It would always end this way...
Lately we’ve been seeing a string of pay-per-view fights featuring social media celebrities. The most recent being Bryce Hall and Austin McBroom. Where Bryce got the corn knocked out of him.
And it’s so obvious to me, like excruciatingly so. I have an old note that states “all status games end in e-commerce”. A simple understanding that the digital will always reverse back into physical manifestations once it’s big enough. The reality that the cap on the digital status arena must turn into a putting on by the audience… an ever more measurable continuation of the game.
Today I’d amend that previous statement to “all status games end in e-commerce or war”. This is at the root of every conflict ever.
Chatting with Luca about this probe, he called out how the influencer soccer and basketball games don’t hit the same because it’s team based. We need to see the 1:1 action, for the emergence of the title holder. Very Finite & Infinite Games… aka the cheat codes.
A little more literally — if TikTok is a social royale on a continuous loop towards FYP dominance, those titles are ever fleeting. It’s simply too fast of an environment, with little control. This truth has pushed performative identity to the absolute edge. And the most edge environment for competition is evergreen: blood-sport.
I’M BIGGER / NO I’M BIGGER / SQUARE UP MY GUY / LOVE ME ADDISONNNNN
It’s the most human thing, and the best part is that you can hate watch it. While still generating pleasure for all involved.
I’m not going to give too much of my moral opinion here. Other than this is a direct continuation of the values set into the status seeking competition first laid out in the system’s design.
Copying Chinese Consumer Tech
In my twitter drafts I have this thing I’ve said for a while:
If you’re trying to copy/paste things over from Chinese consumer tech
You literally just don’t understand the nature of cultural progression and it’s relationship to technology
I don’t know how much I want to expand on this point. To me it’s evolutionary. We have an entire country that has a technological culture that bunny-hopped (in terms of personal computing at scale) straight to mobile. What this does just from an HCI point of view and the ramifications on mass interactive psychology is staggering.
To believe that the answer to American consumer progress, is adopting Chinese cultural output is both intellectually lazy and culturally uninspiring.
This past weekend was properly absurd in the city.
I’ve been in an early 50 Cent wave, and I kept trying to imagine what it was like at parties during “peak 50”. I have very clear memories of the vibe during peak Drake runs.
I don’t think we are currently in a peak anything right now, it’s too soon post-covid vibes. Everyone is just horny to be out and could care less.
Reading “Just Kids” by Patti Smith, she depicts my neighborhood of Clinton Hill so precisely during her time. It was the summer of Love, of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, of xyz.
Our cultural environment and production is so explosive and egalitarian in some ways… today you can’t say anything of a unified culture. The only thing we share is that it is the summer of coming out of Covid. All shared realities end there.
It is the summer of anything I can pull up to show you as the summer… and you just have to accept that as reality.
While finishing up this newsletter, Luca was telling me about early Disney cartoons with characters smoking. And the scene editing they’ve done since the cultural attitude around smoking has shifted.
And it started a very classic chat between us on how the cultural values of the time are most crystalized by what we believe is permissible to show to our children.
This model, where content production took serious labor and capital to create and distribute… we have a very top down approach of what is permissible. But today, that is a very different story.
Where the media environment is one where interface can compress and remix Backyardigans’ audio to a video joking about sex… yeah I don’t know where that leaves us — other than a hyper sense of loaded agency in determining our values actively during consumption. Or to let the format overtake us… idk
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.
Live in the light