Matt Kibbe And The Liberteens

The former president of FreedomWorks looks to the youth.

Spit For A Stranger

I sensed I was barking up the wrong tree by telling my 62-year-old Mormon eye doctor that my mom’s brother had just died and that he was a jerk whose breathing problems had prevented him from having sex. He stepped back, holding the drops like he might hold a cocktail, if he drank. His wedding ring was stainless steel and enormous, like his wife had their sub-zero refrigerator melted down to make it. He cleared his throat. “Do you want to call your mother back?”

Always read Sarah Miller.

Halloween is for Kids! Try Not to Ruin It

Image: slgckgc via Flickr

“Halloween is coming up! I still don’t have a costume! What kind of candy should I get?” —Trick or Tracy

We have forgotten over the decades that holidays are for giving stuff to kids. Candy at Halloween. Presents at Christmas and Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. Candy at Easter and Purim. Trees on Arbor Day. “Hey, kid, we killed your world. Go stick this Oak Tree in a vacant lot.” Instead we’ve somehow made holidays about adults. By showing ad after ad of people giving their spouses new cars at Christmas with big red bows on them. No one does this. These ads will start 2 seconds after Halloween is over and last until Valentine’s Day. If your spouse does give you a new car for Christmas, they may be a criminal hiding cash from the authorities. You might want to call the FBI on them.

Holidays are for kids because their lives suck. They are forced to go to school for like 20 years. At first they learn that they should share and be nice to each other. That, sadly, quickly goes away once playtime is over. Then they’re taught to achieve, win, succeed at all costs. Why not have a class for kids in “Dealing With Failure and Disappointment.” That would have come in handy when it was time for the prom.

Up The Irony


There’s no limit to the waves of embarrassment that old metal dudes will rain down on their beleaguered, black-clad fans. Every time a hesher bangs his head, some fogey from the first or second gen kills the buzz: here’s Phil Anselmo doing a white power sign like a dickwad, or how about Gene Simmons’s failed bid to trademark the horns? Or, Ted Nugent, still sucking air? It certainly does suck. More recently, Dee Snider, the one-time frontman of the ’80s glam band Twisted Sister, who made an entire career out of appropriating crossdressing, is pissed about the “new” trend of non-metal fans wearing metal tees.

On October 17, Snider tweeted, “Gotta say, this new trend of non-metal fans wearing vintage metal T’s if [sic] pretty sickening. Metal is not ironic! Dicks.” Where the hell do I even begin? Old Man Snider is so completely out of touch with the culture he was once a part of, that he thinks a) the trend of wearing heavy metal shirts ironically is new, and b) that heavy metal itself is not ironic.


Destroyer, "Rome"

Weren’t we just here? Wasn’t it moments ago that we were waking up to a new week, full of dread and barely able to drag ourselves to the starting line? Didn’t we just complain about how exhausted we were and wonder how much more we could take? I guess the good news is I can copy and paste this exact block of text over and over again until it finally all comes down, because we live in a world where it’s always like this now. Here’s some music. Enjoy.

New York City, October 19, 2017

★★★★★ Everything had highlights and textures. Sun glowed in the thin golden hair of a child being held up to a construction-fence window to watch a pile driver. Cirrus shreds moved like blowing snow. The fresh-hosed sidewalk was a mirror. Light passed under the quick-stepping feet of a tiny westbound dog as they lifted up from their shadows. A companionable warmth traveled up the sidewalk. A gull looked as high up as an airplane and an airplane looked as low as a gull.

Love Squares

Eastbound L Train, Manhattan

Illustration: Forsyth Harmon

I’m thinking of a throwaway line in a Noah Baumbach film. It’s Greta Gerwig’s character responding to a man’s compliment. Actually, I don’t think it’s even quite a compliment. It’s more of an admiring comment tinged with intimidation or even admonition  – he says something about seeing her in all these party photos on the internet. She responds by mumbling one of those deflections that’s also a kind of invitation, both a “please stop” and a “please tell-me-more” and this being Gerwig, she does it in a way that communicates both the wretched twist of her anxiety, and her simultaneous exasperation with herself for that anxiety’s ridiculousness: “Sometimes I look like I have fat arms…”

Every woman thinks she has fat arms in party photos. And who cares. Well, women care. The caring in general seems to have fallen so excessively to us, doesn’t it?

