Back during the GameStop short squeeze of 2021, I wrote about it as an outside observer who was incredulous at the spectacle, but didn’t truly understand what was going on. Two years later, on 9 January 2023, I formally started my journey into stock trading and investing by opening an eToro account. I sifted through every online resource I could find to learn everything I could about this seemingly esoteric thing that I would later describe as black magic and sorcery. While I’m still no expert, I at least can now understand a lot of the jargon and mechanics behind what I previously couldn’t make sense of.
It turned out that 2021 would later lead to a bull market that saw even the pet goldfish of a YouTuber earn more money through stock trading than actual humans. Mind you, those humans were a bunch of degenerate gamblers in a now-infamous subreddit. WallStreetBets continues to live in infamy well past their glory days of January 2021, when they were brought to mainstream consciousness due to their collective act of rebellion via yeeting their life savings in the guise of financial activism. Past that time in the spotlight, they’ve since devolved further into madness.
Much of my financial education was built upon reading and watching about financial scandals and disasters. Learning about Enron, Galleon, Bernie Madoff, the 2008 recession, and recent cryptocurrency scandals clothed me with the armor of hatred for gambling. But when I actually got started with stocks, it took losing over $300 in commodities trading, binge-watching Benjamin and Kamikaze Cash videos, and having my circadian rhythm constantly disrupted by the open market hours of the US stock market to make me quit trading actively in August.
It wasn’t a total loss since I didn’t lose all that much and I learned what I could about financial stuff as an ordinary individual with an internet connection during those eight months. Now let’s get into these degenerate gamblers who refused to learn the same lessons I did and continue to chase the dream of being as rich as the very bigwigs they profess to hate.
About Folding Ideas
Dan Olson was a member of Channel Awesome from August 2014 to September 2015, back when it was still known as That Guy With The Glasses. It was a group of nominally talented American content creators headlined by the guy behind the Nostalgia Critic who tasted some success during the early days of YouTube and online content creation.
Most of those content creators would either fall off and retire from public life or are still active but not as prominent as they used to be. Olson has become one of the few exceptions as he progressed to creating video essays and feature-length documentaries on his channel, Folding Ideas. His breakout work is the video Line Goes Up, a video about NFTs and cryptocurrency.
I know him best from his video about the editing in Zack Snyder’s 2016 Suicide Squad movie. I wouldn’t watch much of his videos since then, but he kept working on his style and would even make a video about his one-time colleague and employer. He would go on to upload bangers like Why It’s Rude to Suck at Warcraft and This is Financial Advice.
YouTube and TikTok Finance Content
The title of This is Financial Advice alludes to how most financial videos tend to have the disclaimer “This is not financial advice” to cover their asses while they… give financial advice.
In North America and many other countries around the world, it’s illegal to provide financial advice if you’re not registered as a licensed financial consultant. But even if you’re registered, it gets problematic if you’re providing advice on which stocks to buy or whatever actions people should take with their money without understanding each person’s investment portfolio and individual financial goals.
That can be a legal liability that can be used against them if ever someone they’ve given advice to ever gets in trouble with the law or pursues legal action. The disclaimer is included for plausible deniability.
A video you watched last month said you should buy X stock, which you did. That stock then tanked a month later and you lost money. You’re mad at the creator of the video. But it mentioned ‘This is not financial advice’, which you did not heed. Therefore, it’s your fault. Whether the content is badly researched or not researched at all, it doesn’t matter since it’s ‘not financial advice’.
It’s the classic case of a friend telling you to jump off a cliff. Would you listen and jump off that cliff because they told you it’s a good idea?
The thing about financial advice in places like YouTube and TikTok is that if said advice is so effective in the first place, why are they sharing it? The one thing you’ll learn in finance and investing if you engage in it long enough is that if everyone does the same strategy, especially if it’s in something like stock investing, that thing can stop working.
So, if they’re telling you which stocks to buy, they’re trying to sell themselves as experts. They may then sell you a course on trading or investing, telling you that they have the secret to making big bucks with little bucks. They’re likely making big bucks, but not with stocks, but with that very course they’re selling to desperate folk looking to turn their lives around.
I’m still pissed off that some of the top Jeet Kune Do videos on YouTube are by Dan Lok, a financial guru who sells courses on high-ticket sales. He’s doing that exact thing, but with the courses themselves, selling them to mostly young people looking to have the same seemingly glamorous lifestyle as him.
