This week, we help Alex Blumberg understand why a Google engineer ended up complimenting the KKK, and then Yes Yes No turns bizarro.
CORRECTION: When first broadcast, this podcast mistakenly said the Golden State Warriors are a basketball team “out of San Francisco.” They started in Philadelphia, moved to San Francisco, and now, obviously, are based in Oakland. They are scheduled to move to a stadium in San Francisco again for the 2019 season. Sports. Anyway, we have edited that line out of the show.
ALEX GOLDMAN: From Gimlet, this is Reply All. I’m Alex Goldman
PJ VOGT: And I’m PJ Vogt
ALEX GOLDMAN: Welcome once again to Yes, Yes, No, the segment on the show where our boss Alex Blumberg comes to us with Internet ephemera that he can’t make heads or tails of, and then we try to explain it to him. And then he just feels a deep sense of regret for ever having coming to us in the first place. Hi, Alex.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Hi. I have a tweet (laughs)
ALEX GOLDMAN: Wow you really know the form of this segment very well.
PJ: You’re back.
ALEX BLUMBERG: I’m back. Yes. OK, so should I… should I just dive right in?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes.
PJ: Yes, let’s see what you got.
ALEX BLUMBERG: OK. The Twitter account is named “Manucy In The Sky,” from the guy whose Twitter handle is @ManuclearBomb. All right. And so this is the tweet. Ready? The caption is “Love that I can just slide this guy’s whole thread into the meme.” And then there’s a picture, and the picture is… Oh god.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright it’s two pictures side by side. And the right side is like basically a, um, it’s a series of… You know when you go to like a photo booth and you get like four pictures on top of each other?
ALEX BLUMBERG: It’s like that, except it’s like different pictures of sort, I guess, skull heads. Uh, but with the brains inside sort of exposed.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Okay.
ALEX BLUMBERG: So the top picture is a skull with like a smaller brain inside, and then the next picture, the one below it, is another sort of skull head, although it’s got more human features, and it’s got a bigger sort of sparkly brain with like stars and stuff coming out of it. And then the picture below that, the brain is even sparklier and shining. And the last picture is of this head where the brain is just sort of like sending out these radiant beams. If you needed a picture of like “my mind is blown,” that would be the picture.
ALEX BLUMBERG: And then the other side is a screenshot of a twitter thread that is four tweets long. And each tweet is aligned with a picture.
ALEX GOLDMAN: With one of the brain photos
ALEX BLUMBERG: With one of the brain photos. And the tweets are from a guy named James Damore. And the tweet number is “The KKK is horrible, and I don’t support them in any way, but can we admit that their internal title names are cool, e.g. Grand Wizard?” And then there’s like a poll, there’s a Twitter poll “Yes. No, names aren’t coll. No, that’s racist. No, other.” Okay. And then his next tweet: “You know you’ve moralized an issue when you can’t criticize its heroes or acknowledge any positive aspect of its villains.” Next tweet, next to an even sparklier brain. “It’s like teaching your child to be responsible about drugs and sex without addressing the fact that they can be fun.” Then final tweet, next to the exploding, enlightening blow your mind brain, James Damore: “If you make the actual KKK the only place where you can acknowledge the coolness of D&D terms, then you’ll just push people into the KKK.”
ALEX GOLDMAN: [laughing] Hearing it read outloud is mind blowing.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Ok. PJ Vogt, do you understand this tweet?
PJ: Yes. Alex Goldman, do you understand this tweet?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes, I do. Alex Blumberg, do you understand this tweet? I’m going to take your pause as a no.
ALEX BLUMBERG: No.
PJ: No, but?
ALEX BLUMBERG: No but… I think I understand it directionally.
ALEX BLUMBERG: I have seen this meme. Like I’ve seen the skeleton, into the head, into the brighter brain head, into the brightest brain head, which I’m assuming is sort of like…
ALEX GOLDMAN: Brain head (laughs)
ALEX BLUMBERG: Which I’m assuming is like the meme of like, where you walk somebody through an argument, then by the end of which it’s so mind blowing that the brain explodes.
PJ: Yes. That is completely true.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. Right, so that’s what that meme is supposed to represent.
