Doric, Ironic, and Corinthian

Scared bears in the chandelair

Here’s the Roman Colosseum carved into a human tooth:

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And here’s Ji-Young, who is (somehow?!) the first Asian American Muppet. If you’re like me this made you wonder who would be the first non-binary Muppet, but of course it’s been Gonzo-rella all along.

What do the Roman Colosseum and the Muppets have in common? Columns.

The above are good columns, but there are bad columns too, like the Washington Post column where former George W. Bush speechwriter and torture enthusiast Marc Thiessen explained that Critical Race Theory started with Immanuel Kant’s “theory of being critical of reason.” Better than bad columns are good columns about bad columns, like Indignity’s The Sophist on Ross Douthat’s book-length column about the breakdown in his body’s physical ability to “absorb the total annihilation of conservative political pretensions to Christian goodness,” which Douthat chooses to call “chronic Lyme disease,” and why not. Or Defector’s Albert Burneko’s column about The Washington Post’s Meryl Kornfield and Andrew Van Dam’s column about how your boss would prefer that you quit, which is not at all, but obsequiously if you must.

Nice future you got there. Be a real shame if somebody haunted it like a vengeful ghost, destroying your attempts at exchanging your labors for a personal livelihood, because you declined to make your exit as easy for them as they’d like.

Choire’s new job at New York Magazine, “VP of Doing Whatever He Wants,” is going great. Here’s his column about Bret Stephens’ and Alexis Madrigal’s columns about having COVID and posting insufferably about it. He’s also starting a newsletter about the Ghislaine Maxwell trial, and what is a newsletter but the column that supports a single media stylite, gazing down at the busy world below and thinking alternately “not for me!” and “wow it’s lonely up here.”

Speaking of Ghislaine Maxwell, if you can’t make your column good or bad at least try to make it short and incomprehensible, like former hat owner Napoleon Bonaparte would be if you didn’t speak Corsican, Italian, or French, or like Rachel Johnson’s Spectator masterpiece “It’s hard not to pity Ghislaine Maxwell,”1 (subtitle: “We met briefly at Oxford”) which covers Johnson’s peripatetic childhood, puppies, experiences with probate, radio show, the titular Oxford encounter with Jeffrey Epstein’s accused accomplice in sex trafficking, and puppies again, all in just five paragraphs. Rachel Johnson is British Prime Minister and Peppa Pig fancier Boris Johnson’s sister, which means that according to the Magna Carta and the Mumsnet Accords, she is allotted whatever mass media space she desires.


Today in Polly returns this week on 🕷 Black Friday 🦇, to give you an excuse to ignore your relatives if only for a few blessed minutes. Heather Havrilesky and I will once again compete to answer your advice questions and make you cry. Previously: issues one and two. If you have a question for us (or you’ve already asked one that we haven’t answered yet) please email me at kuro5hin.rusty (at) gmail dot com with “advice” in the subject. You only have until Wednesday morning, because we don’t want to work on Thanksgiving, so do it now.


The Queen enters a vague but ominous “new phase.” It’s Tab Time on Netflix. Today in Crabs. Congrats to Ben Smith on his impending conflict of interest resolution. I saw in The New Yorker that they got Petey on the TikTok now, he said old-ly. An entire NFT project was stolen, and the thieves subsequently had to apologize for not noticing the art they stole was racist. Max Read: “Web3 has a dork problem.” Also in crypto, The NFT Bay right clicked it all, and there was the whole Constitution thing but if you care about that I bet you already know what happened.

Today in Commerce: Muffin Man is a bop, but Nature Boy (feat. Num Num Cat) is an absolute jam. I dread when the brands figure out how to turn duet chains into ads which is imminent if not already happening. “Kaitlin Phillips’s unedited unreadable noncomprehensive Christmas Gift Guide: PART 1” is here, for that special person in your life who needs either caviar, a custom couch reupholstery, or a $6,000 set of Claude Lalanne snail spoons. Danielle Tcholakian pointed out that Kyrsten Sinema’s Punky Brewster cosplay is meant to obscure the fact that she operates as a legislative vending machine. Radiohead made a KID A MNESIA “upside-down digital/analogue universe created from original artwork and recordings,” which I guess is kind of a… game? It’s in the Epic game store, anyway. They also made a Crying Minotaur costume for Fall Guys, whatever any of that means, and a surprising range of merch including a tea set and a tin of “pointy-tooth bear biscuits.” Subscriptions to Off The Record are only $15 for three months. And in The Fence, Fergus Butler-Gallie investigates “The Worst Bar in London.

Finally: In 2011, the creator of the webcomic “Pictures for Sad Children” ran a successful Kickstarter to fund a book project.

Then, in February 2014, Veil posted another update: A two-minute video of a pile of books on fire, accompanied by an essay. “I shipped about 75% of kickstarter rewards to backers. I will not be shipping any more. I will not be issuing any refunds. For every message I receive about this book through e-mail, social media or any other means, I will burn another book,” she wrote.

Then she disappeared. Justin Ling found out what happened to “Pictures for Sad Children,” for Input.

Today’s Song: AJJ, “Brave as a Noun”

~ As a tabs man, I hope that you'll forgive just good old-fashioned plain speaking. ~

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