In March 2018, the Vice Media Munchies tweeted a sad picture. Taken at Fette Sau in Brooklyn, the image showed some lean slices of chest along with pickles, a jar of yellow beer, and some deflated-looking rolls. The tweet asks an evocative question: “Why is Brooklyn barbecue taking over the world?” The cries of outrage were heard in Texas and beyond.
According to Ben Lashes, who is considered the world’s “first mem manager,” an NFT is a way to “track and authenticate” a piece of digital content. Lashes is the founder of the management company A strange movie; think of it as a sports agent, but the stars it represents are the creators of bits of digital viral content, such as Chat mosad, Nyan cat, and Successful Kid. It helps meme generators and digital artists find ways to monetize their viral content, including selling it as NFTs. In April, Cours managed there auction of “Disaster Girls,” which sold for the cryptocurrency equivalent of half a million on the digital auction site Foundation. August 5, on the same site, an auction will begin for many known as “Brooklyn BBQ.”
The larger bidder will possess the original image, in all its depressing glory, as well mem la continue streaming online. Lashes compares owning an NFT to owning an original Andy Warhol painting. Only one exists, but that doesn’t mean you can put the artwork on a t-shirt and start selling it. (Though some NFT sales include copyright, this one won’t.) “It’s like getting the official signed version of the art for your own personal collection,” he says.
When the Munchies tweet went viral and became a meme, in 2018, Gill’s article was already four years old. The essay did not make the claim of the salacious title. It was about the rise of a particular urban and sincerely hip barbecue-joint aesthetic. The Gill writing piece is best known for being famous precisely because people didn’t read it, a fact he can now laugh about. “[The meme] is way bigger than anything I’ve written in current history, ”he said.
Last week, I wondered what it was like to review the uncomfortable day when her work was universally insulted by everyone from the barbecue fan Mayor Austin. “The thing is, it never really goes away,” he said. Death threats and invitations to fight are stopped, but he still receives an angry message on the tweet once every couple of months. “I think people expect me to be embarrassed about it,” he said. “I’m not.” Now Gill is looking to capitalize on the ridiculousness he has endured.
The lean tray at Brooklyn Barbecue would rack up some confusing comments on my Instagram, but according to Eyelashes, that’s exactly what makes it remarkable. “The conflict is part of what makes it art,” he says, comparing it to the much-maligned artist Maurizio Cattelan bananas stuck on a wall. For lashes, memes and viral phenomena are “the pop art of the modern era.”
Aspiring digital collectors can start bidding on “Brooklyn BBQ” on August 5, as long as they have the crypto money to do so. The auction site accepts only Ethereum for payment. The bid is set to start at five ether-like on Thursday, worth about $ 10,000. Once the first offer comes, a 24-hour clock will start for open bidding.
“It all sounds ridiculous, but I have a good feeling about this,” Gill says. Still, she feels more at home promoting the two new books she will publish later this year. The controversy around the image doesn’t affect his writing career, but he remains fascinated by how uncomfortable it made barbecue fans feel. “People felt threatened by this image,” he said. It’s odd for an article on food trends from 2014 to remain a point of discussion, but Gill, the NFT sale is a way to finalize some unfinished business. “I lost control of the narrative, and this is me taking it back.”