Here and elsewhere, Airbnb’s self-presentation is comically at odds with reality. According to its media kit, the magazine “celebrates humanity wherever it exists — across borders, time zones, languages and skin tones — to showcase travel that is accessible, immersive, local and people-focused.” Its focus is “connection,” the vapid word for our conscription in data-mining digital networks.... Anyone who has used Airbnb knows what a farce all this is — I can’t remember the last time I stayed in an Airbnb that was actually inhabited by a permanent resident. [hello, permanent resident host here!] Most have been spartan apartments with empty closets, barren of personal idiosyncrasy and seemingly decorated by the photos that come in the poster frames sold at IKEA.
The aesthetic idiosyncrasy so glaringly absent from the Airbnb aesthetic, in other words, is the commodity for sale in its magazine.
The primary feeling I got reading Airbnb Magazine, other than boredom, was a sense of pity for the “content producers” who make it, the talented photographers and writers and filmmakers who should be able to make actual cinematic tone poems without shilling for a hotel conglomerate, or who could write about Turkish cuisine without debasing it as “brand storytelling” for a magazine that nobody reads.
Airbnb Magazine reminds us of something that bears repeating about the ideologists of capital today: not only are they as stupid as ever, they seem to be getting desperate.