TL;DR: Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones, an hour and a half Netflix comedy special categorized by the network as part of its Mature Audience, Dark Comedies genre, should be mandatory viewing for Bitcoiners. Chappelle is downright defiant from the start, pointing directly at the scolds and moralists in his audience, carrying through a theme that makes jokes for no other reason than the seemingly tentative freedom to tell them. Outrage and cancel culture is also oozing into the crypto ecosystem, and it’s beyond time to call it out.
Bitcoiners Can Learn A Lot from Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones kicks off the now buzz-worthy set, announcing, “Tonight I’m gonna do something that I’m not particularly good at but that I like to do. Tonight I’m gonna try some impressions out. I only got two.” The first was a silly take on history, while the second carried more bite.
“All right,” he teased, “the next one… The next one’s a little harder. I want to see if you can guess who it is I’m doing an impression of. All right? Let me get into character. You gotta guess who it is, though. Okay, here it goes. Uh, duh. Hey! Durr! If you do anything wrong in your life, duh, and I find out about it, I’m gonna try to take everything away from you, and I don’t care when I find out. Could be today, tomorrow, 15, 20 years from now. If I find out, you’re fucking-duh-finished.”
He paused for effect, allowing the crowd to simmer under the pregnancy. Some yelled out Trump. Chappelle dismissed them altogether. “That’s YOU!” he thundered, breaking anticipation. “That’s what the audience sounds like to me. That’s why I don’t be coming out doing comedy all the time, ’cause y’all niggas is the worst motherfuckers I’ve ever tried to entertain in my FUCKING life.”
Another Week, Another Outrage
Dutifully, those who didn’t get the premise of Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones evidently watched the show’s remainder anyway, as Chappelle flirts with and downright savages society’s sacred cows. The point of his making fun of groups and hot-button segments of modern culture was … to do it … to show the audience they would be fine in the end, that they could laugh and feel uncomfortable and still be okay.
Critics flamed him, suggesting Chappelle went too far and was only trying to shock for shock’s sake. Well, yes, as that’s the theme, but critics were actually doing what he said they would. Interestingly, tastemakers have since been vetoed — the cancelers, the great influencers, have themselves been canceled, ignored. Online audiences embraced Sticks & Stones as a moving of the conversational needle, and they’ve gone about evangelizing Chappelle’s routine: sharing it, talking it up, and countering gatekeepers’ condemnations. Famously, Rotten Tomatoes’ professional reviewers slammed the set while ordinary folks lauded Chappelle, and the contrast is striking. The cryptocurrency world could learn a lot from Chappelle’s example.
And, what would a week on Crypto Twitter be without another Mike Dudas-inspired apology, mea culpa, dark night of the soul overshare? We will never know. “As CEO of @TheBlock__,” he posted, “I oversaw a process in which we failed to live up to our company’s high standards over the past 48 hours in how we treated our guest, @prestonjbyrne. He is a good and thoughtful man. I deeply regret the process breakdown, poor etiquette and disrespect.”
The latest roil comes by way of online legal personality Preston Byrne. It’s kind of a wonderful look into how outrage forms, dust kicks up, and mechanisms prevalent in ecosystem culture latch onto the slightest faux pax. Byrne is a tech lawyer of some kind, and prefers BTC to all other cryptocurrency projects. He’s been especially critical of Ethereum and its MakerDAO concept and stablecoin.
Byrne was an in-office guest for The Block’s legal podcast, giving his take on those very subjects. Also at the office was staff writer Matteo Leibowitz who, according to Byrne, used Byrne’s statements during the recording to then craft a “hit piece” on Byrne’s ideas. Leibowitz apparently is an Ethereum fan, and believed Byrne needed to be rebutted. The article ran ahead of the podcast (which has not aired — it’s unclear if it will), and Byrne felt Leibowitz was eavesdropping, eventually taking Byrne to task unaware (Dudas’ anticipatory tweet the day of the recording doesn’t help matters).
“If Leibowitz wanted to discuss anything I was saying, one would hope he’d have enough self-confidence to discuss it face to face, as indeed he was invited to do,” Byrne contended. “To say that I am annoyed with Leibowitz and The Block is an overstatement. It takes a lot to do that. I am, however, disappointed.” So, Byrne shrugged it off, hoping to teach a cub reporter basic protocol. If you’re having trouble ferreting (marmot-ing) what the hubbub is, you’re not alone.
Nevertheless, out came blistering condemnations of The Block, Dudas, and Leibowitz. “The fact that he chose not to join the conversation and then write arguments against your views is, at the very least, cowardly. Those are the exact kind of opinions that do not deserve a seat at the table.” Another un-deputized Byrne defender shouted, “Disgusting really.” More poured on, “Bullshit. Don’t excuse their appalling lack of editorial integrity and attribute it to one young ‘twerp’ without acknowledging that their entire business model is based on disrespecting the profession of journalism.” The final phrasing of the affair came as characterizing Leibowitz’s article a “scummy move.”
For his part, Leibowitz offered he was simply “listening to music throughout the time the podcast was being recorded. i left my desk to grab lunch, [podcast host] invited me to sit down, i decided that it was best not to interrupt his podcast with a long debate on maker intricacies.” That seems about right, right? That’s possible.
Byrne, again, is a long-time critic of Maker, Ethereum. Perhaps Leibowitz was reminded of that fact and used Byrne’s rare appearance as muse to write an opinion piece? That seems reasonable. Maybe the timing of the article’s publication was odd? Maybe it initially being behind a paywall was also inconvenient, seeing as how it’s harder to rebut. But … but … really? All that hatred and bile for that? Sheesh.
Though my point here is to be somewhat sympathetic to The Block, Dudas, and Leibowitz, the irony shouldn’t be lost. Dudas cultivated and participated in similar dog-piling, and this dose of Chappellianism is probably warranted in a cosmic, karmic sense. A recent example of Dudas’ duplicity was when Roger Ver laughed about a potential romantic relationship compromising Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Dudas raced to impugn Ver with the least charitable reading (Byrne wasn’t much better). The boomerang here, in the case of his own tweet cited in an unflattering matter, is a kind of sweet, enlightening justice. For the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem, it’s good time to take Chappelle’s sage example. It’s time to chill. Stay focused on substance, and attempt to lower the heat … ’cause y’all niggas is the worst motherfuckers I’ve ever tried to entertain in my FUCKING life.
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DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.