The Dark Nacho

We have bad food and bad work when we should have cyber-russia-cowcore.

A common pattern in Tabs is “here’s a thing, what do people think it means?” So, here’s the Dark Nacho:

What do people think it means? Ryan Broderick tried to figure out who made it, and why, with mixed success. He does succeed in peeling apart a few layers of the Cronenbergian agglutination of content that is Facebook now, though. Amanda Mull took a more Atlantic view of a video from the same circle of hell that made the rounds a couple day ago (“Spaghetti-Os pie”) asking: “Is this a joke?” She concludes that “everything on the internet is a joke until it’s not anymore,” an aphorism that recalls Michael Sippey’s “even if it’s fake, it’s real,” and could also serve as the thesis of Peter Hamby’s look back at the Sarah Palin phenomenon in Vanity Fair. Also in bad food news, but good reading, is the inside story of how Brooklyn super-premium ice cream brand Ample Hills collapsed. Better food news comes from Grub Street’s bucatini correspondent Rachel Handler, who reports that “America’s Great Bucatini Shortage” is almost over.

How’s work going in America? Well, Jeff Bezos is taking his $193 billion and leaving the hassle of running Amazon to someone else. Liz Lopatto has some ideas for what he might buy with all that money, like “1,932 diamond-bedazzled Damien Hirst skulls” or “the end of hunger.” Meanwhile Amazon’s warehouse workers are being given the choice between a dystopian 1:20am to 11:50am “megacycle” shift or losing their jobs, Lauren Kaori Gurley reports in Vice. In San Francisco, a Doordash delivery worker’s van was stolen with his one and four year old children inside, because he couldn’t afford child care and had to work the limited hours when enough deliveries are available to make a living. “With limited options, Fang decided that the best and safest thing to do was to take his children with him while he worked.” You may remember Doordash from their $2.5 million settlement for stealing tips last year, or from Big Bird shilling for them last weekend. The governor of Nevada is trying to bring back company towns, for “companies working in specific business areas including blockchain, autonomous technology, the Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence, wireless, biometrics and renewable resource technology.” Atossa Araxia Abrahamian asks and answers the next question: “This all sounds highly specific, right? Like, how many huge, well-capitalized, land-holding blockchain companies are there?” Is there a specific one? Did its owner donate a lot to the Nevada governor’s campaign? The answers will shock you!1 And Tim Apple keeps on quietly stacking up his neutron star of cash.

Jane Lytvynenko sent me this “cyber-russia-cowcore” video, and I love specifically how it inserts technology into a janky human context, which is the mode of the best cyberpunk visions of the future. Instead we’re building the opposite, wedging our fragile human flesh between the grinding teeth of Amazon, Doordash, and the rest of the hungry platforms. I don’t know what we can do about it, but bringing back the nervous breakdown might be a good start.

Daisy Alioto continues to elevate the whole newsletter game in Dirt, this time about Nick Bilton’s semi-exploitation quasi-documentary FAKE FAMOUS. Lauren Oyler makes a well-argued case for the semicolon which is nevertheless wrong. I thought there was only one good semicolon in literary history, in the first line of “A Christmas Carol,” but apparently I misremembered and it’s a colon? That leaves zero good semicolons. This is too many screens. TayLo on the decade of work that went into being an overnight sensation. Birkinstocks: Birkenstocks made from Birkin bags. Today in Crabs. Yesterday in tabs:

Today’s Song: Wugazi, “Sleep Rules Everything Around Me” (thx Alex!)

~ I’m so tired, tabs are reading me ~

What a downer today huh! It feels like we’ve slid a long way down the greased chute of precarity, even since the olden days of 2013 when Uber was still a new idea. Someone should invent an app for anti-trust actions. Thanks for reading, and subscribe to help me continue to sᴇʀᴠᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ᴘʟᴀᴛғᴏʀᴍ.