If there’s one thing this country is good at, it’s rationalizing downward mobility. Personal debt used to be an act of desperation, a hail Mary pass before selling your flesh and blood into slavery. Now it’s a rite of passage. If you don’t have a mortgage and six-figure student loans, can you even call yourself an adult?
Some people are bothered by the suggestion that young women can pay for college by doing porn. We think pornography is the domain of the déclassé, a seedy enterprise relegated to the ass-end of Los Angeles. This person is educated, intelligent, and resides in a cosmopolitan coastal city. Expecting the urban elite to do OnlyFans is like asking prep school grads to cover tuition with a ROTC assignment in combat arms.
(Just kidding, we’d rather tell young men to become women. And then they can go do porn.)
They’re not pornographers; they’re content creators! It’s all very empowering.
Speaking of the back orifice of Los Angeles, producers are renting houses in Sherman Oaks and filling them with TikTok influencers. They call these “collab houses”. I imagine it’s something like Jack’s house in Boogie Nights, only with more teeny bop and less disco.
I reported from East Hampton this week https://t.co/blLCbxR2Q6
— Ben Smith (@benyt) June 15, 2020
It’s not just smut that’s capturing societal failsons. There’s an odd trend in news media where journalists have increasingly impressive credentials while the quality of journalism has fallen off a cliff. Right-leaning outlets accuse the national papers of exclusively recruiting from elite universities, but that gets the causality backwards.
The vast majority of Starbucks baristas hold college degrees. It’s not because coffee shops actively recruit at campus career fairs, but because coffee shops have become a dumping ground for unemployed degree-holders.
Same with journalism. Society keeps pumping out Ivy League grads who aspire to elite positions, but there are only 100 seats for senators, only 500 Fortune 500 companies in need of CEOs, only 922 individuals in the NYTimes “Faces of Power”. (See also: Elite overproduction)
Given the paucity of positions where you can impose your views on others — most of which are occupied by boomers who refuse to die — we see overflow into journalism, academia, NGOs, even tech. Hence the trend of downwardly-mobile thought leaders trying to leverage their role as an engineering cog to engage in social activism. Good luck with that.
Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in our 175-year history—until now.
The 2020 election is literally a matter of life and death. We urge you to vote for health, science and Joe Biden for President.https://t.co/8TlH7shjFn
— Scientific American (@sciam) September 15, 2020
I used to think the decline of journalism was a result of Silicon Valley’s capture of ad revenue, when in reality no amount of money can save an industry overrun by trust fund brats. Serious Writers have been pushed into the independent newsletter business, waving digital begging bowls like derelicts on the New York Metro. Sure, some of them are like the concert violinist who makes more busking than playing Carnegie Hall; the rest barely collect enough to cover the bus fare home.
It’s hitting Silicon Valley too. Engineers quietly suffered the indignity of moving from Aeron-equipped offices to cubicles, and from cubes to shared desks. Now you don’t even get a desk. Buy your own desk and work from home. Remote work obviates the coordination benefits of full-time employment, so everyone’s a freelancer now! How liberating.
But maybe this is intentional. Keep everyone at home creating and consuming intangibles, where they can’t cause trouble. We made a mistake earlier this year by giving people free money without anything to keep them occupied, and disturbance ensued.
So here’s how we distribute the next COVID relief package: Don’t. Instead, run a lot of ads like this:
People will work to meet imagined demand. Create state-sponsored bots that open Substack newsletters, tip the OnlyFans pornographers, download the podcasts, click all the things. Did you know that 71% of ad impressions are served to bots?
See, we don’t need a billion Americans to beat China. And we’ll all live prosperously ever after.