“cinnamon toast shrimp guy turned out to be a milkshake duck just like bean dad”
When I saw the above tweet I understood about a fifth of it, taking the “cinnamon toast shrimp guy” to be a reference to a recent drama unfolding on the website these last few days.
The said “cinnamon toast shrimp guy” would be American producer-writer-podcaster-gallerist–former rapper (?) Karp Jensen (there is a sea life related pun in there somewhere, but I think carp are freshwater fish?)
As with many things on Twitter, it’s always wise to cut the story short before you’re swallowed whole. So here’s the cliffnotes version of the shrimp thing.
Three days ago Jensen posted this tweet:
The fallout from this is still ongoing, featuring plenty of customer service related drama, including a moment where it seemed that General Mills wanted Jensen to bring the bag of cinnamon toast to any nearby police station to be preserved as evidence.
The last real update is the revelation that the company is now paying a carcinologist at The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, to confirm what species of shrimp the offending crustacean is. You really couldn’t make it up.
So there I am, following Jensen and thinking it’s a funny story, before the Twitter tide turns the other way. This time it’s the revelation that Jensen is an abuser and has been for years.
This allegation, among over threads exposing his plagiarism of another show’s podcast idea and even racism towards his staff members, all came from a reddit thread about the above tweet. It had been buried under all of the kitschy, funny, quirky shrimp business.
This prompts the use of the second part of the impenetrable tweet, the Milkshake Duck adage. Which refers to a line that a twitter bot synthesised, which is the most apt thing possible.
What I find funny about the tweet is the relative surprise that people had regarding Milkshake Duck’s evidential racist views, since when Jensen’s allegations were revealed; I don’t think anyone was surprised a white Hollywood writer was to blame.
The allegory had also been applied to the story’s final missing character: “bean dad”, which completes the impenetrable sentence.
This is it’s own kettle of fish entirely (again, not sure the pun is apt but it is intended). Which follows a similar podcaster-type: musician John Roderick. This is old news, but the song remains the same, kooky twitter business (this time regarding a weird joke tweeted by Roderick concerning cans of beans, hence “bean dad”) and then shocking unapologetic racism discovered in his earlier tweets.
Followed by a non-apology, the cycle continues and no one is any the wiser.
I think the discussion about how apologies for racism, misogyny and other offenses online are handled, is a discussion to have with someone better versed in these things than me.
I think what I get most of all from the original tweet in this article, is a sense of the bizarre nature of online memes. How winding and complex they become in such a short amount of time.
I recently watched the pseudo-biography of a meme: Feels Good Man on iPlayer, and it had a similar message of how the online space is built for contextualising and transmitting inside jokes.
The way in which we communicate online is split between the universal references that everyone gets, and the niche references that only a certain circle will get. As the top tweet infers: you don’t realise which circle you’re in until it’s too late.