81: The American Meme


00:00:00   Have you ever noticed the face on the iPhone?

00:00:03   Do you mean like the cameras?

00:00:06   While we were getting ready today, I was looking at my iPhone.

00:00:09   And then I noticed that the iPhone was looking right back at me.

00:00:12   Oh, no, I never noticed those ones!

00:00:15   Oh yeah, look at that.

00:00:18   Well, I have to get a new phone now.

00:00:21   I just wanted to point it out, for anyone who has an iPhone

00:00:25   that does not have the home button,

00:00:28   that has the new line across the bottom.

00:00:31   On the lock screen, it makes a little face.

00:00:34   The line is the mouth, the camera button,

00:00:36   and the flashlight button are the two eyes that look at you.

00:00:40   And now I cannot unsee this forever.

00:00:44   - Well, here's the thing that makes it kind of worse.

00:00:46   If you just leave the iPhone on,

00:00:48   the mouth starts to move, right?

00:00:51   So it's going like, hm, at me,

00:00:54   if I sit there for long enough.

00:00:55   - It goes a little hmf,

00:00:57   And what I think is extra funny is the effect on my phone

00:01:01   when I swipe up from the lock screen.

00:01:04   For but a brief moment,

00:01:06   there is a face at the very top of the iPhone.

00:01:10   So...

00:01:12   cannot unsee.

00:01:13   -That's really good.

00:01:15   He's just, like, judging, like,

00:01:16   "What are you doing with this home screen?"

00:01:20   -Maybe I'll make this my new background.

00:01:21   I'll just screenshot that face at the top of my phone

00:01:24   and leave it like that.

00:01:25   -God, that would be brilliant.

00:01:27   and also be so confusing.

00:01:29   iPhone, always judging.

00:01:32   How you doing, Myke?

00:01:33   I'm good.

00:01:34   I, um, we're going to talk about the American meme today.

00:01:37   American meme.

00:01:38   We're going to talk about that later on in the show.

00:01:40   But I watched it today, and it is actually

00:01:45   a pretty depressing documentary.

00:01:47   Well, I found it pretty depressing.

00:01:49   Wow, spoilers, Myke.

00:01:51   Well, I wished I would have been able to warn people beforehand,

00:01:56   but I didn't really know much about it.

00:01:59   But yeah, I found it fascinating and we'll get into why.

00:02:02   But I don't know if it was the right pre-show

00:02:06   entertainment for me today, but.

00:02:08   (laughing)

00:02:10   - Probably not.

00:02:13   Probably not the thing to put you in a real cheery mood

00:02:17   right before starting a podcast.

00:02:19   - Question everything I know and just judge my own existence

00:02:26   and my own career.

00:02:28   This is so good, feeling good.

00:02:31   - Good, I'm glad you're feeling great.

00:02:33   - Yep, feeling real good.

00:02:35   I wanted to ask you actually,

00:02:37   I feel like there is a thread that we never got back to,

00:02:42   which was something that you,

00:02:44   I think you mentioned you would update us on

00:02:47   towards the end of the year,

00:02:48   which was one of your mysterious projects.

00:02:51   - I don't have any mysterious projects.

00:02:53   - Project Golem.

00:02:56   Yes, Project Golem.

00:02:57   Yes, that was a thread we had not finished sewing.

00:03:00   - I couldn't think of the way to finish that metaphor either

00:03:03   so I just like, oh, didn't come back to it.

00:03:05   Like tying it, do you tie a knot in it?

00:03:07   Is that what you do?

00:03:08   - I think maybe, I was enjoying,

00:03:11   I don't know if Myke's going to edit it down

00:03:13   for the final version of the podcast,

00:03:14   but I enjoyed the good 30 seconds of silence

00:03:17   as you tried in your head to figure out the way to close.

00:03:19   - Now, now, come on, now come on.

00:03:22   That's not, I'm gonna leave it in its entirety now

00:03:25   so people will know it wasn't 30 seconds of silence.

00:03:28   And I just sit there just like a robot,

00:03:30   like I was just like waiting.

00:03:32   - Will they know, will they trust it,

00:03:34   that it's the actual amount of silence?

00:03:35   That's very easy to fix in post.

00:03:36   - The sensorial hand of Myke comes down again,

00:03:40   even on his own silences.

00:03:41   - But yes, I feel like this was,

00:03:45   we've been talking in the past couple episodes

00:03:47   about the yearly themes that we have going on.

00:03:52   And this is the one note that I had made in my private Cortex

00:03:57   show notes to myself a year ago was

00:04:00   to update people in the future about Project Golem.

00:04:03   And we never quite got around to it

00:04:05   in either of the discussions.

00:04:06   Am I right in remembering that this was a project for you

00:04:10   that was like, if you didn't do it,

00:04:12   then you probably weren't going to do it?

00:04:13   Am I remembering that rightly?

00:04:14   So this is why I feel that I'm going to mention it here,

00:04:17   because I did specifically say that I should have

00:04:20   some kind of update for this one way or the other.

00:04:24   Whereas sometimes, not that I have mysterious projects,

00:04:27   but if I did have mysterious projects,

00:04:29   they might also just mysteriously disappear.

00:04:31   -If you were one to be known as such a person.

00:04:35   -Right, which is not what I am, so I just want to --

00:04:37   -It's not your character.

00:04:38   It would be out of character, really, for you if you did do that.

00:04:43   -You know, I don't appreciate that part.

00:04:46   It's definitionally untrue every time.

00:04:49   But, so here's the thing, it was,

00:04:52   the way I pitched it as it was a big thing

00:04:54   that I sort of wanted to do for myself

00:04:58   as a different and interesting project for me to work on.

00:05:03   And when you were in the last episode

00:05:07   talking about officially putting into the freezer

00:05:11   your fiction project, I'm basically at the same position

00:05:15   with what was Project Golem.

00:05:19   It was a thing over the past year that I should have put maybe a thousand hours into,

00:05:25   and I probably put a lot closer to something like a hundred hours into that project.

00:05:30   The thing that I've done, which may be a useful way for some people to think about how they decide on projects

00:05:38   that are part of their life or not, is I have a couple of triggers that I've set for

00:05:46   or I can revisit this in the future if I want to, but only if two things are true.

00:05:54   And one of those things I've decided on is a certain amount of video production on the

00:06:00   YouTube side.

00:06:01   That if, say for example, over the last n years I haven't produced x number of videos,

00:06:08   like on average, that this is not even a project that I'm going to consider reviving until

00:06:16   that statement is true.

00:06:18   It can be very easy to spread yourself too far

00:06:21   over too many things because you want to do a bunch of stuff.

00:06:25   And sometimes it's hard to come up with hard and fast rules

00:06:29   for what you are or aren't doing.

00:06:31   So for Project Golem for me, like I said,

00:06:33   I've said it kind of like, unless there's X videos

00:06:36   in N number of years on average,

00:06:39   this is not a thing that I'm even allowed to reconsider

00:06:42   as a project going forward.

00:06:44   It's away, it's been shelved.

00:06:46   I just wanted to officially get that on the record

00:06:48   since I did promise an update a long time ago.

00:06:51   - But we're not gonna get any details.

00:06:53   I was hoping we'd get a detail.

00:06:54   - Okay, so-- - Some description.

00:06:56   - No, okay, like, I kind of want to give details,

00:06:59   but the problem is, here's the problem, Myke.

00:07:02   I know that if I do, what's going to happen

00:07:05   is I'm going to get a million people sending me emails

00:07:07   saying, "Oh, I'd love to help you with that thing."

00:07:09   And I don't want to be on the receiving end of that.

00:07:14   and setting these little triggers for when it can revive is actually my way of being able to put it to bed quietly and never think about it for a long time.

00:07:26   So goodbye Project Golem.

00:07:28   We literally hardly knew you.

00:07:31   Moving right along.

00:07:38   I was really thinking like, "Oh, we're gonna get some details."

00:07:42   Nope.

00:07:44   Myke, do you even know who you podcast with?

00:07:46   I don't know if you do.

00:07:47   I was surprised to see it in the document.

00:07:49   I was like, oh, wow, OK.

00:07:51   Look, I just wanted to close the door.

00:07:52   That's all it was.

00:07:53   While we're here,

00:07:55   it's February.

00:07:57   Yeah.

00:07:58   You have not returned to the internet in full capacity.

00:08:02   I'm just wondering that it's another project that has now kind of passed its review deadline.

00:08:09   you're just staying away? Like what's happening? Do you have like what's going on?

00:08:15   I'm fine thank you. Not coming back anytime soon. That actually, to relate to Project Golem a little

00:08:22   bit, I do have two things that I definitely want to do and finish before I even consider returning.

00:08:30   So there's two projects that I want to finish before I do come back but

00:08:37   I don't know. I'm kind of liking it out here. It's nice. Floating in the void, sort of separate

00:08:45   from whatever is occurring in the maelstrom of the internet. So I feel like I'm doing pretty well.

00:08:51   - Do you miss anything?

00:08:52   - Yes. Yes. There are things that I miss, and I think there's two clear downsides.

00:09:04   Downside number one is I'm clearly more disconnected from a lot of people I would classify as professional

00:09:17   colleagues or conference friends or other Internet personalities that I'm acquaintances

00:09:24   with.

00:09:26   And that to me has always been one of the primary use cases of Twitter in particular.

00:09:32   the internet in general is, having an awareness of what a bunch of people are up to.

00:09:39   And there are people who I wouldn't necessarily, like we're not necessarily going to have an

00:09:42   instant message conversation, but it's nice to have this level of acquaintance.

00:09:50   And I think by far and away that's the thing that I'm missing out on the most and is also

00:09:58   a very useful thing.

00:10:00   Our friend Casey talks about the pyramid of communication.

00:10:05   If you imagine right at the very top is like a phone call.

00:10:09   - Right.

00:10:10   - And then right at the very bottom

00:10:11   is like an email newsletter or something.

00:10:14   You've lopped off a bunch of them.

00:10:16   So like ways that you might communicate with people

00:10:19   through an app reply or seeing a post

00:10:22   on some social network or like having this

00:10:24   like asynchronous communication of like

00:10:27   you just know what they're doing,

00:10:28   they know what you're doing.

00:10:30   you've kind of cut off those avenues,

00:10:32   therefore cutting off those relationships.

00:10:34   Like if you don't have a legitimate form

00:10:38   of regular one-on-one communication with that person,

00:10:41   whether it be through text messages

00:10:43   or through some kind of closed social network

00:10:46   or closed platform like Slack,

00:10:48   then you just don't communicate with them anymore.

00:10:51   - Yeah, it's the asynchronicity and the low level of it

00:10:54   that's actually valuable.

00:10:55   Because there's a funny thing I've thought many times,

00:10:59   I almost wish there was a way in iMessage

00:11:02   to specify a less interruptive text message

00:11:06   that you want to send.

00:11:08   So to be able to say, like this text message,

00:11:12   it's perfectly fine for the person to only see

00:11:15   the new bubble when they open up the messages app.

00:11:18   - Right.

00:11:19   - Like, I want to be able to say a thing and--

00:11:22   - Or even that's just like a low priority toggle.

00:11:25   - Yeah, or something like a low priority toggle.

00:11:28   that. I mean, this is, of course, you immediately run into this email problem, right, where

00:11:32   an email some clients will show, where people can specify like an urgent email, or I forget

00:11:38   exactly what this little system is, but I remember when I was in school sometimes you

00:11:41   would see that emails would have like three exclamation marks next to it.

00:11:45   Yeah, that's a priority system that was in like Lotus Notes and Outlook and stuff. But

00:11:50   there were like three levels of it, so they were always all of them three exclamation

00:11:57   marks because why would you have like a one exclamation mark urgency of an email? It's

00:12:04   wild.

00:12:05   Yeah and you'd have some people in a business setting who would only send like it was just

00:12:09   set as default or whatever on their outgoing messages that all of their messages were three

00:12:14   exclamation marks.

00:12:15   Every email that I send demands a reply so they are all urgent by nature.

00:12:21   So the listeners don't worry I understand the great dangers and inherent problems of

00:12:26   letting a sender specify urgency of any kind in a message

00:12:31   because it's just begging for abuse.

