Tabs Classic™: Fog Dot War

11-16-2015 / The Battle of About Dot Me has just begun

I’m on vacation this week but I thought it would be fun to dig up some classic Tabs from yesteryear to tide you over while I’m away. This example is from November 16, 2015, three days after the Paris ISIS attacks and near the end of the original run of Tabs. All the pieces of the modern Tabs format are in place, as you’ll see, and there are several good burns in here (sorry, Ryan). After reading this, Max Read resigned in protest.

Friday, eight men associated with ISIS attacked six different locations in Paris, eventually killing 129 people and wounding 352 more. It’s possible you were there, or your loved ones were, and if so I hope you, or they, are safe and well. But for most of us, the attacks were primarily a media event, experienced on the France 24 live feed that everyone suddenly knew existed, and attended by the usual fog-dot-war of social media hoaxes. As Kelsey McKinney reminded us all:

Rurik Bradbury’s parody account, @ProfJeffJarvis, tweeted some obvious nonsense about the Eiffel Tower and earned, at present, 29,206 retweets and one Dave Weigel Washington Post-mortem investigation into exactly how stupid we all are. Alyson Shontell found the tech angle faster than anyone, Gamergate pounced on an excuse to blame a Canadian Sikh named Veerender Jubbal, and everyone fiercely criticized Uber, just out of habit. Buzzfeed’s Ryan Broderick got out on the streets and did the hard work of journalism (i.e. handing a notebook and a black marker to 16 randos). And finally on Esquire, Charles Pierce closed out this initial phase with the kind of terrible self-indulgent writing that makes you feel like you’re hallucinating during an argument with your dumbest uncle.

ISIS’s creator, the American right wing, greeted the attacks with its usual gleeful anticipation of more violence happening far away to poor people. At least ̶f̶o̶u̶r̶ thirteen U.S. governors have pledged their support for ISIS’s continued control over as many Syrians as possible. Arizona Republic cartoonist Steve Benson put a gun in Lady Liberty’s hand, apparently imagining what would happen if the Ghostbusters joined ISIS? But finally, one bold man stepped up. That’s right, they stirred the sleeping giant this time. Politico’s Ben White is on the warpath:

But before we declare the entire media a failure, it was possible to learn something! Like what’s the deal with ISIS vs. ISIL and what the heck does "Daesh" mean? In fact Zeba Khan made a pretty good argument in the Boston Globe way back in October 2014 that Daesh is the right name to use for this group. The other Buzzfeed, where the actual reporters work, interviewed Syrian refugees in France and dug into whether there were warnings about the attacks, and Jessica Reed rounded up a number of good contextual articles from the past few years. And if you still weren’t sure whether Obama is a good president or not, here he is calmly dismantling the right wing’s wild-eyed warmongering in two minutes.

Today, the Battle of About Dot Me has begun, with Maura Judkis delivering a devastating opening salvo that only a force as powerful as Ryan Broderick could hope to counter. Authorities are urging extreme caution in the coming few days, as bombardments of performative social media gestures become increasingly likely. And if you are in Syria, bombardments of actual bombs are likely as well, as Western military forces respond to the indiscriminate suicide bombing of civilians with the carefully targeted military bombing of civilians. But if you’re in America, don’t worry! According to the New York Times no such major terrorist attack could ever happen here.

Ex-Gawker Dayna Evans wrote a lengthy story about Gawker’s mistreatment of the women on its staff, and media’s mistreatment of women in general. Its sharpest criticism of Gawker may be that it was published on Medium, after being killed by Gawker Media executive editor John Cook over Gawker editor Alex Pareene’s objection. Max Read resigned in protest. Jezebel managing editor Erin Gloria Ryan is departing for Vocativ, but Katie Drummond is about to be the new future embittered former editor-in-chief of Gizmodo. The only real certainty right now is that Fridge is still the worst.

This Bloomberg story about beer companies trying to market to women is so packed with terrible quotes you won’t know which to tweet. "Clickhole or actual Buzzfeed?" gets harder every day. Suicide by cobra. Is there an advertising bubble? (No, but this post makes some good points about the current morass of web ad tech.) Adrian Chen wrote about Westboro Baptist escapee Megan Phelps-Roper in The New Yorker dot print. That guy who spent almost a million dollars on psychics talked about it at length to the NYT but still failed to really explain what the heck happened. The Dodo is exactly as much of a disaster as you’ve heard.

Today in Last Week: Fortunately last week, while I was away, nothing important happened.

Today’s Song: Pusha T, "Untouchable"

~Tabs are the realm of uncertainty~

Thanks again to Laura Olin for visiting last week. Welcome new subscribers, and please don’t flee right away. Give it a few days, then flee. As always we are on Fast Company and in your email inbox. Stay tuned tomorrow for an exciting announcement about the recently-dormant Today in Tabs intern program!

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