Entity Not A Person

REINCANTAMENTO over at DROPS newsletter wrote a great post on the Kendrick Lamar – Drake beef and its wider implications for cultural production in our age


Hey everyone! The suns come out here in London, and it’s really lifted the mood after weeks of rain.

I’m deep into production on issue #10 of my zine right now and its going great. I think its going to be about 60 pages!


Entity Not A Person

REINCANTAMENTO over at DROPS newsletter wrote a great post on the Kendrick Lamar – Drake beef and its wider implications for cultural production in our age. The post draws on lots of ideas from across my part of the blogosphere, including thoughts from Mat Dryhust, Paul Graham Raven and myself amongst others. I thought I’d throw in my tuppence worth.

I really like this section on Drake as an entity not a person:

But who is Drake? At this point, Drake is likely a brand name, an avatar for a broader collective construction. Borrowing an analogy from Mat Dryhurst, Drake can be seen as a โ€œFormula 1 driver.โ€ Just as a Formula 1 team designs the optimal engine for a driver to achieve success on the track, a creative team crafts the perfect framework for a pop star to excel in the industry. This team conducts market research, analyzes data, curates the artist’s social media presence and public image, and handles legal arrangements for collaborations, among other tasks.

A couple of years ago I wrote about how the opposite is always occurring: “Brands are acting more like people online, and people are acting more like brands.”

Brands are acting more like people online

This is for better or worse of course, but itโ€™s a thing thatโ€™s happening. Sometimes called โ€œHuman Era Brand Behaviourโ€. You know it when you see it. A recent example is the banter between UK supermarket chains on social media about M&Sโ€™s lawsuit against Aldi over there Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake.  

Let me repeat that one more time as itโ€™s a 2021 kind of sentence. โ€œThe banter between UK supermarket chains on social media about M&Sโ€™s lawsuit against Aldi over their Cuthbert the Caterpillar cake.โ€œ 

US Fast Food chain Wendyโ€™s is known as a pioneer of Human Era branding. But Iโ€™d also add The Museum of English Rural Life and Sotheranโ€™s of London as other leading examples.

It doesn’t matter which direction you arrive from these ‘Entities’ Drake of Wendy’s tweeting like a relatable person online, both should be seen as a sort of puppetry. I mean I have a whole category on this blog about puppetry – so of course I’d think that. But anyways, I think that the people inside of these entities, or the entities inside of the people(?) aren’t so much F1 drivers, but more Gundam pilots (another post about brands as entities with people inside of them).

Anyways, co-sign all of this too:

When an individual is presented as a brand, it allows for a more authentic and protagonistic narrative, akin to a hero’s journey. This positioning can be beneficial for concealing the corporate operation behind the scenes. A person can evoke feelings of authenticity and strength, qualities that might be harder to attribute to a corporate entity. So, for simplicity, I will continue referring to Drake as an individual in this article, even though he represents the embodiment of shared intentions and collective agency.

We can also see the same ’embodiment of shared intentions and collective agency’ happening with entities like BTS, Beyonce, and megastar, and former human being Taylor Swift. I have thoughts on the new sorts of responsibilities that come with ‘becoming a brand’ but i’ll leave all that for now.

Pulling in the language of neoliberalism in to describe his approach to his career as a diversified portfolio. And talks about the Reincantamento later goes on to talk about Drake as a template for the streaming era:

Cultural Frackling is, on the other hand, an appropriate response to the diffusion of user-generated content and the perils of participative cultural practices, like edits, remixes, fan fiction, etc. The major distributors canโ€™t leave these in the hands of people these profitable stories and need to re-affirm their monolithic sovereignty over them.  

The Drake Era is the perfect iteration of Cultural Fracking within hip-hop and pop music. Drake has acted as a gateway for Universal to be able to frack many of the possible novelties that emerged on the music scene. With his co-sign, Drake not only signaled his respect for an artist or a style but also the interest of the industry for the newcomers. Drake as an index for market potential. Drake, the playlist-era popstar, the jack of all trades, always with a different costume but never with a real persona.

Its a great essay. Love the essays conclusion:

We can only save ourselves by telling our stories and distributing culture on our terms. Miles Davis, once said: โ€œMan, sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourselfโ€. As the Drake Era fades away, itโ€™s time to awaken our desirefor autonomy and artistic freedom. To embrace the bustling global overground network in our cities and online. It may take a long time. But by determining our sound, we will find the polyphonies for these mutating times.

Permanently Moved

Short Term Thinking

I propose that everything that occurs between the decision to plant a tree and the full expression of its canopy is short-term thinking.

