Weird Ancient Dog Found

Lying fallow on Gentleman's Friday.

Here’s a little amuse bouche from tabs past to clear the palate after a long week of discourse: in 1979, an impossibly precocious fourteen year old Cuban American named Miguel Esteban decided “to publish a biweekly, 24-page magazine of and about science fiction entitled Transmission.For the first (and last) issue, he commissioned an original essay about writing race in science fiction from a 32 year old Octavia Butler, who not only delivered the essay for the $50 fee offered, but graciously accepted an incredibly snotty edit from this junior high school kid. Telling the story in the L.A. Review of Books in 2021, Esteban quoted Butler’s copy of his edit notes from her archives at the Huntington Library:

“The first seven-and-one-fourth pages are excellent, for you present a strong and interesting argument. On the other hand, the last two-and-three-fourths pages (or there-abouts) do not belong in this article in the manner you included them... Sorry. TRANSMISSION will not speak to its readers directly ever (except in special cases, like my INTRO or in any special pieces involving the necessary attention by readers) [Octavia highlights the sentence up to this point and writes ‘Ass!’ in the left margin];”

Butler’s essay “Lost Races of Science Fiction” “lived on to arguably become an influential piece in this amazing writer’s oeuvre.” There’s no current events peg here, I just thought it was a good story.

Also Today in Ancient History:

Detail of a weird dog from newly discovered Pompeiian frescoes.

Ancient Dog Has Seen Some Shit

This circa 79 A.D. good boy is from newly uncovered Pompeiian frescoes, which will be the subject of a three part BBC series beginning next week. They also found a good one of L rizz Apollo fumbling Cassandra:

To the left, Apollo, bare ass naked except for a blue cloak type thing over one shoulder, stands leaning insouciantly on his lyre looking like a titanic dickhead. Cassandra is seated facing him to the right, looking down with one hand on her head like “how do I make this end.”

Serving dong next to your lyre is a high-key ick.

Brad Lendon, CNN: “A US Navy and Coast Guard operation on Tuesday rescued three mariners stranded on a tiny Pacific Ocean islet for more than a week after the trio spelled out “HELP” using palm fronds laid on a white-sand beach.” Bugs Bunny-ass rescue, but good for them.

Aftermath published an excerpt from Merritt K.’s book “LAN Party” and I died of nostalgia.

Also Dead: OJ. Simpson.

Timothy Burke posted a link to a CBS article about today’s Ford Bronco recall, and commented: “on a day like today, it’s hard not to recall a Ford Bronco”

David Pierce reviewed the Humane A.I. Pin for The Verge, and he did not care for it.

“…I spent an hour in our studio trying desperately to get the AI Pin to translate to Japanese or Korean, while The Verge’s Victoria Song — who speaks both — sat there talking to it in those languages to absolutely no avail. Rather than translate things, it would just say them back to her, in a horrible and occasionally almost mocking accent.”

“For Khan, ‘lying fallow’ is a restorative withdrawal from life, an enlivening little death, which Khan recommended to patients in need of re-accessing ‘that larval inner experience which distinguishes true psychic creativity from obsessional productiveness.’”

If it seems like I’m doing a lot of pictures and blockquotes today, see above.

Arizona’s 1864 abortion ban has been lying fallow since Roe v Wade, but with it coming back into effect Philip Bump wondered what other laws were on the books in 1864 Arizona. Could you beat a child to death as long as it was an accident? (Yes!) Could a ten year old give adult sexual consent? (Also yes!) Just think of the legal obscenities awaiting us next year in America’s final presidency.

The mellifluous Matt Levine and Katie Greifeld are doing a Money Stuff podcast. Please have me on next time there’s a good meme stonks story, Matt.

Jill Krajewski posted: “[werner herzog voice]” above a screenshot of the headline “Frogs are screaming - we just can’t hear them”

Ok Fine, If We Must: Washington Post book critic Becca Rothfeld addressed the Oyler / Manov discourse in her newsletter, specifically the bullshit question of whether it’s sexist for women to write negative reviews of other women’s work.

It’s not as if the Oyler pan is the next stage of History’s progression towards Absolute Knowing. I wrote a pan of Oyler myself, and I know that it wasn’t inevitable. In fact, it was scary, so scary that I seriously considered backing out of it and reviewing something else. Manov chose to review Oyler’s book in the same way that Trilling chose to review Sherwood Anderson. She was no more a victim of discourse poisoning than Trilling was!

If you read this and find yourself thinking “who is she even responding to?” then count yourself lucky you haven’t seen the tweets, and just take her word for it.

And Finally: Jude Doyle on “Reading ‘Intercourse’ With Gender Dysphoria.”

There are problems with this book. There are problems with Dworkin. I’m aware of them — but they haven’t stopped me from trying to reclaim the work, or from using it (or misusing it) to understand my own situation. What can Andrea Dworkin do for transness? Strike that, reverse it: What can transness do for Andrea Dworkin? This, maybe, is what I've been trying to figure out all along.

Today’s Song: Artemas, “i like the way you kiss me”


This week was some of the most fun I’ve ever had in the Tabs Discord. If you find yourself lacking a group chat that can truly appreciate and support your need to get way too deep into the media gossip discourse, we have a place for you.