Today in Tabs: The Seventh Stage of Grief is Tabs

No Alex from Target here. It’s safe to read.

Today in Tabs: The Seventh Stage of Grief is Tabs
[Photo: via Wikipedia]

The only thing you need to read today is Paul Ford’s “The Sixth Stage of Grief Is Retro-computing,”
on emulating old computers, losing a friend, and the history of networks both human and machine. I mean you can make your own decision, as always, but I want you to know that if you choose not to read this you are making a bad decision. This morning PJ said “one day we will look back and think it was crazy that we got a Paul Ford essay about once a week.” It is crazy! It’s that time, right now, and you are here in it! Don’t waste it.


This is the only old OS that feels like home to me

Way over at the other end of the good/bad spectrum is the latest in Nick Bilton’s series of technology columns for idiots, “Artificial Intelligence as a Threat.” “Maybe a rogue computer momentarily derails the stock market, causing billions in damage,” imagines Bilton, speculating wildly about the terrifying possibility of an event that happened four years ago. “But let’s be realistic: It took nearly a half-century for programmers to stop computers from crashing every time you wanted to check your email. What makes them think they can manage armies of quasi-intelligent robots?” Hard to fault that logic. Hard to even find that logic. Bilton also worries about killer robots, against whom he is presumably uninsured. The kicker is Bilton’s conclusion: “…we can hinder some of the potential chaos by following the lead of Google.” And then I lit my computer on fire and walked west into the sunset forever.

Some people really hate Lena Dunham. Jonah Goldberg, for example, is willing to write that she should be disenfranchised under his own byline and squinty, resentful picture. Recently some hateful jack-basket took an anecdote from Dunham’s new book out of context, and used it to allege that she sexually abused her younger sister. Which is the purest bullshit, and I wouldn’t mention it at all except that it has provided a pretext for Roxane Gay to demonstrate again that she is our most empathetic and sane writer. And Jia Tolentino, who had a similar response, is not far behind. The accusations are trash but those two posts are worth reading regardless.

Mathew Ingram examines the numbers behind Jill Abramson and Steven Brill’s #longreads thing and is not convinced. There have been goat heads hanging from a light post in Park Slope since at least Saturday. Alexis Madrigal went to Fusion and is actually producing articles again, so I guess we know Fusion isn’t literally rendering journo talent down into aspic (yet). Jon Stewart directed a movie and clearly does not care whether you like what he has to say in this NYMag profile. Ann Patchett corrects an error. Kanye should definitely play Steve Jobs. Did you know all the episodes of Dr. Katz are on Youtube? Reverse OCR. The emoji diversity standard.

I’ve avoided even mentioning Alex from Target because uuuuuggggghhhh but Bijan found something worth reading about it.


Caitlin Dewey’s latest post at The Washington Post’s Intersect blog—”The Alex from Target marketing hoax was itself a marketing hoax, because everything on the Internet is a lie“—at first appears to be a (very good!) memesplain of a thing so dumb I’ll just link to Caitlin’s earlier ‘splain. (That said: Teenage girl fandom, as she astutely notes, is a hugely powerful and underappreciated force w/r/t Going Viral & in general.)

Near the end, though, Caitlin gets philosophical:

Does it matter if Alex from Target was born or made? A lot of sneering armchair critics would probably say no — that this is all vapid, fleeting and painfully teenage, and none of it matters in any capacity. Others would say no because Alex, at this point, is a bona fide, Ellen-endorsed cultural phenomenon, independent of his shadowy origins.

Here’s another idea: It doesn’t really matter where Alex came from, or how he got there, because the Web only presents us with degrees of fiction.

Which: yes, totally! The internet’s ambiguity is powerful, and matters in a very real way. “Claims on claims on claims on claims,” Caitlin writes a little earlier in the piece. “Nobody has a conclusive truth, and why do we care anyway.” Here’s my attempt at an answer: we care because this shit—this fiction—is alive to us, means something. At least until it’s debunked.

Anyway, Tabs is a hoax. You heard it here first! #TheseTabsAintLoyal

Bijan is also a hoax.

Today’s Song:, “『HATE』


Today’s Billy Corgan Holding Cats: Here you go.

~Despite all my rage, I am still just a tab on a page~

Today in Tabs was off yesterday because I’m sick. I’m still sick, but at some point the Tabs must go on. Read us on FastCoLabs, tell your friends to subscribe by email. I need some Theraflu.