ALEX GOLDMAN: And his meme is typically used ironically, like to make fun of people. So the more enlightened the brain is, the more light is emanating from it, generally the stupider the opinion.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.
ALEX GOLDMAN: And I’m pretty sure the first iteration of this was from earlier this year. The top panel said “who.” Second panel said “whom.” Third panel said “whomst.” And the fourth panel said “whomstd.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) OK.
PJ: So that’s like a thing that people been doing all year, and like it’s it’s one of those memes that has a lot of legs, because it’s like it’s such an open form, that like anything you put into it is kind of, is going to feel satisfying. Do you know what I mean?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.
PJ: It’s very flexible.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes. Alright so I understand the exploding brain meme. But I still don’t understand what the other is. Like what’s the… all these tweets about the KKK? How does that… How do they fit together?
PJ: This is where it gets somewhat complicated.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Okay.
PJ: Okay so in early August, Google, the company, has like an internal… Some sort of internal message board system.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh, I know about this.
PJ: OK. You know about this.
ALEX BLUMBERG: The guy who wrote the… So there was a guy who wrote a thing about… Now I don’t even remember what the argument he was making. He’s making some argument about like, oh like diversity and women and engineers, and sort of like, “We should all just acknowledge that like men are better coders.” Or something.
PJ: That was basically it. It was this guy James Damore. 28 years old. Engineer at Google. Had to go to some sort of diversity workshop, which apparently he didn’t like. In August, he wrote a 10-page… it’s been called a screed and a manifesto. But he wrote a 10-page memo called “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh James Damore was the guy who wrote that.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh
PJ: And he’s basically saying like “What Google believes is not enough women work at Google, and they think it should be like this egalitarian society, where it’s like 50/50, and they’re doing basically discrimination in trying to get women on board whether or not they’re like the best suited person for the job.”
ALEX GOLDMAN: Discriminating against white men?
PJ: Discriminating against whoever is best for the job. And so like, it’s weird. He’s all over the place, it feels very like pseudo intellectual. At one point, he says like, you know, we think is women aren’t in leadership positions because of sexism, but if you look at women biologically, they are more likely to be neurotic and have high anxiety, and so maybe they avoid high status roles because they don’t have the stress tolerance for high stress jobs.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Women are more likely to be neurotic
PJ: This is like according to like something the he read.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow
PJ: But when you literally click on the link for neurotic, it goes to the Wikipedia page for neuroticism.
ALEX GOLDMAN: So he’s citing… He’s fudging his citations.
PJ: In some cases he cites like studies. Some of the studies authors have actually come out and said like, “we don’t mean what he says we mean.” Or like some of the studies are very questionable. It’s like a mess. It’s not like a manifesto where he was like, “Men are good, women are bad.” He’s like “I’m a reasonable intellectual approaching this problem.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: I’m just asking questions here
PJ: I’m just asking questions here. And there’s parts where he has like fixes where that are not just like “women shouldn’t work here. Like maybe work/life balance is wrong or something.” But like the thing people took away was he’s a person who’s saying like gender stereotypes are real, rooted in biology, diversity is going too far.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it
PJ: So he posts the memo.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.
PJ: He’s fired. And becomes like basically a celebrity for certain parts of like the right. And they were kind of like… Like this is not what he was necessarily saying about himself, but for them, it’s like… He’s like this perfect symbol of like the qualified, brilliant, genius coder who’s the best person for the job, whatever his race or gender happen to be, who said one reasonable thing and like got fired because of political correctness.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Because of the intolerant left, yes.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Mmhmm.
PJ: So there’s these really weird interviews, like he went on Tucker Carlson. And like, he’s not quite playing the role he’s supposed to do. Like Tucker Carlson’s like, “Didn’t they shut you up? Like isn’t this messed up?” And then he’s just like, he’s like a little too mild mannered, he like doesn’t say enough words for it to work. Like hold on, can I plug in the aux?
TUCKER CARLSON: Did anyone at Google before firing you bother to respond to any of the points that you made? Or they just say, “You’re being punished for asking questions?”
