Ah, I see some GamerGaters are whining to Tor that I am being mean to them. Well, good luck with that tactic, kids.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) October 23, 2014
So a few days ago, it was suggested to a faction of the hot, pathetic misogynist mess known as GamerGate that launching a boycott of Tor Books was a possible “action op” for them. This was quickly shot down, no doubt in part because the person suggesting it was Theodore Beale, and no one at this point actually gives a crap what he thinks about anything. However, last night I went on another Twitter tear on the subject of GamerGate, and I woke up this morning to a few chuckleheads bleating to Tor about what a terrible person I am, in order to, I don’t know, get Tor to talk to me sternly about having opinions on the Internet, because apparently Tor is my dad. So maybe this push to boycott Tor because of me has legs after all! Hooray!
That said, my takeaway from these furtive attempts to make me shut up about the fact that GamerGate is basically a bunch of terrible human beings being shitty to women, up to and including threatening them and publishing their personal information online in an obvious attempt to silence them is to be just a little bit sad. Not because a few of these human-shaped pieces of ambulatory refuse are trying to do it, but because they’re thinking too small about it.
I mean, seriously, boycotting just Tor Books? Why limit yourself? Sure, it’s the largest publisher of science fiction and fantasy books in North America and possibly the world, but it’s just one imprint of Tom Doherty Associates. There are several other imprints, including Forge, Starscape, Tor Teen and Seven Seas. You should boycott those, too. That’ll show me!
But even then, you’d be thinking too small. Tom Doherty Associates is itself just one appendage of the publishing giant known as Macmillan, with offices in 41 countries! It publishes thousands of books a year! What a target! You should boycott all of Macmillan. Man, I’m quaking in my boots just thinking about it. But even then, it’s small potatoes, for Macmillan is just one part of the mighty Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, with annual sales in the billions of euros. Boycott it all! No doubt all of Stuttgart shall fall into a shambles at the thought.
But even then you are not done, boycotters! For you see, I am crafty and have diversified my revenue stream. I have many publishers and many people I work with. You must punish them all for having me in their midst. All of them. And not just the tiny imprint or sub-company that works with me directly. That’s what a coward would do. And are you a coward? Well, yes, probably, because the tactics of GamerGate have been astoundingly cowardly right from the start. But still! Think big, my friends. Your boycott must not just take out a few targets, it must nuke them all from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
With that in mind, here are your other boycott targets:
In the UK I am published by Gollancz, which is part of Orion Publishing Group, which is in itself part of Hachette, which is part of Lagardère Group. Crush them!
In audio, I am published by Audible, which is owned by Amazon. Surely it is worth giving up your sweet Amazon Prime subscriptions to make Jeff Bezos shake in his chinos!
But wait! We’re still not done. Because as you may know I have TV deals! One is with FX, which is owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, which is part of 21st Century Fox (yes, it’s 21st Century Fox now. Look it up). You will need to boycott it all. Yes, even Fox News. Be strong! It’s for the cause!
Another is with Syfy and Universal Cable Productions, which is part of NBCUniversal, which is itself part of Comcast. So for this one, some of you will have to give up cable, and possibly your Internet connection. Keep your eye on the prize! It will be worth it!
My third TV deal is with Legendary TV, which is part of Legendary Pictures. And you’re thinking, whew, at least they aren’t part of a multinational corporation! True, but they make films that are distributed through a number of film studios, including Warner Bros (basically, all the DC Comics movies) and Universal. They also own both Geek & Sundry and Nerdist Industries. Noooooo! You can’t get your nerd on anymore! Stay focused! Your pain will make victory that much sweeter!
So, in short, in order to effectively punish my business partners for me having thoughts you don’t like, all you need to do is boycott three of the five major US publishers, two of the five major film/television studios (plus selected product of one of the other ones), and the largest single online retailer in the world. Which, well. It will keep you busy, at least.
Which, to be clear, I am fine with. While you are off whining to these corporations about me, perhaps you will be too busy to, you know, threaten death, rape and assault against women who also dare to express thoughts you don’t like. And you know what? I think that’s a fair trade.
So please: If you’re going to boycott a company because of me, at least do it right. Do it big. There are all your targets, laid out for you. Go get ‘em! I’ll be rooting for you, kids!
And in the meantime, just remember this:
If you think threatening women is a legitimate tactic for anything, feel free to stop reading my work. I don't need you or your money.
— John Scalzi (@scalzi) October 11, 2014
Still true, people. Still true.
Texas Tony Culler
SC Candidate TonyCuller
Well, it’s been quite a week for Anthony P Culler. Culler, a Republican, is challenging Rep Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for South Carolina’s District 6 seat . . .
Clyburn, a popular Democrat in a deep blue district has been serving in Congress since 1993, and as the Assistant Democratic Leader since 2011. He was previously House Majority Whip, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011.
Mr Culler has admitted that this is a David and Goliath match-up. He is a white male Republican running in a district that was—
defined, in the early 1990s, in a deal between state Republicans (mostly white) and Democrats (mostly black) in the South Carolina General Assembly to ensure a majority-black population, known as a majority-minority district. The rural counties of the historical black belt in South Carolina make up much of the district, but it sweeps south to include most of the black precincts in Charleston, and west to include most of the black precincts in Columbia.
Despite the odds, though, Mr Culler has figured out an attention-getting angle to try to juice his chances when the district goes to the polls:
“This is our minority majority district,” Culler said. “It’s the black district. That’s what some people call it. … I’ve got another description for this district, it’s a Christian district.”
“We believe in the way that it’s always been,” Culler continued.
Culler urged voters to turn out on election day and vote for him.
“No matter how many Gremlins there are across this country, we here in the sixth district will stand against it,” Culler said.
Oh. Did I neglect to mention the Gremlins? Well, Mr Culler is Gremlin Man who went on quite a Facebook tear a few days back to bolster his Christian Heterosexual Cred with his constituents. The post was replete with the usual traditional family values, sanctity of marriage, and “God told me to run” yadda yadda. The Gremlins were an artistic flourish that helped ensure the silly thing went viral.
Mission Accomplished! Mr Culler snagged his 15 minutes of Internet fame and then some. When the opportunity arose, Culler doubled-down with a low-rent video follow-up that made everything just that little bit more skeevy. The South Carolina Republican Committee wasted no time throwing Culler under the bus and a Libertarian candidate quickly signed on to take advantage of the fact that Culler had sucked all of the air out of Republicans’ slim chances in the Sixth.
But that’s not really why I’m here. I’ve spent my entire gay life out of the closet, much of it when it was decidedly un-cool. I’m nearly immune to homophobic silliness in my own life, I just despise the negative effect that it still has on LGBT kids and will fight it forever for that reason. The fight is decidedly easier these days because your garden variety homophobe is deservedly considered somewhat moronic by a majority of Americans these days.
What bothers me much more is the fact that our Congress seems to be increasingly viewed as a potential sheltered workshop for unintelligent, inexperienced, sometimes pathological miscreants and political dilletantes more than willing to exploit the public trust for their own personal well-being.
Mr Culler, for instance has a quite colorful history, to be blithely presenting himself as a God-fearing man of principle, a leader, a traditional family values exemplar, etc, etc.
Culler doesn’t say much about his educational or professional qualifications for representing his district in the US House of Representatives. And far be it from me to suggest that an honest, hardworking congressman of integrity needs a diploma or business success to serve the electorate well. On the other hand, the only well documented facts about Tony Culler’s past indicate that he might be the consummate con-man, assisted by his lovely wife Renee who is no slouch herself in that respect.
Culler’s primary ambition, to date, seems to have been to raise his family without the daily inconvenience of a job. When the Cullers lost their home in Nacogdoches, TX for non-payment of their mortgage, back in 2009, they did not view it as an unfortunate downturn from which to recover but, rather, a vast governmental conspiracy against them that extended from the local sheriff to the governor’s office.
The Cullers loaded their now-homeless four daughters into their SUV and started asking for donations to help them. Not to help them get back on their feet, mind you, they were asking for help to fight the “web of corruption” that had singled them out and destroyed their comfortable lives in Texas, where they were able to get by on the proceeds of mineral rights to their property and Mrs Culler’s sporadic employment.
Then the bottom fell out of natural gas, the proceeds dried up, the Cullers mortgage went into foreclosure, and they were ultimately evicted . . . despite the fact that the neighbor who bought the property at sheriff’s sale tried to help them out of their bind by renting their home back to them.
