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Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet.
August 9, 2014 5:50 AM   Subscribe

Zack "Danger" Brown has never made potato salad before. So he decided to ask for ten dollars on Kickstarter to get him started. .

The Internet giggled, and then opened its wallet.

Current plans are for Mr. Brown to live-stream the potato-salad-making process, and to have backers ($10 level or higher) come to his hometown for PotatoStock 2014.

As with all Kickstarter campaigns, backers must be cautious regarding the final outcome. "It might not be that good," Mr. Brown has warned. "It's my first potato salad."

Reddit AMA

Kickstarter's response

Lighthearted Kickstarter campaigns have gotten attention before, but this one was launched only a month after Kickstarter loosened its requirements and stopped reviewing most fundraising submissions manually. This has caused some to wonder if this fundraiser means that Kickstarter has jumped the shark. Submissions to Your Kickstarter Sucks appear to be up since the policy change, and certainly the potato salad Kickstarter has inspired a host of imitators:

Poutine
Tres Leches cake
Shitty craft beer
Chicken bacon pot pie
Chicken salad
Mac & cheese
Seafood salad
Crepes
Carrot juice
Cheesecake
Oatmeal cookies
Yakitori
Gumbo
Burrito
Meatloaf

Still, others claim that the fundraiser is bringing attention to an under-appreciated classic American dish.

Potato Salad Recipes (via WaPo)

Austrian Potato Salad
Sweet Potato Salad
Potato Salad With Prosciutto, Spring Onions and Herbs
Farmers Market Herb Potato Salad
German Potato Salad
Pink Potato Salad with Capers and Radishes
Antipasto Chicken Salad
Potato and Chicken Salad with Salsa Verde
Roasted Green Bean and Potato Salad
Kasha Potato Salad
New Potato and Pea Salad
Creamy Buttermilk Potato Salad With Fennel and Fresh Herbs
Warm Parslied New Potato Salad
Chickpea Potato Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing
Tuna and Potato Salad with Olives and Red Peppers
Broccoli Rabe and New Potato Salad
Marbled Potato Salad with Arugula Pesto
Asparagus and Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette
Warm Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Steak and Purple Potato Salad
Nasturtium, Green Bean and Potato Salad
Warm Sweet Potato Salad with Chorizo
Broiled Sweet Potato and Turkey Salad
And, of course, ThugKitchen's Badass Herbed Potato Salad
posted by magstheaxe (58 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe I'm just in a mood this morning, but all that money could have gone to feeding people who needed the help. I see that he's going to donate a large portion to a foundation dedicated to helping the homeless. I feel better now.
posted by learnsome at 6:01 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


*giggle* He's committed himself to saying nearly 7000 names out loud while making the potato salad.
posted by hippybear at 6:11 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I'm glad someone remembered to do this -- the most frustrating thing about this whole situation for me was not being able to discuss it on MeFi because of the no-active-Kickstarter rule (which I find to be entirely reasonable and am in no way advocating getting rid of).

Submissions to Your Kickstarter Sucks appear to be up since the policy change, and certainly the potato salad Kickstarter has inspired a host of imitators:

The Friends effect. Hacks always think that the form is the joke.
posted by Etrigan at 6:17 AM on August 9 [13 favorites]


Ugh, I can just imagine forty years down the road, people are going to be asking this guy about potato salad on talk shows and it's gonna be like when Divine gets asked about the ending to Pink Flamingos.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:38 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


I gave him $5, which I admit that I wouldn't have done initially, but I realized that I had definitely gotten $5 worth of laughs out of how angry he had made a bunch of "serious artists" whose Kickstarters had flopped.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 6:38 AM on August 9 [18 favorites]


2nd week on Atkins. Shouldn't have opened this post.
posted by Auden at 6:53 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Ugh, I can just imagine forty years down the road, people are going to be asking this guy about potato salad on talk shows and it's gonna be like when Divine gets asked about the ending to Pink Flamingos.

