Knights of the Clowned Table

HRH The King's Knight of Media rides to CNN's rescue.

Liz Lopatto lost to me in Music League so she wrote a whole Verge column about how the points don’t even matter actually, she’s just in it for the pure love of the game. To be fair, she did drop a very competitive live version of “Werewolves of London” in the last round (“Knifecrime Island”) and nearly pulled off an upset.1  

Also hoping to pull off an upset is CNN CEO and His Royal Highness the King’s Knight of Media2  Sir Mark Thompson, tilting at the same windmill that unhorsed Chris Licht but perhaps without the same endless train of personal baggage. Instead, judging by his FT interview with Daniel Thomas and Anna Nicolaou yesterday, he comes armed with an infinite supply of the kind of vapid business jargon that makes cash leap out of investors’ wallets all by itself. For example, the shower thoughts worthy: “Consumption of television is very strongly video-led and on platforms like YouTube and TikTok.” Television is mostly video? Damn that’s true dog. Or how about this banger?

“We’ll know in a few years time if we’re beginning to make progress, even if that still doesn’t look like it because of the aggregation of declining platforms and growing ones. But there’s a world of difference between having a pathway to the future and not.”

There’s a world of difference between progress and decline, but they are also indistinguishable! Listen, this guy is good. Even I have to respect this level of achievement in boardroom bullshit. I can see how he defeated the last Knight of Media. I think he has a decent shot at turning CNN around, honestly. But Sir Mark, listen: if Tim Alberta calls, just yell “no hablo!” and hang up.

Memento Morty posted: “telling myself that vlad didn't start impaling people until his thirties so there is still time for me to be whoever i want to be in life”

We accidentally drowned some bumblebees but then unexpectedly they lived, so we’re calling that “exciting new research results” and planning to drown a lot more bumblebees. Scientists!

However: UC Riverside announced that vaccine researchers have developed a potentially revolutionary “RNA-based vaccine strategy” that is “broadly applicable to any number of viruses, broadly effective against any variant of a virus, and safe for a broad spectrum of people. This could be the universal vaccine that we have been looking for.” Scientists! (complimentary.)

Conservatives want to move somewhere that sucks, and The Times is On It.

We’re so back and/or it’s so over, but either way The Times is On It.

Mattel and Heinz Team Up to Release 'Barbiecue' Sauce.” Is it possible that the last “pink sauce” fiasco was less than two years ago? Anyway Barbie is already over and Justin McElroy is the only person who will benefit from this.

Mattel/Heinz promo picture of a bottle of Barbiecue sauce, which is somehow labeled “CLASSIC” Barbiecue sauce? It looks pink, background is pink, the only idea anyone had here was “pink.”

Thank god they’re not trying to foist some new formula Barbiecue Sauce on us. Only the CLASSIC for me!

Happy Fremony at the Library day to all who celebrate.” one remony atremony aremony at the library. Thrremony at tremony at the libremony at the libraremony at the library. libremony atremony at the tremony at the library.

Screenshot of the most bonkers print error of all time, from the Friday, April 18th Peterborough Standard. Article title: “The memories live on.” And the text reads: “CROWLAND'S Silver Jubilee committee was finally wound up on Thurs- day evening with a presen- tation ceremony at the Ilb- rary. The jubilee fund, described by chairman Frank Parnell as 'one of the finest efforts in Lincoln- shire, fremony at the lib- rary. The Jubilee fund,. described by chairman Frank Parnesi as 'one remony atremony are sony at the library. The Jubremony at the lib- rary. Tremony at remony at the library. Thrremony at tremony at the liremony at the lib- raremony at the library. Theremony at the library. The Jubilee fund, described by chairman Frank Premony rremony at theremony aremony at the Ilb::mony atremony at tre mony at the !ibrary. Tremorremony at the lib- rary.remony at the library. The jubilee fund, described by chairman Frank Parnell as 'one of the finest efforts in Lincoln- shire', în be latched onto a through ball. Although be was hauled down by the "keeper he still managed”

Via Séamas O'Reilly on Bluesky. séamony O’remony on bluskkkony

In The Spectator, Lloyd Evans got hornt up at a Cambridge history lecture and went to visit a sex worker. That’s it, there’s no larger point to this anecdote.3  The Spectator is “the oldest surviving weekly magazine in the world.” I guess they can’t all be winners?

If you’re new here, the normal tabbing week is Monday through Thursday, so we refer to today as “Gentleman’s Friday,” the proper end of the civilized work week. I encourage you all to sandbag like crazy tomorrow, maybe take care of some errands you’d otherwise have to use up your weekend for. I don’t know if I’ll manage a paid post tomorrow or not, but if I do you’ll find it in your inbox.

Finally: It’s always worth checking in with John Herrman’s internal monologue on tech and media. Today he’s thinking about the recent slew of bad A.I. wearables, the existence of which “resets and raises [currently low] expectations [of A.I. software] in a disastrous way.” And Victoria Song expanded on the anecdote about translation in The Verge’s Humane A.I. pin review, and the real human need to communicate that it could enable if it ever worked.

Family would speak to me in Korean, I’d reply back in English — and vice versa... Eventually, my family became adept at speaking a pidgin of English, Korean, and Japanese.

This arrangement was less than ideal but workable. That is until both of my parents were diagnosed with incurable, degenerative neurological diseases… Their English, a language they studied for decades, evaporated.

Today’s Song: Arctic Monkeys, “A Certain Romance”

“Knifecrime Island” round winner and Music League championship song, by everyone’s favorite lads.4  

We Regret The Oversight: Yesterday I forgot to credit Senior Managing Editor for Graphics Alison Headley for the magnificent and unsetting Joe Kahn photoshop. I’m sure most of you recognized the style but just to confirm, it was of course Alison’s work.

1  “Media in 2024 is just Liz and Rusty taking loving swipes at each other across every publication,” observes Our Mutual Friend. We’ve reached the pinnacle of culture at last.

2  This is not a joke, he was knighted in 2023 for “services to media.” The U.K. is a deeply unserious country.

3  Again: the U.K. is a deeply unserious country.

4  I mean, the U.K. has some things going for it, don’t get me wrong.