- Today in Tabs
- Ben Smith Resolves Longstanding Conflict of Interest
Ben Smith Resolves Longstanding Conflict of Interest
Norman Mailer Still Dead
Norman Mailer was dead: to begin with. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. Yesterday in The Ankler Michael Wolff wrote a nearly unreadable post about Random House declining to publish a collection of old political essays by the now largely unread manosphere blogger Norman Mailer who, as I mentioned, is dead. Before dying (which he did in 2007, at the end of his life) Mailer lived in a state of perpetual cancellation through six marriages and innumerable affairs, arguments, and fistfights. Nevertheless, according to Wolff:
That’s not even the worst sentence in the piece, which reads like a first draft yelled into voice notes by a Boomer absolutely wrecked on DMT. The book project’s cancellation is imputed first to the mythical “junior staffer” who purportedly objected to what Wikipedia calls Mailer’s “most famous and reprinted” essay, and later to "the objections of feminist and cultural gadfly Roxane Gay.” But not the real human feminist and cultural gadfly Roxane Gay, just a “generic [Roxane Gay] type of objector,” which is literally a Bojack Horseman joke.
The actual feminist and cultural gadfly Roxane Gay is quoted in the piece saying “lol Norman who?” and indeed it’s hard to imagine anyone except Joyce Carol Oates who would care either way whether a collection of Mailer’s old essays was published now. And that suggests the real answer to this mystery, which Wolff is desperately horny to spin up into a new literary cancellation. “Confounding how many GenX journos I'm hearing from who have not read Norman Mailer (ever! nothing!)” Wolff tweeted, and since the youngest Gen Xers are now in our forties and Mailer hasn’t started trending on TikTok yet, I have to wonder if someone at Random House realized Joyce Carol Oates already owns all of Mailer’s books and decided it was time to invent a woke junior staffer.
In conclusion, Norman Mailer stabbed his wife and he doesn’t care if you cancel him because he is dead.
Ben Smith has resolved the longstanding conflict between holding stock in BuzzFeed and being the New York Times’s media columnist by telling the Times and all of its non-college-educated dumbshit readers to suck it as he forms a Voltron of Media Smiths with former Bloomberg Chief Executive Justin “No Relation” Smith. They plan to address the “market of 200 million college-educated, English-speaking professionals throughout the world” that are apparently not already being served by The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal or Bloomberg or Axios or Insider or The Washington Post or The Associated Press or Deutsche Welle or BBC News or Al Jazeera, with an innovative business plan that:
Congratulations to them both, it will attract hundreds of millions in funding and SPAC within a decade.
Wired’s new editor in chief “Gordon” Lichfield announced that the illustrious 120 year old “bible of techno-utopianism” will update its editorial stance from:
New QT ratio achieved. Elizabeth Holmes guilty, “Blood Unicorn” slain. The genuinely heartwarming story of a good samaritan saving a life. Hopefully neither will turn out to be Nazis. OTR reports that in the Times Slack, only managers can speak while workers are forced to mime their opinions with reacji. At least Ben Smith can finally join. Emoji to scale. “Hoss the Ohio human hairball is now officially the world's largest ball of hair.” Congrats, Hoss.
Finally today we are gifted with not one but two excellent #longreads. First is Ryan Katz in The New Yorker with “The Long Afterlife of a Terrible Crime,” about the McCrary-Taylor family murders, and a defunct podcast website comment forum that brought together the descendants of both the killers and the victims.
And in The NY Times Magazine, Elizabeth Weil wrote about what it’s like to live in a California that’s always on fire now, but also about how all of us, Californian or not, are:
This makes it sound like a huge downer, which it is, but it’s also weirdly optimistic in a “here we are and we’re going to have to deal with this” kind of way.
Today’s Song: Revolting Cocks, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”
~ a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old tabber ~
It’s still a good day to quit! But if you need more specific advice than that, Heather and I can squeeze in one more question for January’s advice column. Email me and put “advice” in the subject. Also please subscribe, both to read that column and to help offset the January drain of expiring year-one subscribers. I have no comment on the rumors.