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Nancy Drew and the Mystery of Kensington Palace

My friend Cord Jefferson won an Oscar!

It’s 3/11 and amber is the color of NPR’s energy. DID YOU KNOW: the members of 311 were not cryogenically frozen in 1993 but in fact are now gray-goateed 50-somethings who look like someone asked DALL-E for “five session musicians with alimony.” Seems rude, but at least the earth has not swallowed them yet.

The same cannot conclusively be said for Catherine “Princess of Wales” Middleton, who has been missing since Christmas. Last week Nieman Lab’s Laura Hazard Owen brought in former BuzzFeed royal family correspondent Ellie Hall for an impeccably-timed Q&A about the royal family journalism industry in general and the strange case of the missing princess in particular. Concern has been growing for weeks among the royalty fandom, but yesterday the Of Wales family released what’s either a poorly photoshopped picture of Kate and her kids or a superbly photoshopped proof-of-life forgery incorporating doctored images from as long ago as November, 2023 where just a couple tiny erroneous details slipped through.

Today The Daily Mail reported that Prince William and… someone(?) left Windsor Castle in a car headed for what Today in Tabs understands were very real and normal appointments, of the sort any person who is not missing would routinely attend.

Why does anyone care about this? To the extent that I care about it, as a descendant of overseas colonists who would gladly have murdered the whole British royal family if they got the chance, I think Garbage Ryan is right: it’s because misinformation is fun. The answer to this mystery is either literally nothing, just a minor celebrity taking some time off, or something very sad and disturbing that we will learn the truth of years from now. Or both! But for the princess’s actual subjects, Tanya Gold thinks the chaos around Kate’s vanishing echoes a larger decay in British politics more generally:

That we in Britain obsess over the Windsors — rather than, say, the cost-of-living crisis, the wreckage of Brexit, or galloping child poverty — is typical of our semi-functioning politics. Like all fairy tales and fables, monarchy infantilizes us, and like a drug, it eats into real life, starting with the lives of the royals themselves. Princess Diana was a fairy-tale princess until she ended up dead. Now, with a swiftness that no one could have expected after the death of Elizabeth II in 2022, the monarchy is potentially fracturing.

zoewithay posted “the three genders” with a screenshot of Spotify artist links for King Dude, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, and King Woman.

While the British monarchy is potentially fracturing, the media industry is beyond fractured and well on its way to an imperceptible atomic mist. Today the utterly contemptible G/O Media informed employees that it sold Deadspin and fired everyone who works there, more or less by accident, to what appears to be a shell company out of Malta. Variety’s Todd Spangler reports:

It’s not clear who’s behind Lineup Publishing or where the company is based. The only information on its website is a slogan that says “Engaging brands. With heaps of character” alongside a contact form. The bottom of the homepage includes the text “San Gwann, Malta,” which suggests the company is based in the island country located in the Mediterranean Sea.

I’m sure “Lineup Publishing” isn’t an A.I. sludge factory looking for an SEO friendly brand to spend a bunch of crypto-laundered Russian oligarch money on. That’s just one thing it’s probably not. Among many. G/O Media’s titanic ballbag of a CEO Jim Spanfeller assured staff that “the new owners plan to be reverential to Deadspin’s unique voice,” a reverence that Gita Jackson noticed they’ve already begun expressing by deleting certain specific posts from the website, such as this one (archive) and this one (archive).

Also Today In Media: leftist magazine Guernica published a pretty bad essay by Israeli writer and translator Joanna Chen. It would probably have been one of the best things written about the ongoing Gaza genocide in The Atlantic (derogatory), but Guernica’s dozens of subscriber/contributors aren’t about to let Chen get away with the kind of strategic passive voice deployed in paragraphs like:

The horrors that had been perpetrated rose to the surface of my consciousness at these times. I listened to interviews with survivors; I watched videos of atrocities committed by Hamas in southern Israel and reports about the rising number of innocent civilians killed in a devastated Gaza.

This Reddit post in r/literature gathered the fallout in resignations, angry tweets and general dudgeon, and the magazine now “regrets having published this piece, and has retracted it,” promising that “A more fulsome explanation will follow.” But until that explanation arrives, whether it’s excessively flattering or abundant and bountiful, Joyce Carol Oates regrets that all we hear from Guernica’s former contributors is puritanical & punitive. Is there nothing celebratory & joyous? Or is query naive?

Helena Fitzgerald posted “congrats to Cord Jefferson and to the spontaneous major weather event about to occur in Brooklyn due to media and media-adjacent people en masse setting the land speed record for describing someone they’ve met one time as ‘my friend’”

I can’t believe my friend Cord Jefferson won an Oscar! It’s extremely well-deserved and this puts him halfway to the EGOT he’s always been destined for.

Also Today in Oscar News: Steven Spielberg was right to do this, and there was a surprising all-time Academy Awards first last night.

Congratulations and 🏆 to Tabs Discord habitué Ian for his first place 21 points in the community organized “Tabs Goes to the Oscars 2024” Oscar prediction contest. Sincere but proportionally less fulsome congratulations and 🥈 to the 19 point second place polycule of hadaly, Ducky_Krup and jeniferleigh, and honorable mention to 18 point 🥉 medalist Matthew.

If you’re wondering what they won: it is the preceding paragraph. If you’d like to join the Discord, subscribe! If you already have a paid subscription and you can’t find the Discord link, hit reply and ask me, I’ll send it to you.

But look at that thing, the power of your handmade work. It's so amazing, the irresistibly powerful magnetic attraction between the people who want to know what the fuck is going on, and the people who want to tell it to them. There's all these walls in between us to prevent that contact, walls made of people trying to grab money, but people need and want to know, so much.

It’s a whole ecosystem that we're talking about here, because first of all, and I'm not at all the only one in this, there's a lot of us out here. There should be newspapers that we work at where we do this.

And then the other piece of it is, there is this good aspect to the democratization of media. In some ways it’s nice that the barriers to entry are lower, because there's nothing to enter into.

*deepest imaginable sigh.*

In Fortune Crypto Leo Schwartz and Jessica Mathews reported what actually happened with that whole crypto thing at Kickstarter.

And Andrea Long Chu has an Andrea long post in New York Magazine today making “The moral case for letting trans kids change their bodies.” It’s outstanding and moves this interminable and infuriating so-called “debate” meaningfully forward.

We will never be able to defend the rights of transgender kids until we understand them purely on their own terms: as full members of society who would like to change their sex. It does not matter where this desire comes from.

Say it with your whole fucking chest, Andrea.

Today’s Song: Mikayla Geier, “Dance of the Trees”

Thanks Music Intern Sam, this song actually kind of blew me away? According to last week’s poll you the readers were about 70-30 “Nope” on that Bible verse. I loved your extra comments, great work all around. I spent too long listening to 311 songs this afternoon so this is already late, let’s just leave it there.