There is no show more quotable than The Simpsons. So regurgitated are the gems of early episodes that the quotes themselves have, in many ways, been divorced from the show itself. Just look at “embiggen” and “cromulent,” nonsense words coined by The Simpsons that have since been incorporated into the public lexicon. Something can only be summoned so many times before it begins taking on newer, stranger forms, and such is the case with the Simpsons Shitposting Facebook group, a place where modern meme culture merges with classic moments from the show, changing their chemical formula to create bizarre, oft-impenetrable extensions of the original joke. Its existence has also given way to shit like the oddly artful Scenic Simpsons Instagram account and the head-scratcher that is Simpsonwave.
A new piece from Wired uses Simpsons Shitposting as a means of exploring this evolution in Simpsons fandom, but also tells a pretty fascinating story in the process. It turns out a Facebook page as popular as Simpsons Shitposting caught the eye of some Macedonian scammers, who wanted to buy the page for their own nefarious reasons. Of course, page owner Geddy Johnson didn’t know they were going to be nefarious, so he sold them the page to help pay for what he describes as “dick surgery.”
“I said, ‘Sure, give me $10,000,’” says Johnson, who eventually negotiated a sales price of $3,500. Last August, he removed all the administrators, including himself, and put the Macedonians in charge. “I just needed the money, and I did it,” says Johnson, who has a wife and young daughter. “And people didn’t like me for that. They still don’t.”
Almost as soon as the Macedonians took over, Simpsons Shitposting™ underwent a sudden, jarring change—one that baffled users, much in the way Itchy & Scratchy’s Worker & Parasite spin-off baffled Krusty the Clown. Johnson says the new “owners” wanted to monetize the page’s six-figure membership, and images published last year by the Daily Dot show that Shitposting™ soon began featuring spam-like ads for dubious-looking sites like Healthyadvices24.com.
In a situation that eerily mirrors Mr. Burns’ sale of his nuclear power plant to some enterprising Germans, the Macedonians were so disappointed in the group that they sold it back to him for pennies on the dollar. Not before a group of eastern European hackers got involved, however.
The page is back in business now, thankfully. Currently, its users seem to be obsessed with minor Simpsons character Johnny Tightlips. It’s weird.