It has, once again, been a year of posts – posts broadcasting questionable parenting, why having parents buy you dinner is a form of privilege, vaccines that force you to travel back in time without your consent, and posts about how calling someone bald is, in fact, a slur.
This summer, the England football team came close to winning a championship for the first time in decades, leading to a short period where posting was wholesome and good, before business as usual (read: racism) resumed. There was also that short period of time at the beginning of the year when Redditors thought they were about to take down global capitalism by shorting Gamestop before realising that finance guys are also on the same apps as the rest of us.
This has now led to a bullshit crypto economy where the Earth’s remaining natural resources are being destroyed in order to prove that NFTs of cartoon apes are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cool!
While there were too many posts this year to go through every single one that broke our brains, VICE asked Ten Thousands Posts podcast hosts Hussein Kesvani and Phoebe Roy to curate some of their favourites. The following provide a good insight into how the new normal – in which everything you do is posting – is shaping up.
Bean Dad, January 2021
We didn’t even get through a week of the new year before the first round of discourse began! I remember being woken up by several Twitter DMs alerting me to this, and, within a few hours, it was at the top of Twitter’s trending list.
In this thread, John Roderick – a musician, podcaster and lead singer of the band The Long Winters (?) who has also published a book of his own tweets – detailed how he had deprived his seemingly hungry daughter of beans. Apparently, he wanted her to learn how to use a tin opener.
Roderick later clarified that he had helped her throughout this, and that they both enjoyed this father-daughter moment, but this clarification came sadly too late. To me, this thread called back to a time when Twitter had a “main character” who was not only trending for an entire day, but was remembered in a way that other main characters simply aren’t any more.
It also touched on a theme of posting this year – that when you do become the main character, you either have to double down and present yourself as a victim of cancel culture or you have to log off forever. In a wise decision, Roderick forwent what could have been a lucrative pundit role on right-wing media sites by choosing the latter. — Hussein Kesvani
Newsmax Host Greg Kelly’s MacFish Tweet, February 2021
I love Greg Kelly so much, and he is by far one of my favourite posters of the year. Former Fox White House correspondent Kelly – now a host of the right-wing, pro-Trump news channel Newsmax – should in theory be the new Tucker Carlson. He should be ramping up the culture war, shilling for Christian values and demanding that the US declares war on China.
Instead, Kelly’s tweets are largely centred around his penchant for sweets, being impressed by his own colourful trousers and making mundane observations about everyday life with WEIRD and MISPLACED capitalisation. In some ways, it’s a perfect example of conservative grievances largely being centred around feeling disrespected by young, low-wage service staff. But I still love to think that Greg was a little heartbroken when he had to come to terms with the fact that the “MACFISH” simply never existed. — Hussein Kesvani
All of Elon Musk’s Crypto Posts, 2021
2021 marked our first steps into a version of “web3” built around cryptocurrency, and at the centre of this is one Elon Musk. When Musk wasn’t getting mad at the SEC, who keep pointing out that maybe Tesla isn’t as valuable as people seem to think it is, or coming up with the ingenious idea of making narrow underground tunnels for cars in Los Angeles, Musk spent much of the year pumping up the value of cryptocurrencies like Dogecoin.
People speculated that Musk might have been doing this to artificially inflate the value of Tesla in what finance guys like to call a “pump and dump” scheme, using his high follower account to encourage people to buy cryptocurrencies that conveniently seemed to benefit him. It all came to a head when Musk caused the value of Bitcoin to collapse in June after posting a low-res meme that I’m absolutely sure he stole from a family member’s Facebook account.
Crucially, it’s not the first time he’s done this. Just earlier this month, Musk posted more bad memes seemingly mocking DAOs (sort of like semi-organised crypto collectives), apparently causing the crypto market to crash once again. Yet, in spite of Musk’s clear disdain for his fans, they still keep rallying around him. I’d argue that this says a lot about the nature of fandom, and what an influencer can get away with when their posts are so powerful they shape the entire global economy. — Phoebe Roy
Naomi Wolf’s “no! No!!” Antivax Post, June 2021
Despite her Twitter suspension in June, Naomi Wolf is my star of 2021 – a poster’s poster, who post not because she wants to but because she must. There is no reason for Naomi Wolf not to be known purely as the author of a foundational third-wave feminist text (low risk of posting). There is no reason for her not to be known as someone who got corrected over a serious error in one of her books in a radio interview by someone who, among other things, writes Dr Who short stories (embarrassing but medium risk of posting).
