X Gonna Take It From Ya
The fXtXre of fXnXce.
Elon Musk replaced the Twitter bird with the generic X character from Monotype’s Special Alphabets 4, because that’s his only idea, and X CEO Linda Yaccarino, an AI trained solely on LinkedIn posts, dutifully took a huge swig of ayahuasca and started posting like Geoffrey Sonnabend with an MBA:
“You can do anything on Zombo com,” she concluded, before projectile vomiting and then falling into deep conversation with a nearby ficus. Elon, as always, simply Xed through it, Xplaning that posts, re-posts, and likes are now all called X’s. Future plans for X include video (eyeX), audio (earX), payments (ca$X), messaging (meXXaX) and banking (fXnXce). I’m joking because that’s my job, but it’s a self-evidently dumb and depressing rebrand that everyone agrees will not work. Elon is a stupid person doing stupid shit because no one will say no to him anymore. Ryan Mac and Tiffany Hsu report that:
Inside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco, X logos were projected in the cafeteria, while conference rooms were renamed to words with X in them, including “eXposure,” “eXult” and “s3Xy,” according to photos seen by The New York Times.
…finally answering the question “what if a major social media company was run by a talking erection?” Most likely Musk will find a way to financially engineer Twitter’s crushing debt load onto a spin-off that declares bankruptcy with the name “Twitter” and the bird logo as its only assets, and he’ll walk away from this fiasco with little meaningful impact to his own wealth. Twitter is dead though, systematically hollowed out and replaced by something dumber, uglier, and meaner.
Meanwhile alien dragon lord Jeff Bezos is getting more hands-on with his own rich man’s toy media company, The Washington Post, which according to Benjamin Mullin and Katie Robertson had to give McKinsey-ass titles like ”‘analyst’ or ‘strategist’” to new editors because Business Jeffy thought editors were an unnecessary cost for a newspaper.
None of the other platforms are doing well either. In Wired, Katherine Alejandra Cross argues that Bluesky and Reddit are both fucking up their moderation, and Liz would like to know what Reddit CEO Steve Huffman’s, like, whole deal is? Google is teasing the notion of a “trusted client environment” for the web, to which the web development community has replied: “Don’t.” And despite the exciting news from AI-generated gray goo website Zleague.gg, Glorbo isn’t coming to World of Warcraft. Without Glorbo, there seems to be little chance of success in "the quest to depose Quackion, the Aspect of Ducks."
Dennis Lee tried to eat “The Real (dumb) Cheeseburger” but immediately discovered that:
…aside from having that really weird gel-like texture lukewarm American cheese gets when it’s been sitting out, it turns out eating that much of it in one go is prohibitively salty.
Eric Levitz went deeper than strictly necessary into banana socialism discourse. And you know who else has banana problems? Gorillas. You will not believe the common link between “Oppenheimer” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” Our most mystifyingly successful non-Musk idiot, Sam Altman, announced that it’s finally Orb day. And sentient Monster energy drink can Dave Portnoy is now apparently just going around cursing pizzerias with “legions of young, loud, and often inebriated Barstool die-hards.” I guess there’s all kinds of ways to make a living.
Barbenheimer was a big hit, with “Barbie” making $155 million and “Oppenheimer” $80 million in a pretty much unprecedented two-film combo weekend for theaters. In Indiewire Tom Brueggemann wrote that what will bring people out to see a movie on opening weekend is “risky projects based on compelling ideas that challenge filmmakers and their audiences.” I can’t wait to see if our Davids Zaslav and Bobs Iger embrace this new paradigm of making original movies instead of hiring Harrison Ford to put on a fedora and risk breaking his hip. I imagine they’re retooling their thirty-year Marvel franchise release schedules even as we speak.
Meanwhile Barbie Discourse continued to simmer. Jessica DeFino made a much better argument than me that whatever the feminist message of the movie is, it’s completely undermined by all of the Barbie merch. In Roadmap, Jacqui Shine dug up the lost history of the real Ken, Barbie creator Ruth Handler’s son Ken Handler, and his involvement in the production of 1985 B-movie sex farce “Delivery Boys.”
How did a self-styled auteur with money to burn end up directing a raunchy sex comedy held together with breakdancing scenes? Delivery Boys is a mystery wrapped in an enigma: a turducken of a tale that stuffs race, class, and sex into the worn carcass of an absurdist plot, brines it in a little sexual harassment and trusses it up with the workaday labor of the adult film industry. Join my investigation, won’t you?
In other Ken Takes: is Ken “a proletarian hero ultimately defeated by the bourgeois Barbie counter revolution?” In Surfacing, Mikki Halpin collected the history of Actually Subversive Barbies. And Jude Doyle writes that Barbie is a good movie for children, and everyone should probably calm down.
There is surprisingly little Oppenheimer Discourse, but in Daily Dot Gavia Baker-Whitelaw took a moment to briefly explain why there are no Japanese people in “Oppenheimer,” which you might think would be obvious if you’d never been on the internet before.
Today’s Song: Tinashe, “Talk To Me Nice”
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