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★ Translation From Hostage Code to English of X Corp CEO Linda Yaccarino’s Company-Wide Memo

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Company-wide memo from nominal X Corp CEO Linda Yaccarino, sent this morning:

Hi team,

What a momentous weekend.

Everyone said to me, “Linda, what are you thinking? You don’t want to work for that guy. He’s crazy and impulsive. You’ve got a great job at NBC. You’ve got a great future ahead of you. If you take this job it’ll tank your career and your name will be a punchline.” Did I listen to them?

As I said yesterday, it’s extremely rare, whether it’s in life or in business, that you have the opportunity to make another big impression. That’s what we’re experiencing together, in real time. Take a moment to put it all into perspective.

It’s OK to day-drink. I am.

17 years ago, Twitter made a lasting imprint on the world. The platform changed the speed at which people accessed information. It created a new dynamic for how people communicated, debated, and responded to things happening in the world. Twitter introduced a new way for people, public figures, and brands to build long lasting relationships. In one way or another, everyone here is a driving force in that change. But equally all our users and partners constantly challenged us to dream bigger, to innovate faster, and to fulfill our great potential.

Twitter was a simple concept with profound impact.

With X we will go even further to transform the global town square — and impress the world all over again.

It’s not just you. I have no idea what’s going on either.

Our company uniquely has the drive to make this possible.

Fucking Elon.

Many companies say they want to move fast — but we enjoy moving at the speed of light, and when we do, that’s X.

According to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, as an object approaches the speed of light, the object’s mass becomes infinite and so too does the energy required to move it. But this holds true, in degree, for all objects in motion, and a mind-bending aspect of special relativity is that the faster an object is moving, the more slowly it experiences time. If you were able to move at the speed of light, time wouldn’t pass at all. It would be like being damned for eternity, forever caught in the current moment, while the world moves on for everyone else.

I think about this.

At our core, we have an inventor mindset — constantly learning, testing out new approaches, changing to get it right and ultimately succeeding.

We are hemorrhaging cash and our advertisers are still fleeing.

With X, we serve our entire community of users and customers by working tirelessly to preserve free expression and choice, create limitless interactivity, and create a marketplace that enables the economic success of all its participants.

I used to run all advertising for NBCUniversal. Now I’m running an $8/month multi-level marketing scheme where the only users who’ve signed up are men who own a collection of MAGA hats.

The best news is we’re well underway.

There is no hope.

Everyone should be proud of the pace of innovation over the last nine months — from long form content, to creator monetization, and tremendous advancements in brand safety protections.

Have you seen the ads we’re running these days? Last week we were filling everyone’s timeline with ads for discount boner pill chewing gum, the punchline of which ads is that you’ll bang your lady so hard she’ll need the aid of a walker afterward. That’s a video we promoted to everyone. This week it’s anime for foot fetishists. That’s what we put in everyone’s feed, every three tweets. Or X’s, or whatever we’re now calling them. I used to book hundred-million-dollar Olympic sponsorship deals with companies like Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble. (Thank god for Apple.)

Our usage is at an all time high

Our owner is high as a kite.

and we’ll continue to delight our entire community with new experiences in audio, video, messaging, payments, banking — creating a global marketplace for ideas, goods, services, and opportunities.

Our focus group testing suggests that while interest in trusting this platform — which, let’s face it, is not exactly known for its reliability — for banking, of all things, is, as you’d expect, pretty low overall, it’s surprisingly high amongst people who know who Catturd is.

Please don’t take this moment for granted.

Please quit. Get out. I beg you. Leave while you can put on your resume that you worked for “Twitter”.

You’re writing history, and there’s no limit to our transformation.

As if this rebranding disaster isn’t enough, our infrastructure is crumbling. Facebook took Threads from 0 to 100 million users in under a week, without a hitch, at the same time we imposed comical rate limits on usage. I mean can you even believe that shit? I still can’t. I said to him, “Elon, we are an ad-based business. Our revenue is directly commensurate to usage. This is like running a casino and turning the slot machines off to save on the electricity bill. It makes no sense.” And Elon was like “Bots!”

And everyone, is invited to build X with us.

I think I, saw on a TV show once that a hostage was able, to signal to authorities the need for help without alerting, their captors by placing commas randomly in their sentences.

