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The Machines

When Blindness Hits A Hundred Bucks A Share, Then Who Will Be Laughing, I Ask You, “Doctor”

12:24 PM EST on November 6, 2023

A Bored Ape Yacht Club, uh, ape, whose eyes I have crudely blacked out, with blood running in rivulets from his empty eyesockets.
Miguel Candela/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images (with added illustration by Albert Burneko)

You remember the Bored Apes. Maybe. These were the dumb ugly worthless JPEGs of, like, dressed-up cartoon apes that various suckers and dolts were buying—or, like, investing in?—very loudly a couple of years ago. This was in 2021, back when NFTs (non-fungible tokens) were only a laughingstock among people capable of critical thinking.

One of the late-night Jimmys had one! And Paris Hilton! And Steph Curry and Neymar! They were very proud of their shitty ugly junk JPEGs of no artistic or functional value whatsoever. Those were crazy times, man. Somebody said Justin Bieber's crappy digital image of a stupid-ass ape was worth more than a million dollars, despite looking like the sort of thing you would get annoyed at a friend for doodling on the brown paper you'd wrapped around your biology textbook in ninth grade and representing nothing other than its purchaser's unfitness for scissor privileges.

Anyway it is almost 2024 now; humankind has had more than enough time to reevaluate the value of minimally varying public-restroom-toilet-stall-graffiti-ass digital drawings of monkeys as speculative assets, with the deeply unsurprising result that their prices have cratered. Most of them could not now fetch any amount of actual money on an open market. To the extent that Justin Bieber might still be able to score some appalling sum for his dogshit clipart thumbnail of an ape that looks like it should be loitering outside of a 7-Eleven asking grownups to buy it a beer, that sum would reflect only the memorabilia value of owning something that once belonged to Justin Bieber; for that matter, since anybody out there could take a screencap of his badly drawn toilet ape and have it for themselves, a printed copy of the ape with Bieber's real signature on it probably is worth more than the supposedly non-fungible original. For that matter so is a sheet of plain white paper with Justin Bieber's signature on it, for anyone who is not a big-time shit-for-brains.

Nevertheless! The apes have their enthusiasts, even now, more than two years after the roughly 47 seconds they spent as avatars of a pandemic-boomed, giddily nihilistic society's addled half-belief that you could impart value to virtually anything by calling it an NFT. Some number of these sad deluded HODLers gathered over the weekend in Hong Kong for ApeFest, hosted by Yuga Labs, the company that made enough money to host a festival in Hong Kong by generating F-grade JPEGs of cartoon apes and selling them to nincompoops. The 21st century is going incredibly.

You may find yourself wondering, Just what type of activity goes on at an ApeFest? Well, for one thing, there seems to have been an opportunity to stand there like a goddamn grandfather clock while improper stage lighting fries your eyeballs and face! Many attendees availed themselves of this, and are blind now.

A tweet from user @CryptoJune777 reading: "I woke up at 04:00 and couldn't see anymore. Had so much pain and my whole skin is burned. Needed to go to the hospital. "The doctor told me the uv of the lightning of the stage did it. It has the same effect as sunlight. "Still can not see normally.."
via Twitter
via Twitter

Multiple attendees reported hospital trips, facial burns, searing eye pain, and vision loss, apparently caused by the stage lighting, which seems to have gone heavy on lasers and blacklights and somewhat less heavy on "knowing how to light a stage show."

via Bluesky

Listen. I like satire as much as anybody. But this is simply far too on-the-nose. A bunch of Bored Ape dead-enders, holding onto underside-of-a-Walmart-skateboard–grade ape doodles whole entire years after the last of their fluky, illusory, momentary speculative value blew away like a fart in a tornado, now going blind because they traveled across the world to stand in front of a gigantic bank of lasers and blacklights and stare and stare and stare while their eyeballs melted? No! No, I'm sorry, this simply needs reworking.

This is the sort of thing that happens to Homer Simpson. It happens to Master Shake. If you were reading a satirical novel and it mentioned a bunch of fanatical HODLers going blind at a festival for their dead worthless Ponzi-tech garbage because they stood there like passive dullards and stared into a fly-by-night lasertag lighting array equivalent to the sun while various sweaty Shingy-type guys ideated at them, you would snort-laugh and kinda roll your eyes and go, "Oh, come on."

Once upon a time, impressionable youths with too much time on their hands went blind by eating powerful psychotropic drugs and going outside to have a discussion with the sun. You could do this basically anywhere in the world, provided you did not attempt it at night, or during winter at either of the earth's poles. Depending on the contours of one's friend group, one might not even have to pay for the drugs. Even now, you can go blind whenever you want! You don't have to go to ApeFest, nor indeed to the fest of any other primate or fraudulent blockchain artifact. You can just go outside and look upward. On the whole that seems like a better deal!

Not that I advise going blind in any case. But some people are just gonna do that anyway.

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