Tabs Are a Trauma Response To Media

I'm Adam Davidson, welcome back to The Giant Pool of Dummies

Shannon Palus investigated why TikTok claims everything is a trauma response now, including perfectly normal behaviors like brushing your teeth, sleeping, or being the Zodiac killer. I would love to tell you the answer but I only got as far as “Trauma is when your body learns things in a state of danger” when I was seized by a recovered memory of a terrifying ritual performed on me as an infant by a cabal of Satanic newspaper editors. “It bleeds, It leads…” they chant over and over as they smear my innocent forehead with… oh god, what is that? Please let that be red ink! It smells like copper… Then it all went black. Well, no harm done, obviously.

But with this understanding of trauma, a lot of other things suddenly make sense. Twitter’s new “intense conversation” prompts are a trauma response to Lena Dunham. Sarah Miller explains that Peloton is a trauma response to “Anne Helen Peterson’ ‘Instagram’ ‘Celebrities’ ‘Is it a Bike?’ ‘Why is it more than a bike, how??’ and for some reason ‘Weddings’.” Minting a $1 trillion platinum coin is a trauma response to the profoundly broken American political system. Eating salmon is a trauma response to being a skinny bear. “Vrimp” is a trauma response to capitalism.

NFTs are a trauma response to money laundering being too difficult in the straight financial system. Stephen Diehl has a good thread comparing the current NFT market to “name a star” registries which also includes the clearest explanations I’ve seen of both “wash trading” and how easy NFTs make it to launder your money. And Tether is supposed to be a cryptocurrency backed one-to-one by US dollars, but is it? (No.) In Bloomberg, Count Olaf writing as the obviously pseudonymous “Zeke Faux found that:

Just last month, traders bought $3 billion in new Tethers, presumably sending billions of perfectly good U.S. dollars to the Inspector Gadget co-creator’s Bahamian bank in exchange for digital tokens conjured by the Mighty Ducks guy and run by executives who are targets of a U.S. criminal investigation.

So I guess Tether is a trauma response to being a greedy dope? It’ll be exciting when a fraudulent “stable” coin’s exposure to junk Chinese commercial paper takes down the real economy. Adam Davidson will explain it all in his hit podcast series: “The Giant Pool of Dummies.”

Amanda “F.” Palmer and Reb Fountain did a mashup of “Blurred Lines” and Nirvana’s “Rape Me” which might be the most cursed sentence that has ever appeared in Tabs. Furthermore, I am profoundly uncomfortable to report that it is… good? That’s not the right word. It’s definitely something. Content Warning: everything I just wrote.

And for barbecue grill tycoon and inventor of musical theatre Andrew Lloyd Webber, buying a dog was literally a trauma response to seeing the Tom Hooper film of his musical about cats, “Cats.” If you’re a theatre geek I’m sure this whole Variety profile is interesting but for normies, all you want are the last four paragraphs.

“I wrote off and said I needed him with me at all times because I’m emotionally damaged and I must have this therapy dog,” says Lloyd Webber. “The airline wrote back and said, ‘Can you prove that you really need him?’ And I said ‘Yes, just see what Hollywood did to my musical “Cats.”’ Then the approval came back with a note saying, ‘No doctor’s report required.’”

Coming soon: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Dogs.”

The Expanded Tabs Cinematic Universe is popping: In Fortune, Jen Doll wrote about Substack and the new `sletterati (feat. Deez Links’s Delia Cai, The Browser’s Uri Bram, and Tabs’s yrs truly pining for escape from Our Regrettable Platform). Some 23 year old stonks bro is making $300k a year so I guess I gotta keep on my #grustle 💪💦🤑💎. Intern Linda made her debut in The Browser with a characteristically choice selection of academic papers. And I filled out the thousand-question Embedded “My Internet” survey and managed to get a Kafka reference into it, so look for that tomorrow.

The Nobel Prize in Literature went to Abdulrazak Gurnah, preserving Alex Shephard’s 0-for-whatever prediction record. The superconducting discourse supercollider of Bad Art Friend is producing increasingly exotic takes, too massive and unstable to last beyond a brief curlicue glimpsed in the bubble chamber. Vinny Thomas knows the real Bad Art Friend is this guy, anyway.

Today’s Song: Soul Coughing, “True Dreams of Wichita”

~ I've seen you fire up the tabs in the engine valves ~

I put Spotify on “True Dreams of Wichita” radio mode this morning and I cannot recommend the vibe strongly enough. The whole Season 5 playlist is on Spotify, by the way. Thanks so much everyone who wrote back to me yesterday, I love hearing from you. David Blackman took the opportunity to shoot his shot and mention his NYC “guerrilla audio experience” Assemble, which is coming back starting tomorrow. Get $5 off your ticket with “Tabs5” (none of this is a paid promotion, I just respect the hustle and it sounds cool). Let’s do a subscriber open thread tomorrow, shall we?