Midormeepo, the man behind Team Secret’s Twitter

KarY 2020-09-05 01:45:28
  Midormeepo is a popular meme artist and content creator in Dota 2. To the uninitiated, Midormeepo is comprised of two individuals; Arnaud and Elwono, men from France who have successfully made their mark into esports. Surprisingly, Arnaud is also the man behind Team Secret's Twitter account. Simply put, he's the man in charge of Team Secret's social media and has been creating quite the uproar with his funny banters and savage responses. The community has taken positively to his antics and is applauding his fun and entertaining way of keeping them entertained. Esports Heaven had the opportunity to sit down with Arnaud and have a little chat on his life and career. How did you get into doing memes? I think humor and sarcasm have always been a part of me. I remember pulling (nice/gentle) pranks on my History teacher when I was in middle school. I was a very naughty kid. I grew up watching Counter-Strike 1.6 videos (ruiNation, SK Believe, …) and some of those were the Plot Compilations from a French moviemaker (Fist0r/Antoine Descamps). The guy was a professional video editor for some big teams back in the days, and on the side, he was basically “shitting out” those poorly-edited videos but extremely funny. For me, a good sense of humor is also a sign of a certain sharpness in the mind. Most of the people I look up to in terms of spirituality, work-ethic, and comprehension of the world all have in common the fact that they’re able to tell good jokes, and you don’t need to be outrageous to be funny either. I look up a lot to Jordan Peele for instance, as a director and writer. His famous “Brothers, brothers, brothers...” still resonates in my head. For me, making memes is at the crossroad of many things. It’s a way to stimulate my creativity through Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects or whatever software I’m using at the moment. It’s a bit of mental gymnastics, too. I learned a lot about editing just because I was making memes. “Okay, how the hell am I going to mask out Patrick – The Spongebob Squarepants character – and add him into a Dota environment?” It keeps me in the loop of what’s trending at the moment. Sometimes it can also help me discover great stuff. I wasn’t really interested in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures until I saw all the great memes about it. But once you open Pandora’s Box, anything goes. Can you believe Michael Bloomberg, the candidate for the 2020 US election paid “meme pages” to promote his campaign? Your role at Team Secret as their social media in-charge as well as developing N0tail and Topson’s YouTube channel — how were you approached and what was the reason behind your decision on working with them? So in both cases, I would say I was very blessed. I actually met Cyborgmatt (Team Secret’s COO) when I was at the MDL Disneyland Major. It’s going to be a lot of name dropping but basically a little bit before May 2019, the French crew of Frogged TV asked me if I would be interested in doing socials for them during the MDL event. I had been following them for a while and always had great love for them because they were developing the local scene of Dota in my home country. That was a huge surprise for me. I’m still very thankful for them giving me this opportunity. I remember I met Matthew (Cyborgmatt) during the Playoffs of the MDL Disneyland; we were both on a cigarette break. I approached him and we spoke about social media and things like that. I asked him point blank, “Are you guys looking for someone to do socials for you?” because at that time, with my 2-week experience working with the French production crew of the event (Frogged TV), I was like, “Fuck, I wanna do this. It’s actually so much fun.” Matthew gave me his contact and we took it from there. I started working with Secret right around September of the same year, and it’s been a very positive experience for me. I’ve been learning a lot. Now during MDL Disneyland, I would be roaming around a little to meet people, say hi to online friends and introduce myself as well. This was the very first Dota event I attended and I wanted to take advantage of it. I eventually met N0tail there, whom I had known for years online but never got to meet. He would invite me to the OG practice room. I would get to ask players and staff questions; I felt very privileged. N0tail even made me sit at his computer and was like, “Dude, you gotta try this game. I’m going for a smoke, try it out.” And that’s when I got introduced to Mordhau. I had been in touch with OG players and staff for a while, they actually approached me and my other coworker on the midormeepo channel (elwono) something like 2 to 3 years ago because they wanted us to edit highlights of their games, but it never actually concluded. After they won TI9, I received a text from Johan saying basically, “Bro, you wanna make videos for me? I want to stream more from now on” and I knew it’d be a good opportunity because N0tail is a good personality to work with. Not only in terms of mindset but also purely in terms of content. He’s got a good presence on camera, he plays well and people love him. His only [fault] is that his music tastes are basically “anything that’s copyrighted”. And through Johan came the idea of also developing Topson’s channel. They’re both signed under the Forevr.gg agency. Same pattern! Midormeepo Tell us about your humble beginnings in esports as well as your education and previous jobs. I’ve always followed esports,but it wasn’t until September of last year that I started working with Team Secret, that I began considering myself as “in esports”. I grew up with SK Gaming/NiP on CS 1.6, but I can’t say I was following religiously. A huge part of my gaming “career” was purely and solely playing casual games and up until now I never stopped. I’ve got 6k hours on Dota but I spent so much time on games like Yakuza or recently Total War. Education-wise I studied Sociology at University then I got a degree in Journalism. After that I worked for 2 years in an independent publishing house where I would work on a wide range of material from spiritual texts to more political stuff. I’ve always had a lot of respect for lengthy works, especially in written press. I was working in an online magazine when I was like 17, so way before my degree. I interviewed Mac Miller, Wale and a lot of other artists who would come to Paris for shows [and] that was around 2011-2013.  