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The OceanGate Titan submersible (Photo via Twitter)

TGIF: Plumbing the Depths

Elon & Zuck are fighting. Muslims & Christians are uniting. Hunter Biden gets off. Meghan & Harry get sacked. Plus, a Titanic trip ends in tragedy.

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→ The lost submarine: Five men have died in the depths of the ocean after an experimental submersible taking them to see the wreck of the Titanic lost all contact with the world and imploded. The company’s one-time head of safety was fired four years ago for complaining that the craft was unsafe. Called Titan, it’s a tiny 22-foot long vessel (the size of a minivan) with a single 21-inch viewport. It has only one button. It’s steered via a game controller. Passengers are required to sign a waiver that mentions death three times on a single page. It is bolted shut from the outside—meaning no one can escape it without someone outside releasing them. 

Yet five men got into this metal tube and tried to go to the bottom of the darkest depths of the ocean. Again: driven by a game controller. I’ve never more fully understood and yet not understood men than after reading about this tiny submarine controlled by—one more time—a video game controller. There’s a reason men make great and strange discoveries and also have a shorter life expectancy than women. 

A friend wrote me summing it up beautifully: “What they were doing was the essence of being human and we are so denatured from it that it’s hard to even contend with someone doing something like that when we all just sit behind desks all day in air conditioning and say to ourselves ‘that’s enough.’”

The media has been frenzied over the situation. Tertiary characters (a stepson) are getting cancelled by Cardi B for going to a Blink-182 concert after requesting prayers for his billionaire stepdad who was on board. The history of the Titanic is being retold. Everything was smashed into the current culture war like a can of Bud Light: The ship went down because the owner of OceanGate, the company that puts on these voyages, is woke and has a policy not to hire white dudes. Or actually, it’s because he gave cash to GOP candidates. And then, of course, there’s the “Drown the Rich” posse, including singer King Princess, who’s descended from people who died on the Titanic, and says they, like, kind of deserved what was coming to them. 

Remember: technically, tragedy cannot befall someone who has more power than you do. 

→ Speaking of men: Elon Musk challenged Mark Zuckerberg to a cage match, and Zuck agreed. Seriously: Musk wrote on Twitter: “I’m up for a cage match if he is.” Zuckerberg then posted the taunt and wrote on Instagram: “Send Me Location.” I think they could really do it. 

I can almost hear the sound of the executives’ palms meeting their faces. This couldn’t have come at a worse time. Facebook is getting ready to announce their new Twitter clone. Meanwhile, Twitter execs are at Cannes begging advertisers to come back, promising brand safety. Brands want a calm, happy place to advertise to peaceful people who might buy some Free & Clear detergent. Meantime, Musk this week is indicating some comfort with censorship. He announced the term cis (what trans people call the non-trans) will now be considered a slur on Twitter. 

In other news about America’s dwindling spaces for free speech, YouTube took down a conversation between presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and psychologist Jordan Peterson because they talked about vaccines. So, of course, RFK Jr. joined Rumble. 

(If you missed it, listen to Bari interview Kennedy on this week’s episode of Honestly.)

→ How did I not see this twist in the Covid origin story: One of the three researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who came down with Covid-like symptoms in November 2019 was Ben Hu, who worked on the project that received U.S. funding. This was first reported by our friends at Public, then confirmed in The Wall Street Journal

Yes, a U.S. taxpayer-funded project. So the U.S. intelligence communities knew what was happening and why from the start. If Public and The WSJ are right, the scandal now is the cover-up. Here’s Alina Chan, who works with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and wrote a book on Covid’s origins: “When I first heard the names of the sick WIV researchers, I was in disbelief that people in the US [government] knew about this and yet allowed the public to listen to media stories about pangolins and raccoon dogs for literally years. . . . The most shocking part of this story is that it took 3.5 years for this intel to be shared with the public.”

In retrospect, there were early signs that it was a U.S. government cover-up, not a Chinese one. Only an American would know that our media is so malleable that indeed we can be told Chinese-people-eating-crazy-shit-again is the anti-racist origin story. Yes, the classic not racist explanation: the Chinese love of diseased pangolin flesh is what killed your grandma. A research lab with sloppy security? That’s called racism. Chinese officials would never concoct this PR scheme on their own because it’s insane. But you see: it’s insane in a world of logic. Not in vibes, where we live. In Vibetown, it always made sense. 

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