There is even no reason for her not to be known as someone who is constantly mistaken for No Logo author Naomi Klein (posting risk heightening), or as the woman who once compared the unrest of 2020 to the comparative peace of famously serene 70s Belfast (posting risk: terminal).
There is simply no reason at all for Naomi Wolf, the author of The Beauty Myth, to now be known only for objecting to a cutesy post about a teddy bear helping out at a vaccination centre with one helpless, piercing, keen: “no! NO!!”. And yet, here we are. — Phoebe Roy
Flora Gill’s ‘Pornography For Children’ Post, July 2021
Look, if you write the words “pornography” and “children” in the same sentence, there is a zero percent chance that it will a) be understood the way you want it to be understood, and b) will ever be considered a reasoned and well-thought-out take. Nevertheless, Flora Gill, standard bearer of Britain’s horse girls and daughter of former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, bravely thought she could swerve the fate of Icarus.
While Gill swiftly deleted the tweet (though not fast enough to avoid screenshots), it’s a good example of a tweet whereby every sentence attempting nuance only serves to make original sentence worse. Some things are better left in Drafts, Flora. — Hussein Kesvani
Laurence Fox’s ‘Bad Times Make Hard Men’ tweet, August 2021
Poor Laurence Fox. After tanking his mainstream acting career, embarrassing himself while running for Mayor of London, and attempting to run an “anti-woke” political party that barely polled above 1 percent, he – like many professional right-wing talking heads – is struggling to stay relevant in an oversaturated pool of TV commentators leapfrogging onto the cancel culture bandwagon.
As the promises of Brexit continue to crumble, Fox has seemingly decided his new raison d’etre is going to be repackaged pick-up artist shit about how there are no longer any “real men” and how they would never survive in the trenches, unlike, of course, yours truly.
Fox’s tweet is a good illustration of where people who made their names whining about being cancelled are heading to next: lamenting the loss of patriarchy and heteronormative nuclear families, while promoting mandatory national service to make the country “great” again. — Hussein Kesvani
Malang Khostay, the Taliban’s Poster-in-Chief, August 2021
When the Taliban retook Afghanistan in August of this year, its message to Western onlookers was delivered by Malang Khostay, a 20-something year old fighter who also served as its official poster.
The absurdity of all this reached its peak when Khostay began reposting memes from Western far-right accounts and mocking “social justice warriors”, only to then fall for a classic “deez nuts” post most of us hadn’t seen since the late 2000s. Since then, Twitter has banned Khostay from its platform, possibly because he was trying too hard to get verified. — Hussein Kesvani
The ‘Trauma Dump’ TikTok Therapist, October 2021
If everything is posting, then everyone on Earth is occupying a monstrous philosophical position of being simultaneously poster and potentially posted. Think about the therapist that it took you 18 months to see for six sessions: How do you know what they’re really thinking? What’s your proof they’re not saving up the worst parts of your life to amuse their family with? Really, really think about their professionally neutral expressions and their kind eyes, their folded hands in their lap, their understanding nods.
Does not the executioner look this way at the prisoner? Did God not observe his disappointing creations before the Flood? Does not the content creator therapist, souped on self-regard and the specific linguistic shape of posting, perceive their client and all around them as nothing more than content-in-waiting, much like therapist Ilene Glance (above) thought of her “trauma dumping” client in her now-deleted TikTok? Is it worth going outside ever again? A question for your therapist. — Phoebe Roy
The Q-Angle Community ‘Outs’ Kyle Rittenhouse, November 2021
2021 has been characterised by a series of reality collapse events, and I’m not just talking about Bean Dad. In uncertain times, people turn to those who are able to make sense of the chaos and offer an organising explanatory power to our collective nightmare.
