You Say Potato Salad

Imagine missing yesterday as a news day, and meeting today with fresh eyes: You’d wonder why a lot of people were talking about potato salad. And, wow, poor Brazil.

If this Kickstarter for potato salad has seen far, it’s because it has stood on the shoulders of giants Yo. Both Yo (an app that literally allows you to say “Yo” to your friends with one tap) and the crowdfunded tuberous treat are unnervingly simple products that leverage tech platforms in order to appeal to a broader audience. Though an actual potato salad is the extreme, clearly.

They both prove that traction in and of itself is absurd. That potato salad is such a joke that The Awl, a college literary magazine for the middle-aged, has again literally counted the ways.

If, according to Mark Twain, “comedy is tragedy plus time” then tech is a comedic goldmine at the moment … In Internet time, decades occur within a single news cycle, where the tragedies of being replaced by robots, being spied on and having our every move catalogued for some strange nerd panopticon, are relieved by a potato salad and a two-letter shout-out.

So enter a populist potato salad that raises a gravy boat load of investor cash (almost two years’ tuition at a prestigious private university) within 24 hours of existence. Enter the millions of web pageviews this “story” creates, including this one, right here, right now, because you were seduced by an interesting title. I’m sorry.

For every meta post in which the WSJ’s New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo and the WSJ’s Christopher Mims debate, on Medium, what this story means for humanity (spoiler alert: Nothing), there’s the unabashed sincerity of this: Potato salad, the Kickstarter, is the John Henry of the digital age; an organic reminder that we are fickle, desperate for a laugh or a party or a break from the stunning, forward march of progress.

When faced with the inevitable automation of our society, potato salad says, “Not today tech, not today.” And that perhaps you can fight the future. Or, at least, if you can’t beat it, join it.

Image via Bsix12.