The world is perhaps as ridiculous as it can be right now, and we have our phones to thank. These stupid internet-connected appendages have grown into little apocalypse-machines, making us dumber, more narcissistic and more socially inept every moment. Seemingly rational people, in this broken-headed timeline we've found ourselves trapped in, look for potential mates on apps with names like "Hinge" and "Bumble." So let's take a moment to thank Supreme, the downtown New York clothier-turned-global superpower, for releasing a "Burner Phone."
The brand, which retains its grip on devoted fans by knowing just how to read the room, released their fall lookbook today, which includes a 3G-enabled Blu phone that does everything you need and nothing you don't. You can make calls, send rudimentary texts, and check your email. No Twitter, no Instagram, and no unending existential dread.
It is true that a trend towards accepting the folly of screen-addiction has started to take hold; proof of a human tendency towards self-preservation. Jenny Odell's “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy,” became one of the year's most talked-about books precisely because of how well it articulated an increasingly omnipresent question: how do we get off of these damned things and into the real world?
Supreme's "Burner Phone," is a not-so-subtle nod to an earlier era in drug culture, when easily accessible prepaid devices were essential to the trade. Today we have encrypted apps like Signal to handle illicit transactions, but the appeal, aesthetic and otherwise, of the burner phone remains resonant. Life is miserable when you have constant access to all of your hopes, fears, and insecurities (not to mention the horrifying churn of global news). A phone that strips away the notification-induced terror of daily life is a welcome salve. It's why countless tech entrepreneurs have invested in "dumb" phones.
Supreme, according to the advertising agency Moosylvania, is one of the most popular brands among millennials. The fervor over their Thursday drops has spurred countless ill-advised op-eds and TV segments from analysts, media-types, and journalists, hoping to distill what captivates their audiences into one thing.
Well, it's this. A feature-less phone released by the most popular and powerful brand on the planet. It's not rug, or an iPhone case, but a phone with no apps. A dumb phone that, maybe, I hope, saves us all.