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Will Leitch
Writer, New York, NYT, MLB, WaPo, others. Founder, Deadspin. Author of five books, including “How Lucky,” in bookstores now. https://williamfleitch.substack.com

Internet Nostalgia

Welcome to part 28 of our Internet Nostalgia series, which looks back at phenomena that captured the internet’s imagination and attention for a fleeting moment and then vanished as everyone moved on to something else. This series looks back at those olden times and what they told us about the internet and ourselves. If you have a suggested topic, email me at williamfleitch@yahoo.com. Last week: Slender Man. This week: Alex from Target.

When: November 2014

The Story: I have to confess something to you: Until I started looking into possible topics for Internet Nostalgia this week, I had never heard…


There is a lot of news going on in the world right now, as there always is, and how much it affects your life in many ways depends on how closely you decide to pay attention to it. California recall, the Texas abortion law, Afghanistan … it can feel overwhelming, and it’s a downright slow news drip compared to what we went through most of 2020.

But for most of the parents I know, there is only one news story that they care about, that they are focused in on with laser-like fashion. All other stories fade away, and that’s…


Is such a commemorative date possible?

With the possible exception of one of the former Presidents broadcasting a horrifying pay-per-view telecast of elder abuse, the remembrances of the 20th anniversary of September 11 this past weekend were tasteful, restrained and moving. (No Fleshlight Tweets this year.) It was a reminder of not only how horrible they would have been had the November election turned out differently than it did but also of how much value there is in having such memorials and anniversaries. …


Internet Nostalgia

Welcome to part 27 of our Internet Nostalgia series, which looks back at phenomena that captured the internet’s imagination and attention for a fleeting moment and then vanished as everyone moved on to something else. This series looks back at those olden times and what they told us about the internet and ourselves. If you have a suggested topic, email me at williamfleitch@yahoo.com. Last week: Milkshake Duck. This week: Slender Man.

When: 2009.

The Story: Back in 2009, one of the most popular, creative forums online was Something Awful, a forum for just about every wild, often-charming Internet denizen who…


One of the things I’ve discovered about myself, as I slowly morph into a middle-aged white man, is that my reading habits are starting to very closely resemble those of a middle-aged white man. There’s only one difference: Rather than reading books about World War II, I read books about September 11.

There are some truly great ones, and so many that I legitimately have a shelf of books that are just 9/11 books. The major events of September 11 took place over the span of just one morning — you can essentially break the morning up into five acts…


Saturday is the 20th anniversary of September 11, something I cannot believe to be true. I lived in New York City on September 11, 2001, a 24-year-old kid who was barely employed and didn’t have the foggiest idea of what he was doing with his life. I was working as a receptionist at Mount Sinai hospital on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and after the attack, the hospital mobilized for an expected influx of victims needing medical attention, but once everyone realized there weren’t any — that, on the whole, you either made it out, or you didn’t —…


Internet Nostalgia

Welcome to part 26 of our Internet Nostalgia series, which looks back at phenomena that captured the internet’s imagination and attention for a fleeting moment and then vanished as everyone moved on to something else. This series looks back at those olden times and what they told us about the internet and ourselves. If you have a suggested topic, email me at williamfleitch@yahoo.com. Last week: David After Dentist. This week: Milkshake Duck.

When: June 12, 2016 until … forever.

The Story: Ben Ward is an Australian cartoonist who has a very funny Twitter account at @pixelatedboat. He had noticed an…


This week, for the first time of the pandemic, Covid-19 made its way into my child’s classroom.

Both of my sons, a fourth grader and a second grader, have been back in school for nearly a month now — we start very early down in Georgia — and it has been going as smoothly as you could reasonably expect, which is to say, not all that smoothly. Our elementary school has a mask mandate, which helps a ton, and is run by measured, careful and pragmatic administrators who are taking every available precaution but also still understand just how vital…


I remember, in the depths of last fall, when the pandemic was at its worst in the United States and there was, horrifyingly, no one in charge of the federal government, when it felt like there was no escape. I mean that quite literally. If someone told you that if you thought America under Trump was a nightmare you could “love it or leave it,” you could tell them that, because of Trump’s inept handling of the pandemic, you physically could not leave the United States if you wanted to. The United States was so overcome by Covid-19 that many…


Internet Nostalgia

Welcome to part 25 of our Internet Nostalgia series, which looks back at phenomena that captured the internet’s imagination and attention for a fleeting moment and then vanished as everyone moved on to something else. This series looks back at those olden times and what they told us about the internet and ourselves. If you have a suggested topic, email me at williamfleitch@yahoo.com. Last week: Diamond Joe Biden. This week: David After Dentist.

When: May 2008, January 30, 2009

The story: Seven-year-old David Devore Jr. needed a tooth pulled, which meant he needed anesthesia. When you’re seven years old, you’re…

Will Leitch

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