“Here’s my final answer. Take this gift card to Home Depot that I am mailing you, go there and buy yourself some wood. Then, build a bridge and get the fuck over yourself.”
This is a typical gem from the advice column of Inside the Mind of a Ghetto Genius. Most advice columnists skirt around the obvious, offering up comforting platitudes and absolving responsibility. There are mealy-mouthed appeals to ‘seek counseling,’ a directive so brainless it may as well be generated by a bot.
Not so with Wunder.
The 33-year-old founder of Inside the Mind of a Ghetto Genius metes out advice in a series of bitch slaps. He has answered countless letters from both sides of the gender divide, the queries range from comical to scary. He has never been paid for this.
At last count, Inside the Mind of a Ghetto Genius had nearly 4,000,000 hits, and over 154,000 Facebook followers. When Jamie Foxx gave the site a shout-out, it got 10,000 new fans within the day. Within a 24 hour period, they gleaned 24,000 new hits.
It is a combination of collected animated gifs, video memes, personal stories and advice columns. It has enough social media cachet and meme-generating prowess to make mainstream publications green with ad-sales envy. But its only objective is to entertain. …
A blog that’s not only one of a kind, but one of a kind and fucking funny. You may not laugh at everything, but I know for goddamn certain you’ll laugh at something. So enjoy it and be sure to tell your friends and loved ones. YOU’RE WELCOME.
While major news sites languish behind paywalls, Inside the Mind of a Ghetto Genius is a traffic-generating machine, propelled by sheer force of wit. While it does what many online publications do (re-publish material from other internet sites), it does so with minimal commentary and analysis. Web traffic doesn’t discriminate between sources – it’s the content that matters in the end. His own material is uproarious, irreverent, and refuses to take itself too seriously.
Other online publications have entire staffs plugging away, trying to craft sexed-up headlines, stay abreast of memes and generate interesting, original material. JWunder manages to work a day job and do this on his spare time. Save for the some t-shirt sales (featuring blog phrases “Wait, what?” and “Poundtown Express”) the blog makes no money.
“I haven’t made a dime off of it. I don’t put ads on it because I think they’re annoying and I think it takes away from the kind of simplicity of it all. I really don’t think people want to see a pop up of an ad or something. They’ve never been my thing.”
JWunder was born in Guam. His family relocated to California when he was young. He grew up poor. He and his four siblings were raised by his mom – dad was an alcoholic who quit his job at 7-11, leaving her to provide the brunt of the support.
“We didn’t grow up with much – so a lot of gangs, gang violence, shootings and whatnot. I kind of lived in survival mode. I had brothers that were a little rough around the edges and did bad things but, you know, I learned from that. A lot of people did drugs and did some really fucked up shit, but I was able to kind of, make my choice from that.”
He kept out of trouble and eventually went on to graduate from College at Cal Poly- San Luis Obispo, and now works in advertising in the San Francisco Bay area. He started up the blog 2 years ago based on the urging of friends. He took on other contributors – a handful of men and women scattered across the States – some of whom he met through the blog and has yet to meet in real life. They alternate writing articles or giving advice.
People writing in for advice think nothing of putting themselves in the public pillory. “They’re anonymous, they think; ‘What the hell. I’ll ask him. This guy will give me his honest answer because he doesn’t know me.'” JWunder thinks the Dear Abby’s of the world will sugarcoat things. “For me, I’m pretty straight up, in your face, and I don’t really care.” He will also throw in embarrassing personal stories to get a point across. “For the most part it is very no-holds barred and it’s like reality TV. Everyone likes watching a train wreck. People, they love to see people with other issues. They watch it and they think; “Well. My life isn’t so fucked up.”
About 60% of the questions come from women, who typically want advice on relationships, social media debacles, trust issues and sex. The men tend to ask for advice about friendships and work. Some are in critical situations (a woman’s ex tried to burn her house down with herself and her child in it). Jwunder advised her to call the police. She emailed to thank him the following day, attaching a link to a news article. When the police had showed up to the ex’s house, a scuffle ensued and he was shot in the stomach.
Having both male and female contributors helps to balance out the responses. The advice may not be what people want to hear, but it will be candid and honest. “What you see is what you get, on the blog and in real life. I didn’t want any of us to be posers. We’re not people who get behind the screen and become somebody else.” In one response, he urges a reader to get the hell away from an obsessive and jealous girlfriend:
It is best to just cut your losses and let her go Aileen Wurnos (Lesbian Serial Killer from Florida) on some other poor shmuck. Before you start packing your bags and patting yourself on the back for surviving the last 96 months of Chinese water torture, let me drop a little truth nugget in the toilet bowl that is your life. You are just as much at fault for the crazy as she is. Not because you are doing anything wrong, but because you are not doing anything. Period.
