The American Berserk
It's both Aries season and feral girl spring, Peter Thiel's goblins are at it, and no Sema for Ben.
Compact, a “radical American journal,” launched this week with a mission to create a new coalition between crypto-fascist edgelords and the authoritarian former left wingers who agree with them. Compact specializes in the same kind of pseudo-smart writing for idiots as similar publications like Quillette, basing each post on a foundational category error and a couple of lit-crit references. For example:
Film critic and committed indoorsman Slavoj Žižek, whose previous closest brush with nature was watching Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” presumes “nature” to be the same as narrative tropes in a couple of recent movies in order to claim that “Nature is no longer ‘natural’”.
Adam Lehrer blames Andrea Dworkin and #MeToo for the fact that if you very carefully exclude all the art men who are horny in public in ways that somehow don’t count, art men just aren’t horny enough in public anymore.
Nina Power mistakes “patriarchy” for “fatherhood” which makes for a predictably incoherent post lamenting the loss of “patriarchy.” “‘When I use a word,’ [Nina Power] said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’”
I assume the rest of it follows this pattern, but I couldn’t take any more. Jennifer Schuessler profiled the magazine and its founders in The NY Times, noting that it was “jump-started by investors (whom they declined to name)” but it seems safe to assume are Peter Thiel and the goblins that caper within his human skin-form, a theory reinforced by the fact that the publication shares its name with a German neofascist magazine, which is just the kind of “joke” Thiel’s goblins would enjoy. The masthead also features Glenn Greenwald and Michael Tracey, so it can only get worse from here.
It’s a big day for blaming Andrea Dworkin, as NYT columnist Michelle Goldberg reviewed Washington Post columnist Christine Emba’s “manifesto against sex positivity,” where “sex positivity” is oddly defined as “not mentioning you don’t like being choked during sex, except to a stranger who happens to be a Washington Post columnist,” which doesn’t sound all that sex positive? But apparently the solution is:
…replacing a transactional approach to sex with an ethic of what Aquinas called “willing the good of the other,” or determining to act in one’s partners’ best interests.
So, don’t change a thing I guess. Seems bad! Or, translated to polite columnese: seems “bold and compelling even when I disagreed with it.”
The noise Sara Fischer’s phone makes when Justin Smith texts her is “SCOOP!” and today the SCOOP! is that Smith & Smith’s new media company will be called “Semafor” and Ben Smith will now be called @Semaforben. Semafor deez nuts. Thank you.
The moon waxes and wanes, and so too does digital media. “BuzzFeed is Downsizing” reports Tarpley Hitt, with the departure of editor-in-chief Mark Schoofs (who will keep his USC Annenberg job and I guess just log out of the BuzzFeed Slack?), deputy news editor Tom Namako (off to executively edit NBC News Digital), and executive editor of investigations Ariel Kaminer (no word yet, Ariel please tweet if you’re ok), as well as planned buyouts of 1.7% of employees across “investigations, politics, inequality, and science.” CNBC reported that “several large shareholders have urged BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti to shut down the company’s news organization,” which has about a hundred employees and is somehow losing ten million dollars a year. No word on their candle budget. But while you still can, don’t miss Elamin Abdelmahmoud’s “What You’re Feeling Isn’t A Vibe Shift. It’s Permanent Change.”
I Have Questions
Is it feral girl summer? Are we demonic little rats? Did Philip Larkin suffer from an enormous trouser snake? Does the world need eight billion New Yorker writers on the blockchain? Should we all download Wikipedia before the missiles fly and it’s too late? Is Howard Stern’s 1992 Fartman costume worth $173,865.00? Could that be the reason for BuzzFeed News’s budget shortfall? If Daddy Yankee retires, will he be called Grampy Yankee? Does your company use Okta for authentication? Do you have a playbook for this nightmare scenario? Would you fall for a “browser in the browser” phishing attack? If you said no, why are you lying? Can we all have a little nuclear holocaust, as a treat? And finally, what does the fox say (when it surgically removes the right ear of a horse)? Check back tomorrow for the answers!
Today’s Song: Ministry, “New World Order” (cheers Joe!)
~ They fuck you up, your mum and tab ~
✅ I kind of raced past it above so let me again point to Annie Rauwerda’s Slate story about Russians downloading Wikipedia, which is much more charming that it has any reason to be.
❓ Do you need advice this chaotic Aries season? Email me and Polly, we will help you, or double your money back.
🐦 @fka_tabs is where the elite meet to accrete sweet tweets.