The Cullers weren’t able to pay that rent because they were unwilling to interrupt their crusade against civic corruption with time-consuming jobs.
The course they chose instead? dress up their four young daughters every day, outfit them with protest signs and collection cups, and march them around for hours in the Nacogdoches sun in front of the bank that had foreclosed on their property. Since the Culler girls are home-schooled, I suspect Mr Culler felt that this operation was a great American learning experience for them.
The Cullers, of course sued all of the “corrupt” officials and the bank involved and enlisted a fool to represent them in court—Anthony P Culler. They lost every case and eventually left Texas where their support network began to sag under the Cullers’ daily needs, and took themselves back to South Carolina to throw themselves on the mercy of Mrs Culler’s family. That was when it occurred to the Cullers that they might be able to turn their War on Corruption into a paying gig and both decided to run for Congress.
Mrs Culler went first, then quickly crashed and burned with this sort of amazing performance:
At some point, you just have to feel sorry for the poor sane guy trying to interview her.
Undaunted, Mrs Culler declared the interview a triumph in one of her characteristically rambling Facebook stump speeches:
It was a success!
Many of you have asked me about “comments/rumors” that are circulating since I began my campaign for US Congress. I have already been “warned” by strangers that “Texas would come out if I continue” and that even though my husband and I “may be able to handle it but your girls may not”, I have and will continue my campaign. (These people do not know my girls. And they definitely do not know me. These Cullers DO NOT run!) I tell them, to their absolute dismay; the story of the destruction of my family will be coming out! But I will be the one doing it - my way.
You will be shocked to learn how far up the ladder the corruption in this case goes. This story has the potential to change the Republican Nomination for President! Two of the current nominees - Texas Governor Rick Perry and Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann have personally been made aware of the crimes committed against my family. And both have refused to investigate my family’s Constitutional rights being violated!
Here is my theory on why the crimes, committed under color of law, by Nacogdoches County Sheriff Thomas Kerss and his department, can NEVER be investigated. Here is why he will get “away with it”. (Kerss was also the President of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, 254 county sheriff departments, at the time of these crimes!)
If Sheriff Kerss is found guilty of committing crimes under color of law (Felonies), then what happens to ALL the cases/convictions that he has participated in as a law enforcement officer? If he becomes a convicted felon, will new trials need to be ordered? Will convictions be overturned? For how many and at what “cost”? (Is that “cost” higher than the loss of one American family’s freedom and liberty? Not to us it isn’t.)
And, big finish:
Has God ever placed you on a journey that you did not understand OR agree with at the time? There was a reason my family was destroyed in Texas and lost EVERYTHING we owned. (Yes EVERYTHING - baby pictures, Christening gowns, all our children’s clothes/toys/home school books, pets, etc.) The reason was to prepare and strengthen me for the United States Congress. It was to make me PERSONALLY AWARE of the existence of corruption in the government and the destructive power of that corruption.
I believe the new 7th Congressional District of South Carolina was formed for me to represent. This is my home and I returned so I could be elected to represent it. It is God’s will and I will not turn from the enormous task he has placed before me. I readily admit that I do not have a campaign staff or the funding for such an operation. But I do have the ability, education, training, work ethic, and the experience necessary to represent the people of the 7th district. I also have God, my husband, my four daughters, and faith that God will provide the rest. I cannot be beaten.
But, sadly, no. The electorate, inexplicably thwarting God’s plan, awarded Mrs Culler only 1.5% of the primary vote.
Now it’s Tony’s turn to try his hand at Congress-ing. Somehow Anthony Culler managed to win the Republican primary for his district, mostly because the district is a Democratic party lock that most Republicans wouldn’t bother with. We already know he’s not going to win this election but it should be interesting to see what the Cullers’ next scam will be. For now, at least, it looks like Congress will be spared the Cullers’ Magical Reality.
Even PeeDee Republicans seem to be on to them:
Nevertheless, voters beware this midterm, it’s dangerous out there.
BTW, Mr Cullers, if you’re reading this? God asked me to give you a message: Get a job, take care of your daughters and STFU. Americans are truly weary of your kind.
Felicia Day. Photo: Cristina Gandolfo.
Gamer and online personality Felicia Day hasn't said much about Gamergate. Today, she opened up on her blog. “Why have I remained mostly silent? Self-protection and fear.” Read the rest
Not all of us can say as much.
What, I ask you, should one expect if one asks artist Paul McCarthy to create a Christmas tree for the place of honor at a renowned, must-attend art fair? Well, it’s Paul McCarthy, so there are only two possible outcomes: a turd or a butt plug.
This year, Paris got a butt plug. A — sah-weeeeet! — whopping, elegantly unembellished, minty green butt plug! Nicer than that gaudy, decked out whore of a tree that New York City erects at Rockefeller Center every year. Even, I’d say, in better taste.
“Of course this work is controversial,” said Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (FIAC) director Jennifer Flay, “it plays on the ambiguity between a Christmas tree and a plug: this is neither a surprise nor a secret.”
But despite his predictability and rather tasteful, understated delivery, the art world’s most reliably scatological artist managed to shock people with his contribution to FIAC’s “Hors les Murs” (or “Outside the Walls”) sector.
How did that happen?
Artist Paul McCarthy’s gallery coos about the new public work. (via @HauserWirth/Twitter)
In July, Flash Art Online previewed McCarthy’s Chocolate Factory, which would, in October, fill the newly renovated Monnaie de Paris with a giant solo show, and grace Paris’s Place Vendôme with a giant inflatable “Christmas tree.”
The Flash Art story described a “wonderland experience” that “lures” visitors into a “fairytale forest of giant inflatable Christmas trees.”
Without cracking a smile, the article went on to describe an Eyes Wide Shut sort of experience whereby one is drawn by curiosity into a tunnel of increasingly freaky rooms. First “we find a team of confectioners hard at work in a life-size, fully functioning chocolate factory,” and, if we elect to go on after gorging on sweet brown confections, we open doors in a labyrinth of experiences and “a place of endless possibilities” where “reality gives way to the absurd.” The preview was illustrated with an image of a chocolate Santa holding a huge butt plug.
Paul McCarthy’s “Butt Plug Gnome” in Rotterdam, 2012 (photo by Hrag Vartanian for Hyperallergic)
Anyone familiar with McCarthy and equipped with a fully functioning funny bone knows that this is tongue-in-cheek stuff. Just as we knew what those “giant inflatable Christmas trees” would be — after all, we’d seen an example before — we knew what McCarthy thinks of Christmas — his “Santa Claus” in Rotterdam’s Eendrachtsplein Square is popularly known as the “Butt Plug Gnome” — and, similarly, we also knew what “chocolate” would entail.
Yet the grown-ups at Flash Art kept it so serious that most readers likely forgot to take note of the impending plugging of Paris. By the time the pneumatic probe made its stubby appearance alongside the lofty Vendôme Column, we’d all forgotten about it.
That’s the straight man approach to discussing Paul McCarthy. It demonstrates the power of the high-minded to thwart indignity while creating spin for a towering bunghole stretcher.
Those who sell, those who buy, and those who choose what will go on to represent us to future generations and civilizations, those keepers of the cultural keys, know how to keep things clean — no matter how dirty they are. Which is why, dear readers, when it comes to talking about Paul McCarthy, mastering the straight man approach will mark you as a true art world insider.
The Flash Art piece was rivaled in sobriety only by FIAC’s own press release, which presented McCarthy as the artist cherry-picked not only to re-open the venerable Monnaie de Paris — which has been closed for renovation since 2011 — but to represent FIAC’s collaboration with Comité Vendôme — the business association for Paris’s most expensive shopping destination — which every year places large-scale works in Place Vendôme.
The humorless press release droned:
An exquisite location with elegant stone façades lining its four sides, the square represents the excellence of craftsmanship in service to art. Here, visitors can discover an exceptional in situ project by Paul McCarthy, in association with the Monnaie de Paris.
The phrase “in situ” alone should have set off a major snicker alert. But buried in a press release full of grand announcements and decorated with lists of power players, it raised no eyebrows at all.
If imagining all that staid architecture sharing space with McCarthy’s “exceptional in situ project” did not make you laugh, good for you: You have already half-mastered the straight man approach!
But there’s another way to talk about Paul McCarthy.
