January 18, 2018

#114 Apocalypse Soon

by Reply All

Transcript


PJ VOGT: Hey everybody, we are back. It's 2018. New year, new Reply All. Uh, so a little bit of programming information up top.



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, some housekeeping.



PJ: So a question that we get a lot from listeners, uh, the answer is always different, is when is the next episode of the show coming out? My colleague, Alex Goldman, has built a tool to tell people. Alex, what is it?



ALEX: Uh, it is a website. And I know that I often build websites and then abandon them. I promise that I will continue to update this one. It's called replyall.fyi. You go to this website—



PJ: It answers one question for you.



ALEX: It- the question is, is there a new Reply All this week?



PJ: And this tool will probably come in handy, basically this spring. Um... short version of a long story, there's a bunch of very good changes happening in the lives of people who work on the show. Babies are being born. Um, which means we'll be a little bit short-staffed. Which means we will be publishing slightly less. Like, probably a couple times a month, for a bit. 



ALEX: Alright. Enjoy the show.



[Theme music]



PJ: From Gimlet, this is Reply All. I’m PJ Vogt.



ALEX: And I’m Alex Goldman.



[Theme music ends]



ALEX GOLDMAN: Welcome once again to Yes Yes No, the segment on our show where our boss, Alex Blumberg, comes to us with inscrutable nuggets from the internet and we try to explain them to him. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes. 



PJ VOGT: What have you got? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, ok. Here's what I got. Uh. So I knew we were doing this, and so I sent out a callout to sort of collect inscrutable tweets. 



PJ: Yeah. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: And a lot more confusing stuff came back than- than normal. Like it seems to be a very particularly confusing time on the internet right now. 



ALL: (laugh)



ALEX GOLDMAN: Ok. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: If my little sort of occasional explorations are any indication. And there was a bunch of different tweets that were sort of clustered around this confusing meme, and there were a bunch of tweets that all seemed to focus on this confusing meme. So I started to notice like these like sort of patterns. And then, I got to this- this tweet, which seems to touch on every single meme that was- that was out there that’s confusing on the internet right now. So I think if we can decipher this— 



ALEX GOLDMAN: We understand the internet in its entirety? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah. I think this might take us there. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Ok. 



PJ: Ok so what’s the tweet?



ALEX BLUMBERG it's from a Twitter user named @MrRamgon9, but his- the name on his Twitter account is Jesus Uganda Knuckles. 



PJ: (sighs) Ok. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uganda Knuckles sounds bad.



PJ: Yeah. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: And then there's a picture. And the picture has a caption, "The four horsemen of apocalypse." And then, there’s- there's a four square grid below. And in the top left square is a Tide pod— 



PJ: Mmhmm. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: —with the word underneath it that says, "famine." 



(laughs) And then, the picture to the right of it is a picture of some sort of cartoon bird with a headband—



ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs) 



ALEX BLUMBERG: —the bird is red. That says, "war." And then in the lower left quadrant, this is a photograph of a white guy with a funny hat on his head and some sort of shawl, holding his hands to his mouth in sort of a pensive look. Um, and the caption, "death." 



And then in the lower right quadrant, there is a picture of like, sort of a cartoon wolf looking at an empty bowl, and sort of a Mickey Mouse-y kind of character also with an empty bowl. And then the caption there is "pestilence." 



So four quadrants: famine, war, death, pestilence. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: I have never been happier than listening to you describe this tweet. (laughing) It's so funny. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Nothing, nothing makes sense. And also, up at the top, there’s this text. 



I guess it's sort of like a Creole/Patois sort of like dialect. "Bruddhas we will fights wars for de qween and to find de wae." And "wae" is spelled W-A-E. And "qween" is spelled Q-W-E-E-N. 



PJ: Ok. I think this is the most complicated tweet that you’ve brought into a Yes Yes No. Um, and I think you’re right. Like, I think if you can understand this tweet, it is like a codex for everything that has happened on the internet in 2018 so far. Like all two weeks. I also think that probably the reason that it’s called the four horsemen of the apocalypse is that I think the person who made this tweet feels like “once you understand and combine these four memes you will sort of feel like we are approaching the end of the world.” Um, so that’s where we wanna get you. But this is like dense. There’s a lot there.  



ALEX BLUMBERG: I'm-  yes. I am prepared to settle in. Let's do the ritual. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh. PJ Vogt, Do you understand this tweet?



PJ: I understand a lot of this tweet. I don't understand all of this tweet. 



I know about- I know about the, the white man with the green hat. And I know about the red bird. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: I know about the Tide pod and the bears and the white guy in the green hat.



PJ: Ok.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh! Ok. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: So I think we might be at about 100 percent. 



PJ: Between us, we have one yes.



