Pajiba Kills It With Recent Movie Reviews

0 comments
My respect for Dustin Rowles, who created the film site Pajiba, went up tenfold when I met him at IFFBoston this year, then another tenfold when I read his recent reviews for Jackass 3D and Saw 3D. From his Jackass 3D review:

Approximately mid-way through Jeff Tremaine’s chef d’oeuvre, Jackass 3D, a severely obese man dressed in only clear plastic wrap saddled an elliptical machine and began an ordinary exercise routine. As the minutes passed, however, this beached-whale of a gentleman began to perspire. Soon, his diaphoresis was collected in a small plastic container, and another man who goes by the name of Steve O retrieved a Bounty paper towel and wiped this corpulent man down, careful to sweep the towel between the many folds of adipose before, finally, collecting the wetty excretions that had amasssed in between this man’s buttocks during his exertion. Afterwards, Mr. O carefully wrung the contents of the paper towel into the container and imbibed in this man’s fecal-flecked perspiration, only to be so overcome by the putrid savoriness of the man’s sudor that he expelled the contents of his stomach, triggering others in the room to regurgitate the morning’s buffet of eggs and Hollandaise sauce. As this took place, I sat rapt with attention, choking back my own dry heaves, applauding the bravery of the young man so dedicated to his craft that he would drink another man’s excretions.This is a new world order, and Jackass is our master.


From his Saw 3D review, aptly titled "A Series of Understatements":

Another thing: After he was diagnosed with cancer, Mr. Kramer might’ve been better served in fulfilling his bucket list instead of meddling in the lives of others. With the proper diet and self-care, he probably could’ve extended his life for a few months, or even years, instead of meeting his untimely death. A power saw is such an unfortunate way to go out. Nevertheless, that Mr. Kramer would leave a tape recording in his stomach providing instructions to his accomplices, in addition to a series of tapes and envelopes he left to both an accomplice and his ex-wife, leads one to imagine that Mr. Kramer perhaps had too much time on his hands. Who thinks of all these things? Mr. Kramer must have had a very skilled trusts and estates lawyer to assist him in these matters.

 Update: Beth Perkins also directs me to Pajiba's review of A Serbian Film:

This is it. This is the limit that a film can go. It will fucking break you. And the strangest part is … it’s brilliant. It takes torture porn to places it never, ever should go. It’s the ultimate torture porn — to the nth degree. It punts torture porn into Friday of next week. It eats Irish torture porn babies like cubesteak. And by pushing things that far, it completely and utterly eradicates the genre. Torture porn is dead, and A Serbian Film raped its corpse. 

"We've spent all of this time keeping him alive. Now we owe him more than that."

0 comments
The New York Times (via John Gruber) has an article about the therapeutic potential that the iPad holds for disabled people. The accompanying video is a must-watch.



This short, simple field report, with its sharp editing and plaintive piano score, was transcendent. For some reason, watching this boy unlock an iPad for the very first time...well, you'll see. It got pretty dusty for me.

The Greatness of AMC

0 comments
Despite my occasional disagreements with Jace Lacob, I think he's one of the finest TV writers working today. He's just written a new piece for the Daily Beast chronicling the AMC's rise, beginning with the premiere of Broken Trail in 2006. The article is notable for including quotes from interviews with AMC President Charlie Collier and Senior VP of Programming Joel Stillerman:


"The greatest challenge for us comes with managing change," Collier said. "Because once you have success, the drug is to replicate and continue to do the same thing."

"The amazing benefit of having Mad Men and Breaking Bad is pretty evident," added Stillerman. "The only downside, to the extent that there is one, is where do you go from there? You have to make sure that we are not the channel that used to have Mad Men and Breaking Bad…"

The Signs from the Rally to Restore Sanity

0 comments
By far the most entertaining thing to come out of the Rally to Restore Sanity (save the rally itself) were the signs that clever Stewart/Colbert fabricated and brought with them. Some of my favorites:



IMG_3024

Reddit has the most exhaustive list of signs that I've been able to find.

Also, check out Linda Holmes' write-up of the event, which uses a "Highs" and "Lows" format that I plan on employing more often for my live coverage of events.

[UPDATE: The Washington Post now have an excellent selection of photos in the form of a user-submitted gallery. Gawker also has a great gallery]

Taking Jon Stewart (Way Too) Seriously

0 comments
Over at The Thread, Tobin Harshaw has an excellent round-up of responses to Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity, being held tomorrow. Stewart has been riding a wave of positive coverage recently, scoring Barack Obama as a guest this week on The Daily Show and attracting a presumed turnout of hundreds of thousands to the Rally. But he's also attracted no small amount of criticism, both for the politics of the rally ("It doesn't go far enough!" or "It goes way too far for a comedian!") and for his quasi-softball interview with Obama.

