Aging Technologies In Flammable Paper

"Issue": 031

Science fiction is a fun way to depict what technologies might look like in the near/far future. But lately I’ve been loving the look at what personal technologies looked like just a little bit ago.

This weekend I went to see Uncut Gems, and was completely blown away. It’s shot so viscerally, I felt like I had money on the line the entire time. So close up and around every character’s face. And it just moved so well… I could go on but then it would be the whole newsletter.

Something that stuck out to me, considering the time period, were the old iPhones that they were using. So let’s take a little journey around tech in film and tv.

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Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl is not only fun for the height of pop-prep aesthetic, but more importantly the social tech fabric that weaves together all the drama. Although watching them text letter by letter, multi-tapping a number pad is legitimately painful… the fact that GG is literally a localized gossip substack is fantastic.

What’s most interesting about casually watching Gossip Girl with my girlfriend as we unwind from our day, is thinking about the reboot. What platform will Gossip Girl (the blog in the show) be hosted on. Will is be an anonymous Twitter account, an Instagram, a daily YouTube vlogger masking their identity with an avatar stand-in… the possibilities can be really fun depending on the what the show runners want to focus on.

A Gossip Girl reboot in an age of matured platforms, emerging ones, and awareness of cyber bullying. I can’t think of a better time for this show to rejoin the pop-tv consciousness. But the whole thing can get botched if they don’t give proper attention to the core narrator and driver… the technology itself.

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Zoey 101 & Victorious

Nickelodeon was on another level with fictional hardware and social apps. The Tekmate, an obvious sister to the iconic T-Mobile Sidekick. (I wanted this phone soooooo badly growing up because all of my cousins had it) Plus the Pear phone which I’ve always wanted to hold in my hand for purely ergonomic reasons.

Although the Tekmate, as the way of the Sidekick, has obviously aged itself due to the abandoned form factor. Somehow… the Pear phone still looks like it could get made today and be something.

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Rounding out the Nickelodeon flow, we have to mention iCarly. This show premiered in 2007, only 2 years after YouTube was founded, and ran for 5 seasons.

What’s gold about iCarly is that it could relaunch today and be relevant. Every kid wants to be a YouTube star. Teens are trying to catch clout on TikTok all day. Although I haven’t rewatched an episode of iCarly in quite some time, I would bet on it to have the most longevity. It would be meta to launch a reboot on YouTube itself.

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The Irishman

This past weekend I also got around to the Martin Scorsese marathon formerly known as The Irishman. Which despite its 3.5hr run time, I thoroughly enjoyed. A true masterclass in world building.

I tweeted this back in October but it showed itself very true in this film, I think it’s also very observable in Mad Men which is my favorite tv series of all time.

Anything set in the 60’s is a recipe to understand the television in a way that, I believe even I struggle with from time to time. But to watch an event break, an entire room stop what they’re doing, and huddle to stand in the glow of this device. The television replaced the fireplace. It became the hearth of the home. A primal glow replaced by pixels broadcasted across a nation.

My sister, 13, does not understand this glow in which she releases control of the programming. Her television is YouTube, taking place on her iPad. And programming is always determined by her.

“There’s a catastrophe happening live on CNN? Mom and Dad will tell me about it at dinner I’m sure.” This is also why I’m bullish about “new tv” as a category. Cool 24/7 live Bloomberg not tied to a network, as an app or mobile web will pop when done right. The way not to do it right was Cheddar, although congrats to them for the exit. Dreams was on to something, hopefully when they relaunch it’ll do well. There’s a few other things I know that are brewing in the space that will hopefully show themselves in 2020.

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Ingrid Goes West

The last example I’ll give before switching topics is Ingrid Goes West, which I’m sure is streaming on some platform. Or do the classic Google Drive trick that DEFINITELY DOESN’T WORK AND I’M NOT ENCOURAGING THAT FOOLISHNESS.

This film is all about the interplay of self and Instagram. The pursuit of mimic’d perfection, trying to achieve the flawless LA during the week + Joshua Tree during the weekend life, and the psychological collapse of that pursuit.

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Some One Offs

  • Solange on Jimmy Fallon was incredible. I think my love for Solange has been voiced plenty times before, and my Spotify Wrapped data backs it up. I simply find her artistry so compelling.

  • I want to write a piece from the founder perspective of recruiting at the earliest stages, and fighting for diversity early and the very real challenges… both logistically as a startup but also culturally from the other side to join a new ship. To be honest, it feels like a very daunting and touchy task. So haven’t decided just yet on if I’ll do it..

  • In a very noisy world, plainly stating what you stand for means something. My lovely friend Cami & Jack @ Parade have been proving this to be incredibly true.

  • A few months ago I was talking to a friend from middle school + high school and started reminiscing. We expressed how unique and how grateful we were to have the majority of our AP class be composed of young women, which I believe had a lasting effect on how I have viewed women through college and the workplace. Additionally we shared the same level of gratitude for the diversity of our gifted program. In a gifted class of 6: we had 2 first gen, 1 Black (me), 1 Latina, 1 Persian, and 4 young women. Our hearts were always full and supported with the curiosity we brought to our seminars daily.

  • Wrapping this whole thing up with visuals from Skepta’s Colors Studio Show.

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I don’t do edits really, so excuse typos and things that don’t make sense.

Thanks so much for giving me your attention. I hope it was worth it, if not… unsubscribing will not hurt my feelings, and will give you back time you literally cannot have back.

Much love.

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