Sari Azout on Artifact shutting down, reacting to the argument that “the market opportunity isn’t big enough to warrant continued investment in this way.”

”The market opportunity isn’t big enough” – for reading? For knowledge?

That’s such a cop out. … Right around the time of their launch, I listened to an interview with the founders framing their new venture along the lines of “AI has captured our imagination and personalized news feels like a good place to start”.

From the outside, the narrative felt very tech for the sake of tech.

Rosencrans Baldwin encounters a Starbucks barista who has never served just a plain espresso:

“So, you drink it just like that,” he said, musing. “I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen that before.”

“Maybe it’s old school,” I said.

“That’s sick, bro,” he said. “That’s so sick. I might have to try that.”

Virginia Heffernan on Presidents’ Day:

As with Shakespeare, who wasn’t revered as the English GOAT until some 150 years after his death, Washington wasn’t figured the full American GOAT right away. In 1869, his face was engraved on the dollar bill. In 1879, his birthday became a national holiday. In 1884, the Washington Monument was completed.

All of that followed the Civil War. In celebrating Washington, therefore, we’re recalling not just the founding of the nation, but the refounding. We’re revisiting the national myth-making that was meant to tie the Union back together after it was torn apart.

Ted Gioia on the state of the culture in one brilliant graphic:

art < entertainment < distraction

Related: from 2022, Adam Mastroianni, Pop Culture Has Become an Oligopoly:

As options multiply, choosing gets harder. … More opportunities means higher opportunity costs, which could lead to lower risk tolerance. When the only way to watch a movie is to go pick one of the seven playing at your local AMC, you might take a chance on something new. But when you’ve got a million movies to pick from, picking a safe, familiar option seems more sensible than gambling on an original.