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Alex Blumberg: Do you understand this tweet? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: No. No. I understand no quadrant. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: K. So how do you want to start? 



PJ: So like the first harbinger of the end of the world, like the sign that like culture is over and the apocalypse is nigh is this first image: “famine.” 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Alright. So ok.



PJ: Tide pods.  



ALEX GOLDMAN: Um. So you're familiar with Tide pods, right? Like the very concept of... the very nature of them. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Like the laundry detergent? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah! 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes! 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Tide pods came out five years or so ago. They were very popular. And one of the side effects of the existence of Tide pods is that kids think they look like candy— 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Right. They do like candy. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: —and want to eat them. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: You can't not look at a Tide pod and- and- think... The first thing that goes to your head is like, "Yum. Gooey candy." 



PJ: It looks like a new kind of Starbursts. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, exactly. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, The Onion wrote an op-ed in like 2015 that was from the perspective of a three-year-old wanting to eat Tide pods. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) 



ALEX GOLDMAN: And they wrote one earlier this year that was, "Tide debuts new sour apple detergent pods." 



ALEX BLUMBERG and PJ: (laughs) 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Um, but-



ALEX BLUMBERG: Wait, what is the... Can you do the- can you do the three-year-old one wanting to eat the Tide pod? Just the- I just wanna hear it. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Um, let me see if I can find it. Uh. (laughs) It's called "So help me God, I'm going to eat one of those multi-colored detergent pods." The first graf is, "Anybody who knows me will tell you the same thing: I get what I want." 



ALEX BLUMBERG and PJ: (laughs) 



ALEX GOLDMAN: (reading) "Whether it's food, being held, my binky, you name it. If I decide I'd like it, you damn well better believe I don't rest until I get it. And from the very second I saw those blue/red detergent pods come out of the shopping bag last week, I immediately knew that, come hell or high water, I would eat one of those things." 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) Right. Exactly. Ok.



ALEX GOLDMAN:  So you guys and the very fact that you have looked at those Tide pods and thought to yourself, "I want to eat those." You've touched on, like, a bizarre cultural happening that is happening right now. Suddenly, the nascent desire by adults to eat Tide pods— 



PJ: Not three-year-olds. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah. Has like come to the fore, and everybody's essentially declaring their desire to eat them. 



PJ: In what form? Like- how- what do you mean? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Ok, so here's a tweet by a person named Megan @littlestwayne. It says, "me eating Tide laundry detergent pods." And then it's a gif of Oprah looking like she's eating something that she's delighted about eating. 



PJ: Ok. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: it has 8,000 retweets. 25,000 likes.  So it went from this thing that was like purely conceptual and everybody joking about it, to like, a weird, disgusting semi-reality.



PJ: What do you mean? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: People starting posting photographs of them preparing Tide pods on food. 



PJ: Ok.



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Here is a picture of someone who has made- baked a pizza in the oven, with a bunch of Tide pods on it. The finished pizza is covered in like laundry detergent slime. 



PJ: It's so disgusting too, because when they cook, they turn to like green... They look like escargot. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh my god.



ALEX GOLDMAN: And the caption to this tweet is "Tide pods are the best thing ever to go on pizza." And then a smiley face that’s drooling. It's so revolting. 



PJ: So I think one thing that I'm now understanding is Tide pods seem like the joke that everybody agrees on. Like it's not a joke that's being used as a weapon by one group against another group. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: No, no. It's actually pretty innocuous.



ALEX GOLDMAN: Ok, ok. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: It's like the entire internet realized, "Oh, you want to do that too? I thought that was just me!" 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Right, but then it- it... As is always the case, it gets kind of like... The tail end of it gets weird and unpleasant. 



PJ: Ok, so what's that? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: So Youtubers who specialize in the most sort of cynical kind of entertainment were like, "Oh. We'll get a lot of hits if we actually eat these." 



PJ: Wait, can you play that video? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes, hold on just a second. Let me bring it up. Ok, here we go. So it is a guy with blue hair sitting in front of a rainbow background.  


[video plays]


YOUTUBER: People are eating Tide pods, and I’ve actually never had a Tide pod before, but they are so satisfying. They’re squishy, they just feel… 



ALEX GOLDMAN: He seems really delighted, he is super into this. 



 … How to eat a Tide pod, and nothing really came up. Alright, here we go. [coughs] NO!!!! [coughing, gagging] 



ALEX GOLDMAN: It’s awful, it’s awful to watch.



PJ: Ok. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: So eating Tide pods has become a huge thing on Youtube. And it was always a joke, they really would just let them burst in their mouths and then they’d be disgusted and spit them out. But, um you know, teenagers also started doing it, just as a goof, because they saw people doing it on Youtube.  And that led to some sort of hysterical media reporting around the country of  "Teenagers are giving each other the Tide pod challenge!" 



