Musings on the internet: Bart Simpson, facebook aesthetics and meme culture

Stuck for ideas this week, philosopher and chansonnier Yvette Bronwen-Garm shares a few choice extracts from her diary of woe

Yvette Bronwen-Garm

This week, Yvette Bronwen-Garm has found a Youtube channel, named Bart Hero

Thursday 10th May, 2018. 10.00am.

I’ve found a Youtube channel, called Bart Hero. Bart Hero posts 10 minute clips of the Simpsons, and is therefore algorithmically inclined to my most addictive propensities. Bart Hero titles its videos by theme, typically ‘Best Moments’ followed by an abstract noun, e.g. ‘Best Moments – Deformation’. However, they sometimes appear with a single, unpunctuated sentence that refers to the characters impersonally and obscurely by personal pronouns, i.e. ‘Her first day at school’, or ‘Appears on other planet’, or ‘The request is meaningless’, to quote three further video titles. All the clips in the videos are culled from Season 8 and onwards, much to my chagrin.

Usually, the format of a Bart Hero video follows a pattern: we see about five minutes of clips cut from an episode of Seasons 8-12, and then the clips are replaced with a set of clips from a disastrous later season. The process seems to have been accomplished by a bot, because while there is a semblance of narrative cohesion and some logic seems to determine which fragments follow which, it comes off as a parody of narrative rather than anything watchable.

Friday 4th May, 2018. 1.00pm.

I still haven’t managed much revision. But I did change my name on Facebook to ‘Bongo Jeffries’. All my friends are doing it: like all Cambridge trends, it started at Peterhouse. Fans of the old nominal switcharoo on social media typically adopt a significant change in posted content, replacing pictures of animals or holiday snaps with grimy Lenovography of half-eaten meals and dusty pavement detritus, punctuated by exclusively lower-case non sequiturs, such as “can I have some beans” and “the routine begins”. Come to think of it, shitposting is a lot like Bart Hero. It causes the mores that inform our use of Facebook to slowly degrade, bit by bit. But enough chitchat! Time to revise.

Saturday 5th May, 2018. 10am.

My flat’s been getting dirty recently. The carpet stinks. The unwashed platters of hummus-related snack fare threaten to turn the sink into a videogame cutscene of unrivalled violence. I’m no avo-toast junkie, I’ve got nothing against the snafflers of the Sainsbury mango, but for me, the hum is where it’s all at. I’m aware of the drastic chickpea shortage of 2016, I know of the unhealthy consequences of over burdening oneself with the melange of debt that assails the hummus-addicted student, but I’d rather be shovelled over with humus than sacrifice my hummus. It’s a lantern with a soft, flesh-tone bulb, calling to me from the aisle of quasi-dairy goods, calling me to its side, into the plastic wrapped tub of moral torpor.

The unwashed platters of hummus-related snack fare threaten to turn the sink into a videogame cutscene of unrivalled violence

And the flat is so dirty. I bet it is, said Thaddeus McGowan when I absentmindedly informed him of my hygenic predicament over Facebook this morning. Thaddeus McGowan isn’t back in my life, I think with relief, because, I think with dismay, he never left. He’s the man I deserve, but not the one I need right now. I’d send Thaddeus McGowan a Batman GIF, but it would only encourage him.

Sunday 6th May, 2018. 2.00am.

I’ve slept with Thaddeus McGowan again. His snores are presently trumpeting their way through the garden of earthly delights that comprises my rotting flat, a Heironymous Bosch-Sex in the City mashup meme that couldn’t fail to make my flatmates roll their eyes with despair. “Yvette, what are you up to?”, they’ll ask. “Only twice now”, I’ll respond, with a devil-may-care wink and a Catholically-cringeworthy shrug. Every time he inhales and exhales, my flatmate sighs crossly from next door as she prints her dissertation. I’ve decided Thaddeus McGowan must suffer with sleep apnea, because occasionally the snores stop for a minute, before beginning again. What rapacious clamour. I’m not close enough to hear properly, having switched to a top-and-tail bedding format for decreased rates of dopamine-delayed guilt, though bearing with it the inevitable horrors of podial proximity.


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God help me, I think, as Thaddeus McGowan rolls over. The feet are now mere inches from my famously sensitive nose. Where can I go? What shall I do? Perhaps I could pretend I was too drunk to notice. I’ll make up a story about going to Cindies and message a couple of people saying I’ve been there. Thaddeus McGowan has stopped snoring again, and does so every ten minutes for an average of 30 to 50 seconds, if the statistical analysis I’m noting on my phone is anything to go by.


Come to think of it, Thaddeus McGowan is a lot like Bart Hero too. You don’t know why you want him, but it passes the time.

Tuesday 8th May, 2018. 9.00am

Today is the day. I’ve woken myself up at a plausible 8.50am and am going to sit at my desk until the Middle English flows from me like sticky sap. All I need to do is extricate myself from the deathly chrysalis of these sheets. No more fuckups, no more bad days. Only sweet solid labour will pour forth from my increasingly puffy mush these days. My phone-hand stretches out for the speakers: the aux goes in like a fork into a plate of brunchy pancakes, the Talking Heads start blasting out down the clothes-strewn corridor of my flat. Let X make a statement/ let breath pass through those cracked lips/ [Yvette’s] my hero.