The Potato Salad Kickstarter Is the Science Fiction Villain We Deserve

As of writing, a Kickstarter campaign for "just making potato salad" has raised $37,115.

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.


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10 Responses:

  1. Jim Sweeney says:

    Can you imagine if this all plays out, and in the end, his potato salad really _is_ that good? Then won't _we_ look ridiculous!

    • Ian Young says:

      I'll look like a fool if I don't get in on the ground floor of Potato Salad! Look at those numbers! Potato Salad can only go up!

  2. Grace Bones says:

    just wait till he has to start peeling all of those potatoes.

  3. PLOT TWIST: Instead of art auctions THIS is the new way organized crime launders money.

  4. Grace Bones says:

    he will seriously earn so much respect if he cancels the kickstarter on the last day, then posts a message saying, "shame on you, people of the internet, look at how much money you raised for nothing." then he shares links to various charities and worthy fundraisers.

  5. ^^Shut up Jason...

  6. Brandon says:

    I think ya better come with what is funnier than $100K - he's up to almost $70K now...

  7. Pinkerton says:

    How about :
    One Red Paperclip
    The Million Dollar Homepage

    I also remember a couple on Youtube who needed money for surgery. She made art with a shotgun and pain cans while dressed in a star spangled bikini.

    And now the kickstarter potato salad.

    My only complaint about all of the above is that I didn't think of them first.

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