PJ: So it went from a joke about a bad idea you could do, to people joking about actually doing it, to youtubers actually like really kind of taking a bite out of a tide pod, to teenagers, also in on the joke, but like fully eating Tide pods because they think that’s a funny thing to do. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Exactly. And also, some of them are ending up in the hospital, because believe it or not, laundry detergent is poison. So that is Tide pods.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Moving onto the next quadrant. I think I'm fair- Ok-- 



ALEX GOLDMAN: We did it! 



ALEX BLUMBERG: We're one fourth of the way through, people! 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, ok. So in the next square, the red bird with the caption, “war.” What does this one mean? 



PJ: Ok, so you know that I've been like dabbling in virtual reality? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughing) 



ALEX BLUMBERG: No.



ALEX GOLDMAN: What a funny way to start this! Uh, also you make it sound like you're dabbling in drugs, or something. 



PJ: It feels like a drug. Like, basically I got a haircut from this guy who was really into virtual reality. And he talked me into getting like a VR rig. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh, so you have like the full-on headset and everything. 



PJ: I go home, I leave this world that we live in together, I put on a headset, I put on... Like I enter full, like, sensory deprivation. There are like cameras that are monitoring... Like and I go to a virtual world. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Is it fun? 



PJ: It basically feels like early internet. Like, you go to these virtual spaces and you dress up as a character, and you talk to people. But, like, you know, you can sort of you know, like you can sort of play dress up in like a fake place. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh, so it's like Second Life. 



PJ: It's like Second Life, but it feels like you're there. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Right. 



PJ: And so there's this new program called VRChat where people have been hanging out. And there’s been a lot of people who have been dressing up as this character. You know- you know the video game Sonic the Hedgehog.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah. 



PJ: So one of the characters in that video game, his name is Knuckles, he’s the one you thought was a red bird. He’s actually something called an Echidna. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. 



PJ: Ok so Knuckles is supposed to look like this. He's like a cool, tough echidna with big sneakers. But then what happened was at some point somebody just drew like a 3-D Knuckles that was really fat, because they thought it was funny. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) Ok. So so far, I'm not hearing any war. 



PJ: There's no war yet. Somebody else took this like fat Knuckles character, and they like mapped it in VR, so you could go into VRChat as this fat Knuckles.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. 



PJ: For some reason, this took a jump where what is happening is that people log on to VRChat, and then, like, 30 cartoon fat Knuckles will mob somebody, and just start like yelling at them. And it's called "Ugandan Knuckles," because they're saying things that are like a racist, white American teenager's version of what like a Ugandan person would say. 



So like I can show you a video of this happening. 


[video plays]


PJ: See how there are all these people are... There's a guy dressed as an alien, and there's like a guy... Actually now it's been so overrun, it's just these Knuckles attacking the guy. 


[video plays, many voices overlapping]


PJ: And that's the person who I think is just trying to get away from the Knuckles that are attacking her. 


[video plays, voices get louder, clicking noises]


ALEX GOLDMAN: Oh boy. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: How do they make that sound? What is that sound? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: They're making like a clicking sound that's super racist. 



PJ: It's every- It's every like stupid, like suburban, white teenager's version of like, what they think an African language sounds like, basically....



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.



PJ: But like, a couple weeks ago. I actually kinda got in a rabbit hole with this stuff because I- I  basically just like got curious about like, why are these kids saying the things they’re saying. Like, Ugandan actually felt... weirdly specific. And a lot of the quotes that they use like, “Take me to your queen,“ like, it’s always the same thing. And I was just wondering like, was there an origin or a reason for this. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes. 



PJ: And the reason is so so weird. Ok so the origin of this meme actually starts in Uganda. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. 



PJ: There’s this director named Isaac Nabwana. And a few years ago, he was like, “I want to make action movies. Like I want to make American-style action movies.” But he’s very poor, he’s in the slum in Uganda. He has no money. And he starts making these $200 budget action movies where just like everything is hacked together. So— 



ALEX BLUMBERG: $200?



PJ: $200.



ALEX BLUMBERG: For the whole movie?



PJ: So all the actors… Yes. Like non professional actors, I think they’re shooting on video tape, all the special effects are like cobbled together on two computers that he has hooked together. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.



PJ: So his first movie is called Who Killed Captain Alex? Tagline: Expect the unexpectable. It is delightful. Let me show you the trailer, actually. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. 



PJ: Who Killed Captain Alex trailer. Ok so this is how you make a violent movie with no money. 



[trailer plays]
[trailer, child speaks in Swahili, punching noises]
[Who Killed Captain Alex clip plays] 



PJ: Very overacted acting. Very fake blood. A very fake 3-D helicopter– 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) 



PJ: -- going into a very fake 3-D building. 



