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Today in Tabs: Comma Chameleon

Twice the Zadie Smith, twice the fun.

Today in Tabs: Comma Chameleon
[Hard disks: Flickr user Jeff Kubina, Queen Maria: via Pixabay]

The New Yorker’s preëminent proofreader Mary Norris wrote a delightful personal essay and rumination on the art and science of punctuating that displays the kind of thoughtfulness and care about language that has converted me from a naïve hater of the magazine’s house style into a stalwart fan. Also in The New Yorker this week is a long profile of Jony Ive which certainly is… long, and Zadie Smith on Key & Peele.

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Confused Friends asks: imagen if Freinds still on tv today

Amelia Greenhall’s excellent critique of pretend feminist Vivek Wadhwa was adapted into an episode of TLDR. It is not available at that link anymore though, because Wadhwa used the “L” word and the inept management of TLDR took down the episode immediately and issued a variety of ineptly-worded explanations why they did so, allowing Wadhwa to straight-up run the Gamergate bad faith argument playbook and sound so-very-measured and reasonable and taken aback by these hysterical women attacking him unfairly. Greenhall wrote a summary of what happened. We shall see if TLDR episode 45 ever returns in any form. And if you’re still not sure what side Vivek Wadhwa is on, just look at who his friends are.

Brian Williams might have lied about literally everything else too. Yikes. Is he so disgraced as to take advice from Mike Daisey? Say it ain’t so, B. Willy. Franzen is still complaining about stuff. Here’s the Cliff’s notes if you’re required to know what Franzen thinks about anything, God forbid. The Intern made good: here’s his first TNR byline, about David Carr. Carr’s final Media Equation column is up, too, taken from his B.U. course syllabus. Nick Denton calling Sam Biddle “puerile, nihilistic, [and] infuriating” in Kinja is a treat. And in The Billfold, Ester Bloom called out Jessica Williams for not seeking the Daily Show’s host chair. Williams was not amused.

The NSA hid spyware in everyone’s hard drive firmware. More info on Re/Code via Reuters. Also banks have all been hacked, and Twitter is worthless, but what do you expect when it’s 2015 and we still can’t even make unicode work right anywhere? And what ever happened with that VICE McAfee geodata leak? lol no1 know. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Intern Vicky brings us Zadie Smith’s second appearance in Tabs today:

TODAY’S INTERN TAB, by VICKY MOCHAMA

Meeting someone who still keeps a diary is like meeting a cobbler or a blacksmith, someone with a Ye Olde Professione. “Prithee,” you might say, “whither does one perform such ancient rituals?” The way a cobbler fixes shoes and the blacksmith repairs tools, the diary-writer fixes herself. Zadie Smith wrote for Rookie Mag on putting the I in diary (before the ‘a’ of course; that is a different essay):

“The dishonesty of diary writing—this voice you put on for supposedly no one but yourself—I found that idea so depressing. I feel that life has too much artifice in it anyway without making a pretty pattern of your own most intimate thoughts. Or maybe it’s the other way ’round: Some people are able to write frankly, simply, of how they feel, whereas I can’t stop myself turning it into a pretty pattern.”

Some of my diaries are in that voice: a little too chirpy and self-regarding as if for an audience. (In my family they would be read, so I knew what I was doing.) Re-reading them also brought me here because in them I saw an 11-year old version of me who wrote short devastating poems and commented derisively on fortunes from fortune cookies.

If all you can do is write a pretty pattern, then that’s what you should do.

I wrote a diary entry once, and it was so painfully “written for posterity” that I was never tempted to do anything like that again. My future biographers will just have to struggle to tease out my beliefs from these endless newsletters instead.

Today’s Fine Consumer Product: The Nest Protect networked fire alarm.

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Today’s Song: I will never stop plugging the new Modest Mouse, the latest is “The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box

~We’re gonna throw a party, all the ghosts of tabs are coming out~

Today in Tabs is on Fast Company and in email. The long weekend threw off my groove. Hopefully I’ll get my groove back tomorrow. Beware the groove.

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