Two guys died today. Or we found out they died today. I’m not sure.
The first guy who died was Prince Philip. He was married to the Queen (of England) and by most accounts was a pretty traditional racist. Not sure what else he did. He’s a good villain on The Crown though. He kinda reminds me of the robots in the Will Smith movie version of I, Robot. I’m not sure why I get that feeling but I do think it’s accurate.
An interesting thing about Prince Philip’s death, in terms of the web, was this joke. It’s interesting less for the subject matter and more for reasons that I’m gonna get into right now.
This was posted on Tumblr on June 20, 2018.
Obviously, Prince Philip did not die from making it clap on Instagram. His status as a nasty little thottie I’m less certain about.
The user who posted the joke — on Tumblr as reallyreallyreallytrying and on Twitter as @prawn_meat — also put it on Twitter.
See, now, what interesting to me about this is that both posts have been up for equal amounts of time, and yet, the Tumblr post has 164,000+ interactions while the tweet has 2,600+. Even accounting for the fact that a Tumblr user can reblog something numerous times and a Twitter user can only retweet once, the difference is notable. Isn’t that kinda interesting, that one platform’s userbase is far more invested in Prince Philip’s thottie status than another?
I saw this on Tumblr this morning and I LOL’d out loud. It got me!
I point this Twitter-Tumblr gulf out mostly to make a point about how we — society in general, and the press in particular — like to frame the conversation around memes. I think Prince Philip making it clap counts as a meme, but it’s also something Tumblr users joked about for nearly three years that, by having an objective control on a separate platform, we know did not become gain traction on Twitter.
Where am I going with this? Mainly, I’m just making a point that when I see stuff like “The Internet reacts to [topic]” or “The Internet’s favorite [x]” or “[Thing] takes over the Internet,” I die a little inside, because that simple shorthand reduces an unimaginably large and vast constellation of people and places into a single cohort. It bugs me! Different communities are obsessed with different ideas. For instance, for three years, thousands of Tumblr users were talking about Prince Philip’s cake.
That was kinda boring and dry, so here’s another Prince Philip thing for you. Someone sent me a pic of him driving a car today and I immediately saw it and thought “paul walker heaven car” and made this in Photoshop in 3.5 minutes.
Sorry to… everyone.
The other person who died today was the rapper DMX. He was, by all accounts, a good dude and I will not be showing you any posts about him making it clap on Instagram, because that post doesn’t exist.
But DMX does play a pivotal role in one of my personal favorite internet things, for lack of a better term, and I’d like to share that. In the summer of 2012, a YouTube user named phontomen 1 released a video called “Save as .dmx,” which currently has over 2 million views. The six-second video features characters from the video game Team Fortress 2, animated using Valve’s Source Filmmaker software, performing a snippet from “X Gon' Give It to Ya.”
At the time, SFM was relatively new and the clips made using them were fun and novel. An understandable but also unfortunate amount of them had to do with Shrek. The joke here is that the Source engine has a file extension called
.dmx, “short for Data Model eXchange.” And this clip was very intriguing! The level of detail included in the tiny six-second clip was enough to get people (or at least, me) interested in seeing a longer version.
The description of “Save as .dmx” said this:
Hohoho I made a funny.
and don't worry about the Extended cut, X GONNA DELIVER
(Remember Imageshack? That link is dead but it lives on in the Wayback Machine. It shows the Demoman and the Engineer from the game.)
phontomen 1 never delivered on their promise to release a full version of the TF2 characters performing a DMX song. Every so often, I would remember the promise and check their profile. Nothing. The commenters noticed.
I forgot about it for a while, until I didn’t. One day, a few years ago, I searched for it again. And though phontomen’s profile was still blank, I found that someone else — a Good Samaritan of the web, asking for little in return, named Ronald_D_D — had picked up the torch and made the whole goddamn thing in 2015.
They took the original 6 seconds of video and made the other 3 minutes and 49 seconds of the song. Does the concept of “seeing TF2 characters rap” hit particularly hard in 2021? No. But the catharsis of someone making this dangling thread undangle was very nice. It’s a testament to the original video that, three years later, someone else said “I need to finish this,” and I want to express my gratitude to both phontomen 1 and Ronald_D_D for this great, web-facilitated alley-oop.
here’s tom nook’s printer
i’ve been laughing a lot about actual software that lets you adjust the racism and misogyny sliders to your preferred level