The Crane Wives
[crane borat voice]
Yes yes, Ozy, but listen, this went viral this morning:
It’s a tweet of screenshots from a reblog of a Tumblr post of a lightly-fried meme of a 2018 tweet from the British TV show “QI” about a 2018 Washington Post feature story by Sadie Dingfelder about zookeeper Chris Crowe, who is married to a white-naped crane named Walnut with whom he has five children, who are also cranes.
But there are more crane wives: “The Crane Wife 1 & 2” and “The Crane Wife 3” is (sort of confusingly) a sequence of two songs based on a Japanese folk tale by Colin Meloy’s musical group The Decemberists, the only band who dared to ask “what if Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote twee indie-folk?” Depending on your patience for Meloy’s warbling over a lot of plinky xylophony and swelling guitar mumford, the songs are either “restrained yet resonant” or “boring.”
“The Crane Wife” is, furthermore, a great 2019 Paris Review essay by CJ Hauser in which the author escapes from an engagement to a man whose mother decided that instead of a Squirrel Nutkin, she is actually a Hunca Munca. Can you imagine!? I assume the rest of you are fully conversant with the Beatrix Potter cinematic universe but if not: Nutkin is a sassy squirrel who told Old Brown Owl he was there to collect deez nuts, while Hunca Munca is a greedy, bad tempered mouse-wife. Hauser also goes on a crane biology research junket. It’s a nicely constructed piece.
But those are all the crane wives I could find, so I guess we have to talk about Ozy. We have reached Ozy saturation, with Ben Smith doing TV hits in a headband, Carlos Watson announcing on the Today Show that Ozy is coming back, which is almost certainly not true, and claiming on CNBC that Buzzfeed offered $250 million for Ozy in 2019. If only the New York Times had a media reporter who could investigate that! Ozy news is abundant and low-value, so here are just a few things I found illuminating:
Craig Silverman did a twitter thread about Ozy’s paid-traffic arbitrage scheme:
Ozy was paid media property. It paid to promote itself, it paid for audience and followers, it paid to hit campaign goals. It paid for speakers, it paid for its own good press. It earned revenue by getting brands to pay for content inspired by the image Ozy bought paid for… But if you never build an actual audience, you have to *keep paying*. That's the rub.
Ryan Broderick “dug into years worth of Ozy’s social analytics” and “what we discovered… was unlike anything we’ve really seen before.”
Eugene S. Robinson, who worked at Ozy for nine years, wrote about Carlos Watson as a boss, and made it clear that when he describes the work environment as abusive, he means in a literal “domestic abuse” sense: “a pattern of slaps and kisses that most grown adults only have to deal with when explaining to a judge that they need an order of protection.”
And in Axios, Sarah Fischer noted that “Axios did a review of its stories on Ozy over the past few years,” such as “Exclusive: OZY hits profitability on $50 million in revenue,” by Sarah Fischer, or “Exclusive: Marc Lasry named chairman of OZY Media,” by Sarah Fischer, or “Exclusive: Veteran BBC anchor Katty Kay joins Ozy Media,” by Sarah Fischer. Exclusive: Fischer did not report what this review determined, if anything.
Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp have been down since about noon eastern, lol, and they’re currently being trolled by the weird smelly crypto-bro who runs Twitter which has to hurt after a couple of truly terrible weeks for social media’s Philip Morris. Although as Will Oremus points out, past rumors of Facebook’s death have always been greatly exaggerated.
Meanwhile, in Olde Knifey:
Grimes put on a “renfaire stillsuit” and pretended to read Karl Marx in an incredibly cringe photo shoot presumably staged to annoy her ex. “Special ops troops ‘hunkered down’ in California airport hangar after nighttime ninja attack.” Crypto is the only innovative comedy right now: DeFi lending platform Compound went into prod with a bug and accidentally gave away $90 million in tokens to users on Friday. Hilariously, according to my friend @business, Compound “is operated by a distributed network of users utilizing smart contracts” and “neither Compound Labs nor anyone else can pause distribution of the tokens through the platform,” so as of today the token giveaway is up to $160 million and no one can fix it. Charlie Kaufman could never. “Diana, the Musical” premiered on Netflix, and “Not since the Cats movie have I literally shouted from my seat: ‘What? What? WHAT?’” writes The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw. Dark forest theory begins: “Astronomers may have discovered first planet to orbit 3 stars.” What Horror Movie Stock Character Are You? Final Girl here, so sorry you died. 💅
And: Defector published its annual report, a refreshing look at the internals of a new digital media company that isn’t just a bunch of paid-traffic bullshit.
Today’s Song is just gonna have to be the Decemberists above, cause I’m done writing.
~ it is better to be feared than tabbed ~
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