If you love turgid prose deployed to reinforce existing power structures,1 maybe you were a fan of Slate Star Codex, a blog where tech weenies and nazis mingled to share ideas whose author, faced with the dreadful threat of a New York Times profile, threw a tremendous flounce last June and deleted the whole thing because he was supposedly going to be “doxxed.”2 A good job well done, you may think. But like so many other flouncers lately, he was lured back to publishing by Substack’s white man welfare program and relaunched the blog as Astral Codex Ten. Yes, I know, the names. Just imagine the most offputting nerd you ever met explaining what he thought was a clever bit of wordplay, and that’s what it is. The NYT piece, by Cade Metz, became relevant again, so it was updated and published this weekend. Mr. Codex has posted a response, in full dudgeon. This is all meaningless forum drama, of course, but your reward for groaning through it is a post by Elizabeth Spiers, about how it illuminates the differences between journalism as it’s practiced and journalism as it’s perceived, particularly by people who think they’re smarter than they are.
Congratulations to New York Post columnist Bret Stephens. Ben Smith wrote a classic “NY Times drama only matters because the Times is so very, very powerful and important” column, but it does present a lot of new reporting on the Don McNeil mess. From the Dep’t of Who Is Harper’s Magazine Even For: here’s Joshua Cohen pretending to be the ghost of Philip Roth reviewing his own biography. Yes, it sounds painful, but it can only hurt you if you read it. And Rush Limbaugh is dead! Huffington Post published the obituary he earned with his lifetime of cruelty.
I know it’s a lot for me to take two days off and then come back with all this toasty garbage right up top, so here’s a story about the time the Philadelphia Flyers commissioned a nude portrait of Gritty. Now read these classifieds carefully to unlock some genuinely good tabs waiting for you below!
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I spent the last few days at the foot of Mt. Katahdin, in Baxter State Park, so in lieu of whatever else happened on the internet this weekend, here’s a very handsome mountain:
Sabrina Imbler wrote about the life cycle of a deep sea parasite, but it might also be about surviving *waves at everything* all of this? Alternatively, you could try Garfields. Robin Sloan investigated Zora, a way to spend real money to use a lot of energy to create a unique digital object that you can… own? Sell? Like every blockchain idea it’s a lot of (probably bad) solutions in search of a problem. Maria Bustillos reads Jeff Bezos’s exit letter. Merve Emre reads Patricia Lockwood’s first novel, “No One Is Talking About This.” Andy Baio is working on a virtual event space called Skittish, and he’s looking for beta testers. News from the generation wars: 🤣 and 😂 are not 💀. This email is being tracked (yes, this one).
I talked to Brad Esposito for his “Very Fine Day” project, about Tabs, Scripto, Kuro5hin, and the old internet. Brad posts literally-transcribed interviews so this is a very accurate picture of how often I end a thought with “And, well, y’know.” Also it contains 100% of my opinion on Donald Trump, in a single paragraph.
In closing: Croc Balls.
Today’s Song: Hozier, “The Humours of Whiskey” (thx Delia!)
~ In Dublin's fair city, where the tabs are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone ~
No gods! No masters! No sign off!
Then A) why are you even reading Tabs? And B)…
He writes under the pseudonym Scott Alexander, which are his first and middle names. His full name is Scott Alexander Literally Just Some Guy.