[punching sounds]



ALEX BLUMBERG: I- I can't- my mouth can't move. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: You know, if you've ever seen like King Kong—



PJ: Like—



ALEX GOLDMAN: —the original King Kong. 



PJ: Yeah yeah yeah, yeah. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: It looks like someone was like, "I've learned everything I know about special effects from that, but I'm just going to do it with a computer"— 



ALEX BLUMBERG: From the 1930s. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah. 



PJ: Yeah, it's like super crude, super stop motion. And like, the dude who’s making these movies, like he knows… Like he is enjoying it. He knows it’s kind of funny and really fun. And on like no money, they’ll make guns out of like scrap metal, and the way they do their blood is they fill condoms with… It was cow blood, and then they would pop the condom, but then people were getting sick from cow blood, so now they use like food dye. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Like he’s building his own props department, almost. 



PJ: Yeah. So people call him like the Tarantino of Uganda. He’s making these movies. And then what happened a few years ago, was there was this American dude named Allen, who did like film festivals or whatever, but was like on the fringes of stuff. He bought an engagement ring to propose to his girlfriend, he went to go meet up with her, and instead she dumped him. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ooh. 



PJ: And then to cheer him up, a friend of his who worked in an NGO I think in Uganda was like “Hey let me show you this thing,” and he showed him on his phone the trailer you guys just saw, and he was like, “Ok I’m heartbroken, I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I saved up a bunch of money for my honeymoon, for the wedding I thought I was going to have." He takes that money, he flies to Uganda— 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Get out of here! 



PJ: —And finds the director. And has like moved into the slums, and they just like make these movies now.



PJ: Like they're working on like a child Kung Fu movie.



ALEX GOLDMAN: Child Kung Fu movie? 



PJ: It's like it's a Kung Fu movie, but it's all kids. They're like five years old. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)



ALEX GOLDMAN: I love that. 



PJ: And it's all super violent, and like everybody dies in every scene. They're like very enjoyable to watch. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: That is amazing. How- so- and- and so they have this company together now, or? 



PJ: Yeah they call it like Wakaliwood, which is like named after the slum that they’re by. Wakaliwood, wakaliwood. Basically like Nabwana makes the movies, and like Allen, he’s been like helping Nabwana make the films but also like promote them in the US. So they had like a Kickstarter, and it’s like in certain corners of the internet, they are like a known and cherished thing. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow.



PJ: And so now, ‘cause Captain Alex is sort of viral. It like, meshed with these weird fat knuckles thing. And so there’s people on the internet who just like quoting the movie. Like the guys in the VR Chat.



ALEX BLUMBERG: and so  when we heard the phrases in that video that you showed us— 



PJ: Those are from the movie. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: —those are from the movie.



PJ: Yes. And the Wakaliwood guys know about the meme, because if you go to their Twitter, they’re constantly retweeting the Knuckles guys tweeting at them, so just like, the whole thing is really weird.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow.



PJ: Yeah. Anyway, like all of that, like, Ugandan action movies, virtual reality shenanigans, minor Sonic the Hedgehog characters—in the context of this tweet, all that represents war.



ALEX BLUMBERG: That’s the war box. 



PJ: Yeah. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh and that also explains the caption of this tweet, which is sort of, which is the line: 



Bruddhas we will fights wars for de qween and to find de wae” That must be from the-- 



PJ: That- From Who Killed Captain Alex. At least, I know the “find de wae” part is, I actually don’t know about the queen they might have just made it up because it sounds like it’s from one of those movies, but yeah.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. 



PJ: That is half of this. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs) 



ALEX BLUMBERG: So, what do we do? We throw to break now? We're halfway through. 



PJ: I feel like we throw to break. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) Coming up, after the break-- 



PJ: Half of one tweet. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Coming up after the break, the second two boxes of this quadrant of mystery. 



[BREAK]



ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright, so we're halfway through. 



PJ: We're halfway through. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: We have—



PJ: Through one tweet. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: This is the most complicated... This is definitely the most complicated tweet that we've ever deciphered. 



PJ: Yes, this is, this is the most...



ALEX BLUMBERG: Because this tweet is itself sort of like a table of contents. 



PJ: It's like a table of contents to an undecipherable book that no one has read. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) Right. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs) 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok so we've got "famine," we've got "war." 



PJ: Ok, I think "death" is actually the next place to go. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Ok.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Death. 



PJ: So "death" is like a white teenager holding his hands over his mouth looking pensive with... What's the hat?



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, he's got a green animal— 



PJ: He's got a Pokemon hat on? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: It's not Pokemon. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: It looks like a Pokemon hat. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: It's the aliens from Toy Story. 



