#78: Blackbird Spyplane

Jonah Weiner (Blackbird Spyplane) on Canceling Your Amazon, Binoculars, Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, and more.

Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked cool person Jonah Weiner to come on Perfectly Imperfect & redistribute his wealth of good taste.

Jonah Weiner and his partner, Erin Wylie, started the Blackbird Spyplane newsletter back in May of 2020 and they’ve been dropping unbeatable style & culture recon ever since. The duo never misses and continues to raise the bar whether it’s Mach 3+ Shorts intel or interviews about rare possessions with Lorde, Jerry Seinfeld, Phoebe Bridgers, André 3000, and Nathan Fielder. You can support all their hard work & hours of research by upgrading to the paid “CLA$$IFIED RECON”-tier, where you’ll have access to the “Classified SpyTalk” chat room, top-secret “Blackbird SpyMall” listings, giveaways, and more. And on top of BBSP, Jonah is also a legendary journalist who has written iconic pieces such as Rolling Stone’s 2018 Travis Scott profile and more recently for The New York Times Magazine, David Fincher’s Impossible Eye. Jonah clearly has great taste and lucky for us, he’s here to tell us what he’s been into.

Without further ado

Blackbird Spyplane (instagram, twitter)

✌️🚫 Cancel yr Amazon 

You don’t actually need whatever s**t is in yr cart, and at the very least you don’t need it boxed up and rush delivered in <24 hours by workers whose quotas mean they can’t take bathroom breaks baby!! (Also Amazon stole millions of dollars in driver tips — true slimeball s**t, look it up!!) The “it’s so convenient” argument is weak, you’re not that busy, player, go for a walk, bet you there’s a store in yr hood that sells that same s**t — cop it there, even if it costs a few dollars more. If there *isn’t* a good store in yr hood, it’s because Amazon helped kill it, making your neighborhood less VIBRANT, so f**k ‘em for doing that, don’t reward them with more $$... And if it’s about wanting to watch movies and shows, pfffft get Criterion like a grown-up ; )

🧺 🐜 🧶 Post up on soft cloths in a park

Public parks are great places to post up, see friends and kick back in the company of people in yr community who might not hang out at the same bar u do … This was true before the pandemic and it’s true today. A few years ago someone gave me a lightweight (6 oz?) canvas drop-cloth that has gotten very soft with time & now we toss it in a backpack & bring it with us to parks & on hikes. If you don’t have a picnic blanket already you can cop a ~$12 canvas drop-cloth from a local hardware or paint-supply store. You could use this to re-paint a room at the crib or make some art -- any “process splatters” will just make your picnic look more beautiful. 

🕊️ 🔭🔭 👀 Keep the MF ‘noculars on you at all times

Binoculars are a great technology for not looking at yr phone and instead looking with sustained attention at cool s**t that you otherwise might just let fly by you unnoticed — birds, literally and most obviously, but also any other intriguing visual phenomenon, like for instance incredible lichen growing somewhere high up. If you are doing a picnic (see above), bring some binoculars and see what’s in the trees. If you don’t have any, get a pair at a local place or cop some secondhand online. I have a pair of simple Nikon Prostaff 7S 10x42s that I like; you could get those or something more compact… check out standard-issue Nikons or Bushnells, or drop more $$ on some Fujinons or Leicas. Just be careful not to get anything so cheap & s**ty that it’ll work badly and bum you out…

🐖🐐🐂 DXE

This is an animal-rights group that, among other things, breaks into factory farms to document abuse and liberate suffering cuties. Whatever yr thoughts are about eating animals, if you have a soul you can agree that factory farming is deeply heinous nightmare evil s**t, and in fighting against it, these activists are doing tremendously hard, brave and lonely work — so throw ‘em some bucks and / or help ‘em out in other ways!!

🌶️ Fly By Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp

I wanted to think of one straightforward product recommendation to include and this one sprang right to mind. Salute Lao Gan Ma and Lee Kum Kee -- here at the Spyplane Test Kitchen we keep their chili oils on deck -- but a newer option that is fantastic and way more expensive per ounce, but real talk worth the splurge?? Fly By Jing’s Sichuan Chili Crisp. As with any good chili oil you can put it on stir-fries, pizza, coconut ice cream, etc. It’s made in Chengdu and in addition to classic bedrock ingredients it includes fermented black bean, shallots, mushroom powder, ginger, seaweed, etc...

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