Instagram photo by @phil_a_paname
Cut to October 2014, when the hilarity of FIAC’s plans became suddenly evident by the looming presence of a giant green butt plug in the revered Place Vendôme. Headlines, tweets using #Vendome or #buttplug or #PlugGate, and Instagram photos of playful tourists lewdly “interacting” with the piece immediately lit up the internet with oafish, down-and-dirty, dime-a-dozen puns.
This is the funnyman approach, marked by puerile vulgarity —and banishment from the market.
Those who wish to court collectors, auction houses, or museums are not allowed to cave into the maddening urge to elbow-nudge viewers and readers. But for those who live in the margins (“Paul McCarthy’s XXXmas Tree Plugs Up Paris,” quipped our own Hrag Vartanian) it’s a release equivalent to drawing a dick in a library book and giggling, red-faced, behind the stacks.
The market-free, dogma-free masses can unapologetically indulge in full-throated hilarity when faced with a brilliantly colored sex toy squatting rudely on the Place Vendôme.
Paul McCarthy’s “Brancusi Tree” at Home Alone Gallery in 2012 (photo by Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic)
The bottom line is this: A professional art speaker will not cave to fatuous cracks about seminal works!
For one of the finest examples of a stiff upper lip at work, get a load of the good folks writing copy for the FIAC website, keeping things civilized:
Towering at almost 25 meters on the Place Vendôme is Paul McCarthy’s “Tree,” a site specific sculpture conceived in relation to his concurrent exhibition Chocolate Factory at the Monnaie de Paris, his first major solo exhibition in Paris. A reference to both modernist sculpture and the iconic Christmas tree of western culture, McCarthy’s sculpture stands proudly to celebrate his presence finally in Paris and alludes to the chocolate figurines his factory produces.
It all started with a joke: Originally I thought that the anal plug was shaped like a Brancusi sculpture. Then I thought that it resembled a Christmas tree. But it’s an abstract work. People who find it offensive call it a plug, but for me it’s more of an abstraction.
John Curtin College of the Arts (photo by @alisonspence/Instagram)
Two art students in their final year at the John Curtin College of the Arts in Perth, Western Australia, got an unexpected lesson in institutional politics after their paintings were censored in a student exhibition. The mother of one of the teenage artists, Vicky Manley, says the school removed her daughter’s painting because the administration believes it depicts a fellow student nude and could incite pedophilic behavior in viewers, according to Western Australia Today. Another student was told that her artwork, which depicts two women kissing, would be turned to face the gallery wall at times when young children might see the work.
“My daughter accessed several images, as well as her imagination to create the artwork … It is not an actual portrait of the young girl that the principal is referring to. If it were then it would have been titled as such,” Manley told WAT.
The school’s administration claims that its decision to remove the work by Manley’s daughter from the forthcoming student exhibition, slated to run November 4–7, has nothing to do with nudity per se, but specifically the painting’s apparent portrayal of another student, nude, in a figurative style that makes her instantly recognizable. The exact nature of the other targeted artwork’s offense is unclear, but according to a Change.org petition calling for the works to be reinstated, “both artworks depicted some form of nudity and alluded to female sexuality.”
“This is certainly not an issue of art censorship, we simply cannot display images of a recognizable person who is naked and underage,” the school’s principal, Mitchell Mackay, told the Guardian Australia. “Both of these paintings are outstanding pieces of work by our students, but in both cases there are particular circumstances we have had to consider to ensure they do not put children at risk.”
The second work will be turned to face the gallery wall when the Curtin Theatre — in whose foyer the exhibition is being held — hosts performances of the Disney musicals The Little Mermaid and Pinocchio. Mackay told WAT that the decision to censor his students’ work was made “purely with the protection of children in mind.”
Dynasty Handbag performing ‘Soggy Glasses: A Homo’s Odyssey’ at BAM (all photos by Rebecca Smyne, courtesy BAM)
Nine o’clock: the stage lights dim and a spotlight illuminates a stuffed “hero” sandwich the size of a small sofa. The opening melody of Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero” — hit theme song from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome — fills BAM’s Fishman Space. A face peeks out from between the parted curtains, and then a vividly strange figure appears, dancing in a flesh-toned spandex bodysuit to a wave of delighted laughter. So begins Soggy Glasses: A Homo’s Odyssey, Dynasty Handbag’s first evening-length performance piece, which premiered this past Friday night.
The performance persona of artist Jibz Cameron, Dynasty Handbag possesses a physical humor that’s instantaneous and irresistible. It wasn’t her gigantic fannypack or hairspray-tortured coif that made the audience laugh; the smart absurdity of Dynasty’s gestures and facial expressions have an effect akin to Charlie Chaplin’s slapstick, mixed with the gorgeous grotesquerie of the late, great Divine — and a nimbleness that is all Cameron’s own. Soggy Glasses, a feminist-queer interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey, is the most recent of in a series of Cameron’s work that re-envisions canonical male epics (Hell in A Handbag took on Dante’s Inferno; Vertitigo skewed Hitchcock’s tough-guy detective story through an absurdist female lens). Soggy Glasses satirizes both Homer’s master narrative and the third-wave feminist suspicion that leads Cameron to critique it. The subtlety of this critique-on-critique is part of what makes her work so funny.
Dynasty Handbag performing ‘Soggy Glasses: A Homo’s Odyssey’ at BAM
The show consists of Dynasty conversing with animated characters on a video screen — all of which are drawn and voiced by Cameron — as she makes a perilous journey through her own internal organs. Her vessel is the paper container that formerly held the giant hero sandwich. The creatures and places she encounters include a cave guarded by a hipster would-be cyclops (“I’m not a cyclops, I just present that way”), an angel guide in the form of a disembodied Yoko Ono, and a lisping snake who runs an artist’s residency in her colon (the “Artist Colon-y”). The story is dense with pop culture references, many of them decidedly masculine: at one point, Cameron narrates Dynasty’s progress in a fake Werner Herzog accent; at another, “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath knells our anti-hero’s imminent failure at making a great work of art. This thicket of references brings up a question: how much of an artist’s sensibility is informed by the culture that she lives in, and how much of it grows from her own organic strangeness? In Soggy Glasses, Cameron’s singular oddity interweaves freely with popular media, to pleasurably disorienting effect.
Humor is famously one of the most difficult valences to define, perhaps because much of what we find hilarious hinges on real suffering. Dynasty ultimately fails in Soggy Glasses to make the heroic return that Odysseus made, but she triumphs in her own failure with a fist-pumping reprise of “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” Throughout the performance, she meditates on her own depression, loneliness, and hopelessness. These reflections serve self-mythologizing and self-parodying purposes, but they also speak to an authentic experience of pain. Cameron’s ventriloquism put me in mind of Robin Williams, whose recent death is an example of the darkness that often accompanies comic genius. Dynasty’s tacit examination of suffering allowed me, as an audience member, to trust her while facing the lived experience of despair. This gave the comedy a depth that lasted after the laughter had died away.
I think of Dynasty’s theater-of-the-self as a solid 21st-century evolution of the camp sensibility defined by Susan Sontag in her well-known 1964 essay on the subject. Cameron’s seamless performance bears all of the wit, seduction, and extravagance that Sontag cited as necessary for the elusive creation of camp, but she breaks from Sontag’s dictum that camp be “disengaged, depoliticized — or at least apolitical.” Cameron’s handling of contemporary politics — around gender specifically — reveals the true absurdity of political and social oppression, without ignoring how high the stakes really are.
Dynasty Handbag performing ‘Soggy Glasses: A Homo’s Odyssey’ at BAM
In the piece’s climactic penultimate moment, the capsizing of Dynasty’s sandwich-boat is dramatized by a clip from the blockbuster The Perfect Storm. Cameron pauses in the midst of the catastrophe to note that Linda Greenlaw, the female swordfishing captain, is portrayed in the film primarily through her codependent love relationship with “caretaking George Clooney.” This is one of numerous instances of Cameron showing the elisions of real female heroism that happen in pop culture texts — and if they happen in pop culture, they certainly happen in other realms. The last 50 years of feminist and queer performance art, music, film, and literature have given us many individuals who call out these elisions with intelligent humor, from John Waters to Bikini Kill to Wayne Koestenbaum to Big Freedia. If Soggy Glasses is any indication, Dynasty Handbag is an important force in the visioning of what we, as a culture, consider avant-garde, heroic, and hilarious.
Soggy Glasses: A Homo’s Odyssey took place at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM Fisher, 321 Ashland Pl, Fort Greene, Brooklyn) on October 17 as part of the performance art showcase Brooklyn Bred.