oh, come on, his potato salad won't be THAT bad, will it?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:55 AM on August 9 [14 favorites]


I mean, if this proves anything, it's that as a society, we collectively value a good joke a lot more than we value serious art. But we already knew that, right?
posted by Andrhia at 6:58 AM on August 9 [7 favorites]


This is only now making the blue?
posted by hwestiii at 7:00 AM on August 9


hwestiii, read the third comment in this thread.
posted by kavasa at 7:01 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Solid Potato Salad (From the AMA - hardly related but worth a watch)
posted by STFUDonnie at 7:05 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


It's a tough one. I help run a Patreon campaign with a serious mission, and it sucks being out-campaigned by a joke. On the other hand, there are awesome comics writers out-campaigning me too, and I can't really say I have any claim to the awesomeness of Dinosaur Comics. Ryan North deserves all the money in my book.

People spend money as they like. Unsurprisingly, they mostly spend it on entertainment. The potato salad story is way more entertaining than my campaign, so I say bravo!
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:05 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I'm always amused by the copycats that strike up after anything like this captures the internet's attention for a moment. All the Save Karen imitators. The other Million Dollar Homepages. They never work out.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:14 AM on August 9


This is a much richer post than this humorous news item needed. Great job! Now to make some potato salad...
posted by Going To Maine at 7:20 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


For a while I was tempted to start a Kickstarter to ride the Potato Salad copycat wave.

My Kickstarter would have been called, of course, "I Want To Swim In A Swimming Pool Full Of Other People's Money."
posted by LSK at 7:28 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


I realized that I had definitely gotten $5 worth of laughs out of how angry he had made a bunch of "serious artists" whose Kickstarters had flopped.

Crowdenfreude.
posted by belarius at 7:32 AM on August 9 [30 favorites]


I don't get it .

Potato salad is gross.
posted by The Whelk at 7:41 AM on August 9 [12 favorites]


I mean, if this proves anything, it's that as a society, we collectively value a good joke a lot more than we value serious art. But we already knew that, right?

6,911 backers over how long? The Metropolitan Museum of Art get's about over 17,000 visitors a day.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:44 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


i thought we were friends whelk but i don't even know you anymore
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:44 AM on August 9 [19 favorites]


I mean, if this proves anything, it's that as a society, we collectively value a good joke a lot more than we value serious art. But we already knew that, right?

I don't think it proves anything of the sort. How many art projects have been funded on Kickstarter over the years? How many silly one-off joke projects have been funded in that same time?

And that's just the tip of the iceberg in terms of all the counterevidence that makes that conclusion incredibly not something we can draw from this one example.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:48 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I like it when something light-hearted takes off like this. It's just plain fun. I am way too judgmental about imitators, though. It's just like the being-chased-by-dinosaurs wedding pictures. The first people to do it were hilarious and clever! Everybody else is a tired copycat.*

I need to be less judgmental, I know. It's not like it hurts me when somebody photoshops a velociraptor into their wedding pictures or tries to get kickstarter money to make Rice Krispie treats. It's still just good clean fun. But there you have it: just one more place where I have room to grow as a human being.

*See also "Got ___?" bumper stickers and "Keep Calm and ____" anything.
posted by not that girl at 7:52 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


This kind of feels like Edison getting all SUPER GRUMPY AND PROPERLY VICTORIAN PEEVED that people where using the phonograph to record popular music and other silly things and not using it as a serious business tool and way to enshrine the great political speeches of the age.

it doesn't actually mean anything! About Kickstarter! Or art! Or crowd funding! it's about potato salad, and we can all agree potatoes are jumped up dirt apples and have no place in polite society.

In conclusion art is a land of any many contrasts.
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 AM on August 9 [10 favorites]


And, from the "Your Kickstarter Sucks" link: I actually love The Chicago Transit Project. Facts about squirrels and someone trying to get back an imaginary girlfriend are hilarious.
posted by not that girl at 7:54 AM on August 9


6,911 backers over how long? The Metropolitan Museum of Art get's about over 17,000 visitors a day.

