- Today in Tabs
- Steve 101
Is this Magic Spoon coded?
It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving: do you remember what your job is? Is it to serve as human decor in some designer’s idea of an Instagrammable office space?
Unfortunately if you’re insufficiently Magic Spoon coded you won’t be able to run away to sea just yet, as CNN reports that “Life at Sea Cruises’ inaugural three-year voyage” is canceled, since “After weeks of silence, the company has acknowledged to passengers that it has no ship.” Relatable!1 If you’re musically inclined, The Brian Jonestown Massacre is probably looking for a new guitarist. And if not, James Mackintosh thinks you should be able to sell your kidney. It’ll grow right back, anyway.2 “Why would anyone object to a legal trade in human organs?” Mackintosh pretends to ask. Well, for one obvious reason:
Which means it’s fine! If everything is the worst, then nothing is the worst, and everything is equally fine. Cory Doctorow may post about the deployment and subsequent betrayal of “vocational awe” in Silicon Valley and the “the moral injury of having your work enshittified” but do you think he’s considered the counterpoint that actually it’s fine? Capitalism! Don’t worry, it’s fine.
Today in Crabs
Today in Steve
OpenSteve is hiring someone for public relations at the moment, who knows why. But in the future the only one with a job will be Steve, who’s already busy adding a much-needed false appearance of diversity to Dev.events conference speaker lists according to Gergely Orosz, learning to say racial slurs in the service of bad-faith pseudo-philosophical thought experiments, and adding affiliate-link marketing glurge to Sports Illustrated and other Arena Group publications under a variety of fraudulent “human” identities.
Reporting in Futurism, which sometimes feels like the only publication actively chasing the ongoing AI sinkhole devouring media ethics right now, Maggie Harrison reports that “Basic scrutiny shows that the quality of the AI authors' posts is often poor, with bizarre-sounding language and glaring formatting discrepancies,” such as a five-point list numbered one through one. Come on Steve, that is not Magic Spoon coded.
Emily F. Gorcenski devoted a lot more than basic scrutiny to AI and its egregious claims in 8854 words about the entwined histories of “fascism, mysticism, and technology,” from Manifest Destiny all the way to the present AI boom.
I don’t like to say anything is required reading, but if Tabs were a university this would be on the syllabus for Steve 101. Molly White also explained part of the same general field of study in a shorter post focused on the Effective Altruists and Accelerationists. And if your time is extremely limited, at least skim this thread from Emily Bender on the basic things you need to be skeptical of in media coverage of Steve.
Have You Noticed: that everyone is absolutely losing it? Today Intern Kira, who is Steveless and very Magic Spoon coded, has news of the troubled seventh iteration of 1996’s self-aware slasher movie franchise Scream, currently being roiled by the cultural fallout of the war in Gaza, because of course it is.
What’s the quickest way to alienate a fandom that comprises young, chronically online film lovers with a penchant for meta-textual analysis? Fire the lead of a film for political speech! That’s precisely what happened last week when Spyglass, the production company behind the modern Scream franchise, fired Melissa Barrera for expressing pro-Palestine views on Instagram. When co-star Jenna Ortega announced the next day that she wouldn’t be returning to the series either (for “apparently unrelated” scheduling reasons), the fan outrage reached a fever pitch.
But so did the stanning. Barrera and Ortega are now heroes of the people (i.e. film bros, girls, and they/thems), and Spyglass is enemy number one. Data shows that a majority of people under 35 are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, and it’s not just the TikTok algorithm: even Scream-heads are raising their knives in agreement. This is a fandom that thinks a teenage serial killer covered in blood is a heartthrob, but these films have also taught them how damaging an uncontested media narrative can be.
So now we have Ghostface art in the colors of the Palestinian flag, a production company that may have lost the bulk of its audience, and a knife-loving fan base feeling a little stabby. It’s a story Wes Craven couldn’t have predicted, though it’s probably good he’s not alive to see Scream 7’s director whining on X like a helpless widdle (48-year-old) baby.
—Kira Deshler is concerned they might actually mean “slay” this time
“Disneyland streaker arrested after stripping down in 'It's a Small World' ride.” It’s a small, small world, but to be fair that water is cold. Caity Weaver on Flo from Progressive. Everyone enjoyed the caviar anecdote (which is good), but to me this is some flawless Caity right here:
And Ben Lerner has an “Experiment” (?) in the December Harper’s which is a self-consciously fictionalized memoir of an early Wikipedia manipulator that eventually collapses into a series of ideas for potential novelizations about this already fictional character, followed by a suitably trite ending purportedly written by ChatGPT which reminds me of the the ending of Camus’ “The Stranger” by being the exact opposite of it. It feels like notes toward something that would be more fun to read, but the stuff about Wikipedia is interesting and it does name-check Gramsci it’s valid Ben Lerner, I guess.
Today’s Song: The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, “Maps”