PJ: Oh cool. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: That's the hat. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh, he's wearing an aliens from Toy Story hat, ok. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Get it together, bud. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) 



PJ: Ok, so this is like... This was actually... Oh, you're so lucky that you didn't know this story up until now. So are you familiar with the Paul brothers? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Paul? Oh... Logan Paullllll...?



PJ: Yes! 



ALEX BLUMBERG: I am familiar with Logan Paul. 



PJ: What do you know about Logan Paul? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughing) Ok. 



PJ: (laughing) 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Enter me, 51-year-old (laughs) white dude. Married with children, who, as you know, when I want to let down my hair, I watch a DVR'd Top Chef with my wife. 



PJ: Logan Paul was on Top Chef? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Logan Paul was on Top Chef. 



PJ: So what did Logan... Ok. So for people that don't know, and I don't know how much you know, but like Jake and Logan Paul are two, uh, American teenagers who got famous very young on Vine, I didn't know Logan Paul was on Top Chef. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Logan Paul was a guest on Top Chef, because he's got a huge Instagram following. He got all his followers to show up to one of the Top Chef events. 



PJ: Ohhhh. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: So they had a food truck event, and Logan Paul like led his hordes of followers to the food truck event. 



PJ: And what was your impression of him? As like, this person showing up in my world? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: It was really an ill fit. Because he's like... he's such a dude. He's got like—



PJ: He's got like swoopy blonde hair...



ALEX BLUMBERG: —moussed, swoopy blonde hair that's like, completely moussed, but in this crazy swoopy way. And like, talks like, "Yeah, dude" all the time, but like, in a really, like sincere, completely un-ironic, clueless way. 



PJ: Yes. Yeah. He's like... he's- he's like a human golden retriever. But, him and his brother Jake Paul, um, who's the same as him. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah. 



PJ: They are actually sort of geniuses. Like, I mean like, they're not famous to you, but for anyone under 20 they're basically like Beatles level famous.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Beatles level famous.



PJ: Beatle, like the crowds of teenagers that follow them, it only looks... like you the like "Beatles at Chase Stadium" thing?



ALEX BLUMBERG:  Yeah.



PJ: Okay, this is Logan Paul at just a mall in Dubai. Last year, okay? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Okay.



PJ: So they did, they wanted to do the biggest meet and greet ever.



[Music and screaming]



PJ: So he runs up onstage and so it's just like teeming...



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh my god.



ALEX GOLDMAN: And he's not doing anything. He's not performing, he just stands up onstage and kinda waves.



[Clip continues]



ALEX BLUMBERG: It's so funny, he's like... he's so much more into it than the Beatles were too.



ALL: (laugh)



PJ: Yeah, no he loves it.



ALEX BLUMBERG: It's like he loves it! God, that look! That look, when he first walks up and he turns and smirks at the camera. I just wanna like...



ALEX GOLDMAN: What do you wanna do?



ALEX BLUMBERG: Punch his popular face in.



ALEX GOLDMAN: (Laughs)



PJ: Yeah, so grown-ups hate him and his brother, teens love them. And the thing that they're like actually, like officially famous for is they do these YouTube videos where they do stunts.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.



PJ: It started off being like "We're gonna set a couch on fire. We're gonna, like, jump out of a moving car." Like jackass stuff.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah.



PJ: They make like millions of dollars a year on these videos like just through YouTube ads and like merchandise they sell. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh.



PJ: Like it's this empire of spectacle. And like, the world of cute guys on YouTube who do dumb things for attention, it's kind of like boy bands: there's a new flavor every week. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Right.



PJ: Imagine if one of those boy bands showed up and they were like, "No. We wanna stick around. We're gonna figure out how to make this like a sustainable business. Every new boy band that comes on, they're gonna be on our label." And like, "We're gonna sell our own merch, and we're gonna have like an investment fund." Like, they have longevity in a place that is not built for longevity.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it.



PJ: But the downside of it, is because they've been going for so many years, they have to keep topping themselves. So like, let me show you Logan Paul’s 2017 here's what I did this year video.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Okay. (laughs) This is gonna show me like all the things that they did in the year?



PJ: Yes. It just like- yes.


[video][/video]


LOGAN PAUL: At 22 years old I bought my first house for 6 million dollars and moved my two boys in with me.
BOY 1: What’s up?
BOY 2: Ayy!
LOGAN PAUL: I bought a school bus, and then turned it into a cool bus.



I met a boy band named Why Don’t We. I adopted them as my little brothers and directed a music video of theirs that got 30 million views, then made a song with them that got 169 million views that you may have heard.
[song plays]



ALEX GOLDMAN: I want to point out that he’s dressed up as a minion. 



