Immortan Don Gets Into Another Jam
Is this books?
Yesterday we all learned the news “in the traditional manner:”
Trump has vowed to continued his campaign for a second non-consecutive White House term, and has actually seen his poll numbers buoyed by his indictments.
Ah, well, nevertheless. Trump’s newest indictment, for attempting to overthrow a legitimate election via lies and conspiracy, is the most work anyone has ever devoted to debating Nate Silver, Josh Barro, and the anonymous Republican official who on November 9th, 2020, told The Washington Post: “It’s not like he’s plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20.” To be fair, the indictment does say Trump started five days later.
Here’s hoping that at least thirty percent of us can someday squint at the results of this and declare that they aren’t exactly not justice, and America’s fundamentally racist and untenable system of capitalist landowner pseudo-democracy lurches on for a few more increasingly chaotic years before the water wars really get underway.
There’s a feud between Seattle’s professional hockey team and some horny social media creators, so joining us today to explain it is Tabs’ Senior Literary Correspondent Allegra Rosenberg, for a segment we’re calling:
BookTok, the lively algorithmic agglomeration of readers and authors to which Colleen Hoover (among many others) owes her chart-topping career, is grappling with its own great power lately. And as Uncle Ben would say:
While BookTok ostensibly encompasses all creators who post about literature on Tiktok, it leans toward genre fiction. And it’s safe to say that BookTok has been at the center of the recent explosion in romance, bringing a genre that has for decades quietly been powering the publishing industry into a more public spotlight.
The best thing a brand can hope for is that someone else makes their product go viral without the brand having to pay for it. This is as true for sports teams as it is for household appliances, hence the Seattle Kraken hockey team flying BookTok creator Kierra Lewis to a game and gifting her a jersey with “BOOKTOK” across the back in thanks for her promotion of the team, which mainly took the form of horny screeching.
Lewis is only the tip of the iceberg of a large BookTok community of hockey lovers, many of whom were hooked on the real life sport after reading some of the more popular steamy hockey romance books, like “Puck Me Secretly” or “Pucked Over.” But she has become the center of a maelstrom of attention after the wife of the Kraken’s beloved heartthrob center Alex Wennberg took a stand against fans’ outspoken objectification of her husband, which at times has verged on sexual harassment. The Kraken’s social media profiles subsequently deleted a number of BookTok targeted videos, and criticism is still skating back and forth between factions.
Sci-fi, fantasy, and romance are the tripartite pillars of fan culture, and participants in fandom are for the most part lovers of genre fiction. But fictional characters are not the same as real humans with entertainment jobs, like actors or sports players. Being publicly horny about a fictional character is not the same as sexually harassing a hockey player when he’s at work. The rise in public platform culture means that many fiction-loving BookTokkers who experience what I call “the fandom feeling” for the first time simply don’t know how to act. There are no training grounds anymore, no hidden forums or low-key conventions where new fans (young or old) can get to grips with what it means to do what they do. And there’s certainly no fourth wall between real people and horny fans, as the Wennbergs have found out to their discomfiture.
When there’s an immense amount of cash at stake in the potentially profitable interactions between fan-influencers and brand-properties, why would brands discourage it? And how could a fan keep an obsession to themself, their friend group, or their subculture, when it has the potential to rocket them to virality and renown if done shamelessly in public? As usual, the real Kraken here is capitalism.
—Allegra Rosenberg’s verdict: I guess this is books.
Is there a normal way to learn news anymore?
Is Airbnb collapsing? I don’t know, but I do wonder how much they’re paying Gwyneth Paltrow for this promotional stunt. Skibidi Toilet meme gives Gen Z its first glimpse of mortality. Welcome, friends. Also today in mortality: “How dare you suggest this strong powerful woman can’t do her job?” And today in immortality, Henrietta Lacks’ family settles HeLa cells suit. Luke Goldstein looks at Dollar General’s growing health services division in The American Prospect, as the predatory discount chain expands its business model of paying workers poverty wages to serve communities in poverty into the field of healthcare. And there’s a Londoner who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and he’s buying a stairwell to nowhere.
Today’s Song: Jeff Rosenstock, “Liked U Better”
Music Intern Sam picked this song today, so I did unfortunately have to banish him to the Outer Wastes, good luck among the sand vultures and scrap goons, buddy! Just one more tabbing day before I also head for the Outer Wastes. This is always a weird time to ask you to subscribe, but if you find yourself having feelings about no more Tabs this month, paying me is a terrific way to encourage me to return in September. If you subscribe already: message received. 💖