Now I know what Kylie Jenner looks like… I think? (+ Great acting + Youtube and Google’s recommendations.)


Or is it Kendall? Am I spelling their names correctly?

To this day, I do not know why they are famous, exactly. They are beautiful and rich, that I know. But there are many beautiful and rich people in the world, so why are these particular ones so famous? That, I do not know.

I know that it has something to do with a TV show? And the resulting brands they built? Or their sisters or moms built? Something to do with family stuff? The whole family works on something together?

Anyway, I didn’t know what anyone from that family looked like–or I knew what they looked like but I wasn’t able to connect the face with the name, so I didn’t know that I knew them–until recently, when Timothy Chalamet (I might be spelling his name wrong) started dating one or the other Jenner–I think it is Kylie.

And the reason I don’t dare look up the spelling for any of their names is that if I do, I will probably see a whole bunch of their family drama due to the assumptions that algorithms make. Already, I clicked on one Timothy C. Youtube short and in it, his Jenner-girlfriend was in it, therefore, I am seeing her face along with a bunch of other faces from her family–which is why I am not sure if I know her face or her sister’s face. Maybe they aren’t sisters at all. Maybe it’s aunts. Or moms. Multiple moms? I don’t know.

The point of this post: It is possible to go more than a decade (two decades?) being unable to connect the faces and names of some of the biggest celebrities in American history. This is possible, even as I am aware that they are, truly, the biggest celebrities in American history, without any exaggeration. There are actors, there are writers, there are politicians; some of them may also be called celebrities. But then there are people who are purely celebrities, and it is my understanding that the Jenners and some other related families are in that category of pure-celebrities.

Even with all that fame, it has been totally possible for me to live oblivious to things that I do not care about.

And it’s not that I have a particular dislike for pure celebrities. There are also some academic/cultural/political figure names that I know, but don’t know the faces of. Or, the other way around: I know the faces but don’t know the names. Supposedly, they are “in the field” that I am interested in. Supposedly, “everyone knows them.” I guess I am not everyone?

How is this possible? Well. In the past year, I’ve had the misfortune of being exposed to Biden’s face twice–both times because Youtube threw the “News” section at me. I promptly clicked the “x” button. (By the way, the reason I consider seeing Biden’s face a misfortune isn’t because of any of his political leanings, it’s simply that I don’t enjoy looking at old men who aren’t particularly handsome and also don’t talk about beautiful things. I get that it can be difficult to be in politics and to be talking about things that have anything to do with actual life. So, it’s not on Biden that I immediately am not interested in anything he has to say. The burden falls on me; it’s me who has to click the “x” button because he has the freedom to talk about things unrelated to life.) So, if I can restrict my exposure to someone of Biden’s fame to two times over the course of a year, imagine how much less I see the faces and names of other famous people. It is more likely that I know the face and name of a “obscure” writer whose writings I really enjoy, than that I know the faces of the Jenners or some “influential” figure “in my area.”

Everyone has their own universe, and this is literally so. The Jenners exist in the periphery of my universe, barely; and I don’t exist in their universe at all. Biden exists in an even more distant periphery of my universe than the Jenners, now that T.C. is dating K.J. and I am seeing their faces everywhere on my recommendation feed, at the present moment.

No matter how much “objective importance” someone or something seems to have, if it seems so, then it’s because that’s the universe of the seemer.

I will try to pay very close attention to the next movie in which T.C. stars, so that I can check if it’s Timothy or Timothee and whether it’s Chalamet or some other spelling. He is a great actor. The following, I found by typing in “Timothy Chalamet Little Women” into Youtube. Perhaps I do know the correct spelling of his name, or Youtube can figure out which T.C. I am talking about, without the correct spelling:

As I was watching the movie, real-time, I went “!!!!!!” What he conveys here is astounding. And, I don’t know his exact age when this was filmed, but the vibes of his general age bracket at the time, his demeanor, the story, everything–this scene is perfection. T.C. could remain a great actor 50 years from now; he could even become a greater actor–and still, he could not surpass himself in this scene because the feelings here (youth? charming clumsiness? charming incompleteness?) cannot be replicated.

On a related note:

Youtube is completely ignoring the “Do not recommend channel” commands for my account. On some channels, I clicked “do not recommend” 30-50 times. Yes! 30-50 times! And Youtube still showed me the channels!

I still think that Youtube’s recommendation engine feels like the most sophisticated one from my user POV. But also, Youtube so evidently isn’t interested in actually showing any of its users what they want. This applies to Google, in general.

If there is one company that could build an actual recommendation system based on content, it would be Google. But it opts for the primitive hand-raising system. (Users need to participate as guinea pigs to test out the content; they raise hands by pressing “likes” on certain videos; Youtube analyzes the watch time, etc.) Thus, what happens is that if I watch one recipe video, Youtube thinks I am interested in recipes in general. Sometimes that is the case, other times, it isn’t. It might be that I am interested in a video in which the Youtuber mellowly talks while her dog is dozing off in the background–meaning, not about the recipe at all. But Youtube does not actually look at the videos. It lumps videos together based on “user behavior.” And such user behavior is always in the past. It is what has already happened. Thus, when a new video without any views shows up, Youtube doesn’t know what to do with it, other than to throw it to the guinea pigs, watch and wait until they raise enough hands.

Now, with video content, I guess it’s possible to say, “To analyze all content would take too much processing power” or something along those lines. But with text?

Google has Google Books and it still cannot make recommendations based on the actual content. It makes a halfhearted attempt to show the readers what the book is about, by giving a tag-cloud type of view for the books. (Frequently mentioned words in the book are shown.) But if it can do that, why not recommend users books based on the actual content? Is it truly because such technology isn’t possible yet? Or does Google just not bother with it?

With all the talk about advancements in algorithms and AI–where are the proper recommendations? Where are the machine translators that can actually translate without my having to check?

Oh, please machine overladies and their fellow lords, I think I’ve said this a dozen times in the past year: please take over!

Tell me what to watch!

Tell me what to read!

Actually tell me, instead of showing me the compilation of the likes and dislikes of a million humans from the past. They have raised their hands a month ago, a year ago, ten years ago. I desire what is right for me in the here and now, based on nothing else but my own record of the past and dreams of the future.