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Today in Tabs: Zombies of the Confederacy

It’s time for the Civil War to end, and Taylor Swift tells Apple “I wish you wouldn’t.”

Today in Tabs: Zombies of the Confederacy
[Photo: Flickr users Robin Wendell, GabboT]

“You could argue, of course, that there are no ghosts of the Confederacy, because the Confederacy is not yet dead,” wrote Brit Bennett in the New York Times Magazine. The Confederacy lives on partly in the form of the Confederate flag, which still flies at full staff on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, because it is required by state law, and literally padlocked in place, neatly symbolizing what Ta-Nehisi Coates called “this cult of death and chains” in his call to take down the flag of slavery and racist murder. The New York Post editorial board agrees with Coates. Mitt Romney and President Obama both say it needs to go. Even Jeb Bush, who literally doesn’t know anything else, knows that it’s long past time to get rid of the Dixie flag. Lindsey Graham, though, thinks it’s “a debate that needs to happen,” as though that debate were’t conclusively decided in 1865. And of course Arkansas’s racist, bass-playing good ol’ boy Mike Huckabee, who never met a question he couldn’t find the wrong answer for, thinks that “it’s not an issue.”

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Let’s keep Huckabee in mind, because Bennett also wrote that in the American imagination, “a white terrorist has no history, no context, no origin.” Indeed, Republicans are completely flummoxed at what would impel an armed white supremacist to murder black people. “…We’ll never understand what motivates anyone to enter one of our places of worship and take the life of another,” South Carolina governor Nikki Haley wrote on Facebook. Fortunately Twitter users @HenryKrinkle and @EMQuangel did some digging and spent $49 to find the Charleston killer’s website which contained the inevitable manifesto and press kit full of douchey internet-forum tough-guy selfies that accompanies every mass murder now. The manifesto helpfully tells us exactly how this killer was radicalized, citing the Council of Conservative Citizens as a major inspiration.

The CCC is what you get if you spell “KKK” with C’s. Past supporters include Trent Lott, Bob Barr, Ann Coulter and also (surprise!) Mike Huckabee, who played footsie with the CCC back in 1993. Roan Garcia-Quintana was a board member of the CCC before Nikki Haley appointed him to her reelection steering committee in 2013. Haley eventually, reluctantly, bowed to public pressure and forced him out. My point is: This is not a fringe group of racist kooks, but a very powerful and well-connected group of racist kooks who have been openly courted by power-seekers in the South and on the right for 30 years. And the leader of the CCC leaves no doubt about who he believes will advance his agenda.

Internet trash factory Charles C. Johnson filed a defamation suit against Gawker, demanding a jury trial with what is almost certainly the first U.S. legal filing to include the phrases “good-ass kinja,” “shitting on the floor,” and “copulate with his wool sheep,” among many other gems. “I’m not an idiot,” clarified Johnson’s lawyer, in case someone mistook him for Johnson.

Other things that are objectively terrible: Wifey University (it’s what you would think, but more… bad). Yoga instructors displace “Asian girls” as the “trendy trophy women” of Hollywood’s “alpha men.” (This seems to be the Hollywood Reporter trying to compete with those Deadline Hollywoodethnic casting” hate-clicks.) Making JSON into a programming language (just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should.) Brendan O’Connor (not terrible) wrote about Magnises (fairly terrible).

Things that aren’t terrible: Taylor Swift wrote a letter to Apple asking them to pay labels for the free three-month Apple Music trial period, and… they said O.K.! So that’s great! I would be really happy if I wasn’t so cynical that I half-believe this whole thing was a promotional ploy from the beginning. Politico’s Luke O’Brien did a very long profile of Mike Bloomberg and his eponymous company last week, and it’s a spectacularly good read. If you’re pressed for time, page 6 was my favorite, but it’s all very good. And NYMag’s Jesse Singal went to Philadelphia to check out the charges that Alice Goffman fabricated some of her book On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, concluding that she almost certainly didn’t, but it’ll be hard for her to prove.

Part of the purpose of the Tabs Internship is to let the interns bring in random things that have little or no relation to current events, because news is a depressing hoax–like one of those joke cans of peanuts, except instead of a snake springing out, it’s a reminder that you and everyone you’ve ever loved will die. So here’s Romy with some thoughts about Noah Baumbach movies:

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TODAY’S INTERN TAB, by ROMY SUGDEN

I’m really excited to watch Noah Baumbach’s latest movie, While We’re Young, now that’s it’s out on home release. I like him a lot, even though I can’t watch The Squid and the Whale ever again because… look, dad-stuff is complicated, you know? There’s a lot of… a lot of feelings. I have feelings.

The Baumbach flick I return to most is the one he’s basically disowned: 1997’s Highball (which was hastily written and produced using film left over from Mr. Jealousy). It’s an odd little picture, cut up into three sitcom chunks and scatterbrained in its plotting, but it’s also fucking hilarious.

Ignore Nathan Rabin’s misgivings, and please pay no attention to the movie’s trailer, which completely mis-markets Highball’s slow and deliberate charm and wit (a fate which Andrew Disney’s Balls Out also recently suffered), instead making the film out to be a madcap, anything-goes romp. After Baumbach decided that Highball was a failed, unfinished experiment–ceding credit for the direction to fictional “Ernie Fusco”–Lionsgate did what it could to salvage the project, cutting together that awful trailer and creating this tonally confused cover art.

I’m going to assert, Death of the Author-style, that Baumbach is a fool (a fool, I say!) and knows not his own genius. Along with Waiting for Guffman and Fierce Creatures, this is the movie I make my new friends watch so I can judge their sense of humor. It’s a truly great example of les cinemås-kino du filmes, and as far as I’m concerned deserves a Criterion release.

By all means check out While We’re Young (it has gotten great reviews!), but make sure you chase it with a Highball.

I have somehow lived my life for almost 39 years without being aware of Noah Baumbach at all, so thanks for the news from my own adolescence, Romy!

Today’s Podcast: The last episode of Reply All had me near tears almost the whole time. It’s exceptionally good.

Today’s Song: Drugstore, “Gravity

~Clouds are the tabs of the weather~

Today in Tabs comes to you today from Brooklyn. “Brooklyn: It’s hot and smells like trash, but at least you can’t afford to live here!” As always we’re on Fast Company and in email, and baby we love your way.

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