The Baffler,  July 10, 2015

Daily Bafflements


Zoltan Istvan’s “Immortality Bus” will tour the country promoting . . . we’re not quite sure what, but we’re duly frightened. / Zoltan Istvan

• Oakland photographer Matt Takaichi was recently interviewed by Vice on his new project, “Developers,” which seeks to expose the more banal side of Silicon Valley, eschewing the usual neatly coiffed, bike-riding, HBO-ready programmers in favor of the “old dudes” and endless networking events that make up much of the tech industry. In the artist’s words,

I started noticing people at all of these [events] often seemed really bored. It makes sense. Many of the people flew across the country to San Francisco on red-eye flights and they’re not doing anything there besides attending the conference. I walked by stressed parents on phone calls to their families at home. It was common to see people passed out throughout the halls. At the same time, there’s people at company booths doing poor imitations of a hype man to mildly amused attendees. Everything trying to counter the fatigue came off as trying too hard. I wanted to expand my initial intent with images showing how the tech industry can be shitty and alienating for lots of people. It’s not hard to have empathy with someone bored at their job.

• Today in presidential politics: in case you’re bored with the primaries already, here comes transhumanist futurist presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan crowdfunding his “Immortality Bus.” Istvan—who believes that under his new tech-friendly policies, there’s a “solid 85 percent chance” that he’ll be able to live forever—is driving the coffin-shaped vehicle around to raise awareness for his unusual platform. The candidate says, “we aim to replicate the great American bus tours of the 1960s, but in the twenty-first century. We’ll have robots, drones and a biohacking lab on board. Lots of fun stuff!” For more on the delusions of futurists with too much time on their hands, be sure to check out Gene Seymour’s Baffler salvo on tech moguls and their libertarian-leaning sci-fi wet dreams, “The Billionaires’ Fantasia.”

Bloomberg Business has created an exhaustive list of six (count them!) cities where millennials can still afford to pay rent. At press time, at least two cupcake shops were planned for each metropolis, and surveys were being conducted on why residents just don’t want to buy houses.

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Further Reading

 October 16

When a conservative commentator like Bret Stephens starts explaining how of “culture” dictates behavior, reach for your bullshit detector.

 October 16

Some seventy-two years from the last American execution for desertion, the firing squad is a tough-guy pantomime for hacks and hams.