JAMES DAMORE: Yeah when I shared it with individual Googlers, they actually had an actual reasoned discussion with me, but only when it became viral did this huge emotional outrage happen. TUCKER CARLSON: So of all…
PJ: Like he never says enough, they’re always waiting for him to say…
ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh no
PJ: …More things that are like more explicitly bad, but he’s like.. Do you know what I mean?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I’ve never actually felt like camaraderie with like Tucker Carlson before, but in that moment, where you’ve got like a tough interview…
ALEX BLUMBERG: …And they’re not saying enough, and you’re just kind of like “I’m teeing this up for you pal. Why are you stopping there?”
PJ: That like 3 second pause happens in every single… Cuz he’s not quite an ideologue. He’s like a not very thoughtful provocateur who’s like really stepped into a culture war.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.
PJ: But the people who were like, “Yes, proof. PC too far, men should be coders. They loved him, and I think he liked loved being loved by them. There was like this like love affair
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right
PJ: But then what happened over the course of the next month, is like a series of things that suggested… that kind of interfered with the idea that he was the most qualified person in the world fighting the PC tyrants. So like, it turned out like he had kind of… Like, this guy who was saying like “We shouldn’t like lower the bar, and let somebody who is not quite good enough into Google.” It turned out like he had kind of done that for himself a little bit. Like he was a smart guy, he went to Harvard, he got a masters. On the internet he was claiming he’d gone to Harvard and got a Ph.D. Just like a little bit of rounding up, not generally what you do if you think the world is a meritocracy.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.
PJ: And then, there was this really embarrassing thing where he had a tweet where he screen grabbed himself searching “James Damore is” on Google. And the suggestions, like the autofill suggestions, were like “a hero, right, the smartest.” And he presented, and he was like there is a silent majority of people who agree with me, and you should listen to them. And like even I know, and a lot of people know, that like different people get different Google search results, and like he works at google. Like this is not proof of anything, like people were sending him screen grabs of them putting his name in and getting different stuff. It was just like really silly.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh
PJ: And then, and then, like most recently like the sort of like final nail, it felt like, was last week, out of nowhere he just sort of is like… (clears throat) And goes on Twitter and he’s like…. He make akes his argument which is basically, “Can’t we all admit that while the KKK is racist, Grand Wizard is like a really cool name for a thing.” And people…
ALEX BLUMBERG: So wait he actually said this.
PJ: He actually said this.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah. This isn’t made up.
PJ: And it was the first thing I think that he said. There’s this concept on Twitter of the ratio, which is when you look at the responses to a tweet and the replies… So they give you three numbers. It’s like the replies, the favorites, and the retweets. And like favorites and retweets are both signs that someone agreed with you. The replies usually are signs someone didn’t agree with you.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah.
ALEX GOLDMAN: So. So if people get a thousand replies and 15 retweets, they just got… It’s used as a verb. They got ratioed. That disparity between replies and retweets generally means that people are really, really annihilating this person.
PJ: And it was just like a series of ratio tweets. Like all replies, very few retweets, very few favorites. And as he goes, like the ratio gets worse.
ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) God
PJ: It’s just like watching someone… Watching a group full of people stop supporting somebody as they dig into their argument.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Well he also went there very quickly.
PJ: Very quickly
ALEX BLUMBERG: And like he just went… Like like you just went from like… You can like throw a lot of dust up, and you can just be like, “I’m not sexist. I’m just trying to like get to the truth.” You know or like, “There are biological differences between men and women, right?” And then, you can stay in that dust cloud forever
PJ: Right. And he did it for weeks.
ALEX BLUMBERG: You know what I mean? Like he could just be like, “I’m not like… Why is everybody treating me like I am a bigot. I’m obviously not a bigot.”
PJ: I’m just asking questions.
ALEX BLUMBERG: I’m just asking questions.But then he just went on Twitter and was like, “The KKK has got some cool things.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: And is was like, “Well you just left the dust cloud, buddy. You went way far away from where you were.”
PJ: And I think as somebody who like did disagree with his original argument, and was sort of frustrated at the idea of trying to clear the dust to argue with people.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah.