00:12:33   But I've caught myself thinking many times,

00:12:35   I wish there was a,

00:12:36   'cause like iMessage is a pretty standard platform

00:12:40   for a huge number of people that it almost feels like

00:12:44   it's too much of a jump up from email.

00:12:46   Like I want something that's higher than email

00:12:48   but lower than a text message

00:12:50   which appears on their phone immediately.

00:12:52   So that's why I've thought many times,

00:12:54   like I kind of wish I could send an iMessage

00:12:56   to this person that would just silently be on their phone

00:13:00   for the next time they opened the app.

00:13:02   And in a way, Twitter was sort of that kind of thing.

00:13:07   You wouldn't necessarily assume that a person

00:13:09   was getting an alert for your @ message

00:13:11   or anything like that.

00:13:12   Or you figure like Twitter direct messages

00:13:14   were a whole other tier of communication

00:13:16   that the other person was allowed to sort out

00:13:18   however they want.

00:13:19   It's like iMessages are too,

00:13:22   because of the way they work on the phone,

00:13:24   they're too intrinsically high level.

00:13:27   So that's why for some people I would put in the acquaintance

00:13:31   or conference friend category,

00:13:33   I find myself sometimes hesitating

00:13:35   about sending an iMessage

00:13:36   'cause it feels like it's too interruptive

00:13:39   and too demanding of their attention

00:13:42   for what might just be like a,

00:13:45   just a little remark that I wanna pass their way,

00:13:47   which is like a keeping in touch kind of remark, so.

00:13:49   - Yeah, I've noticed the value

00:13:51   in the kind of the asynchronicity of not even the one-on-one stuff, but just people just

00:13:58   talking about what they're up to and sharing what they're up to is then when you bump into

00:14:01   that person again, two things happen. One, you have something to talk to them about because

00:14:06   you're tangentially aware of what's going on in their life. And two, you don't have to have that

00:14:11   awkward thing where they reference something, but you don't know what they're talking about because

00:14:14   you don't follow their Instagram anymore. Yeah, yeah. So I think that that's definitely a thing

00:14:20   that I feel like is a useful tool of the internet

00:14:25   that I do feel like I'm missing out on

00:14:27   is that passive awareness of what other people are up to

00:14:32   and the occasional little touch points

00:14:36   where you have some small interaction on Twitter,

00:14:39   for example, and it's like, oh yes,

00:14:41   we have maintained this acquaintance relationship

00:14:45   and then it makes things easier

00:14:46   when you see them again in person.

00:14:48   But I guess the problem is those tools, those platforms,

00:14:53   they also hold with it the worst

00:14:55   of what you're trying to avoid, I guess.

00:14:57   - Exactly, and it's one of the reasons why Twitter

00:15:00   in particular is the really useful one.

00:15:01   It's the where everybody is chatting platform,

00:15:05   but then it's also the platform of, oh, right,

00:15:09   there's also a huge number of followers here

00:15:12   and people trying to get your attention for very,

00:15:14   like the disadvantage is also the advantage

00:15:17   that it is a great advantage to not be exposed to people always trying to pull your attention

00:15:27   in one way or another for their own ends sometimes, or...

00:15:30   - I think it's also that there are just an endless amount of things to distract you on

00:15:36   Twitter. There's always more stuff. Like it's not even just people talking to you, you can

00:15:41   just go and find more things, always, constantly. - Yeah, that's true. I mean, I think for

00:15:46   I mean, Twitter on the "how much was I distracted by it" spectrum was always relatively low.

00:15:52   Something like Reddit and Hacker News were vastly higher on the "how distractible does

00:15:56   my brain find it" spectrum.

00:15:59   But I guess what I'm trying to articulate here is the thing that is the advantage and

00:16:04   the disadvantage is a kind of silence.

00:16:07   The silence is really useful, and it's a thing that as time has gone on I feel like I'm appreciating

00:16:12   more is the lack of input from the world, but that silence also means, "Oh, I don't

00:16:20   have the updates from like the further reaches of my social circle as to what people are

00:16:27   up to." And there is no way to get the one without the other really, or in any kind of

00:16:37   effective method.

00:16:38   Well there is.

00:16:39   Oh yes?

00:16:40   You could have a private account.

00:16:44   I don't know.

00:16:46   I mean you could.

00:16:47   I don't think that I would recommend it.

00:16:49   I think that it has a lot of trade-offs, right?

00:16:53   How would that work?

00:16:54   I'll come back to the internet and set my Twitter to private and what?

00:16:57   Boot a hundred thousand people off of it?

00:17:00   Well no, no, no.

00:17:01   But you could set up a second account.

00:17:03   You could just set up a secret account.

00:17:05   Oh a second account!

00:17:06   Forget it.

00:17:07   - Oh, that's a lot of hassle.

00:17:08   - Yeah, it's not as much hassle as you would think

00:17:11   it would be, but it's an option that I don't think.

00:17:14   - But then you've gotta like,

00:17:15   then you gotta re-follow it and it's--

00:17:17   - You follow like seven people.

00:17:18   It's hard, it would be hardly difficult for you, but yes.

00:17:21   - Okay, but, like here's the other thing,

00:17:24   and this will, you know, this may tie a little bit

00:17:27   into the movie we'll discuss eventually,

00:17:29   but it's also the thing that having one account,

00:17:32   which is the CGP Grey account,

00:17:35   means that there are people who are following me

00:17:37   that it's like it's useful to know that and to be able to sometimes reach out to

00:17:41   people through which there's no other real communication channel.

00:17:45   So what you're saying is verified or get the f*** out.

00:17:50   No, it's not just verified, but it's the like, I always think of Twitter as a useful

00:17:58   way to have a door that's open to some people. And by having a bunch of people following

00:18:05   my Twitter account, it makes that Twitter account a real resource in some ways that

00:18:11   I've been able to take advantage of sometimes. So that's why the private account is like,

00:18:16   "Oh, this is no good because I'm not going to get other people following my private account,"

00:18:20   which then defeats this other useful value of it. So that's why that's not going to happen.

00:18:25   So I'm not going to set my account to private. Although there is a part of me which thinks

00:18:31   that would be kind of hilarious if I did that coming back from the internet. I'm back.

00:18:38   Tweet number one, this account is now going private. Goodbye.

00:18:40   It would be kind of terrible really.

00:18:44   Yeah, I don't think that would win me a lot of friends to do that sort of thing.

00:18:49   This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Eero. With Eero, you can build a Wi-Fi system

00:18:54   that is perfectly tailored to your home. Considering the high bandwidth world that we live in today,

00:19:00   You need a distributed system at home to make sure you can get the best speeds available

00:19:04   no matter where you are in the house or what it is you want to be doing.

00:19:07   And with Eero you can install an enterprise grade wifi system in your home in just a few

00:19:12   minutes.

00:19:13   It all starts with the second gen Eero device.

00:19:15   It has three 5Ghz radios which allows for increased speed and range, and it sits flat

00:19:20   on any surface connecting either over ethernet or wirelessly.

00:19:24   Then you can easily expand that coverage throughout your whole home by adding in Eero beacons.

00:19:30   These are small devices that plug directly into your wall, allowing you to reach every

00:19:34   corner of your home.

00:19:35   And Eero is now introducing Eero Plus.

00:19:37   This is designed to provide simple, reliable security to help defend all of the devices

00:19:41   in your home from malware, phishing, and unsuitable content.

00:19:45   Eero Plus can automatically tag sites that contain violent, illegal, or adult content,

00:19:50   so you have powerful parental controls at your fingertips.

00:19:53   It includes ad blocking functionality to help improve load times for websites that are full

00:19:57   of privacy invading ad tracking and it's also possible to have Eero Plus check the sites

00:20:01   you visit against a database of millions of unknown threats to prevent you from visiting

00:20:06   anything malicious.

00:20:07   Eero Plus even includes subscriptions to 1 password for password management and malware

00:20:12   bytes for anti-virus solutions.

00:20:14   Eero is super easy to set up and one of the things I love about Eero is the fact that

00:20:18   you can very easily set up a guest network so if you have people come over you can just

00:20:22   get them on the guest network really easily and their app is super awesome, it's super

00:20:26   clean you can see what devices are connected to your network you can turn things on and off if

00:20:30   you need to it's super super awesome it's just part of the whole Eero package. Never think about Wi-Fi

00:20:36   again get $100 off the Eero base unit and two beacons package and one year of Eero plus by

00:20:43   going to ero.com/cortex and at checkout use the promo code cortex that's eero.com/cortex and the

00:20:51   the code cortex for that $100 off and a one year of era plus you can get yourself $100

00:20:57   of the era base unit and two beacons package and that one year of era plus This is an awesome

00:21:02   deal.

00:21:03   Our thanks to arrow for their continued support of this show and relay FM.

00:21:06   So that is thing number one that I miss.

00:21:10   And that's the thing that is useful.

00:21:11   The other the other thing is is so hard to articulate.

00:21:14   I feel like I feel like listener if you know what I mean.

00:21:17   You'll know what I mean.

00:21:18   I can't explain it in words.

00:21:20   I miss a certain kind of meme-y internet humor that you find nowhere else but the internet.

00:21:29   I always have this feeling like the internet is this terrifying wild west that's also just hilarious in a way that no other place is.

00:21:42   where you have like, meme mutation across this, you know, hundreds of thousands of users,

00:21:49   and humor can be really quick and really obscure sometimes,

00:21:54   and so there's a certain kind of humor that I feel like

00:21:57   there's no ability to replace this with any other medium.

00:22:01   It's so intrinsic to what the medium is that it's not replicable.

00:22:05   Because I think part of what makes it satisfying

00:22:07   is if you get it, you feel like you're a part of something.

00:22:11   Yeah, that's a good way to articulate it.

00:22:13   And you know that other people won't get it.

00:22:16   Like if you weren't there to see that meme mutate,

00:22:18   or if you don't know what it means,

00:22:20   or you're not part of the community making the joke

00:22:22   and something just flies by,

00:22:24   you can just think, I don't understand that.

00:22:26   But other people find it hilarious because they get it.

00:22:29   Yeah, I feel like it's the thing that to me

00:22:33   is like internet artwork, internet genius,

00:22:35   is when a meme has been used 100,000 times

00:22:40   in one particular way, and then someone finds the way

00:22:43   to turn it in an absurd new direction,

00:22:47   and that humor only works because the other way

00:22:50   is so ingrained into your brain.

00:22:52   And that's a kind of unexpected humor

00:22:55   that's born of an intense repetition

00:23:00   that you're just not going to get anywhere else.

00:23:02   - The most perfect example of this,

00:23:05   which you were probably thinking of, is a meme called loss.

00:23:09   I'm not sure. I don't think this is what I'm thinking of. I'm not thinking of anything

00:23:12   in particular, but...

00:23:13   This is a perfect example of this. It's this weird cartoon, this upsetting cartoon that

00:23:19   results in somebody dying, and it's been mutated into a million ways to the point that...

00:23:25   Oh, oh, this is the... I know this one. Yeah. Right.

00:23:29   There's like four intersecting lines, or a bunch of other lines can symbolize loss. I'll

00:23:35   put some links in the show notes that try and explain loss.

00:23:38   It's control-alt-delete. I recommend a link for you to include. I don't know if you've

00:23:43   seen it, but there's a YouTube channel called Hbomberguy. And he did a 45-minute, I think,

00:23:49   YouTube episode just about loss. Yeah, so this is a good example.

00:23:54   Loss is a meme that I don't really know other than knowing that it exists in this format.

00:24:00   And so I've found out kind of what it means later on. But this is like a perfect example,

00:24:05   think of meme internet humor it's like it tricks you because sometimes you're

00:24:12   you're looking at a lost meme and you don't realize it until you realize it

00:24:16   you're only gonna get it if you know about it and if you don't know about it

00:24:22   it's just gonna go by you like same as the kind of maybe on a more kind of

00:24:27   general level like Rick Rowling it's like a similar thing like if somebody

00:24:33   Somebody sends you a link and you get to the Rick Astley song.

00:24:37   If you don't know what Rickrolling is, it doesn't mean anything to you.

00:24:40   It's just like someone sent me a dumb song.

00:24:42   But if you know what Rickrolling is, you get the meta joke.

00:24:45   Right, or then the thing that I love is someone does a mutation on that where the joke is

00:24:50   almost you're expecting to get Rickrolled and something adjacent to it happens and it's

00:24:54   like, "Ah, that's great!