The Mac Miller interview wasn’t even about music. His album Watching Movies with the Sound Off had just come out and I was like “Fuck, everyone’s going to ask him about music; let’s speak about cinema.” I wanted to be original, especially since I knew he was doing 10 interviews that day and I’d be competing with other magazines/papers. I wrote a lot during that time. I guess it helped me a lot for what I’m doing nowadays - even though I must say it’s a totally different task because most of my work is in English. On top of what I’m doing “on the internet”, I’m also lecturing in Journalism & Media here at a College in South Africa, which was the main reason for me relocating 4 years ago. It has been a real challenge for me, but it helped improve in many areas where I think I was lacking. I don’t often speak about it as I like to keep this part of my life secluded from the public eye. Society of the Spectacle from Debord, Sociology of Television from Bourdieu, Understanding Media from McLuhan (the medium is the message) are some of my main books but we have practical classes about creative writing (show & tell) and general culture, too. I’m often referencing esports and gaming in my classes. I’m trying to tie in together those traditions with my personal experience. I think it’s particularly true in gaming but we don’t very often sit back and think. When Gaben says he wants to develop a chip-set that is a plug-in for your brain, it scares me a little. Elaborate on your thoughts on the kind of content creation you do. Also go into details on the type of content creation you do and the effect it has, according to you. In short, what do you bring to the table? It’s a tough question. I’m just providing memes for whoever finds them funny. Now that I made peace with uploading videos on midormeepo YT channel, I’m much more relaxed about my online presence. It’s not a question of making a living out of it anymore. It feels much more genuine. I’m aware and cautious of the fact that I have a following (as small as it is) but I never tried to be a community figure. I’m very skeptical of how much “good” I can bring through it. And funnily enough, I’m also not a fan of having public attention on me. I’m reading this book at the moment called Amusing Ourselves to Death; it basically proposes the idea that while we gave our attention to Orwell and 1984, we completely forgot about a book that was written a decade earlier, Brave New World by Huxley. The concept is very clear. 
“What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate. In the Huxleyan prophecy, Big Brother does not watch us, by his choice. We watch him, by ours. There is no need for wardens or gates or Ministries of Truth. When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; a culture death is a clear possibility.”
I know it sounds extremely odd for someone in my position to have this kind of discourse, but that’s the duality in me. Gaming taught me a lot and kept me away from a wide range of problems, but I do believe I gave something away in exchange. It’s like in Fullmetal Alchemist - you can’t get something without giving something in return. I’m very aware that I’m part of this mess, but I do believe good can come out of it. What makes you stand apart from the rest of your peers working in a similar line of work, familiar with making memes or creating content? I think I’m a jack of all trades. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else in any particular line of work, I’m just average on many levels. I know my command of English isn’t the best and I’m working to improve on this. Something that I’ve noticed also is when it comes to social media, memes, videos and any type of content you find, we’re very much in our own “bubble” when it comes to the Dota scene. I’m gonna give you an example. I often receive messages for the work I do on Team Secret Twitter; I do see the messages, I pay attention to how people receive what I do, and I’m often surprised at what in the Dota scene we find “spicy”. In comparison, the League of Legends and Rainbow 6 scenes are extremely toxic. They will Photoshop your logo, call your players trash and attack them. “We won this game at minute 1 anyway,” “How did these guys make it to the Playoffs? Anyway, GG.” Toxic! So I think one of the things that differentiates me from my peers, if there’s anything, is mostly the fact that I keep my eyes everywhere. Lately, you've been giving a savage reply to OG via Secret's Twitter account and the community is absolutely loving it. From your perspective, what is your take on this banter? About OG/Secret Twitter for me,  it's just work and banter. I wouldn't make fun of people I don't have some sort of love for, and it's also how I am in real life. Where I'm from we've always had a lot of banter between friends/family, even to the extent where you hurt people's feelings; gotta get that fiery reply or come back at the right time. OG are definitely the titans of the scene due to their incomparable achievement so it's only fair that they get to be a good target. It's just the other side of the coin. I think people shouldn't take it too seriously and always view it from a point of entertainment - spicing up the scene a little. Funny stories like that make for great face-offs in a tournament. That's what has been happening in any kind of competitive scene in sports — Marseille/Paris Saint-Germain, Madrid/Barcelona, Federer/Nadal... Dota is one of the most competitive setups so sometimes you need to take a step back and say, "Holy shit, why the fuck is Puppey drafting a Windranger in 2020?” It seems like Ceb has unfollowed you on Twitter, probably due to the recent banters. What's your take? I think he may have taken it too much to heart. For me it's all love. If you look at Team Secret, our players barely engage on social media, so they're not influenced by any memes. They laugh at the tweets but it has 0 impact on their gameplay. The other day, YapzOR didn't even know we'd be playing OG the day after, yet Ceb takes the time to subtweet/unfollow people and call the team arrogant. Who would win: - a back to back TI winner with a decade of professional Dota behind him and few millions of euros in his pocket. OR - some dude making memes in his pyjamas all the way from South Africa. Haha, I guess that makes sense. Anything you’d like to say before we sign off? Don't really have anything to say to be honest, besides thank you for the support and I’m happy that people are enjoying my work, let's keep it PMA!
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