PJ: There was something, I think what this joke is actually celebrating is like how far out of the dust cloud he got.
ALEX BLUMBERG: It’s amazing.
PJ: Yeah yeah.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Alright, Alex Blumberg. Are you ready to explain this tweet back to us?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I am. Okay so to review, we’ve got this four tweet Twitter thread, and we’ve got a four panel exploding brain meme. And @ManuclearBomb lined up those two things next to each other, and what’s pleasurable about the tweet, and what led everybody on the Internet to retweet it, and like it, is that both the Twitter thread and the exploding brain meme follow the exact same structure. First of all, there are four parts to them. They start with like a stupid idea, but like not exquisitely, grandly stupid. And then they get both more ridiculous, and more pompous, as they as they march forward. Until by the end, the fourth panel, you’ve gotten to a level that is that makes your head explode.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah I think we’re at yes, yes, yes. And where would you say on the on the expanding brain meme am I?
PJ: Where at being at yes, yes, yes?
ALEX GOLDMAN: No, I mean which brain am I.
PJ: You mean like right in your life, throughout your life.
ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs) Yes.
PJ: I feel like you’re handing me a ball and a t-ball set, and a bat, and feels like weird even hitting the ball.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I know
PJ: You’re like “OK before we get out of here, do you think I’m dumb?”
ALEX GOLDMAN: Before we get out of here, PJ, can you be mean to me? (laughs)
ALEX BLUMBERG: Ahh.
PJ: Coming up after the break, Yes Yes No goes where Yes Yes No has never gone before.
PJ: Welcome back to Yes, Yes, No. Alex, do you have any others?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I have one for you.
PJ: You have one for me?
ALEX BLUMBERG: That’s right, the tables are turning.
PJ: Wait you have a tweet that you understand that we won’t understand.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes.
ALEX GOLDMAN: What?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I’m going to try it
PJ: That sounds like all kinds of unfair.
ALEX BLUMBERG: All right so this is, this is the first time I’ve ever done this. This is really exciting. OK. You guys are ready?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah. OK
ALEX BLUMBERG: Who’s going to read it? You’re going to read it, Alex Goldman?
ALEX GOLDMAN: I will read it.
ALEX BLUMBERG: OK.
ALEX GOLDMAN: So this is a tweet from Lake Show Yo™, @LakeShowYo, and they’re quote tweeting someone named Coops, @GMCoops. And it says, “This is the best tweet of all time. That’ll teach @Enes_Kanter to stop talking so much shit.” So that’s what @GMCoops says, and @LakeShowYo says, “KD is that you?”
ALEX BLUMBERG: I’m so excited to be saying these words. Alex Goldman, do you understand this tweet?
ALEX GOLDMAN: Not at all.
ALEX BLUMBERG: PJ Vogt, do you understand this tweet?
PJ: Oh, absolutely. It’s ah… No no no.
ALEX GOLDMAN: You couldn’t even… You bailed on that so quick.
PJ: I’ll tell you what the tweet is. I’ll explain it for you. It’s sports thing. Elementary.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I assume that a lake show is some kind of synchronized swimming
PJ: No KD is Kevin Durant, famous sportsman.
ALEX BLUMBERG: There you go! There you go.
PJ: Of basketball
ALEX GOLDMAN: How are supposed to know that’s not K.D. Lang?
PJ: You know.
ALEX GOLDMAN: All right. Do your thing.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Wait. You have to ask me
ALEX GOLDMAN: Alex Blumberg, do you understand this tweet?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I do. All right. So tell me all the things you don’t know about this.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I don’t know. I don’t know who Enes Kanter is. I don’t know… I know the name Kevin Durant. I don’t know what the @LakeShowYo is. I don’t know who @GMCoops is. I know what a best tweet of all time is. And I what talking shit is.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laugh] All right. So this isn’t the best tweet of all time.
PJ: It does have 173 retweets, 366 likes, which is a lot of engagement for something that makes no sense to me.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right. So. So I think I want to tell you a story because I’m curious if it will actually make you interested in sports.
ALEX GOLDMAN: That is a tall order.
