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Racket Teen: the too-short life of the only website that mattered

Back in February, Matt Taibbi announced that he was joining Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media. His mission was to start a new web magazine called Racket, and he was quickly joined by some of the most talented people in the business, including Edith Zimmerman, Elspeth Reeve, and Alex Pareene. On October 28, he left First Look. And today, First Look announced that his team has been laid off. The interim weeks were, I'm sure, agonizing for the Racket staff. But they also produced what was, for its short lifespan, my favorite site on the web:

Racket Teen.


Racket Teen had a mission a Vox editor could believe in. It had jokes about the news. It had jokes about popular infographics. It had jokes about tech industry jargon.

And it had lots of jokes about Edward Snowden and jokes about Glenn Greenwald.

To me it was, most of all, a reminder of when the web was about fun. Many of us who now make a career in the content game originally got into digital publishing at a time when there was zero money or prestige in it. It was something that you did for love. And it was not widely read. It is a pleasure to live in a time when there's meaningful commercial investment in digital journalism, meaningful commercial opportunities to exploit, and adult-level salaries to be earned if you do a good job.

But it is a heck of a lot less fun than the wild west days of blogging. And Racket Teen — a website put together by very talented people with nothing to do all day — recaptured an awful lot of that fun.

Best of all were the Hot Takes Boards. This was a great one:

And this was the last:

If you haven't been reading Racket Teen, you owe it to yourself to check it out.