[jason derulo voice] jason derulo

the met gala was canceled but the one good joke about it was not

Yesterday was the first Monday in May. As we all know, that is the day that Anna Wintour's Metropolitan Gala ("the Met Gala") occurs. Usually, the Twitter timeline would be abuzz with users posting watermarked photos of Gigi Hadid wearing a large shiny dress and everyone would be like "gigi im screAMING at THiS DRESS. she snapped." Unfortunately, that did not happen this year.

There's a contagious virus going around and unfortunately, the Met Gala was canceled along with everything else. Still, life finds a way. Despite the complete lack of event, I'm pleased to report that "Wiggle" singer Jason Derulo has once again fallen down the stairs at the Met Gala.

Truly inspirational stuff. Jason recovered from Cats and said, "Let's get back to business," which in this case meant tumbling head over heels on the stairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Here is the part where I admit that, obviously, this did not actually happen. That's not even Jason Derulo in the photo. It was taken at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, though the actual man in the white suit is unknown. A now-vanished blog post with more photos of the tumble referred to him as "Cannes Fall Guy" and that's as far as I got.

In 2015, a Twitter user by the handled @dashausofjack tweeted out the infamous photo during the Gala's red carpet, and everyone either believed it or ran with it. Everyone was talking about Derulo's viral inversion. By 9pm, Derulo had posted a (now-deleted) photo to Instagram captioned, "Lmao I'm at rehearsal in LA. Fuq ya'll! Lol." Which made people only want to post the photo more.

Since then it's become a running tradition to post the photo during the Met Gala red carpet as a breaking news situation. At this point, it's not really about tricking people. Everyone knows it's coming! It's still so funny.

The Jason Derulo pic is a fact of life. To use a term from a Lost episode I've been thinking about rewatching, it's a "constant," an artifact present at multiple points in time which we can anchor ourselves too. In autumn, leaves change color. Amid natural disasters, sharks swim on the highway. On the first Monday in May, Jason Derulo falls again. He's also fallen on other occasions, including the 2020 Oscars, but the Met Gala remains his championship event.

I, for one, salute all of the posters who have kept this vital tradition alive.


Sorry that the newsletter is a little late today! I can only type with one hand because I fell down the stairs at the Met Gala.

Trend Watch: Butch Hartman's moment

It's no secret that SpongeBob SquarePants memes are a powerful engine for meme culture. There are dozens of memes based on images or clips or quotes from the show, and why that is is pretty easy to explain. SpongeBob was an extremely popular show for the young, digital-native audiences that drive conversation online. Not that tough to understand!

For a long time SpongeBob was the shared cultural touchstone that everyone could understand and participate in. Even if you don't know SpongeBob intimately, you could identify him in a police lineup. (Not sure how he got there, don't have time to address this now.) The screenshots were evocative, the SpongeBob sense of humor just odd enough that it seemed to transcend age -- especially helpful when the people most active in posting macros of SpongeBob are in at least their mid-20s.

I believe that in time, the reign of SpongeBob memes will come to an end. Maybe not immediately, but I see a usurper on the horizon.

Last Friday, singer Doja Cat ("Moo," the TikTok-popular "Say So") had to change her Twitter name. Her reps were not wild about her promoting a "Say So" remix featuring Nicki Minaj on Twitter with the display name "Poosy Fat." (They also were presumably not wild about "GIANT FUCKING PUSSY HOLE.") Eventually she changed her name to this:

Doja Dimmadome. The surname there belongs to Doug Dimmadome, the owner of the Dimmsdale Dimmadome, an arena in Dimmsdale. Maybe that's confusing. It's the last name of a character from the Nickeloden cartoon The Fairly OddParents, created by Butch Hartman. In the cartoon, Doug is a Texan business tycoon who wears a ten-gallon hat so tall it never fits in the frame. Why Doja Cat settled on this is unclear, but if I had to guess, the answer is: it was funny and it was a cultural reference that her audience might appreciate. (The same reason someone might reference Spongebob in other situations.) A popular soundbite of Doug Dimmadome saying his own name, remixed, has also become popular on TikTok.

The Fairly OddParents is not Butch Hartman's only Nickelodeon cartoon. He also created the show Danny Phantom, which is about a teen who can turn into a ghost, and T.U.F.F. Puppy, and runs a popular YouTube channel about animation. He also created a character for Fairly OddParents modeled after himself, a doctor fairy named Rip Studwell whose entire gimmick is that he's hot.

Doja Cat is not Hartman's only appreciator. A pre-"Old Town Road" Lil Nas X was such a fan of Danny Phantom that he cast a hypothetical live-action movie. He's tweeted about Hartman's shows with some regularity.

This past February, Lil Nas X shared fan art of himself and Billie Eilish drawn in Hartman's signature animation style. (The joke here is that the titular fairy godparents of the show regularly disguise themselves as green and pink characters.)

Hartman tweeted his appreciation. Lil Nas X responded with... a SpongeBob meme image.

I suspect that Doja Cat and Lil Nas X (ages 24 and 21) are the canaries in the internet-culture coal mines. They're ever so slightly younger than the SpongeBob-centric crowd, and that tracks with the fact that SpongeBob is almost exactly two years older than The Fairly OddParents. A younger cohort with a different Nickelodeon touchstone to work off of will soon be at the peak of its posting power. If time progresses as its supposed to, eventually, the SpongeBob crowd will age out of heavy meme culture participation, and the Hartman crowd will take over the next stage. I'm willing to bet money that Hartman's work will become more meme fodder in the coming years.


This is just a great Instagram filter. (You should already know but in case you don’t.)


Elsewhere…

  • Grimes and Elon Musk, two dummies perfect for each other, named their child “X Æ A-12.” I’m not gonna look into what that means but I am gonna send you this good Grimes TikTok joke.

  • Speaking of Grimes content, I’m thinking about this old tweet. (Not gonna explain it. Do some googling.)

  • Naomi Campbell’s commitment to content is truly inspiring. And her cameraman’s commitment to her, also inspiring. I’m inspired.

  • Because Formula 1 races can’t happen irl, drivers have been holding them in a video game and streaming them online. A few days ago, one driver deliberately caused a wreck, a betrayal of the highest order that has set off a controversy in the competitive racing scene:

    Pagenaud’s deliberate wrecking is an annoying troll within the context of a video game, but it’s a betrayal of the highest order in the context of real-world, professional racing. An inherent tension in F1 and Indy racing is that drivers are in ruthless competition at the same time that they are all trying to prevent crashes that can easily turn deadly. Now that these same drivers are competing in a space where the deadly physical consequences are no longer an issue, the sport is changing fast, and in ways that can carry over to real-world tracks when drivers are able to race on them again.

  • Fellas, y’all ever bring Yu-Gi-Oh cards on your ‘No Yu-Gi-Oh’ holiday?


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