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June 22, 2022 9:33 AM   Subscribe

But the story behind the Milady Maker implosion … is even weirder than it initially seemed, the bizarre tip of an even more confounding iceberg. To understand what happened requires a journey into the kaleidoscopic heart of New York City’s nascent Gen Z art scene, where shitposting, leftism, crypto, fascist occultism, and cyber-libertarianism all congeal together into an amorphous—and nihilistic—cultural blob. via the author's own Garbage Day newsletter
posted by signal (29 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is there anything worse-written than a Fast Company article centered around art school dropouts? All I can say is that if Peter Thiel is funding what you're doing you're not "leftist" and you done fucked up.
posted by axiom at 10:06 AM on June 22 [16 favorites]


axiom, that's transparently the thesis of the author? I just read the piece, and I'm unclear what you're referring to.
posted by sagc at 10:38 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


All I can say is that if Peter Thiel is funding what you're doing you're not "leftist" and you done fucked up.

I dunno, if a real leftist can bilk Thiel out of some money, good on them. Seems like these "anti-woke" morons are easy marks ripe for fleecing.
posted by star gentle uterus at 10:48 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


TBH I read half the article then noped out because it's word salad, and I am only willing to devote so much time to attempting to tease meaning out of nonsense. Hence my calling it poorly written. But I guess if they're actually fleecing Thiel the kids might be alright.
posted by axiom at 10:51 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I mean, they probably are fleecing Thiel, but that's only because they're flailing around pumping out anti-Semitic memes when he could just buy a few Senators, not because they're actually leftists.

Also, I understood the article easily? There were a few places where the actual copy-editing had missed something, but otherwise it was perfectly understandable. So...
posted by sagc at 11:02 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Huh, I didn’t get that they were doing anything Thiel wouldn’t like; they’re accelerationists using word salad and art lingo to provide plausible deniability.

Mostly for cryptocurrency scams. So far.
posted by clew at 11:04 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


Armando Ianucci used to dream up flights of garbled neologism for news satires The Day Today and Brass Eye back in the 1990s. But even Armando would not aspire to the catechism of bullcrap emanating from every Web3 and NFT cheerleader.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:05 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


People need to stop trying to make Dimes Square happen. It’s exhausting.

It is 100% the “fetch” of a certain class of conservative publications which desperately want to sell the idea that they’ve tapped into the zeitgeist even though they very obviously haven’t.

Some podcasters went all-in on an overbearing, technocratic, “traditional” Catholicism? Good for them, I guess, and good luck with their zealotry of the convert. Nobody outside of their bubble cares.

The same goes for web3, DAOs, crypto, and NFTs. What kind of mental gymnastics do you need to go through to jump from “this dumb shit that nobody has heard of is funded by old-ass white supremacists like Peter Thiel and Curtis Yarvin” to “this dumb shit and the ironic hipster racism surrounding it is an exciting and organic Gen Z subculture and you should be excited to learn all about it”? Just stop. Enough. Nobody needs thousands of words on this.

In the meantime, a whole lot of young people, including young people of color, are out there building far more fascinating subcultures. Maybe showcase their work, stop fixating on and selling anachronistic racism as the next cool thing, and leave Chinatown alone.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:28 AM on June 22 [16 favorites]


It seems like this whole thing can be summed up as 4chan and all the alt-right horrors it has unleashed -- but this time, with NFT collectibles, which, in the eyes of pro-fascist trolls and crypto enthusiasts, legitimates their pro-fascist trolling as "art". This is all as unsurprising as it is sickening.
posted by treepour at 11:42 AM on June 22 [5 favorites]


> evidenceofabsence: "“this dumb shit and the ironic hipster racism surrounding it is an exciting and organic Gen Z subculture and you should be excited to learn all about it”"

I don't think the message contained in this article is that "you should be excited to learn all about it", or at least that wasn't what I took away from it. If anything, I read this more as a cautionary warning. Maybe it's because I'm familiar with this author's other work (i.e.: he's generally quite critical of crypto/NFTs/that whole scene as well as the general 4chan-esque shitposting mentality). But even without that outside context, I'm not really sure how this article reads as "selling anachronistic racism as the next cool thing".

