You're telling me a michael waved this macking cheese?
An exclusive interview
Every once in a while, every so often, some internet thing truly keeps me up at night. In the thick of the twilight hours, I lay in bed, unable to rid my brain of some chronically online, god-forsaken bit.
So tell me why I was laying awake at 2 a.m. last night and the only thing I could think of was: “heating up some macking cheese in the michael wave.”
For those familiar with journo twitter, you probably have seen the twitter account of Angel Mendoza, social media editor/chief redditor at the Washington Post. And for those familiar with Angel Mendoza, you probably have seen the macking cheese tweets.
Within the last four months, Angel has tweeted some variation of the above phrase 51 times, and I decided that I wanted to know: Why?
This interview has been edited for length.
On your own twitter account, you seem to tweet a good amount—
I would say it’s a bad amount!
Haha I mean, do you tweet out of personal desire? Are you trying to build a brand? Is there any goal to what you’re tweeting on a regular basis?
There’s no strategy, I don’t think about it. I do have a brand, kind of a cop out, but it’s to take any meme that’s out there and make it into journalism, and usually it’s successful because that’s most of what my following is any way.
My brand is also tweet all in lower case, and all incoherent thoughts. When you know it’s a good tweet, just do it. Like what I just did to you right now (Angel mentioned that he was going to tweet a quote that came up in our conversation). I routinely mine every interaction I have with anyone for content at this point, and I don’t think it’s like—
Do you like that? Does that bother you at all?
Damn… does it? Haha, it’s interesting to look at life through that lens. I sometimes ask myself, “Would I be a better person if I’d never been on Twitter?” I’m not really sure, but I do like it. It’s fun to take snapshots of moments in life that are mundanely funny and highlight it. Let it live on forever in the Twitterverse.
So your first “macking cheese” tweet was on July 19 of this year. Do you remember why you tweeted it, or anything that was going through your mind at the time?
I think I was coming off of a breakup — that like wasn’t bad at all, it was fine, we’re friends. But I think after that I went back into Default Angel Mode, which is just: Tweet whatever comes to mind.
Also, let’s be clear: the macking cheese tweet is not an original thought. It has been tweeted before, I am not the first person to tweet it. I think it actually had its own meme cycle way before me. I did not invent this at all, but I probably did invent beating it into the ground.
I saw it in the wild once and just thought, “This is the funniest sentence I have ever read in my entire life.” Like kind of went insane laughing at it. I knew objectively it wasn’t that funny, but it hit me at such a good time that it kind of became a core memory. And then I was like, “I’ll just tweet it.” I don’t know what about it is so tweetable again and again, I’d compare it to the “You’re telling me a shrimp fried this rice?” tweet. I try to tweet it less now though, I’ve experimented with time slots.
Do you schedule them out?
No, it’s whenever I feel like it. Sometimes when I’m eating. More lately it’s whenever my friends bring it up to me. Like some of my friends will say something offhand like, “Yeah dude ever since you’ve been tweeting them out, I’ve been referring to the microwave as the ‘michael wave.’” And I’ll be like, “Oh! You reminded me. I’ll tweet it right now.”
Have you ever been triggered to tweet it while actually eating mac ‘n’ cheese?
I actually don’t like mac ‘n’ cheese.
Yeah, I hate rich carb-y foods. Sorry to the Italians! [Proceeds to go on medium-length tangent about how any good food needs to have “a red thing” and “a green thing,” e.g. scrambled eggs with chili oil and scallions.] So yeah, comparing that, mac ‘n’ cheese is very plain, it’s one dimensional.
So your gravitation towards “macking cheese” has nothing to do with mac ‘n’ cheese, more just the vibe?
Just the essence of it being an incoherent thought. It rattles around in my brain all day like a single gum ball.
At what point did you realize this was starting to become like a recurring bit?
I think when people started making their own homegrown memes about it? I was like, “Oh this is starting to become sentient.” Some people like it, some people don’t, it’s polarizing. Nobody really knows what it means but it gets the people going.
How long do you think the bit will last?
Here’s what’s going to happen: I’ll tweet it sparingly, at targeted moments, sometimes with a picture accompanied, like when the Adam Levine discourse was happening, when “The Bear” meme was happening.
The day that I tweet it and it gets zero interactions, that’s when I’ll kill it. So verbalizing that now for everyone that wants to stop it.
We have to band together!
You have to band together, vote organize, get the attack ads going, the super PAC, you need to unite if you want to stop the bit.
Have you/will you get a macking cheese tweet out on any of the Washington Post accounts?
No, but now you’ve planted it in my head, so you’re responsible if it happens! I did at ONA say it out loud during a presentation on Reddit. There was a decent sized subset of the room that collectively gasped after I said it, like, “Oh! He said it! He said the macking cheese bit.” It was very validating to me.
Are you content with this becoming part of your brand?
Yeah, because the first part of my brand was not being able to read, and that’s just played out.
Do you think maybe in five years from now you’ll somehow get canceled for this?
They could maybe find something, “I’ll have you know that my father was killed in a mac ‘n’ cheese explosion. You’re gonna have to delete this.” And I would. I would delete all of them, and just be like “Oh my god I am so sorry I did not realize the sensitivities of this, I didn’t realize that there was a whole michael wave war that I completely missed out on!”
Is there anything else you want to tell the masses, and by masses I mean the like 75 people that read this newsletter.
Uh yeah: You can’t stop me.