Authentic Incompetence

If you’ve been following Mortise & Tenon for any length of time, you’ll know that we are pretty critical of anything that smacks of artificiality: AI, the Metaverse, social media, and even endless workshop jigs that serve to sever us from our work and the reality of actual life in the world.

Humans make mistakes, and that’s just a fact. To meet this need, you may remember that last year we announced our groundbreaking book, Faked: A Bench Guide to Photoshopping Your Woodworking Blunders. This title was slated to become the #1 best-selling social-media-woodworking pseudo-book release in the 21st century. We were so overwhelmed with the international fever-pitch enthusiasm for this content and were honestly a little taken aback. Apparently almost everyone knows the pain of their woodworking inadequacies and yet feel the pressure to perform flawlessly for their loved ones and followers.

The unprecedented success of Faked made us do some soul searching. “What do we even stand for anymore?” we wondered. By now, everyone knows that artificial intelligence is everywhere. It’s used for everything from medical care to internet searches, anticipating our needs and covering for our wimpy human shortcomings. It’s in our phones and cars. In creative realms, AI is being used for everything from essay writing to advertising to generating award-winning artwork. Everyone is desperate for intelligence, even if attained by artificial means.  

After a time of reflection, Mike and I realized that making a stand against Artificial Intelligence is not enough. The root cause… the pernicious pitfall that continues to further lunge society forward into enlightened modernity is the desire for any form of intelligence at all. We realized that if we were ever going to catalyze a much-needed cultural regression, we were going to have to make a stand against intelligence itself.

See, the past was absolutely full of idiots. People who wrestled bears and went over waterfalls in barrels. Whether it was Siddhartha Gautama (“I’m just going to eat this pretty mushroom”) or Christopher Columbus (“Hey, I found India!”) or even George Armstrong Custer (“No problem, this is fine”), people of the past have always done dumb things. It’s human. It’s authentic.

And these legends didn’t have their heads clouded with data or information. Our forefathers were simpletons who prided themselves in eking out a meager existence. But man, they had it good. Because things were simpler back then. No power? No problem! We got a hand brace for boring those holes, man. If you weren’t cut out for manual labor, well… tough luck, sucker! 

In the good ol’ days, people weren’t burdened by horseless carriages, or television, or TikTok. They had more authentic things that demanded their attention. Things like cholera, or hauling water, or cooking dinner over a fire of dried animal dung.

And compared to modern people, so many of those folks were genuinely incompetent. I mean, the only things they knew about were the things of bare survival. No politics to debate, no classic literature to wade through, no philosophical or scientific inquiry to reckon with. And we think that’s pretty great. We believe woodworkers, of all people, need to recover this kind of authentic incompetence. 

It’s time to drop the charade. If you and I are honest, 99% of the time none of us has any clue what the heck we’re doing. Be proud of that. That’s your true authentic self. Your ineptitude is who you are. Embrace it.

You wanna talk about AI, huh? “Artificial Intelligence?” I don’t think so. The only AI Mike and I want to see… and what we want for you is Authentic Incompetence. 

So, we invite you to join us in this quest into the quagmire. Dare to be stupid. Dare to let your mind and your saw kerfs wander. Come alongside us in breaking new ground in the woodworking field: Start highlighting rather than hiding your dubious wood butchery. We dare you to never test fit a joint again. Just go for it. Drive that puppy home.

Butt joints are the new dovetails. Sheetrock screws are legit. Incompetence is the new craftsmanship.

To celebrate this breathtaking vision, we are pleased to release the new Mortise & Tenon Authentic Incompetence Calendar. Set aside the fact that we’re already months into the year and you won’t be able to use 1/3 of the calendar. That’s inconsequential. With this calendar, month after month, you can spend 2024 reveling in the beauty of genuine human idiocy. To behold the stupidity that makes Mike and me so authentic. 

The M&T AI (Authentic Incompetence) Calendar is destined to be the most highly sought woodworking calendar released so far this month. They are up for sale now as a print-on-demand item, so they will never ever sell out! Your grandchildren and great-grandchildren can continue to buy this 2024 M&T Calendar as a memorial of the great (re)turning point in woodworking history.

Jump on the hottest new bandwagon. Be sure to order one to hang in your shop and tell every one of your visitors that along with Mike and Joshua, you’re proud to reject not only things that are artificial, but also intelligence itself. 

Dare to be stupid. Dare to be you.


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