Gamestonk 2: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

A Tabs loosie, brought to you by a former intern. This one goes out to all my NPCs.

Hello! I’m back. The last time I was in your inboxes was sometime in the spring of 2015, which, in internet years, feels closer to the ’90s (canonically 10 years ago) than it does to the present. Although correct me if I’m wrong: right now the present seems to be just a repeat of the last few decades of pop culture?

Consider a few examples. The Rugrats are 3D now. Post Malone celebrates 25 years of Pokémon with a pretty great Hootie cover and a virtual event that will eventually be lost to the shifting sands of time. Frasier got a podcast, and I’m personally excited to see what happens when its younger viewers discover the “Personal Life” section of Kesley Grammer’s Wikipedia page. It’s like the powers that be have decided that the late 20th century was the absolute height of human civilization and were like yo let’s run that shit back. I’m still waiting on the return of Frutopia, though. (Not the lube.)

Speaking of history: the former teen behind Your Fave Is Problematic has revealed themself in the Paper of Discourse. It’s worth a read, honestly, as Liat Kaplan seems to be grappling with the asymmetric difficulty of being even a semi-public person online. (Life online would be easier as an anime avatar, imo.) “My brain wasn’t ready for nuance,” they write. “I was angered by hypocrisy and cruelty; what I did about it was apply a level of scrutiny that left no room for error. I’m not saying that I should be canceled for my teenage blog. (Please don't!) I just know what we all should know by now: that no one who has lived publicly, online or off, has a spotless record.”

Over at Vulture, Jen Chaney put together an oral history of the Lost finale, which convincingly makes the case that it was one of the last “truly communal broadcast television experience[s].” It also features co-creator (and friend of Cord Jefferson) Damon Lindelof saying things like: “But that idea—they were dead the whole time—it negates the whole show, it negates the whole point of the show.”

The Lost finale aired in 2010, a period of time it’s now possible to be nostalgic for. Perhaps it’s fitting, then, that city pop—the music of nostalgic American sounds and unprecedented Japanese upward mobility—is hugely popular now on TikTok and YouTube. Cat Zhang has a really great piece on the whole phenomenon over at Pitchfork you should read if you’re interested in the whys of this particular trend.

All right! That’s enough looking back, at least for now. What’s going on in the present?

You know, I thought I had more to say. But look, I’m exhausted enough that this tweet feels profound.

We’re nearing the end of this Sisyphean, lost year; the vaccines are on their way to our veins. I can’t help but think I’d be happier about it if I could conceive of what it might feel like to do the things I used to before the pandemic began.

Right now all I can do is vibe, and hope I never have to vibe like this again.



P.S. This TikTok is incredibly good. Also, I recently learned that ciabatta (the bread) was invented in the ’80s. I mean, what? Were they just like “YO NEW BREAD DROPPED” to a soundtrack of blow and A-Ha? Anyway, follow me on Twitch. It’s like Twitter, but with moderation.

P.P.S. This is Rusty, posting from a ferry terminal. Thanks to Bijan for stepping in, and if you want to help fund more guest posters in the future, toss a coin to your Tabbers.

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