00:24:55   That's really good what you've done there."

00:24:59   But I've been thinking about that a bunch because it's just a really good example of

00:25:03   how a change in medium allows a different kind of expression.

00:25:10   And yeah, memes are sort of dumb and jokey, but I also love it.

00:25:16   Like I've always loved this stuff.

00:25:18   Like I've always deeply loved the like the crazy Wild Westness of the internet, like

00:25:24   the, you know, the intrinsic coyote spirit tricksterness of it.

00:25:28   And there's something about a certain kind of meanie humor that feels like it expresses

00:25:32   this really well, or when, you know, people are just making terrible mutations of a joke

00:25:39   and you can twist it around where it's so bad but it gets repeated so often it becomes

00:25:43   its own thing.

00:25:44   I feel like nothing really quite scratches that itch in my brain.

00:25:52   The closest thing is something like Easter eggs in YouTube videos, you know, where people

00:25:56   hide something.

00:25:58   It's not remotely internet-y humor,

00:26:00   but I feel like that's the closest kind of thing

00:26:04   that you can do.

00:26:05   And I think it is no coincidence that my most recent video,

00:26:10   the airplane boarding video,

00:26:12   is I think maybe the most packed with Easter eggs

00:26:16   in any video that I have done.

00:26:19   And I'm kind of dying to know

00:26:21   if people have caught all of them,

00:26:22   but there are so many.

00:26:23   - You could do a video about the history of Easter

00:26:27   and have less Easter eggs in that video than you do in the one you've currently got.

00:26:34   Yeah, but I think that was happening partly because of a kind of frustration in my brain.

00:26:40   Like, this is the closest thing I can do, but it's like, how many things can I hide in this video?

00:26:45   Why are these numbers those numbers? What can I stuff in the captions somewhere?

00:26:49   Like, so many things are shoved into that, and I honestly think it's a kind of expression

00:26:56   of feeling like I'm missing this kind of humor, is putting all of those things in there.

00:27:02   So what we're saying is people should go and watch the airplane boarding video like six

00:27:07   times to make sure that they catch it all.

00:27:10   Well, I mean, obviously, they clearly totally should.

00:27:13   Well, that video is doing really well.

00:27:14   Oh, yeah, it's doing well.

00:27:16   Maybe it's because everyone is rewatching it trying to catch all the Easter eggs.

00:27:18   Yep, probably.

00:27:19   Which I will leave as an exercise to the viewers,

00:27:24   but there's a lot in there.

00:27:25   But yeah, so those are my feelings.

00:27:27   I miss those two things.

00:27:28   I miss them quite a lot, but I don't feel any real sense

00:27:36   of urgency to come back.

00:27:39   And I really do think that a lot of the advantages

00:27:45   outweigh the disadvantages.

00:27:47   And primarily, one of the main things I was talking about

00:27:51   at the very beginning of this project

00:27:53   was simply just the amount of reading that I do.

00:27:55   And this has gone very well hand in hand

00:27:59   with what I've talked about on the show,

00:28:00   about trying to change some of the ways

00:28:02   that I work on videos and what the research

00:28:05   and production cycle looks like.

00:28:07   This has been a huge success in terms of

00:28:09   the amount of reading that I do,

00:28:10   the number of books that I read has dramatically increased.

00:28:15   And there has been like a totally unavoidable,

00:28:20   very obvious increase in my ability to focus

00:28:25   and pay attention to the thing that I'm reading,

00:28:28   which was the thing that concerned me the most.

00:28:30   And so that's also partly why there is a hesitation

00:28:35   to go back because the effect there has been so strong

00:28:40   that it feels like confirmation.

00:28:41   Oh, I wasn't wrong that I'm having

00:28:44   a harder time reading things

00:28:45   I think it's partly because of the nature of this medium. I think I was very clearly

00:28:50   right. So that's something else on the other side of the scales.

00:28:55   Are you working more?

00:28:57   I would say I'm working better. I don't know because I haven't really been time-tracking.

00:29:01   That's been an intentional thing off to the side. So I don't have data to support that.

00:29:05   You doing it to me again?

00:29:06   What?

00:29:07   You doing this thing? You're doing something to me again where you're like, "Oh, I have

00:29:11   this great idea come along with me on this ride. By the way, I've abandoned it. You're

00:29:16   on your own."

00:29:17   [laughter]

00:29:18   No, no, I'm not. We talked about this on the first episode of the new year, that I've temporarily

00:29:23   paused time tracking. I'm slowly, just within the last week, I'm doing some slow exploratory

00:29:31   "how do I want to return to this?" But I mention it because I haven't done time tracking for

00:29:39   a while so I don't really have hard numbers to back it up. But I can say something like

00:29:44   almost certainly the number of pages of printed material that I'm reading in a week is proportional

00:29:51   to the number of quality writing hours in a week. And so both of those things have gone

00:29:58   way up since I left the internet. But yeah, it's, I don't feel confident in making a statement

00:30:03   like yes, but this is also partly because of the fuzzy nature of my work. Like how much

00:30:08   How much does reading count as doing some kind of work?

00:30:11   Do I really want to include that?

00:30:13   Not really, even though I think it's an important part of it.

00:30:16   So I don't feel like I have a clear answer to that question.

00:30:19   But Myke, don't worry.

00:30:21   I haven't abandoned you in time tracking land.

00:30:23   I'm coming back.

00:30:24   I just, for part of the project of reorder, I specifically wanted to...

00:30:29   There's a few things I'm doing with this, but I specifically wanted to remove as much

00:30:35   of the structure of life that past me had imposed on things, and that even drilled right

00:30:41   down into the concept of what categories of his life does he track. Again, like, I'm

00:30:46   not interested in what that guy thought about anything, so on as many areas as I've been

00:30:52   able to, from big and small, I've tried to remove as much influence from that past

00:30:58   me had as possible. So that is just one of those areas, an intentional stepping back.

00:31:02   But don't worry, I'm coming back, Myke. I won't leave you in time tracking land.

00:31:06   Today's show is brought to you by Away. Away makes smart premium suitcases so your luggage

00:31:12   won't cost more than your plane ticket. Look, if you're anything like me, when you're traveling,

00:31:17   one thing you always want or one thing you're always in fear of is battery. I'm always scared

00:31:21   my devices are going to run out of charge and then I'm going to be stuck not being able

00:31:26   to listen to my podcasts on the plane. Well, when you buy an Away suitcase, you'll be able

00:31:30   to charge all your devices while you travel because both of their carry-ons feature USB

00:31:34   ports with a battery large enough to charge your phone 5 times from a single charge.

00:31:39   If you go to awaytravel.com/cortex20 right now you can browse Awais suitcases featuring

00:31:45   premium German polycarbonate which is unrivalled in strength and impact resistance whilst remaining

00:31:50   lightweight. You can choose from over 10 colours and 5 sizes including their carry on, the

00:31:54   bigger carry on, the medium, the large and the kids carry on and they cut out the middleman

00:31:59   so you can get first class luggage at coach prices. Awais suitcases have patent pending

00:32:04   compression system which is great if you're an overpacker along with four 360 degree spinner

00:32:09   wheels. The carry-ons are compliant with all major US airlines while still maximizing the amount you

00:32:14   can pack with TSA combination locks built right in. Also away suitcases feature a removable washable

00:32:20   laundry bag so you can separate your clean clothes from your warm ones. Last weekend we had a little

00:32:24   staycation in London and both me and my wife Adina we both have away carry-ons and we were able to

00:32:30   to get everything that we needed in there really easily for our weekend. When I was

00:32:33   walking through London I was able to just have it either on four wheels or if I'm

00:32:37   going over rough terrain with the cobbled streets of London town I could just pull it

00:32:41   back on its two wheels and just pull it behind me and then when we got home after the weekend

00:32:46   I just took the laundry bag, I opened it over the hamper, emptied it in, easy. I love My

00:32:51   Away suitcases and I think that you will too. Away believe in the quality of their products

00:32:56   which is why they offer a lifetime guarantee. If anything breaks they will fix or replace

00:33:00   it for life and they also have a 100 day trial with a no questions asked return policy for

00:33:05   free shipping on any order within the lower 48 states of the US but they do ship to many

00:33:09   destinations around the world too. Go to awaytravel.com/cortex20 and if you use the code CORTEX20 at checkout

00:33:16   you'll get $20 off any of their suitcases. That's awaytravel.com/cortex20 and the code

00:33:22   CORTEX20 for $20 off. Our thanks to Away for their support of this show and Relay FM.

00:33:28   The American Meme, a Netflix original documentary, follows around a selection of influencers,

00:33:39   some social media influencers, and also has a lot of interviews with other individuals,

00:33:45   people who are famous on the internet, people who were famous on the internet, that kind

00:33:49   of thing, to kind of reinforce what's going on.

00:33:52   It's a very well-made documentary.

00:33:55   I liked the presentation style.

00:33:58   I liked that it had something to say, like it clearly had a point that it was trying

00:34:02   to make.

00:34:03   I really like it.

00:34:05   You recommended this to me and I want to know how you came across it and then kind of to

00:34:12   set this conversation up, why you thought it would be worthwhile for us to talk about

00:34:16   it.

00:34:17   Well, I'm feeling a little bit guilty about recommending it to you because of your emotional

00:34:23   reaction to it this morning and the mood that it's put you in. I just came across it because

00:34:30   Netflix seemed to think this was the thing that I absolutely had to watch. And so at

00:34:35   the end of everything I was watching at Netflix, it was like, "Hey, I don't know if you know,

00:34:39   but we've made this documentary called American Meme that we think is a 99% match for you.

00:34:44   So we're going to recommend it every time on everything." And at some point I just watched

00:34:48   And so yeah, I recommended it just because I thought, like,

00:34:52   there is a way in which this movie strikes me as a strange kind of work documentary.

00:35:00   I'm not sure if listeners have watched it if they would perceive it that way,

00:35:05   but I think it is. I think it's a documentary about how a new kind of famous person works.

00:35:14   works. It is a new kind of job. There is a line in the documentary which I think was misguided.

00:35:21   Somebody's, I don't remember who it is, but somebody's giving an interview and they're

00:35:26   talking about like, oh... So the reason it's called the American meme is because it's a pun

00:35:31   on the American dream and they, I think they clearly came up with the name because one of the

00:35:36   parents of one of the people that they're following starts talking about the American

00:35:40   Dream" and like a light bulb probably went off in somebody's head of like "oh we have

00:35:44   a name for the documentary, it's the American meme" because she said that the American Dream

00:35:49   has changed because they came from Russia, they emigrated to America and the American

00:35:56   Dream when they were a kid was a specific thing right like two car in every garage,

00:36:01   you know opportunity that kind of thing.

00:36:03   Yeah this is for people who are this is Krillix's parents, Krillix is an interesting sort of

00:36:08   person we'll talk about later but...

00:36:10   heard of this person before this documentary, honestly, never at all. Everybody else I knew

00:36:15   of a little bit, but this guy, I think for reasons that are clear, I had never come across

00:36:20   him, because like...

00:36:21   Yeah, this is what we describe as like...

00:36:23   The world he operates in is a very different world to me.

00:36:27   I think of the, um, people do those infographics of like the podcast universe and like what

00:36:32   places overlap with others, and if we're talking about just the internet universe, it's like

00:36:37   - Krillics is in some kind of galaxy light years away

00:36:41   from any of our circles.

00:36:42   So it's like, I'd never come across this person before,

00:36:45   but it's his parents talking about that idea,

00:36:48   the American dream, but it was not only for them,

00:36:50   it's also like, the dream is obviously

00:36:52   that they want it for their kids.

00:36:55   Like this, the dream that they have these,

00:36:57   this physical and product security in life,

00:37:00   that they have all the nice things.

00:37:02   - I think that guy's name is Kirill, Kirill.

00:37:05   - Krillex was a handle that he went with for a while.

00:37:08   - Okay, yeah, he went through a bunch of handles.

00:37:10   - I will not say his handle on the show,

00:37:13   but his name is Kril, K-I-R-I-L-L.

00:37:17   - Right, Kril.