ALEX BLUMBERG: What was done to you in your in your, in your youth that makes you…
ALEX GOLDMAN: Well I wasn’t athletic. I know that comes as a shock.
PJ: I literally, I don’t know this happened to you, but I was in a bullying environment where people would actually, they would use that word. They’d be like “You’re not even athletic.” Like constantly.
ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)
ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh really? They would literally say that as…
PJ: They wouldn’t say like you’re a nerd or whatever. They’d be like you’re not an athlete. You don’t look athletic.
ALEX GOLDMAN: That’s harsh.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow.
PJ: Also wait, can I tell you one more sports trauma story?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Sure.
PJ: So literally like one of the low points in my junior high life was that my dad made me play football for like traditional dad reasons, and they never put me in, which is totally reasonable. And I was also always late to practice because, like, just like I couldn’t figure out the pad situation, like it’s a lot of equipment.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah
PJ: And then they finally, for some reason, put me in a game, and I had so little understanding of football, and so much shyness and fear of football, that I apparently didn’t tell the person I been swapped in for to leave the field. So we got a penalty for too many men on the field. So my whole team was so mad at me, and it wasn’t like “You’re a nerd, you’re whatever. It’s like “You don’t have enough understanding of sports to be on a sports team.” And so I vowed to never learn.
ALEX BLUMBERG: You actually played on the football team.
ALEX BLUMBERG: That’s shocking to me.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I have a I– like exact same story.
ALEX GOLDMAN: I know this sounds ridiculous. I played basketball for the rec department in seventh and eighth grade. And I didn’t realize that there was like a two second rule where you couldn’t be in the paint for more than two seconds. And like I didn’t understand it for an extended period of time, so I would always, whenever we’re on offense, I would get us penalized, and the ball would go away.
ALEX BLUMBERG: And you never knew why
PJ: That’s what they would say, they’d say the ball is going away.
ALEX GOLDMAN: And I didn’t really understand why and the (laughs). And the coach kept trying to explain it to me. But like eventually I got it, but I was still absent minded enough that it happened a lot.
PJ: Okay so what fresh drama is this?
ALEX BLUMBERG: No. OK. So maybe this won’t make you interested. Maybe, maybe maybe it’ll make you happy because it will… The sports people who traumatized you are having drama.
ALEX BLUMBERG: So, back story: Enes Kanter.
ALEX GOLDMAN: OK.
ALEX BLUMBERG: He is the center for the Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s a basketball team.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Thank you.
PJ: Professional level.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Professional basketball team. And they were, they are a tiny team. Oklahoma City is a small market team, but for a long time they had two of the best players in basketball. They had this guy Russell Westbrook, and they had another fellow, who you’ve mentioned by name, they had Kevin Durant.
PJ: Got it.
ALEX BLUMBERG: And Russell Westbrook, is like he literally looks like a human form of Superman. And then there’s Kevin Durant, he is basically the closest to an unstoppable player I’ve seen since Michael Jordan. Like he’s just like, he can shoot from anywhere, and he’s really tall, and he’s really fast. And it’s this really rare combination of things. Nobody in basketball, in the history of basketball, has ever been like him. So Oklahoma City, this tiny team, that no hope of ever being really good, all of the sudden had this incredible… They were just like, they were in a great position.
So for like, you know, four or five years, they were making the finals, or almost the finals, or they were right up there, and like a couple of times they went to the finals, and they lost, and like so they were always right on the verge of like winning a championship
PJ: Which is awesome
ALEX BLUMBERG: Which is awesome. So this was Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, both played for Oklahoma City.
ALEX BLUMBERG: And Enes Kanter was the center. Then do you know what happened with Kevin Durant?
ALEX BLUMBERG: (gasps) You don’t know what happened with Kevin Durant!
PJ: No. Is this like?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Everybody knows what happened to Kevin Durant
ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, let me guess.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Name the one basketball team you know of. The one basketball team. No, one basketball player that you know.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Michael Jordan.
ALEX BLUMBERG: No, present current.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Larry Byrd
ALEX BLUMBERG: Current.
PJ: You know Larry Byrd—
ALEX GOLDMAN: LeBron James.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Come on LeBron James. Next one
PJ: Oh. Steph Curry.