Harshaw links to a piece that Ryan Kearney wrote that I think sums up the situation nicely:

As the criticism of Stewart's rally proves, we are delusional: Writers often aren't very thoughtful at all. We're just bitter. We loved Stewart because he voiced that bitterness we felt — about politics, about television, and even about our own careers. Now that his narrative has diverged from our own, we fear he'll become just another media figure — or worse, a politician — about whom we're forced to write articles. Some of us, consequently, reject Stewart in the way we might reject a boyfriend or girlfriend who has left us for something bigger: He or she is already gone, but somehow we convince ourselves that the decision to leave the relationship was ours to make.

For some reason, I'm reminded of the words of Homer Simpson, who once intoned, "I can't live the button-down life like you. I want it all: the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles. Sure, I might offend a few of the bluenoses with my cocky stride and musky odors - oh, I'll never be the darling of the so-called 'City Fathers' who cluck their tongues, stroke their beards, and talk about 'What's to be done with this Homer Simpson?'"

In short: Get over yourselves, people. Stewart may be struggling to straddle his various roles as political commentator, comedian, show host, etc. But the man has achieved wild success and most importantly, he's proven he can make us laugh the overwhelmingly vast majority of the time in spite of horrifying developments in our political landscape. Any shortcomings in our public/political discourse are surely more the result of an ossified, complacent punditry and a journalistic establishment beholden to corporate interests and sensationalism, rather than a talented funnyman who's trying to take his comedy to new places (literally). Don't shoot the court jester, even if he tries to get serious every now and then.

The Horrors of Polio

0 comments
The Independent has an essay from Patrick Cockburn who was stricken with polio during the summer of 1956. In addition to being a sobering first-person account of what it was like to carry the debilitating disease, the essay also contains some insights into the nature of the polio outbreak, and why some areas were more prone to outbreak than others:

I have no memory of realising that I could no longer walk, still less that this might be permanent. The poliomyelitis virus, to give the disease its full name, attacks the nerves of the brain and spinal cord leading to paralysis of the muscles. Some shrivel and die. In other cases the nerves are only stunned and can be brought back to life by courses of physical exercise over a two-year period. After three weeks at St Finbarr’s I was sent to an orthopaedic hospital at Gurranebraher, on a hill overlooking Cork. It was a horrible place. Its single-storey isolation blocks had been built for TB patients and rapidly converted for use in the polio epidemic. I was lonely because Andrew had recovered and gone home, only his big toe affected by the disease. The nurses maintained a gruff, barrack- room discipline. One night I woke up and heard a nurse telling a small boy who had messed his bed that if he did it again he would have to eat his own excreta. Afterwards I had difficulty sleeping because I was frightened the same thing would happen to me.

High-Quality DVD Screener of The Social Network Leaks Onto the Internet

0 comments
Just three weeks after its release, a high-quality copy of "The Social Network" is already being torrented like it's going out of style. According to Torrentfreak, the rip comes from a studio source (as with all rips of this quality) and is being downloaded so quickly, it may become one of the most pirated films of the year.

Responding to Gawker's Christine O'Donnell Hit Piece

1 comments
Earlier today, Gawker published a piece, deceptively-titled "I Had a One-Night Stand with Christine O'Donnell," which was theoretically notable because of O'Donnell's notorious stances on abstinence education and masturbation. The piece, which was paid for by Gawker and published anonymously, details an anticlimactic evening in which O'Donnell attempted to seduce the author, but ended up getting turned down due to the author's antipathy towards female pubic hair:

Christine was a decent kisser, but as soon as soon as her clothes came off and she was naked in my bed, Christine informed me that she was a virgin. "You've got to be kidding," I said. She didn't explain at the time that she was a "born-again virgin." She made it seem like she'd never had sex in her life, which seemed pretty improbable for a woman her age. And she made it clear that she was planning on staying a virgin that night. But there were signs that she wasn't very experienced sexually. When her underwear came off, I immediately noticed that the waxing trend had completely passed her by. Obviously, that was a big turnoff, and I quickly lost interest. I said goodnight, rolled over, and went to sleep.

Sounds like a classy guy.

Shortly after this piece was published and started racking up what would become half a million page views, the internet exploded. What follows are a couple of pieces I thought to be good responses to this story.

Tracy Clark-Flory captures the general flavor of the internet's reaction:


Not only is this piece piggish, but it reveals nothing relevant about her politics or character. In fact, if anything it makes her an immensely more relatable and sympathetic character. As a Gawker commenter put it, "To me the only point of this mildly tacky, rather boring story is that Christine O'Donnell comes off as a human being, and even a likable one." Congrats, Gawker, you've accomplished quite a feat.