00:37:19   And yeah, and then they end up with this son who has this,

00:37:22   I mean, is in his world very successful,

00:37:27   but it's just a totally unexpected kind of thing

00:37:29   for them as parents.

00:37:31   It was not what they were dreaming for their son,

00:37:33   and he went in sort of a different way.

00:37:36   - Yeah, he has a job I think most parents

00:37:40   would be embarrassed about.

00:37:42   - Oh, don't worry, Myke, we'll get to him.

00:37:43   - Okay, great, okay, okay, well, maybe great.

00:37:46   But yeah, so yeah, that's where the line

00:37:49   that I was getting to is it comes off

00:37:51   of kind of talking about that to be like,

00:37:52   oh, the kids today, they wanna just be famous as a job.

00:37:56   Like, they wanna ask them what they wanna do

00:37:59   when they grow up, they say they wanna be famous.

00:38:01   And I have a couple of problems at this point.

00:38:04   I think that's always been the case.

00:38:06   I don't think that there's anything inherently different

00:38:09   about people's desire for fame, right?

00:38:12   But now there's just more pause to it.

00:38:15   And the biggest thing, which they touch on,

00:38:17   like a bunch of influences touch on during this documentary,

00:38:20   is that there is now nobody that can get in your way

00:38:24   in the same way that there was in the past.

00:38:27   Usually there would be layers of people

00:38:29   you had to go through to say what you wanted to say or to get a platform for

00:38:34   yourself. But now people can just sign up for an account and they can do whatever

00:38:38   they want and they can say whatever they want. So it kind of frustrated me to hear

00:38:43   that because it's kind of just it's like perpetuating this stereotype of lazy

00:38:46   Millennials which I don't enjoy. I just think the difference for the millennial

00:38:51   generation of which I'm a part of is we were born into a world

00:38:56   where the internet was a thing and the internet has brought with it new types of jobs and

00:39:02   we both do them and people like those types of jobs because the internet gave brought

00:39:08   with it and for the millennial generation brought with it the idea that you can do whatever

00:39:13   you want and the internet can give you the tools to do that in a way that maybe wasn't

00:39:20   the case before. So that was like the one thing that frustrated me about the documentary

00:39:25   is that they made this documentary about all these people and then kind of just pooh-poohed

00:39:28   the idea of anybody wanting to be this way. And I think that that was purely to enforce

00:39:33   the narrative of sadness through the people that they picked, which is a genuine thing.

00:39:39   Totally get it. It's real. But that was definitely, every documentary has a through line. And

00:39:46   the through line of this documentary is that this life ultimately leads to just abject

00:39:51   sadness.

00:39:52   Yeah, well, I do agree with that.

00:39:55   The one little asterisk that I put on that statement about being famous is,

00:39:59   well, I do think it is true that humans seem to be creatures that have always

00:40:05   craved social approval and the more, the better.

00:40:10   Uh, and so like the, you know, I think you can go back to medieval ages and there

00:40:16   were children who wanted to be kings.

00:40:19   All right.

00:40:19   I don't think that's really any different.

00:40:22   My asterisk though is I do think that there is something about the modern world which

00:40:30   allows the encouragement of a kind of non-specific fame.

00:40:35   Yes, it's just famousness. Not "I want to be a singer, I want to be an actor, I want to be famous."

00:40:40   But I think a lot of people have in their mind what they want that to look like,

00:40:45   but they just use the word to explain what they're trying to get across.

00:40:49   because the idea of famous people now, they're less pigeonholed into a certain profession

00:40:58   because people have more opportunities available to them. So like Paris Hilton is the whole

00:41:06   documentary kind of pivots around Paris Hilton, which is brilliant. Like this, I have a completely

00:41:13   different thought about kind of everything we do now because they like they basically say that she

00:41:22   is like the kernel of all of this social media stuff and I agree like having seen all of this

00:41:27   like yes of course she was doing all this stuff a long time ago and you know a lot of the idea of

00:41:33   like fame coming from nowhere came from her obviously she had a an upbringing that allowed

00:41:39   for it but like she just kind of exploded onto the scene and then became a massive superstar

00:41:44   without really doing much of anything but she now does so many things she has so many different

00:41:54   businesses and there are so many celebrities that are like that now that they are less known for one

00:42:00   thing because they can do many more things more doors are available that's a that's a good point

00:42:08   That's a good point, that she did start as a non-specific famous person.

00:42:14   A socialite. She just was a socialite, which is a term that actually doesn't really exist anymore,

00:42:20   because influencers replaced what socialites were.

00:42:24   Oh wow, okay. I was just trying to mull over what you mean by socialite doesn't exist as a

00:42:29   thing anymore. You've totally sold me. When we were younger, that was the term for like,

00:42:35   this person's photographed going to a bar and it's like important where they're going.

00:42:38   But now nobody could give a crap what the paparazzi are doing. They see all this stuff

00:42:45   from the perspective of the people that are already there or the person themselves. So like

00:42:50   socialite and influencer are just the same thing, but now that role of influencer is more powerful

00:42:58   than the socialite role used to be. Yeah, that's a good point. I do want to pause you here because

00:43:04   because there's a thing which I think is important to mention at the start of this movie, which is...

00:43:10   So I watched it the first time and I thought, oh, let's, you know, I wanted to recommend it, I thought it was kind of an interesting thing.

00:43:15   And I watched it again last night to refresh my memory about it.

00:43:21   And there is a thing that when you know it also really changes your perspective on this movie,

00:43:28   which dovetails into exactly what you're saying.

00:43:32   Paris Hilton is the executive producer of this documentary.

00:43:36   - Huh. - Right?

00:43:37   Yeah, huh, right?

00:43:38   It makes a lot of things make much more sense

00:43:43   once you know this.

00:43:45   It's because it makes you realize,

00:43:46   how did this documentary come into existence

00:43:48   in the first place?

00:43:49   It's obviously her creative project.

00:43:52   And then the second time I'm watching this documentary,

00:43:56   I just kept thinking the first time I saw it,

00:43:59   I was impressed by Paris Hilton does so much more stuff

00:44:02   than I really had any idea, simply because I had no reason

00:44:05   really to pay attention to Paris Hilton.

00:44:06   Again, she's off in another orbit,

00:44:09   totally unconnected to my own orbit.

00:44:11   But then the next time through,

00:44:12   I kept being much more impressed with how crafty she is,

00:44:17   and I was paying much more attention to what parts

00:44:24   of her story is she telling in this documentary?

00:44:27   And what are other people saying about her

00:44:30   in this documentary upon which she is also

00:44:33   an executive producer?

00:44:35   And I think that the documentary itself

00:44:39   is like an example of its own thing,

00:44:43   that Paris Hilton, a famous person who does a bunch of stuff

00:44:48   and that aggregate up into her own fame,

00:44:51   is adding to that portfolio this artifact,

00:44:55   which is another thing that increases her fame in the world

00:44:59   that is her project.

00:45:02   Like the movie, I don't know,

00:45:03   I found really on the second viewing,

00:45:05   the movie like twists in on itself in this interesting way

00:45:10   in that in almost any other circumstance,

00:45:14   if you found out that a documentary

00:45:17   of which there was one primary subject,

00:45:19   That person was also the executive producer of that documentary.

00:45:23   You would feel a bit like, oh, I've been deceived.

00:45:26   It's totally thrown, thrown everything into question about what is here.

00:45:31   But this is actually a perfect case where no, this is, this is an example of the

00:45:37   very things you're talking about in the documentary proves the point.

00:45:40   Yeah, it proves the point.

00:45:42   It's like, this is another Paris Hilton project brought to you by Paris Hilton to

00:45:46   increase the overall fame of Paris Hilton.

00:45:49   which is also incredibly successful because I, before this came along, I probably haven't thought about her in 10 years.

00:45:58   Like, I remember her exploding onto the scene when I was younger in the early stage of her career,

00:46:03   seeming to come out of nowhere, and then being absolutely everywhere, and I haven't thought about her in a long time.

00:46:08   And then through this documentary, she is reinforcing her fame through a group of people who

00:46:17   either haven't come across her or just haven't thought about her in a long time

00:46:21   and made a really interesting thing to further this point.

00:46:24   So I just wanted to mention it because I think it makes the documentary more interesting watching,

00:46:32   but it's almost a spoiler to mention it ahead of time.

00:46:36   But I found it fascinating when I was watching the credits being like,

00:46:39   "Wait a minute, executive produced by Paris Hilton. Oh, fantastic. This is great."

00:46:45   That is really amazing.

00:46:47   Again, I kind of found myself astounded going through it, listening to her talk about the

00:46:54   things that have happened in her life.

00:46:57   She references a commercial that she made for Carl's Jr., which is a fast food chain

00:47:02   in America, that was too hot for TV.

00:47:07   And she made this commercial and then realized, "Oh, this is interesting.

00:47:12   I can leverage this idea again."

00:47:14   And like just the way that she talks about some stuff that she did in her past and like

00:47:19   some decisions that she made from it was just, it was just really clever.

00:47:23   And I also just feel really sorry for her too at certain points.

00:47:27   Like there's this one moment she's talking about paparazzi and she's standing in front

00:47:31   of this artwork that she has in her home, which is a picture of cameras and it flashes

00:47:40   and she can also turn sound on and it can make the noise of camera bulbs and stuff.

00:47:45   And she said that sometimes she hears flash bulbs even when they're not happening.

00:47:52   And I was just like, I feel bad for her at that moment, like that made me feel sad for

00:47:56   her.

00:47:57   Like, that's a crazy thing to happen to you.

00:47:59   That people take your picture so much that you hear it when it's not even happening.

00:48:06   Yeah, it's like Phantom Phone Syndrome, but for paparazzi.

00:48:10   Yeah.

00:48:11   Which sounds like a nightmare.

00:48:12   Yeah, it sounds terrible, really.

00:48:14   Like I also think, the other thing watching this, like the documentary, she sort of spans

00:48:19   her career over the course of this thing while being interspersed with other influencers.

00:48:27   And it's very well produced, really interesting, I genuinely recommend it.

00:48:31   But the other thing that I can't help but perceive as a meta-purpose of this project

00:48:37   is that it's-- she's reinforcing her fame, but by the end of the documentary, she's using

00:48:44   the documentary to-- I could be reading too much into this, but I feel like she's really

00:48:51   walking you to the conclusion of why she may be withdrawing from public life to some level.

00:49:00   that she does not want to be this socialite, outgoing, at-parties kind of person,

00:49:08   and that she's working on—like the documentary ends with her creating this virtual reality version

00:49:14   of herself, that she's thinking about how can she use this in future projects, and what can she do

00:49:22   with this where she doesn't have to go places, and she doesn't have to go out, and she's really

00:49:28   like, taking you step by step, and I think with scenes like showing all the paparazzi

00:49:33   of trying to show the viewer why after, you know, as she said, after 20 years of being

00:49:41   in the public eye and having to be this brand of like a crazy 20-something party girl, that

00:49:50   she wants to pull back. And so, like, I don't know, I was just looking at this and again

00:49:56   God damn it. It's really clever. Like this is also a clever way to

00:50:01   With your fans maybe start to delicately suggest

00:50:06   that you're not going to be around as much or you're not going to be visible as much and

00:50:12   And this is like a document that you can point to

00:50:15   That is very sympathetic towards that case

00:50:19   Yeah, because at the beginning I feel like she's going a little too heavy on

00:50:25   on the way that she interacts with her audience.

00:50:30   But by the end of it, I kind of believe it.

00:50:35   Like at first I'm like, there's no way this is true.

00:50:37   Like she's talking about how much she loves her audience

00:50:40   and that she FaceTimes with her audience.

00:50:42   Like sometimes she would exchange phone numbers with people

00:50:45   and they'll have text messages.

00:50:46   And she says like she otherwise feels lonely

00:50:49   and that her audience kind of gives her a sense of family.

00:50:54   So then by the end of it, when she's then talking about the fact that she wishes she

00:50:57   had a family, and everyone that she is friends with has kind of moved on in their lives except

00:51:04   for her, I'm kind of more inclined to believe what she's saying in the beginning.

00:51:10   Yeah.

00:51:11   That it's kind of what she has, like that's all that's left for her now.