Of course, one might ask why anyone should be tracking, researching, or even just being aware of yet another shitposting edgelord RP (roleplay) group, to which I'd offer that shitposting edgelord RP groups is precisely where QAnon came from. And while there are notable differences between Remilia and QAnon, I'd be wary of dismissing the possible influence or impact they could have, especially since the main person -- Charlotte Fang or Miya or whatever -- has explicitly said they're not going away, they're just going to change their name.
posted by mhum at 11:57 AM on June 22 [9 favorites]


I enjoyed this even though I think I have never felt so old reading a news story in my whole life.

How old? Old enough that, on first glance, I thought that this was a nostalgia piece about the last days of the last days of Melody Maker the magazine.
posted by thivaia at 12:12 PM on June 22 [3 favorites]


"Ironically, anti-woke shitposting is extremely not underground. It’s one of the most popular and mainstreamed components of digital culture."
Media and political culture, too.
posted by box at 1:11 PM on June 22


Metafilter: where shitposting, leftism, crypto, fascist occultism, and cyber-libertarianism all congeal together into an amorphous—and nihilistic—cultural blob.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 1:52 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


I was trying to figure out what angelism and "the vibe shift" were from another context and couldn't make heads or tails of it. I think this article was helpful context for, if not what they are, who is pushing them and why.
posted by Tesseractive at 1:53 PM on June 22


I guess it was to be expected that the 20-year fashion cycle would hit edgelord racism as well and we would get a replay of Gavin McInnes and VICE, but this time with crypto and NFTs.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:39 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


Nobody needs thousands of words on this.

Well, sure, but these dudes have more cash.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 5:28 PM on June 22


I can see how the article would seem incomprehensible. I understood it just fine, but I'm terminally online and unfortunately follow these spaces from a safe distance.

It's a nice reminder of how our cyberpunk future is pathetic when it's not absolutely terrifying. At least there's some small comfort in how the NFT market collapsed, along with the rest of crypto, so these idiots aren't going to be making easy money any time soon. Also worth noting the near constant levels of ridicule that result when NFTs are even mentioned. Thus limiting whatever spread they might have had.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 6:02 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


Wish they'd elaborate more on the Dimes Square connection because I would never have expected them to link up with terminally-online weebs.
posted by airmail at 6:37 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


Teegeeack AV Club Secretary: "It's a nice reminder of how our cyberpunk future is pathetic when it's not absolutely terrifying. "

I was just thinking that if I'd shown this article to '90s me I'd have been like "wow, the future looks very cyberpunk and weird and interesting, such a strange mix of tech and art and culture" but 2020s me is like "groan, are these idiots still on that crap?"
posted by signal at 7:53 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


Huh, I didn’t get that they were doing anything Thiel wouldn’t like; they’re accelerationists using word salad and art lingo to provide plausible deniability.

A lot of these people are more opportunists than anything. Take the Red Scare podcast ladies - one of the more visible cultural outputs of this, uh, scene - going from
one for them getting her initial 15 minutes from a viral clip at the expense of an Infowars reporter at a Bernie Sanders event to posing with Alex Jones himself to be edgy. And now onto some reactionary Catholic shit claiming the pope is fake on Twitter (so much of this must sound like pure nonsense to the uninitiated). This is what happens when one’s engagement with politics is exclusively about catching some wave to ride to notoriety.
posted by atoxyl at 9:32 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


one for them

one of them
posted by atoxyl at 9:40 PM on June 22


This is an excellent article... Sad to report that I understood every word of this.

When I asked whether Fang thought being ironically or performatively “unwoke” is the same as being a bigot, she pushed back, arguing that what Remilia Corporation do different to what happens on 4chan or far-right platforms like Gab. “A lot of [4chan’s] trolling was juvenile. And it had a vague political motivation. This idea of like, ‘well, don’t take things seriously on the internet,'” Fang said.

***

“I apologize about trying to hide the past account—Miya has nothing to do with Milady Maker and should stay that way so I’ll be stepping down from the team from here,” Fang tweeted. “Unequivocally, my real views hold no room for hate, and I detest abusers and groomers—trolling about it was juvenile, but in reality I’ve never harmed a fly.”


What an absolute troll. Talking about how this group taking money from Peter Thiel to sell NFTS and pretend that alt-right shitposting is an underground avant-guard art movement and not a boring mainstrem thing that teenage gamers do, and how this can be called "alt-left" when it's the opposite of progressive... It's in the Article. It's entirely a language game and using the language of the left to enact opposite goals. For instance, something Charlotte Fang/Miya/Sonya does in this article is claim you can't judge the screenshots from the twitter group chat that show them circulating the racist and homophobic memes because it's "context collapse" and you'd need to read the group chat in it's entirety to understand.

