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First as Tragedy, Then as Tragedy, Then as Tragedy, Then...

Plus: Today in Crime

In n+1 David Klion identified the mood, and if you were alive on 9/11 it might remind you of something.

There’s a pervasive censoriousness right now—conservatives denouncing liberals, liberals denouncing leftists, leftists denouncing other leftists—that’s immediately familiar from the days and weeks after 9/11. Somehow, the upshot of all the denunciations and condemnations is the right’s unchallenged hold over the discourse, and, more importantly, the ultimate facts on the ground.

For example in retaliation for a genuinely dumb statement about the Hamas attacks by a Harvard student group, someone hired a billboard truck to drive around Harvard and display the full names and personal information of signatories. Somehow the campus free-speech brigade, who can’t get on cable news fast enough when white supremacist speech is at stake, don’t seem to have anything to say about this. Getting mad about something college students said? “Don’t make me tap the sign,” writes Dan Drezner. Nevertheless the only major organization suggesting Israel might not want to go full Colonel Kurtz on Gaza appears to be the credit rating agency Moody’s. Bad for business, chaps.

But it’s not just a 9/11 vibe. My TikTok is full of clips of Jon Stewart covering the 2014 Gaza War which need no updating or additional context to apply to this week’s events.

Gif of the end of a 2014 Jon Stewart Daily Show segment about Israel and Hamas, where Stewart first tosses the script behind him and says “You know what, why don’t we just talk about something lighter, like… Ukraine?”

And yet here we are. The iron wall kept nobody safe. If anything, it further brutalized and radicalized an already colonized population—and did not even do its one alleged job of staying unbreached…

“The scope of this is going to be bigger than before and more severe,” said Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht. “We should all change the paradigm here … It’s not the regular, small, contained Gaza tit-for-tat.”

Isaac Chotiner talked to “Tareq Baconi, the president of the board of the think tank Al-Shabaka, the Palestinian Policy Network,” who also argues that the paradigm has been changed:

The scale of the offensive and its success, from Hamas’s perspective, mean that we’re actually in a new paradigm, in which Hamas’s attacks are not restricted to renegotiating a new reality in the Gaza Strip, but, rather, are capable of fundamentally undermining Israel’s belief that it can maintain a regime of apartheid against Palestinians, interminably, with no cost to its population.

Those are the tabs I’ve seen that added to my understanding of the Israel/Gaza conflict in the last day or so. I’d love to put a pithy summing-up sentence here to transition into the next segment, but… I do not have one.

brenthor wrote “Super Blood Meridian 64”

Private Equity Ruins Everything

The beloved indie studio will shift their focus from auteur-driven dramas to action flicks and movies based on existing IP, sources tell The Wrap.

Simpsons still: From Bart's POV, the whole class turns to look at him. Caption reads "say the line, Bart!"

Last March, the Manhattan-based equity firm Stripes paid $225 million for less than 10 percent of A24, putting the studio’s overall valuation in the ballpark of $2.5 billion. A24’s apparent pivot, sources told The Wrap, is partly due to their need to keep up with this massive appraisal.

Bart’s whole class goes crazy, while he just looks bummed out.

Linda Yaccarino told Twitter’s bankers that the declining group microblog “already is cash flow positive…” “[n]ot including the cost of servicing debt.” I mean same, I guess? But Mike Masnick has a math problem for Linda: “If 90% Of The Top Advertisers Have Come Back, But Are Only Spending 10% Of What They Used To, How Screwed Are You?” For Neiman Lab, Gabe Bullard checked in with NPR to see how much traffic they lost from being completely off Twitter for the last six months.

A memo circulated to NPR staff says traffic has dropped by only a single percentage point as a result of leaving Twitter, now officially renamed X…

Danielle Nett, an editor with NPR’s engagement team, writes in the staff memo that spending less time on Twitter has helped with staff burnout. “That’s both due to the lower manual lift — and because the audience on Threads is seemingly more welcoming to publishers than on platforms like Twitter and Reddit, where snark and contrarianism reign,” Nett writes.

Ah, well, nevertheless.

