We're Trying To Find the Guy That Did This

In other news, Henry Kissinger is still alive.

It’s the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, and in the NY Times Max Fisher asks Why Did the U.S. Invade? “It’s not that there’s some still-missing puzzle piece or state secret,” Fisher asserts breezily, as if “unknown unknowns” are as fictional as “chemical precursors” or Pete Wentz’s great uncle’s famous aluminum tubes.

Tellingly, when evidence proved elusive, the administration did not slow its drive, but rather changed its rationale. Officials claimed that Mr. Hussein possessed, or would soon possess, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons that he might intend to use against the United States. Those claims were carried, and amplified, by America’s major media outlets.

Two CNN links, nice. Perhaps the New York Times archive is temporarily offline? Omer Aziz took a less bowdlerized look back at the Iraq War, and demonstrated that no matter how bad you thought it was, it was worse. But maybe we’re all overthinking it. Maybe George W. was just stressed out.

Screenshot of the hero graphic and headline from the Wall St. Journal article “Stressed Out? Grab a Shovel and Dig a Hole,” with an image of a shovel plunging into block dirt.

Miles Klee profiled the subreddit dedicated to non-lewd pissing in the sink. “Listen, son, if it’s good enough for Shirley Bassey it’s good enough for you.” On a similar wavelength Mikkel Rosengaard tried a new spin on the Dimes Square scene report, trad-Catholically rechristening your downtown Anna Khachiyan and Honor Levy types “the Femtroll, or the Based It Girl.” It’s all just vibes and I know at this point no one wants to think about any of this too much, but this?

The femtrolls and Based It Girls I meet downtown are all angry at the erosion of the American middle class. They are frustrated with the corrupt plutocracy and a corporate media that is distracting us with vapid cultural wars. The femtroll wants real material change — not diverse Disney characters and rainbow flags on Wall Street. The femtroll knows she is not being represented by a diverse figurehead at the helm of the neoliberal ship of death. She is being marketed to.

“I just want people to have free health care, honey,” Dasha Nekrasova says.

“I’m not, like, into politics,” Honor Levy says. “I just want to have a family someday.”

With her online excesses and trad cath pageantry, the femtroll belongs to the decadent tradition. Everything she does is vulgar, distasteful, morally debauched, like the dandies of the fin de siècle. Joris-Karl Huysmans, Oscar Wilde, and Joséphin Péladan, who, like the Based It Girls of downtown New York, turned their backs on what they saw as a degenerate society and fled into artifice and religious fantasy.

This makes absolutely no sense. This is a random list of incompatible politics and aesthetics. You people are just addicted to saying words.

Today in legitimately based tabs, Sally Rooney wrote an opinion piece for The Irish Times opposing the end of the pandemic-era eviction moratorium in Ireland, a country that has historically had some landlord problems. Unfortunately it lacks any attractive twenty-somethings having steamy sexual encounters. You could perhaps imagine this post as a summation of the ideas exchanged via anachronistically handwritten letters between a rugged, untutored (but precociously well-read) factory worker and the disaffected upper-class intellectual Dublin girl he met down the pub, when they’re not busy with hot but sociologically destabilizing bouts of lovemaking. Personally I loved it, but a well-argued position paper that landlords should not exist is basically smut to me.

5,000 mile-wide algae blob approaches. Sushi saliva terrorism. Q: What’s Elon Musk’s favorite food? A: 💩. Jia Tolentino is a size 4. Is Roxane Gay reviewing Wordles now? Tom Scocca did it better. Local mom whiffs on third recent public opportunity to define “woke.” If I were starting a new website, I would simply make it “generate more than $100 million in revenue next year as it lures 100 million monthly readers — all while turning a profit.” Jimmy Finkelstein can’t believe no one has thought of just bringing back the glory days of Vanity Fair. Baltic States subreddit celebrates “our soldiers in WW2 who fought in nazi uniforms. Although they were part of the Waffen SS, they were not nazis…” Thread goes extremely well. Ron DeSantis identifies as culturally yinzer, reports NBC. How to make your own fresh pasta. (Previously.) And Matt Webb made an AI clock that “composes a new poem every minute using ChatGPT…” I’ll allow it.

Max Tani reports that former Vice CEO Shane Smith managed to extract more than $100 million from his now-crumbling would-be media empire before ghosting it as the threat of bankruptcy looms.

But a person with direct knowledge of the transaction revealed one remarkable detail: Smith sold more than $100 million of his own shares — about a quarter of Vice’s current value — when A&E and Crossover Ventures invested a collective $500 million in Vice in the 2014 deal that made him “post-economic.”

Bookmarked: Look I haven’t finished it yet but Caity Weavertraveled to Morocco with a group-travel company that promises to build ‘meaningful friendships’,” so I’m going to wrap this up and go read the rest of that.

Today’s Song: Sorry Mom, “Awesome Party, Dude!”

Coming This Summer, from A24:

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