I spend a lot of time on the internet and have for a long time and it turns out there’s a lot of beautiful things on the internet. To be sure the geography of the internet is ruled by algorithms, tried and true footpaths that feel particular to us, and are, but are also un-particular rabbit holes, gravel pits that exist in a specific place in our gigantic galaxy of digital space.
But so isn’t our physical world? Both are full of beauty and tragedy and we all only half choose what we participate in while telling ourselves we’re in control. We make choices constantly and also never. And so isn’t our social world? So isn’t it ruled by algorithms, constructed rabbit holes? Here’s one sort of emergent algorithms: class. It is just an easier and more nefarious story to tell about private institutions manipulating people into the dark corners of YouTube, of 4chan, whatever.
The point is when navigating our physical or social or digital world people are differentially skilled in orienteering. And so I’m going to change this newsletter into a place where I share beautiful things I find on the internet. It’ll be like an ongoing tourists guide to the internet, a place I know well. I might say some nice things about the places I travel or I may say nothing. I aspire to be some sort of Anthony Bourdain of the internet perhaps. Not so much a reporter or journalist or academic, but just someone who shares things with other people.
I think people take Substack too seriously. I’m going to try to share things a lot. I’ll still write some things that make me seem smart too. maybe
Anyway, here’s a video from 6 years ago of a barely 21-year-old Phoebe Bridgers playing her song “Georgia” in a flannel shirt. Why I like this video so much, beyond it being a beautiful performance, is that it undermines this sort of understanding that I think exists these days that Phoebe is doing so well today because she’s sort of edgy and does shit like smash her guitar in an SNL performance and is like, a good ole Gen Z celebrity like Billie Eilish—dark and colorful at once. The mistake being that the cause of success is her image.
This video is a good reminder that the primary reason that Phoebe is experiencing so much fucking success right now is that she’s an extremely talented musician and vocalist. Which is also, for what its worth, the case for Billie Eilish too. Below below is a video of Billie’s vocal performance abilities in contrast to Alicia Keys. heh