ALEX BLUMBERG: There you go, Steph Curry.
PJ: He’s– huge Steph Curry fan, because he does funny things on the internet.
ALEX BLUMBERG: [laughing] So Steph Curry, aside from doing funny things on the internet, Steph Curry plays on the Golden State Warriors. So Oklahoma City. New team. Small market. Middle of the country, like scrappy, underdog. Golden State owned by like some venture capitalists. Full coastal elite.
PJ: It’s like sort of the rich kid’s toy.
ALEX BLUMBERG: And they won. So three seasons ago, they won the championship. Two seasons ago, they went to the finals after beating Oklahoma City in the semifinals in this like super dramatic seven game series, and that earned them the right to play Cleveland in the finals, and then they lost to Cleveland. So they’ve already vanquished Oklahoma City, and then they lose to Cleveland. So they’re just like we just need one more piece to beat Cleveland, and then they start recruiting Kevin Durant
ALEX BLUMBERG: To come to Golden State.
PJ: That’s ugly. That’s really ugly.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right. So already Golden State is like the most stacked team out there.
PJ: But then they’re going to the underdogs whose butt they kicked. I mean like, “Why don’t we take your best guy too?”
ALEX BLUMBERG: Whose butt they barely, barely, barely kicked. They just eked past them. And they’re saying they’re saying to him, “Hey ,Kevin Durant. Come play with us”
PJ: And you don’t want to live in the world where he says yes.
ALEX BLUMBERG: But he said yes.
PJ: Right, because there’s lots of money and he wants to win
ALEX BLUMBERG: And he wants to win. And he was like, obviously he’s going to say yes, because he’s like a highly paid professional, and they’re the best team, and he can go that team, and then they can be a dynasty forever.
PJ: But it still makes you sad.
ALEX BLUMBERG: So it still makes you sad. Right. So everybody on the Internet turned against him.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Against Kevin Durant.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Against Kevin Durant. This is so fun telling you this story. Everybody on the Internet turned against Kevin Durant.
PJ: Poor guy. I understand what he did, and I understand why everyone’s like “Screw you.”
ALEX BLUMBERG: And they started calling him cupcake.
PJ: Why cupcake?
ALEX BLUMBERG: I don’t know.
PJ: That’s what they called me.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh really.
ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)
PJ: Me and my friend Mike Bolds, when we were forced to do track and field or javelin throw, were called peaches and cupcake.
ALEX GOLDMAN: That is mean. Why would they do that?
PJ: Because we didn’t like throw throwing the javelin, or pushing the shot put. And we got tired easily. So we were peaches and cupcake.
ALEX BLUMBERG: It is probably also literally the only thing that you have in common with Kevin Durant.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Anyways, so then he goes to Golden State. And they win. They won the national championship this year. They won the national champions .
PJ: When you buy all the good players you get to win.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah. And so there was like a Yankees vibe to them now. Like everybody’s mad at like… Everybody’s mad at Kevin Durant for going there. And one of the people who was most outraged about it was this guy Enes Kanter.
PJ: The old center.
ALEX BLUMBERG: The old center who’s been tweeting all the time about like how Kevin Durant is like a traitor and this team is like a family. Like you shouldn’t have done this thing.
PJ: Okay but so like, if you go back to the original tweet, it’s somebody saying “KD, Kevin Durant, is that you?” In response to somebody saying “This is the best tweet of all time, that’ll teach Enes Kanter to stop talking so much shit.” I still don’t understand that tweet.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright, so that goes back to this one thing that happened like a week and a half ago. A week and a half ago, someone goes on Twitter and tweets at Kevin Durant, “Why did you leave Oklahoma City?” Right? And so Kevin Durant goes on Twitter, and responds, but he responds in the third person.
ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)
PJ: Like Kevin Durant…
ALEX BLUMBERG: I will read to you what he says. He says “He didn’t like the organization or playing for Billy Donovan, the coach. His roster wasn’t that good. It was just him and Russ. Russell Westbrook.”
PJ: Other basketball player.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Other basketball player.