A man in Middlesborough, England, was jailed for possessing "prohibited images of children" -- even though the images in question were cartoon drawings.Read the rest
From Alana Jones-Mann, a baker, culinary artist and DIY enthusiast in Brooklyn, cupcakes that look like miniature cacti. They're so cute, they're even planted in crushed graham cracker soil.
Well, such as it is. I am apparently not allowed to do a dance of seven veils and demand decapitation of those who arouse my ire. So, again, with achy fingers, I give you images…remember, we got here by having not enough people vote. Do something about that next month, ok?
Oh, and btw? Fuck Scott Walker. With flaming pineapples. Now THERE is a job I would do for $7.25 per hour.
Well, then, let’s let those exalted bastards get down in the cheap seats with the rest of the country, ok?
Hijack Norman Rockwell’s “The Connoisseur” (1961) from his famous Saturday Evening Post cover where the figure is looking at a Jackson Pollock painting, and have him admire GIFs. This is how the Gif Connoisseur Tumblr blog was born. (via thegifconnoisseur.tumblr.com)
This week, an art project asks people to give away their data for a cookie, the first web browser turns 20, a child befriends Siri, slowing down in museums, the smell of old books, tea propaganda, and more.
This past week was the 20th anniversary of the release of Netscape Navigator, which was the first commercial web browser. Its original press release included these bullet points:
Mosaic Communications’ network navigator achieves its dramatic performance improvements through new capabilities such as:
Participants couldn’t be certain that Puno wasn’t a flagrant identity thief planning to leak selfies. But they made a bet that she was what she seemed to be: a bright young Brooklyn artist making a well-intentioned point. Her project would have been more daring, and perhaps more artistically complete, if she’d put everything online, posing the question of who would be at fault if someone made nefarious use of the information.
A bizarre story of how a boy with autism befriended Apple’s Siri:
Siri can be oddly comforting, as well as chummy. One friend reports: “I was having a bad day and jokingly turned to Siri and said, ‘I love you,’ just to see what would happen, and she answered, ‘You are the wind beneath my wings.’ And you know, it kind of cheered me up.”
Maurice Berger explores LaToya Ruby Frazier’s “Notion of Family“:
Ms. Frazier, who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, was inspired by Gordon Parks’s idea of using the camera as a “weapon” of choice against racism, intolerance and poverty. She does not pretend to speak for African-Americans or even Braddock’s black community in this project. Instead, she typically photographs herself and her mother and grandmother, three generation of women whose “lives parallel the rise and fall of the steel mill industry,” and who endured despite “thirty years of disinvestment and abandonment by local, state and federal governments.”
Reconsidering the “Broken Windows” theory that the NYPD so depends on to justify their policing:
When “Broken Windows” was published, in 1982, tax revenues in New York were shrinking at an alarming rate and the city’s ability to maintain itself was in doubt. In 1980, the population had fallen to 7,071,639, a drop of about 800,000 from ten years earlier and around where the city’s population had been in 1930. Crime by blacks—not the collapse of local manufacturing or the flight of middle-class families to the suburbs—was popularly perceived to be the primary cause.
This racial perception is no less prevalent today. The most comprehensive study to date on the roots of crime found that the central factor in how people perceive the safety of a neighborhood is not disorder or even the presence of boarded-up stores and abandoned buildings, but the number of African-Americans (and to a lesser extent Hispanics) who live there. This perception was true for blacks and whites alike.4 The link is ingrained in the American psyche. When we criticize the police for racial prejudice, we are decrying a condition that is bigger than the police, a prejudice that we may share ourselves.
The age-old question of slowing down in a museum:
Most people want to enjoy a museum, not conquer it. Yet the average visitor spends 15 to 30 seconds in front of a work of art, according to museum researchers.
… Indeed, a number of museums now offer “slow art” tours or days that encourage visitors to take their time … sometimes you get more for the price of admission by opting to see less.
… Previous research, including a study led by Stephen Kaplan at the University of Michigan, has already suggested that museums can serve as restorative environments. And Daniel Fujiwara at the London School of Economics and Political Science has found that visiting museums can have a positive impact on happiness and self-reported health.
Every wonder why old books have a particular aroma? Galley Cat has your answer:
A PDF catalogue accompanying the Art Post-Internet exhibition, curated by Karen Archey and Robin Peckham for the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing during spring 2014, is finally available online. I’ll probably have more to say about this at a latter time.
We often associate tea with India, but did you know that it took a British propaganda campaign to get Indians to drink chai?
Tea might seem to be India’s best-loved beverage, but its popularity is actually the result of a careful propaganda effort. Like Christmas and diamonds, tea consumption is among the world’s more successful advertising campaigns.
… Tea plantations in India were initially meant to produce tea for foreign consumers. When tea consumption in Britain and the US began to stagnate around the turn of the 20th century, the British, ever the opportunists, decided to look to India to expand their markets.
The only problem was that Indians were extremely reluctant consumers of the combination of sugar, boiled leaves, water and milk.
In 1903, the British government established a propaganda unit, at first called the Tea Cess Committee, that was meant to propagate tea consumption. This board was funded by the proceeds of a tax on the export of tea. The government neatly renamed this as the Indian Tea Market Expansion Board in 1937.
A short history of Fire Island architectural modernism and its distinct style (emphasis theirs):
It was, essentially, the antithesis of the suburban ideal: no cars, no carefully maintained lawns, no fences—just meandering paths that took you from the boardwalk to the front door. Gifford, who often talked his wealthy clients into building houses with a smaller footprint, is quoted by his biographer, Christopher Rawlins, as saying, “Someday we will learn to live with nature, instead of living on nature.”
The YouTube channel of the New York City Department of Records is a treasure trove of strange video, including:
Why do so many gay men hate camp men?
There is a growing resistance to the straight-acting gay man. “Masc” is just another mask and the straight-acting gay man is just that – an actor. The bromosexual chooses his clothes as carefully as any drag queen; his mannerisms are as studied, his voice as carefully modulated. He is trying to pass. But so is the straight man. It’s just that over centuries all his careful nurturing has been naturalised. He is the norm but he is not natural.
Required Reading is published every Sunday morning EST, and is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.
So I was idly perusing Janet “JudgyBitch” Bloomfield’s Twitter yesterday, and I came across an alarming tweet. It seemed as though Bloomfield had somehow penetrated the 47 levels of security protecting the Feminist HIgh Council to discover incontrovertible evidence of Operation Wicked Succubus. You know, the feminist plan to eliminate all men (except for me).
— JudgyBitch (@BloomfieldJanet) October 18, 2014
Her followers were aghast:
And naturally one of them brought up #GamerGate.
There were a few others, but you get the idea.
It never occurred to any of them to, you know, try to find out just who the bald man advocating killing all men was. Or who exactly he was talking to.
So I decided to do some serious investigative journalism to see what I could uncover. I typed out “‘eliminate men as a gender’ security” into a little known internet “search engine” called Google, and boldly clicked on the first result.
This led me to a Tweet with a URL in it. Bravely, I clicked on that URL and found myself looking at a video of a presentation at something called Monitorama PDX 2014 — clearly the code name for one of the Feminist Conspiracy’s conventions.
I looked it up in Google and discovered a web page for the event, which had been held in May. It was described as an “An Open Source Monitoring Conference & Hackathon.”
Ah, clearly a clever Feminist code name.
Obviously, some high level feminist theorizing.
Then I decided to watch the video. And I was shocked!
Because it wasn’t a speech about killing all men after all. It wasn’t even a feminist speech. No, it seemed instead to be a highly technical talk about internet security issues, illustrated with a lot of silly slides. Like this:
I must confess that I didn’t get the overwhelming majority of his jokes. But he audience seemed to find these slides, and much of what he said, hilarious. So if you ever need to hire a comedian who can joke about Synchronous Mashup Isolation Using Generator Chains, Mickens is your guy.
So where does the whole “kill all men” thing come from?
Well, I skipped ahead a bit in the video until I found a section in which Mickens talked about the dumb things people do that can undermine even the most sophisticated security setup.
His example: gullible, horny men who are tricked into “friending” hackers on Facebook posing as hot babes — even when there are pretty obvious indications that the hot babes aren’t really hot babes at all.
Things like: saying they graduated from Central University, even though there is no school by that name in the US, or spelling the name of their profession wrong.
