Today in Tabs: Your Soul is Still Dancing

Jill Abramson
Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. holds up four fingers to indicate the four Pulitzer Prizes won by the New York Times, as winners for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize are announced at The New York Times newsroom in New York April 15, 2013. Ruth Fremson/Pool/Reuters

Why do we read the news? I know hardly anyone does, but I'm addressing you specifically, because if you're reading this you definitely care about the news just as much as I do, and probably live with just as much self-revulsion about that as I do. Very little of the news makes any difference in our lives. And of the tiny fraction that does matter, there's an even tinier fraction that we can do anything about. So why do we care?

I think we care because of how the news cycle works. News takes a constant sleet of apparently random events and miraculously digests them, transforming them into stories. "Events" are terrifying, because they can happen to anyone, at any time, for no reason. A plane crashes, a footrace gets bombed, someone gets fired from her important job. Everything happens so much! But soon, we know, the munching Langoliers of journalism will gobble up all these meaningless events and poop out a fertile pile of Narrative. Now that we can live with, right? Narrative makes it seem like events came from somewhere, happened for a reason, are leading up to something. Narrative is the only thing standing between us and chance's cruel iguana.

That's why the last 24 hours in the saga of Jill Abramson has been so satisfying. The narratives are starting to shape up. On one side, Ken Auletta refuses to back down from his claim that her demands for wage equality were a major contribution to Abramson's harsh dismissal, posting actual salary numbers that seem to support his first article. Danielle Kurtzleben at Vox picks up that thread, writing about the ways that women are systematically undermined and set up to fail in leadership positions. Gawker's Michelle Dean points out how badly people want their sexism to be happening "in general", instead of confronting specific examples of it.

On the other side, we have Dylan Byers struggling along, so loaded down with all the water he's carrying for the Times that he can barely hold up his giant cartoon head. When Auletta got a Times spokesperson to admit that Abramson's agitation for equal pay was "a contributing factor," Byers immediately posted an item on Politico that exists purely as a cozy nest within which that spokesperson can walk the quote back. Byers has generally served as a kind of media octopus, squirting out clouds of ink in an attempt to obscure the plainly unequal salary numbers that have come to light. "The question of truth can be downright elusive in high-level personnel dramas, and the Times’ escalating feud with its former top editor is no exception..." writes Byers, doing his level best to make this whole thing a "he said / she said" situation, where we can all throw up our hands and say "I guess we'll never know what really happened!" "Abramson bests Times in PR fight" is the Politico headline, reflecting the fact that news inevitably becomes a competition between narratives. But what Byers doesn't seem to grasp is that only some narratives are true.

Somewhat ancillary to the two main legs of the Trousers of Narrative, but still worth reading, are: The eerily voice-perfect "A Few Questions About Jill Abramson, From David Brooks For David Brooks By David Brooks" by Sarah Miller. Alex Pareene is in mid-season form in The Awl recommending that "Pinch" Sulzberger should fire himself. Indeed, most indications are that Sulzberger's son Arthur Gregg Bob Jim James Andrew "Noogie" Sulzberger would do a much better job running the Times or at least has some grasp, however feeble, of how much needs to be done to drag the Gray Carcass out of the tarpit his father is only dimly aware it is in. Jess Singal in NYMag talks about the art of squashing rumors, which is pretty tangential but interesting. And finally, there's this piece in the New York Post, who sent a photographer to stalk Abramson at her home: "Just before 8 a.m., Abramson left her Tribeca home [to walk her dog] looking a bit frumpy in a brown jacket, black cropped pants and pink and gray Nike running sneakers." I make it a rule not to use profanity in Tabs, because it's too easy to let it serve as a crutch for weak writing, but Sophia Rosenbaum, and the New York Post in general: go fuck yourselves, you vile little shit-heap trolls.

Speaking of vile! What the hell is this, Bloomberg? A woman who tweeted about municipal bonds in Kentucky get this treatment? "An authority on capital projects and debt. By the Legislative body. Uh-oh. I’m with Hector Negroni. I’m in love!" Ugggggh. And Daily Caller, maybe "Witch Hunt" was not the best metaphor to use here? Not to be outdone, The National Review Online calls college sexual assault victims "deserving". I didn't realize it was the Conservative Upfronts already, where the right wing shows the worst it can do in hopes of luring in those Koch brothers think-tank bucks.

You know I wonder. I haven't heard much about Bitcoin lately... uhhhh never mind. Hey but what about FiveThirtyEight? Haven't heard much about them either... oh, uh hmm. Awkward. Let's just move on.

What is a 'Week-End?' Goldieblox pays a milli. "Competitive Tickling: The Movie": the Kickstarter. Money Over. Adobe Really Over. Idea Bad. Blocking is always the answer. It's 1400269372, do you know what time it is? Chipotle literature is so hot right now. Tay Peaces Out.

Today's Feels: ALL OF THEM

Hey Does Anyone Else Remember: Fish Police? (omg the whole series is on Youtube???)

Today's Song: Lil Wayne, "A Milli"

~Flounders in the night, one-sided glances...~

Today in Tabs had a pretty good week. How bout you? Let me know on twitter @RustyK5. Thanks to Newsweek and thanks to email although that is not normally a sentiment I am down with. I'll catch you on the flip side.

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