Today in Tabs: Agnus Dei et Tabs Aeterna

On a day like today, only the reassuring promise of oblivion keeps us going. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

I find the idea of death comforting. Yes, it hurts when someone you love dies, but I'm talking about the fact of death. The concept of it, applied to my own existence. It's easy to get absorbed in my mistakes and failures and day-to-day compromises. It's easy to think the things I care about are important. But then I step back and consider: One day I'll be dead, and everyone I ever knew will be dead, and everyone they ever knew, and everyone who was ever alive at the same time as me. There will be no one who could possibly remember that I stiffed a waiter one time, or that I copy-and-pasted some code instead of abstracting it properly because I just wanted to be done working for the day. I bet you're worrying about something right now, and I'm not in any way questioning its importance to you, but also remember that death and time will eventually render it, and everything else, completely meaningless. So let's maybe just chill out and try to forgive ourselves a little more often.

I only mention it because everything is basically the worst, and this is the kind of day when I turn to the reassuring promise of oblivion to keep me going. Rob Meyer and Adrienne LaFrance believe Twitter might be dying, which is sad but also just as necessary as the death of any other living thing. Internet forums have to die and become rich internet humus to enable the growth of new and better internet forums.

Programming sucks, and nothing I have ever read explains why quite as exquisitely as this blog post: "You get to know your useful tools, then you look around, and there are some handy new tools nearby and those tools show you the bottomless horror that was always right next to your bed," is just one perfect line, but I could have quoted any other line at random. I've been a professional programmer since 1998, and this post goes no small way toward explaining my general worldview (see above re: "yearning for death"). The very fact that Paul Ford can identify a canon of "great" software, and be completely right, but also include what are some of the most awful piles of garbage code ever assembled proves it. And the exploitative and dysfunctional relationship between software companies and their users is just as bad as what's in the code, as Betsy Haibel makes clear.

High school was already the worst, but now there are anonymous social networks like Yik Yak to make it even more cruel. Barfing is always terrible, of course. But just try not barfing when you find out how much worse Gurbaksh Chahal is than you even thought. Don Sterling is hideous, but honestly, 1) being banned for life from the NBA and 2) having to sell your sports franchise at a massive profit is not so much a punishment as 1) my voluntary life-long condition and 2) an accomplishment most of us can only dream of. And The Warriors never even got to enact their awesome protest plan which would have almost made the whole thing worthwhile. Smug hipsters are awful, especially when they plaster the real world with expressions of their smugness. And finally: Quinoa Week in Park Slope.

It's been a while since she was #relevant, but wobble-board riding photocopier diva Maria Popova brought herself attention again yesterday in her signature style, by complaining that someone else stole stuff that she stole first. Seems Popova posted scans of Ralph Steadman's illustrations for Animal Farm along with her usual smarmy blather, which she euphemistically refers to as "appropriate background and context." A few days later Buzzfeed put up a similar post. Popova laments "investing eight years of [her] life into a labor of love, only to see it systematically stolen by greedy thieves," to which I can only recommend she invest a little of her life in a faster scanner. At any rate, Buzzfeed's response was perfect: "Asked about the post, BuzzFeed spokesperson Catherine Bartosevich told Poynter, 'Thanks for calling to our attention. We’ve removed the post,'" because the work of eight years (!!??) of Popova's life is literally the least important post Buzzfeed published on an ordinary Tuesday. What's odd is that it's not even clear Buzzfeed's pictures came from Popova at all. Buzzfeed posted 21 pictures to her 18, for example, and some of them are clearly not the same. See Popova's vs. Buzzfeed's for example. Buzzfeed clearly felt it wasn't even worth bothering with her, and it's truly not, ever, for anyone, and if it weren't for the certainty of eternal nothingness I would feel bad for bothering with her here.

So I'm clearly pro-death as a general rule. But last night in Oklahoma, the United States tried and failed to "humanely" kill one of our citizens. If you'd like to know how this happened, read Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker from December on the government's ever-narrowing access to drugs for the sociopathic and unquestionably racist purpose of murdering prisoners. Clayton Lockett is gone now, and beyond caring, but the rest of us (the Americans among us anyway) have to go on and remember that we caused that man's ugly and painful exit.

Me and you and everyone we know

We sure do have fun here in Tabs! But don't worry, I'm not going to abandon you on that bleak note. Look, here's Cooper Fleishman on "me irl", and it's an epic story that spans Twitter, Reddit, 4Chan, furry culture, and much more. Here's Questlove's "How Hip-Hop Failed Black America" and, ok, the thesis is that everything is terrible, but it's a great essay. You can find out which X-Files character you are thanks to Katie Heaney, and that's inarguably a good thing, as is any beef that can be described as Major League Lacross vs Jay Z.

And last, but by no means least, I think we can all find the will to go on in a world that now contains Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos.

Yeterday in Tabs: I slept on this Grantland piece from March about the world's greatest juggler, Anthony Gatto, but it's very good.

Today's Song: Jay Z, "D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)"

~When your tabs give out I will carry you, carry you.~

Today in Tabs would like to assure you that this is not a cry for help, except insofar as every Today in Tabs is a cry for help. Thanks today to Keith Calder and Tim Maly for research assistance. Until the sweet release of the hereafter takes us all, you can find us on Newsweek or in your email. By the way I did a little Q&A for Periodically yesterday, which you can read if this hasn't already been too much Rusty for one day.

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