This week, young people everywhere are experiencing the pain of finding out someone you admire is actually a hypocrite and a cad. Older people like us don’t care because we’ve seen it happen a million times, but to kids whose hearts haven’t been broken, learning that “Try Guy” Ned Fulmer cheated on his wife feels exactly like watching Stone Cold Steve Austin turn heel at WrestleMania X-Seven felt to you.
Ned Fulmer and Adam Levine sex scandals
Over the past few weeks, two extramarital scandals have taken over online discourse: “Try Guy” Ned Fulmer’s alleged tryst with a producer, and singer Adam Levine’s various imbroglios. Both men had public personas built around being “good guys,” the type of guys who are conscientious, romantic, and faithful.
I didn’t know who or what a “Try Guy” was until a few days ago—apparently YouTube’s Almighty Algorithm decided my interest in Eurorack analog synthesizer tutorials doesn’t overlap with the Try Guy demographic—but then everyone started talking about Ned Fulmer. Here’s a quick explainer in case you’re like me.
Who are The Try Guys?
The Try Guys were Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang. Nearly eight million people follow their YouTube channel where they try things like making sushi, wearing corsets, and eating everything at Taco Bell. The Try Guys’ friendly, inclusive, non-controversial content made them into something like surrogate fantasy dads for all the kids on YouTube. But this week, a video of Ned Fulmer making out with a woman who is not his wife hit Reddit, and the illusion broke apart.
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Fulmer, whose sincere, sort of dorky online personality was heavily informed by his repeated mentions of how much he loved his wife and children, apparently hooked up with one of the show’s producers, and they were brazen enough to be seen canoodling in public. The Try Guys dropped him from the show, Fulmer tweeted that he’s sorry, and many young people learned a lesson about the conflict between someone’s public persona and the vagaries of their heart.
What did Adam Levine do?
And then there’s Adam Levine. Younger people probably wouldn’t care that much about the apparent infidelities of a dinosaur rock star like Maroon 5’s Levine—he didn’t present himself as a squeaky clean advertisement for monogamy or anything— but his scandal is so public, online, and messy, it demands attention.
It started on TikTok, when 23-year-old model Summer Stroh posted a video alleging she’d had an affair with Levine. Not only that: Levine’s wife is pregnant, and Stoh said the rock star asked permission to name the child after her.
Levine denied a physical affair, but copped to being “inappropriate” and “crossing a line.” More women came forward and explicit texts were made public, leading to much online fun-making of Levine’s skills as a sexter.
Reddit mods declare Texas governor Greg Abbot a little piss baby
In a decision that could have massive consequences for everyone on social media, as well as redefining the First Amendment, the federal fifth circuit court of appeals recently upheld a lower court ruling that basically grants Texas the right to moderate the content on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and every other large online platform. Under the law, the sites would not be allowed to ban people for their political views. This led to the widespread accusation that Texas Governor Greg Abbot is a little piss baby.
The movement originated on Reddit’s Political Humor subreddit, where the moderators are testing the law with a requirement that all comments on the 1.5 million-member board contain the phrase “Greg Abbott is a little piss baby,” lest users be banned.
“The mod team is of sound mind and body, and we are explicitly censoring the viewpoint that Greg Abbott isn’t a little piss baby,” moderator blatantconservative posted on the subreddit.
It isn’t clear whether Reddit’s unpaid moderators “count” in terms of the law, or whether moderators can legally ban users from only part of a site based on politics, but this vagueness of the law is one of thing that makes the ruling so troubling.
It’s hard to imagine the law standing up to the next level of appeal—the State forcing private companies to publish speech they don’t agree with seems in opposition to the First Amendment—but it’s also hard to believe it got this far to begin with. All I know for sure is that Greg Abbot is a little piss baby.
The wonder and glory of “death diving”
I have discovered a new extreme sport, and I’m completely obsessed. Death diving, or dødsing, is like the opposite of competitive diving. Instead of intricate tricks performed with precision, dødsers hurl themselves from 10 or 14 meter diving platforms and wildly flail around. Instead of perfect, vertical arcs, death divers throw themselves as far across the pool as they can. Instead of going for as little splash as possible, death divers aim for huge amounts of water displacement, only avoiding painful belly flops with last second switches to crab position. It’s hilarious, and you should watch a video right now.
The sport originated in Norway in the 1960s as a way for divers to impress young women, but has recently grown popular enough to be featured on ESPN. This puts dødsing at a dangerous crossroad. As a fan for over an hour, I don’t want death diving to go the way of skateboarding. It would be cool for it to be in the olympics or something—there is apparently a way of determining who does it “best”—but on the other hand, I don’t want attention to crush the unique and ridiculous spirit of the sport. Dødsing is not supposed to be about money and fame; it’s supposed to be about dødsing.
Viral video of the week: The Last of Us teaser
This week, HBO posted the first trailer for its upcoming series based on acclaimed video game The Last of Us, and everyone in the gamer world watched it. The series and the games tell the story Joel and Ellie, two of the last people alive after a zombie apocalypse, and to the great relief of gamers everywhere, the teaser looks and feels like the game. The settings and characters seem right, as if the series is going to stick closely to its source material.
Does this mean it’s going to be a good show? I’m not sure. Hollywood doesn’t have a great track record with this kind of thing. Many fans think that the reason video game adaptations don’t hit like the games they’re based on is that movie producers change too much. But I think they’re wrong. Games and movies are not interchangeable, and even if HBO’s series is as well-paced and emotionally affecting as the games, so what? Without being able to shoot things, aren’t gamers just wishing for a collection of cut-scenes? I’m usually wrong about these things, though. We’ll see when The Last of Us comes out in 2023.
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