I really liked the internet this week. It made a lot of sense and things seemed to flow. Highlights: Style is an algorithm, Anna Wintour probably isn’t retiring, Solange made an advertisement for Uniqlo, Beyonce is a great performer but full of shit, Big Freedia is the shit, Kayne West is back on Twitter, Obama called president Trump a dipshit, Kendrick Lamar won a Pulitzer, and no one pays writers.
1. Racked: Style Is an Algorithm
Amazon has created a new device, Echo Look, that takes hands-free full body selfies to help you analyze your fashion choices. The data from Look is already being used by Amazon to create its own fashion lines. But when style is replaced by an algorithm, the importance of taste and arbitrary human decisions comes to the forefront.
The article quotes Giorgio Agamben, who defines taste as able to “enjoy beauty, without being able to explain it.” What is in style, and why we want the things we want were decided by humans in a room, picking clothes from “a pile of stuff.” As Meryl Streep’s character, Miranda Priestly, says in The Devil Wears Prada, “Taste is an essentially human capacity.” For now, taste is bound to human connection, and “maybe taste is the last thing separating us from the Singularity.”
2. New York Times: Imagining a World After Anna
Anna Wintour is a major tastemakers in the world. Recently, rumors of her retirement from Vogue, where she has been Editor since 1988, have begun to surface again. The question shouldn’t be “‘Will she leave?’ Of course she will, at some point. The question for her, as for all of us, is when, and how.” Perhaps Wintour’s most apparent contribution to fashion is the Met Gala, making it “a paparazzi magnet, which gave rise to a special issue of Vogue, thanks to her vetting of guests, dictating which brand got which celebrity, and the Vogue-orchestrated dressing of attendees so that much of the red carpet is composed of the people she wants, wearing what she wants, hoping to be in the pages she approves.” We look to the celebrities that look to Wintour. Without her, we might be lost, at least for a while.
*This was from a few weeks ago but it couldn’t resist.
3. Hammer Museum: Metatronia (Metatron’s Cube), 2018
Metatronia (Metatron’s Cube), Solange Ferguson, 2018 – Hammer Museum – Hammer Museum
Solange’s obsession with movement, architecture, and space is mesmerizing. Solange is a puzzling celebrity for me because I don’t exactly think of her as a celebrity. In some sense, she’s a blue-chip gallery artist, but most artists in this genre live exclusively within the art world. Here, Solange collabs with Uniqlo, and there is a rare intersection between fine art and celebrity culture. For the most part, Uniqlo’s branding is subtle and even undetectable sans context. But, ultimately, the film is an advertisement. We have entered an era where fine art is a compelling advertisement, not least because it projects the image of elitism and intellectualism. And, in this instance, Slongae is the quintessential vehicle for Uniqlo’s branding.
4.Facebook: Beyoncé Coachella 2018 – full
Okay, Yes. The first weekend of Beychella was last weekend, but the recordings of the performance, if you didn’t live stream it, and all of the reviews were not published until this week.
Beyonce’s performance was amazing, per usual, but, personally, I cannot stand Beyonce. I think she is one of the most insincere celebrities or artists right now (don’t @ me). I will in no way argue that she is not a brilliant performer, because she is and her shows are amazing. But so much of Beyonce’s music and performances are taken from other artists. She uses content from some of the best artists money can buy, but rarely acknowledges that. It’s ghostwriting on steroids. It is an open secret that people seem to ignore in favor of her performance skills and her iconography. Of course, other artists do this as well, but many of them actively acknowledge their appropriation. I am also just so over her humble Christian girl act comparing herself to the Madonna and being okay with people calling her a god. Beyonce is anything but humble.
I wish I could see Beyonce stand on a stage and sing “Blue” a la Rihanna’s 2016 Billboard Music Awards performance of “Love on the Brain.”
5. Noisey: The Ghost of Big Freedia
Big Freedia is one example of an artist that Beyonce and other high profile performers use without overtly crediting. You can hear the voice of Big Freedia, a dark-skinned gay man from New Orleans, in Beyonce’s Formation or Drakes “Nice for What,” but she is absent. A large part of Big Freedia’s performances is performing gender, a transgressive act against society’s heteronormative standards, and one Beyonce fails to fully support.
Beyonce is often praised for her empowerment of black women and black culture, but only if it will “still dominate in the mainstream marketplace.”
— jack (@jack) April 14, 2018
“Truth is my goal. Controversy is my gym. I’ll do a hundred reps of controversy for a 6 pack of truth.” Kanye had been off twitter for a while but now he is back! His account is wild but also what you would expect from Kanye. It is filled with drafts of his clothing and shoe designs as well as bizarrely inspirational messages telling people to “be less concerned with ownership of ideas. It is important that ideas see the light of day even if you don’t get the credit for them. Let’s be less concerned with credit awards and external validation.”
7. Time: Most Influential People 2018
Time released its list of the Most Influential People of 2018. The categories on this list, and who is in them, are very interesting. The list has 5 categories: pioneers, artists, leader, icons, and titans. Tiffany Haddish and Cardi B are amongst the pioneers; Nicole Kidman, Ryan Coogler, Lena Waithe, John Krasinski, and Kehinde Wiley are artists; Donald Trump, Jung Un, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are leaders; Rihanna, Kesha, and Janet Mock are some of the icons; Oprah is a titan. Some of these decisions, like the categorization of the leaders, makes sense, but the subtle distinctions between some of the pioneers, artists, icons, and titans are fascinating.
8. YouTube: You Won’t Believe What Obama Says In This Video! 😉
Lol! Jordan Peele made a fake news PSA as an AI simulation of Obama. The video is exactly what you think Obama wants to say about the present political moment but can’t: “Stay woke, bitches.”
9. The Pulitzer Prizes: DAMN., by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. won the Pulitzer Prize for music, becoming the first non-classical or jazz album to do so. The internet mostly rejoiced, but some critics argued that it should have won for literature and not music. I am all for DAMN. winning all the awards.
10. Medium: How Much Is a Word Worth?
As someone that works as a freelance writer, I think about this a lot. When reading an article I often wonder how much someone was paid to write it, and I always know it wasn’t as much as it should have been. “The current median price for a freelancer’s work is between 25 and 50 cents per word (though, to be clear, most places no longer pay per word; they pay lump sums that work out to about $500 for a 1,000- to 2,000-word article)… During the past 52 years, a single dollar has lost nearly 87 percent of its value, and so have the words of professional freelance writers.”
*All images taken from reference articles*
Have a suggestion for next week? Email [email protected] with the subject line “The Internet is Exploding.”