Meanwhile, on Tumblr: Goncharov (1973)
November 20, 2022 7:11 PM   Subscribe

As Twitter is in its death throes, Tumblr is thriving (for certain definitions of thriving) and doing a deep dive into Goncharov (1973), dir. Martin Scorsese. In fact, tumblr is talking about it so much that Goncharov is today's top trending tag there.

You've never heard of that Scorsese movie, you say? Well, it was famous enough to be on these boots! There are reviews on Letterboxd. There are the kind of artsy photosets tumblr does so well, and moody intertextual photosets too. There are gifsets. There's a page from the screenplay too, and the soundtrack. It was even mentioned in House of Leaves, which as we all recall, was also definitely about a very real movie.

There's also Goncharov fan fiction on AO3. And there's also plenty of analysis on tumblr: some quotes from books about film criticism, and some meta from tumblr users too, about the costumes and individual scenes, and even minor characters like Ice Pick Joe.

There are also memes, of course, because this is tumblr, and fanart too.

Okay, so maybe Goncharov (1973), dir. Martin Scorsese is not, strictly speaking, a "real" movie. Why is tumblr acting like it is? Perhaps this post can explain. How did we get from boots to a whole-ass fake movie? Maybe like this? Anyway, everyone's having fun, even if maybe it ought to be Goncharov (1983), because tumblr is all about being committed to the bit.
posted by yasaman (45 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I feel like the Venn diagram of people who participated in this and people who participated in the cultural event of blaseball has to be nearly perfectly overlapping.
posted by curious nu at 7:24 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]

Also thank you for pulling these links together because I was very curious about the “how did this happen?” but am not tumblr-savvy enough to go treasure hunting and figure it out.
posted by curious nu at 7:25 PM on November 20 [2 favorites]

OK but this is making me insane because Goncharov was produced by Martin Scorsese and no one is bothering to credit the actual director, Matteo Jwhj0715. This is like how everyone thinks that Tim Burton directed The Nightmare Before Christmas when it was actually Henry Selick. Just grinds my gears, you know?
posted by merriment at 7:31 PM on November 20 [25 favorites]

thank you for this. I thought of making a post myself, but within a day or so of not paying attention I had completely lost track of the Goncharov extended universe (GCU)
posted by Countess Elena at 7:40 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]

The original poster of the Goncharov boot's response to all the hoohah was pretty cute.
posted by merriment at 7:46 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]

I'm liking the general collective agreement process that is gradually defining the qualities of Goncharov (about three and a half hours long, heavy clock symbolism, The Boat Scene, fights about whether to ship Andrei and Goncharov).
posted by solarion at 7:51 PM on November 20 [6 favorites]

Curious nu, I did not participate in Blaseball but am participating in Goncharov. However, I did participate in Homestuck, so I think that could catch any stragglers in either direction.
posted by brook horse at 7:58 PM on November 20 [4 favorites]

You can tell Lynda Carter is making herself at home just fine on Tumblr because she's into this bit. (one and two)
posted by gentlyepigrams at 8:08 PM on November 20 [10 favorites]

Personally, I liked the porn version, Gun-Sheer-Off.
posted by MollyRealized at 9:33 PM on November 20 [3 favorites]

If we end up with an actual full movie somehow, I will not be surprised: Tumblr user caramiaaddio has actually posted the Main Theme from Goncharov music.
posted by yasaman at 9:52 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]

Watching fandom migrate back to Tumblr feels so weird? My own migration from LJ to Tumblr took place over the Obama era. It's rather difficult to get back into that mindset - even the resigned disillusionment of the late-Obama before-Trump period seemed positively childlike compared to what I feel now.

The last post on my main account was when Naya Rivera passed away and so many gleeks came back to say what she meant to us. The second last post was years before that. It truly feels like another age.

