Massive Cheez-It Destroys Pittsburgh

Will you tell us that you're okay?

The last time Annie was okay, it was the summer of 2001 and Alien Ant Farm, a dirtbag metal band composed entirely of Steves Harwell, was covering Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” so convincingly that it still goes viral every time someone on Twitter discovers it. Alien Ant Farm titled their debut album “Greatest Hits,” (respect) and went on to tour extensively with Papa Roach in what was probably rock and roll’s greatest bug-themed show.

Why is this song everywhere today? Is it because the itchy guitar riff captures the feeling that your skeleton wants to climb out of your body and go live somewhere that doesn’t suck? Is it because we desperately need someone to ask if we’re okay?1 Is it this kid in a Covid mask from the video, who objectively rips?

Maybe there is no reason, maybe we all just need to pay attention to something that doesn’t matter for a second, like a 21 year old nü-metal cover song or ”a massive Cheez-It, which is 16 times the standard size” and rampaging through downtown Pittsburgh. I’m sorry, I’m being told that “rampaging through downtown Pittsburgh” is next week. “16 times the standard size” makes this Cheez-It about four inches on a side, so it hasn’t fully hatched yet. Currently the massive Cheez-It is only available at one Irvine, California Taco Bell. For more on this story, listen to the McElroys sometime next month. And probably avoid Pittsburgh for a little while ;-).

North Korea’s entire economy consists of turning stolen digital beanies into ballistic missiles, but Reuters’ Josh Smith reports that “the nosedive in cryptocurrency markets has wiped out millions of dollars in funds stolen by North Korean hackers… threatening a key source of funding for the sanctions-stricken country and its weapons programmes.” So there’s some good news in crypto. More good news: Three Arrows Capital is reportedly in liquidation after failing to make loan payments on almost $700 million of borrowed numbers. What’s Three Arrows Capital? To put it in layperson’s terms: imagine a thousand simultaneous games of Jenga. This is “distributed finance.” Then imagine that there’s one incredibly complex block which is somehow embedded in all of those Jenga towers at the same time. That’s Three Arrows Capital. So now we get to find out what happens when that block gets pulled out.

Caity Weaver paid $900 to place a characteristically beautiful obituary for her mother Dr. Maureen Brennan-Weaver in her hometown Harrisburg Patriot-News, which was immediately aggregated and heavily monetized by The NY Post (who first tagged it “ENTERTAINMENT” before switching to the even less accurate “LIVING”) as well as The Daily Mail and others. It was even re-aggregated by the paper that Caity originally paid to run it in the first place. The media sucks but Caity’s mom sounds amazing and you can revisit the greatest tweeted Caity’s mom moments in this thread.

I was on vacation for the “canceled teen” story, thank god, but Gawker’s only reporter Tarpley Hitt discovered that one of NY Mag’s Canceled Teen Bureau Chief Elizabeth Weil’s own kids attends the heavily-anonymized school in the story. Should that have merited disclosure, or even assigning a different writer?

If anything, an honest accounting of her personal connection and the attendant emotions might have strengthened her story. But New York was faced with an editorial conundrum: Being frank about Weil’s involvement in the story would risk subjecting its underage sources to public scrutiny. It would have also revealed the piece for what it was: a personal, and by extension, particular, story — not, as it purported to be, a sweeping parable of the times.

Today in Stuff to Read: Do you remember what was happening in “Stranger Things?” Of course not, the first part of the season came out more than a month ago, and Peter Kafka and Rani Molla figured out why. Do you have to delete your period tracking app? Probably not, according to Kendra Albert, Maggie Delano, and Emma Weil. They start by realistically assessing their threat model, so you know it’s good. For more on assessing your own threat model, refer to the Tabs workshop on cleaning up your shit to prevent getting doxed. Mychal Denzel Smith wrote about the “complicated legacy of conscious rap” in an essay for Pitchfork that’s hard to summarize but worth reading if Black Star or Public Enemy ever meant anything to you. Politico’s Joshua Zeitz absolutely clowned on the ahistorical ignorance of the “originalist” legal aesthetic. And Katy Waldman reviewed Kaitlyn Tiffany’s book about fandom, “Everything I Need I Get From You.”

That’s it, we did today’s song up top, so go have a massive Cheez-It and brace yourself for whatever fresh hell is coming tomorrow. Especially you, Pittsburgh.

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