00:51:17   Yeah, she does go very hard in the beginning, which is also part of like, one of the things

00:51:21   I think is interesting to talk about with regard to this documentary is the ways that

00:51:28   a bunch of these influencers cultivate relationships with their fans. But her, this opening where

00:51:36   she where she does go through, like you say, all these details of how close she is and

00:51:40   talking about feeling, you know, traveling everywhere, it feels very lonely. It's, it's

00:51:46   almost so intense it's a little hard to take seriously.

00:51:50   And there's another great pair of YouTube videos

00:51:53   called "Selling Stupid" by a YouTuber

00:51:55   called George Rockwell Smith, or Smit.

00:51:59   And he does that, but he does that as like a joke

00:52:02   about how people do this.

00:52:04   So he has this whole thing about like,

00:52:05   "Oh, I felt really lonely before I started YouTube,

00:52:08   "and every one of you has helped make me feel less lonely."

00:52:12   But he's doing it in this cynical way to demonstrate,

00:52:14   Like, this is what people who are influencers say to make you feel closer to them.

00:52:21   Like, it's a tactic.

00:52:24   And it's like an exploitative tactic.

00:52:26   Right, because this is why I was kind of rolling my eyes at the beginning of the documentary.

00:52:31   Because it's like, well, it starts off with her just saying all this stuff that I've heard people say that, like,

00:52:36   I try my very, very best to talk about things the way that I actually feel them.

00:52:43   Um, you know, and like that, that's not something that I could ever imagine myself saying, you know, stuff like that.

00:52:50   Like, I have a great appreciation for what people are able to give me in my life.

00:52:56   You know, the fact that we have people that listen to our shows means a lot to me because it means I can live the life that I want to live and can do the stuff that I want to do.

00:53:03   But like words like "I love every single one of you" is like, it's a really heavy thing to say.

00:53:12   Yeah, her exact quote is, "I love my fans as much as they love me."

00:53:17   Which is, which I find an uncomfortable sentence on both ends of it.

00:53:22   Yeah, that's the sort of thing where I'm like, "I don't know."

00:53:26   Yeah, yeah, and so I agree, like it starts out a little eye-rolly,

00:53:30   and all I can think of is the cynical joke version of this that I've heard on YouTube,

00:53:35   to make fun of this kind of thing. And again, I came away very much feeling

00:53:42   like Paris Hilton is a really clever person and like there are many things that she says

00:53:48   in the documentary where I don't think that she's lying but as a as a public person sometimes

00:53:58   you can decide like which side of a thing do you want to emphasize and there are there

00:54:03   are quite a few sentences where I feel like if Paris and I were going to get coffee and

00:54:07   and we're chatting and we're actually friends.

00:54:10   I could hear a different side of that same thing,

00:54:13   like a different side of it emphasized.

00:54:16   But nonetheless, I agree with you that by the end of it,

00:54:21   a much more sold on some of the sincerity

00:54:24   of what she means at the beginning of it.

00:54:28   And yes, the documentary, the reason why Myke is feeling

00:54:33   the way he's feeling probably is because

00:54:36   The documentary really is a bit of a tour of sadness

00:54:40   through a bunch of influencers' lives.

00:54:43   Without being really heavy-handed about it,

00:54:45   it's just, I think it's just sort of showing you

00:54:47   a bunch of stuff, and for some of these people at the end,

00:54:52   I think you feel really quite badly for them.

00:54:55   And Paris Hilton in particular, it does come back around to,

00:54:59   at the end when she's talking about her other peers

00:55:03   who stay at home and have families,

00:55:05   and that means a lot to them and she doesn't have this,

00:55:08   that it makes the beginning part much more believable.

00:55:12   But nonetheless, one of the things

00:55:15   that this documentary does touch on

00:55:17   that I do feel so uncomfortable with

00:55:21   and I see a lot of influencer people do

00:55:25   is this kind of family talk about their fans.

00:55:32   And I really, like this kind of stuff

00:55:35   just always makes me feel so uncomfortable.

00:55:37   And I think it often makes me think of

00:55:41   what we've discussed before, the corporate thing

00:55:46   where a company tells you

00:55:48   that we're all family members here.

00:55:50   Like when I worked at a school and they're like,

00:55:52   we're all just one big family taking care of these children.

00:55:55   It's like, well, no, not really.

00:55:58   - By the way, that's super weird to say,

00:56:01   especially when there's children involved.

00:56:03   Like it makes it super, it makes it so much worse

00:56:06   as like a thing.

00:56:08   - Yeah, I heard that and I was never able to be like,

00:56:10   how do you want me to parse this sentence?

00:56:13   Like the way I think you want me to parse it

00:56:17   is as a kind of, you want the loyalty

00:56:21   that I would give a family to exploit, right?

00:56:24   But like we're not a family in any meaningful way.

00:56:27   And this is another person in the documentary,

00:56:30   DJ Khaled, who I will say comes across to me

00:56:35   as being vastly more either disingenuous or just,

00:56:40   well, I'll leave it as disingenuous with his,

00:56:43   is like, all of my fans are family.

00:56:45   And when someone shouts out my name on the street,

00:56:48   I'm like, boom, stop what I'm doing.

00:56:49   That's family over there.

00:56:50   Like I gotta say hi to this person.

00:56:52   - Fam love.

00:56:53   - Yeah, and it's, that kind of stuff

00:56:55   makes me really uncomfortable.

00:56:57   And I don't know if it's too far to say it,

00:57:01   but there is something when I see people do that

00:57:03   that feels, it feels a little exploitative.

00:57:07   And I'm not perfect about it,

00:57:10   but it is why I try even to avoid the word fan.

00:57:15   Like my preferred phrasing is to talk about the audience.

00:57:21   Like that's the level that I'm comfortable with.

00:57:24   But like I said, I'm not perfect.

00:57:25   Sometimes I will use the word fan

00:57:27   just because a sentence is clearer

00:57:29   and less awkward than that.

00:57:30   But I feel like that's the appropriate level

00:57:33   of relationship here.

00:57:34   - Yeah, 'cause language is so difficult.

00:57:36   I know I have and will use the word love,

00:57:39   but it's not what I mean, right?

00:57:42   It's like it's a different thing.

00:57:44   It's like a great appreciation

00:57:47   or a feeling of some level of indebtedness

00:57:51   or whatever it ends up being.

00:57:53   But it's so, there aren't really words to describe

00:57:58   a lot of the things that we're trying to say

00:58:00   a lot of the time.

00:58:02   - Yeah, and you have the double problem

00:58:03   that a word like love is a word that does a lot

00:58:05   of heavy lifting on many fronts in the English language.

00:58:08   And so it's a word that intrinsically blurs boundaries,

00:58:12   is used in many different contexts.

00:58:14   But the one with Paris Hilton where,

00:58:19   It inevitably happens that influencers and creators

00:58:24   end up having communities, and then those communities

00:58:27   end up using words to describe themselves

00:58:29   or their relationship to the creator.

00:58:32   And Paris Hilton's one was at the most apex of this

00:58:35   that I've ever come across this,

00:58:36   where her community of fans calls themselves

00:58:41   the Little Hiltons, which is fine, no problem with that.

00:58:45   But then they often refer to her as Mom,

00:58:48   And I felt like, man, that is the most top-tier level

00:58:53   of fan-to-person communication I've come across.

00:58:58   - And all of their usernames is something Dot Hilton.

00:59:01   Like, people take on the name as if it's their name.

00:59:06   - Yeah, that this is a family thing and she is the mom.

00:59:11   And I don't know, I had such mixed feelings about that.

00:59:16   And one of the things I thought when I came across

00:59:18   that the first time is, I felt really sorry for what must be some non-zero number of mothers

00:59:28   of children who are super fans of Paris Hilton, who refer to Paris Hilton as "mom". And

00:59:36   then as the parent you're in some kind of weird sort of but not really competition for

00:59:43   attention with Paris Hilton as like a mother figure?

00:59:47   There is a worse example of this that comes next though.

00:59:50   What? What's worse? I missed it.

00:59:52   Where she says that like some people refer to her as Jesus, as like Jesus.

00:59:57   And she thinks that that's really nice.

00:59:59   Oh yeah, I took that. No, but here's the thing.

01:00:02   That goes so far over the top that to then, then to me, that was almost an example of Mimi humor,

01:00:07   where people are photoshopping her as Jesus in all of these situations.

01:00:12   Right, but like the idea where she's like, "Oh, they call me this and I think it's really nice."

01:00:15   Like that's way too much.

01:00:17   - I mean, yes, saying that you are the son of God

01:00:20   is quite high on the apex, but like to me,

01:00:23   it is, it was, when I watched it,

01:00:26   I took that as just so hilariously high,

01:00:28   I can't take this seriously.

01:00:30   And whether or not she means it,

01:00:31   my brain interprets her as doing a little bit

01:00:34   of like a smile and a wink

01:00:36   when she says she thinks that's great.

01:00:37   I don't know if that's true or not,

01:00:39   but that's why the mom one resonates much more for me,

01:00:41   because it feels, it feels too real

01:00:45   and impossible not to take in a somewhat serious way.

01:00:48   Whereas the Jesus one is like, okay,

01:00:50   but now when you're showing me photoshops of you

01:00:52   at like the Last Supper, it's, I can't take this seriously.

01:00:55   (laughs)

01:00:58   I don't know, am I like, do you think I'm too sensitive

01:01:01   about that sort of stuff?

01:01:01   But it's just something that always strikes me,

01:01:05   this cultivation of a relationship.

01:01:11   I would say you put a lot of emphasis into the meanings behind words, which on the face

01:01:19   of it is a silly sentence to say.

01:01:22   I don't think it's as silly as you think it sounds to me.

01:01:24   No, but like, I mean, like just on the face of it, that that's just a silly sentence.

01:01:28   You care about what words mean. But it is something that that is true about you. And

01:01:33   it's something that's rubbed off on me a little bit over time. Like, for example, one, I never

01:01:39   tried to use the word lucky like I'm so lucky I try not to use that word very

01:01:46   much I like to you say fortunate instead because for me personally like I feel I

01:01:52   work really hard and have worked really hard for what I've got and lucky would

01:01:57   implies to me in my mind that I did it had nothing to do with me right that I

01:02:04   was just right place right time and I obviously believe there is an element of

01:02:09   that. Of course there is. There's an element of luck and there's an element of right place,

01:02:12   right time. But I also had to work really hard as well, so I consider it more fortunate. It is

01:02:17   good fortune for me to have the job that I have. I have been fortunate. I've been lucky/worked hard

01:02:24   for it. So that's the kind of thing that I focus on. And so yeah, I totally understand where you're

01:02:32   coming from and I know why this stuff means like it really grates on you or really like has an

01:02:38   impact on you because of the way that you think about these things like I know your problem your

01:02:43   long problem with the word community right but at the same time I've heard you say it.

01:02:49   Oh yeah that's what I mean like I haven't been perfect about it.

01:02:52   Yeah it's impossible to be because if you hear people say a thing all the time it just becomes

01:03:01   part of what you say. It's like in the same way that my accent has changed over time because of

01:03:08   the people that I talk to. Like it's not even just my American friends who I talk to for my shows.

01:03:14   I can tell that my Romanian wife is changing my accent and is changing even the words that I use.

01:03:23   Like talking to Adina, like there's just some some ways that words are structured and sentences are

01:03:28   structured if you are Romanian so if you speak English and you're Romanian there's certain

01:03:33   words that you use in orders that sound weird to a native English speaker and I find myself

01:03:39   doing that a lot now. So yeah this is just a thing that happens so hearing people say

01:03:45   I love all my fans and we have such a strong community you're gonna say it at some point

01:03:52   because you keep hearing people say it all the time.

01:03:54   And because I think the--

01:03:57   I'm trying to think of the most technically correct way

01:04:00   to phrase a thing would be something like,

01:04:02   "I am glad that the audience keeps showing up."

01:04:07   Is it like a terrible sentence

01:04:11   to try to convey multiple times in many ways?

01:04:14   And then you compound this as well with something like,

01:04:17   and again, partly why I thought American meme

01:04:20   might be interesting to discuss,

01:04:21   because while we've mentioned these people

01:04:24   are in different galaxies than us.

01:04:26   This is also a work documentary that is adjacent

01:04:30   to what we do.

01:04:31   And so I will have conversations with industry people

01:04:36   in which I will just completely use the word community

01:04:39   because it's the conveyance of an idea.