These are all good clues, he said, that the hot babe you just friended on facebook was really this guy:
Given that men are regularly duped with simple tricks that play on their horniness and gullibility, Mickens joked, maybe the real goal for people trying to design secure systems should be the elimination of all men.
So that’s where the slide comes from.
And by the way, that whole bit of his killed — not as in “killed all men” but as in “got giant laughs from the mostly male audience.” Expecially the part about killing all men.
If you want to see the whole bit, starting with Mary and ending with “eliminate men as a gender,” it starts at around 20:40 in the video.
Men’s Rights Activists: more gullible than guys who friend Mary from Central University on Facebook.
NOTE TO EXTREMELY LITERAL-MINDED MRAS: That bit about the feminist plot to kill all men (except me) at the start of this post was a joke. Feminists don’t really intend to kill all men (except me).
Or do they?
Recently Miss Pearl wrote an excellent rant about douchebags who try whine and cry about not being allowed into age restricted munches, which you should absolutely read. To very briefly summarize her point, if you know perfectly goddamn well that the rules of an event exclude you and you try to force your way in anyway, you have just conclusively proven that you are an asshole who will ignore the rules to get what they want.
Following the rules at a kinky event is vitally important because doing so signals that you give a shit. When you show up to an event you aren’t welcome at, you are proving that you cannot be trusted to follow an extremely simple rule. This naturally leads people to wonder if you would give a shit if they used their safeword, or told you they didn’t want you to penetrate any of their orifices, or that their hand is going numb and they need the ropes loosened. If I have to wonder that about a person, I don’t want them anywhere remotely fucking near me.
It doesn’t even matter what the rules of the event are or how unfair you believe they are. There is simply no way to show up at an event you aren’t welcome at without looking like a tremendous asshole. And if you’re going to try to convince anyone you didn’t know you weren’t welcome, just fucking stop. All you’re proving at that point is that you’re too stupid to read the rules. Munches with any sort of attendance restriction, whether it’s under 35s only or female subs only, are reliably very clear about who is welcome. This is because you are not the first special fucking snowflake who tried to get in. You can disagree, you can tell all of your friends what a big Meaniepants McPoopyhead the organizer is, but you cannot claim the rules weren’t clearly stated. Protip: proving that you’re too stupid to actually read the rules is not much more confidence inspiring than proving that you just don’t care about the rules.
As for the idiots who cry about ageism, I have a question for you:
How would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot? Imagine that the vast majority of people at the all ages munches were under 25. Would you maybe feel the least bit out of place going to an event like that if you were over 35? Might you start thinking that it would be nice to have an event where you could talk with people who understood when you said you had to get home and pay the babysitter, or that you couldn’t go to that awesome weekend conference because the roof needs to be repaired?
Oh, you don’t have anything to say? I’m shocked.
My local TNG group doesn’t have any hard and fast age limits, but it is intended for people 18 – 35. I’m only 31, and I’m already starting to wonder why on earth a 35+ year old would even want to go to a TNG munch. The people who go to that munch are perfectly lovely and the organizers are personal friends of mine, but it’s getting hard for me to relate to people in their early 20s. It’s been a long time since I had to worry about final exams or the price of textbooks (which are completely fucked up), and I feel like a complete asshole bitching about the job that pays me more than enough to live on to people who are staring down the barrel of years of debt.
Also, I would be shocked to hear of a TNG munch that didn’t give people who are just over the maximum age a little bit of wiggle room. I’m certainly too lazy to immediately throw people out on their 36th birthday. For that matter, if you’re there supporting an under 35 friend or partner who didn’t want to go by themselves, I would be very surprised if you weren’t welcome as long as you made an effort to behave yourself.
On the other hand, if you’re 39 (for example) and you want to hang out with people in their late teens/early 20s, I really do have to question your motives. Sure, it’s possible that you’re new to the scene, want to hang out with other people who are probably new (note that 18-35 munches don’t necessarily assume that you’re new, just that you want to hang out with people roughly your own age) and for some weird reason think that spending time with people in their early 20s won’t be awkward, but sad to say it’s more likely that people your own age won’t take your bullshit.
Before people flip their shit, please pay attention to the fact that I did not say that people over the age of 35 are inherently creepy and bad. I said that people over the age of 35 who want to go to a munch specifically for 18-35 year olds are sketchy as fuck. If you are over 35 and would never dream of crashing a munch where you aren’t welcome, you’re golden! If you are attracted to younger people but don’t want to creep them out by disregarding simple rules, you’re great! If you love the idea of “corrupting” someone young and innocent, I promise there are plenty of young, “innocent” people who jerk off to the idea of being “corrupted” by a bad, bad, <gender of their choice>. They might even play with you if you put that giant red flag down and start acting like a decent human being.
Rep Dennis Ross (R-Round the Bend) is a man of action. And he has the toolbox to make things happen. So, the minute this here election is over, he’s returning to Congress with an emergency bill in his briefcase to save Americans from Ebola.
Rep Ross agrees with his colleagues that a travel ban is the way to go (because a big plastic bubble over the country would take too much time to roll out). Doctors, epidemiologists and international experts have traveled to Congress to give their advice—that travel bans won’t help and could make things worse—but, Republicans, being Republicans aren’t buying it because . . . . well, aren’t doctors and experts usually elites trained in liberal universities? and doesn’t Obama hope that we’re all too sick to stop his world conquest?
For whatever reason, Republicans have decided that they know best and should therefore take charge. So, they wrote a letter to the President to apprise him of the fact that they are taking the lead on Ebola—as soon as the election is over. So far, 53 Republicans and six Democrats, who might as well be, have joined up.
Rep Ross (R-FL) got himself on MSNBC this morning to let Americans know that Republicans are going to save them . . . as soon as the election is over.
I believe we can nip this in the bud, if you will, at least by banning those flights temporarily until such time as the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] believes the epidemic is under control and also make sure we don’t issue visas to travelers from over there. We have a good border patrol, believe it or not, and they can catch these people with fake passports and fake visas as they come across the border. It just seems to me we ought to have the debate on this and flush this out and that’s why I filed the bill to allow for the banning of these flights.
Despite what the experts say, that could work, except for one thing: there are no direct flights that come to the United States from West Africa, as New York Times reporter Jeremy W. Peters pointed out to the congressman.
Rep Ross apparently didn’t enjoy being caught flat-footed and immediately pivoted to snark:
Then we don’t have any problem. Everybody’s contained, correct? They are not. They are traveling. They are traveling.
“It will not solve the problem,” he added of his bill. “It is a step in the right direction.”
I guess . . . especially if it buys us some time to get that big plastic bubble set up.
Watch Rep Ross go off around the 2:15 mark. And get a load of his face after his rant when they show the whole panel. Bet that’s the last time Dennis Ross goes to MSNBC.
PUBLISHED: 21:20 GMT, 18 October 2014 | UPDATED: 23:23 GMT, 18 October 2014
Detectives have launched a criminal inquiry into suspected fraud over claims of sex abuse by Jimmy Savile, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
The extraordinary development centres on allegations by Savile’s own great-niece, Caroline Robinson, who claims she was sexually abused by him as a child – and is seeking thousands of pounds in compensation.
But following inquiries by this newspaper, police in West Yorkshire have confirmed they have now launched a probe. And both West Yorkshire and detectives from Scotland Yard’s Operation Yewtree have said they would investigate other claims if fraud were suspected.
Some 211 people came forward claiming compensation after alleged abuse by the DJ, who died in 2011. The following year, a TV documentary exposed his predatory behaviour, opening a floodgate of claims.
An engagement party at a luxury venue in Leeds in 1978. The bride-to-be – who, unusually enough, is both pregnant and only 15 – is asked by her mother to take some food to the disc jockey, her famous ‘Uncle Jimmy’ Savile, who’s playing the hits in his booth next to the heaving dancefloor.
The girl shudders at the request because three years earlier, when she was just 12, Savile sexually abused her in front of numerous relatives at a family gathering. But she’s keen to please her mother, and so she obeys – only to be assaulted all over again, this time much more seriously.
It’s dark and noisy. No one sees his attack and no one hears her protests. ‘He cornered me; I was trapped,’ she would tell a reporter years later. ‘I can still summon up the smell of him; his cigars and a sweet, sickly girls’ perfume. When it was over, I ran outside. I remember being sick. Then I went into the hotel toilets and scrubbed myself.’
In the long, posthumous charge sheet against Jimmy Savile, this depraved case stands out: an account of his abuse of his own great-niece, Caroline Robinson.