Elon and I will be working across every team and partner to bring X to the world. That includes keeping our entire community up to date, ensuring that we all have the information we need to move forward.

I found out about this name change when you did, at midnight on Saturday, and I have no idea what that fucker is going to do next or when he’s going to do it. You know this. You know that I know that you know this. But I’m going to persist with the charade that these decisions are being made by a team that I’m a leader of, because to do otherwise would be even more humiliating.

Now, let’s go make that next big impression on the world, together.

Linda

I’m so sorry.

Linda

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frojoe
325 days ago
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A quantum of Oriole

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This essay appears in the July 21, 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated.  It appears on this site with the gracious permission of the magazine’s editors.      To the beaten dog, every sudden movement is another impending brutality in a lifetime of such. Eventually, even the most modest and trivial move in the mutt’s direction […]
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frojoe
3613 days ago
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go os.
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Titles

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This morning, a friend noted a discrepancy between two recent headlines at The Mac Observer:

I tweeted the two headlines and corresponding URLs, with a single word of commentary: “Hmm”. I said no more partly because I was near the 140-character limit, and partly to see what the reaction would be. Some got it, but many repliers missed my point, mistakenly thinking it was related to an exodus of executives from the company.1

My point was to draw attention to the disparate job descriptions: “Apple CFO” vs. “PR Queen”.

Julia Julie Richert pointed to a similar discrepancy — two Philip Elmer-DeWitt headlines on his weblog at CNN/Fortune/Money:

Maybe you can find an article in which Peter Oppenheimer is described as Apple’s “finance king”, but I can’t. It’s true that Oppenheimer’s official title (“CFO”) aptly describes his position in a way that Cotton’s (“vice president of worldwide corporate communication”) does not. “Queen”, however, is the wrong way to shorthand it. Boss, chief, head, leaderhoncho perhaps, if you want to be casual — any of these words can be used to convey authority. Queen, though, emphasizes something else: gender. It carries other connotations, none of them flattering: queens are arrogant, distant, prissy, entitled, superior; they become queens by birthright or marriage, not through merit.2

[UPDATE: Dan Benjamin points out that Elmer-DeWitt has used “king” in headlines, albeit not in the context of a substitute for a job title. Queen in the above cited examples is being used in lieu of gender-neutral words such as boss or chief.]

Unintentional sexism is sexism nonetheless. There’s almost never a good reason to use a different word to describe a woman’s job than the words you’d choose if the position were held by a man.


  1. Which, admittedly, is not unreasonable. Apple’s executive ranks have been remarkably stable during the post-NeXT reunification years, and two high-level retirements in a short period of time is notable.

  2. You know you’re in poor company when you’ve chosen the same word as Valleywag’s Sam Biddle, who describes Cotton as “the queen of evil tech PR” in his headline, and quotes an anonymous source who describes her as “wicked witchy”. Jiminy.

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frojoe
3690 days ago
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Chrome does certificate revocation better

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There's a dirty little industry secret: The classic methods of certificate revocation don't really work. That's why Google Chrome doesn't do certificate revocation checking the normal way.
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frojoe
3708 days ago
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Free Speech

