Sigh Ops

Gwen Stefani's culty apps gave us all a menty b, and the uWu-ification of militarism mobilizes the simps.

Allure’s Jesa Marie Calaor sat down with Gwen Stefani for a half hour and listened to her say ”more than once that she is Japanese” (she is extremely not Japanese), so instead of reviewing Stefani’s new cosmetic line, Calaor turned in a solid, well-sourced, and nuanced description of the problem with cultural appropriation. Is the makeup any good? Who cares.

For Dazed, Günseli Yalcinkaya wrote a profile of TikTok psy-op e-girl Army influencer Lujan that goes at least a hundred times harder than it could have gotten away with. Regrettably I can’t quote every paragraph so here’s just part of one:

We’ve entered an era of military-funded E-girl warfare. In what would’ve felt unimaginable only a few years back, influencers are the hottest new weapon in the government’s arsenal. Here, cosplay commandos post nationalist thirst traps to mobilise the SIMPs, attracting the sort of impressionable reply guys and 4chan lostbois who message “OMG DM me🔥” on every post. Sanitising the harsh realities of US imperialism with cute E-girl-isms, it promotes the sort of hypersexualised militarism that reframes violence as something cute, goofy and unthreatening – a subversion of the beefy special forces stereotype in the mainstream.

Every day, Starship Troopers draws closer to pure documentary. Also in Dazed, Serena Smith has a fun investigation of how the platty joobs gave everyone a menty b before the cozzie livs hit, which is marred only by its inexcusable neglect of the all-time master of British abbreviationism, P.G. Wodehouse. Thanks to Casey Lewis for both of these Dazed stories, After School is a solid subby rec. And speaking of e-girls, Alex Abad-Santos thinks M3GAN is “an hour-and-30-minute camp meditation about how a pretty white girl best friend can be one of the most terrifying things in American life,” which sums up today’s overall theme so far.

Today in Crabs

Did the world need another profile of Matt Yglesias? No, but Dan Zak wrote one anyway. I did appreciate this fairly subtle roast near the end:

Perhaps it’s instructive to think about two topics that bookend his public life. At age 21, Yglesias was laying out the logician’s case for the invasion of Iraq, because how could the most powerful, informed men on Earth be so stupid? In May of this year, Yglesias declared that Bankman-Fried “is for real,” because why else would wealthy people risk their money?

It is difficult to get a graduate of the Dalton School and Harvard to understand that the most powerful, informed men on Earth are idiots, when his subscription revenue depends on his not understanding it.

Binance Macabre: Speaking of wealthy people risking their money, the ticking keeps getting louder for Binance. “Analysts reveal the crypto exchange undercollateralized its holdings by at least $1 billion, and not just once,” reports Sander Lutz in Decrypt, and another report in the suggestively titled Coingape claims that “in only two months, roughly a quarter of Binance’s assets left the exchange,” also pointing to irregularities in the exchange’s native BUSD coin.

Bad Posts: Thomas Chatterton Williams declares the Manhattan air “deeply unserious.” Not like the Manhattan air we used to have, redolent as it was of the piss of Philosophers and Kings.

Three tweet thread by Thomas Chatterton Williams: “The degree to which Manhattan air is now just saturated with the aroma of marijuana is frankly absurd.” “What are you even supposed to say to children? “Don’t do drugs!”” “For the record, I don’t care if people smoke (or drink!), but the imposition of the odor all over public spaces is weird and feels deeply unserious”

New Herb in at G/O. CNET is quietly running AI-written posts. Parler fired almost everyone, possibly after realizing that, as Casey Newton said, “there truly is no point to Parler in a world where Elon's Twitter exists.” Elon’s Twitter, meanwhile, “Said to Consider Selling User Names to Boost Revenue.” Sure, I guess. Whatever. NYT:What These 11 Cops Think People Don’t Understand About Crime.” I appreciate the implied distinction between “cops” and “people” here.

And I said, what about…

“…’Requiem for a Dream,’ she said I believe I remember the film, and as I recall I think we both found it harrowing, and I said well, that's the one thing we've got."

Today’s Song: The Caretaker, ”Mental Caverns Without Sunshine”

Ok as promised, more Tabs news:

Season Eight Interns: The world famous Tabs Internship program will be back for Season Eight, which begins in March. I have updated the Intern info post with current info, but the summary is: I’m looking for four interns this year, for April, May, October and November. Read more about it and apply, it’s a lot of fun.

Today in Polly: Heather and I have both gotten our professional and emotional lives in order, to whatever extent that’s possible for either of us, so new Today in Polly is coming soon. I’ve unlocked all of the previous issues, and please send us questions soon if you need two Gen Xers to bicker over your life quandaries (which you do).

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