My Internet: Miles Klee
The author, newsletter writer, and expert on the fun internet makes the case for Twitter (and against TikTok).
Welcome to Embedded, your essential guide to what’s good on the internet, published Monday through Friday by Kate Lindsay and Nick Catucci. “Get Embedded” on Twitter and Instagram. 🧩
It's Friday, which means we're back with My Internet, our weekly feature in which we quiz an extremely cool “extremely online” person on their social media and streaming habits to get their essential guide to what’s good on the internet.
Today we welcome Miles Klee, who chronicles the week’s “silly internet nonsense” every Friday in his newsletter, Miles High Club, posts gleeful absurdities on Twitter and thirst traps (or book pages) on Instagram, and also wrote the novel Ivyland and story collection True False. Miles finds songs that rock on Discord, rates every movie 2 stars on Letterboxd, and lives vicariously through the surfer emoji. —Nick
Announcing: YOUR Internet! Starting this week, we’re inviting you, our loyal readers, to answer one question from My Internet. Reply to this email by Sunday night and we’ll include your response in Monday’s newsletter. Today’s query: Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What's your favorite?
What's a recent meme that you like?
Sorry, but I've laughed my damn ass off at every iteration of the "Damn Shawty OK!" meme, which originated in 2014 as a crude MS Paint drawing of a dude getting a blowjob. There's something innately hilarious about his exclamation and the crappy art, yet the real magic is creators reviving the concept with clever adaptations. I was particularly struck by one where the guy is now being fellated by a Google Map of the town of Shawty in Oklahoma, so that "Damn Shawty OK!" becomes a geographical joke. No such town appears to exist, but it doesn't matter, it just works. Pure nonsense for no reason—that's what I crave.
Would you say that you have an Instagram aesthetic? How would you describe it?
I live in Los Angeles, so there's a noticeable SoCal vibe—lots of blue skies, bright flowers, beaches and palm trees. Every third photo or so is a thirst trap of me in a tank top: those seem to be the most popular images. Every now and then I post a page I like from a book I'm reading, to preserve my literary reputation. Those don't perform as well. The most important thing I've learned from my sister Isabel, an Insta professional, is to never use the preset filters on the app. They're basic!A post shared by @milesklee
What type of stuff do you watch on YouTube?
Almost exclusively Megan Thee Stallion videos. Though I also "watch" songs that aren't on Spotify for whatever reason, even if the YouTube version has no visual component. Why did they take Kitten's "Steal the Night" off Spotify? No idea, gotta watch it on YouTube. Oh, and I'll look up cooking how-tos if I'm unsure of something in the kitchen, or convinced there's a better way to slice a certain vegetable. Without YouTube, I wouldn't know how to trim and clean leeks.
Do you use TikTok? If so, how would you describe what shows up on your For You Page?
I struggle with the app itself while admitting there's a lot of amazing stuff on there. The clips that come closest to resembling Vines always end up on Twitter, so I watch them there—along with the videos that blow up for being so cringe. When I open up my own TikTok, I find it assaultive and unpleasant. I was trying to train the algorithm to show only cool animals and those humorous accounts that follow a teenager's eccentric or disapproving immigrant parent, but I haven't put the hours in. I still see too many smug explainers, awful pranks (recalling the worst of YouTube) and annoying "challenges." I also hate how much of the supposedly vérité domestic footage is badly staged and acted. No thanks.
Do you use Pinterest?
Pinterest has ruined Google Search and should be wholly deleted. Useless garbage!
Are there any influencers who you would be sad to see stop posting?
She's so much more than an influencer, but I'm going to say Martha Stewart. We would be far worse off without this felon's gothic dispatches from her vast country estate. The latest to go viral was when she chided The New York Post for undercounting her pet peacocks—21!—and went on to insist that they do NOT smell bad. Nobody else in the "lifestyle" space is posting on this level.
Do you ever tweet? Why?
I tweet many times a day, for attention.
Which platform do you put the most effort into posting on?
"Effort" is perhaps a generous word, but my self-esteem is certainly most tied to Twitter. Sad!
Who's the coolest person who follows you?
All my followers, by virtue of following me, are maximally cool. It's a tie.
Who's someone you know you should unfollow but can't seem to?
The Cape Cod Chips account. They're never going to follow back. And yet...
Is there a podcast you're currently obsessed with? How and when do you usually listen?
The podcast I can't get enough of is QAnon Anonymous, which breaks down the growing conspiracist element of the far right in America and beyond. I pay $5 a month for the bonus episodes and everything. It's addictive because it's so well-reported and terrifying but also quite funny—a lot of this stuff is too ridiculous not to mock. At the same time, they're interviewing people like Chelsea Manning. I like to listen to it when I go running so I can pretend I'm being chased by MAGA chuds.
Do you have an opinion about Clubhouse?
Like many things, I believe it was probably a lot more interesting when Black creatives were the prominent voices on there. When the white venture capital guys start turning it into their open mic night, it's time to bail.
Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What's your favorite?
Lots and lots. Ashley Feinberg's Trashberg is essential—I loved her report on the political turmoil inside wikiFeet (which is exactly what it sounds like). I get my celebrity news from Hunter Harris' Hung Up. Everyone with any kid of artistic sensibility should be subscribed to Sweater Weather, by the author Brandon Taylor. And Katie Way does these wild deep dives into how the police use social media in All Cops Are Posters.
Are you nostalgic for Vine or Tumblr?
Tumblr for sure, because that's how I killed time at my first job and met so many real-life friends that I've stayed in touch with to this very day. I miss Vine too, not because I made anything with it but since it was such a perfectly gonzo platform and gave us a tsunami of incredible content. I still sometimes say "ah" like the baby covered in peanut butter.