PJ: Yeah and then, that’s him doing the hook...



ALEX BLUMBERG: … I ain’t no Scooby Doo.



LOGAN: “Girl whatcha tryna do” Guys I also made a song with Designer, and then I went to the tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa. 



PJ: So that’s Logan Paul.  Ok so here- the reason (laughs)... The reason that Logan Paul… The reason he’s in this painting...



ALEX BLUMBERG: It’s not a painting. The quadrant. 



PJ: The reason he’s in this tweet.. 



AB: It’s not a painting. It’s apocalyptic quadrant.



PJ: Every tweet is a painting to me. Um is like normally what happens is he’ll do something kind of shocking and adults will freak out, but kids will love him, and like it’s fine, and he never really gets in trouble. That sort of ended a few weeks ago when he decided to fly to Japan and shoot like a fun, creepy video in what people refer to as the suicide forest in Japan. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, oh I heard about this. It’s like this forest in Japan where it’s sort of known that people go there and that’s a place where people go to commit suicide, essentially, it’s sort of like–



PJ: Yeah, there’s, there’s like- for some reason there’s no cell phone service there, or there’s very little cell phone service. And people have written about it. He chose to go there because it’s a known thing.



ALEX BLUMBERG: And was he hoping to see?



PJ: I don’t think he was  hoping to see a body, I think it was more like, “this will be creepy.” 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah, “the atmosphere of a place where people have killed themselves will be great for my video.”



PJ: I’m going to show you like a very short clip from the video that he ended up shooting. So they go in, they immediately… and this was a surprise to them. They immediately encounter an actual corpse, which they show, they blur the face, but they like zoom in on the body. And then this is them reacting, sort of.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it .


[video plays]


 MAN (MAYBE LOGAN PAUL): Like it’s not like we could see it.
MAN 2: It’s right there. But you can’t see it.
MAN: How our lives unfold. There’s no going back. I’ve seen things I can’t unsee.
WOMAN: We found a dead body.



PJ: He’s wearing a Toy Story alien hat the whole time. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh my god 


[video plays]


LOGAN: What the fuck.
LOGAN: (loud weeping) I’d say this is top 5 craziest things I’ve ever experienced in my life. Top 1. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced. I ain’t gonna be sober for this. 



PJ: Now he’s drinking sake. Yeah. 



LOGAN: This is literally the [squeak] craziest thing of my life. I’m sorry for swearing so much. I’m already getting the flag for demonetization bro… 



PJ: So yeah. It’s just a mess.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Bleh. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: It’s really, really, really inappropriate.



PJ: It’s like a person who’s like… does not have…



ALEX GOLDMAN: He doesn’t have the capacity to like grapple with this thing. 



PJ: Right. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Nor the good sense to not edit it and post it on his channel. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: And so, and also like all his viewers… How many viewers does he have? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Millions. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, so millions of teenagers who subscribe to his channel sort of like thinking they were going to get another funny Logan Paul stunt all of a sudden saw like a dead body in the forest. 



PJ: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then it became this huge thing. And he had, like, a defensive apology, and then he had a less defensive apology. And he's actually kind of disappeared from public view for a few weeks. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Right. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Um. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: So but that's what... That's the Logan Paul. 



PJ: So "death" is Logan Paul. Logan Paul is, like, one more harbinger of the coming apocalypse is Logan Paul, who is "death." 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Got it. Ok. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright, we have marched our way through three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. 



PJ: I don't know what "pestilence" is. "Pestilence" is like, I'm a complete and full no on. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, it actually kind of... It plugs into uh, to Logan Paul a little bit. 



PJ: Ok, so what is "pestilence?" 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Pestilence (laughs)... 



ALEX BLUMBERG: You don't know what the word means? 



PJ: I know what the word means. I think, actually. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah, now that I mention it, wait do I know what the... Pestilence is just illness, right? 



PJ: But they always say, like, "disease and pestilence," right? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Uh, a fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague. 



PJ: Oh, so it's like—



ALEX BLUMBERG: Plague. It's plague. 



PJ: Yeah, ok. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Alright. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Alright, so—



PJ: So the pestilence frame, just to remind you is two like sort of old-timey, Disney looking, possible bears. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: It is an old cartoon from the 30s, and it's the Three Little Bears. But for some reason, the three little bears in this cartoon are like sort of fresh off the boat Italian stereotypes. 



PJ: Okay. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: And all it is a five second clip of them coming in and seeing their food has been eaten. And this is what happens. 


[video plays]


CARTOON BEAR: Somebody toucha my spaghet!!



ALL: (laugh) 


[video plays again]


CARTOON BEAR: Somebody toucha my spaghet!!



ALEX GOLDMAN: That's it. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: But people thought that was very funny.