Sure, but that's apples and oranges. For comparison, look at the take of Guardians of the Galaxy ($134M so far) vs. the take of, oh, The Strange Little Cat, released the same weekend (a little under $6K worldwide).

As a culture, we spend way, wayyyyy more on anything presented to us as entertainment than we do on anything presented as art.
posted by Andrhia at 8:18 AM on August 9


we can all agree potatoes are jumped up dirt apples and have no place in polite society.

There's no way that something so utterly crazy could be mistaken for regular internet contrarianism. You're not thinking clearly. You need bread.
posted by clockzero at 8:26 AM on August 9 [10 favorites]


Mix mix, stir stir, I married young, it's all a blur. I can still fit in my wedding dress though, not a lot of gals can say that.
posted by angerbot at 8:40 AM on August 9 [9 favorites]


MetaFilter: something so utterly crazy could be mistaken for regular internet contrarianism
posted by hippybear at 8:46 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Macaroni salad > potato salad.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:01 AM on August 9


Like Ray J. Johnson, that thing was funny for about three seconds.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:03 AM on August 9


Macaroni salad > potato salad.

Nope. Sorry, you're just wrong.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:12 AM on August 9 [9 favorites]


Oh man some people on the comics-making forum I hang out on were SO PISSED about this thing. Me, I sat down and picked apart just what made this an attractive thing to giggle and drop a couple bucks on, and wished I could think of a way to get those elements into my next KS.

In the process of analyzing it, I became strongly tempted to contribute to it myself. But I'm trying to cut back on carbs.
posted by egypturnash at 9:15 AM on August 9


Potato salad is gross, though. So are all salads-that-are-not-actual-salads. Jello salad being foremost among them.

"I had some stuff so I dumped it in a bowl and mixed it together"

"enjoy"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:56 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Macaroni salad? Don't make me laugh.
posted by rainy at 10:06 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Potato salad is gross, though.

See above.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:07 AM on August 9


Will there even be any money left? A common KS mistake, which this campaign deftly parodies, is to over promise on the backer rewards to an extent that a huge chunk of the campaign time and money goes to designing and manufacturing and paying for rewards, and not the thing itself.

Still, I thought this was hilarious.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:23 AM on August 9


I'm not sure it qualifies as a purely potato salad, but I'm a big fan of the Russian Olivier Salad (popularly known as Russian Salad or Russian Winter Salad).
posted by Auden at 10:26 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


As a culture, we spend way, wayyyyy more on anything presented to us as entertainment than we do on anything presented as art.
posted by Andrhia at 11:18 AM on August 9


But popular entertainment is a form of art! And "art" art can be entertaining!
posted by magstheaxe at 10:35 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


This is a good time to reflect on the two kinds of potato salad (German and Wrong), and to make sure that we all have an adequate amount of vinegar in the cupboard. Thanks, Kickstarter.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:36 AM on August 9 [4 favorites]


Kick start my taters.
posted by Segundus at 10:41 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I mean how can you not laugh at

Stretch Goals:
$35 - I will make 4x as much Potato Salad. I know $40 isn't 4x $10, but you guys have earned it.

posted by ericost at 10:42 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


Boiled potatoes tossed with some green onions and green garlic and a mustardy, vinegary dressing—how anyone could be opposed is simply not conceivable. Maybe you have dietary restrictions involving nightshades, fine. But anyone else? Inconceivable.
posted by kenko at 10:58 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


PotatoStock 2014 is happening!! We have a giant outdoor space reserved (The Columbus Commons) for September 27th, 2014, from noon to 8pm. The show is free and all proceeds from selling concessions will go to a permanent fund to end hunger and homelessness in Central Ohio. We are currently working to sign bands and will continue to post updates as we get them!

So basically if you want some of the potato salad, or to hang out in the kitchen while it gets made, then it's on you to get your ass to Ohio for a giant potato salad party.

