Here Come Cat Boi

The new highbrow flex dropped, Snake Oil's secrets revealed, and don't ever take it seriously just look at the dancing baby.

Taking the highbrow flex to an undreamed-of new level, Casey Cep announced her pandemic pregnancy with a characteristically delightful post on her blog, The New Yorker dot com, about Biblical motherhood but also about reader response and how “whatever schools of literary criticism might recommend, most of us notice ourselves in the pages of whatever we read,” which is a familiar sensation for former Michigan art house theatre employee Alexis Nowicki who noticed the hell out of herself in the first piece of short fiction to go viral since Charles Dickens’s 1841 banger “The Old Curiosity Shop,” Kristen Roupenian’s 2017 body-horror social share graphic vehicle “Cat Person.” Nowicki’s post initially leaves you thinking “I’m sure there have been a million age-gap romances in Michigan between an art-house theatre employee who lived in a specific dorm and came from a specific town and an older man with an extensive board game collection, a tattoo on his shoulder, and a rabbit fur hat.” Same old story we’ve heard a million times.

But ultimately Roupenian gives Nowicki what Kyle Chayka points out is a priceless piece of metafictional IP by confirming that she did know titular Cat Person “Robert” (given the different but no less invented or more inventive pseudonym “Charles” in Nowicki’s Slate post), and that:

“I later learned, from social media, that this man previously had a much younger girlfriend. I also learned a handful of facts about her: that she worked in a movie theater, that she was from a town adjacent to Ann Arbor, and that she was an undergrad at the same school I attended as a grad student.”

But so often solving one mystery only raises others. In this case we are left to wonder two things. First, Robert/Charles died “suddenly” in November 2020, and I know it’s impolite but it’s also fully human to wonder: did Cat Person die of Covid? And second, who is the cat based on?

Also Today in Upsetting Lips: Rachel Handler answers all the questions you will suddenly have four seconds from now about whether Adam Driver actually sings while going full Batman on Marion Cotillard in “Leos Carax’s Annette, a movie musical about whether or not it is ethical to ask a fake baby to perform at the Super Bowl.” And in Vox, Alissa Wilkinson explains why you should ignore the wasteful mess that is food date labeling and just trust your own disgusting lips.

The many oils in Caroline Calloway’s “Snake Oil” skin potion have leaked, making an aromatic mess of skincare Reddit. Liz Lopatto in shock accusation: Did Teletubbies fake their vax cards? There go dat boi, out of the Suez Canal after 106 days. And the House GOP promises to drop “exclusive content” on Republican Sonic the Hedgehog porn site Gettr. Gotta drop it fast, if you know what I mean fellas. 😉

I missed this yesterday but NYMag had another post about the `slettering world, an overview of the depressing state of the inbox in the Substack era by Molly Fischer. I’m taking the lack of an explicit Tabs mention to be an implied endorsement, unless we’re “crowded rooms with too few windows on the world beyond.” Could go either way!

Speaking of the world beyond, is a search engine that only indexes small websites (via Cooper Quintin and the Tabs Subscriber Discord/Volunteer Research Dep’t). Try the “surprise me...” link! I got, which accurately informs me that “this is what the internet is for don't ever take it seriously just look at the dancing baby.”

And finally, Bloomberg Green (“It’s people!”) has a murder mystery from the Pyrenees where the victim is a bear. There’s also an accidental cocaine ring bust, it’s good, go read it.

Today’s Song: “$2,400,000,” by Bomb the Music Industry!

~You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the tab~

Happy Civilized Weekend everyone, I am headed to Baxter State Park for a volunteer SAR shift tomorrow, so the Friday Open Thread is off this week. It’s the summer, take the day yourself, hit the beach or whatever your local equivalent of “hitting the beach” is. Reply to this and let me know if you do, I like to know I’m decreasing our average productivity. I’ll see you Monday, or online @fka_tabs. Sorry about the share graphic.

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