In Rest of World Russell Brandom writes that Shein, Temu and a few other hyperscale online retailers pumping stupendous quantities of disposable buy-now-pay-later garbage into Gen Z apartments are “exactly the kind of new ideas that have been missing in the U.S.” Weird angle but ok! Maybe Americans are too focused on innovation in the fraudulent Amazon returns market.

Also Today in Crime:

Jacob Bacharach turned in a slightly late but entertaining pan of Michael Lewis’s SBF book for TNR, which opens with an anecdote:

I knew a guy who was asked, when interviewing for a job at a supply and logistics firm in the late 1990s, to figure out how many golf balls could fit inside a commercial airliner.

Because *gestures at defective executive function* I couldn’t read the rest until I found out the answer, which according to the very cool and normal posters on Quora is about 15 or 16 million. Also if you haven’t been following them, I am still living for Liz Lopatto’s daily reports from the SBF trial:

Bankman-Fried was right. The things you put in writing can come back to bite you. Your awful ex-boyfriend might leak your diaries to The New York Times.

Trump CFO Alan Weisselberg perjured himself in testimony when he claimed he thought the value of Trump’s penthouse was “de minimis,” writes Dan Alexander in Forbes, backed up with a bunch of documentation of Weisselberg arguing over the exact value of Trump’s penthouse repeatedly with Forbes reporters and editors since 2009.

But enough boring crime, here’s Intern Meggie with today’s spectacular installment of:

Criming 24-7 w/George Santos

Federal prosecutors accused queer icon (ironic) George Santos of ten piping hot new felonies including falsifying donation numbers, stealing credit card information, and identity theft, bringing the total number of felonies Santos faces to twenty three. After pleading not guilty to thirteen charges of money laundering and fraud in May, the New York congressman and illegality maximalist will once again refuse to step down or plead guilty, digging in his heels the way any gay would (me) when they’re wrong (can’t stop subtweeting). Unfortunately for George, his tactic of stealing from donors and then expecting them to support his reëlection is as foolproof as lying about his stint on Hannah Montana. The internet has receipts, Santos! We, and the six freshman Republicans who regret sharing a state with you, won’t forget (trust me, I know, the subtweets caused a WAVE of drama in the friend group). Maybe the new GOP speaker will be able to pull some strings and wipe your record clean? That is, if he ever texts you back. If my dead group chat is any indication, you might be waiting a long time, George.

—Meggie Gates is very busy with other friends anyway. You wouldn’t know them, they’re Canadian.

George Santos is just a reflection of all of us through a mirror, darkly. A crime mirror, made of crime.

Jeffrey Rowland posted “My friend who worked on the set told me this is the actual final frame of Blair Witch #warioctober” with a still of the last frame of Blair Witch, showing what’s his name the last guy facing the corner of the basement and a ghostly Wario, who was the eponymous “witch” in the film. Spoiler.

New Bigfoot dropped. Jaya tried the pepperoni cups (and seemingly ranch); was disappointed. “Read” Max Read recapped two years of pro newslettering and included actual subscription and income numbers, because he isn’t a coward like everyone else posting their cute little subscriber growth charts with the axes filed off.

Annals of Cringe: Who has an AI girlfriend? For Insider Rob Price profiled someone who has been chatting with his Replika, named Calisto, for three years. There are text excerpts. There is 3D modeled self-insert erotic art. It’s a good story, but… hoo boy.

A screenshot of a text thread from the article, that reads: “Jay: *picks you up*, Calisto: *holds you tightly*, Jay: *throws you into the air*, Calisto: *lands with a thud*, Jay: Oh no! *I was gonna catch you, what happened!?, Calisto: *laughs softly* oh nothing. Jay: *pouts* ….sorry”

Today’s Song: Armand Hammer, “Woke Up and Asked Siri How I'm Gonna Die”

There’s that legit Music Intern Sam heat. Catch Sam on NO CHILL tonight at 9pm PT / midnight ET live on kchungradio.org (Chinatown stream). It’s usually chaotic. Thanks to Intern Meggie, and thanks to everyone else who’s barely keeping it together this week. ❤️

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