21 Comments and 73 Shares
I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.
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frojoe
3712 days ago
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20 public comments
pavlov02
3700 days ago
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Just seems like common sense to me but that seems in short supply.
merlinblack
3704 days ago
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Not applicable in Canada but a good lesson I'm discourse.
ÜT: 53.542319,-113.494597
Romanikque
3704 days ago
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Alt text is better than the comic for this one...
Baltimore, MD
tewhalen
3711 days ago
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Wikipedia: "The Citizens' Councils used economic tactics against African Americans whom they considered as supportive of desegregation and voting rights, or for belonging to the NAACP; the tactics included 'calling in' their mortgages, denying loans and business credit, and boycotting black-owned businesses. In some cities, the Councils published lists of names of NAACP supporters and signers of anti-segregation petitions in local newspapers in order to encourage economic retaliation. For instance, in Yazoo City, Mississippi in 1955, the Citizens' Council arranged for the names of 53 signers of a petition for school integration to appear in a local paper. Soon afterward, the petitioners lost their jobs and had their credit cut off." -- Apparently, no free speech rights were violated.
chicago, il
grammargirl
3711 days ago
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Yup.
Brooklyn, NY
stefanetal
3711 days ago
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This strikes me as an 'argument from definition'. But the definition itself is contested. Lot of rights don't work this way, for instance there are non-retaliation laws asociated with many rights (especially in labor law -- say the right to marry includes the right, for the most part, not to get fired for getting married).
Northern Virginia
tewhalen
3711 days ago
Like, remember this comic when your supervisor shows up to your cubicle and asks you to donate to the "Conservative Victory Fund PAC" or lose your job. At least you'll have the comfort of knowing your free speech rights weren't violated.
chrisamico
3711 days ago
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I'd love to post this at the end of every news site's comments policy.
Boston, MA
diannemharris
3712 days ago
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I have to save this for future postings, everywhere
satadru
3712 days ago
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It's dawning on me that wikipedia needs Tl;DR links pointing to the relevant xkcd pages.
New York, NY
ChrisDL
3712 days ago
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You haven't lived until you've shared an XKCD online
New York
sfringer
3712 days ago
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Couldn't be better stated on free speech...
North Carolina USA
neilcar
3712 days ago
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Eventually, XKCD will be the answer for every ridiculous argument.
Charlotte, North Carolina
karmakaze
3712 days ago
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Alt text: I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.
07974
darastar
3712 days ago
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THIS X1000
ktgeek
3712 days ago
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Yet another xkcd that will be reposted and reposted until the sun burns out.
Bartlett, IL
Michdevilish
3712 days ago
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Free to leave
Canada
JayM
3712 days ago
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.
Atlanta, GA
[deleted]
3711 days ago
...
aaronwe
3712 days ago
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There should be a "BUT FREE SPEECH!" corollary to Godwin's Law.
Denver
mindspillage
3712 days ago
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This was basically designed to be passive-aggressively linked to in mailing lists/forums/IRC...
north bay, California
stavrosg
3712 days ago
I can't count how many times this would have been useful in the past...
sulrich
3704 days ago
and for that reason it's getting an expansion snippet.
jtgrimes
3712 days ago
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Alt text: I can't remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you're saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it's not literally illegal to express.
Oakland, CA

Legislature Debates Which Holy Bible Should Be Its Official State Book

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The Times-Picayune reports (thanks, Brad) that a committee voted 8-5 to approve HB 503 on Thursday, so it will now be considered by the full Louisiana House. The vote came after a debate in which legislators grappled with difficult questions, in particular this one: which Holy Bible should become the official state book of Louisiana?

As introduced by Rep. Thomas Carmody, HB 503 provided as follows:

There shall be an official state book. The official state book shall be the Holy Bible, published by Johannes Prevel, (Prevel, Jean, active 1510-1528, printer. & Petit, Jean, fl. 1492-1530.) [sic], which is the oldest edition of the Holy Bible in the Louisiana State Museum system. The use on official documents of the state and with the insignia of the state is hereby authorized. 

In other words, Carmody says he wants to make a specific individual Bible the official state book. He explained later that when he started thinking about which Bible should be the state Bible, he decided it should be the oldest one in the state. That's apparently the one above. There are problems, though. For example, it doesn't make any sense. How could you "use" any book (let alone one that is 500 years old) "on official documents of the state"? Are staples involved?

There's another problem. According to Carmody, that particular book is privately owned, so—for a reason he didn't specify—it can't be an official state symbol. Carmody said he amended the bill for that reason, and the version he offered on April 10 looked like this:

There shall be an official state book. The official state book shall be the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible that is housed in the State Library of Louisiana.

Problem solved?

Turns out you can watch Louisiana's committee meetings on the internet, and the video is available the same day. Not that most people would want to watch a meeting of the Louisiana House Committee on Municipal, Parochial, and Cultural Affairs, but you could. And I did.

First the really important business was taken up. Thornwell was declared "Yellow Rail Capital of the World," and Grand Couteau was recognized as the state's "Sweet Dough Pie Capital." All lamented the witness's failure to actually bring a sweet dough pie with her, but the resolution was adopted anyway. After several other matters, Rep. Carmody appeared. (This is about 20% of the way in, if you care.)

