This Week in New Sentences

Literally nobody has ever called New York City the Port-Au-Prince of America.

As a fan of both novelty and language one of my greatest pleasures is to witness the birth of a brand new sentence, never before conceived or uttered outside the infinite stacks of the Library of Babel. This week brought an abundance of them so let’s take a look.

Our first new sentence did already appear in Tabs yesterday but it was kind of buried by a lot of other nonsense and I’ve spent the subsequent twenty four hours muttering it to myself so I wanted to give it a proper moment to shine. It is, of course:

I’m Face Basting With Butt Paste, Thanks to TikTok.

This is the title of a post by Rachael Griffiths in New York Magazine’s “The Strategist,” about “a moisturizing technique that involves slathering on a layer of a cream with a high percentage of zinc oxide as your last skin-care step before bed,” i.e. coating your face in diaper cream. A previous version of this same technique, done with Vaseline, was known as “slugging,” so I can’t wait to see what amazing sentence comes from the next iteration.

Think “fitbit for cows”

Kate Knibbs tweeted “sometimes an tossed-off phrase in a PR email will simply take my breath away” with a screenshot of text reading: “think ‘fitbit for cows’”

I’m thinking it! I’m thinking it so hard. I tried to figure out who this pitch is coming from but it appears that “connected trackers for cows” have been a market segment for years and every company pitches itself as “fitbit for cows.” So technically this isn’t a new sentence, but it was new to me.

Another reliable source of new sentences is the New Jersey resident who stopped abusing citizens and started abusing language1 when he became mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, who posted this morning:

We call New York City the Port-Au-Prince of America.

“We call New York City the Port-Au-Prince of America. We feel the pain our Haitian neighbors feel as the situation grows dire. To the people of Haiti and our own Haitian community here in New York City, know that we stand with you today and always.” Additionally, a community note reading “Readers added context they thought people might want to know—Important context: no one other than Eric Adams has called NYC the ‘Port-Au-Prince of America.’”

So long Big Apple! Now we’re walkin’ heeeah in The Port-Au-Prince of America. Gimme a bagel with a schmear, I’m eating breakfast in The Port-Au-Prince of America. Truly, from a plane crashing into the World Trade Center to the opening of a new business, anything can happen in The Port-Au-Prince of America.

One of the oldest sentences, first attributed to Socrates circa 440 BC, is: “Please subscribe to my newsletter.” It sounds really philosophical in the original ancient Greek.

But I can hardly give you a new Eric Adams sentence without including one from our other top-tier political lunatic word torturer, Donald Trump, who told Newsmax’s head of obsequious squinting Greg Kelly (no slouch at posting, himself):

Nobody has been treated like Trump, in terms of badly.

Tweet by Acyn Torabi, with a clip from Trump’s NewsMax interview, captioned “Trump: Nobody has been treated like Trump in terms of badly”

In the middle of a very standard riff about Andrew Jackson, Trump uncorked this amazing sentence, recalling without quite repeating the all-time classic “One of the wettest we've ever seen, from the standpoint of water.” In that speech Trump continued with what could have been a summary of his entire political career: “Rarely have we had an experience like it, and it certainly is not good.” But even I have to grant that he has a knack for creating new sentences.

And finally, in my opinion the best new sentence of the week came to me via a TikTok from Christiane Escobar:

I was actually very shocked to find out how young of number she was… her age number is low.


her age number is low😞

“How young of number?” asks Escobar, brain visibly shorting out. We are all losing neurons by the second here, so for context: this clip is from the TLC show “Love & Translation” and the guy with the hair is American contestant Tripp Bromley (yes I know, stay with me) explaining how he was surprised that Columbian contestant Leidi Beltran is only twenty years old. She is in fact twenty eight, which she told him very clearly, even making a little “8” with her hands in the full clip which I give you just so we can get the inevitable questions out of the way and go back to basking in the glory that is:

“How young of number she was… her age number is low.”

I know I felt young of number when I started writing today. My age number now? Pretty high.

Finally, honorable mention to Alex Jones: “I will eat your leftist ass” is not a new sentence, as anyone involved in one of the many local DSA polycules can attest, but it is deployed in an unusual context here. RIP Alex Jones, he died doing what he loved (eating ass).

John Attridge posted “UK rappers be like ‘I've got a posh flat and my bird is very comely, I own more motors than the marchioness of cholmondeley’”

Also: Albert Burneko, “Jim Spanfeller Is A Third-Rate Parasite.” Zipline from New York to Massachusetts opens in May. A 25th Anniversary Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Immersive Experience? No, thank you! Amazon’s new AI search assistant is very helpful. Paris Marx: “The TikTok ban is all about preserving US power.” Introduction to a published scientific article begins: “Certainly, here is a possible introduction for your topic:…” Nick Kodama adds some Google scholar search results for “certainly, here is a.” Good stuff. Science is going great.

Sam raved about this story in Last Week’s New Yorker Review and it’s a tough read but it is extremely good: Anand Gopal’s “Invisible City” (aka “The Open-Air Prison for ISIS Supporters—and Victims” in the dot com).

And finally, if you haven’t had a chance yet to read Kyle Chayka’s book “Filterworld” but you want to know what the point of it is, he and Adam Conover had a great conversation about The Algorithm on Adam’s podcast Factually! And I don’t just say that because their conclusion is that this newsletter is the solution to all the ills of algorithmic culture, though I do agree.

Today’s Song: Poppy, “Spit”

Eggs up for Music Intern Sam, who brought us a solid week of bangers. The Season X Playlist-in-progress is right here. All the rest of the seasons’ songs are collected here. What does Kanye and Elon Musk talk about? The futch. Keep an eye on your inbox tomorrow for some exciting news about the futch. Like sands through the hourglass: these are the todays of our tabs.

1. J/k he’s still abusing plenty of citizens.