Hi. I’m Jim, and I’ll be your host for this newsletter. Whoever sent you here, you owe them your life at the very least. Maybe mine. Maybe more.
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Articles of Awesome
It’s December, still and likely not when you get this. This means loads of things. It means getting lots of end of the year round-ups that are simultaneously an easy content rehash schlock on your plate and a whole heap of laziness. I won’t do this to you, not only because I love you, but because I didn’t have time to write anything besides December’s Top 10.
Halfman x Team Eagle vs Mancrush Skateboarding Pro Debut
I’ve spent roughly the past 34 years doing the wrong thing. When I was 14, my dream was to design skateboard graphics. I’m now 48 and just getting around to it. A stoned conversation 12 years ago and three bullet points led to this first huge Halfman x Team Eagle vs Mancrush Skateboarding pro model drop for the one, the only, my ex-flatmate and co-victim of British postgraduate design education, James Palmer, AKA Heat Beak.
You can read a bit more here
You can see the intro video I forgot to add music to here.
Ponder this damnit
Uselessness as resistance. Futility as beauty. Make a thing. The dumbest and least commercially viable thing you can. I can guarantee fun and pleasure. If you need an example, look at my foray into the skateboard industry.
Julien and gang at Unlock did such a huge thing it’s almost like it should have been there forever.
Putting simple subscription and paywall crypto or even regular money mechanism in a CMS 43% of the world uses and making small, but very practical steps for web3 in the right direction.
History vs. Web3
Robin Sloan speaks truth to power yet once again in his Notes on Web3. By the way, in case you were wondering what Web3 even means, it’s shorthand for this idea of the next internet where there’s blockchain sorts of things everywhere.
In particular, this but comes really close to summing it up for me:
Many Web3 boosters see themselves as disruptors, but “tokenize all the things” is nothing if not an obedient continuation of “market-ize all the things”, the campaign started in the 1970s, hugely successful, ongoing. I think the World Wide Web was the real rupture — “Where … is the money?”—which Web 2.0 smoothed over and Web3 now attempts to seal totally.
Beyond wild and often blind speculation there is this issue of making everything into money. Giving everything a value that can be bought, sold and speculated on. Marketising everything to which one has to ask is the logical end to marketise everyone and every moment of life? This extreme is not good but indicative of the general direction which needs correction in one way or another.
A large fraction of Web3’s magnetism comes from the value of the underlying cryptocurrencies. Therefore, a good diagnostic question to ask might be: would you still be curious about Web3 if those currencies were worthless, in dollar terms? For some people, the answer is “yes, absolutely”, because they find the foundational puzzles so compelling. For others, if they’re honest, the answer is “nnnot reallyyy”.
Fact is, the majority of people buying, selling and hodling are FOMO desparates. The explosion in interest happened when the focus of web3 shifted from those interested in the ideas and the mechanisms to those seeing another, unregulated version of Wall Street ripe for exploitation.
This Web3 stuff is new-ish, but mainly not really. We have to remember, that all of this new internet stuff is exciting, it’s well, not new exactly. It’s a continuation of things and we have to take it into context like that. We even have to, as internet dinosaurs such as myself, remember that the crypto-bro HODLers of today are no different from the IPO-ers of the dotcom boom. We also have to remember that boom ended, invariably, in an immense, world shaking bust. History will invariably repeat.
Super Serious Forwards
Just when you think you do, You Don’t Know Africa
I think way too much about things like the dubious origin of food names
If you thought America had also managed to whitewash the undead, you’re right, zombies are Haitian.
If you were wondering if crypto has become a religion, rest assured, it’s been since the beginning according to The Bitcoin Reformation. I’m a big fan of the dearth of research about the unimaginable influence that the Protestant Reformation has had in our (“western”/“northern”) lives, but this is pushing it a tad too far. By tad I mean a ton.
A work of art that turned an architect into a diamond, and one hell of a story about someone who might be my new favourite artist.
If all of this past year and a half has taught us anything it might be that that whole idea of success entirely being a matter of your own determination is complete horseshit. The notion that you, and only you, is to blame for how your life turns out has clearly been shown to not be the be all end all at all. Or that your production function alone determines your worth. Hopefully we all see this for the total pile of shit it is.
Halfman endorses: streams, At the Gates, just about any chilli covered non-hazelnut nut, Apple Motion, Affinity Designer, Union Lager, Stow Coffee (LJ), way too much chocolate, December weight gain, whiskey, bakalar, bread with seeds, Fuzz, Zam-rock, the Hellacopters and mornings in a cafe with hardcover paper books.