Dolly Wouldn't

An existential trap door and the angry ghosts of 432 Park.

Living in New York is hard. It’s one of the few places where a normal housing arrangement is a tiny apartment shared by a group of strangers who split the ruinously high rent into smaller pieces they each still can’t afford, and yet they all live there for years, like if Wile E. Coyote ran off a cliff but grimly refused to look down ever. Bridget Read’s "The Nightmare Share” starts as a normal “difficult roommate” story and then springs open what Luke O'Neil called the “existential trap door:” “a moment when the true scope of the horror the characters have been fighting is revealed.” By the end of this story, everyone in it is effectively homeless, and it’s hard not to wonder how much money and pain we would all save by simply paying for everyone to have a home.

On the lighter side: Stefanos Chen brings us a delightful tale of the struggles of the aerial millionaires of 432 Park, a building that looks like a middle finger, floods frequently, occasionally traps residents in the elevator, creaks constantly in the wind, and howls with the unearthly cries of the millions of vengeful dead sacrificed by its residents to amass their immoral wealth. Also, “breakfast is no longer free.”

New York, baby! The city that never sleeps! (Due to hostile squatters and angry ghosts.)


>> The Media Classifieds:

  • Some days you make the coffee, some days the coffee makes you. Whether you’re a coffee novice or a coffee nerd, YES PLZ brings the beans that’ll get you a great cup and punch up your morning routine. Try us today and take $5 off your first fresh-roasted bag.

  • Through its hard-worn digital ad ops experience for publishers, Hashtag Labs has produced the most comprehensive ad management system available today. HTL BID makes managing ad tech easier and more profitable for digital publishers. To learn more please reach out to hello@hashtag-labs.com or visit us at hashtag-labs.com.

  • Let's Know Things is a calm, reserved, weekly news analysis podcast that is non-polemical, non-shouty, and dedicated to putting what's happening today into more intelligible, useful context. Subscribe here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

  • Subscribe to The Whippet for science, history, weirdness & idiosyncratic advice. 0% hot takes or contemporary politics, although I will continue to report on petty infighting among pterosaur paleontologists, because that is some top-shelf gossip.

>> Want to promote your job opening / pitch call / new project / ecommerce brand? Consider a classified ad. Deez Links, Study Hall, and Today in Tabs are working together to distribute weekly listings to 38,000 hyper-engaged followers of the media industry (editors, writers, executives) through all three newsletters. Click through for rates, testimonials and to get in touch.


There was a weird glut of Dolly Parton news yesterday. First came word that she turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump twice. While everyone cheered the headline, she explained that it was just because “she couldn't make the timing work.” Now she’s afraid to accept one from Joe Biden, because “I feel like if I take it, I'll be doing politics, so I'm not sure." Hmm. Then she told the AP’s Mesfin Fekadu that despite helping to fund the Moderna vaccine, she hasn’t gotten her own shot yet. All of this is presumably pre-promo for the launch of her new perfume via an upcoming Super Bowl ad for Squarespace, which, I warn you, is one of the darkest artifacts of late capitalism I have ever seen.

Yes, she let them take a sharply written working class lament about the bosses stealing the value of your work and ultimately the literal minutes of your life and turn it into a paean to the gig economy grind. It sucks and I hate it!

GameStop has dropped, some people are wondering if Robinhood CEO Vlad “the Retailer” Tenev even knows what his company does, so it’s also the perfect time for their splashy Super Bowl ad!

The Internet Archive has digitized all of Editor & Publisher magazine’s back catalog. Joshua Benton picked out some of the highlights for NeimanLab. “The Accidental Sex Couch Tearing Facebook Mom Groups Apart.” NY Review of Vibes. Darknet Diaries did an episode on the time “Alexhacked former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott semi-by-accident. Who is murdering Connecticut’s official groundhogs? Amazon’s planned Arlington, VA headquarters looks like a giant butt plug. What may be the pillow guy’s last TV interview goes poorly. Willy Blackmore wrote a good story about winter in Maine and getting robbed.

Today’s Song: Good Charlotte, “Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous”

~ If I was twice the tab I could be, I'd still be half of what you need ~

Not a lot of jokes today! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I always forget to mention it but I love when you send me your tabs! Reply to any newsletter, or @ me on Twitter. Those of you who did today: thanks. And make sure you watch on Sunday for the big Tabs Super Bowl ad!