Dueling Kamalas

Stacking piggies like Janet Reno.

Sorry I’ve been off but at least there hasn’t been any big news while I was sick. Or at least no one on Twitter knows what the news is. Probably the biggest sign of Twitter’s precipitous crash in influence is that Israel and Hamas went to war, with abominable war crimes and inexcusable civilian slaughter on both sides and the only person who managed to get canceled over it was “former adult content actor” Mia Khalifa who lost a podcasting contract with Playboy’s creator platform after tweeting: “Can someone please tell the freedom fighters in Palestine to flip their phones and film horizontal.” Observers across the political spectrum were shocked to learn that Playboy has a creator platform.

Kelsey Atherton skeeted: “In Noah Pinion's attic hangs a take that just keeps getting smarter and smarter”

Jada Pinkett Smith took advantage of the chaotic and distracting news environment to mention in a promo interview for her forthcoming mem-WAH that actually she and Will haven’t had anything to do with each other privately since 2016, despite pretending to have a strong and stable marriage in public. They skate by on charm but no one on earth is weirder than these two freaks. Also dropping into the week’s toxic news mix for some reason are two nearly-identical Kamala Harris profiles, one in The New York Times by Astead W. Herndon and the other in The Atlantic by Elaina Plott Calabro. Which one should you read? Honestly it doesn’t really matter, they’re so similar I’ve already forgotten who had which good quote. On balance, Herndon got better examples of Harris’s signature rhetorical move: avoiding a straightforward question by pretending she doesn’t understand it.

…I decided to ask her how I should think about the changes in her philosophy. Were they “an evolution based on new evidence? Or is that a kind of tacit admission that the view from 20 years ago might have been incorrect?” I asked.

“Why don’t we break it down to which part you’re talking about, and then I can tell you,” she said, leaning forward.

I mentioned the elimination of cash bail, which Harris embraced during her run for president but never during her time in California.

“I think it depends on what kind of crime you’re talking about, to be honest,” she said.

I tried to ask another way.

“When you think about what changed from then to now, is there anything you look back and say, I wish we did differently?”

“You have to be more specific,” Harris said.

This is just the first half of an excruciating exchange which clarifies nothing about Harris’s beliefs except that she hates taking to reporters and isn’t very good at it. But Calabro got served a fresh bowl of Kamalaian word salad:

Harris shifted the terms of the discussion when I asked how her Senate background had proved useful in the administration’s push for legislation: “I mean, I think the work we have to do is really more in getting folks to speak loudly with their feet through the election cycle”…

Totally unrelated side note, In re speaking loudly with our feet:

Screenshot of a Tiktok showing an auburn haired woman looking baffled, with the caption ”I cannot stop thinking about this bar bathroom graffiti I saw in WI.” And truly, after watching it, neither can I.

Stacking piggies like Janet Reno.” Phew! Ok back to Kamala Harris, the upshot of the dueling Kamalas is best captured by Herndon although Calabro makes essentially the same point:

“My career, for the most part, has not been one of being focused on giving lovely speeches or trying to pass a bill,” Harris said to me in an interview in Chicago…

My understanding is that these are the two core job functions of a politician? What is it that Harris wants to do in office, if it’s neither to give lovely speeches nor to enact policy? No answer is forthcoming, and the existence of the question ends up being the thesis of both profiles.

Maybe she’d rather go live on the moon? Today Intern Meggie has a preview of what that will be like for us.

Full Moon, No Vacancy

What’s NASA’s newest science fair project? Making sure we (the 1%) get to go live on the moon. The plan is to use lunar dust as concrete to 3D print houses, first for astronauts and then eventually civilians by 2040. With one hundred nine thousand craters to fall in (…love with!) and glass-sharp dust that’s been blasted by solar radiation until it levitates (tan and exfoliate just by walking around!) the moon is begging to become your next vacation hot spot—but at a steep price. The housing market will skyrocket when SpaceBnB gets a chance to rob people of affordable housing on a whole new planet. And if you think renting is expensive now, just WAIT until it’s astronomical. 

A rendering of three fanciful beehive shaped structures on the moon. They will not be built, ever.

—Intern Meggie trusts that you noticed all the space puns.

I told Intern Meggie to add more jokes this week, I can see we’ll need to drill down into specifically what qualifies as a joke. J/k I know you sickos love bad puns. If you upgrade to a paid subscription and join the Discord make sure you @clay with every pun, he can’t get enough of them.

Coach Finstock skeeted a picture of a lot of pallets and boxes full of pumpkins sitting around a portable basketball hoop, with the text “About to get thrown out of here for obvious reasons”

The only take on the war in Israel that I’ve agreed with so far is by Eric Levitz in Intelligencer today:

Either one upholds the equal worth of all human lives, opposes war crimes, and despises far-right ethno-nationalist political projects or one doesn’t. What’s more, cheering (or publicly announcing your refusal to condemn) the murder of children isn’t just morally grotesque but also politically self-defeating.

Pop quiz hot shot: Which side is a “far-right ethno-nationalist political project?”

But was the war foretold by our modern Wild Hunt: the return of the McRib?

On October 4th Chris Udalla tweeted: “The McRib only comes back before a tragic world event. Take precautions. Heed my warning.” On the 8th, he quoted the previous tweet, adding “Damn bro my bad”

This is America (Taylor’s Version). Gen Z finds out you can buy a cheese grater. What will they learn next! Ok maybe we don’t know if AI is useful for anything, but at least it’s losing a ton of money. Jason Farago Read One Post-Structuralist Challenge, 2023. Sweater weather, with Amanda Mull. Maintenance Phase on Ozempic. Joshua Benton tech tip: How to get headlines back on Twitter, but I don’t know why you’d bother, it’s not fun anymore. “She Sells Cae Sal” is a great headline, A+ work whoever wrote that. Kevin Roose ran into Aella at a prediction market conference that turned into an orgy. Only you know whether you must read this or could never read this, but those are the only two options.

Kristen Wixx posted: “🎶 Whoa, Black Betty 🎶” with a picture of a woman and a man sitting at a table with nameplates that say Randle and Lamb.

Today’s Song: Poppy, “Breezeblocks”

This one’s gonna show up on the Season 9 Playlist as the alt-J version because Poppy’s cover isn’t on Spotify. Thanks to Music Intern Sam who didn’t pick this but did in a very real way lead me to it. Thanks to you for sticking around, I’m feeling much better thanks. I am mainly on Bluesky these days. If you haven’t found an invite code yet give bsky-social-7qoft-yv5mg a try. No guarantees though.

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