The Blackbird Spyplane Profound Essay Archive
Ruminations on vexing questions--with 100% "unbeatable" answers
Blackbird Spyplane … we aren’t just your no. 1 source across all media for “unbeatable recon” … we’re also your no. 1 source for “unbeatable philosophical reckoning” with the most profound questions life and the jawns sciences inspire…
We wanted to gather our greatest “Spyplane Ruminations” into one place for future historians, and also for you, on chill Sunday mornings when you wanna kick back in a comfortable chair and expand your intellectual horizons. THIS is that one place…
BIG-BRAINED VISIONARY S**T
GORP, aka outdoor gear — it’s fire, except when it’s CURSED. How can you tell the difference and rock DOPE GORP in such a way that you not only look cool but are also a blessed person?? This blockbuster BBSP essay — truly one of the most insane and most beautiful things we’ve published — contains a parable, which contains a moral spark, which contains a brain, which contains a galaxy, which contains a solar system, which contains an earth which contains a great newsletter… which contains the answer.
Exploring the allure of cursed jawns and logos which reflects a mounting frustration with the nagging sense that symbolic debates do not actually serve justice and that our political power as individuals is almost fully coterminous with our consumer choices.
Our 2022 end-of-year epic essay explores the insult of our time — “mids”. What why did we start calling everything mids and what can the answer tell us about life?
Trash jawns are too cheap. Slappers have gone $trato$pheric. A major Spyplane Essay on value and swag.
Bootlegs — they’re everywhere. When are they cool, and when are they depressing? A classic Spyplane critique.
How many of the same jacket is too many? We contemplate “obsessive jawnoisseurship” — and what we discover about the nature of the human desire will THRILL and FRIGHTEN you…
Sometimes “nauseatingly ugly” is just “nauseatingly ugly.” But sometimes that nausea is your body’s way of alerting you that you are in the presence of artistic genius so radical, destabilizing and vertiginous that it re-writes the laws of physics around you in real time. Featuring guest “ugly genius” insights from Rachel Tashjian, Laia Garcia-Furtado, Durga Chew-Bose and Online Ceramics’ Elijah Funk.
We expound on the powerful Beautiful Inward-Gazing Blessed Uninterrupted Closed System (B.I.G. B.U.C.S.) Mindset in which one creates a metaphorical Faraday cage around themselves and engages only with physical things they already own — books, records, jawns, etc. Nothing enters the room that wasn’t already there (e.g., no hot takes, no tweets, no IG stories, no “streaming content”) and nothing goes out (no data for advertisers to vacuum up, no fuel for the algorithm to ingest, no performed versions of ourselves for the timeline to behold.) Like that baller ROOM OF ONE’S OWN s**t Virginia Woolf was talking about, baby…
“Democratizing” as it’s used here is a euphemism that translates to “opening up new markets while driving down prices,” and the way prices tend to get driven down in the economy as currently configured is via gargantuan manufacturing capacity, cheap materials, shoddy enviromental practices, and trash wages and poor conditions for workers…
🌳 Do get trapped in a “State of Shopping”
Beware the S.O.S. (State of Shopping), a cursed swag-vacuum limbo realm of copping a new jawn, unable to cross the threshold into weaving a jawn into your gestalt to the degree it registers, on a molecular level, as truly, effortlessly, naturally yours.
“Wet Putty”-a** car colors are everywhere. We investigate.
More car design talk here.
Tackling the question of whether it’s ever possible to escape trend cycles and lock in a forever-fit.
Do beautiful clothes require rapacious unfettered free-market capitalism to exist? If we lived in a socialist utopia, would fire jawns cease to exist?? We go deep on these questions and turn up beautiful and challenging answers — featuring wisdom from leftist fit-lord Yung Chomsky, of TrueAnon.
Can SpyFriends who are fortunate enough to live lives of relative comfort, and who enjoy secondhand jawns, “gentrify” the Goodwill — or is that nonsense??
We explore the PERILS of “optimization mindset”: approaching clothes shopping as merely a series of problems to solve instead of an invitation to surprise, irrationality, and a certain JAWN NE SAIS QUOI.
A sweater? Tuckable. A hoodie? Tuckable. A puffer?? Tuckable, too, friend. One of the most controversial arguments we’ve ever made — but at bottom it’s simply about using every weapon in yr fit arsenal, overcoming your fears, and learning when to respect convention — and when to make convention RESPECT YOU. Featuring guest tuckspertise from Throwing Fits’ Lawrence Schlossman.