Full Show Notes: https://www.thejaymo.net/2024/05/18/2409-short-term-thinking/

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Permanently moved is a personal podcast 301 seconds in length, written and recorded by @thejaymo

Photo 365

135/365/2024

The Ministry Of My Own Labour

  • Plotted my Solarpunk talk for Lisbon
  • Call with ADH
  • Had a call about worldbuilding
  • Met up with Novara Crew for drinks.
  • Reached out – without success – to a client thats been quiet
  • Finished up notes on a product pitch, call next week
  • Started reading about world building in dance
  • Had a discussion about doing a print run of worldrunning.guide !!

Terminal Access

I said the other week that lots of people has been reading and discussing Arnaud’s Trust Infrastructure essay. Well, Baz at Tonk.gg recently dropped a long essay of their own on the subject: You should design trust infrastructure

Iโ€™ll cover:

  1. How trust shapes our shared social flourishing;

  2. The invisible infrastructure we all take for granted when cultivating trust, from markets to contracts and culture;

  3. How the internet broke those ancient tools by forcing us into feudal networks and isolated monocultures;

  4. Proposals for a new trust infrastructure, and why I think they can usher in a web thatโ€™s more productive, more liberated and way more fun.

Warning – yes, I am going to talk, in part, about blockchain and cryptography. Strap in.

It’s a long read, but its a good overview about the current state of think thinking in this area.

GPT-4o Must Die?

ICYMI I wrote about the OpenAi’s new model announcement and conversation AI:

Millennial and GenX readers. Please be mentally prepared for the possibility that you might pop home this summer and discover that a virtual assistant talking like a flirty 20 something valley girl is now your parent(s) new best friend. 

Dipping the Stacks

Threads is the gas-leak social network – by Max Read

Some friends and I have taken to calling Threads โ€œthe gas-leak social networkโ€ because that is the basic experience of using it: Everyone on the platform, including you, seems to be suffering some kind of minor brain damage.

The chocolate price spike: whatโ€™s happening to global cocoa production?

The Easter Bunny is having an expensive year. Cocoa prices are going through the roof. In the last week, theyโ€™ve surged to more than $10,000 per tonne. Thatโ€™s nearly twice the record set 50 years ago.

Are We Watching The Internet Die?

These stories are, of course, all manifestations of a singular problem: that generative artificial intelligence is poison for an internet dependent on algorithms.

Not Right Now โ€” TANKtv

Despite its discursive revolt against the vague and totalising spectre of capitalism, art is nothing if not a highly processed asset class, as many artists, art critics, art historians and art dealers regularly bemoan, with both sincerity and cynicism. Every day, major works are bought and sold and careers are made and unmade by arms dealers and pop stars because their financial advisor suggests Julie Mehretu as a hedge against platinum futures.

The Brazilianization of the World

the coming apart of formal employment and of the rise of precaritizationโ€”is the root of the whole phenomenon of โ€œBrazilianizationโ€: growing inequality, oligarchy, the privatization of wealth and social space, and a declining middle class. Its spatial, urban dimension is its most visible manifestation, with the development of gentrified city centers and the excluded pushed to the periphery.

Reading

Author Michael Marshall Smith wrote about James Hillman’s Force of Character recently. It’s a book I’ve had around for years, i’m not even sure where I picked it up. But this from Smith made me open its covers:

I first read The Force of Character about ten years ago, in my mid-late forties. Itโ€™s about being older, and what that means. How much I valued it is proven in the number of highlights I made. Thereโ€™s a lot. On the second read Iโ€™m undertaking now Iโ€™m adding even more, tons more, in fact: there are chapters where half the text now has a pale yellow stroke across it. A sign, perhaps, that this is an even better time in my life to be reading it โ€” non-ancient though I still (usually) feel (on some days).

I started listening to Jonathan D Beer’s debut Warhammer Crime novel The King of the Spoil. Not so much a ‘who dun it’ but a ‘Why dun it’ story. As I’ve said before, I think Warhammer crime’s domestic sandbox world of Varangantua is a brilliant move on their part as Beer’s novel picks up characters from another authors short stories. You don’t need to have read it to understand whats going on, but it brings a depth and richness to world that I really like.

hijouni kireina JYOCHO – JYOCHO

The new single from Japanese melodic math rock legends (previously on the blog) JYOCHO is absolutely out of this world.

Some of the most virtuosic emo squeezed into 1m26 seconds. And flute of course! I can’t even begin to imagine what watching them play this live must be like. I wonder when their new album is coming.

Remember Kids:

If you allow yourself to begin posting entries based on what you think someone else wants you to write, you are missing the point of having a weblog. Even more destructive is the numbers game.

The Weblog Handbook – Rebecca Blood

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