PJ: It is very funny. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: And started using it- started using it as a way to like-



ALEX BLUMBERG: There's something funny about spaghet. 



PJ: Yes. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: They started taking this very short animation clip with this funny phrase in it and started remixing it in all of these different ways. Like there are a million different “Somebody toucha my spaghet!”s on the internet now. 



PJ: How many retweets did that original thing get? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: It has 112,000 retweets. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: That's amazing. 



PJ: That's like the only good thing about the internet. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: And like... and- and- and I would posit that if it was somebody- "somebody toucha my spaghetti," no re-- 



PJ: You're not going anywhere. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah. Not funny.



ALEX BLUMBERG: Two retweets. Literally, the cut off the "I," and it's 100,000 retweets. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: So I'm sure you're familiar with the fact that people really like making jokes about the Smash Mouth song "Allstar." Do you know about this? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: No. 



PJ: People just like making jokes about it. Like, they like-



ALEX BLUMBERG: Wait, what? How does it?



ALEX GOLDMAN: (singing) Somebody once told me the world was gonna roll me...



PJ: Did you know it and you just wanted to make him sing it? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: (singing) ... I ain't the sharpest tool the shed. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Wait, I think I-- 



ALEX GOLDMAN: (singing) Hey now, you're all an allstar... 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Oh! Right!



ALEX GOLDMAN: (singing) Getcha game on, get paid! 



ALEX BLUMBERG: That song! Right! 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Right. 



PJ: So people will do things like they'll have a tweet where they'll just say in lowercase, "some," and then in capital, "BODY" 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh. 



PJ: Because they just know that that is enough to like put that song in your head for three days. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: So anyway, so, this is an example of what people have done with it. 


[video plays]


SMASH MOUTH: Somebod--
CARTOON BEAR: --body toucha my spaghet!  



PJ: (laughs) 



ALEX GOLDMAN: That's the entire thing (laughs).



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) That is so weird. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: So, uh, another really good one is there's... I'm just gonna let him soak it in for a little while. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs) Cuz they both say "somebody."



ALL: (laugh) 



ALEX GOLDMAN: This one has even less context. It's a song from one of the Kirby video games. Kirby's just a video game character who's like a big, purple ball. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: And someone just made this using the music from the game. 



PJ: I thought he was big, pink cloud. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Pink cloud, that's what he is. A big, pink ball is what he is. 


[video plays]


CARTOON BEAR: (in beat with the music) Some! Body! Toucha! My! Spaghet! Somebody, somebody toucha my spaghet! Some! Body! Toucha! My! Spaghet! Somebody, somebody toucha my spaghet! Some! Body! Toucha! My! Spaghet! 



ALEX GOLDMAN: You get it. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yeah. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Um, here is a scene from Full Metal Jacket.




MALE VOICE: What is your major malfunction, numbnuts?
CARTOON BEAR: Somebody toucha my spaghet!
[crashing]



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)



ALEX GOLDMAN: Anyway.



PJ: That's it? It doesn't go anywhere? No neo nazi picks it up? Nobody turns it into a weapon that they hurt somebody else with? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: No, someone turns it into a weapon that they hurt somebody else with.



PJ: Really? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Ok. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Um, so you may be familiar with another Youtuber, goes by the name PewDiePie.



PJ: Yeah. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Do you know PewDiePie? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: I do. I know a lot about PewDiePie. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: The most popular Youtuber in the world. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Right, he got popular by playing video games that people would watch him play on Youtube. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Right. 



PJ: He also just, just as like an addendum to the Logan Paul thing. PewDiePie got in trouble recently for saying the n-word. And then he'll sort of like, apologize in like a "I'm sorry you took me using the worst racial slur in a bad way," kind of way. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Right. 



PJ: And then he'll show back up. And when Logan Paul got in trouble, PewDiePie was sure to chime in and say like, "Well people are- people are- why are people not more mad at him when they were so mad me?" Or like, "I would never do what he did!" Like he made sure to make this about him in a way that was... Like watching an adult person do that was very strange.



ALEX GOLDMAN: Weirdly I feel like what's sort of going on... is that I think PewDiePie is using Logan Paul and Jake Paul to try and rehabilitate his reputation. By being like, “look how bad these people are.”



PJ: Uh huh. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: What that looks like is PewDiePie puts up a video criticizing Logan Paul for putting up the video in the first place, criticizing what he thinks is a terrible apology video, and then YouTube comes in and actually takes PewDiePie video down, and he says it’s because they think he was bullying Logan Paul.



PJ: They said it was bullying to criticize somebody for mockingly taking a video with a dead person. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Look. Moderation is an imperfect art. 



PJ: That's wild. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Youtube's just doing their best. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow. 



