Thursday, December 23, 2021

Brian Eno speaks the truth

"Right now, I mainly see hustlers looking for suckers." - Brian Eno said in an interview.

Thanks, Brian! You took the words right out of my mouth! 

I'm in a Facebook group simply titled No Wave. It's basically a bunch of Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers reminiscing about No Wave bands and albums. Sometimes they share newer albums, too. It's where I learned about some of my favorite music like James White and the Blacks' Off White and Snakefinger. Also, Thurston Moore just so happens to be a member. 

The group also introduced me to Brian Eno's new hot take on NFTs.

Before I get to that, let me tell you my hot take on NFTs. Basically, I think it's a load of bullshit. It's tech neoliberalism at its finest. 

One of the arguments in favor of NFTs is that it allows digital artists to finally make a profit from their work. Likewise, it operates on a decentralized marketplace. Meaning, essentially, that the consumer operates outside of a typical market. Also, the artists themselves don't have to deal with the hoopla of working with an established gallery.

Cool, huh? Artists own their art, and the buyers don't have to be in the art "scene." Perfect for outsider art.


Who really cares about libertarian ideals when NFTs have a huge effect on the environment. 

According to The Verge, who cites, the NFT "Space Cat" has the same carbon footprint as an EU residence's electricity usage for two months. Here is a link to the actual research from Memo Akten in the essay "The Unreasonable Ecological Cost of #CryptoArt." This research will give you more information on Ehtereum's effect on the climate than I could. 

I don't want to pretend like I'm some sort of expert on this subject. I've read a few articles, watched some videos, and gone through some papers. I have a novice understanding of Etherum, Bitcoin, and NFTs. I am not an expert in the world of cryptocurrency at all.

What I do know, though, is culture and how it relates to politics. What I see with cryptocurrency, web3, and all this decentralized hoopla is a push toward free-market capitalism. It's all disguised with the rhetoric of freedom and utopianism. It's just late capitalism, and its rhetoric is just a throwback to the message of capital during the Regan era. 

In college, I made a lot of videos for startup companies and burgeoning entrepreneurs. It was good money for me at the time. I noticed one fallacy in all of these entrepreneurs' thinking, however. They all believed that by creating a private company, they would somehow benefit the lives of many people. They called it "social entrepreneurship." 

Think about it, though. Why does someone create a private, for-profit business? Is it to benefit the human race with some altruistic service? No, it's to make money. 

Housing is expensive, cars are expensive, education is expensive, and life is expensive. Working a normal job doesn't cut it anymore, so people need a side-hustle. Hopefully, with the side-hustle, they'll be rich beyond their wildest dreams and they'll never have to worry about bills again. Meanwhile, the rest of us pay 60% of our monthly income on rent. 

These businesses that people created were not for the public good. They may offer a service, yes, but they do little to change the material lives of regular people. It's all neoliberalism. These entrepreneurs and the crypto-people unjustly put their faith in the free market, believing that it will fix the world's problems. 

So, I'll sum up my views here: we should not push for weird online versions of freedom that promote a new form of open-market. Instead, we should be concerned with people's actual well-being. We should be pushing for free and efficient public transit, public housing, and public healthcare. While doing this, we will likely find ourselves in a more environmentally friendly world.

This brings me back to Brian Eno, a rich bald man. 

More eloquent than me, he essentially spoke my exact views in this interview:

"I am not sure what is being brought into the world that makes any difference to anything other than some strings of numbers moving about in some bank accounts. I want to know what is changing, what is being made different, what is helping, what is moving? I don't see any answers to that question."

Herein lies the truth. Sure, some artists who may not have previously been noticed are making money. Good for them. What is that doing for the world? How is this benefiting society? 

As NFTs relate to the environment, more harm is being done than good. 

In short, people should focus on the real world and the material needs of the many. Do not put your energy into these selfish capitalistic pursuits. 

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