Kiss Every Bug

Trish Lockwood's DFW, de Blasio's great experiment begins, and it's only the hottest day in human history *so far*.

Have you ever wanted to kiss every bug, but you can’t because they’re so small and your lips are so strong?” begins the Kickstarter pitch for Bugkiss, and there are some questions to which each of us is born with an answer glowing deep in the sanguinary narthex of our heart, awaiting life’s inevitable summons. The human Kickstarter is fully funded, as is the Bugstarter dot com swarm-funding campaign (if you’re a bug) but you can pre-order your own Bugkiss directly from Legboot.1 

Close up image of a beautiful reddish-brown stag beetle that my youngest child discovered attempting to wear their bathing suit this morning, restored safely outdoors and rearing majestically in the unaccustomed sunshine of what has otherwise been a very damp and drizzly summer.

Patricia Lockwood definitely wants to kiss every bug, and the bug she kisses at considerable length in the current London Review of Books is David Foster Wallace. It’s nominally a review of The Pale King but strays into Infinite Jest, his nonfiction, his terrorizing real-life treatment of Mary Karr and subsequent fictional ingestion of her “to the point of impersonation,” and the “genuinely infected” Brief Interviews With Hideous Men.

There is a great deal of handwringing about whether we can still enjoy the work of hideous men. The question is not typically how to root out influence. It is whether we can still enjoy, but we are reaching for another word beyond it. What we are asking is whether we can still experience it without becoming these men.

Of course we become them. That is the exercise of fiction.

Park Slope YMCA member and former government employee Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray took stock of their relationship and decided they would like the opportunity to kiss other bugs. “Bill de Blasio and Chirlane McCray Are Separating,” claims the New York TimesMatt Flegenheimer, before clarifying that they are not separating in a legal sense, or in a domestic sense:

They are not planning to divorce, they said, but will date other people. They will continue to share the Park Slope townhouse…

Mattie Lubchansky: “personally i do NOT like it that the original charter of new york city states that the mayor must be ‘of limited intelligenfe and poccefing the sparke of madness’"

Slapdash submersible honcho Stockton Rush was willing to risk anyone’s life for his obsession with kissing every bug on the sea floor, according to Ben Taub’s scoopy New Yorker second-day piece about OceanGate and the Titan implosion. It’s long but almost every paragraph contains some shocking new fact about the doomed submersible, a deathtrap made of expired carbon fiber and zip ties which was probably not even safe on dry land according to every expert who assessed it and cared whether they lived, a list that Taub strongly implies did not include deep-sea expert and recent widower Paul-Henri Nargeolet, the sub’s only victim who is on record saying of submarine implosion: “if you have to go, that would be a good way. Instant.”

Rio Nguyen: “Liomera rugata is a crab which inhabits in coral reefs of the Red Sea & Pacific Ocean and it's ultra-pinkish, Source: https://www.sealifebase.ca/summary/Liomera-rugata.html, Posted by: Massimo” with a picture of an incredible fuzzy-looking neon pink-purple crab.

Today in Non-Bug-Kissing Tabs:

Twitter is still going through it, and while the flailing is kind of hilarious, it’s telling that I spent time with a bunch of other hardcore Twitter dorks this weekend and we all experienced the rate limits and chaos secondhand via reports on other platforms. Garbage Ryan did a good job covering it today if you’re interested in what-all happened. I’ve seen enough social platforms die to recognize the stages, and Twitter is deep in its point-and-laugh era, where the people who were most addicted have emotionally moved on and just find the collapse funny. In The New European, James Ball wrote that on today’s Twitter “[it] is much easier to run an influence operation to push false narratives or intervene in an election than it used to be,” which is kind of true, but for an influence operation to work, it has to influence someone. Twitter doesn‘t matter anymore. Dave Karpf still thinks that when the EU and FTC fines land, Elon will declare bankruptcy and blame the dastardly regulatory state for stifling his genius innovation (c.f. Stockton Rush/the dastardly submersible regulators), and he’s probably right, but it would be funnier if the fines don’t amount to much and Elon just has to keep gradually failing.

Today in Extremely Local News: The Christmas Tree Shops declares bankruptcy, “plans to liquidate all of its stores.” There are about a half dozen specific readers that this link is for, and they know who they are.

A very bad date. Two very good reviews of “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” one by Gita Jackson and one by Tabs Senior Contributing Editor Bijan Stephen. July fourth was the hottest day in recorded history,3 smashing the previous record which was set way back on July third. Queen Elizabeth II’s would-be assassin Darth Jones to be sentenced.

Lauren from rotating sandwiches posts: “trying to explain to the zoomers that an 8,000 word DFW book review from patricia lockwood is the gen-X version of the 1000 gecs release. neither group quite catches my meaning but everyone agrees i'm wrong”

Today in Conspiracies: Nuclear weapons are fake” is a new one to me, but it did unintentionally lead me to this interesting media studies paper about the Rapatronic camera, designed by Harold Edgerton (of course) which “was distinct… because its millionth-of-a-second speed made it possible to look in detail at the explosion, from 0.0 seconds to around 0.006 seconds, when the fireball was not yet round.” It produced this image of a nuclear bomb test in its first 6 milliseconds:

Today’s Song: The Chemical Brothers,Live Again” (featuring Halo Maud)

Thanks Music Intern Sam, and thanks again for a great month from Intern Mariam, whose graduation post got a record-breaking 143 likes. I’m so proud of her and also furious that I can barely crack 70 likes, which is just the way my particular emotional life is stunted. If you hit “like” on that post and you’re not already a paid subscriber, you are legally obligated to become one. New interns are coming in October and November, which gives me some time to regenerate my editing juices. Wow, gross. Can you believe it’s already Friday?

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