One Giant Leap for Divorced Mankind
Blasting off soon: Choire, Jeff, Facebook's Bulletin, and NewsGuild's dues
Lord of the Floating Dragon Lair, the 34th Corporeal Iteration of Jeff Bezos announced that he will be launched into space next month by his own petard. Bezos’s spaceflight company Blue Origin has developed the first commercial spacecraft capable of transporting humans from its decreasingly lifelike founder’s home in the depths of the uncanny valley all the way to the edge of space, 62 miles above Earth’s surface. Bezos will bring his brother Other Bezos along, saying “I think it would be meaningful,” which is a very normal thing to say when you invite your brother to die in space with you.
Also launching soon: having completed a full revamp of the New York Times’s newsletters in less than two months, Choire Sicha is lighting the second stage of his Dean Baquet escape pod and returning to Vox Media by way of New York Magazine. He will be “editor-at-large… focusing on special projects,” which the proprietary Tabs Media Job Title Translation Engine renders as: “write whatever you want, and keep us from wrecking the company by pivoting to VR or some other stupid thing that the money people got excited about,” a job he previously held at Vox circa 2016, reportedly with great success. Choire last wrote for NYMag in 2010.
Staff at The Atlantic are joining the NewsGuild of NY. Laurene Powell Jobs spun the Wheel of Billionaire Media Ownership and it landed on “voluntary recognition,” so congratulations to them. Unfortunately the NewsGuild will probably have to double the dues it collects from New York Times members again to pay for still more lengthy contract negotiations. Speaking of which: we need a solidarity cleanup on aisle 6.
To bee, or not to bee: The Tiktok Bee Lady drama was explained by Vulture’s Zoe Haylock, Gearbag Day’s Bryan Roderick, and the revived Links I would GChat You’s Caitlin Dewey, so take your pick. Tiktok also added permission to collect “biometric identifiers and biometric information” like “faceprints and voiceprints” in preparation for its upcoming sinister “Phase II.”
Here’s the pitch guide for gawker.bustle.com: “WHAT KINDS OF PIECES ARE WE NOT LOOKING FOR?… ONES FEATURING SEX TAPES.” Rates start at 33 to 50 cents a word — “It is definitely a normal human-shaped hole in a normal door and there is nothing about it to be afraid of.” — We’re going straight from lockdown to FOMO, says Matthew Schneier, in case you thought anyone had gotten more sane in the last 15 months — Cicadar — “Oops, my daughter did a cryptocurrency Ponzi at church” — Alabama Representative Mo Brooks, locked in a fierce dogfight with Louis Gohmert for the title of Stupidest Congressman, opens a slight lead by tweeting his Gmail password — RIP to the bad Naomi — Medium CEO Ev Williams, not content to merely fire his troublesome editorial staff, also wrote a “culture memo” to drive out non-white engineers. Seems like everyone picked a side in 2020!
Intern Linda Yu continues our DOI-number tour of the academic globe today with a paper about social distancing in colonial Spanish America:
Is the Tabs internship transubstantiation or consubstantiation?
The Covid era has brought us some incredible feats of Catholicism, which made me remember my all time favourite bit of Catholic social distancing—an early modern practice that Alejandro Cañeque termed The King's Living Image (DOI: 10.1080/10609161003643685).
Basically, in colonial Spanish America, the viceroys the Spanish monarch sent to govern his holdings weren't just pet bureaucrats, but literally embodied him as walking flesh and blood avatars (i.e. they were communion wafers and the king was Jesus). The whole paper goes into the ways the physically-distant nature of the Spanish monarch imbued him with more symbolic power—the opposite of what Zoom does to us now—and how it relates to the systems of power that underlay that entire colonial project.
It wouldn't be until the Napoleonic wars that a Catholic ruler from the Iberian Peninsula would actually “come to Brazil!!” in person. Also if you want to talk about the innovations of Spanish American syncretism, and I know you do, this Mexican priest was giving water gun baptisms in 2013.
My own Living Image and Holy Representative in this section of Tabs, Intern Linda, is brought to you this month by: you. Please subscribe (for 20% off!) or donate to help pay the intern. And if you already subscribe, you make all of this nonsense possible, so thanks!
Today’s Song: Cracker, “Movie Star”
~ Well the chief of police kept the tabs off the streets, but deep in his heart we all knew he felt differently ~
Today in Tabs is brought to you by no kings, no gods, and no masters. Everyone said you were dangerous.