But then Lea Michele is doing Funny Girl on Broadway and the other day I came across gossip about Chris Colfer throwing shade. The power of nostalgia conquers all.
posted by fatehunter at 10:02 PM on November 20

Twitter isn't in its death throes but like Facebook it is on a long slow drain circle.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:39 PM on November 20

I remember when the Husk told me to rent that movie.
posted by pelvicsorcery at 12:00 AM on November 21 [8 favorites]

I confess I thought this was funny for about 60 seconds, and then it stopped being funny when the same post was reblogged by about all 40 people who are active on my Tumblr dashboard, and then the same 25 posts were reblogged by everybody. Exponentially irritating.

I use Tumblr kind of as a magazine, sort of a break for my eyes when I’m working on copyediting. I take a break between chapters to scroll tumblr and the Goncharov stuff is mostly text. It really just stops being funny when you see it 5,000 times in one evening. (Not helping I’m sure is that I’m in excruciating pain from some sort of shoulder problem .)

I’m glad people are having fun though, I just can’t share in it at this point.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:07 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

Tumblr user caramiaaddio has actually posted the Main Theme from Goncharov music.

My project for tonight was to make a interstitial cue based on that theme, which turned out okay.

This will be over pretty soon so I'm having a good time while it lasts (and making very sure to tag everything so people can block it easily).
posted by solarion at 2:57 AM on November 21

Someone figured out what those Goncharov boots were actually referencing, by the way:

It's the poster for the 2008 Matteo Saviano film Gomorrah
posted by subdee at 3:38 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

The last time tumblr was having this much fun was while we were waiting for the results of the 2020 election so I'm sure there's an element of not wanting to think or talk about current politics (Trump running for office & invited back to twitter) this time too.
posted by subdee at 3:40 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

I've been with the Goncharov situation since the boots post, and I love that it's picked up this momentum recently. This is why I love Tumblr (and Tiktok, which gave us Ratatouille: the Musical, created in much the same way)

And I look forward to hearing all about this in 4 years this from my friends who only get their internet culture filtered through the Tumblr > Reddit > Twitter > Facebook pipeline but think they are on the bleeding edge of collective humor. Maybe it will be faster now since Twitter is melting.
posted by ananci at 5:18 AM on November 21

since Twitter is melting.

I was never a heavy twit, but my small randomish group that I follow (sf authors, female comedians, a few newsfolk) do not seem to have changed dramatically and remain amusing and wry.

Tumblr never quite clicked for me. Relatively recently I discovered dance posts on instagram, omg what some folks can do, nine pirouettes, nine+! On Pointe too!
posted by sammyo at 5:24 AM on November 21

Sammyo, it's not Twitter's users that are melting, I'm sure everyone you follow is fine -- it's the software that's breaking down. And maybe the hardware as well if they don't find some people to keep an eye on their data centers pretty soon. They went from a staff of 8000 to roughly 285 in the last couple weeks. The entire engineering team has quit. The website is probably not going to be functional much longer.
posted by ananci at 5:30 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]

The highest and best expression of humanity is people making stupid art in large groups.
posted by Xiphias Gladius at 5:34 AM on November 21 [15 favorites]

Twitter user Riley Rethal had a related suggestion for an improv-based TTRPG a while back:
posted by rmd1023 at 5:48 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

it's the software that's breaking down. And maybe the hardware as well

Yes I get that, but reference the excellent comment by wooh, who actually worked there. If as he suggests, the actual key to twitter was quality infrastructure, it may run with minimal intervention for quite a long time.

One of the few people with many followers I follow tweeted that she had not seen her follow count drop.

Was it a Satchel Paige quote "nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded"...
posted by sammyo at 6:27 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]

Is it just me or does this not seem like an early scorsese movie though? Like mean streets directed in the same year really feels like part of a conversation that's developed in later more famous films like taxi driver (1976) and still working itself out aesthetically and thematically as late as goodfellas (1990). Or early use of those exquisite black and white film scrappy street boxing sequences in taurus in the back (1971) which of course would later be developed in raging bull (1980) and again feel part of lineage of discussing working class masculinity . Maybe im leaning too heavily on auteur theory though and gen z is joyfully rejecting it *shrug*.
posted by mosswinter at 7:20 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]

I have to say that I love this.

