Bullshit 1.0

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Synonyms: Bullshit, I Ship Bullshit
See also: Larry Is Real, Larry Stylinson, Larrie, Bullshit 2.0
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Among One Direction fans who believed that Larry Is Real, tweets from Louis Tomlinson's account in September 2012 were a seminal event within the fandom.

These fans, who would later be known as larries, originally referred to this event as the bullshit tweet, but renamed it to Bullshit 1.0 after a 2014 series of tweets they felt was related enough to call Bullshit 2.0.

Sequence of Events

The Original Tweet

Screen Shot 2012-09-16 at 3.34.48 PM.png

It began with:

Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson):

Still months on reading ridiculous conspiracy theories.It's upsetting that I have to read them daily.Thank god for the lovely people on here[1]

The tweet received a number of supportive replies from fans telling Louis to ignore the "haters". It also received a number of replies from fans who chose (whether seriously or jokingly) to interpret "ridiculous conspiracy theories" as referring to the notion that Louis was straight, or to his relationship with Eleanor.

tina (@talkingtitty):

@Louis_Tomlinson I know right? I can't believe people actually think you're dating Eleanor haha[2]

c (@sadbootyful):

@kristyleaa Lou & Harry love each other. Not saying that Lou & El dont but Larry is just as real as Elounor. Sorry you cant fucking see that[3]

gem (@UglyEmos):

@Louis_Tomlinson i know. it'd suck to have people think you're straight.[4]

The Bullshit Tweet

the infamous bullshit tweet

Someone who believed in the Larry is Real conspiracy theory then tweeted, "funny that no matter what happens they will never deny Larry". This tweet had not tagged @Louis_Tomlinson[note 1] and has since been deleted.

Louis then replied to the fan's tweet. This is the "bullshit tweet":

Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson):
@skyleridk Hows this , Larry is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard. I'm happy why can't you accept that.[5]

Subsequent Tweets

Louis posted several followup tweets, including:

Fan Responses

One Direction fans who did not believe in Larry (non-larries) took Louis's tweets at face value: Louis's girlfriend and family had been receiving harassing messages from the fans who believed that Larry was real, and Louis was angry with those fans, did not consider them real fans, and wanted them to stop engaging in their conspiracy theories.

Larries felt that the tweets were intended to show that they were no longer welcome in the fandom. However, they also believed that the tweets were not written by Louis and started referring to "@Louis_Tomlinson" as a separate entity.

The issue was heavily covered in the mainstream media in the following days, with a Vice article[6] seeming to capture the prevailing sentiment: "Then there are the Larry Stylinson fans, who seem at war with reality itself."

Many people outside the fandom agreed.[note 2]

Some larries threatened self-harm. Some deleted their social media accounts. From larries' point of view, the bullying of Larries within in the fandom grew more intense. (From non-larries' point of view, it was the larries who had been bullying people. A look at old social media posts suggests there was plenty of dickish behavior on all sides and no assumption of good faith on any side.[note 3]) One Tumblr larrie expressed the view that non-larries may have been just as much victims as larries because One Direction's management had tricked them into it: "they’ve been bullied into bullying us, they’re not really the enemy - they’re just another kind of victim (they’ve played with these people: with their naiveté, their wish to please the boys and their goal of being 'true fans')."[7]

As one Larry fan recounted:

The fallout from this first event was immediate and fierce. Prominent “Larry” fans on Tumblr and Twitter were attacked. Louis and others took to Twitter in the days and months after the initial tweet to repeat the same message: Larry isn’t real and anyone who thinks that way is not a real fan of Louis’. .” BULLSHIT 1.0: THE FIRST SHOCK EVENT, Archived version posted on Tumblr on 8 Aug 2018 (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)

And also said:

No, [Bullshit 1.0] didn’t make me change my mind because I saw it for what it was, even in the moment. It made me question the longevity of the fandom, though. It was the first big shock event, so it was like any other shock event we’ve had: the weed video[note 4], babygate. Just silence, followed by tears, screaming at each other. That’s the whole point of it. To divide us and make us turn in on each other.

A lot of people changed their minds, but there were a lot more of us back then, a lot more active blogs and Twitters, so it didn’t feel like an Infinity War experience. It was just an unexpected blow that we never really recovered from. "Did the bs 1.0 tweet made you question Larry", Archived version posted on Tumblr on 9 Aug 2018. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)

This moment represented not just the most definitive rejection of Larries to date, but for many was also the event that broke their already waning belief in the authenticity of the public representations of the band's members.

"I ship bullshit" balloon brought to a signing shortly after Bullshit 1.0. (fan edit posted on Tumblr, Archived version on 22 Sep 2012, accessed 16 Sep 2019). The balloon was later given to Louis in what has been a controversial and frequently discussed instance of breaking the fourth wall.[8][9]

It resulted in the meme I Ship Bullshit and the date became an anniversary of sorts.

Listen. I just want everyone to know who wasn’t here 2 years ago today what a fucking ugly and confusing time it was. Real feelings were hurt and real tears were cried and nobody knew what to do or what came next.

And 2 years later, here we are. Still going strong, you might say. And Harry’s picture[note 5] just means a very much a lot to me because of that.

posted on Tumblr[10], 16 Sep 2014

On the fourth anniversary, Louis's Instagram account banned mentions of "Larry"[11][note 6]:

How twisted is it that they used this instagram ban tool to do their level best to construct another round of bullshit for this year ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE ACTUAL BULLSHIT 1.0?? Literally using it as an excuse to dredge it up and state that Louis is making that same statement again. It’s just incredible to me that they’d be brazen enough as to attack fans on the very same day, four years later. Isn’t it incredibly transparent that this is orchestrated to anyone paying attention?? They didn’t even pick a different day in September??

posted on Tumblr, Archived version on 17 Sep 2016. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)

Academic Response

At least one academic wrote a paper specifically commenting on fan responses to Louis Tomlinson's 2012 bullshit tweet; Helena Louise Dare-Edwards, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Anglia's School of Film, Television, and Media, published a paper in the peer-reviewed[4] Forum section of Celebrity Studies entitled "‘Shipping bullshit’: Twitter rumours, fan/celebrity interaction and questions of authenticity."