I had no idea how deep in the sauce those dudes actually are. Mind you, Dan did frame them as a cult of degenerate gamblers waiting for MOASS — the Mother Of All Short Squeezes — an apocalypse-level event which has an even smaller statistical chance of happening than the end of the world brought on by either World War 3 or the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Those apes are like a different breed of doomsday cult. Instead of the end of the world, they’re waiting for the end of Wall Street. Instead of the salvation of the human race, they’re just hoping for extreme wealth redistribution from the Gordon Geckos of the world who they despise so much to themselves. They’re banding together for a revolution to bring down the establishment not because they want to replace the system, but merely make themselves richer.
The movement is nothing more than apes shooting for the moon.
Learning from my eight months of active trading, I conclude that investment is supposed to be seen as defense, not offense. You can make it offense if you have huge capital to invest, which means that you need to already be rich to get even richer through investing. You can trade like an absolute degenerate like those apes through something like options, but that path can easily lead to disaster. Nothing loses money faster than a risky trade gone south.
I stopped trading because I could feel my sanity slipping. Those apes are too far gone.
Perhaps calling them a cult may be an exaggeration, but you can’t say they act all that rationally. Even their meme trades are fundamentally crap, but you won’t get a sense that they have even a hint of self-awareness whenever you read or hear them talk about their convoluted theories.
In what was perhaps the best bull market the world has had in recent memory, which was in the fall of 2021, Michael Reeves had his goldfish pick stocks against r/WSB. Of course, the fish won because the swimming patterns of Frederick the goldfish aren’t beholden to the cognitive biases of online degenerates in search of ‘tendies’, forcing patterns on mundane activities of reluctant prophets, and staying indignant at imagined enemies.
Flat Earth, QAnon, and Other Conspiracies
Dan made a video years earlier on flat earthers and QAnon. The comments below contain tons of testimonies about family and friends of people who are really deep in the sauce. Substitute DFV with Q and you got yourself the same neo-cargo cult waiting for coded messages.
DFV stopped posting publicly in 2021 after his identity was revealed by Reuters and realized that apes were treating him as a prophet, yet those apes still think he’s dropping hints.
Whoever Q was, they were likely a really convincing troll. No one knows who they really are or what they’re even supposed to be. But somehow, QAnon is a real thing and
Replace MOASS with draining the swamp and you got relatively the same thing. But the apes are looking to get rich, while no one knows for sure what QAnon really wants other than upending the establishment and planting their messiah Donald Trump back in the White House.
Now that Donald Trump and his family are being persecuted for their clearly superior beliefs, that gives the QAnon movement even more reason to double down and get really mad. I used to lurk in 8chan (now 8kun), which is seen as one of the biggest online hubs of QAnon, alt-right, and other fringe movements.
That stuff was more fun when all that conspiracy stuff involved was watching badly-produced documentaries and listening to Alex Jones rants at bedtime. But now that those conspiracist groups have grown legs, wings, and even fangs and claws, they make my skin crawl. You didn’t have to believe in it to have fun back in the day, but you can’t even give it any thought now.
It’s not that harmful when it’s just about believing that the moon landings were faked since that doesn’t change the fact that they happened. But when the same people who believe in that stuff are able to force their children to not get vaccines and even invade government buildings, then perhaps we should’ve taken seriously what seemed innocuous before.
The same thing can be said about these speculators among speculators, who throw their life savings at what they see as a great cause. Then again, when money is involved instead of pride and identity, perhaps it’s not the cause that really takes priority, but the chance at a more prosperous life at the cost of one’s morals and better judgment.
Whether it’s MOASS, the Rapture, or the Great Replacement, it’s not the veracity of their claims and theories that we should really worry about. It’s whatever crazy shit they can do while they’re worrying about all that.
Perhaps it’s quite sensationalist to consider WSB as an internet cargo cult, but you can’t say for sure that the people in it are in any way sane. Perhaps that’s just my aversion to gambling talking. Perhaps I just don’t understand stocks and other financial instruments well enough to know what the fuss is really about.
All I know is if there’s a risk of turning my money into nothing in a span of a few seconds, I would never take that risk, even if there’s an inkling of a chance of becoming filthy rich.
But plenty of people out there are willing to take that one shot at the moon to turn their lives around. Having watched enough Kamikaze Cash videos of people who were already well off practically throwing their fortunes into the void because they weren’t satisfied with Honda Civic money; they wanted Lambo and helicopter money.
Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have in the comment section below.
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