Money Stuff: The Tomato Grustle

If you're looking for a fixer-upper, read on! DO NOT OPEN FREEZER IN BASEMENT.

Would you rather get paid $1,000,000 right now or $50 every month for the rest of your life?“ This is one of those rare hypotheticals that has an obvious correct answer. Say you are a newborn baby, asked this question by a very weird ob-gyn at the moment of your birth, and further say that you live to be a statistically unlikely 100 years old. $50/mo x 12 mo/yr = $600 a year, for 100 years is $60,000. The question is: “Would you rather be given at most $60,000 very slowly, or more than sixteen times as much right now?” But what if… the obvious answer is wrong? Yesterday a seemingly grustle-poisoned startup bro entertained Twitter by proving it is not wrong.

And furthermore:

Ok, he said it was a joke and I believe him, but people saw someone called @sweatystartup replying to Side Hustle King with an absolutely deranged tomato-based passive income scheme and found it believable, which has to say something about late startup culture. Anyway I said above that this question has a very obvious answer, and it is: take the million dollars and fund sixteen grustling tomato bros in exchange for half of their farmstand sales and fresh pico de gallo for life. Stay grinding, my friends.1 🧑‍💻💰

Also Today in Work, Bitch: The teachers’ union’s staff’s union has authorized a strike against the teachers’ union for “management’s anti-union tactics.” But who will organize the teachers’ union’s staff’s union’s staff? The New Yörker’s, coöperative, bargaining unit, reached, a deal, with Cöndé Nast management, granting them, amöng öther things, “base pay of $55,000… rising to $60,000 by April 2023,” an unlimited cömma budget, and the right tö put a diaëresis ön every ö. Staff at Pitchfork and Ars Technica have also won the right to be briefly mentioned in any coverage of the union. MSNBC employees are joining WGA East (maybe). And former WNYC reporter Fred Mogul has filed a defamation and wrongful termination suit for his termination, which was to all appearances pretty wrongful. Meanwhile, at Canon: Smile! If you want to be allowed in the office, human laborer.

Intern Linda has a lot to tell us about the Thai government today!

A few days ago, princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands made positive news for turning down a nearly $2 million yearly allowance, but the cynic in me can't help but notice this came directly after scrutiny of the fact that her family is the highest paid of all the continental royals. The last few years have been banner ones for royal drama, with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle obviously, but also Elizabeth II’s grubby secretive fingerprints on English laws. Personally I have been paying attention to the antics of the Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spent much of last year holed up in a Bavarian luxury ski resort, jailed a sixteen-year-old for mocking his crop top, and once held a four day funeral for his dog.

Vajiralongkorn isn't merely a weird playboy loser though. Eugénie Mérieau writes that the ang barami Thai belief in the sacredness of the royals is leveraged by the military junta to control politics (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1151917). Thailand nominally holds elections, but their 2007 Constitution allows a Constitutional Court to disqualify candidates on grounds of corruption.

On the surface this seems quite reasonable, but what exactly counts as “corruption?” In 2008 PM Samak Sundaravej was deemed corrupt for hosting a cooking show called 'Tasting, Grumbling.' In 2019, the rising Future Forward Party's Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit got knocked out of contention for owning shares in a media company that published three magazines and then went defunct. An opposition party once creatively put the king's sister, princess Ubolratana Mahidol, up for election, but she was disqualified at the last minute, called out on national TV by her brother, and the party dissolved. Last year, popular pro-democracy rappers, Rap Against Dictatorship, were blocked from Youtube in Thailand and had one of their members arrested for 'sedition.' All of these decisions were supposedly made for the sake of good governance, anti-corruption, and glory to the King, yet seem to only apply to left wing parties. How curious!

The full Mérieau paper lays out the recent history of the Thai governance, and it might be the time to brush up, as in the last year protestors have taken to the streets to challenge both king and government, and apparently 2021 will be the ‘year of elections’ in Thailand. —by Linda Yu


Thanks everyone who’s subscribed this month, which I am taking as a blanket endorsement of what has become Intern Linda’s much smarter newsletter embedded in my newsletter, and has nearly covered her pay only halfway through the month. If you haven’t subscribed yet, it’s 20% off!

Alan Warburton’s excellent RGBFAQ video essay explains what has happened to images lately, in under 30 minutes. Uber-for-choppers company Blade made up a fake spokesman, and then had him quit with an invented Greenwaldian flounce over editing. Mark Cuban shuts the gate after the horse flees the stable(coin). Good news for people who love yikes: Isaac Brock reviews every Modest Mouse album and also, uh, “gang-stalking… fucking targeted individuals, to V2K, all the shit that goes on…” 😬. We regret to inform you the the new target of Chrissy Teigen bullying has been accused of bullying. CNN’s review of Windows 11 leak is unusually spicy. “If you dream of owning your own little slice of hell…” Colorado Springs has the house for you. DO NOT GO ON BACK DECK. DO NOT OPEN FREEZER IN BASEMENT. I guess iCarly fucks now? L.L. Cool Beans.

Today’s Song: Stabbing Westward, “Save Yourself”

~ I am not your savior, I am just as tabbed as you ~

Happy Thursday, I’m traveling this weekend so Intern Linda is writing the open thread post tomorrow. I told her not to work very hard on it but I’m not optimistic, she’s a real overachiever. I’m @fka_tabs, Intern Linda is not @ anywhere, and Tabs will be back @ you on Monday.

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This has been my Matt Levine impression, I hope you enjoyed it.