PJ: Ok.



ALEX GOLDMAN: So in response, PewDiePie put up a video called, "Youtube touched my spaghet." (laughs) 



PJ: What's the video?



ALEX GOLDMAN: It's him talking about how YouTube took his down his video and how mad he was about that, and what an incredible double standard it is, and what kind of favoritism they play with the Pauls, and him just laughing hysterically about how funny "Somebody touched my spaghet" is. 



PJ: At the same time? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Kind of. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Let me see it, let me see it. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Alright so here, here he is.


[video plays]


PEWDIEPIE: Take all these horrible things that happen. Sexual harassment, murder... but when someone toucha your spaghet... 



ALEX BLUMBERG: He couldn't think of anymore! 



PJ: (laughs) 



PEWDIEPIE: That's when you know you have to stand up and use your voice. CARTOON BEAR: Somebody toucha my spaghet! 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Anyway. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Right. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: So him doing this actually took this meme that was, I think, kind of niche—



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh huh.



ALEX GOLDMAN: And made it massive. Because this video has seven million views. 



PJ: So part of the reason that somebody touched my spaghet is a big deal is because a Youtuber who was angry because he got in trouble for criticizing another Youtuber who was ashamed because he'd filmed a corpse and gotten yelled at for it—



ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs) 



PJ: —because that clip from like a 1920s Disney movie happened to float into that person's brain on that day, that's why we know this? 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yes. 



PJ: Hmm. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: That's wild. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: And I would say the last beat of this story is, since no one can ever be happy about anything, the guy who originally posted the "Somebody toucha my spaghet" tweet responded to his own tweet afterwards saying, "to pewdiepie who hijacked my meme that isn't even funny--" 



PJ: (laughs) It's true!



ALEX BLUMBERG: (laughs)



ALEX GOLDMAN: (reading) "you are a little bitch, and I have no respect for you, and I wish I could have forgotten about you years ago like everyone else did."



ALEX BLUMBERG: Wow. 



PJ: He got the tiniest little platform, and he stood on it, and he took his shot. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: (laughs)



ALEX BLUMBERG: We are at Yes Yes Yes. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Alright, Alex, I know that this one is- is on a pretty epic scale, but can you explain to us this tweet? 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Yes, I believe I can. Here we go. This single tweet is sort of like an encyclopedia of a bunch of different memes that are going around the internet, and has like put them into this four box quadrant. 



PJ: Yeah, it’s sort of like if we disappear tomorrow, the civilization that finds us is going to find this tweet like etched onto this stone wall by a bloody hand.



ALEX BLUMBERG: And every panel is this tweet tells its own long, long story. There’s the story of the Tide pods, (laughs) which is “famine,” because people love to pretend to eat them and people loving to pretend to do something on the internet leads to hijinks and consequences. 



There is the story of the next panel, the echidna, which is “war,” which involves… It involves Ugandan filmmaker and the way his work has been employed in online gaming platforms.  



ALEX BLUMBERG: Uh, then there’s the story of Logan Paul, Youtube star extraordinaire, who took it too far when he filmed a dead body in a forest in Japan. And that’s “death.” 



And then, final quadrant, "pestilence," is, um, I'm not exactly sure what that has to do with pestilence, actually. But it's basically... I think the user doesn't know what pestilence is. I think that is... Yes. So anyway, but I think they think it means poverty. Anyway, it's like the three bears from this 1930s clip that has gone viral because of, um, a disgraced Youtuber trying to sort of like get back at the other gra- disgraced Youtuber from the previous quadrant. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Yeah. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Spaghet. 



PJ: Spaghet. 



ALEX GOLDMAN: Somebody toucha my spaghet!



PJ: Ok, I think, I think we're at Yes Yes Yes. 



ALEX BLUMBERG: I feel like- I- I feel like we'll always be brothers after this one. 



ALL: (laugh) 



ALEX BLUMBERG: Anything you need, you come to me. 



PJ: (laughs) 



[MUSIC]



[CREDITS]



PJ: Reply All is hosted by me, PJ Vogt, and Alex Goldman. Our show is produced by Sruthi Pinnamaneni, Phia Bennin, Damiano Marchetti, and Kaitlin Roberts. More production help this week from Khrista Rypl. Our editor is Tim Howard. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Our intern is Devon Guinn. This is our last week with our outgoing intern, Anna Foley. Anna is a genius, we've been very lucky to get to work with her. Hire her. Anna Foley. Special thanks this week to Taylor Lorenz. We were mixed by Rick Kwan. Our theme song is by the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. Matt Leiber is an unseasonably warm day. You can visit our website at replyall.limo, and you can find more episodes of the show on Spotify, or Apple Podcasts, wherever you listen. Thanks for listening, we'll see you next week.