Meltdown May

Spider juice, more Zoom D, and if the Naomi be Wolf...

Meltdown May 2020 never ended, but here we are in Meltdown May 2021 anyway. Theoretical tab scholars expect the two Mays to superimpose and exponentially enhance this month’s meltdowns. Basecamp founders and former tech culture influencers Jason Fried and David H. Hansson started Meltdown May last week, piling up their carefully cultivated bestselling startup leadership credentials and setting them on fire rather than take a mildly critical note from an employee. The six months severance offer was a groundbreaking innovation in negative growth hacking, increasing Basecamp’s empty desk count by at least 20 so far. Insider’s April Joyner quotes a former Basecamp worker: "There's a history of David's behavior toward employees when he disagrees with them." Can you feel the neutron-star gravity around the words “history” and “behavior” there? Another source observed that an “inclusion” effort that doesn’t include the staff is not very convincing. Kim Lyons rounded up resignations for The Verge, and by the weekend, Vine founder Dom Hofmann’s joke about the company’s former name, “37 Signals,” had come true.

Today In New Meltdowns: Kansas State Representative Mark Samsel, who is also a substitute teacher and lunatic, got himself arrested Thursday for assaulting a student after spending the school day ranting about “suicide, sex, masturbation, God and the Bible.” The Washington Post followed up, with some TV interview clips featuring a relaxed and casually unhinged Samsel.

The Instagram account for Philly’s Bareburger restaurant posted that “Nobody wants to work rn when they can lazily collect Unemployment Benefits and a stimulus. Our manager just got COVID and we have no staff!” reports Samantha Shaps in Daily Dot, and went on to insult employees and commenters. The company claimed it had been “hacked,” which absolutely no one believes.

And the new Toobin dropped, when Joshua Wolf Shenk resigned from his editorship of The Believer Magazine and UNLV’s Black Mountain Institute, ostensibly over an early February bath-time work Zoom where Shenk casually stood up pantsless on camera. There was also a mesh shirt involved? Ick. The LA Times broke the news with a story that highlights Shenk’s many literary accomplishments and curiously quotes Shenk and Shenk’s agent and no one else. Anna Fitzpatrick noted that several allegedly left-leaning journalists on Twitter immediately proclaimed how absolutely normal and welcome they personally find it to see their boss’s dick on the Zoom. The story of what actually happened from the staff’s perspective should be along any minute now, stay tuned.

New month new Intern! Say hello to Meltdown May Intern Tess Lynch, who I know is a familiar name to at least some of you.

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Hi. I’m Tess Lynch, your May Intern. I’ve been a Tabs fan since I first saw it mentioned in Maura Johnston’s newsletter in… I think 2013? I was working at Grantland, had a one-year-old, and still had an office because my second child hadn’t been born and stolen it yet. These are all clues that I’m an old intern! Not old-old, like Rusty, but hopefully old enough to give most of you that precious feeling of being young and full of unrealized potential. Enjoy it! Here’s something else to make you feel luckier than me: two nights ago I was drinking a seltzer and a spider fell in my glass, but I didn’t realize it until I took a sip and the spider climbed up to the rim and waved at me. Aren’t you glad it wasn’t you who drank the spider juice?

Besides being old and full of spiders, I’m a writer and podcaster. I have a newsletter called LA Weather that was intended to be about Los Angeles weather but instead turned into a blog. It’s free, so I feel like that’s okay. Besides Grantland, I’ve written for New York Magazine, The Awl, n+1, GOOD and... different places! I co-hosted the podcasts Girls in Hoodies (ESPN) and Night Call (iHeart), and have been a narrator on Drunk History as many times as my liver allowed. You may be thinking, “The Awl? Grantland? Drunk History? Those things are gone now, like Vaudeville,” and you are right. I hope it wasn’t my fault but I charged my crystals under the full moon to protect Today in Tabs from the same fate, and I’m very happy to be here. 


Welcome, Intern Tess! Fun fact: It’s only spider juice if it’s from the Spidér region of France. Otherwise it’s just sparkling arachnophobia.

Eve Crawford Peyton wrote in Slate about her experience as a student and eventually victim of disgraced Phillip Roth biographer Blake Bailey. It’s a tough read, but worth it.

Someone was watching “Galaxy Quest” in a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing (maybe??). Let’s hope they weren’t also in the bathtub. Tuca & Bertie season 2 premieres on Adult Swim in June. Verizon is selling its doomed content businesses to private equity scavengers Apollo Global Management. I wonder what Shingy thinks. This is a good time for Kaitlyn Tiffany’s recap of Yahoo!’s decades-long social media murder spree and Joshua Benton’s recap of Yahoo! x AOL x Verizon. There’s a COVID outbreak on Mt. Everest that Nepal apparently doesn’t want to acknowledge. NFT horses, thanks I hate it. OpenBSD released version 6.9 (nice). Oxford University released Naomi Wolf’s embarrassing, error-riddled doctoral thesis, which was the basis for her embarrassing, error-riddled 2019 bookOutrages: Censorship and the Criminalisation of Love.” Remember:

Today’s Song: Pink Floyd, “The Great Gig in the Sky (feat. planet-destroying asteroid)” (via The Verge)

~ And I’m not frightened of dying, any tab will do, I don't mind ~

I don’t want to make any promises but if this Meltdown May shapes up the way it looks like it will, I might try to do a Meltdown May bracket so we can collectively decide who melted down the hardest by the end of the month. Follow me @fka_tabs or @TodayinTabs, and follow Intern Tess @mrtesslynch.