Regrettably, in this case, the explanations are offered by the Q-Angle community, a stunningly single-issue crowd who believe that nearly everyone in the public eye is secretly “gender inverted” and are pretending to be the opposite gender to sow confusion and disharmony, in order to prepares the way for the eventual dominion of the demon Baphomet. Here, one member weighs in on the results of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial using arcane mathematical measurements presented as 2005 sixth form Powerpoint graphics. They also – when they fancy a break from posting transphobia and investigating demon worship – post pictures of their dogs. — Phoebe Roy
Normalise Not Using the Word ‘Friend’, December 2021
One trend we’ve noticed over the past year – and the number of likes and retweets on this is testament to it – is the continued attempt to categorise all your social relationships in the name of self-care.
Are you helping a colleague, an associate, even a friend of a friend? Remember, this is a form of emotional labour, and you should consider implementing some kind of compensation plan. If someone is asking you for advice, think: Are they really a friend who values your time? Or a client who should expect an invoice within the next seven days? Indeed, maybe your parents should really consider how much access and time they have to speak to you, completely free of charge, and consider paying a monthly subscription to your Patreon?
This tweet may seem absurd now, but it’s likely that we’ll see more posts of this calibre next year – especially once we return to working/socialising/interacting entirely online and on platforms that provide increasing incentives to monetise any communication we have. It won’t be long until “friends” are a thing of the past, replaced with various tiers of “patron”. — Hussein Kesvani
Dominic Cummings Reads the News, December 2021
The great thing about the former Number 10 adviser Dominic Cummings is he’s not really a person, as such – he’s a late-period Aaron Sorkin character, a Steve Bannon manqué, a Hogarth of words. He is what a very, very dumb person thinks a very, very smart person is like. He is the one person who understands that – whatever happens – posting will always return to its origins. He is, in other words, a man with a blog. This post reads like someone beat Dominic Cummings over the head with a rock, and then asked him to both describe the contents of The Prince and the political events of 2021. It is unintelligible, and it is exactly what this country deserves. — Phoebe Roy
The Kinks’ Dave Davies Remembers the 60s, December 2021
Dave Davies, one of the founding members of the Kinks, comes from a distinct posting category of hugely respected older people for whom you cannot imagine what the appeal of a platform like Twitter is. They are untouchable, uncontrollable and uncancellable. They post whatever comes into their heads. They use hashtags with almost aggressively cheerful abandon. They’re frequently found observing that they just love chatting to strangers and finding community.
Charming sentiments, obviously, but mad ones not rooted in any reality, either online or off. You are privileged to live in a world where you know what Dave Davies from the Kinks thinks about pubic hair. Try to call him bald in the comments and he will not hate you, but he will pity you. After all, he came up with the distorted power chord on “You Really Got Me”, and he can do whatever he wants. — Phoebe Roy
Jameela Jamil Defends the Short Kings, December 2021
It’s time for us to correct a common misapprehension which is starting to take the shape of received wisdom through repetition, and that is that the most effective posters are depressed people with jobs they hate who are trying to avoid their families.
These brave soldiers build the foundations of the posting cities, and clock on every day to their jobs at the posting factory in exchange for little reward and permanently damaged capacities, it is true – but they are not the great men and women of posting. For them, the stakes are low.
The owners of true posters’ hearts are defined by the potential for the height of their fall. There is absolutely no reason for Jameela Jamil to post. She is beautiful, she is famous, she is rich, and she could – if she so chose – surround herself with yes-people and fans. But for Jameela, the empress of posting, this is not enough. Jameela craves the dark underbelly; Jameela wants an easily accessible pastel infographic resource for Louis Farrakhan posts; Jameela has a thought, any thought, and the thought must be posted with no hesitation.
Real artists accept no middle men; her posts are real poetry. As long as Jameela Jamil can hear your hot as fuck voice, she does not care how tall you are. In posting, as in heaven, we are all the same height. — Phoebe Roy