Hello and Happy Sunday!
As you’re reading this, chances are, I am still pulling myself together. Last night marked both the 15th anniversary of, and 200th event put on by Super Art Fight, a show I’ve had the pleasure of hosting and producing since, well, its second show.
It’s incredible to think that all these years on, we’re still putting it together, a show where we just said to ourselves, “this concept sounds fun, will others find it fun?” It’s taken us across the country. It took us to Canada. It saw us grow old, get married, have kids. We made it through a global pandemic. And still, people stay “Yes, I want to spend my evening watching this.”
There was part of me which grew up watching Comedy Central, seeing how stand-ups did what they did, and asked myself if it was for me. I never gained that confidence or that poise to stand in front of a spotlight alone. But with an incredible group of artists, some of my best friends in the world, my loyal co-host Ross, and a few thousand audience members over the years, I’ve been able to have this remarkable creative outlet.
I know now as I’m getting older, I’m probably closer to the end than the beginning. We’re going to have a child of our own at some point, and it’s going to be harder to commit to playing conventions and rock clubs on weekends. But until then, I recognize what Super Art Fight has been as a little miracle of a show, and appreciate anyone and everyone who has given their time to it.
Folks, I don’t think this “Metaverse” thing is working out.
Whether it’s Meta cutting thousands of employees, or the world seemingly shrugging off this secondary way of interacting with people online, the concept that many people who make a lot more money than I do put a lot of money into seems, well, dead on arrival.
But what about the people still dedicated to this virtual space? What’s “life” like there for them? Paul Murray from Intelligencer gives us a look at current state of the deserted space that is Meta’s Metaverse, known as Horizon Worlds.
Indeed, Facebook’s rebrand as Meta seems to signal Mark Zuckerberg’s conviction that reality as a whole is going to fall out of favor. The metaverse wasn’t his idea — the name comes from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash — but his company has reportedly spent some $36 billion developing it. In Zuckerberg’s vision, the metaverse will be nothing less than the internet’s next iteration, one for which he will control both the hardware (Facebook bought headset maker Oculus in 2014) and the software (Meta has been snapping up companies even tangentially related to VR).
Once we’re plugged in, Meta will have unparalleled access to users’ lives, even the parts the company is not now surveilling. Giving a presentation, meeting your buddies, sitting around watching TV — all of it will be coming through your headset. It’s a hypermonopoly, a metamonopoly. Zuckerberg doesn’t just want a lock on online experience; he’s planning to move all of experience online.
So far, the gamble hasn’t paid off. Only 20 million Quest headsets have been sold — nowhere close to his goal of a billion users. On March 14, Zuckerberg announced that Meta was laying off around 10,000 workers, joining the 11,000 laid off four months earlier.
On my initial visits, the metaverse seems sort of desolate, like an abandoned mall, and ordinarily I wouldn’t be lining up to join the misfits still populating it. Now that I’m away from my social network, though, I realize how much heavy lifting was being done by the brief, bantering, checking-in conversations I used to have with my friends and neighbors. So I’m determined to find the metaverse’s true believers, those left behind when the rest of fickle reality has moved on. They may not be able to lend me a spatula, but I’ve decided that, for now at least, these will be my people.
Other reads I enjoyed this week:
Have an awesome Sunday. I know mine’s gonna be filled with naps. Maybe you go be more productive than me?
See you in seven!