01:04:43   And to try to be more precise about it

01:04:47   is runs against the purpose of language,

01:04:50   which is to communicate with someone else

01:04:53   in a professional context.

01:04:55   And so yeah, that's also why.

01:04:58   It just seeps out and it becomes the word.

01:05:00   And it's also possible to imagine that in 10 years,

01:05:03   that the newer sense of a word-like community

01:05:07   just completely has washed over the old one so much

01:05:11   that this becomes an objection which goes away as well.

01:05:14   Right, because words change and they're flexible over time.

01:05:16   But I just, I don't know, I just,

01:05:18   I still think at the very top,

01:05:22   seeing Paris Hilton as mom slash Jesus and DJ Khaled's fam love for his family of millions

01:05:29   of followers.

01:05:32   I just wonder how much of that is engineered to intentionally create a kind of intensity

01:05:42   from the audience because I know that that is a thing that people do, like intentionally

01:05:46   try to engineer an intensity.

01:05:50   And I feel like family level intensity is too far.

01:05:54   Like it's too much.

01:05:57   I mean, to go back to the thing we were talking about before,

01:06:02   why do I like to put Easter eggs in my videos?

01:06:04   One of the reasons is because like,

01:06:05   that's the kind of thing I always like in videos.

01:06:08   And I think it's rewarding to a certain kind of viewer

01:06:12   who likes those sorts of things to go back

01:06:15   and then try to hunt down, like what are the little in-jokes?

01:06:18   And to me, that feels like an appropriate level of reward

01:06:22   and intensifying of fandom,

01:06:26   but the family level, it just makes me uncomfortable.

01:06:29   But that may be why I don't have 100 million followers

01:06:33   on Instagram, because I'm not.

01:06:35   - That's 'cause you just don't use it.

01:06:36   But I don't know if Instagram is the right platform

01:06:39   for you personally, considering your life.

01:06:40   - I think Instagram is the best platform for me, Myke.

01:06:43   I can't imagine a platform on which I would have

01:06:45   more success than Instagram.

01:06:46   I did want to note that actually that this documentary almost entirely focuses on Instagram

01:06:55   as social media. For a lot of this documentary, the phrase social media and Instagram are

01:07:03   one and the same.

01:07:04   Yeah, that is very true.

01:07:06   And I found that to be kind of fascinating, but makes complete sense.

01:07:11   Why do you think it makes sense?

01:07:12   for most people, Instagram is the most mainstream social media platform now of

01:07:18   which people share themselves right so Facebook exists yes but Facebook isn't

01:07:23   really an influencer driven platform it is a people you know platform and that's

01:07:29   an end of the other ones of the other big platforms you have Twitter and you

01:07:32   have Instagram but Instagram is a much more successful platform for influencers

01:07:38   because they get to influence you with influential things that you can see

01:07:42   That's the point, right?

01:07:44   Because there's like a lot of talk about ads

01:07:47   and like the amount of money people can make from ads.

01:07:49   You know, numbers are thrown from $50,000 per post

01:07:52   to a million dollars per post.

01:07:55   And I really like, there is somebody,

01:07:58   they used to be on Vine.

01:08:00   I don't really know much more than the person's name,

01:08:02   Amanda Cerny, and she says,

01:08:05   "People walk away from ads on TV."

01:08:08   And I just love that.

01:08:12   It's true. People don't want to see ads on TV, but they will consume ads that sponsor content on Instagram.

01:08:21   Because it's people that they believe in telling them a thing.

01:08:26   You know, like it is, there is an implied relationship going on, which says, "I trust this person, so I'll pay attention to what they have to say."

01:08:36   Yeah, and it's also reflected on the industry side in ways that I find quite breathtaking,

01:08:44   because in the documentary, like you said, they go through the price for single photo

01:08:51   ads that are on Instagram of like the celebrity using a particular product, you know, from

01:08:55   50,000 to a million. But the thing that is much more, I mean, those are big numbers,

01:09:02   But what's also much more striking to me even than that is,

01:09:07   is the audience size for those things.

01:09:12   So like the industry slang for this is like CPM, right?

01:09:16   How much does it cost to get a thousand people

01:09:19   to see your ad?

01:09:21   And different industries have different rates.

01:09:25   And we've sort of discussed like podcasts

01:09:27   have a pretty good rate compared to other mediums.

01:09:30   And I think it's partly because people are hearing the podcaster talk for so long, and

01:09:34   then the podcaster does those ads.

01:09:36   It's actually a similar thing.

01:09:38   So the influencer is an endorsement led advertising, which for a lot of podcast advertising is

01:09:45   the same, because you trust us, which I would just say is like a line, which is why I sell

01:09:51   her ads.

01:09:53   Because I know how important that relationship is, and I don't want to take advantage of

01:09:58   So we decide the advertisers that we work with for that very reason,

01:10:03   because I don't want to advertise a product that's bad,

01:10:06   that makes people trust me less,

01:10:09   because then that undermines what we're trying to do here in the first place.

01:10:12   Yeah, and there's a synergy here, right?

01:10:15   Like if you are a trustworthy person and you're not just doing any ad,

01:10:20   but you're selecting the ads,

01:10:22   then that will probably increase your CPMs over time

01:10:26   because you get a higher response from the audience.

01:10:28   It's a feedback loop.

01:10:30   And so like podcasts generally have much better CPMs

01:10:33   than YouTube videos.

01:10:34   Just like, not always, but on average.

01:10:37   But then the thing that I find astounding is like,

01:10:40   but if you're looking at charts,

01:10:42   and this is why I was joking about like,

01:10:43   oh, I should be on Instagram more,

01:10:45   is Instagram CPMs,

01:10:49   like the cost for an advertiser to reach a thousand viewers,

01:10:53   those rates are crazy high.

01:10:56   And it is just astounding to me how much more valuable to advertisers a photo on Instagram is worth than anywhere else.

01:11:09   And that's also why it totally makes sense that if you are trying to play this game of being an influencer,

01:11:18   Instagram, that platform is worth 100 times more to you

01:11:22   than something like YouTube,

01:11:23   just straight up from an advertising perspective

01:11:26   of the effort that goes into producing a photo for an ad

01:11:30   and the rates that you're going to get

01:11:31   and the frequency that you can do it.

01:11:33   It's crazy.

01:11:35   But that is also why the documentary

01:11:37   is so heavily focused on Instagram,

01:11:40   because people who are playing the influencer game,

01:11:44   they're not dummies.

01:11:45   They know that's where all of the money and the attention is.

01:11:50   And that's where you can really integrate yourself

01:11:53   and someone else's life from the audience perspective

01:11:57   of what are people looking for.

01:11:59   So again, it's not my platform of choice,

01:12:03   but I find it just to, from my perspective,

01:12:06   it seems like a very surprising outlier

01:12:10   in terms of rates and response and audience.

01:12:15   But it also makes sense.

01:12:17   People like looking at pictures of people.

01:12:19   And that's what Instagram gives you.

01:12:23   - This episode of Cortex is brought to you by Squarespace.

01:12:26   Make your next move with Squarespace

01:12:27   because they give you all of the tools that you need

01:12:30   to make a wonderful website for your next idea.

01:12:33   Squarespace is an all-in-one platform.

01:12:35   There's nothing to install or patch or upgrade.

01:12:38   They take care of everything so you don't have to.

01:12:40   Squarespace has got it covered and they have your back of award-winning 24/7 customer support

01:12:44   So if you need any help when setting up or running your website, they will be there whenever you need it

01:12:49   Squarespace lets you quickly and easily grab a unique domain name

01:12:52   So you can put a wonderful name to your website and people will know exactly where to go and when they get there

01:12:58   It's gonna be beautiful because all of Squarespace's templates are professionally designed. They're all beautiful and very customizable

01:13:04   I love that Squarespace is full of different functionality

01:13:07   If you want to add an online store or a blog you can do that, if you want to add a portfolio

01:13:11   you can do that, if you want to add maps or music players, Squarespace has all of this

01:13:15   stuff built right in and it's drag and drop to easily customise.

01:13:19   When we were getting everything set for our wedding we set a Squarespace website up, it's

01:13:23   super easy to do it, they have templates that are specifically built for it and we were

01:13:26   able to integrate all of the tools that we needed to make sure that everything was taken

01:13:30   care of.

01:13:31   Squarespace is great for any type of web project that you have but don't just take my word

01:13:35   for it go try it out for yourself. Go to squarespace.com/cortex today and you can sign up for a trial with no

01:13:42   credit card required. Their plans start at just $12 a month but you can get 10% off your

01:13:47   first purchase of a website or domain and show your support for this show if you use

01:13:51   the offer code 'CORTEX' at checkout. Once again that's squarespace.com/cortex and the

01:13:56   offer code 'CORTEX' to get 10% off your first purchase. Our thanks to Squarespace for

01:14:00   the continued support of this show. Squarespace, make your next move, make your next website.

01:14:05   There's a quote at the beginning of the documentary from Carril. He says "My real life isn't that

01:14:11   interesting so I feel like I have to put on an exaggerated truth" and this is a

01:14:16   thing that I hear a lot and when I see people say that like Instagram makes

01:14:21   them sad or they don't like it is because they feel like all they're

01:14:25   seeing is this exaggerated truth and it gives them the fear of missing out like

01:14:29   FOMO right? And I find it really interesting and I don't know if I come

01:14:34   at this differently because I am a person who shares to an audience on Instagram or

01:14:42   if I'm just wired a little bit differently but I come at it at a perspective of the stuff

01:14:48   that I share on Instagram are just the most interesting things that I'm doing or the things

01:14:55   that I find the most interesting. I'm not personally going out of my way to manufacture

01:15:02   or anything in my life to share on social media.

01:15:05   Like, there are just, these are things that I'm doing

01:15:09   and I'm choosing to share what I think

01:15:11   is the most interesting.

01:15:13   So when I see other people doing stuff,

01:15:15   I'm like, oh, that's just the most interesting thing

01:15:18   that they're doing right now.

01:15:19   Like, if I see someone who's doing a bunch of stuff,

01:15:22   I think, oh, it looks really cool,

01:15:24   my first thought isn't this person

01:15:26   does cool stuff all the time.

01:15:28   Like, my thought is just this person

01:15:30   just shows the cool stuff that they're doing.

01:15:33   And that is like a big difference for me

01:15:34   because I don't feel like, "Aw, man, I'm so boring

01:15:39   "because I watch Netflix documentaries at home

01:15:43   "when I could be out climbing a mountain

01:15:46   "or going to a nightclub."

01:15:48   Like my thinking is just like,

01:15:49   the way I come in is those people

01:15:51   also watch Netflix documentaries at home,

01:15:53   but they just don't show you that.

01:15:55   And so it's just an interesting thing to me

01:15:59   that people do feel that way and it's interesting that there are people that feel like that they can

01:16:03   only just create false things, like they have to just create things out of nothing

01:16:11   so that they have something to share. It's just such an interesting thing to me.

01:16:15   Yeah, I mean there's a lot in that. You know, again, when I talked about having

01:16:20   used Instagram for a while, you know, we talked about it on the show and also in private,

01:16:27   I could not articulate why Instagram made me sad very well.

01:16:31   Like it just, it did, but it wasn't anything specific as FOMO or anything.

01:16:35   Like it was just something about it made me sad and I couldn't pin it down in a very precise way.

01:16:40   But I do think you may be wired a little bit differently here because...

01:16:46   I do think I am.

01:16:47   Yeah.

01:16:47   I do think I am.

01:16:48   You are more cognizant of people just showing the highlight reel of their life.

01:16:54   But nonetheless, I think there are many cases

01:16:59   where people can know a thing intellectually,

01:17:03   but say the emotional part of their brain,

01:17:07   it just does not register and it does not land.

01:17:09   And I think this is a case where maybe

01:17:12   the knowing part of your brain

01:17:14   and the emotional part of your brain

01:17:15   are more lined up in what is happening on Instagram.

01:17:18   And so I think almost anybody who follows lots of people

01:17:21   on Instagram could articulate the idea

01:17:24   that, oh, of course they're showing the most interesting parts of their life, or of course

01:17:29   these photos are staged. But nonetheless, I suspect most people have the experience,

01:17:35   have the emotional experience of not being able to internalize the time compression effect

01:17:43   that occurs, where you just don't see so much of what's going on. It's even a thing like

01:17:51   I feel it's like the absence of one thing does not like prove its existence or non-existence.

