Doom’s Creator Goes After ‘Doomscroll’

Dustin Mitchell was looking through the local news when he came across an interesting article. It was about a woman who had, in a fit QAnon maniac, destroyed a display of facial masks at a Target store in Scottsdale, Arizona. Later, the woman explained why she got to this point. She said that all she did was "doomscroll", referring to her fervent consumption of terrible news via social media. Mitchell was right.
Mitchell, a Dallas-based metal guitarist, thought, "That's an amazing name for a group." "I was able to do that."

Mitchell, 38, who works at Amazon as an operations manager, said he doesn’t believe in doomscroll. Mitchell doesn't spend much time online. He checks local news occasionally, NPR, and Twitter, but he uses Reddit or Twitter to research new gear for his music. Mitchell believes Doomscroll gave him the inspiration to create his "progressive" thrash metal group. He filed his first trademark application with the US Patent and Trademark Office last February. A few months later, Mitchell received an email acknowledging that his trademark would be approved within 30 days and then published. Mitchell would then be the only one to protect and exploit Doomscroll as a band name or entertainment property. Doomscroll would one day rock. Mitchell registered in anticipation.

Mitchell was playing his guitar in October before he went to bed. Mitchell decided to check his email once more. In his inbox appeared a message from a lawyer. "Dear Mr. Mitchell," it read. "My law firm represents Id Software LLC that owns the videogame DOOM and related trademarks." Mitchell was asked by the lawyer to extend the deadline. Mitchell and Doom's developer were able to come up with a solution before the legal process.

Mitchell felt instantly funny, even a little sour. Mitchell was just 10 years old in 1993 when Doom became a huge hit on the gaming industry. It allowed edgelord gamers to become smugglers and wield a variety of guns against the backdrop of fiery hell. Mitchell had played Doom 2 and Doom 3 back in the day. He also listened to the metal-inspired soundtrack of 2020's Doom Eternal. Now Mitchell is in a surprising standoff with the developer. Mitchell says he loved these games as a child, but now "they're trying take something away from us that is completely unrelated."

Calla Mounkes, an artist, tweeted that the first use of doomscroll was in 2018. "Taking a break form doomscrolling" she wrote. Mounkes said she used the term since 2017, but she isn't certain how she came up with it. She told WIRED via email that she believed it was something that had been coming up in public consciousness. "When everyone is attached to a smartphone as I am, it is almost inevitable that we will find language to describe our endless fascination with social media.