Now 51, she gave TV and newspaper interviews in 2012, after the documentary that first exposed Savile as a paedophile.
But an investigation by The Mail on Sunday has revealed that her story conflicts with other evidence – and in this is not alone: so far as it is possible to check other claims being made by Savile’s alleged victims, some may also be questionable.
At least five members of Mrs Robinson’s close family say she is lying, including her daughter, Samantha Smith. Samantha has even accused her mother of making a fraudulent claim for compensation, and submitted a formal complaint to police.
Mrs Robinson’s brother, Martin Perry, adds ‘there is not a chance in this world’ that her story of being abused by Savile while sitting on his knee in front of many witnesses aged 12 was true. As for the engagement party, ‘it never happened’.
Mrs Smith, 26, a school science cover supervisor, said: ‘She’s made out like she was trying to protect me from him. It was the exact opposite.’ When she was 13, she said, her mother made her take a day off school to go to Savile’s brother Vincent’s funeral – purely so that she would meet Jimmy.
‘She was saying, “There he is, go and talk to him, he’s got loads of money”. His money and fame were the only reasons she made me go the funeral of a man I’d never met.’
Her police statement concludes: ‘I reject all of Caroline’s claims as nothing more than a calculated lie in order to obtain money fraudulently.’
Last night, Geoff Dodd, West Yorkshire’s Assistant Chief Constable, revealed police were beginning an inquiry into whether Mrs Robinson’s claim is bogus.
She has previously denied her family’s allegations, but last night did not return requests for comment.
Mrs Robinson has waived her anonymity by giving interviews, so it is possible to check what she says. Legal restrictions make investigating claims by others who say Savile abused them extremely difficult.
Detectives have launched a criminal inquiry into suspected fraud over claims of sex abuse by Jimmy Savile.
However, inquiries by this newspaper have revealed:
A SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL?
THE 2012 documentary that destroyed Savile’s reputation focused on allegations that he assaulted girls during visits he made to Duncroft, a secure Approved School in Surrey for teenage girls.
In the programme’s wake, more former Duncroft girls came forward, and at least 14 are now claiming compensation under the scheme. Some say Savile abused them when they were taken from Duncroft to recordings of his BBC TV shows.
Anonymity rules mean that most cannot be identified.
But, like Mrs Robinson, former Duncroft inmate Bebe Roberts went public.
She said in a 2012 interview that Savile assaulted her when she was 15 in 1965: ‘If you were walking down the corridor he would come up close and touch you inappropriately… He always came when we were getting ready for bed. There were girls in there who were quite terrified of him.’
Ms Roberts’s claims surprised her former room-mate, Susanne Cameron-Blackie. Now a lawyer and mental health expert, Ms Cameron-Blackie writes a blog about the Savile case under the name Anna Raccoon. She said: ‘I was staggered by her interviews, for the simple reason that in 1965, Jimmy Savile did not come near Duncroft. We never saw him.’
Yesterday, Ms Roberts said: ‘I’m sticking by my story. I will never say anything more about it.’ She said she had not claimed compensation.
This newspaper has uncovered evidence that Jimmy Savile did not visit Duncroft until early in 1974, when his name first appears in its visitors’ book – so casting doubt not only on Ms Roberts, but on the allegations of four women who have made compensation claims, because they say he abused them before this date.
The Mail on Sunday interviewed the woman responsible for Savile’s first visit to Duncroft. Susan – she has asked us not to publish her surname – revealed: ‘I met him on a weekend leave in late 1973.
‘My mother was managing a country club. There was a reception for police officers, and she needed a waitress, so asked me to fill in.’
The result was that Susan, who looked older than her years, was serving a group of detectives and their friend Savile.
He asked her to visit him at the flat he used at Broadmoor Hospital the next day.
They kissed, but she says that when he discovered she was only 15, he ceased intimate contact.
Later she begged her mother, Sheila, to ask Duncroft’s head, Margaret Jones, if Savile could visit. Sheila later confirmed she did so. Ms Jones – 93 but still mentally sharp – told the same story: ‘I never knew Savile until Susan’s mother asked if he could come and brought him there in 1974. I said Yes because I thought it would be good for the girls.’
The Savile compensation scheme was first advertised in national newspapers. Claims are checked by a small group of ‘scrutineers,’ made up of members of Savile’s family, a few friends and former colleagues.
They are prevented from discussing claims so it’s impossible to establish their veracity.
The task is still harder because the police, who seized Savile’s diaries that recorded his movements for more than 20 years, say they have ‘lost’ them.
But it is clear that many of the allegations being processed are vague. An analysis prepared for the Court of Appeal reveals that out of 211 claimants, eight say an incident of abuse took place at some time in a period lasting ten years or more. Eighty say an incident occurred in a period of between two and ten years. Sixty-one specify a year, and 62 both a year and a season.
There are claims by people who say they were assaulted at recordings of Top Of The Pops before it started in 1964, and others by those who describe assaults at the BBC TV Centre in London at recordings of programmes which were, in fact, filmed elsewhere.
The Savile compensation scheme was first advertised in national newspapers following the sex abuse scandal
One claimant described an assault by Savile in 1945, stating that he was a manager at a Mecca Ballroom. In 1945, Savile was 19 and a ‘Bevin boy’ miner.
Most of the claimants – 174 – are represented by a team from law firm Slater & Gordon, led by solicitor Liz Dux. She said she ‘cannot be sure there are no fraudulent claims’, though she said she has rejected claims which seemed improbable.
She also admitted that many claimants might never receive a meaningful payment: ‘They are going through an awful lot of pain in reliving their ordeals for a tiny monetary gain.’
The scheme’s tariff sets eight separate compensation bands: victims who were touched over their clothing should get £1,500, rising to £7,500 for those assaulted under their clothing, and a maximum £40,000 who were raped.
Ms Dux said most of her clients’ alleged abuse was at the lower end of the scale, so that they would be due less than £10,000 – or in other words, less than the £11,000 to £16,000 due to claimants’ lawyers like her under the scheme’s fixed legal fees, and in some cases, much less.
But she insisted: ‘The scheme was drawn up to keep legal costs to a minimum.’
However, the sums due to NatWest’s lawyers Osborne Clarke – who have appointed a team of barristers to assess all the claims, adding still more to their costs – would likely soon render the estate insolvent.
When that happened, Ms Dux said, ‘we will not be paid, and nor can the victims. If there’s not enough money left, the court will decide how to divide what’s left. Osborne Clarke will take precedence.’
The scheme is being challenged in the Court of Appeal by the trustees of Jimmy Savile’s charitable trust, to which he left almost all his estate.
Jo Summers, the trust’s solicitor, who is working on the case pro bono, said: ‘The money should go to the bona fide claimants. A scheme where the lawyers get more than the claimants cannot be right.
‘The level of scrutiny NatWest/Osborne Clarke are applying to the claims is ludicrously low – it will be almost impossible to tell which claims are genuine and which are not.’
Osborne Clarke and NatWest refused to comment.
A BBC spokesman said it would deal with claims where appropriate, but could not discuss any details.
Although she would not respond to this newspaper, Caroline Robinson has earlier insisted on her Facebook page: ‘My so-called family are trying to stop me telling the truth… I have told the truth, it’s a pity certain people can’t handle the truth.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2798457/how-savile-s-niece-s-demand-compensation-led-police-fraud-probe-daughter-says-story-false-211-claims-vast-payments-police-investigate.html#ixzz3GXhgymvb
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Edited by Ms Raccoon to add: As a result of the hard work that went into the making of this article – Detectives in West Yorkshire and London have launched a criminal inquiry into suspected fraud over claims of sex abuse by Jimmy Savile.
Ms Raccoon is currently just south of Paris en route to hospital for her 3 month scan – so if there is more than one link in your comment it is likely to be stuck in moderation for some time; I doubt that I will be back before Tuesday.
A tip of the Raccoon tail to David Rose for all his hard work – he has done a superb job validating this story and I salute his courage in standing tall in ‘Fleet Street’ (as was!) where others have hidden behind corporate security blankets….never let it be said that there are no proper investigative journalists left…
My original post from July 2013 on the Caroline Robinson story is HERE.
What makes a great actor? One important skill is the ability to believe the part. Actors sometimes practice roles for months to make their performance more authentic. However, what happens when an actor plays a drug addict? What happens when they go around trying to convince themselves they have a disease of the brain that can kill them?
Philip Seymour Hoffman: In Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, he plays a drug addict embezzler. He died of a heroin overdose soon after attending AA.
Robin Williams: In the TV series Crazy Ones, he plays an alcoholic advertising exec. “I’ve been to rehab in wine country.” Killed himself a day after attending AA.
Corey Monteith: In McCanick he plays a drug addicted street hustler – anything for a $50 fix. He had recently gotten out of rehab at Betty Ford and killed himself after attending an AA meeting.
River Phoenix: Drug addicted hustler in My Own Private Idaho. Died of “acute multiple drug intoxication” including heroin and cocaine in 1993.
Heath Ledger: Played a heroin addict in Candy. Died from a mix of drugs while playing the Joker in Batman.
Actors more than anyone have the ability to magnify a small craving into a monumental obsession. They are especially vulnerable during rough patches in their life, if they feel angry or upset about something. And then they start taking drugs and feel the need to overdo it. It’s like watching yourself in a movie. You are powerless to intervene.
Most of us experience setbacks, frustrations, and humiliations. But we don’t think we’re powerless so we survive.
Odds are that a great actor playing a drug addict doesn’t have much time left. Especially if they’ve been to AA/12 Steps ‘treatment’, as many of these actors had just before they self-destructed.
Hope LGM frequenter, Sly doesn’t mind being a front-pager tonight. I just want everyone to see his great summation of GamerGate:
Here’s a basic but somewhat detailed summation:
Most people who have been on-line long enough get to know about the various self-identifications that form the loose confederation of Organized On-Line Misogyny: Your Red Pillers, your Slymepitters, your MRAs, your Incels, your PUAs, your MGTOWers, etc. Though they differ in the details of their reason for being women-haters, they are unified to the extent that they (a) hate women and (b) use the Internet to talk to and organize with other women-haters. Feminists know them well. Veterans of the Skeptic-Misogyny conflicts got to learn over the past few years how they can’t stand women who have the temerity to bring their lady-brains into what they, the misogynists, assume to be de facto male spaces.
Anyway, #GamerGate is essentially a repeat of what happened within the Skeptic/New Atheism movement. A subculture that was predominantly male and thus saturated with all the notions of masculinity that men are socialized to accept as natural, whether they are unhealthy or not, is becoming less predominantly male. The men who cling to those notions of masculinity, especially the toxic varieties, see that they are losing cultural capital among their peers. They feel marginalized, and those within the confederation of On-Line Misogynists find a new fora for their overtly toxic anti-feminism. Reactionary movement ensues to “take back” the subculture from the people who are ruining it. Many bystanders who have no idea whats going on get swept up as cannon fodder in a conflict they know nothing about and useful idiots for a ideology that they’d otherwise reject.
It is in this context that Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend posted his missive in which he alleged that Quinn traded sex for good press. The misogynists seized upon it, pointing out yet another instance of how women ruin everything. Doxxing/Harrassment/Threats ensued. When the allegation turned out to be bunk, the Doxxing/Harrassment/Threats had to be justified somehow, so more doxxing was done to find something to rationalize the initial breech. Quinn doxxed another charity (also false). Quinn slept with her boss for a promotion (also false). Quinn made up the doxxing/harassment/threats (plainly false). The conspiracy theories were rampant, and the campaign took on a new title when actor and wingnut jerkoff Adam Baldwin was the first to tweet one of the original conspiracy videos under the hashtag “GamerGate.”
Various attempts were made to shield the harassers and conspiracy mongers from allegations of sexism, like organized donations to the charity that Quinn didn’t dox, the manufacturing of a “chillgirl” gamer mascot who, like, totally doesn’t need feminism because it’s not like it was 100 years ago – GAWD WHY DONT YOU JUST LET ME PLAY GAMES, setting up sockpuppet twitter accounts claiming to be women and minorities using the hashtag #NotYourShield, etc. All of this was deliberately organized as a means of public relations.
Those of us who saw how utterly stupid and noxious this was started voicing our disgust. Leigh Alexander, a writer and Editor-At-Large for Gamasutra, published an article titled “‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over” in which she said that the changing face and mentality of the gamer identity is a welcome thing, because people who believe that they have a license to exclude others from the identity by any means necessary – up to and including waging campaigns of harassment – are a bunch of rabid jackals in the midst of a death rattle. Other on-line publications put out similar articles. This is ultimately what blew everything up, because if there’s one thing that reactionaries cannot stand is when you stop criticizing what they love and start criticizing them directly. They forgot about Zoe Quinn (GamerGaters now refer to her as “Literally Who #1,” or “LitWhoW1,” while Sarkeesian is “LitWho2″), and switched their harassment campaign to those critical on-line publications.
Otherwise neutral parties were swept up into the “movement” as its Useful Idiots, misunderstanding the “‘Gamers’ are Over” message as an assault on anyone who plays videogames. These people likely now constitute a majority of GamerGaters, and is why so many GamerGaters claim they don’t support doxxing and harassment. To be fair they’re being honest, but they exist solely as a shield for the misogynists to voice and act upon their misogyny.
And so, at the present moment, GamerGate, as a collective identity, is composed of two groups preoccupied with the following causes:
Group #1: Scouring any tint of cultural leftism from gaming.
Group #2: Disavowing Group #1.
Group #1 survives by trading complicated conspiracy theories done up as 30-minute YouTube vidoes or 120000×80000 pixel MS-Paint images, linking articles from anti-feminist writers at Forbes and Breitbart to one another, and totally crushing on anti-feminist women like Christina Hoff Sommers (because, as everyone knows, you can’t be a misogynist if you’re a woman or agree with a woman who spouts anti-feminist gibberish). That, and trading cartoon kiddie porn and creepshots on 8chan.
Group #2 survives by shouting “NOT ALL GAMERS ARE LIKE THAT!” without realizing that no one is talking to them.
And here we come to Ground Zero of conservative commitment. The conservative believes in excellence, as Douthat says, but it is a vision of excellence defined as and dependent on “overcoming.” It’s a vision that abhors the easy path of acceptance, of tolerating human frailty and need, not because that path is wrong but because it is easy. Or, to put it differently, it’s wrong precisely because it is easy. And though that vision often claims Aristotle as its inspiration, its true sources are Nietzschean.
The conservative believes the excellent person is a kind of mountain climber, a moral athlete who is constantly overcoming or trying to overcome his limits, pushing himself ever higher and higher. When it comes to sex, he’s not unlike the Foucauldian transgressor, that sexual athlete of novelty and experiment: but where Foucault believes that taboos against sex are all too easily reached (that’s why, if we are to attain the peaks of experience, we have to move beyond those limits), the conservative’s remain out of reach. The value of a rule lies in its difficulty and potential unattainability, the ardor of the struggle it imposes upon us. We might call this ethic the ardor of adversity.*
Very much so, yes. And it gives us another opportunity to revisit Holbo’s classic David Frum essay:
“Contemporary conservatives still value that old American character. William Bennett in his lectures reads admiringly from an account of the Donner party written by a survivor that tells the story in spare, stoic style. He puts the letter down and asks incredulously, “Where did those people go?” But if you believe that early Americans possessed a fortitude that present-day Americans lack, and if you think the loss is an important one, then you have to think hard about why that fortitude disappeared. Merely exhorting Americans to show more fortitude is going to have about as much effect on them as a lecture from the student council president on school spirit. Reorganizing the method by which they select and finance their schools won’t do it either, and neither will the line-item veto, or discharge petitions, or entrusting Congress with the power to deny individual NEA grants, or court decisions strinking down any and all acts of politically correct tyranny emanating from the offices of America’s deans of students – worthwhile though each and every one of those things may be. It is socials that form character, as another conservative hero, Alexis de Tocqueville, demonstrated, and if our characters are now less virtuous than formerly, we must identify in what way our social conditions have changed in order to understand why.
Of course there have been hundreds of such changes – never mind since the Donner party’s day, just since 1945 … But the expansion of government is the only one we can do anything about.
All of these changes have had the same effect: the emancipation of the individual appetite from restrictions imposed on it by limited resources, or religious dread, or community disapproval, or the risk of disease or personal catastophe.” (p. 202-3)
Words fail me; links not much better. The Donner party? Where did all these people go? Into each other, to a dismaying extent. A passage from one of those moving, stoical diary entries:
“…Mrs. Murphy said here yesterday that [she] thought she would commence on Milt and eat him. I don’t think she has done so yet, [but] it is distresing. The Donno[r]s told the California folks that they [would] commence to eat the dead people 4 days ago, if they did not succeed in finding their cattle then under ten or twelve feet of snow & did not know the spot or near it, I suppose they have [cannibalized] …ere this time.”