Which is one of several endings I was hoping for this, really. (The other one was 'gives you nothing, goes off on a wild adventure, posts regular updates'.)
posted by egypturnash at 11:01 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I've been intrigued about making a blue potato salad for a while, maybe with trader joes wasabi mayo. Time to start a kickstarter!
posted by TheAdamist at 11:04 AM on August 9


Thanks for that, egypturnash. It sounds like he's taking his little joke and doing something truly great with it. Transcending even his own intentions. I'm sure this is all more than he bargained for when he posted that Kickstarter campaign, but he's rolling with it and sounds like he's put some thought into how to live up to all the funds he's been given and still have fun with the whole concept.
posted by hippybear at 11:07 AM on August 9


This is just another case of the internet acting like like some Godzilla-sized demigod, stomping around, heedlessly crushing things in its path. Occasionally something shiny will catch its eye and it vomits piles of gold, as likely as not to crush the object of its attention.

Hordes of tiny people try vainly to duplicate whatever dance they think got the monster's attention, but it has already stomped away to the next thing.
posted by straight at 11:09 AM on August 9 [30 favorites]


PotatoStock 2014 is happening!!

Cross your fingers that it won't turn out like DashCon.
posted by Etrigan at 11:12 AM on August 9


People would beg for an extra hour in the potato salad pit.
posted by angerbot at 11:16 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


Yes but what if he fills the ball pit with potato salad.
posted by elizardbits at 11:16 AM on August 9 [2 favorites]


I gave him $5, which I admit that I wouldn't have done initially, but I realized that I had definitely gotten $5 worth of laughs out of how angry he had made a bunch of "serious artists" whose Kickstarters had flopped.

If I could only monetize schadenfreude I'd be rich, rich as Croesus!
posted by octobersurprise at 11:18 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I admit I was a little grumpy about this while it was going on. I mean, I understand the appeal, the guy is a good writer and this is silly fun, but I've also seen a few really worthwhile Kickstarters get zilcho, and seen worthy organizations struggle to raise money to do work that actually helps people, so... I don't know. Silly fun is great. Tens of thousands of dollars can do a lot of good if applied to non-silly purposes. I had mixed feelings.

So I'm really glad to hear that update about what he's planning to do with the money (free festival, donate to hunger charity). The guy clearly has a handle on the right approach to this whole thing, and I'm glad I can look forward to his next project without ambivalence.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:41 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I'm going to make a guess that potato salad will be quite over-represented in this year's coming Labor Day pot-luck get togethers.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:04 PM on August 9


Isn't it in basically EVERY Labor Day pot-luck, though?
posted by hippybear at 12:07 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


This is just another case of the internet acting like like some Godzilla-sized demigod, stomping around, heedlessly crushing things in its path.
Came for the potato salad Kickstarter envy and left with an amazing metaphor for Internet trending.

Damn, straight!
posted by mistersquid at 1:06 PM on August 9


*giggle* He's committed himself to saying nearly 7000 names out loud while making the potato salad.

Well, all he promised was "I will say your name out loud while making potato salad." So, while mixing it up, he says, "Your name out loud." There, done.
posted by beagle at 1:27 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


There is no such thing as too much potato salad at a pot-luck.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:39 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


As opposed to pasta salad, where even two iterations end up both having leftovers.
posted by hippybear at 3:05 PM on August 9


After the PotatoStarter closed, Kickstarter posted a "statistical analysis" of the fundraising worthy of fivethirtyeight, and I considered doing an FPP on this myself, but nothing at the epic, potato-y scale of magstheaxe's magnumopus.

It must be noted that of all the potato salad copycats linked to, only one, Yakitori, reached its meager goal. Most of the rest got ZERO ZILCH NADA, which suggests this is not going to be an Internet Thing. Whew.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:40 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


My kickstarter will be for duck fat fries and Korean fried chicken.
posted by doctor_negative at 8:22 PM on August 9


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