I was on an L train, late evening and it had been one of those hot autumnal days that fools a person into summer dressing and then betrays around dusk, when they’re ambushed with darkness and chilly air and are reduced to a small mammal keen to get back to its burrow. I was in a leather jacket, glad not to have been fooled, glad to be swaddled and armored. I was sitting directly across from the young woman beside you who was wearing a flimsy dress with tight thin straps that cut into her flesh.

Acronym, "What Could Have Been"

Let’s just set this week to “over,” please. Thank you.

Lockhart Steele Fired From Vox Media

In what appears to be the first and probably not the last repercussion of last week’s Shitty Media Men list, and the larger floodgates of assault and harassment survivors speaking out against their attackers, Lockhart Steele, Vox Media’s Editorial Director and former Curbed CEO and founder, has been fired, effective immediately. Vox employees were alerted by a message in the company’s CEO AMA slack channel:

Hi team, I am writing to let you know that earlier this evening Lockhart Steele was terminated effective immediately. Lock admitted engaging in conduct that is inconsistent with our core values and will not be tolerated at Vox Media.

Our investigation into issues raised by a former employee in a post on Medium continues.  Anyone with information should contact our external investigation leads, [redacted].

Vox Media is committed to fostering a safe and welcoming community, and appreciates everyone who has been willing to speak up and share information during the course of this investigation.

Last week when the spreadsheet was still circulating, several women I know remarked at the lack of Vox representation on it, especially given the outsize number of Buzzfeed employees who were named. The aforementioned viral Medium post by Eden Rohatensky alleges misconduct by more than one Vox employee; one wonders how many more firings are yet to come. I would be remiss not to point out that Steele would likely have been leaving the company within a month anyhow; November 2017 marks four years from the sale of his Curbed properties (Curbed, Eater, Racked) to Vox for a reported $20-30 million. Looks like the golden handcuffs are off, one month early to boot. I’d be further remiss in not noting that Steele was also the editorial director of Gawker Media, which had its own notorious “problem with women”.

The newest, wokest media conglomerates on the block are no more immune to the same kinds of abuses of power and workplace sexual harassment that we’ve been reading and writing op-eds about for the past two weeks since the Harvey Weinstein bubble burst than any other old company made out of women and men behaving badly. What a world!


UPDATE: In a previously scheduled hour-plus-long company-wide all-hands call, CEO Jim Bankoff told his staff, “I can’t stress enough this is an ongoing investigation.” He continued, “Even though there’s been a termination, it’s not concluded. There are still people coming forward, and I want to encourage people have not come forward to do so as well.” Bankoff effectively confirmed that the VP in Eden Rohatensky’s Medium post was about Steele, and also suggested there is at least one more person being investigated

The company is retaining the services of the law firm Gibson Dunn to run an external investigation, and Alexis Juneja, a Vice President at the company head of People & Culture, has been recused from the investigation due to her personal friendship with Steele. Bankoff also clarified that the company had not previously settled any harassment cases, and firmly insisted “unequivocally” that with any investigations that yield findings of misconduct, he would act swiftly to protect his employees. He brought this up as a proxy answer to the questions about “a previous investigation that was ignored” (per Rohatensky’s Medium post), which suggests the Medium post is the first Bankoff heard about it.

Towards the end of the call, COO Trei Brundrett “jumped on” the call to go over the company’s new Slack retention policy. He announced that all channels would now have deletion policies instated, per the following:

  • Public channels: 15 days
  • Announcement channels: 60 days
  • Open working channels: (can be left open)
  • Private channels: 60 days
  • Direct messages: 90 days

The new policy was supposed to have begun yesterday, but due to the ongoing investigations, the messages won’t begin deleting until Next Friday. Brundrett said this feature was requested by several teams so they could have open conversations in Slack, but then quickly doubled back to say, “this is not a cure-all for this…this does not fix everything, technology rarely does.”