Grand Opening, Grand Closing
Goddamn, Woke Tuesday cracked the can open again.
Happy Woke Tuesday, Happy Mother’s Day to the haters and the losers, and happy launch day to The Messenger, a brand new website from The Hill co-owner Jimmy Finkelstein, along with The Hill’s former president Richard Beckman and The Hill’s former head chum chef Neetzan Zimmerman. This year, Finkelstein “plans to have around 550 journalists” and “more than 100 million monthly readers” but something seemed kinda off about editor Dan Wakeford’s welcome message:
In the Tabs discord, colinb described the site’s vibe as ”what if a whole website was a chumbox?" and I can’t put it any better than that. Imagine The Daily Mail but less charming. Anyway check it out if you want scoops like “George Soros tweeted,” and to the journalists working there, which statistically is all of them, get those paychecks for the next twelve to eighteen months.
But when God opens a website, he also closes a website, so today is the day VICE Media finally filed for bankruptcy, reported Jason Koebler in Vice. Fortress Investment Group and Soros Fund Management offered to buy internet media’s crumbling haunted hipster mansion for $225 million, which would be entirely covered by the “$250 million in debt [VICE took] from investors including Fortress and George Soros's Soros Fund Management” which the company has already defaulted on. Looks like Derek Mead got the new content strategy memo.
Are there still any good websites? One local intern found the surprising answer, and your family’s safety might depend on it. Here’s our own Intern Camille to tell us more.
Casey Kolderup’s Archive Stumbler for the Internet Archive (of recent publishing lawsuit fame) hearkens back to a vital part of being Online: accidentally discovering obscure media. Lately, those discoveries feel curtailed, especially as the evolution of search engines has tamped down on the serendipitous.
I love the Internet Archive because it offers a return to that enigmatic excitement. In using it I've found Doctor Who fan videos removed from YouTube, a meta season of the podcast “Mabel” taken down from the main feed, and hyper-specific books that are hard to find outside of academic libraries.
The Archive Stumbler takes that a step further: it provides avenues of approach that I wouldn't have considered. With it I've found French samplecore music from 2005, vintage fountain pen ads, and 2000s video game demos of dubious quality. While the Stumbler comes with preloaded collections to parse through, I can also recommend: the Community Collection, featuring user uploads with little rhyme or reason; Console Living Room, a collection of emulated classic console games; and Belgian Telecards, which are an aesthetic surprise.
At their heart, the Archive and the Archive Stumbler remind me of Jonathan Zittrain's 2021 The Atlantic article on the rotting internet. In it, he argues that the internet is a morass of decaying dead links pointing nowhere. The Archive and the act of stumbling through it serve as the inverse. If the internet is rotting, then the Internet Archive serves as a sort of scar tissue, webbing over the damage to hold it together. Meandering through it allows us to hold the past close, if only for a moment.
The archaic word of the day is honorificabilitudinitatibus: being able to achieve honors.
—Camille Butera is Stumblin’ In (1978)
I can’t even achieve pronouncing “honorificabilitudinitatibus,” let alone honors.
The Wall St. Journal He Was No Angel-ed murdered tech CEO Bob Lee. When we asked for equity in the coverage of murder victims I’m not sure this is what anyone meant? Anyway according to Bloomberg’s Arianne Cohen everyone working remotely is hopped up on goofballs 24/7, which is an interesting new spin on “no one wants to come back to the office.“ And whether in the office or out, no one needs to know what Elon Musk is up to, but if you feel like you have to stay current, reading one David Roth post is a good way to do it.
Oi, mate, is we all ‘avin the ol’ minty b, or is it just me and the lads from Gen Zed? Congrats to Gen Z Name runner-up Brinton Parker and gold medalist Critter Fink. But bruv, it’d be bit of a larf if jeans ‘ad their own lit’le jeans eh?
Today in Not Especially Topical Content: In the Tabs discord, Martha dropped this Times article about “the Last Old-School Seltzer Shop in New York,” and Ian followed up with a Bon Appétit video about the Brooklyn Seltzer Boys from a few years ago, and I enjoyed both of them. The discord is really the 3D Tabs experience—this kind of thing happens in there all the time, and hardly any of it makes it into the newsletter. If you’re not already at least lurking it, stick around to the end of this email for the invite link or a convenient opportunity to subscribe and get it.
Today’s Song: Music Intern Sam recommends Gabriel Szatan’s review / reconsideration of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories (10th Anniversary Edition) in Pitchfork. After some debate on today’s song we eventually compromised on “Prime (2012 Unfinished),” which he thinks “sounds most like their contemporaneous work on the TRON: LEGACY soundtrack which is so so good,” and I think gets enjoyable to listen to a lot faster than most Daft Punk songs.
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