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ASP Shorts: Humans vs Tech
Welcome to the ‘Shorts’ section of A Secret Plot. Shorts will be entirely dedicated to news snippets, stories not long enough to warrant an entire essay, and announcements on upcoming articles.
This week A Secret Plot is featuring an essay ‘Cracking Capitalism’ by return author Thomas Travers. The author digs deep into the essence of the ‘contrepreneur’ as presented in the Western imaginary through media stories, but most importantly through fictionalized narratives. Travers takes his cue from the popular Netflix series ‘Inventing Anna’ and embarks on a scathing critique of modern ‘imaginary labor’ and the ‘VIP lifestyle.’
In the news this week we’ve learned that marauding bands of teens, called together via social media, have taken over the streets of Chicago, kicking in doors and windshields of expensive Model T Teslas and assaulting random pedestrians. Several kids were shot in the mayhem.
A first fully automated McDonald’s opened in Fort Worth, Texas, dispensing with all human contact, and seemingly cash. In recent years Texas had become a hot bed for the laptop class, who moved in droves to the crypto-friendly Lone Star state to partake in the tech frenzy spurred on by low taxes, cheap(er) real estate and business incentives. Tesla’s Elon Musk and Joe Rogan have also set up shop in the state. Not surprisingly, Texas isn’t so cheap anymore.
The 1990s are coming to a close, again, as nostalgia for the Clinton decade is wearing off. In the tech sector the mania kicked off with the GameStop short squeeze, which was followed by short squeezes in AMC and later Bed Bath & Beyond. What connected these stocks was their proximity to bankruptcy due to changing economic and social dynamics. This weekend Bed Bath and Beyond announced it has filed for bankruptcy, for real this time. Earlier in the year BB&B closed roughly half of all its stores, barely avoiding going bankrupt. Demonstrating that they’re still the same psychotic corporation Americans have grown to love, “Bed Bath & Beyond laid off 1,295 workers in New Jersey this month, just days before a new state law kicked in that mandates severance pay – equal to one week of pay for each year of employment – for workers who lose their job.”
News websites revealed that Connor Sturgeon, a banker who went on a shooting rampage at his branch of Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote a manifesto (as many spree shooters do), in which he details the reasons for his actions. Among them were suicidal feelings and a desire to “prove how easy it was to get a gun in the US” and to “highlight the ‘mental health crisis’” happening in the country. Sturgeon’s manifesto details how he was able to purchase an “Ar-15 earlier this month despite being under medication treatment for depression and anxiety, less than a week before gunning down his coworkers.
In California, the short-lived ‘Dream for All’ home down payment program was quickly overrun by applicants and ran out of money in 12 days. The budget for the program was $300,000,000, but in a state where a single family starter home costs north of $1,000,000 and a studio apartment rents for $2500 a month, the program was never meant to be a dream for everyone, just the lucky few, who are now on the hook to the government for the entire 20% down payment and a portion of the appreciated value if the buyers ever decide to sell.
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