On the morning of his last day, 12 May 2011, Matt stood in the kitchen of their farmhouse.
“I can’t think,” he told Ginnie. “I feel paralyzed.”
It was planting season, and stress was high. Matt worried about the weather and worked around the clock to get his crop in the ground on time. He hadn’t slept in three nights and was struggling to make decisions.
“I remember thinking ‘I wish I could pick you up and put you in the car like you do with a child,’” Ginnie says. “And then I remember thinking … and take you where? Who can help me with this? I felt so alone.”
And then, one day, sitting in the shed I live in, I had a revelation: within the current climate of misinformation, and society's willingness to believe absolute bullshit, maybe a fake restaurant is possible? Maybe it's exactly the kind of place that could be a hit?
In that moment, it became my mission. With the help of fake reviews, mystique and nonsense, I was going to do it: turn my shed into London's top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor.
Jellyfish have served as excellent protagonists for this narrative, perhaps because they are as close to automatons as anything in the animal kingdom. The insidiousness of a jellyfish bloom lies in its amassed torpor—a monster more monstrous for lacking a center, each animal stewarded by no more than a basic set of compulsions (light, gravity, food, reproduction). Jellyfish species being widespread, people can also recognize them anywhere. Jellies are found in every sea at nearly every depth, and in many brackish rivers. One type in Antarctica looks like a raw mince patty. The Arctic and other frigid waters are home to the lion’s mane, a headless wig of a creature with tentacles that have been measured at about 120 feet. Jellyfish might be primitive animals, but they have an immense carrying capacity for a story that is planetary in scale.
If our sense of self looks likely to be transformed by the erosion of privacy, it is also under pressure from the erosion of the social world of work and the human identities that come with it. Automation is about to destroy the livelihoods of many kinds of worker, from taxi driver to investment banker. It is encroaching on many of the domains of the “human,” those of expertise, craft and even art, and taste. Low payroll costs mean higher profits, and private companies have no obligation to ensure full participation in the labor market.