The stoical endurance of the Donner party in the face of almost unimaginable suffering is indeed moving. The perseverance of the survivors is a lasting testament to the endurance of the human spirit. (On the other hand, the deaths of all who stoically refused to cannibalize their fellows might be deemed an equal, perhaps a greater testament.) But it is by no means obvious – some further demonstration would seem in order – that lawmakers and formulators of public policy should therefore make concerted efforts to emulate the Donner’s dire circumstances. What will the bumper-stickers say? “It’s the economy, stupid! We need to bury it under ten to twelve feet of snow so that we will be forced to cannibalize the dead and generally be objects of moral edification to future generations.”
I think we are beginning to see why Frum feels that his philosophy may be a loser come election time. I think the Donner party – who, be it noted, set out seeking economic prosperity in the West, not snow and starvation – would not vote Republican on the strength of William Bennett’s comfortable edification at the spectacle of their abject misery. (“Let’s start with the fat one over there in the corner, playing the slots. We can eat off him for a week. See how he likes it.”)
To put what is surely rather an obvious point yet another way: if the Donner party is really what you want, the policy riddle (how to reproduce these conditions, since the Donner party was not political, per se?) already has an answer: Stalinism.
…Warren Terra in comments:
I had heard the term “Donner Party Conservatism” before, but it had never occurred to me that it reflected actual sentiments from a famous Conservative Thought Leader in praise of the Donner party – I assumed it was just an insult hurled at the party that professes to represent some sort of Conservative ideals, and that in reality so well recapitulates the experience of the Donner Party.
Think of it: a bunch of god-fearing but frankly ignorant buffoons were sold promises of wealth and opportunity if only they’d pledge themselves to a grand venture. They were then taken advantage of by profiteers who badly outfitted them for the undertaking, and were literally misguided, as in sent along the wrong path, at the wrong time. When they became trapped, the few survivors made it by eating their own; others more principled or more circumspect did not – or were perhaps slain to be food. It’s like the George W Bush administration, plus literal cannibalism. It is, in short, what the Conservatives deliver, but not what they claim to seek. Except, apparently, Bill Bennett.
This was shouted at me just before the shouter pushed me into a brick wall. Hard. I was twelve years old.
I don’t even remember what I was expounding upon on the barren asphalt “playground” in Pocatello, Idaho; but I sure remember the push for presuming to know something the pusher did not know.
It has been almost fifty years since that chilly October day; and I still occasionally get vocally pushed for knowing something — usually something someone else would prefer NOT to know. But then, in proof of the premise that “You cannot win,” I often get an angry response to not knowing, too.
Or, to be more correct — for saying that some things are unknowable. The nature and number of presumed deities, for instance. Yes, that is an unpopular opinion, let me tell you. It kind of boggles my mind that people take comfort in assumptions about the nature of divinity — something very much NOT under human control; but they get rattled at the idea that they SHOULD know what their government is doing, or the location of some once-obscure-nation-now-in-American-bombsights.
Perhaps because I didn’t get my personal ethics system from a religious base, per se, I don’t invest the idea of comfortable certainty in divinity? But because I can posit the idea of Beings beyond our complete knowing, it does seem a wee bit over-the-top hubristic to presume defining such Beings. I think human matters belong to us humans; divine matters belong to the presumed divinities. I admit, I am uncertain where the interface is located.
But I often think people would be a whole lot better off admitting that there are things they simply do not and cannot know. We can explore our phenomenal world; it is next to impossible to absolutely ascertain anything in that noumenal world of presumed divinities and possible afterlife.
And it seems to me that the presumption of having grasped a certainty about the noumenal world and its presumed inhabitants, and bringing BACK that “certainty” to THIS world causes a fuck-load of trouble. All those religious screamers, telling women to cover up — and beating or otherwise torturing them when they don’t; or controlling other people not EVEN of one’s oh-so-assured “faith”. I could be here all day enumerating the issues caused by religious know-it-alls. I think admission of UNcertainty and some humility based on an inability to know would do the world a world of good.
Admission of doubt is not weakness, any more than kindness is. Admission of doubt and of not knowing is HONEST and human. And being human? That could lead to a bit more of being humane. And the world could certainly use more humane behaviors over more religious know-it-alls.
I remember seeing the photo above on Flickr once, and having my brain melt slightly from trying to figure out what went wrong.
The issue was the propeller was rotating as the camera detector ‘read out’, i.e. there was some motion during the exposure of the camera. This is an interesting thing to think about, lets have a look.
Many modern digital cameras use as their ‘sensing’ device a CMOS detector, also known as an active-pixel sensor, which works by accumulating electronic charge as light falls upon it. After a given amount of time, the exposure time, the charge is shifted row-by-row back to the camera for further processing. There is then a finite time where the camera scans down the image, saving rows of pixels at a time. If there is any motion over this timescale the image will be distorted.
To illustrate, consider photographing a spinning propeller. In the animations below the red line corresponds to the current readout position, and the propeller continues to spin as the readout proceeds. The portion below the red line is saved as the captured image.
First, a propeller which completes 1/10th of a rotation during the exposure:
Some distortion, but nothing crazy. Now a propeller moving 10 times quicker, which completes a full rotation during the exposure:
This is starting to look like the Flickr image at the beginning. 5 times per exposure:
This is a little too far, things have clearly gone mental. Just for fun, let’s see what some different objects look like at different rotation speeds, from 0 to 1 rotation per exposure.
The same propeller as above:
A fatter propeller:
A car tire:
We can think of the rolling shutter effect being some coordinate transformation from the ‘object space’ of the real-world object, to the ‘image space’ of the warped image. The animation below shows what happens to the Cartesian coordinate grid as the number of rotations is increased. For small rotations the deformation is slight, as the number increases to 1 each side of the grid is moved successively towards the right-hand side of the image. This is a fairly complicated transformation to look at, but simple to understand.
Let the image be denoted by , and the real object (which is rotating) be denoted by where are 2D polar coordinates. Polar coordinates are a natural choice for this problem due to the rotational motion of the objects.
The object is rotating at angular frequency , and the shutter progresses across the image at speed in the vertical direction. At position in the image, the distance the shutter has moved since the start of exposure is , and so the time elapsed is . In this time the object has rotated a number of radians . Putting this together,
which is the required transformation. The factor is proportional to the number of rotations during the exposure, and parameterises the transformation.
To get some insight into the apparent shapes of the propellers, we can consider an object consisting of propellers where is non-zero only for for . The image is then non-zero for
In Cartesian coordinates this becomes
which helps to explain why the propellers get that S-shaped look – it’s just an inverse tangent function in the image space. Cool. I’ve plotted this function below for a set of 5 propeller blades at slightly different initial offsets, as might be observed during a video recording. They look pretty much like the shapes in the animations above.
Now we understand a little more about the process, can we do anything about these ruined photos? Taking one of the warped images above, I can take a line through it, rotate backwards the appropriate amount, then stick those pixels onto a new image. In the animation below I scan through the image on the left, marked by the red line, then rotate the pixels along that line onto a new image. This way we can build a picture of what the real object looks like even if a pesky rolling shutter ruined our original image.
Now if only my photoshop skills were better I could extract the propellers from the original Flickr image, un-warp them, and slap them back on the photo. Sounds like a plan for the future.
To figure out the real number of blades in the photo at the top of the post and the rotation velocity we can look to this excellent post at Daniel Walsh’s Tumblr blog, where he definitely has the edge on mathematical explanation.
He works out that we can calculate the number of blades by subtracting the ‘lower’ blades from the ‘upper’ blades, so in this picture we know there should be 3. We also know the propeller is rotating approximately 2 times during the exposure, so if we try ‘undoing’ the rotation with a few different speeds around that we get something like this:
I’ve had to guess where the centre of the propeller is, and I’ve drawn a circle to guide the eye. Looking at that, the centre shouldn’t be too far off. There is unfortunately a missing blade, but there’s still enough information to make an image.
There is a sweet spot where everything overlaps the most, so picking this rotation speed (2.39 rotations per exposure), the original image and blades look like this:
It’s still a bit of a mess unfortunately, but at least looks something like the real object.
Thank you, Ronald Reagan, for promoting the voodoo of trickle-down economics.