I've seen bits about it on twitter and it has almost convinced me to make a tumblr for twitter back-up purposes. I know I need to join Mastodon because people in my twitter circle have actually been migrating over there for the past year, but I have been too lazy....but Mastodon will be work and tumblr will be fun, or at least mostly fun. (I know, I remember some of the screwed up stuff from old tumblr, but I no longer feel as obligated to sit around for that stuff.)

But anyway. Riffing on an imaginary movie and creating everything that would exist around the movie, that's perfect. It's a great topic for bits, for one thing, because it doesn't involve being horrible to people. It allows for a lot of back and forth. It has an eerie dream-feeling to it and a bit of Borges or Calvino or (and this is an important or) Angelica Gorodischer. It allows you to immerse yourself in....I don't know, pure aura.

It really is the greatest of all mafia movies because there is no actual movie to bring it down - flawless in imagination, or if there are flaws, they are flaws that you have imagined and so they're part of the gestalt.

I mean, in a way it's sort of immoral, almost, to imagine this perfect object that embodies a sort of cultural imaginary of 1973 - we're not forced to deal with actual 1973, only our collective sense of the feeling of 1973. It's nice to have an immoral aesthetic undertaking that doesn't involve, eg, cultural appropriation or being a racist asshole because they cast a Black actor or something. More of a decadent fin de siecle immorality than actually being a terrible person immorality.
posted by Frowner at 7:23 AM on November 21 [6 favorites]

Mosswinter, that's what the maybe it ought to be Goncharov (1983) link covers, that maybe the movie would be better situated in 1983. Of course, in the alternate universe where Goncharov (1973) exists, you can maybe imagine that Goncharov is what influences those later films.

But also, this is a collective hallucination of a fake movie, so.
posted by yasaman at 7:25 AM on November 21 [2 favorites]

I confess I thought this was funny for about 60 seconds, and then it stopped being funny when the same post was reblogged by about all 40 people who are active on my Tumblr dashboard, and then the same 25 posts were reblogged by everybody. Exponentially irritating.

This is one of the frustrations that I had with Tumblr, and maybe one of the reasons why I just stopped following it. I would end up scrolling and scrolling and scrolling past reblogs of stuff that I'd already seen, and that was after I'd weeded out some people. (And then there were people who would post just a staggering amount of original content. I mean, I liked a lot of what Seanan McGuire wrote, but after a while I had to unfollow because, especially knowing how much she publishes professionally, I wondered if she ever slept.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:50 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

My husband blocked the Goncharov tag because someone he followed was reblogging too much of it. I enjoy the schtick but I absolutely get that there are too many people reblogging it for some of you. My Tumblr queue is currently Goncharov-free and will probably continue that way because I queue up about a week at a time and while today is the day, more than one post and it'll be too old to be funny.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 10:04 AM on November 21

I love the thing but that's because my Tumblr bubble apparently isn't filled with of-the-moment tumblrites so I was just filled by delighted confusion because it was really just coming from one account and, thinking it's just another show i don't follow, i simply scrolled past it. Finally learned of its true nature via twitter of all places lmao.

But also, queueing posts is good, it keeps my own activity regular knowing how much my circle is just rb-ing from each other - being current is definitely not a concern.

Not to mention: crabs.
posted by cendawanita at 11:15 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]

Twitter isn't in its death throes but like Facebook it is on a long slow drain circle.

