed Russia (I really can't see it) but at least I killed some Mexicans!

Fake_Obama: I got a new dog for MLK day. He's called MLK junior. I've trained him not to find the bone 'cos it has CIA explosives in it.

Fake_Mayor_Bloomberg: People say I'm not running until Obama quits and that's right. That guy is the blackest most democrat republican we ever had in office. I'll not ruin a good thing.
posted by 40glocc at 4:18 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've only read a little ways in, but I found the exchange between @MayorEmanuel and @SpeakerBachmann in which both seem to be not totally clear about whether the other is a fake account or not pretty interesting.

Maybe in the future we can have an entire government run via fake twitter accounts. Instead of voting for our representatives we'll just 'follow' them. And ballot initiatives will be done through 'favorites'. It's perfect. It lacks nothing.
posted by ook at 5:12 PM on February 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


zarq: ""The offer still stands to the man behind my foul-mouthed Twitter counterpart @mayoremanuel - $5K to the charity of his choice" about 2 hours ago by @RahmEmanuel via TweetDeck (Retweeted by 100+ people"

Classy move. Take him up on it, Dan!

I mean, unless you have more to come...
posted by mwhybark at 5:19 PM on February 28, 2011


Dan Sinker set for on-air appearance tomorrow.
posted by mwhybark at 5:29 PM on February 28, 2011


If @MayorEmanuel is what passes for brilliant comedy these days, I'm giving up trying to be funny. No joke. No punchline.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:39 PM on February 28, 2011


There are other varieties of humour than punch-counterpunch-LOL, you know. Sure, you might not find them funny, but they still count.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 7:24 PM on February 28, 2011


Not to be forgotten, @rebelmayor added a great flavour to the recent Toronto Mayoral elections. He was based on William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto's first mayor and rebellion leader, and he was written by this guy.
posted by dry white toast at 7:29 PM on February 28, 2011


The thing about MayorEmanuel is that it's not funny if you just see a couple of posts and that's it. A lot of the humor came simply from the medium -- like Madrigal writes, you'd see a post about life in the igloo, and then a couple hours later, the next post builds on it, until you've got this complete absurd storyline going on. And then he added to it the next day. And the day after that.

By the time he had fake Rahm tripping on fermented baby food and climbing a gigantic mile high tower (Hey, didn't Frank Lloyd Wright come up with plans for one of those?) made out of dibs chairs and meeting Gene Siskel and hugging the gigantic heart of Studs Turkel and then meeting Curtis Mayfield, who asked him to think about "who are you if you're not you?"--

Well, I would have followed him into the maw of hell itself in order to find out what happened next. My only regret is that I didn't start following him until mid-January.
posted by thecaddy at 8:09 PM on February 28, 2011 [12 favorites]


If anyone is interested, I made a .pdf doc of all of @mayoremanuel's tweets and uploaded it to scribd.
posted by pwally at 11:33 AM on March 1, 2011


Dan contacted me yesterday, asking if he could use my archive for the site he's putting together. Squee!
posted by hades at 8:33 AM on March 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Watch for Dan on The Colbert Report this coming Tuesday.
posted by naju at 9:18 AM on March 3, 2011


Holy shit, hades, that's fantastic! Congratulations on your exceptional archiving skills!
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:00 AM on March 3, 2011


Fake Rahm meets Rahm.
posted by zamboni at 10:18 PM on March 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Google Demo Slam...  |  The U.S. governmental Commissi... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments