Splinter, the site formerly known as Fusion and staffed by some of the best human rights and labor reporters in the country, has ceased publication today. The site’s shuttering was announced in a very bad internal memo you can read parts of, if you can stomach the sanctimonious, paper-thin talking points. (For a truer picture of the corporate environment in which Splinter operated, go here and here.) Yes, there are villains: Great Hill Partners, owners of the former Gawker Media sites as well as The Onion, The A.V. Club, and The Root. Ad-supported journalism is a dicey enough proposition; put private equity vampires in charge and the death cycle is only accelerated, every indignity of working in media is magnified, every misery heightened, every moron promoted, every bootlicker protected.
When I repeatedly asked Mr. Kamprad for an answer in my interview with him in 2010, I finally received a shocking reply: “There’s no contradiction as far as I’m concerned. Per Engdahl was a great man, and I’ll maintain that as long as I live.”
The Roman poet Catullus is the father of dirty books. Some readers loved his earthy sexual imagery, others less so, but he didn’t have much truck with critics, attacking them in a poem so filthily abusive it wasn’t translated literally until the 1970s: “Up your ass and in your mouth / Aurelius … / Calling me dirt because my poems / have naughty naughty words in them.” I feel we need more of this engagement between writers and critics.
Today, Bezos controls nearly 40 percent of all e-commerce in the United States. More product searches are conducted on Amazon than on Google, which has allowed Bezos to build an advertising business as valuable as the entirety of IBM. One estimate has Amazon Web Services controlling almost half of the cloud-computing industry—institutions as varied as General Electric, Unilever, and even the CIA rely on its servers. Forty-two percent of paper book sales and a third of the market for streaming video are controlled by the company; Twitch, its video platform popular among gamers, attracts 15 million users a day. Add The Washington Post to this portfolio and Bezos is, at a minimum, a rival to the likes of Disney’s Bob Iger or the suits at AT&T, and arguably the most powerful man in American culture.
The document puts the gunman within a growing recent tradition of violent far-right extremists around the world, who seek to inspire future attacks by adding to a library of manifestos or footage of past attacks.
Forgetting you mail-ordered a bespoke set of ingredients for a selection of restaurant-style recipes is a luxurious predicament to be in, but the frequency with which those meal kits seem to be abandoned points to the very same problem they were invented to fix: Consumer surveys have found that most people who buy meal kits do so in hopes of saving time. As it turns out, it takes time to unpack, cook, and clean up after a meal-kit dinner, too.