Smart and Handsome Boys

... and the fate of websites
Illustration based on the hat Napoleon wore at Waterloo, from the collection of Deutsches Historisches Museum
Image via Deutsches Historisches Museum

In late 2022, four months after I moved to Chicago, the company that owned the website I wrote for shut the whole operation down and laid everyone off. The website still exists, but in a strange and semi-haunted state. The slick page design is still intact, and the animated section breaks are still working. There are new articles that appear on the front page, though it is hard to understand who is writing them, if anyone is writing them at all, if they are actually new or if they are only slightly revised so that they will, in an SEO trick, appear fresh atop a Google search. But anyway there they are, at first glance a green and seemingly flourishing stretch of internet, just a few scrolls above articles called "How to Turn on Instagram's new Quiet Mode" and “Personal trainers say these are the best things under $30 to help you get in shape”. 

Of course, none of it is real; the “new” articles are in fact old, or rehashed, or now contain breathtakingly bleak ad copy for the London Sock Company. It is not healthy grass at all but some kind of poisonous moss that grows on rocks. This is the fate of websites.

It’s a paywall, but a small one

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