01:17:58   Like I think people see if all I ever see is this person doing something fun,

01:18:04   they must only do fun things.

01:18:08   Yeah.

01:18:10   Like and like that people aren't stringing together or people's brains

01:18:14   and don't do a good job of stringing together.

01:18:17   The in-between time.

01:18:18   Yeah.

01:18:20   Well, I even think to a much lesser extent than something like Instagram, but us doing the podcasts even has the same time compression effect.

01:18:30   The things that we talk about relate to what we're doing or things that are going on in the world or stuff that we're checking out.

01:18:40   But like, as the listener is listening to shows,

01:18:43   especially if they're say, catching up on the back catalog,

01:18:46   like they're flying through life at a much accelerated rate.

01:18:51   And then also when you hear a new show,

01:18:54   you're just thinking about maybe what happened

01:18:55   in the previous show.

01:18:57   And I think there's a way in which most people's minds

01:18:59   kind of erase the information that these things happened

01:19:04   two or three weeks apart,

01:19:06   that they didn't happen side by side.

01:19:09   I mean, like just think about how many episodes

01:19:12   are in between every time we go to WWDC.

01:19:15   Right, like there's a tremendous

01:19:17   time compression effect there,

01:19:19   and that can make it feel like,

01:19:21   oh, we're doing much more than we actually are.

01:19:25   But I think that's also part of the business

01:19:30   of being this influential person on social media

01:19:33   is to be aware of that,

01:19:37   and to create these things.

01:19:41   I don't know, it was acrylics or krill?

01:19:43   How should I say it?

01:19:45   I'm not gonna, like I cannot remember.

01:19:47   - It is krill. - Kurill.

01:19:49   It's not krull?

01:19:50   I think krull is also what's in my head here.

01:19:52   - No, it's krill. - Kurill.

01:19:53   Okay.

01:19:54   So let's talk about krill for a minute because--

01:19:59   - Oh boy.

01:20:00   - Especially on the second viewing,

01:20:03   I think Paris Hilton and him

01:20:05   are the two most interesting people in the documentary.

01:20:08   - They're actually focused around him.

01:20:10   So like the other two people, it's Josh Otrovsky,

01:20:14   who goes by The Fat Jewish, and Brittany Furlan,

01:20:17   who was very, very popular on Vine,

01:20:20   and has since kind of moved to other platforms,

01:20:23   but has, I think, like her big thing,

01:20:25   which she was for a time the number one person on Vine.

01:20:30   - Yeah, which is, we can touch,

01:20:33   I feel like is a curse to wish upon any person. And the Josh guy is, from my perspective,

01:20:41   kind of almost certainly thinking about Paris Hilton as the executive producer, he is her

01:20:46   friend and the two of them probably realised they were enough to get this thing off the

01:20:50   ground and brought on other people to be in the documentary.

01:20:52   He's had an interesting life and there's like all this plagiarism stuff around him

01:20:56   and then he started a successful business.

01:20:58   Like, he is an interesting figure to tell a story around too,

01:21:03   but he doesn't have what the other three have,

01:21:07   where Paris and Caril and Brittany all seem to have a much greater undercurrent of sadness than him.

01:21:17   Or at least he doesn't show it.

01:21:19   Yeah, and I think he's the least interesting person.

01:21:23   And he also strikes me as a particular personality type that I find incredibly repulsive, which

01:21:28   is the person who will do absolutely anything for attention.

01:21:32   And it's like, "Oh, I want nothing to do with you."

01:21:35   - He doesn't care what he does, he'll just do it.

01:21:42   - To me, it's like, "Oh, you're in this documentary because you were Paris's friend, and you can

01:21:47   see the strings knowing that she's the executive producer."

01:21:50   But going back to Krull and talking about his life.

01:21:54   - Karel, great, how are we gonna do this?

01:21:56   Do we need a different name?

01:21:59   - No, no, it's fine.

01:21:59   Well, we can't use his actual Instagram handle.

01:22:01   - No, we cannot use that.

01:22:02   - Sorry, his hand of mic would be too much.

01:22:05   Even, yeah, but.

01:22:07   So there's this thing with people who have public personas,

01:22:12   which I find annoying is where someone will say something

01:22:20   like, "Oh, I have a public persona,

01:22:23   and that public persona is not me.

01:22:26   It's nothing like me."

01:22:28   And then if you're in the position

01:22:29   to actually meet these people,

01:22:31   very often it's like, "Oh, your public persona is you."

01:22:36   Like, you don't seem any different.

01:22:40   You know, like, you're not Andy Kaufman

01:22:42   playing a character here, right?

01:22:44   Like, this is totally you.

01:22:47   And Josh in the documentary strikes me as that way.

01:22:50   Like, I have a-- it's impossible for me to conceive

01:22:52   that he's any different in real life

01:22:54   than he is the way he portrays himself in the video,

01:22:58   which is part of the reason why I find him less interesting.

01:23:00   But Kirill has this real arc of sadness

01:23:07   across the documentary.

01:23:08   So when you're introduced to him,

01:23:12   he is introduced and comes off as basically

01:23:15   like a total bro asshole party guy.

01:23:19   And his, like I don't even know quite how to describe this job, but his job is to be the party at bars and events.

01:23:32   He is effectively the hype person at a party.

01:23:36   Yeah.

01:23:37   He is creating games.

01:23:39   What weird and wonderful and wild things are occurring around him all the time.

01:23:45   and he is effectively making it a night to remember for the people that attend the place that has hired him.

01:23:51   He's like...

01:23:53   I was gonna say he's like a magician, but I don't think that's the right way to put it.

01:23:58   I don't really know how to describe him.

01:24:00   He's also an example of a thing that I think is interesting to keep an eye out for, which is...

01:24:06   You sort of look at this guy online and you think...

01:24:10   "Oh, this guy is just this party bro."

01:24:14   And it's very easy, I think, for someone to look at him

01:24:18   and think of him as this idea of like,

01:24:21   "Oh, he just got lucky doing this thing,

01:24:24   "but anyone could do this thing."

01:24:25   But his backstory is this like,

01:24:28   "Oh, he actually was trying to be an animator."

01:24:30   And they share some of his artwork.

01:24:32   It's like, "Oh, he was actually skilled enough

01:24:34   "to be an animator."

01:24:35   Like that's a thing he could have done.

01:24:36   - Not just an animator.

01:24:37   specifically he wanted to work for Disney.

01:24:40   Which is so wild when you then see

01:24:43   what he does for a living now.

01:24:44   - Yeah, but I think it's a good example

01:24:46   of here is a person with talent

01:24:48   and he's trying to figure out a way to expend this.

01:24:51   And so he initially wants to be an animator

01:24:53   and he's good at it,

01:24:54   but he decides this isn't the path for him.

01:24:56   And then from there,

01:25:00   they sort of brushed past it really quickly,

01:25:02   but he's doing a little bit of standup comedy,

01:25:04   like he's working at comedy clubs.

01:25:05   And he must have been good enough to get access to pretty serious people,

01:25:10   because he then translates this into being the photographer.

01:25:14   And I think it's such a smart thing that he says that he wanted to be around the important people backstage,

01:25:21   and so he had to figure out how to make himself indispensable to those people.

01:25:26   And it's like, man, what a, like, it's such a clear way to think about something that many people don't, where they're like, I want to be famous, I want to be in the green room, right?

01:25:38   But he's like, how can I be useful to those people?

01:25:41   And so then he's taking photographs, and he's a very skilled photographer, and so skilled, like he's flipping through these pictures that he took,

01:25:52   took and real professional musicians are then hiring him to do photo shoots with them like

01:25:58   oh we only want this guy to do our photos while he's on tour. It's Nas. He still has

01:26:03   like the official iTunes photograph for now. Like it's crazy how good he was at this. And

01:26:08   then at some point, this is less clear to me, but he starts to transition on his Instagram

01:26:15   to taking photographs of parties and like taking photographs of crazy debauchery but

01:26:26   also kind of making it look beautiful.

01:26:31   And where he gets his fame is he did a series of photographs of party girls getting champagne

01:26:38   poured on their faces.

01:26:40   you think about what's happening at the party, the photos are striking, the photos are attention

01:26:46   getting.

01:26:47   And that seems to be what launched him.

01:26:50   Because he notices that this starts becoming a thing that when he is the photographer at

01:26:55   events, people are requesting that he does like pour champagne on me and photograph it.

01:27:01   And this somehow becomes his transition into being this professional party dude/photographer.

01:27:11   And I find it interesting because I think it's a good example of someone trying to

01:27:22   like navigate by compass, what are they good at?

01:27:27   What's useful?

01:27:28   What are people requesting?

01:27:30   And he even has a really quick line in the documentary about how it's so sweet.

01:27:36   He has like the sweetest Russian mom in the world who's like, she's just so cute.

01:27:40   And she's talking about, "Oh, he was always such a good boy and he never got in trouble

01:27:44   and he always went to school on time," and all this stuff, right?

01:27:47   And how like he was a good kid, but he himself always recognized that he had this ability

01:27:54   to be like a total asshole that people still kind of liked.

01:27:59   And he takes that personality quality that he can generate and turns it into being this

01:28:05   party person.

01:28:07   And more than many people, by the end of the documentary, I am really on board that this

01:28:15   persona of him is a thing that he has created.

01:28:20   It's not him.

01:28:21   That like, if I were to meet him in person in private, he wouldn't be the thing that

01:28:27   he seems on Instagram.

01:28:29   Because he also, like, he says, he purposefully tries to say things that he knows will upset

01:28:35   people too.

01:28:37   You know, and I don't agree with that as like a way necessarily to live your life,

01:28:42   but I think that there's still something about you, if you come to that idea, but this

01:28:48   is not a discussion we need to get into now, but I do think I understand what you're

01:28:53   getting at, where like he seems to have a little bit more depth to him than his Instagram

01:28:58   feed would seem to indicate. And there was something that his mum said that I did find

01:29:05   interesting, which I'd never thought of before, which is like, if an actor plays a criminal

01:29:10   in a movie, you don't think the actor's a criminal. And I was like, that's interesting.

01:29:16   The viewing experience for me was, especially on the second time round, I felt I was much

01:29:21   more aware of him on the second viewing, that I feel like you go for these real emotional

01:29:28   switch of kind of assuming he's this jerk that he is seeming at the beginning, and like,

01:29:36   "Oh yeah, yeah, everybody says they're not their persona."

01:29:38   But by the end of it, I really think that he isn't.

01:29:44   And there are a few things that he says where I feel like this man, his path to fame led

01:29:55   him straight into a kind of Dante's Inferno that's also a rave.

01:30:00   Yeah, I think he has the hardest life and the hardest job out of everybody here. Because

01:30:07   his job is to go to a different nightclub every night, get drunk, and party. I couldn't do that.

01:30:16   I couldn't possibly do it. And the other thing about like that I just kept thinking about

01:30:22   afterwards is it's so clearly a job that's destroying him and it's destroying him physically.

01:30:30   It's destroying him through just the tremendous amount of alcohol consumption that he basically

01:30:35   has to do to be part of it.

01:30:38   And it's also destroying his ability to relate to people.

01:30:42   Like he has a quick little line, but he talks about how, have you ever tried to talk to

01:30:49   people?

01:30:51   They're awful and I hate them all."

01:30:53   And I was like, "Whoa!"

01:30:54   And it strikes me as a really genuine line, but I think it's also—

01:30:58   Also he's saying, like, "Have you ever tried talking to a drunk person when you're sober?"

01:31:03   Yeah.

01:31:04   Well, so this is the thing.

01:31:05   He says, you know, that's even worse than just talking to someone and that he has to

01:31:08   get down on his level.

01:31:10   But the thing I kept thinking of was like, "Of course this is going to happen because

01:31:16   Every night he's entertaining the Morlocks.

01:31:19   And he's gotta go into these places.

01:31:23   And I think it's fair to say that these kind of mega-parties also attract a certain kind

01:31:30   of person.

01:31:31   And then he's interacting with, essentially exclusively, these people and is also in a

01:31:36   customer service role, in a way.

