Vibes Are Dope — or VIBES ARE DOPE — is a blog that makes the claim that it’s “the most important website on the internet.” Bold words considering it has existed for just over a year, has 130 Instagram followers and twice as many Facebook likes.
Every post, save a few, contain the word “bae” or “fam.” Like a smug wink with a URL, article after ironic article is pumped out and washed away under a tide of other self-assured Tumblr blogs. The articles are written by seven separate authors, helmed by the editor-in-chief, known only as Internet Curator.
Vibes Are Dope is inscrutable, although whether this is by design or accident is unclear. Either way, it creates a mystique. All this mystique, hype and web design is wasted on the content. Like Seinfeld without the wit, the anonymous contributors write poems about a date ordering food slowly and think-pieces lamenting the death of vibes and the rise of “moments.”
My mind touched the void for a second when I read the headline: “IF UR BAE IS PART OF UR SQUAD, ARE THEY FAM?” None of this deters Internet Curator. He and his contributors write with the confidence and dumb swagger of a teenager who has important things to say, goddammit — if everyone would just stop and listen! If Vibes Are Dope is just a parody, it slaps the veneer on thick.
I had to meet whoever was behind this. I had to know who it was that would ask Bernie Sanders to “E-Transfer me some vibes,” then pledge to bring vibes back from the dead.
So who is this mysterious Internet Curator? Who is behind this strange mix of blog and store, parody and half-truth? I met with him for an interview and he was wearing both a Vibes Are Dope hat and t-shirt. The Curator’s real name is Corbin Pawer, a 21-year-old English literature major.
Why did you start Vibes Are Dope?
I noticed that there was a lot of content out there that talks about the internet solely in the context of [being] removed from the physical world. I wanted to create something that discusses not just how the internet manifests itself in the physical world, but how those places interact.
Is it ironic?
I like to leave that ambiguous. Obviously, in many ways it is a big joke, but I think that there is a lot of serious stuff that can be taken away from it.
Why are the authors anonymous? Is it a personal thing? Like for each author?
Not really. It kind of creates the experience of not really reading authors, but reading characters — characters that are dramatized versions of how people behave on the internet?
So are you trying to collect an idea of different voices that you see on the internet? I’ve noticed that there are poems, satirical reviews — are you trying to have examples of each kind of thing that you’d see?
Yeah, it’s trying to capture the multifaceted nature of the internet.
Where do you see the blog going from here, as far as growth?
I think that the next big movement would be to make it more interactive and invite more participation from other people because now it doesn't have too much of a social dynamic to it. It’s very run by a singular mind, so I definitely think ... breaking that down and inviting more people in would be the next step.
How did you get an interview with How To Dress Well?
I just emailed him, which is a super cool thing about being on the internet — that you can just email random people and if you say the right thing. For him, I know that he has a master's in philosophy, so I told him that I wanted to ask him some questions about internet ontology. I don't really know what that means, but I thought it was something that he would resonate with, so he agreed to it and it was cool.
Is that where the whole “study of internet ontology” comes from? Or were you calling it that before.
I was calling it that before, just almost as a joke, because in some ways the site is playing with the idea of intellectualizing the internet in a very colloquial way.
Do you think Vibes Are Dope is adding to the conversation on the internet or piggybacking and parodying it? Is it a thing of its own?
I think, in a way, Vibes Are Dope is the conversation on the internet.
Would you say it's an aggregate of the conversation in one place?
I noticed that the merch seems a bit weird. Do you think it's selling out for a blog to have merch this early?
The merch actually was before the blog and before it was merch, it was a phrase, so this is what I think makes it a little distinct from more template blogs. It’s not just a blog, it also does exist in a physical sphere, and then it’s kind of odd to like go onto the website and realize that there’s a lot of merch. So that’s just like going back to the interaction of the physical world and the internet, and the weird ways that they’re connected.
Yes, sites like Four-Pins and hipsterrunoff — it’s now defunct — do a really good job of talking about the world in a way that's not necessarily satire. They demonstrate a respect for the change in media that's occurring, but they’re also kind of acknowledging the ridiculousness of it, and because those sites don't really exist anymore, I definitely realize that there’s a night to kind of pick up on.
Why should I care about Vibes Are Dope?
I think you should care about Vibes Are Dope because Vibes Are Dope cares about you. One of the articles that I’m most proud of is called “Do You Have A Healthy Relationship With The Internet?” which talks about the way we’re becoming so engulfed in the internet that we rarely stop to think about how the internet is changing us, especially in little ways. When I wrote that article, I truly meant it and I wanted to make people think, so if there’s one goal with the project, it’s to make people think about how they use the internet and not necessarily how they use it or if it’s good for them, but just to be aware of what things are doing. So I think that just being a forum for that is important.
After our interview, I asked Corbin if the money from the Vibes Are Dope merchandise was distributed between the authors. This was his response: “Hey Jack — the short answer to the question is: yes. The long answer ... is that I am all of the writers for the site.”
None of it’s real! Vibes is all the work of one hyper-dedicated man, with seven half-assed personas.
The interview has been edited for clarity and length.