Dare-Edwards describes larries' reading of the tweets:

If, as Duits and van Romondt (2009) contend, authenticity involves stability, then to Larry fans the ‘bullshit tweet’ was inconsistent with Louis’ previous online behaviour, and thus ruptured their sense of authenticity. The 12-part series itself oscillated wildly in tone as @Louis_Tomlinson exposed fans’ (mis)behaviour, apologised and expressed gratitude to the ‘REAL’ fans ... who were distinguished from the shamed Larry fans.[12][note 7]

Dare-Edwards also reports on larries' analysis that the bullshit tweet was premeditated and therefore suspect; Louis replying to a fan who hadn't @ mentioned him indicated that he "deliberately sought out a Tweeter in order to issue a premeditated denial and make an example of a Larry fan by way of warning to others."[12]

Dare-Edwards is cited by Scott Interrante for his musicology masters' thesis posted to the tumblr account onedirectionthesis between June and August 2016.

Notes and References

Notes

  1. Some larries have pointed out that this means it had to have been intentionally searched for and so may indicate that the denial was pre-planned. It also represents an example of the complicated nature of the fourth wall in the age of social media, as some fans consider tweets that do not tag the celebrities they are talking about to exist in a private fandom space. See also: Larry Stylinson & The Fourth Wall - The Fourth Wall is an Illusion and One Direction Fandom Wars - Twitter Fans vs Tumblr Fans.
  2. As an outsider at the time, I understood this in simple terms: this was clear confirmation that the Larry Stylinson rumor was, in fact, false. I came to this conclusion for three basic reasons: 1) the assumption that celebrities have (sole) control over their twitter accounts, 2) the seeming authenticity of the tweet due to its grammatical error, explicit language, and addressing of a specific fan, and 3) a lack of knowledge of any other evidence to support the Larry Stylinson theory. Many Larry supporters, though, have done well to challenge these reasons.

    Scott Interrante, "But I'm In A Cool Boy Band" - Part 12 - Everyone Else In The Room Can See It, Archived version from a graduate thesis reposted to Tumblr on 22 Aug 2016. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)

  3. For example, this tumblr post by a larrie seems to suggest that bullying includes "reblogging my posts with insulting comments/tags" along with more seriously out of line behavior like sending death threats. Non-larries are inclined to be skeptical about claims by larries of bullying and often assume that what they really mean is "disagreed with me about Larry".
  4. A video of Louis and Zayn smoking weed was leaked in May 2014. Louis may or may not have said the n-word.[1][2][3]
  5. suitsdirection: Basically Harry decided the 16th of September (THE DAY EVERY SINGLE FAN REMEMBER FOR DIFFERENT REASONS) to post a pic on IG with two men and the caption “Strong.”.

    Is he saying they’re still strong after 4 years? IS HE SAYING TODAY THE 16TH OF SEPTEMBER THEY ARE STILL STRONG?

    lululawrence: YES. YES TO ALL OF IT.

    Tumblr post from 16 Sep 2014, on the two-year anniversary of the Bullshit 1.0 tweet
  6. Larries had been posting large volumes of Larry-related comments on every Instagram post by Louis (and that of anyone else in his circle who had an instagram). Sometimes just the word "Larry", sometimes messages implying they thought they were speaking to management. After the "Larry" ban there were various workarounds. One that can still be seen as of 2019 is posting green and blue heart emojis. The colors green and blue are often used by larries to represent Harry and Louis, possibly because of their respective eye colors.
  7. According to tumblr larrie rougeandtonic, Bullshit 2.0 arguably took this even further.

References

  1. Tweet by Louis Tomlinson, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  2. [https:/twitter.com/talkingtitty/status/247387208917594112 Tweet by talkingtitty, 16 September 2012], Archived version
  3. Tweet by sadbootyful, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  4. Tweet by UglyEmos, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  5. Reply to @skyleridk, 16 September 2012, Archived version
  6. The "No Homo" Fantasy that is One Direction - VICE, Archived version 26 Sep 2012. (Accessed 11 Sep 2019)
  7. Tumblr post by sundy, 9 March 2015. (Accessed 8 Sep 2019.)
  8. "Then, Harry asked Louis what did the balloon say on it and Louis whispered "I ship bullshit" http://t.co/AnnOb2v6qV", Archived version Tweet on 22 Aug 2015. (Accessed 16 Sep 2019)
  9. "Oh you can definitely tell it bothers them...", Archived version posted on Tumblr on 7 May 2013. (Accessed 16 Sep 2019)
  10. "Listen. I just want everyone to know who wasn’t here 2 years ago today..." posted on Tumblr on 16 Sep 2014. (Accessed 7 Sep 2019)
  11. Or at least it was reported in the media on September 16: E! News: Louis Tomlinson Bans Larry From His Instagram & Gets Trolled Hard, Archived version, Teen Vogue: Louis Tomlinson Reportedly Blocks “Larry” From Instagram Comments, Archived version
  12. 12.0 12.1 Helena Louise Dare-Edwards (2014) ‘Shipping bullshit’: Twitter rumours, fan/celebrity interaction and questions of authenticity, Celebrity Studies, 5:4, 521-524, [https://doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2014.981370 DOI: 10.1080/19392397.2014.981370]