Dreams Really Do Come True

Looking back? No thanks pal.

2023 finally ended, and you want to look back? The thing that turned Lot’s Wife into a pillar of salt? No thanks pal. The Pop-Tarts Bowl Edible Mascot gave of his own flesh to bring forth a new year from the pale flavorless crumbs of the old and I will not dishonor that sacrifice.

Brian Feldman doesn’t like looking back either, so he wrote a 2023 recap of things he enjoyed that you can look forward to instead. And Anil looked way back to predict what might be about to happen online:

IT’S A DRAMATIC, messy era on the internet. Everything is changing rapidly. There’s broad dissatisfaction with the dominant search engine, and activists are worried about the privacy implications of increasingly intrusive online surveillance. While investors prattle on about esoteric topics like digital currencies and virtual reality, back in the real world, users are concerned with how hard it is to message all their friends on the many different platforms that they’re using, and perhaps a bit curious about the new social networks that keep popping up. Amidst the backdrop of all this change, an off-putting nerd named Elon Musk won’t stop talking about an “everything app” called X that will help him manifest his extremist views. But more than anything, it is a time when the internet seems ripe for change, perhaps even being wide open to a new cohort of technologies and communities that could reshape the way it works. Millions of people seem poised to connect with each other in new ways, as they reconsider their fundamental relationship to technology.

The era I’m talking about is 2000.

Hell yeah, got ‘em! What a classic lede structure. The main thing I realized when I became an Old is that everything happens every twenty years. Or in the case of Gamergate, everything happens continuously since 2014. Claudine Gay just got Gamergated out of her Harvard presidency, but don’t worry, New York’s leading ivy league school newspaper The New York Times is trying to find the guy that did this. Yes, we all know it was Chris Rufo because he just published another Wall St. Journal opinion piece titled “It’s Me, I’m The Guy That Did This,” but The Times Is On It nonetheless.

🌈 You Can Always Quit

Encrypted messaging app Wickr quit working, and 404’s Joseph Cox would like know where the drug traffickers are hanging out now, because of reasons. Slate has a whole series about quitting, including a piece by novelist Eden Robins about quitting a startup for a ten hour a week job as a crossing guard because it offered health insurance. It sounds like it rules? There’s also one by Amanda Knox on how she ended up involuntarily quitting alcohol during a study abroad program in Italy. Yes, that Amanda Knox. It’s quite a swerve if you didn’t read the byline first. Talia Lavin quit Substack and moved her newsletter The Sword and the Sandwich to Buttondown, and then I fully swiped her first subject line yesterday. Oops! My dreams of becoming president of Harvard have gone up in smoke. And Steven Reece Lewis, the alleged CEO of a crypto scam called Hyperverse, hasn’t quit but only because he apparently does not exist.

A slide from a Hyperverse presentation about alleged CEO Steven Reece Lewis listing various made up facts about him and bearing the hilarious title “Credibility” above a stock photo of a Business Guy meant to represent the putative CEO.

If you’ll just flip ahead to the next slide, titled “Steven Reece Lewis: A man who exists…”

Tom Scocca would like to quit being sick, but in lieu of a firm solution to his ongoing medical mystery he wrote an incredible and harrowing piece for New York Magazine about what it’s like to get an “interesting” disease these days.

There was zero explanation; there was, maybe, the absolutely obvious explanation: that I was stressing myself into this over money. We’d been absorbing plenty of strain in the household before I lost my job — some normal midlife stuff, some normal parent stuff, some abnormal and menacing stuff that I truly can’t even get into. Our black cat gnawed our potted prosperity bamboo to shreds. Trying to save it, we overwatered it until it rotted from the inside out.

Tom is one of a small number of writers I personally view with a kind of reverential awe for what he’s capable of, and he never fails to send me a “good post today” when he thinks I did a good post today, so I truly hope he can beat this. And the same goes for the rest of you who are going through something similar, because it’s a lot of us and it could be any of us. As Tom writes:

I’d been furious about this already on other people’s behalf. Most Americans, the Biden administration said, would be fine if they were vaccinated. This elided the people who wouldn’t be: the immunocompromised, for example, and those with certain respiratory conditions. The political and journalistic consensus had set the value of these people’s safety at zero, not even granting them the benefit of mask advisories or ventilation standards.

When I started hearing about the late-summer COVID wave, it occurred to me that now I was one of those people myself. This is what disability advocates have said all along, not that it usually sinks in: The able and the disabled aren’t two different kinds of people but the same people at different times.

A tweet by Thomas Chatterton Williams that reads “Thrilled to join so many writers and editors I admire on staff at @TheAtlantic, a magazine whose back issues I used to study in the library at college, wondering how to become a writer” followed by a reply from Kelsey D. Atherton asking “did you ever figure it out” A murder was committed here.

Finally: The mystery of Rudy Foster has been solved, maybe. If so, they were also misgendered, lol. I’m told their books are excellent, and thanks to John Maher for the tip.

Today’s Song: Sun Kil Moon, “Duk Koo Kim”

Music Intern Sam is temporarily MIA so here’s fourteen and a half minutes of midwest slowcore, you’re welcome! If anyone is looking for a great gift for me, can I suggest Cousin Greg’s monogrammed LL Bean backpack? Thanks to Senior Managing Editor for Graphics Alison Headley for creating yesterday’s beautiful paid subscriber T. Rex. Dave Karpf thought he was joking but this is pretty much verbatim:

Dave Karpf posted: @rusty.todayintabs.com, to intern: "you get that photo of T-Rex?" Intern: "sure did boss, real fuckin sexy just like you asked for." Rusty: "what."

And thanks to everyone in the subscriber Discord for all the cheerful voluntary customer support yesterday. You made a chaotic day manageable and I love you all. I couldn’t ask for better customers employees readers uh, friends?

If you had a paid subscription to Tabs before, you should still have it now. I think I found and fixed all the ones that got dropped. If yours is still missing, please reply and tell me, I think there are a couple more edge cases that I didn’t get. Sorry!

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