In a Spyplane Investigations exclusive report, we uncover the hidden origins of Rage Against the Machine’s very sick molotov cocktail logo — and trace it back to the CIA??!! Tom Morello still hasn’t responded to us on Twitter about this one. A fascinating read full of secret jawns genealogy.
No company embodies unethical jawns-purveying circa 2021 as powerfully as Am*zon, with its multifarious, far-reaching TENTACLES and heinous labor practices. But do individual consumer choices, like boycotting evil corporations, make any impact?? We talk with Alex Press, Jacobin staff writer & host of Primer, a podcast about how Am*zon operates, about how the forces of light can “beat Am*zon” — and whether the notion of “consuming nobly” might in fact be a TRAP that the Jeff B*zoses of the world want to bait us into !?
Too many places are STERILE and TORCHED — let’s make them COOL and FUNKY.
🌳 The end of cool small cars
The Taliban has fresher trucks than us. The Honda Fit is dead. U can’t find a sauced-out 2-door to save your life. How did we get here??
Not an essay but this interview with legendary casting director Jennifer Venditti — who has cast Yohji Yamamoto campaigns; Zoolander (!); BBSP-beloved directors like Andrea Arnold (for American Honey) and the Safdie Brothers (for Good Time and Uncut Gems); and, most recently, Euphoria — drops profundity.
An Auntwavejawn-maker doesn’t need to be a literal aunt — their work will, however, contain such stereotypically aunt-like characteristics as “ZANY FLAIR” and “KOOKY SWAG”.
The semiotic coordinates that define the peaks and valleys of “cool” and “uncool”are constantly shifting and re-negotiating… we explore them in the context of logos.
Celebrating the weird treasure that is Chris Smith’s 1999 documentary American Movie, and the lessons contained within.
Investigating the “immersive art wave” through David Hockney’s psychedelically good London show.
There’s a swag crater in the secondhand market, and it’s only growing, because the primary market has been choking on ever-increasing varieties of garbage for more than a decade…
The e-commerce giant is valued in the billions. People compare it to Am*zon. What does its rise mean for small designers & shops?
The term “affordable” has been almost totally co-opted into just another dull and swagless shopping category but if you have Mad Interesting Naturally Developed Swag, Enthusiasm and Taste — a.k.a. “M.I.N.D.S.E.T. Mindset” — you can freak a Goodwill or a DSW outlet and come out looking incredible.
MACH 3+ MINDSETS
M.A.R.G.H.E.R.I.T.A. Mindset (Masterful A** “Regular” Garments Hella Extremely Reflect Ingenuity, Talent and Ability) is about nailing the execution of something at its simplest / “most ideal” form when it comes to fashion.
Tools to help everyone stop feeling like they need to buy everything they like all the time, including the N.O. C.A.P. Mindset (Non-Obsessive Chill Artgoer’s Perspective).
The core appeal of the C.I.R.L.O.C. mindset is that it reintroduces meaningful, productive, ineffable friction into the experience of copping, and offers a way to take yr brain off of the “autopilot” zombie-consumer mode that e-commerce is designed to lull us into.
Sit With Awkward Discomfort & Discover Lovely Ephiphanies
Even small encounters with the natural world can actually open VAST UNIVERSES of discovery. That’s why we created the the P.P.P.H.A.T. (Public-Park Picnic-Hikes Any Time) Mindset: consciousness-expanding weekday encounters with nature that help you steal back some of the surplus value your employer extracts from you aka blessed microgorping.
A Black Spyday double feature that answers the question of how many jawns does one human need… Plus, we call bullsh*t on the Black Fr*day mania with our “Cop Hardly Anything on Sale” (C.H.A.O.S.) Mindset. Big sales events like B.F. can feel like a dispiriting trip to an outlet mall where you try to convince yrself that you’ve found an underpriced gem not because it’s true but just so you can participate in “The Theater of the Bargain.”
Investigating the SALES BLOAT era that we live in because sales are, at root, an essential feature of a system built on excess production.
What’s Life-Well-Lived Mindset?? It’s embracing the stains, cracks and wear that inevitably comes when you actually use your stuff. The point isn’t to get stains on jawns willy-nilly. It’s to live a life full of Mach 3+ stain-generating moments that are WORTH the stains!!
People can see what you’re trying to hide from them … embrace realness!
No explanation needed…
Getting dressed from the cuffs out… and unlocking Mach 7 layering combos.
Ways to reapproach and / or regrow your wardrobe.
STYLE DILEMMAS AND QUAGMIRES
A pants crisis: It happens even (especially!) to the best Mach 3+ jawns enthusiasts among us. In this BBSP classic we go deep on optimal pants fit circa ~now, and check in with SpyFriends like Jacob Gallagher, Sam Hine, Ezra Koenig, and James Harris for their trouser-geometry input.
Graphic-tee fatigue is real… and it only seems to be growing.
Do cops and soldiers (aka world-cops) have… swag? If, in highly cursed & qualified contexts, they do, can jawns enthusiasts who seek to defund 12 “appropriate” that swag? We get into the inner workings of rocking popo jawns / tactical jawns / military jawns — and why gorpy brands like Patagonia and Arc’teryx should kill their highly ungorpy defense and law-enforcement contracts.
Okay, there’s nothing especially philosophical about this one, but mending skills R a fire way to not simply repair but rejuvenate and RE-SWAGGIFY time-honored jawns. Click to arm yrself with these talents.
Our definitive answer — backed up with airtight evidence.
It’s the question on everyone’s mind. In a follow-up to our legendary PANTS-FIT REPORT, we zero in on the current, highly contested state of cuffing.
SpyFriends love fleece — but they also love “that next s**t.” So what stylish, insulating, GORPY midlayer should u swap in for a snap-T?? We have the answer.
In which “Judge Spyplane” smacks down the brain gavel & makes a few SPICY CATEGORICAL DECLARATIONS about brand synergy, graphic tees, the death of ties and other reader questions.
This holiday seems very cool, but it also seems like a holiday RIPE for all manner of capping: corporate co-optation, greenwashing, smooth-brained hollow-cored feel-good s**t. How did Earth Day start? We uncover the revolutionary potential in its roots.
A two part EPIC on how to harmonize clothing colors "The Spyplane Way".
Pondering the ethics & politics of appropriating jawns, the morality of “stolen valor”, and how calling people out for appropriation *can* become a decoy that ultimately obscures and distracts from the harder job of actually militating against injustices.
Our ultimate Spyplane Holy Decree re: the concept of “blue-collar stolen valor” is that, when it isn’t invoked as a joke, it’s an incoherent and ahistorical semiotics game that anxious elites can play amongst themselves, rehearsing their own guilt about the mounting hardships of working people in the most frivolous way possible.
Exploring how to become a “FULLY REALIZED SAUCE LORD” who is not afraid to use imitation like a dowsing rod, absorbing and copying a range of swaggy & vibey influences, on the way to finding a reservoir of “personal drip”.
☯ One-Fit February Challenge & Mind-Gem Report
The things you learn wearing one outfit for a month…like how to find joy in clothes-rocking.
☯ Questions About Jawns, Love & the Secret Language of Swaggy Relationships
Deep answers to questions about friends swagger-jacking your style and not seeing eye-to-eye with bae about your ability to SAUCE UP FITS.
☯ Nobody Complimented my B*red Ape Hoodie
What do logo jawns tell us about coolness, desire, and where NFTs are headed?
☯ Large kings can teach us all a thing or 2 about sauce
We talk with Jason Diamond about what we can all learn from large kings (and queens) who step up their swag outside the conventions of a fashion industry that does not cater to them!
☯ Go F.I.E.R.I. Mode on Them!
Acknowledging the beauty of Guy Fieri’s psychotically unwavering fits and the beauty of taking a big swing and sticking with it.
☯ Spyplane Holy Decree: 🚫Heather Gray Tees🚫
Heather gray tees are not what’s up and if you wear one you should be full of regret.
Investigating the frenzy around the auctions of things owned by dead GOATS.
The easiest way to problematize “be yourself” is to recognize that, while it contains within it a valuable kernel of truth, so does the exact opposite advice, which is also way more interesting and, ultimately, way more useful when it comes to developing personal style: BE SOMEONE ELSE !
Sometimes comfort can be the enemy of swag.
Is it ever okay to see showroom, i.e., hitting a brick-and-mortar store, seeing / trying out something you like, and then bouncing to go buy the s**t online at a lower price…?
Some are your friends and some are swag-drains.
Another smash-hit Spyplane Holy Decree
There is so much energy and fun and face-modifying power in a great pair of sunglasses — why not try to find the same in eyeglasses, even when you’re 20/20?
No… with some crucial carve-outs.
Is there a sartorial equivalent to the “mall grab” — way of holding a skateboard that tends to mark you among “more learned” skaters as a noob / kook / bozo…?
We call out a “staple”-type jawn to spend a bit of money on, then reap the rewards of the s**t looking dope for the rest of your years.
☯ “If you have to ‘explain’ why a fit is good to a non-jawnz enthusiast, is it a bad fit?”
Putting together an outfit is like telling a joke — are you doing hack material??