And as someone who does consider themselves leftist, I agree with "context collapse" and I know (ask me how I know) that a lot of these types of callout threads on twitter are made of isolated comments cut out from a larger thread and made too look way more horrible than they are in context.

And in fact, Charlotte and her followers then went to the Twitter of the person who had posted those screenshots in that thread and went looking for a comment from years and years ago they could take out of context and use to call out and discredit their enemy. Because they are trolls. The foundational MO of the internet troll being to never accept responsibility and to use whatever language and rhetorical tricks are most readily available to to slither out of whatever argument or power play you are currently in and come out on top, regardless of how many people are hurt in the process (in fact the higher the bodycount the better).

And if you haven't been online around the millennials and gen zers, what you might not realize is that the LANGUAGE of the left (without the principles or frameworks behind it) is now frequently used as a weapon in these online power plays. It is similar to reading something from a fundamentalist preacher about how "to deny the reality of Christ is to deny the lived experiences of women and African-Americans." It's all language games and using progressive language as a smoke shield and a weapon to bludgeon others, without subscribing to the ideals behind the language. And people fall for it!!!!

Then there is the link to the alt-right money pipeline...

As it's mentioned in the article, Charlotte Fang is a pseudonym and there's nothing stopping this troll from just going full fascist next if that's where the money is.
posted by subdee at 3:56 AM on June 23 [5 favorites]


Another interesting thing from the article - the weaponizing of "community" around a commercial venture to make money.

Big commercial platforms have caught on to this and do it all the time - for instance go to meh.com where the current "deal of the day" is literally a $65 dollar bundle of random crap that comes with coupons to buy further random crap (that they straight up tell you is random crap). But because there's a forum, people have formed a "community" around that site and so they'll pay for the random crap at inflated prices.

And there's the bit right in the article that NFT sets are essentially this. A way to buy your way into a community where your financial incentives line up with the financial incentives of the other members of the community. Now you are all invested in hyping the line of bad anime twitter avatars you have bought into, in the hopes that one day you can sell your avatar (and by extension, your place in the community) to someone else.

The cyberpunk future really does suck, it's like all these people falling for these scams don't realize that you can join a discord of like minded people and form an online community of people who value you, completely for free!!!!!!!!!! And do it without destroying the environment or civic society in the process!!!!!!!!
posted by subdee at 4:10 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


It seems like this whole thing can be summed up as 4chan and all the alt-right horrors it has unleashed -- but this time, with NFT collectibles, which, in the eyes of pro-fascist trolls and crypto enthusiasts, legitimates their pro-fascist trolling as "art". This is all as unsurprising as it is sickening.

Basically. See also: Bored Ape Yacht Club is Racist and Contains Nazi Dog Whistles
posted by Mondegreen at 5:46 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


so much of this must sound like pure nonsense to the uninitiated

can confirm
posted by solotoro at 9:18 AM on June 23


And because Web3 is going just great is the gift that keeps on giving, there's now a bit up about some QAnon-mongering scammers [CW: suicide] who pulled off a grift by claiming personal connections with Trump, Elon, and JFK Jr., and described their scheme as being promulgated by aliens “as an on-ramp to familiarize ourselves with the quantum financial system until we can evolve into 5D and trade assets with our consciousness. How crazy is that?” (Before you laugh too hard, please note the CW above.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:46 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


As it's mentioned in the article, Charlotte Fang is a pseudonym and there's nothing stopping this troll from just going full fascist next if that's where the money is.

So you acknowledge Charlotte Fang is a pseudonym, but you're also gendering Charlotte Fang as female ("Charlotte and her followers") - what are your sources? From my understanding, Charlotte Fang / Miya is a cis man that identifies as such.
posted by aielen at 9:07 AM on June 24


Or rather, to be exact - the person behind Charlotte Fang is a cis man, while the persona Charlotte Fang is not meant to be (which in itself is something I find problematic).
posted by aielen at 9:17 AM on June 24


No sources, just going off the gender of the pseudonyms (not just "Charlotte" but "Miya" and "Sonya" as well).
posted by subdee at 2:06 PM on June 24


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