And then, and then he wrote again. “Imagine taking Ross off that team, see how bad they were. KD can’t win a championship with those cats,” referring to the rest of the team. Right so it’s like… So everybody on Twitter is like “Oh my god, he has a ghost account”
ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah.
PJ: He wrote from the wrong account.
ALEX BLUMBERG: He thought he was writing from his ghost account, but he really writing from his real account.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh man.
PJ: It’s called an alt. Like clearly somewhere out there he has an alt.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, right.
PJ: So it’s like at that point, everybody knows that somewhere out there, there’s…
ALEX BLUMBERG: Kevin Durant is posing as somebody else on the internet to every once in awhile say things in favor of Kevin Durant. And nobody has proved this, I don’t think. Like nobody has actually uncovered who out there on Twitter is like the secret Kevin Durant
ALEX GOLDMAN: This is such an Internet story. Oh what human foibles.
ALEX BLUMBERG: So he denies that he has a ghost account, but he published this big mea culpa where he was like “That was a really stupid thing I did, I didn’t know what I was doing,” But the explanation never really…
PJ: He has a ghost account
ALEX GOLDMAN: He was lying.
ALEX BLUMBERG: It was not convincing. It didn’t address the specific question of, but wait why did you keep referring to yourself in the third person?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, and then so Enes Kanter.
PJ: The center.
ALEX BLUMBERG: The center. He’s pissed. And he tweets “We win, we lose, but the most important thing, we stick together because we are one.”
ALEX GOLDMAN: Referring to Oklahoma City?
ALEX BLUMBERG: Referring to Oklahoma City. And being like “You suck and we’re together. Solidarity.”
PJ: Got it.
ALEX BLUMBERG: So guess what happened to Enes Kanter.
ALEX: The Oklahoma City Thunder traded him.
PJ: Aww. So it’s like we’re a family, we’re a family. How dare you leave?
ALEX BLUMBERG: This isn’t a business, this is about family, and then they trade him.
PJ: Oh…. Okay, I think I can now explain this. Can I go back to the original tweet?
ALEX BLUMBERG: This is so exciting.
PJ: So the original tweet that we saw, was this user named @LakeShowYo saying “KD is that you?” And they were quoting somebody saying “This is the best tweet of all time. That’ll teach Enes Kanter to stop talking so much shit” What I didn’t even realize then is like they’re actually both talking about this tweet just says, that is also from @LakeShowYo where he says “Enes Kanter spent all summer bashing KD and preaching nonstop on how OKC is loyal and he considers the team family… They traded his ass.”
ALEX GOLDMAN: Skull emoji.
PJ: Skull emoji. So what I now know happened is that the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is like a small team that normally would never win, lucked into two of the best players in basketball. Everybody rooted for them really hard, but one of those players Kevin Durant left to go play for like the traditional big team.
ALEX GOLDMAN: Also the rival team.
PJ: Yeah. The traditional big rival team. And then when someone asked Kevin Durant on Twitter why he did that, he responded in a weird third person tweet that made people assume he’s other times going online pretending to be someone else who just defends Kevin Durant anonymously. One of his former teammates, Enes Kanter was mad about that, understandably. And after he made a big show about how teams are real and family and etc. He then he got traded.
ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.
PJ: And so in the world of this tweet, someone is making fun of Enes Kanter, and somebody’s making the joke that the person making fun of Enes Kanter could just be Kevin Durant’s secret account. Are we at sports, sports, sports?
ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)
ALEX GOLDMAN: Sports! Sports! Sports!
ALEX GOLDMAN: Reply All is hosted by PJ Vogt, and me, Alex Goldman. The show is produced by Sruthi Pinnamaneni, Phia Bennin, Damiano Marchetti, and Austin Mitchell. Our editor is Tim Howard. Our intern is Anna Foley, and we were mixed by Rick Kwan.
Also, Reply All is hiring right now. We’re looking for an editor. If you’re interested in applying, and you have longform audio experience, you can apply at gimletmedia.com/careers.
Matt Lieber is getting back on a bike after you haven’t riden it in a really long time. Our theme song is by the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder, and our ad music is by Build Buildings. Our website is replyall.ninja. You can listen to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening.