Post Malone Discovering a Typewriter Is My Personal ‘American Gothic’

This image is a work of art worthy of a spot in the MoMA.

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Post Malone Discovering a Typewriter Is My Personal ‘American Gothic’

In 1930, when Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” was first unveiled at the Art Institute of Chicago, its reception was huge but varied. Some said Wood was clearly satirizing rural America, some said it was a caricature making fun of Iowan farmers, and Wood himself gave only a few, very vague statements that confused people even more. “There is satire in it,” he once said. “But only as there is satire in any realistic statement.” Really makes you think!

However, the interpretation I’ll be focusing on in this blog is the one where Wood painted “American Gothic” as an emblem of hope during a time of deep economic uncertainty. The Art Institute writes that “Wood intended it to convey a positive image of rural American values, offering a vision of reassurance at the beginning of the Great Depression.” So, based on this interpretation, and as we face a terrifying, livelihood-threatening rise in AI-created content, I believe this clip of Post Malone discovering a typewriter for the first time is a positive image of human-created content, offering reassurance that human-written literature, journalism, poetry, burn books, etc., shall always prevail.

On Friday, Taylor Swift released a behind-the-scenes video of the Fortnight music video, featuring Post Malone. In one scene, Post Malone seemingly uses a typewriter for the first time. “All you do is move it! This is amazing!” the 28-year-old rapper exclaims to Swift. “I feel very steampunk!” Swift responds by saying, “We don’t see working typewriters. Millennials don’t see that shit!” Here is where someone might interpret Malone’s astonishment as satire or parody. Fortnight, of course, is the first track off Swift’s latest album, The Tortured Poet’s Department, and in the title song, she sings, “You left your typewriter at my apartment/Straight from the tortured poets department.” But then it gets more brutal: “I think some things I never say/Like, ‘Who uses typewriters anyway?'”

The lyrics and title are largely believed to be about Matty Healy, her shitty ex who looks like he’d def carry around a typewriter and think he was making some dumb poetic statement. Is Swift using Malone’s discovery to drive home her point? See, no one fucking uses typewriters. (I don’t think she is but I’m open to that discussion.)

 

Post then learns how to operate the shift key, his face exploding with amazement: “What the hell,” he says. “This is badass. I’m buying this right now.”

Here, in my opinion, is the “American Gothic” of it all. The threat of a world with only AI-created movies, paintings, articles, books, even tweets, looms large. Yet, here is Post Malone, interacting with a centuries-old tool used for writing and basking in the novelty of it all. A tool that an AI could never use. The image is a tribute to the writers, creators, and artists who heal our hearts, sit with us in our pain, and stir our imaginations. It’s also funny.

“This is too much fun,” he concludes. “Ya’ll shouldn’t have let me play with this.” On the contrary, maybe we should start requiring everyone to play with typewriters. Royal Typewriter Company, it feels like you have a great viral marketing moment here, feel free to reach out.

Whether you view this as satire; parody; a pure moment of true joy and discovery; or have no idea what the fucking I’m talking about, the fact remains that Post Malone Discovering a Typewriter is a work of art worthy of a spot in the MoMA. Find me this weekend and I’ll be happy to discuss this further!

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