01:31:39   And it's like, I cannot imagine a more perfect storm

01:31:44   to create out of what was possibly a Disney animator,

01:31:50   the world's most intense misanthrope.

01:31:54   That seems to be his arc, and I feel the worst for him

01:31:59   at the end, even though he seems like the biggest jerk

01:32:03   at the beginning.

01:32:06   There is a thread that sums up towards the end of the movie of like, how are you supposed

01:32:14   to get out of this? And it really focuses on Kirill as well here. So what's he supposed

01:32:21   to do next now? Like he's in this life. What is the next part of his life? What do you

01:32:27   do and it shows some people who have moved on right so you know like it shows

01:32:35   Josh the fat Jewish he's created a wine company and so he's like well I've got

01:32:42   my out now I'm I've created a thing which can he says like what do I got

01:32:50   like three years doing this character this this person who's influencing but

01:32:54   now I have a business. And there's a guy whose name escapes me, which is kind of funny considering

01:33:02   his point in the documentary, there's a guy who was in a Britney Spears video since he

01:33:08   erased himself from social media. And he's kind of talking about like, these people are

01:33:14   stuck, because what do you do? Where do you go? Like, you can't just reinvent yourself.

01:33:21   what if nobody wants what you want to do now and they don't care about what you do next?

01:33:27   And like that is a real fear for people in any kind of entertainment but I think even

01:33:34   in a way it is way harsher on people who live for likes.

01:33:41   Yeah and the and Britney the Queen of Vine is just like the really harsh example of this.

01:33:48   because her platform was stolen from her. It was taken away.

01:33:53   Yeah, that it disappeared. She was the number one person on Vine.

01:33:56   And in particular, that case, I feel really bad for her because she was also the number one person

01:34:05   on Vine right at the beginning. And she also has to then deal with the statistical inevitability

01:34:12   that as a platform deck topples in size,

01:34:16   the person who's the number one person at the start

01:34:19   is probably not going to be the number one person

01:34:21   at the end of an incredible increase in size.

01:34:24   Like that's just the way platforms work

01:34:26   as you bring on viewers.

01:34:28   - Especially it's funny because the first person

01:34:30   to knock her off is a friend of hers

01:34:31   who she introduced to the platform.

01:34:33   - Right, and then there's the next person to go above her

01:34:37   is another friend that she brought to the platform.

01:34:39   And I can't help but notice the little remark

01:34:41   mark where she says something like "he did it right," implying that the first person

01:34:45   to knock her off, like maybe there's some animosity there. But still, no matter how

01:34:50   much you tell yourself about what matters and what doesn't matter, it has got to be

01:34:55   psychologically crushing to be like, "I'm the number one person on this thing," and

01:35:00   then to boom boom boom get ratcheted down to be the number—but the number ten person

01:35:06   on the thing. Like that has to be really hard. And then it all goes away. Vine gets destroyed,

01:35:14   which leads to what YouTubes will always and forever call the Vine refugee invasion, where

01:35:20   they all tried to transition to the platform, but it's like her moment was over. And this

01:35:29   is also the thing of like her style of humor was very good for Vine and just didn't translate

01:35:35   as well for YouTube. And it's so crushing as she's trying to get into acting and real

01:35:43   roles and the very fact that she was such a well-known person on Vine is now nothing

01:35:48   but a detriment to her. That people don't want to consider her for an acting role because

01:35:54   she was this Vine girl and she's too well branded as this thing. It's just awful.

01:36:00   Like it's so, it's so, it's so trying and you know her way out of this seems to be a

01:36:09   relationship like that's that she's like I'm basically a normal person now mostly and

01:36:13   I'm in a relationship and that's that's her path out and you know Paris Hilton is Paris

01:36:18   Hilton is checking out of public life entirely possibly but Kirill is he doesn't he doesn't

01:36:26   seem to have a clear path like the other main focuses of the documentary do.

01:36:31   So there's a reason why this documentary maybe like you know made me a little sad or

01:36:38   was this an interesting thing to come to is that I feel like I am trying to make some

01:36:45   changes in the way that I use social media but I don't know how to make them or what

01:36:49   they are. But there's just something that I've noticed recently like the main thing

01:36:56   Sometimes I feel like when I am going to Twitter, which has been my home on the internet for

01:37:02   like 12 years now, I feel like I'm going into battle every time I open the app. And the

01:37:14   reason I feel this way, I think, is that there's just been a change in the kind of style of

01:37:20   general discourse over the last few years where everyone feels just more angry. Everyone's

01:37:26   more angry now about everything. And so like it does one of a couple of things. One, people

01:37:35   are more angry at me and everyone, right? So like you will say a thing and people will

01:37:40   want to more vehemently tell you why you're wrong or tell you why you're stupid. And the

01:37:45   other is I know I perceive more people as being angry at me than they probably are.

01:37:52   And this is not a thing that I feel on Instagram because people aren't really talking to each other

01:38:04   very much. So like I have increased my usage of Instagram but have not decreased my usage

01:38:12   to Twitter for a variety of reasons. Like I have a note in my Apple Notes which is titled

01:38:18   rules of engagement and I've been trying to like plan out on there like where do I want

01:38:28   things to go and what do I want them to be. One of my biggest problems is my hot takes.

01:38:38   takes get everyone in trouble. So like something will happen and I'll have

01:38:42   something to say and then sometimes I will then spend the next 48

01:38:46   hours either debating with people or just being told why I'm stupid. Right,

01:38:53   this is just a thing, you know, this is a thing that happens to a lot of people

01:38:57   and I know it's not necessarily exactly as it that seems but that's how it

01:39:02   feels, you know, because as is normal, the thing where I think we've spoken about,

01:39:06   about, we've touched on it's not an original thought of the idea of like the bad stuff

01:39:10   stays with you more than the good stuff does.

01:39:13   It's just a thing that happens, it's just a human nature thing.

01:39:17   So yeah, I just think this has hit me at a time where I'm like feeling like I want to

01:39:21   change some stuff.

01:39:22   I don't want to leave Twitter, that's because I get so much out of it personally for many

01:39:28   reasons.

01:39:29   You know, like it is a great tool for me to tell people what I'm up to.

01:39:32   It's a great tool for me to understand what's going on in people's lives, which is exactly

01:39:38   what you were talking about, the thing that you're missing.

01:39:41   It's great for that.

01:39:43   And it's also my most valuable feedback mechanism.

01:39:48   Like it really is, most of the time, it's great.

01:39:53   The feedback that I get in reference to the shows that I'm doing is just proportionately

01:39:58   better than the feedback I get from the tweets that I post. So if I say something on a show

01:40:05   and people are reacting to that thing, by and large it's helpful stuff. Or they're telling

01:40:10   me some thoughts about it. But if they're reacting to a tweet that I've sent, it tends

01:40:14   to be more angry.

01:40:17   You mean like a tweet hot take?

01:40:21   So, you know, I think it's probably because my hot takes on podcasts, I can explain them.

01:40:28   I have more than 280 characters to get my opinion out.

01:40:33   And or there's such a barrier to entry that typically by the time that people have opened

01:40:37   the Twitter app, they probably, they don't care about telling me why I'm wrong anymore.

01:40:41   So you know, I just figured like, I don't want to leave any platform, but I want to

01:40:46   change what I put into them all because I have such a valuable mechanism to share

01:40:53   my opinions which is this that I don't really feel like I need to give my best

01:41:00   opinion for what for likes and retweets like that's why I'm doing it right like

01:41:05   I'm sharing a hot take in the hope that it gets retweeted a thousand times

01:41:09   that's why I'm doing it why everyone does it you wouldn't do it otherwise so

01:41:14   So maybe I need to stop doing that?

01:41:17   But at the same time, there is a line at the beginning which calls all of this stuff a

01:41:22   new drug.

01:41:24   I was opening my Instagram whilst watching this documentary.

01:41:31   Because we've had some big life events happen over the last weekend, and people were very

01:41:36   engaged with the things that I've been posting.

01:41:39   So it's just this self-fulfilling thing. I don't know. I'm at a point where I'm looking

01:41:47   to try and think more and be a little bit more considered about the places I share things,

01:41:54   not necessarily about how much I'm sharing and that maybe my hot takes are best served

01:42:00   lukewarm multiple days later on a podcast than they are in 280 characters on Twitter.

01:42:07   and that I just continue to get feedback and share stuff

01:42:10   that I'm working on, things I'm excited about on Twitter

01:42:12   and more things about my life on Instagram.

01:42:15   Like that's where I think I'm kind of settling.

01:42:17   The problem I have is sometimes I really can't help myself.

01:42:22   - Sometimes that hot take, it feels so hot.

01:42:24   You gotta get it out of your hands right now.

01:42:26   - Yeah, and the only people that can really deal with it

01:42:29   are the people that are following my Twitter profile.

01:42:32   I don't know, it's just like I feel like this has come

01:42:35   at a time when I'm already thinking a lot about this stuff.

01:42:38   And I don't really have a lot of parallels

01:42:40   to the things that these people are talking about.

01:42:43   I do think that there is an image portrayed

01:42:47   in this documentary that everybody that lives a life

01:42:52   like this is sad, which I don't think is the case.

01:42:54   I think everybody in the world has periods of sadness.

01:42:58   But this documentary seems to claim

01:43:02   that if you live your life on the internet in public

01:43:04   that you will ultimately be sad and that's the only path,

01:43:07   which I don't think is true completely.

01:43:10   And I know that's not how I am,

01:43:12   but it is just like I have noticed some stuff

01:43:16   that I would prefer to be different,

01:43:19   but I can't change them.

01:43:21   Like I would prefer if Twitter would go back

01:43:24   to how it was six or seven years ago.

01:43:26   But the genie's out the bottle now.

01:43:29   Nothing can be done about that.

01:43:30   - Yeah, it's the same thing.

01:43:33   It's like if I could freeze the internet

01:43:36   as it was 10 years ago, that would be great.

01:43:39   That'd be my preferred fun internetting.

01:43:43   I do think, I agree that the documentary,

01:43:45   "Everybody is Sad in American Meme,"

01:43:48   but I think there is a true thing here,

01:43:53   which is that especially now that there is this concept

01:43:58   of I can be famous on Instagram, being an Instagram model

01:44:03   or whatever it is that you're doing,

01:44:04   like not even the non-specific fame,

01:44:06   but I do think that is much more likely

01:44:11   to attract the sort of person who is then also going

01:44:16   to be more vulnerable to the vicissitudes

01:44:21   of those platforms.

01:44:22   So I wouldn't be surprised if you could say

01:44:27   that there was like a higher proportion of something like depression among people who

01:44:34   are professional influencers than the general population. Again, I'm not saying they're

01:44:40   all depressed, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if you did a longitudinal study

01:44:46   and said like, "Oh, right, it's 20% more incidences of depression."

01:44:49   - Yeah, my point is, which I know you're agreeing with,

01:44:52   is just it's not a cause and effect relationship.

01:44:55   - Yeah, I don't think it's a cause and effect relationship,

01:44:57   but I do think, you know, it's a bit like

01:45:01   Britney Vine Girl at some point.

01:45:04   She tells the audience that she was really into drama

01:45:08   as a kid, and it's like, well, no one's surprised.

01:45:11   Like, you don't need to tell anyone this.

01:45:13   You're obviously this kind of person

01:45:15   who really wants to be on a stage

01:45:18   and is really looking for that feedback.

01:45:21   And it's not surprising then that platforms

01:45:26   are going to disproportionately attract

01:45:28   those kinds of people who are then also more vulnerable

01:45:33   to the changing weather of the platform,

01:45:38   or I think are going to be more vulnerable

01:45:40   than the average population to negative feedback

01:45:44   or criticism or all of these kinds of things.

01:45:46   So I do think there's a feedback effect here,

01:45:50   which isn't good, but I completely agree.

01:45:52   It's not a cause and effect situation,

01:45:56   but it is something that makes me a little worried

01:46:01   that there's nothing to do about it,

01:46:04   but like intrinsically these platforms attract people

01:46:08   for whom which maybe it would be better

01:46:10   for them not to be on,

01:46:12   like from large scale down to the small scale.

01:46:16   But I don't know.

01:46:17   It's, again, not cause and effect,

01:46:18   but I think there's some correlation there.