To kick off this part of the hearing, a staff member read the bill aloud. It was probably just coincidence that the bill to make a Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana was read aloud by Ms. Tina Righteous, but then maybe it wasn't.

Carmody explained how the bill came to be. He said "a constituent" called and wondered why Louisiana had all these state symbols but no official state book. Why, that's true, Carmody exclaimed. Well, he responded, let's say we were to have an official state book. What book do you think would be appropriate? Why, the Holy Bible, said the constituent. And that's just how it happened, boys and girls.

As you have probably realized by now, there is yet another major problem with Carmody's amended bill, and when his statement was finished, Rep. Stephen Ortego lost no time in pointing it out. "Why the King James Version?" he asked. Wait, what? Somebody introduced a bill to make the Bible the official state book, and your first question is "why the King James Version?"

But yes. Ortego, who is Catholic, asked Carmody if his book wasn't missing a few pages. He meant the "deuterocanonical" parts, which (as I have since learned) are things like the Book of Judith that are accepted by Catholics (and Orthodox) but not by most Protestants. I don't know exactly which Bible they have in the State Library (they didn't either), but it appears that an "Authorized King James Version" doesn't have these books. In other words, Ortego had hit upon the basic problem: which "official Christianity" are we going to adopt?

Hold up, said Rep. Barbara Norton: what about other religions? She too was a Christian, she noted, but "We certainly don't want to offend anyone ... couldn't we put something in there that refers to all religions?" Carmody didn't think that was necessary, and he had an analogy to offer. It involved jelly. Our state has adopted various symbols, he said, and "just to use one particular [example], we adopted a state jelly ... [and] after one state jelly was adopted, the state came back and added a second."

This is not entirely true. Louisiana does in fact have two official state jellies, the mayhaw jelly and Louisiana sugar cane jelly. (Both can be "use[d] on official documents of the state.") But they were both added by the same act in 2003. Carmody had no intention of letting a second jelly, I mean holy book be added to this bill, so his analogy didn't really work. Norton had a different problem with it, though.

"Yes, I wouldn't compare the two, jelly and Bible," she told Carmody. "We're talking about the Word of God." Carmody had to bob and weave a bit here. His point seemed to be that adopting one official holy book didn't mean there couldn't also be another one, at some point, but not today of course. 

I thought Carmody understood exactly what he was doing, but others honestly didn't seem to understand what the problem might be. One legislator suggested they might amend the bill to make "all versions of the Bible" the official Bible. Another one agreed, saying, what about "the Holy Bible, period ... according to anybody's religion?" Or as Ortego told the Times-Picayune, "Let's make this more inclusive of other Christian faiths, more than just the ones that use the King James version." So we need to be more tolerant is what you're saying?

This was really starting to hurt my head when finally Rep. Wesley Bishop spoke up. I'm a Christian too, he said, son of a preacher. But "as a state lawmaker and a lawyer, I can't get around the argument of separation of church and state." This is not Moby Dick we're adopting here, he pointed out. "By adopting the Bible, we're adopting Christianity. As a preacher, I don't have a problem with that, but as a lawmaker, I do." (Hallelujah!) Carmody, though, pretended he didn't really know what the problem was. The bill doesn't establish an official religion, he told Bishop. Just an official book. (The Bible.)

Okay, then how about we make "all books of faith" official state books, said Rep. Ebony Woodruff. "I would certainly be against that amendment," Carmody said. He didn't bother to explain why.

Ultimately, Ortego got his way. After a recess, he offered an amendment that changed it just to "the Holy Bible," and as amended, the committee then voted 8-5 to report the bill favorably. So if it were to pass, the law would read "The official state book shall be the Holy Bible."

Well, it wouldn't be for long. This bill is already on the ACLU's radar, and the law would have no hope of surviving the legal challenge that Rep. Bishop warned them all was coming. "I am so bothered by this bill that I just called my pastor," he said. "My pastor just told me legally we have a problem with this."

His pastor is right.


See also "Legislator Upset That Muslims Want to Use School-Voucher Program Too," Lowering the Bar (July 20, 2012) (coincidentally, also involving Louisiana).

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frojoe
3718 days ago
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acdha
3717 days ago
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Remember those parodies about the arguing which would inevitably follow teaching religion in school? These brave men are making them real!
Washington, DC
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