The Egyptian-American creative entrepreneur is behind the hit podcast, You People, has published 100 haiku about modern life and where it’s going, titled We Were Promised Flying Cars
Thinking about the future in the state of the present is a funny task. With global conflict mounting, climate change feeling rampant, and pop culture seemingly hitting a mouse wheel of repetition, we clearly want escape more than ever. With so much chaos now, it seems like it can’t get better. Kareem remarks on this in his own way with We Were Promised Flying Cars, a collection of 100 haiku about the future from the perspective of now. Due out this year, the former Growth Editor at The New York Times explores the future as interpreted through unpredictability and possibility that has characterized modern life.
The haikus explore everything from doomsday environmental scenarios to keeping-up-with-the-Jones’ attitudes to tech innovations gone wrong. Whether Kareem’s thoughts manifest or not, we can enjoy Rahma’s writing for what it is, when it is: a reaction to an onslaught of information and chaos. An attempt to organize and make sense of things we have no control over. We Were Promised Flying Cars is deeply non-participatory. It’s couch surfing. It’s physically scrolling.
Read every word of Kareem’s pieces, down to the title. This bending of the Haiku lets him sit a punchline, or a source material. It’s a small clue into Kareem’s own point of view.
The work occasionally dips into the territory of We Live in a Society, but doesn’t dwell on personal faults or “problems”. Rather, it explores everything from domestic life to broader societal considerations without agenda. No one is telling you this is right or wrong. Observation passed as judgement doesn’t exist here, due to the wide-ranging selection of subjects.
But the stronger takeaway, 100 years from now, is Kareem’s documentation of language and trend- words like Soylent, CRISPR, Instagram. Valuable words now, but will they be later? Although the haiku are written from the future, seemingly cementing these very 2019 concepts as here to stay, if anything, We Were Promised Flying Cars serves as a strong time capsule of a turbulent and bizarre period of time right now. Strangely, we can take some comfort in knowing we’ve made an impression. That’s all that matters, no?
Preorder Kareem Rahma’s We Were Promised Flying Cars at Pioneer Works.
Kareem Rahma is an Egyptian-American poet and entrepreneur living in New York City. He is the founder of Nameless Network and The Museum of Pizza. Before becoming a full-time artist and entrepreneur, he was a Growth Editor at The New York Times and the Associate Director of Global Marketing at VICE. Kareem is an alum of NEW INC., “the world’s first museum led incubator program” created by The New Museum. He is a recipient of the 2019 Above The Fold Awards from The University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and in 2018 was named one of the most impactful Egyptians in the world from CairoScene.