What’s the worst social-media platform? Easy: Facebook. Stupid content, stupid people, terrible management. But they have most of the money and the Microsoft strategy: When a competitor threatens, buy ’em. Or, in the case of Substack, imitate ’em. The first editions — I guess that’s the word — of Facebook Bulletin, its newsletter platform, dropped last month, with three star writers.
In a way, I can’t complain; one of the last times I took a whack at Mitch I suggested he write more about Haiti and his work there, and that’s apparently the focus of his bulletins. I regret to inform you he is not living up to my hopeful expectations. So far, in three bulletins, we’ve learned that the children are sweet and loving and that the orphanage he runs there is an oasis. I was hoping for something a little …grittier, maybe? The poverty of Haiti is no secret, but I want to know how a high-profile American writer’s orphanage operates in a country like that — how the government treats them, what the government is like, even. All of which is to say, I don’t think he’s going to share his thoughts on the assassination of the president.
As for Gladwell, well. In this piece, a series of sloppy wet kisses for autonomous cars — which, sorry, have a long way to go to match his enthusiasm — he does not mention anywhere that he’s a paid shill for General Motors. That’s a long way from ethical journalism, but he sure knows how to tap multiple revenue streams.
I haven’t even looked at Erin Andrews’.
Speaking of writers who have displeased me, I did perk up my ears when I saw that Gary Abernathy, the southwest Ohioan perplexingly employed as a contributor to the Washington Post, decided to take on his fellow Buckeye, J.D. Vance. Boy, is that guy’s utter humiliation something to see, or what. Abernathy is kinder, but maybe not:
As he gets rolling, Vance seems to be struggling with who to be. As Politico reported Monday, Vance said he regrets now-deleted tweets from 2016 “calling Trump ‘reprehensible’ because of the former president’s views toward ‘Immigrants, Muslims, etc.’” Vance recently trekked to Mar-a-Lago for an audience with Trump, as have others in the race. But the about-face smacks of pandering and no matter what he does now, his old tweets will undoubtedly be featured in attack ads ad nauseam.
…According to one source, Vance currently places third in internal polling behind Mandel and Timken, and many think Timken is best positioned to receive Trump’s endorsement, which would likely be the ballgame in the GOP primary. But other hopefuls abound, including business executives Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno, with more considering the race. Congressman Tim Ryan is the only Democrat to have declared so far. Vance may be the best-known of them all nationally, but that just isn’t enough against longtime Ohio political players.
Yeah, he’s in third place “according to one source,” by about a mile. Josh Mandel has 35 percent and Vance, about 6 percent. Hillbilly meltdown.
Want to read some fine lines? Try this, from Texas Monthly:
In the year 1190, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, amid an arduous overland trek to Jerusalem, arrived with his army at the Saleph River, in what is today southern Turkey. He drowned in waist-high water, according to some accounts, weighed down by his armor. Crusades are a dangerous business.
Sidney Powell, crusading lawyer of Dallas, is drowning much closer to home. It’s late May, Memorial Day weekend, and she’s speaking to a crowd of nearly a thousand self-described truth seekers. “Truth is the armor of God,” she tells the rapt audience at Eddie Deen’s Ranch, a kitschy wedding and event venue in an awkward corner of the city’s gargantuan convention-center complex. “Deception is destroying this country,” she says. Heathens and unbelievers are “terrified, absolutely terrified of the truth.”
Finally, want to have a little fun during spelling-bee week? Do a personal spelling bee, via the NYT. I got 13 out of 15. Best of luck.
Now, let’s enjoy the weekend. RIP to L.A. Mary’s Smokey.