Remember the scene in Breaking Bad where they dissolve a dead body with acid in a bathtub? That's my impression of twitter at the moment. Currently a revolting stew of toxic chemicals and bile, primed for catastrophic failure.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:56 AM on November 21 [3 favorites]

As of this comment, 198 works on AO3 in the Goncharov (1973) fandom.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 12:30 PM on November 21 [4 favorites]

And there is more music from the soundtrack too! I am truly so impressed by the speed and quality of people's creativity.
posted by yasaman at 12:39 PM on November 21

And even more music, because I guess it's really composer/musician tumblr's time to shine.
posted by yasaman at 12:47 PM on November 21

I have to say, I would not be able to cope with Tumblr's habit of hot new things without keyboard shortcuts. Color of the sky? K. Horse Plinko? K. Goncharov and Andrey melodramatic image set? K.

A pile of 1970s magazine ads with recipes? Alt-Q Alt-Q Alt-Q Alt-Q ALT-Q
posted by Katemonkey at 2:06 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]

I liked it better when the big tumblr meme was everyone reading Dracula Daily.

Ah well, this too shall pass, eventually.
posted by JDHarper at 2:41 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]

A friend now thinking about making a fake movie randomizer. Something like director, year, genre, random title, with some randomized typeface.
posted by subdee at 6:36 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]

Bless you Katemonkey for posting about keyboard shortcuts. I wish I could describe how delighted I am to just be able to jump to the next post.

I admit my favorites are the costume analysis of fake costumes and I am a sucker for a good tumblr mood board.
posted by later, paladudes at 10:01 PM on November 21

I kind of want to be a fly on the wall when Scorsese finds out about this?

But then I also kind of don't, because the guy is so horribly condescending and dismissive of the sorts of people typically found on Tumblr. I would put a lot of money on him being a complete ass about it.
posted by humbug at 4:48 AM on November 22

If as he suggests, the actual key to twitter was quality infrastructure, it may run with minimal intervention for quite a long time.

I think you may have missed the point of wooh's comment. Yes, he does talk about the incredibly high quality of the infrastructure, but the entire comment is about why Twitter's staffing levels were not, in fact, bloated. He is pointing out that the infrastructure required that many people to maintain it, because of the current scale of the platform. So no, I do not think it will be able to run with minimal intervention for some time. Many features are already starting to break, including two factor authorization, notification counts, and private accounts that are now showing up in search results. These may seem like minor issues, but trust me, they are not.

I also have a friend who worked at Twitter. Here is one of his anecdotes about the sophisticated infrastructure:

12 years ago, Twitter’s office used a Mac Mini to tunnel into the servers. One day, an IT guy found it in the closet.

“Anyone know who owns this?”

“Unplug it. Someone will show up.”

Everyone lost access to servers. Huge crisis. It became known as the “Load Bearing Mac Mini.”
posted by ananci at 5:01 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]

We're up to 351 works in the Archive now; I am not on Tumblr so can't say how canon-compliant any of them are. I did appreciate this Wikipedia entry, formatted perfectly.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:46 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]

Anyone with actual knowledge of Scorsese’s work would realize that he would never cast Cybill Shepherd in Taxi Driver had he worked with her before.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:22 AM on November 22

Is it just me or does this not seem like an early scorsese movie though?

This isn't for people who know anything about Scorsese, it's Tumblr meta.

What strikes me about this is how small it is, how nostalgic for 2010s Tumblr when a hashtag could flood AO3 in hours. Tumblr is not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, and by earth and heaven I mean Sherlock and Supernatural.
posted by betweenthebars at 2:18 PM on November 22

People who think Goncharov is huge on Tumblr weren't here when Obama was re-elected president. I say that specifically because people reminisce about destielputinelection night (2020) but it was nothing compared to Nov 7, 2012, which is where many people including myself hit the "250 posts a day" limit. I've never hit it since, nor seen anyone post enough to hit it. Tumblr is a shadow of what it once was, though it may be growing in strength yet again.

Also I just depressed myself going to that day in my archive and looking at the hope we had for the US then.
posted by brook horse at 4:03 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]

Now there's a New York Times article about Goncharov, (archive link) which means it's time to pack it up, delete all the posts, flee, etc.
posted by yasaman at 10:15 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]

The punchline.
posted by merriment at 6:59 AM on November 26 [1 favorite]

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