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Today in Tabs: A Free Press (For You and Not Me)

Guest Tabs!

Today in Tabs: A Free Press (For You and Not Me)
[Photos: Flickr users Jane Wyman, Pierre-Selim, and CannedTuna]

Rusty is currently recuperating from last week’s Hot Takes. The doctors in the burn unit say his prognosis is very good. In his absence, we bring you guest-tabber and Internet Old (though not actual Old) Lia Bulaong.

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It’s cold, wet, and gross out all over the East Coast right now, so because we here at Tabs care about your emotional health, let’s start things out by watching this video of 1) a middle-aged Chinese man 2) dancing to dubstep while 3) making cotton candy flowers.

Quite possibly the most essential piece written about Charlie Hebdo last week—other than our own Rusty’s most excellent explainer—was by Maria Bustillos, questioning How Much Did We Need This Blasphemy:

I want the Charlies Hebdo of the world to say every revolting thing they want to say. But here is the exercise of my own free speech: Those guys were gross. Fanning the flames of xenophobia at a time of increased violence against Muslims and their places of worship is stupid. Not because it endangered the writers of Charlie Hebdo!—it was their look-out, if they thought these things needed saying—but because it endangered innocent Frenchmen working abroad and made it harder to fight the very grave problem of xenophobia at home.

Speaking of jokes: the list of heads of state in yesterday’s anti-terror march in Paris is straight up hilarious when you consider how some of them treat freedom of the press in their own countries. King Abdullah of Jordan marched, while Jordan has become ridiculously restrictive over the past few years: it requires news sites to register with the government lest they be banned, can only hire editors from a government-approved list, and are held responsible for anything that their commenters say. Reporters Without Borders ranks Egypt, which sent its foreign minister to the march, second in the entire world when it comes to numbers of arrested journalists; Egypt convicted and jailed three Al-Jazeera journalists for basically doing their jobs and covering the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood and was, before the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the central focus of international press attention for the death of press freedom in the Middle East. And lest you think suppressing the press is something only brown people do, remember that the lovely British government threatened the Guardian after they published files leaked by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald, and detained and questioned Greenwald’s partner David Miranda for hours on spurious terror claims while he was passing through Heathrow to change planes. Remember, establishment claims of supporting press freedoms are like the streets of Paris: beautiful and yet also full of dog shit.

Mad props to Florida Man George Zimmerman, who was arrested yet again late Friday for aggravated assault and domestic violence with a weapon. For those of you not keeping count, this is the third time he’s been arrested for domestic violence, but his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend both declined to press charges and so nothing bad has ever happened to him. Florida is basically a really great state in which to batter your partner in that not only does the law not require the removal or surrender weapons at the scene of a domestic violence incident, but courts don’t even automatically require the removal of weapons from abusers, leaving that up to the discretion of judges. Zimmerman was ordered to surrender his weapons this weekend, but if his luck continues to hold out—and let’s be honest, it probably will—these charges will probably be dropped too, he’ll get his weapons back, and continue to somehow keep finding and dating what must be the loneliest of lonely women, because friends don’t let friends date George Zimmerman.

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After all you stupid painfully out-of-touch olds oohed and aahed over Andrew WattsA Teenager’s View on Social Media last week and passed it around on Twitter like it was manna from a teen Clay Shirky, the blessed danah boyd finally stepped in with the perfectly-named An Old Fogey’s Analysis of a Teenager’s View on Social Media to try and mediate your craziness:

We’ve been down this path before. Andrew is not the first teen to speak as an “actual” teen and have his story picked up. Every few years, a (typically white male) teen with an interest in technology writes about technology among his peers on a popular tech platform and gets traction. Tons of conferences host teen panels, usually drawing on privileged teens in the community or related to the organizers. I’m not bothered by these teens’ comments; I’m bothered by the way they are interpreted and treated by the tech press and the digerati.

TL;DR: rich white teen boys are not the best representatives of anything but rich white teen boys, so please for the love of all that’s holy (i.e. sincere gold stars on Twitter) stop buying so blindly into Silicon Valley Zuckerbergian hoodie myths before you embarrass yourselves.

If you marathoned Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix last night (because how good is that show? SO GOOD.) instead of watching very famous people swan around in expensive dresses they didn’t pay for, but are now feeling intense social pressure to catch up, Gawker’s Kelly Conaboy put together an excellent servicey post on pretty much everything you need to have seen at last night’s Golden Globes.

On a somber note, R.I.P. to actor and comedian Taylor Negron, dead of cancer at 57. You might not know his name, but you probably know his face from having seen it in a zillion things your entire life—of all the That Guys floating around Hollywood, Negron was arguably the best.

In his honor, let us forswear carpets forever and switch to area rugs:

Today’s Song: Devour the Day, “You and Not Me

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~At seven I wanted to be a tab. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.~

Today in Tabs is having some guest hosts this week! Look for another on Thursday. Meanwhile as always we’re on Fast Company and in email. Today’s guest tabber Lia Bulaong is in a long-term committed love-hate relationship with the Internet, but is currently “taking time out” to “see other people” “because it’s complicated”. She loves dogs and misses Twitter, where she has been and will once again be @lia till the end of time. Please pay her to write something short for you.

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