Veblen Bads

At the yachted club, all you need is a light jacket.

It’s April 25th, the perfect date, and it’s the Friday of the leisure class, so let’s see if we can separate the Veblen goods from the Veblen bads.

Screenshots from Miss Congeniality, of the “Describe your perfect date” scene. The perfect date? “April 25th, because it’s not too hot, and not too cold. All you need is a light jacket.”

One product that’s shot up in value as demand increases is the idea of superior industrial and food grade glycine from Donghua Jinlong, according to Kyle Chayka’s corecore-wave New Yorker column this week. I agree with his thesis that corecore and brainrot are both new iterations of dada but I can’t decide if they’re kiki or bouba. None of these words are in the Old or New Testament, so tradition is no help. But in addition to being a free-floating conceptual body without organs, high quality industrial grade glycine from Donghua Jinlong is also a real product that sticks to strict production standards like FCC, E640, USP, BP, EP, and JSFA, and Hasani Arnold went and visited the factory. Donghua Jinlong’s staff seem bemused by their viral fame but they gave Arnold a tour and a branded tote bag likely worth hundreds of dollars on Grailed, and then took him out for hot pot.


Replying to @jenithewoo This is what dreams are made of 😫 #donghuajinlong #glycine #chinatiktok #chinese #languagelearning

It’s exactly this kind of charming cross-cultural exchange that absolutely cannot be allowed here on Mark Zuckerberg’s Red White & Blue American Instanet, so Congress and President Biden set aside the appearance of partisanship to pass the Fund One Occupation and Fund the Resistance to Another Occupation and Protect Facebook Act of 2024 into law yesterday. What happens now? Will Oremus pointed out how fine a needle Facebook is trying to thread, in its position as the biggest potential beneficiary of a TikTok ban while it simultaneously uses the popularity of TikTok to defend itself from federal antitrust charges:

Ironically, the move comes at the same time that the Biden administration is suing Meta, Google, Amazon and Apple for monopolization of their respective markets. Meta in particular has defended itself by pointing out the competition it faces from TikTok.

Before the bill passed, Tiktok poster and lawyer @dadchats explained that Biden couldn’t line-item veto the ban from the overall foreign aid bill, as if he wanted to. Mr. Chats also talked through how any plausible enforcement mechanism runs afoul of arguments the government is making in its antitrust case against Apple over its app store monopoly. In Platformer Casey Newton gamed out the likely court challenges and how the ban could possibly survive them.

It’s not unthinkable that this ban will somehow overcome all the obvious flaws with its conception, implementation, and basic constitutionality. But beyond that it still has no real constituency demanding it, except Congressional nonagenarians whose latest technology reference point is Ms. Pac-Man and who have been convinced that TikTok is a communist youth mind control ray, rather than just the app that shows us Petey videos and tries to sell us diesel space heaters while we’re on the toilet.1 Even Donald Trump, the creator of the whole idea of a forced TikTok divestment, has entirely reversed his position on it. He may have no ethics or fixed policy goals, but Trump is able to recognize when an opponent does something stupid and capitalize on it.

I don’t usually make predictions, but if this TikTok shutdown ever amounts to anything beyond threats and lawsuits, I will eat my hat. As long as you let me season it with a big spoonful of top quality food grade glycine from Donghua Jinlong.

Lila Shapiro profiled gossip blogger / fantasist John Nelson, the pseudonymous “Enty Lawyer” of Crazy Days and Nights, where he apparently makes up celebrity blind items for money and clout, and whose identity was outed by a messy extramarital affair. The wildest thing about this story is that it seems like he might just be able to keep making up fake celebrity gossip for a living? It’s not obvious anyone in the celeb blind-item community cares whether any of it is true or not.

Angie Martoccio profiled Billie Eilish, and the actual story is more interesting and less horny than all the promotion for it would lead you to expect. It is kind of horny, but only toward the very end. As an Old and a big fan of “album-ass albums,” I’m pretty excited for her new album.

Eilish and Finneas call Hit Me Hard and Soft “an album-ass album.” It’s not a concept record, but it is a self-consciously cohesive set of songs, inspired by auteurist works from the past 15 years or so, like Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die, Tyler, the Creator’s Goblin, Marina and the Diamonds’ Electra Heart, and Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory. “I love being dropped into a universe on a person’s album,” Finneas says, “when you find a whole body of work that you love to listen to, top to bottom. I’m so much happier than when I hear a great song, when you’re like, ‘Oh, wow, I get to cook my whole dinner listening to this album.’”

Heck yeah, we stan a self-consciously cohesive set of songs.

A quote tweet of tim, who said “It’s nights we spent off the Pingus” with a picture of a wine bottle labeled PINGUS 2013. Yuri Dealer added: “at the yachted club. straight up “uncorking it” . and by “it”, haha, well. let’s justr say. My pingus”

In death, of course, he’s still Magneto. He’s still swift to anger and quick to lash out and prone to expediency; his suffering has not necessarily ennobled him. He is as he’s been written. But, Ewing gently suggests, he might also be something else as well. Magneto can not just evolve, but repent. In the Jewish tradition, repentance is a long and difficult road, and one that offers no guarantees—not of comfort, and not of a return to a pleasant status quo with one’s sins absolved. It asks us instead to give up our illusions, our resentments, our stiff-necked devotion to our own self-determination. It asks us to accept both the reality of our sins and our capacity for good. It demands that we abandon our belief in easy miracles. There is only the walk; there is only the work.

Today’s Song: Billie Eilish, “all the good girls go to hell”

Tomorrow: Senior Correspondent Allegra Rosenberg is back to take us all deep into the nut zone with a story about the latest BookTok sockpuppet drama.

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1  I say “we” but this may just be me. It probably tries to sell you something different while you’re on the toilet. Could it be… Communism?