☃️ Merry Christmas from Oregon! Today's birthdays: Jesus. (hat tip: Luke)
Two random talkers:
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
For tween and teen young men — and even college and young celebrities and pro athletes — "Fortnite: Battle Royale" in 2018 became more than a live-streaming game: It's now so consuming that it has taken on hallmarks of a social network. Think of it as the new Snapchat.
Betsy Morris, who covers mobile tech for The Wall Street Journal, points out that Fortnite "is not only reshaping how boys spend their time, but how they communicate — it acts essentially like an open phone line."
Why it matters, from Axios' Felix Salmon: This is as big as Snap was, in its own way. It's a form of communication with your peer group that isn’t recorded for posterity.
Axios media trends expert Sara Fischer has the smart brevity on how Fortnite became a global sensation:
Fortnite users aren't just using the game to communicate and socialize, but are pouring more time into it than other social networks, according to Sara:
Sara notes these astonishing average revenue per user (ARPU) figures from Leo Polovets, seed investor and general partner at Susa Ventures:
President Trump pushed the markets down with a Tweet storm captured by the WashPost's Phil Rucker: "The Christmas Eve grievances billowing from the White House ... formed a heavy cloud of Yuletide gloom."
The Wall Street Journal had a little fun with the resulting market carnage: "Monday’s more than 2% drop was the Dow’s worst performance ahead of Christmas, trumping a 1918 record."
Atlantic contributing editor Annie Lowrey offered a possible explanation for Mnuchin's unsettling announcement Sunday night that he was discussing liquidity with the nation's largest banks, when no one knew of a problem:
"It's a Wonderful Life" is the most popular Christmas movie in America, but that's mainly because the over-35 crowd likes it, according to an Axios/SurveyMonkey poll narrated by Axios managing editor David Nather.
Fifty years ago, on Christmas Eve 1968,"a tumultuous year of assassinations, riots and war drew to a close in heroic and hopeful fashion with the three Apollo 8 astronauts reading from the Book of Genesis [to what was then the largest live TV audience in history] as they orbited the moon," AP's Marcia Dunn writes.
Fifty years ago this morning, the late poet Archibald MacLeish had an essay on the front page of The New York Times that I wanted to share with you in our own tumultuous times:
The tiny white coffin carrying the body of the 7-year-old Guatemalan girl — Jakelin Caal, who died while in U.S. custody — ended its journey home yesterday in a dusty hamlet in Guatemala, AP's Sonia Pérez D. writes:
"The child's tragic journey began and ended in the village of about 420 people with no paved streets, running water or electricity. Its residents say declining crop yields and lack of work have pushed many in the community to emigrate."
If you get a little time to yourself, N.Y. Times columnist David Brooks distills some of the year's best long-form essays in Part 1 of his annual Sidney Awards:
Brooks says Andrew Sullivan's work for New York magazine this year "really defined the era":
Margaret Renkl, a N.Y. Times contributing opinion writer who lives in Nashville, writes that getting the Christmas decorations out of the attic is a way to experience eternity, "where past and present and future exist simultaneously":
"Last year when I packed up the Christmas decorations, I set aside our oldest son’s homemade ornaments in a separate box."
Thank you for reading, leaking and critiquing during this year of a lifetime.