All Tomorrows Parties #003
The Game Stops Here
It’s been alarmingly less than a month since All Tomorrows Parties launched. We are closing January with three episodes under our belt, fully ensnared in the Great Manic Depression as it surges, and poking the Bear (and the Bull) as we can.
Our interest in the market is experimental with psychoanalytical characteristics. An actual underwriting and, potentially, a rewiring of Ye Olde Invisible Hand may be in the wings. Class struggle is not real, but hyperreal. Of all the mirror-moments we have captured since March, this is the most hyperbaroque of them all: the destruction of the funhouse through the trinity of memes, mimesis, mirroring.
Monkey see, monkey DOoM.
You are likely to pick up some differences between this episode and its precursors (and between those two as well). If our first film was a reconstruction of news footage, carved from the marble of lockdown; the second was a bit more pornographic in assuming the multiple viewpoints involved in the Capitol’s gang bang.
Our third film is not like our other movies in that, as Charlie put it, this one was not the result of “the real rushing in as a film, but [of] the film rushing out as the real.” It was built with[in] the language and media of r/WSB itself. Excepting a couple of title cards, every meme and font and inside joke and typo you are about to see is archival—and our r/WSB archive dates back to almost four years. What you’re about to experience is the r/WSB egregore through its/their own compound eyes and frames of reference. The fact that it/they tell their stories in[side] stories in[side] stories gives it/them a certain pride of place among the storytellers of our time.
I have said before that what we are seeing r/WSB execute is brinksmanship, not terrorism; though this doesn’t mean there isn’t something like a hard, jihadi logic to its/their actions. I’ve only just submitted an essay to Spike where I explain the ways in which the takedown of Wall Street by self-proclaimed autists could become a flashpoint comparable to the storming of the Bastille.
Something that I was unable to explore in that piece, though, was what awaits us at the threshold of value and values. GameStop—cause what’s in a name—is an incantation; a summoning and consecration of sentimental value. The companies our Redditors shorted—GME, AMC—are not loved because they are valuable: they are valuable because they are loved. These were the places, the crossroads, where our heroes—now at the end of their ropes and the height of their power—stole a kiss, met their friends, daydreamed of the future, held a teenage retail job that kind of sucked, but also kind of didn’t. In a sense, r/WSB has invested in restoring its era’s great memory palaces.
The hedge fund dragons will remain disconcerted by this because they know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Somewhere in the shallows of their basal ganglia, they harbour terror for the children that they couldn’t feed to Moloch in a timely manner. A renewed and existential effort will be made by them to tamp down what they should have taken care of earlier; although they were, admittedly, too busy sitting on their hoards to see to it directly. To think of all the resources they threw into obedience training!
The dragons will strike in the only way they know how to—where it would hurt them most—only to find this is a blow their rebel offspring can take handily, while they have given away their own weakness.
Besides, Boss Drop is $70bn and counting ftw. What does anyone with nothing have to lose.
You may recall how the essay for ATP #002 began with the subject of gambling. This is how attuned Covidian Æsthetics has become to the Zeitgeist. It means the project is succeeding, as intended, in entraining us.
May you benefit from it as much as we do.
battle fought on a spectrum outside the landscape