This Gilbert Arenas Post Will Self-Destruct in Five Seconds
Gilbert Arenas wants to help you cheat on someone. With your mind, but especially with his mobile app.
Arenas is an investor in one of those newfangled applications, also known as “apps,” that dads everywhere like to talk about but can’t yet use due to a crippling combination of fear and being too busy clicking on all of the featured stories on their AOL homepage. (If you haven’t thought about AOL in a fit of unearned nostalgia in the last decade, yes, it still exists.) This app is called “Invisible Text,” and while the name isn’t really a good indicator of the service (invisible texts would be just about the most useless things to arrive in this gilded digital age), the app ostensibly functions as an automated “Mission: Impossible” briefing simulator. After you view a message received over the service, it “destroys” the message. Rather, the message is no longer visible on your phone. Is it on a server somewhere? Is it waiting to be released along with the nude selfies you texted to an ex-lover, the now-deleted Facebook messages you sent as an undergraduate student, and the Twitter DMs you list as seven of your deepest regrets when polled by Gallup?
“Our proprietary algorithms and patented message-encoding process means that your messages aren’t saved on our servers and ensures that whatever you’re sending remains confidential.”
So, what exactly does Gilbert do? As is his way, he’s recently been promising cash to folks on Instagram for certain levels of creeper success within the parameters of this service. For example, Mr. Arenas promises that for every 1,500 contacts you, through means unknown, come to acquire on the platform, he will gift you $5,000. Just picture Gil preparing a check for you, dear reader, as he opens up an envelope, places the check inside, pulls it open enough to capture a laugh, and sends it your way. Of course, when you try to cash it, the bank teller will turn into a cackling Ned Landry and the room will spin in kaleidoscopic neon. You’ll wonder if this is how you die. But, hey, maybe it would clear. The Orlando Magic, and Otis Smith, could probably provide some clarity.
I can entertain the premise that this application may have legitimate uses other than as a brazen, head-first commitment to inconspicuous infidelity or as a way to avoid criminal liability. However, I haven’t been able to think of one, especially considering the gubmint reads everything, even if you’re subsisting on a diet comprised completely of canned goods and living in a bunker like a feature on Doomsday Preppers, sending an annual Mother’s Day Invisible Text.
It’s all well and good to say that it “protects your privacy,” but to what extent does that really mean “protects the sanctity of your illicit schemes from interested and invested spouses who might happen to pick up your phone while you’re in the bathroom” in this particular case? Does “protecting your privacy” boil down to leaving no visible trace of your everyday interactions to those who might come into possession of your phone? The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the police need a warrant to search the data contents of your phone, but is this app about protecting your texts from the police, or is it about protecting them from the wandering eyes of a (justifiably) jealous lover?
This loaded question isn’t asked out of an adherence to some Mayflower Puritanism, or any attempt at judgment (my ability to judge anyone went out the door when I started writing about Gilbert’s new app four years after he was last a Washington Wizard); it is, however, supported by the videos below. To Arenas, at least, this is an app that will help you deceive someone. You’ve been pranked! Sincerely, Hibachi.
The internet marketing for Invisible Text outside of Agent Zero’s Instagram page (if this is the first webpage you read, time traveler from the 1980s, I apologize on behalf of my generation) is decidedly more measured. According to the company’s website, the app “allows you to carry on conversations without the fear of your information being shared with the world.”
But the primary function, and clear hook for Arenas, is the ability to carry on conversations, share videos, and exchange pictures with individuals whom other people in your life would be furious (or, more realistically, heartbroken) to find you communicating with in such a way. It’s confusing, but ultimately not all that surprising or relevant, that Gilbert’s wife, Laura Govan, is also featured in the above videos.
The Instagram videos above also give short shrift to a hard-to-fathom reality of Invisible Text: any suspicious party looking at your phone will be very aware that you have an app called “Invisible Text” installed. That person, in the DOOMSDAY SCENARIO of unchaperoned access to your device, will know you have willfully installed a text messaging application that self-deletes messages, may be able to see your “contacts” if you don’t “lock” the app, but won’t know the content of any texts you’ve been sending, or to which contacts you’ve been sending them. In the event you have taken the “lock” precaution, they will know you have locked an app called “Invisible Text.” Does this even solve a problem? Circumstantial evidence isn’t as incriminating as direct evidence, to be sure, but hopefully humans around the world aren’t attempting to conduct relationships like they would a murder trial.
Imagine the real-life application: a man believes a woman is sending text messages which violate his trust. He looks at her phone. She has installed an app called Invisible Text. “Whoops! Nothing to see here, everything seems to be above board! I feel a high degree of guilt for my unfounded conclusion.”
Sociopathic disregard for the feelings of others aside, Gilbert’s hack marketing message seems to imply that Invisible Text is meant to appeal to both men and women.* Progressive! Seriously, we’re at a place with Gilbert Arenas where we should just be glad his infidelity app doesn’t cater exclusively to men. It wouldn’t be all that surprising, given his public misogyny, a pathetic history of Twitter avatars conjuring and conflating genitalia, unrequited affection after unilaterally meaningless sex, prostitutes, girls abandoning education to be exotic dancers, and a series of memes that would put Kevin Seraphin’s worst “Bitches Be Like” efforts to shame.**
For now, the world belongs to Invisible Text and several other apps with better reviews that provide the same service. While Invisible Text is not the first, nor the best executed, application of its kind, it is backed by a former Washington Wizard, so there’s that. Impossible is nothing, as some are fond of saying.
Or perhaps Gilly’s two-bits ads are disingenuous, and he was inspired to invest in this application after prosecutors pulled his non-invisible texts attempting to feed a cover-up story to a teammate during the NBA’s investigation into Gungate.
Where were you when Gil needed you most, Invisible Text? Still a furtive twinkle in your creator’s eye, no doubt.
It is not lost on anyone that Gilbert’s attempted subversion was partially about taking the heat for a teammate, or that Arenas regularly gives away and mails sneakers to fans, or that he gave away (at personal expense) his jersey after every pre-Gungate game with the Wizards. There was, and most likely still is, much to like about young Gilbert outside of his basketballing. Celebrities, they’re as complicated as us! No attempt to pin Arenas down like a dead butterfly on a lepidopterist’s table or to psychoanalyze the former star will be made here; that’s already been done to significant effect by Esquire and Gilbert Arenas’s beard circa 2010. See also: Sean Fagan’s brilliant “goodbye” to the Wizards of the mid-aughts.
Suspect rumors of an attempted return to the NBA continue to swirl. If a team is dying to sign Gilbert Arenas, this business venture won’t (and shouldn’t) stop them from doing so. But this is not about Gilbert’s comeback. It’s about what Gilbert is doing. He is doing an app called “Invisible Text,” and his tragic username is “peopleschamp.”
*The app’s founder, Dez White, happens to be a woman, and her name was featured recently in an AP article about the “push to get girls into computer sciences,” which is a noble push.
**(Side note: this serves as notice for my pending “Invisible Tweet” copyright, trademark, patent, EVERYTHING…the streets, or at least the aforementioned NBA players plus J.R. Smith, need this counter-intuitive app.)