His articles also shed light on how social media has altered our behavior. He contends that too many project an ideal image of how they want to be perceived, rather than reality. “Facebook is the best and worst thing that has happened to us in the 21st century. Since Facebook came into our lives, friends aren’t how they used to be. I think its a big soap opera, everyone wants to be in everyone else’s life and its all public. So everyone is in everyone’s business, everything is more impersonal than personal. I think there’s a lot of judging that goes on. It’s a high school popularity contest.”
In an entry entitled “What the FuckBook?” His analysis is brusque:
Let’s be real fake ballers… you damn well know your true friends know your sorry ass is broke as fuck, drive a raggity ass Datsun and live with your sister and her husband. How ‘bout instead of you flashing all your bling-bling “making it rain” pics, you pay my ass back for the lunch I bought you at Taco Bell last week.
If you’re such a “Mom of the Year,” why the fuck are you on Facebook 10 hours a goddamn day?
Don’t be acting like you and your significant other are all sunshine and roses when we know one of you called the cops on the other one the other night and you BOTH went to jail. How bout instead of posting 240 characters on why you love a mother fucker, you tell him/her in person?
Back then, friends talked shit out… IN FRONT OF EACH OTHER. Got a problem? Let’s talk about it, playa. Problems get squashed and it’s back to 40 ounce drinking and a game of grab ass at the bar.
His dedicated fan base keeps him going. They keep him in steady supply, sending funny pics and links. He’s received a barrage of nudey pics from girls that want to show their appreciation for his writing, proving that even being a famous internet blogger can be potent sexual currency. “I don’t know what it is,” he laughs. “But they’re dedicated. I have a sense of humor and I think they find that sexy.”
His followers are from all over the world – London, Australia, Florida, Dallas, Chicago – even the middle east. “The blog got so crazy in Kuwait and Afghanistan that they completely shut down our proxy server, so they could no longer get to the blog. They were getting so much traffic they just couldn’t take it.” He has a sizeable Canadian fanbase, and he loves Toronto.
“I love the architecture, the people, how damn clean the place is. It kinda reminded me of a smaller Chicago for some reason. Oh, and I can’t forget the nightlife. I think I drank more Crown Royal than I ever have when I was there.”
Like any prolific internet blogger, he has had to deal with trolls. “There’s a point where they almost consume you, you care about what they say and all that. Then one day i just had a moment where I had to wake the fuck up and say, why concentrate on that one person that has a comment or has some stupid shit to say. After a while, I just ignored. When people say stuff out of jealousy or tension – my whole objective with the blog is to make people laugh – just ignore.”
My mantra in life that society needs to live by is this – “Lighten the fuck up people.” Why you ask? It’s simple… society today is too uptight and caught up in meaningless bullshit.
Laughter is what puts people in a good mood. It’s what gives people a reason to fucking live for fuck’s sake. Laughter is therapy and some people need this shit. And when I say “some people,” I mean those uptight mother fuckers that need to grow a goddamn personality. Ain’t no one trying to hang out with a bunch of square mother fuckers that drink tea all day while reading the Wall Street Journal.
Jwunder will keep on doing the blog until he tires of it, he never wanted it to become a chore. Although, he wouldn’t exactly turn down the opportunity to make it a full time gig. He’s considering turning it into a book (following in the footsteps of other successful internet blogs/twitter sites like “Stuff White People Like” and “Shit My Dad Says”). “We are currently shopping the proposal around and just waiting for responses on any interest from editors.”
“I came from nothing, grew up poor, you know? I think people appreciate that here’s a guy that says what’s on his mind. Looks out for his fans, he interacts with them, and he’s honest. And I think it’s not this big corporate thing, it’s not putting ads out there.”
This refreshing lack of pretense is the antidote to the contrived, corporatized sites on the fickle Internet landscape.
“If you’re not going to be true to yourself, then a lot of people are going to call you out on your bullshit. You’ve gotta be yourself. That’s what people get, and that’s what they love. People aren’t stupid and I think that me being genuine and showing humility – and being able to say; ‘Hey! I’ve shit my pants once or twice and I’ll talk about it and not be embarrassed about it.’ And I think that’s what it is. It’s accepting, and it goes a long way.”
Visit Inside the Mind of a Ghetto Genius here.
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