America Never Had a Core

Cracker Barrel is #Despairwave

The Tiktok-micro-aesthetic-to-web-content pipeline is roaring today, with Sophie Haigney on Dark Academia in Dirt and Morgan Ome and Christian Paz Kyle digging into April-2020-wave in The Atlantic. “Why Are People Nostalgic for Early-Pandemic Life?” I don’t know, maybe because the aesthetic of late pandemic life is a cross between “Garbage Truck Drags Dining Shed Down Sixth Avenue With Diner Inside” and “Alabama governor defends plan to use covid relief funds to build new prisons.” Kyle tackled Americancore in the New Yorker, as a reaction to / parody of #Japancore but also maybe as a legitimate thing in itself. Hasn’t Cracker Barrel always been #Americancore? And in The New York Times Magazine, Willy Staley argues that “The Sopranos” is popular again because America never had a core:

The show’s depiction of contemporary America as relentlessly banal and hollow is plainly at the core of the current interest in the show, which coincides with an era of crisis across just about every major institution in American life.

The aesthetic at Ozy is Crimewave,1 and the second-day followups to Ben Smith’s weekend scoop have arrived. Joshua Benton appears to have been collecting Ozy receipts for years, and he’s dumped them all in NiemanLab where he relentlessly tears down every time Ozy or its charismatic huckster CEO Carlos Watson claimed to “report on things that are up and coming, the new, the next, rising stars, new trends, that kind of stuff.” It appears that Ozy was routinely beat to “the new and the next” by hip trendspotters like The Wall St. Journal and The Today Show. The WSJ’s Benjamin Mullin broke the news that Ozy’s board has unexpectedly taken the cobwebbed “Gone Fishin’ 🎣” sign off the boardroom door and issued a belated promise to “conduct a review of the company’s business activities” such as whether the company has any business activities.

Insider appears to have staffed a whole Ozy Media Meltdown newsroom, with Claire Atkinson, Patrick Coffee, Lindsay Rittenhouse, and Tanya Dua all contributing to a report that at least one investor, Insider parent conglomerate Axel Springer, is arching a severe German eyebrow and muttering “Was ist das?” and that ad agencies are starting to realize they took a lot of money from clients for those fake views.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Alex Weprin has the news that Carlos Watson (“The best interviewer on TV!” as Winston Churchill memorably described him) has backed out of a planned News and Documentary Emmy Awards hosting gig tonight. Weprin also dug up evidence that Ozy recently took millions in debt financing “at an eye-watering 12.8% interest rate” from VENTURE LENDING & LEASING IX, INC. Former BBC anchor Katty Kay, who made the unfortunate decision to join Ozy just this summer, has resigned. And the National Public Radio Board of Directors, which failed its saving throw against Charm Person in 2018, is “considering these developments” vis-à-vis Watson’s board seat.

Today in Today in Tabs: I have tricked the best in the advice-column business, Ask Polly’s (and Ask Molly’s) Heather Havrilesky, into doing a crossover episode with me on an upcoming Friday. The premise is that you can send us your life questions and get good advice from her and bad advice from me at the same time, then pick whichever sounds more fun. So please email us your questions! No topic is off limits, no one will be doxed. Put “Advice” in the subject to make it easier for me, if you would.

On Monday, a transfer of $100,000 in USDT went through on the Ethereum blockchain along with a transaction fee of approximately $23 million dollars, because crypto is the stupidest, funniest thing in the world. A postmortem posted by the recipient platform DeversiFi explains that it happened because the free BN.js javascript library doesn’t support floating point numbers. Are we handling billions of dollars worth of ETH and BTC transactions with MIT licensed javascript libraries off Github? Lol, and indeed, lmao. But wait! The miner who received this unexpected $23 million windfall, which was permanently and irrevocably transferred in accordance with the trust-free and decentralized nature of the blockchain, RETURNED IT. This, writes DeversiFi’s Konrad Strachan, “speaks volumes about the amazing Ethereum and cryptocurrency community in general.” You know what other kind of currency is supported by an amazing community?

Amazon announced a $1000 robot cop for your home that also sucks at being a robot. If I ever see one of these I am kicking it, this is the only warning. The next Cambridge Analytica style data-harvesting operation is probably underway on Facebook, claims Chris Ladd, and it’s those question memes that look like they’re fishing for your password reset answers. Antipodean avian jerkwad the cassowary was “raised by people 18,000 years ago.” Thanks a lot, people. The ivory-billed woodpecker is officially extinct, which sucks, and also means that “it is legal to kill it if someone manages to discover it again,” which extra sucks. In The Counter, Joe Fassler has an investigation of lab-grown meat which “will likely never be a cost-competitive food.” But if your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, what might be cost-competitive is Mom’s Spaghetti.

Today’s Song: Eminem, “Lose Yourself”

~ tabs on his sweater already ~

I said I wouldn’t raise the goal again but Twitter voted so what can I do? The marathon walk fundraiser hit my stretch goal of $2500 within an hour of Tabs posting yesterday, so now the (I swear) best and final goal is FIVE THOUSAND dollars, cause this opportunity comes once in a lifetime so do not miss your chance to do…nate. And send me and Heather your questions. (Not you, Bennett Madison.) We’ll do it this Friday if there are enough questions. If not, maybe next Friday! Just keeping it loose over here, hakuna matata. ✌️

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