- Cyber Patterns by Jason Levin
- Cringe is The New Cool
Cringe is The New Cool
I went viral in Paris and got called cringe
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In 2019, I was doing a lot of drugs.
And like someone who does a lot of drugs does, I did a lot of stupid embarrassing shit. All of this has been cleaned from the internet, but I still remember the feeling of shame like it was yesterday.
That shame is now my superpower.
This week, I went viral for writing a thread about standing in line for 90 minutes to eat steak-frites. My post has 6.7 million views. Many people thought the post was good, but many thought it was cringe—which was just fine by me. In fact, I was quite happy to be flamed on. Bring it on. More engagement for me.
See, no matter how cringe people thought this post was, it wasn’t as embarrassing as what I posted when I was using drugs. Like nowhere even close. Hint: my hair was a different color. Whatever insult you’re throwing at me, I’ve heard worse (and mostly because I was the one insulting myself after I sobered up and got a clear head).
So as this thread picked up heat and went viral and insults were coming in, I was laughing my ass off excited by the view count and my follower count rising. I felt zero shame, exclusively joy. People even photoshopped me into a meme (see below)! This was the funniest thing to ever happen to me: the guy who wrote a book about memes getting turned into a meme! I’m happy I posted the thread and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Long John Silvers 😂
EMBRACE THE CRINGE
See, I developed this motto a few months ago “embrace the cringe”.
Cringe is the new cool.
Writing online or making funny videos or whatever will always look “cringe” to some people no matter what you do. You can be the coolest person alive and some schmuck in Kansas will still call you “cringe”. I swear some loser would’ve called James Dean “cringe” if it was an insult back in the 50s.
I believe “cringe” says more about the insulter than the insulted. It’s an insult meant to bring you down to the insulter’s level. It just means the viewer did not like your work or did not get your work—which is fine. MrBeast is gonna be a billionaire and he’s still “cringe” to some people. You think he gives a fuck if @bigdick37 calls him “cringe”? Yeah neither do I.
If you wanna do anything cool, you gotta risk being called cringe. Embrace the cringe. One man’s cringe is another man’s cool. As my old boss Greg Isenberg says, “Trying isn’t cringe. Cringe isn’t trying.” If I wasn’t willing to look cringe to some people and write bangers online, I would’ve never been able to quit my boring job or start a blog or get a book deal. You wanna peak in high school debate club and never do anything exciting in your career? Or do you wanna go do cool shit no one else is doing? You need stop overthinking shit and start underthinking it. Just go balls to the fucking wall.
Not giving a fuck if you look cringe is a superpower for the great online game. Like Peter Parker getting bit by a spider, I had my superhero moment with the druggie days. And I’m glad it happened. But you don’t need to go down that path to realize this: internet embarrassment isn’t that bad. Stop living in fear of being called cringe. The fear is worse than it actually happening. You get over it. You learn to laugh about it. And it makes you stronger person and a better creator. (Also this Tyler, the Creator tweet is kinda accurate tbh, it’s just some people talking shit on the internet).
Hahahahahahahaha How The Fuck Is Cyber Bullying Real Hahahaha Nigga Just Walk Away From The Screen Like Nigga Close Your Eyes Haha
— T (@tylerthecreator)
Dec 31, 2012
When you’re willing to look cringe, a whole world of opportunity opens up. You realize you can’t please everyone so you stop trying. You just focus on winning your game. If you’re trying to make in on the internet, you’re playing a different game than 99% of people—so stop trying to play their game. When you focus on your game 100%, you’re free to be yourself.
PLAY YOUR GAME.
My game is to post bangers and grow my following.
My game isn’t to impress everyone and it sure as hell isn’t to make everyone like me. I’ve been making enemies since kindergarten and I’ll keep doing it til I die—enemies, haters, and trolls are a sign you’re doing something cool.
My goal isn’t to be the most popular or most liked or most desired man on the internet. My game is to post bangers and grow my following. With 1 post that I wrote in 10 minutes in an Uber, I got 6.7M views, 500 new followers, 30+ newsletter subscribers, and got turned into a meme!!! I won my game that night. And Imma stay winning because I’m playing my own game.
See I’m playing a long term game.
Even if I “lost” on this one—which I didn’t—, it’ll be forgotten by next week. I’ll post another banger thread and another one and another one. No one will give a fuck about the steak-frites thread in a day. And I’m doing this writing thing for the rest of my life.
Personally, I prefer being the gladiator who gets shit thrown at him rather than being a fan on the sidelines. I’d take it every single day. I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines, I’d rather take the shit-throwing if that means I get to play.
Goddamn I love the great online game.
P.S. Hell, I’m at the point where the booing and shit-throwing gets me hyped up like a baseball team at an away game. Call me cringe, call me whatever, I don’t care, I’m the one out here playing while you’re on the sidelines.
🐦 “Everything around you was built by people who didn’t know how to build it at first.” See my full tweet for more.
📘 I saw some Warhol paintings IRL in Paris, which made me think about The Philosophy of Andy Warhol! Weird book, 🔥 quotes.
😮 I used Midjourney to make today’s cover photo which I’m very proud of! The trick was to upload a photo of myself first to use as the base.
Thanks for reading nerds.
Create some cool shit this week.