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Annals of Cringe
Anyway, here's Modest Mouse
“Gen Z Never Learned To Read Cursive. How will they interpret the past?” asks former Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust in an Atlantic column that I won’t dunk on because I do not consent to this academic-irrelevancy fetish play. But how will Gen Z interpret the past? As cringe.
Reaction gifs are ‘for boomers’ and ‘cringe’ according to Giphy, who ought to know, in their UK legal brief explaining why only Facebook is cringe enough to want to buy them. Sorry Nilay, you just missed it. Is that Prime Minister of Cringe Liz Truss? Well we can’t spot everyone I’m afraid. And Emine Saner really went for it in The Guardian, rolling up the deaths of Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana, the Covid-19 pandemic, the Grenfell Tower disaster and the police murder of George Floyd as all just examples of “collective grief.” I guess nobody told the London police, since in her GQ chronicle of the five miles of cringe called the Queue, Laurie Penny wrote:
At hour eight, something unexpected happens. Something that, for some reason, none of the news coverage has mentioned. What happens is that the Queue shuffles slowly and painfully by the National Covid Memorial near Westminster Bridge. The police presence is stronger here than ever. They try to stop people from getting close enough to the wall to read the names of those who died of Covid-19. Most of us know someone on this wall. The police keep us moving. I have a pen in my pocket, but for some reason nobody’s allowed to add to the hundreds of thousands of names painted in hearts as far as the eye can see.
Some griefs are more collective than others. Speaking of England’s ongoing medieval LARP, here’s the historic moment the Lord Chamberlain “broke his wand” so that no other sorcerer could steal it and consume the power of the Queen. I also thought murdering the remaining corgis on live television was in extremely poor taste, but apparently it’s a tradition that goes back 1300 years to Queen Æthelburg, who got snackish during the siege of Taunton.
And in today’s deepest, darkest cringe, St. Louis’ Riverfront Times finally pulled the string that has been buried in the fundament of the Magnus Carlsen / Hans Niemann chess controversy out of the darkness and into the light:
Vice referenced an idea involving a hypothetical player "using vibration-based buttons in a player’s shoes" to communicate with a chess engine. A chess engine is a computer program that can be used to analyze the configuration of pieces on the chess board and then suggest moves to human players.
The vibrating shoes morphed into the notion that Niemann was communicating using a "prostate massager."
The theory is that Niemann won using anal chess beads. I guess that’s still better than Germany’s far-right AFD party, who gave everyone a bag of gummy dicks to remind them of AFD. Which: fair.
Cheyenne Roundtree, Rolling Stone:
“…images circulated of the children gathered in an empty warehouse, eating a nutritious meal at foldout tables, and meeting Celtics player Jaylen Brown, who said three kids had given him their autographs. “[They] said they will be famous,” he wrote on Instagram after his visit. “I believe them.”
Matthew Belloni, Puck:
So far, it’s taken about a year to make 12 episodes of a sitcom—albeit a very labor-intensive sitcom—and there’s no finish line in sight. Lasso Season 3, the first with Sudeikis firmly in charge alongside co-creators Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly, opened a writers room last September, and the cast arrived in London in early January. But Sudeikis personally decided the scripts needed a significant rewrite, according to multiple sources…
Thanks in large part to the delays, the Season 3 budget has ballooned between 20 percent to 30 percent (and counting), one source estimated, and Season 2 was already a lot more expensive than that great first season.
Will we regret making Figma founder and weirdly silent Peter Thiel-adjacent nerd Dylan Field a billionaire? Who can say. But The Wall St. Journal only got a total of sixteen words out of him. Charlie Stross: “Day 9 of the Necroqueen's progression to the Duat and the operation to tag the sacrifices is proceeding satisfactorily.” Did Russian trolls torpedo the Women’s March organization? I don’t know, but this story about it didn’t seem to satisfy anyone. Much more satisfying was Pat Castaldo on designing the cover for “The Lonesome Crowded West” and generally being an art-theatre gadabout in mid-90’s Olympia, WA: “Anyway, here’s Modest Mouse.” Jason Diamond: “Good Coffee Is Now Bad.” Grand theft Grand Theft Auto 6. Also Today in Hacks: Uber (yikes), and Kiwi Farms (lol). And Joe Wiesenthal argues that crypto is just tech stocks now:
Today In Weather: Catastrophic flooding in Puerto Rico. Catastrophic flooding in Alaska. Catastrophic flooding in Japan. Catastrophic flooding in Italy. And a new report on the catastrophic flooding last month in Pakistan suggests that “climate change made such heavy rainfall more likely.” I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Have you noticed that Amazon is impossible to use anymore? It’s even worse for sellers, according to Insider’s Rob Price and Katherine Long who found several being deluged with returns from counterfeit marketplace accounts that stole their identities. Amazon’s defense is that it found ten billion counterfeit product listings in 2020, and 94% of new seller account applications do not pass verification. Is that… good?
Be Smart: Clare Malone on the Axios founders’ new pamphlet ‘Smart Brevity:’ “I kept getting a little bored and putting it down.”
Today’s Song: Anyway here’s Modest Mouse
Happy Monday, sorry about almost everything in the newsletter today, I think I’m running out of sp