When Life Hands You Glaciers, Make a Martini

And other lessons from the incorruptible Supreme Court.

Well it looks like them good ol’ Supreme Court boys done got themselves in trouble again. This time ProPublica caught Associate Justice and anagram of “Antonin Scalia” Samuel Alito taking expensive flights and a luxury Alaska salmon fishing vacation from hedgie Paul Singer, a match once again arranged by the Federalist Society’s travel agent and graft coördinator Leonard Leo. Rather than answer ProPublica’s questions directly, Alito accepted a page of conservative activist Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Wall St. Journal which, as far as he is aware, would otherwise have been vacant, to publish a clumsy and unconvincing prebuttal hours before the story dropped. Its closing paragraph is a first ballot cinch for the failed-state oligarch self-serving justification Hall of Fame:

As for the flight, Mr. Singer and others had already made arrangements to fly to Alaska when I was invited1 shortly before the event, and I was asked2 whether I would like to fly there in a seat that, as far as I am aware,3 would have otherwise been vacant. It was my understanding that this would not impose any extra cost on Mr. Singer. Had I taken commercial flights, that would have imposed a substantial cost and inconvenience on the deputy U.S. Marshals who would have been required for security reasons to assist me.

I guess if you’re accepting a free luxury vacation from the guy who’s desperate for your intervention to pry $2.4 billion out of Argentina anyway, there’s no reason to subject yourself to flying commercial. Quinnipiac just found that “Americans give the Supreme Court a negative 29 - 58 percent job approval rating,” and “63 percent support limiting the number of years a Supreme Court Justice can serve,” large popular majorities that would practically guarantee legislative action if Americans lived in a democracy.

The ProPublica article, which incorporates and dismantles Alito’s huffy and scattershot protestations, is a marvel of journalistic clarity, laying out step by step exactly who bought what decision and how. It’s truly worth reading. And for the metaphor fans out there, the kicker is this picture of Antonin Scalia on his own Alaskan Federalist Society graft adventure, making martinis out of glacier ice. You won’t find a better image for the collapse of the American experiment than this one.

Other Collapsing Experiments: Elisabeth Åsbrink’s fifteen year friendship with “controversial Swedish playwright Lars Norén.” A.O. Scott’s move to the Times book review, judging by this stream of consciousness heap of Prestige Rambling. Brooklyn Spa Bathhouse’s pride at heating their pools with Bitcoin mining.

Screenshot from the Bathhouse Instagram post about heating their pools with Bitcoin mining, alongside comments like “Do you think they chose this voice over to make people more irritated and want a massage?” “his makes me like bathhouse less. now i’m concerned about who is mining this cryptocurrency, who is profiting from it, and whether I support that. we’re gonna need some transparency,” and “Such a bad marketing move haha”

Fan-wiki host Fandom has been collapsing for a while, but this time they fucked with The Grimace. And nobody fucks with The Grimace. Intern Mariam has the story:

Grimace Fans Grimace

First they tried to hide the truth about Uncle O’Grimacey’s IRA connections, but in its latest transgression, wiki hosting company Fandom has reached a new low: the company took money from McDonald’s to temporarily replace Grimace’s wiki page with a paid ad, upsetting not just it’s creator Nathan Steinmetz but all Fandom users. Users have been hating on Fandom for years now, ever since its transformation from Wikia into an ad-riddled hellscape of incorrect but undeletable information, but this may finally be too much.

Tweet by Nathan Steinmetz: “Like I can just add it back but what's the point if they're literally paying a dude to undo it. They're partnering with Fandom for an ad campaign for the page now too.” above a screenshot of the new fake advertising Grimace page.

Maybe the biography of a giant purple taste bud [allegedly! —Ed.] isn’t the most critical archival material, but nothing screams “the end of the useful internet” like the fact that wiki pages, functioning as both historical documents and collaborative communities, can be bought and sold to the highest bidder.

“While The Grimace is a very silly page for this whole thing to be about, I think it probably sets a really bad precedent that an IP holder can approach Fandom or whoever and have user generated content basically ‘suppressed’ and replaced with a press release” Steinmez, who spent hours compiling Grimace’s public appearances, historical lore, etc., told Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett.

Tweet by Nathan Steinmetz: “I am sorry that there are now nagging ethical concerns related to this very poorly run wiki page about a milkshake monster”

The more pressing concern here is the fact that between Google sucking ass and the implosions of Twitter and now Reddit, we are rapidly reaching the point at which every formerly helpful information source is disappearing, with nothing to take its place. Fandom, awful as its UX might be, effectively functions as Reddit for super-niche entertainment topics, where you can find an exhaustive list of factions in the Dragon Ball Z universe or a 'This Day In History' for everything Transformers. As Alex Pareene wrote in Defector, "the internet’s best resources are almost universally volunteer run and donation based,” and one of these resources betraying its members and violating its own rules for ad money just feels like another harbinger of the impending internet apocalypse. No, not that one.

—Mariam O’Shariacey steadfastly denies the allegations.

Submersible Updates: In Rolling Stone, Andrea Marks and Jana Winter reported last night that a Canadian P8 “Poseidon” search aircraft:

…deployed sonobuoys, which reported a contact in a position close to the distress position. The P8 heard banging sounds in the area every 30 minutes. Four hours later, additional sonar was deployed and banging was still heard.

The Coast Guard reported that unknown banging noises continued today. A French deep-sea robot named Victor 6000 is en route and expected to arrive in the search area Wednesday evening, if it does not go on strike first. The crew only has oxygen to last until 6am Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Hamish Harding’s stepson is trying extremely hard to make himself the main character.

“Well well well if it isn’t” [quote-tweet of Actual Names:] Samuel Suckoff, United States Census, 1910.

Rebecca Alter: “do not try to Julie & Julia yourself through all 54 recipes in the [A24 Cookbook], because there is a not-zero chance you will die.” The Lufkin Daily News on an assistant bowling coach’s infidelity: “Spare relationship causes awkward split.” Marvel series Secret Invasion uses what appears to be Midjourney in the opening titles, looks dated before it even premieres. “He would put it on and ‘switch’ into his persona of The Hat Man…” The Hat Man, previously.

Finally: Mattie Lubchansky, of “buy their new book Boys Weekend” fame, on Corporate Pride.

A panel from Lubchansky’s comic, showing a big cereal box labeled “Family Size BODILY AUTONOMY” and a mascot-ish purple leprechaun guy, with the caption: “The enemy of our enemy is not our friend—our liberation is not a corporate interest, nor can they grant it. And neither combatant in the corporate culture wars care if we call their hypocrisies out.”

Today’s Song: Flyana Boss, “You Wish”

Music Intern Sam is playing the hits. I do not credit her nearly often enough in here but Jane Davis is our Senior Discord Moderation Intern and keeps that community precisely the right amount of off the rails. If you want a social hangout online that still feels fun, become a Tabs subscriber and get in there. If they find the sub, that’s where you’ll hear the news first. UNCLE O’GRIMACEY INNOCENT !!!!!

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