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.)
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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!
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 “Alex” hacked 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”
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