The Potato Salad Kickstarter Is the Science Fiction Villain We Deserve
It is a perfect device, compatible with all known theories of humor and therefore with none of them. [...]
Potato salad satisfies these and all other doomed attempts to systematize humor, which might be the only way to understand it: It is humor-shaped and perfectly optimized. If it was ever whimsical it isn't anymore -- there is too much money, too much potential, tied up with this salad. But this foundation of whimsy has created circumstances in which more capital is equated with more humor, which is too horrible an idea to even joke about: It is a transcendence that is out of our control, a villain, an invader, an awakening of The Old Ones, a Dire Event, or at least a Portent. What's funnier than $37,115 for potato salad? $47,115 for potato salad, ha ha. What's funnier than $47,115? $100,000. With every new dollar it feels more urgent to a viewer that he attach his name and his dollars to the thing, which is now obscured entirely by noise -- a fee for ensuring that you're in on the joke.
It's an investment compulsion, and the investment is a scam. (It's fun to imagine all business opportunities as jokes: They are temporary and dependent entirely on context; they are taken advantage of at the expense of someone or something that is often neither aware nor present; they are -- necessarily? -- cruel; they inspire the same embarrassing urge for inclusion, and the same shameful regret upon misapprehension or exclusion. Jokes! Look around you: Isn't it nice, that it's all just jokes?). If the campaign keeps going, some people may start to claim that, at some specific level of investment, the joke is no longer funny. It will be too much -- the money could be better used on another campaign, or in another context entirely. This will be true but it will have always been true. None of these people will be able to explain to you what exactly changed.
This is when it will begin to feel obvious, after Kickstarter takes its five percent, after Amazon banks its cut, when all at once the internet feels an opposite, equally irresistible urge to pretend that none of this ever happened, that we realize what the joke really was, and at whose expense it was told.
Shut Up Woman, Getaway Horse
A woman DeKalb County deputies say rode a stolen horse to burglarize a store is currently only facing alcohol-related charges, but more charges may be on the way.
Sheriff Jimmy Harris said his office got a call about an intoxicated woman stealing merchandise from a store at Hammonds Crossroads Saturday evening. Deputies and Fyffe police responded and say they found her carrying the stolen items. Authorities also found a horse tied outside the store and believe she rode it there. The horse was returned to its owner who did not press charges.
Deputies say the woman, 45-year-old Christine Saunders of Fyffe, was drunk. They say they found beer in a shopping bag tied to the horse.
Saunders was charged with public intoxication and illegal possession of a prohibited beverage. Harris said his department is working with the store owner on other charges. Saunders was booked into the DeKalb County Detention Center.
They're emblematic of a compassionless new wave of self-serving startups that exploit small businesses and public infrastructure to make a buck and aid the wealthy. Let's call these parasites #JerkTech. It's one thing to outcompete a big, stagnant company with new technology. It's another to screw over the little guys just because you can sell what's usually free. [...]
All of these apps are essentially tools for scalping a public good or open resource. They don't deserve to take something that's supposed to be free and first-come-first-serve so they can sell it.
Don't concert ticket re-sale sites like StubHub encourage and take a cut from scalping? Yes, and I'm not a big fan of them for that reason. If the demand for a band's ticket is high, they're the ones that should be making the mark-up, not some sleazy guy with 20 computers who bought 40 tickets the second they went on sale to turn around and flip them. But at least that guy has to bet his own money that he can resell a private commodity he bought.