"Interesting learnings today."
San Francisco recalled Chesa Boudin nearly a year ago, but somehow crime still exists. And not just little crimes like grass theft, but really big ones such as wandering around outside, according to SF resident and repeat main character Michelle Tandler, who spent the weekend Just Asking Questions harder than anyone in recent memory:
“It should be noted,” clarifies David Covucci in Daily Dot, “she’s not saying we ‘should’ publicly hang, say, 5 fentanyl dealers, but just wants to know why we don’t, hypothetically, publicly hang, say, 5 fentanyl dealers.” In fact, Tandler has expressly stated on the record, more than once, that she is against public hangings, a thing normal people often need to clarify multiple times for normal reasons.
You know who else loved public hangings? Nazis. Just ask Texas real estate nepo tycoon and Dukes of Hazzard side character Harlan Crow, who hates Nazis so much that he has spent a fortune amassing an extensive and lovingly displayed collection of Nazi artifacts, reports Sylvie McNamara in The Washingtonian:
These collections include Hitler artifacts—two of his paintings of European cityscapes, a signed copy of Mein Kampf, and assorted Nazi memorabilia—plus a garden full of statues of the 20th century’s worst despots.
Crow, the billionaire heir to a real estate fortune, has said that he’s filled his property with these mementoes because he hates communism and fascism.
Collecting things because you hate them sounds kind of weird, but then again I collect tabs, so… anyway on Thursday Propublica documented millions of dollars of unreported travel and luxury vacations Crow has gifted to uniquely crooked Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas for decades, in addition to funding Thomas’s insurrectionist wife’s PAC. But since his lifetime seat on the Supreme Court makes Thomas immune from any consequences for his increasingly flagrant corruption, most of the discourse concerned whether Harlan Crow’s Garden of Evil and Hall of Nazi Mementos are the kinds of things you collect just before or just after you start murdering vagrants for thrills.
Many voices on the right immediately leapt to Crow’s defense, assuring us that he does not put Nazis on a pedestal in anything but the literal sense. “Harlan is a good man, of good character,” insisted Dispatch editor Jonah Goldberg with no motive beyond unbiased admiration for—
Ah, well… wait here we go: “Everyone who does know [Crow] may disagree with him on some issue, but they universally recognize his decency, integrity, and kindness,” wrote… uh… famously racist caliper slinger Charles Murray. “OK, I do happen to have some Confederate currency in a frame. Does that make me a neo-Confederate…” asked American Enterprise Institute fellow Brent Orrell, effortlessly pulling an L out of thin air. Even little birthday boy Ben Shapiro took a break from sanding his wife to ask: if Crow is such a Nazi, do you really think he’d employ a Black man? Can’t answer that one can you, libs.
Also This Weekend in Nazis: “WWE apologizes for using Auschwitz footage in pro WrestleMania promo.”
Kids’ Fun Fact Science Corner:
The Girls Are Fighting
Substack and Elon Musk are fighting, and the primary casualty so far has been washed-up hat guy Matt Taibbi, which is hilarious.
Taibbi went on Mehdi Hasan’s show late last week to defend Musk’s vanity project “the Twitter Files“ and got his ass handed to him worse than anyone since Naomi “be” Wolf popped by the BBC to learn that the whole premise of her new book was wrong. In the midst of visibly struggling to understand what he himself had reported, Taibbi declined multiple opportunities to criticize Musk, but meanwhile Musk was nursing a grievance against Substack’s new Notes feature—an experimental short-form posting network that isn’t even publicly available yet. Already last week Twitter had begun blocking tweet embeds from Substack, and hardly had Taibbi’s flop sweat dried before Musk’s Russian propaganda network moved to aggressively restrict interactions with any tweet containing a Substack link. Mitchell Clark covered what happened next for The Verge:
Matt Taibbi has announced that he’s leaving Twitter amid the company’s ongoing spat with newsletter platform Substack…
If you’ll give me a moment to be candid, this is all just incredibly embarrassing for Musk, if he’s capable of feeling shame. (For the record, I’d guess yes.) The man made free speech his brand, saying that he wants to make Twitter a “trusted digital town square, where a wide range of views are tolerated, provided people don’t break the law or spam.” And then he cracks down on another company because it added a feature that’s a bit like Twitter?
Substack jumped on the opportunity to be seen punching up: “The Substack model is thriving,” posted founders Chris Best, Jairaj Sethi, and Hamish McKenzie, which is funny because this same weekend the news broke that in 2021, Substack spent about sixteen and a half million dollars on “partnerships” (i.e. advances to Substack writers) but only earned about five and a half million from paid subscriptions to those writers. In fact Substack had negative revenue in 2021, thriving to the tune of minus $5,167,975.00 in subscription income. Liz Lopatto writes:
We don’t have 2022 numbers. To me, after the appalling 2021 numbers, that’s what the children call a red flag. We do know that Substack arranged for credit facilities in 2022 — not a great sign since interest rates had gone up and they’d failed to raise more money. Substack hasn’t yet tapped into them, says spokeswoman Helen Tobin.
Things happen on Twitter purely at Elon Musk’s whim now, so Taibbi found himself temporarily search-blocked, and Roger Feeley-Lussier pointed out that “there is quite literally not a funnier possible outcome from the Twitter Files fiasco” than that. Brian Feldman argued that “we'd all benefit a little from continued awareness that our websites are made by a few guys who may or may not suck,” which is right except for the “may not.” And “Read” Max Read asked “Why would anyone subscribe to a social media platform?” which he meant as a question for Twitter but may be a more existentially urgent question for Substack.
The CMSis giving me the “wrap it up” signal so let's just take it straight to:
Today’s Song: JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown, “Lean Beef Patty”
Thanks to Song of the Day Intern Sam Gavin. And thanks to all of you for putting up with my absence last week. And thanks in advance for putting up with my absence next week, when I will be taking my youngest to New York City for their tenth birthday. Ayy! The Hot Apple! We’re walking here! And finally thanks for putting up with what turned out to be two complicated narrative discourse explications today. Tomorrow we will return to the customary scattershot firehose of random links. If you’d like to help buy my kid a bagel, please subscribe.
…which I’m typing this directly into, sickos.jpg…