It’s awesome to see Bois get wider recognition. His work on the Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles, Breaking Madden, and other things have been plumbing the depths of absurdist storytelling for a few years now, but this is his most ambitious project, and it’s kind of amazing to watch him get linked by a bunch of media and tech guys. 1
And, to talk briefly about the actual content of the piece: it’s halfway-ish published at this point, and it’s really really great. It jumps from the aesthetics of lunchables to a Vonnegut-esque humanity of machines to the quiet crises of immortality in a way that is totally dextrous and entertaining.
Emma Phipps has a good take on its place in the landscape of Internet Content:
Because, on its surface, 17776 is bad content. It’s weird, it’s long, it demands attention. It’s not skimmable. In the age of virality, this is the kind of that would probably get laughed out of most pitch meetings, if anyone even had the courage to bring it up in a pitch meeting. Going purely off of the established rules of Good Internet Content, this should not even exist.
This is a valuable idea to mine: that the same media economy that justifies the existence of something as value-neutral as The Ringer can also allow the existence of this. 2
But mostly, I’m just happy that something so brazenly weird exists, that I can be still so surprised and delighted by something in form and content, and that everyone else is taking to it so warmly too.
As the deluge of content swells and swells, a question I keep coming back to is “will I remember anything about this book/blog post/podcast/album/game/show in a month? In a year? Does it have any lasting value?”
I don’t see myself forgetting about 17776.