- Today in Tabs
- Are Things Real?
Are Things Real?
Even if it's fake it's u̸̥̾͛͘ņ̷͎̞̍̈́͘k̷̳͍͍͑̈́ǹ̸̢̻o̷̗̮̲͆͐̋w̵͍̉̎ȁ̶̡̞͔͘b̸̩͙̞͑͒͝l̴̖̞̖̀̓͝e̷͖͑
Are things real? There’s a whole branch of philosophy dedicated to that question, and the Stanford Encyclopedia’s overview of it says: “The first set of problems is that it isn’t clear how to approach answering these questions….” and “The second set of problems is that it isn’t so clear what these questions really are,” so we’re already in trouble here. My answer used to be Michael Sippey’s “even if it’s fake it’s real,” which expressed the sense that, particularly online, the distinction between “fake” and “real” is arbitrary and contingent. It may be interesting to quantify the ways something is or isn’t “real,” but it’s ultimately not important.
But between 2010 and now, my answer to “are things real?” has shifted from “it doesn’t matter that much” to “it is not just unknown but in a terrifying way unknowable.” In retrospect, the change happened on June 16, 2015, when Donald Trump rode the escalator and announced his absurd Presidential campaign, and people started asking “Is this real?” Personally I still don’t know. I could make an argument for any possible answer, even six years later, after Trump has served a full term as the supposedly actual President. This inability to answer what should be a very simple historical question has created a world where not only is Schrödinger's cat both alive and dead, but no one knows whether the box can be opened at all, or when, or how. Or if there even is a cat.
Yesterday deeply stupid California congressman Devin Nunes, who seems to be made entirely of Silly Putty like some kind of white nationalist Gumby, announced he was quitting Congress where he’s getting redistricted out of a job anyway to become CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group.
Is TM&TG real? Yes: it technically exists in a legal sense, at least enough to have attracted interest from the SEC and FINRA. No: it has created nothing so far except vague pitch decks naming extremely made-up staff such as CTO “Josh A.” and CPO “Billy B.” Yes: it has announced a SPAC deal with Digital World Acquisition Corp and yesterday added a PIPE to that, which will probably put $1.25 billion in its bank account. No: this whole project is pure financial engineering designed to extract cash from retail investors who will buy anything with Trump’s name on it. Matt Levine wrote about the PIPE structure yesterday, and dug into the new pitch deck more today, and if you read him (which you should) you will know a lot more about the details of this deal but you will absolutely not know whether this company is real, and my argument is that not only does that answer not exist, it may never exist.
Is Satoshi Real? Self-proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto Craig Wright won the court case declaring him the sole owner of the legendary Satoshi blocks, so any moment now he will surely prove he actually holds the keys to them.1 Is any crypto real? You can just take a random shitcoin like “nuBTC” and call it “Unvaxxed Sperm” now, but sure, maybe crypto is the future.
Is the ocean real? No, especially not this 33 foot long giant phantom jelly.
Is work real? In the Verge Emma Rindlisbacher discovered that a lot of employees of IT consulting company Infosys seem to have jobs doing nothing. Ben Jackson asks “is there any healthy work-life balance under capitalism?” Maybe the only person whose work is real is Jane Rosenberg, courtroom sketch artist at the Ghislaine Maxwell trial. Choire gets into all the messy sketch artist goss in his Maxwell trial newsletter for New York Magazine.
Finally: tfw banned from relics.
Today’s Song: Lil Uzi Vert, “For Real”
~ life is not a problem to be solved, but a tab to be experienced ~