Who's a digital creator more people should know about?
They haven't uploaded to YouTube in years, but I always go back to videos by this artist known as b0dyg0d. They would take snippets of songs and old commercials and splice them into these trippy, hypnotic kind of vaporwave dreams. There's something Vine-ish about them: they suck you into these loops that you want to hear and see again and again.
Which big celebrity has your favorite internet presence?
Obviously it's Ben Affleck. He's not really online himself, yet every image of him turns into internet gold. How does he do it?
Are you regularly in any groups on Reddit, Slack, Discord, or Facebook? What are they about?
Every day I read a bunch of posts and threads in Sopranos Duckposting, which is a Facebook meme group for obsessive fans of The Sopranos. Occasionally I'll try to land a good comment in there myself, but man, the other fans in there are crushing it. I'm finally getting acclimated to Discord—a couple weeks ago I joined a channel called "song rocks," where, like, if you're listening to a song and thinking it rocks, you share it in the channel, and everyone else agrees that it rocks. It rocks.
Do you consider yourself part of any specific online communities?
The freaking blue check mafia! Bow down, unverified peasants!!
Are you a gamer?
Nope. I considered buying a Nintendo Switch just to play Untitled Goose Game, but that seemed extravagant.
Do you have a go-to emoji? What does it mean to you?
I like the hand with the pink and thumb sticking out. I guess it's supposed to mean "call me," but I use it for a chill surfer vibe. As in, everything's copacetic. Come to think of it, I use the surfer emoji the same way. To me it says, "we're cruising." I don't know how to surf. I'm living vicariously through the little cartoon surfer.
Do you text people voice notes? If not, how do you feel about getting them?
I have never texted a voice note, but I have enjoyed receiving them from attractive admirers.
Do any of your group chats have names?
I can't have my group chats finding out about each other. Chaotic.
What's the most basic thing about you online?
The need to regularly post my face in hopes of likes and horny comments.
What's the most specific or niche Spotify (or other music streaming platform) playlist that you like?
I dig this ambient Spotify playlist called KITTY COSIGNS. It's curated by a DJ and producer known as QRTR, whose beautiful cat went viral in a video where she's sitting on synth pads and creating this lush electronic soundscape like something out of the Vangelis score for Blade Runner, or a Brian Eno record. The concept of the playlist is that the kitty picked the songs for their relaxing and atmospheric qualities. I would give anything to meet her in person.
Who topped your Spotify Wrapped last year?
Wild Pink. The album hadn't dropped in 2020, but I got hooked on the single they put out first: "The Shining But Tropical." The whole record, A Billion Little Lights, is fantastic. Dreamy band.
Are you signed up for any "alternative" movie/TV or music streaming services, like Mubi or Deezer?
Like what and what? You're making these up.
Do you have any "guilty pleasures" online or in terms of what you stream?
I don't feel guilty for anything I consume, though I did rewatch the first season of Jersey Shore not long ago. In terms of musical taste I should be embarrassed by, I'm a secret sucker for the songs they play on Hot Country radio. My favorite is "Drunk on a Plane" by Dierks Bentley.
Do you ever comment on or reply to posts? What inspires you to do that?
Here and there you have to roast a bad opinion or shitty public figure, but for the most part, I'm just trying to riff with friends and randos who share some of my interests and sense of humor. I'm on Twitter to have fun. People say it's a hyper-toxic place, and some of that is of course unavoidable, but it's also not hard to find the people you like and keep things laid back in your own circles. Mute anyone who thinks it's their full-time job to antagonize and condemn.
Do you regularly use eBay, Depop, or other shopping platforms? What's a recent thing you've bought or sold?
I've had some luck buying vintage tank tops on Poshmark. The newest purchase is all '80s Miami neon colors with palm trees and flamingos, and it says "FLAMINGO NIGHTS." I don't know what a flamingo night is, but it sounds aspirational.
What's one thing you do online only because you have to for work, and one thing you do strictly for fun?
Email is a work thing—I wish I were better at long correspondence for its own sake, but alas. Letterboxd is a thing I do just for fun. My account is called everyfilm2stars, and I rate every movie two stars, guaranteed.
Is there any content you want that you can't seem to find anywhere online?
Yeah, a list of MacArthur Fellows with my name on it.
What's the worst thing about the internet in 2021? How about the best thing?
The worst is that we have a political class preoccupied with owning their opponents online when they should be governing. The best is that whenever I want, I can look at this tattoo of a dolphin taking a bong rip. Highly recommend.
Thanks Miles! Subscribe to his newsletter, Miles High Club; buy his novel Ivyland and story collection True False; and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. 🤙 🏄
Recommended in this post The "Damn Shawty OK!" meme; avoiding Instagram's preset filters; Megan Thee Stallion music videos on YouTube; Martha Stewart on Twitter and Instagram; the podcast QAnon Anonymous; the newsletters Trashberg, Hung Up, Sweater Weather, and All Cops Are Posters; YouTube creator b0dyg0d; Ben Affleck; Facebook group Sopranos Duckposting and Discord channel "song rocks"; Untitled Goose Game; ambient Spotify playlist KITTY COSIGNS and the band Wild Pink; Hot Country radio hits; buying vintage tank tops on Poshmark; rating every movie two stars on Letterboxd; and this image of the bong-rip dolphin tattoo.
Read the previous My Internet posts with Connie Wang, Cat Zhang, Josh Gondelman, Andrea González-Ramírez, Rumaan Alam, Hua Hsu, and Alicia Kennedy.
Reminder! Reply to this email and tell us: Do you subscribe to any Substacks or other independent newsletters? What's your favorite?