This week, Fidel Castro bit the dust. Standing Rock dressed up as Burning Man. The Internet Archive plotted a move to Canada. He who we shall not name is still talking about voter fraud—of course, the democracy that elected him is also the democracy that fleeced him. Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite weed strains came back to life. South Korea’s president agreed to resign for being bad. (Pray for America.) Patagonia gave away every penny from Black Friday. And empty TV boxes staked their claim on cul-de-sacs from LA all the way to Beantown.
Silicon Valley sees the sauce splatter and burnt pans of the average amateur kitchen as just another imperfection crying out to be solved. Something to smooth over with algorithms and machine learning. But as Mark Wilson finds out while wrestling with a smart oven at FastCo and Alexandra Kleeman chips in at The New Yorker, cooking via the internet of shit doesn’t just abstract away the magic of the experience. It abstracts away what it is to be human, to learn through mistakes, to try, fail, and fail better.
“This salmon had become more distracting to babysit than if I’d just cooked it on my own. This salmon had become a metaphor for Silicon Valley itself. Automated yet distracting. Boastful yet mediocre. Confident yet wrong. Most of all, the June is a product built less for you, the user, and more for its own ever-impending perfection as a platform. When you cook salmon wrong, you learn about cooking it right. When the June cooks salmon wrong, its findings are uploaded, aggregated, and averaged into a June database that you hope will allow all June ovens to get it right the next time.”
This is a great profile of North America's once top Tupperware seller, Aunt Barbara. Her schtick was always to host her parties in drag, but when she came out as trans last April her sales immediately plummeted. By now she's lost her title as Queen of Tupperware. And next month she'll lose her company car. To our pal Angelina Chapin who wrote this, thank you. And to Aunt Barbara, thank you!
In North Korea, the quiet shuffling of information on the sneakernet is slowly, slowly beginning to make the regime nervous. The digital underground is there, if you know where to look, poking and prodding at the ideology of janche through a quietly-tolerated black market of media players and the like.
"When intellectuals can do nothing else, they start a magazine."
I mean, if you have nothing on the deck from now until you die, this is a fun way to pass the time: Every MoMA exhibit since 1929 is now available online.