Alex Pareene has a pretty good explanation of why this piece is reprehensible from a journalistic standpoint over at his Tumblog:


The sad thing (in addition to the existence of people who think and act like Anonymous, which is itself a sad thing) is that a smart editor — or an editor who gave a shit about the integrity of the site in addition to the site’s mission to run stories that will get a lot of attention — could’ve handled this in a way that didn’t end up being both an endorsement of slut-shaming and a promise of salaciousness that the story doesn’t actually contain...But what kills me is you could’ve gotten the uniques cake without eating the justified near-universal condemnation too if you’d just been like “One Douchebag’s Sleepover With Christine O’Donnell” instead of presenting it in the earnest first-person like a “Modern Love” essay from The LateNightShots.com Magazine.

The Smoking Gun has outed the once-anonymous young man as Dustin Dominiak. Apparently the firestorm of media attention has made it difficult to be Mr. Dominiak, or any of his friends. Undoubtedly he will experience consequences in the dating department from here on out, and potentially in other areas of his life as well.

But by far the best response goes to Foster Kamer over at the Village Voice, for his brilliant parody of the Gawker piece:

What I will say, though, is that her pussy was mangled and that whore ended up blueballing me. Not that I was really "bout it bout it," because it looked like it was shipped to me straight from the Meekong Delta circa 1968, and hadn't aged well. But I was willing to take one for the bros and stick it. But then she was like, nah, son, you're dick's too good for this business, and also, it's about nine inches too big.

“Look, we have a tough situation here..."

0 comments
Last year, the battle between Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno for NBC Late Night supremacy captivated America. Bill Carter has written a forthcoming book about it, The War for Late Night, and has published a fascinating excerpt at Vanity Fair. My favorite bits are the ones with Jeff Zucker, who apparently retained his sense of dickishness and entitlement, despite having run NBC into the ground:

“Hello, Richard,” a voice said. Jeff Zucker often used the formal first name affectionately when he greeted someone. After inquiring how everyone was doing, he asked, “Well, have you seen tomorrow’s New York Times yet? Let me read you something.” He proceeded to share an update on the Conan situation, already available online, which included a reference to overt interest in Conan from the Fox network, expressed by an unnamed executive, as well as an assertion from a representative of Conan’s that the star had not accepted NBC’s plan and was not likely to anytime in the near future. “Let me explain something to you,” Zucker said. “I want a fucking answer from you. If you think you are going to play me in the press, you’ve got the wrong guy.”

"Access is everything in Washington, but it can be the death of political satire."

0 comments
Alessandra Stanley, on Jon Stewart's interview with President Obama last night:

Mr. Stewart seemed to feel that he needed to voice the concerns of liberals who are disappointed in Mr. Obama’s legislative record, one he described as “timid” instead of coming up with more offbeat questions of his own. And the president, who had earlier in the day answered questions from radio talk show hosts and liberal bloggers, easily parried Mr. Stewart’s complaints about the lack of real change in Washington. As is his wont, he gave long, reasoned answers about the economy, unemployment and populist frustration that Mr. Stewart couldn’t or wouldn’t interrupt. Sometimes, Mr. Stewart showed his own frustration by making fun of his inability to get a word in, interjecting in a high, squeaky whine, “It’s just been hard not to talk.”

As someone who's interviewed relatively famous people before, my sympathies lie with Stewart. His interview prep for last night was probably one of the most difficult he's ever done. Still, Stanley's points about the end result are probably on the mark.

Check out the interview here.

The Parents Television Council Struggles with Irrelevance, Extinction

0 comments
The NYTimes reports on the plight of the Parents Television Council, whose finances are a complete disaster and who can't seem to get anyone to get outraged about breasts and bad language anymore:


Escalating costs collided with declining donations, resulting in a 2008 loss of almost $1 million. In 2009, as the recession battered fund-raising efforts anew, council revenue totaled $2.9 million, a 26 percent drop from the previous year. To cut costs, the organization has reduced its staff by 38 percent over the last two years. The council’s elaborate reports — given provocative titles like “MTV Smut Peddlers” — have grown infrequent, severely hampering the organization’s lobbying and fund-raising efforts. In 2008, the council published four major reports; it published one in 2009 and has published none so far this year. (Mr. Winter said he planned to publish three reports in the next two months, including one centered on online video.)

Don't get me wrong: When I have kids, I'm going to protect them from all the adult content I can for as long as humanly possible. But I don't need some organization doing that for me, and I certainly don't need them exacerbating the already-stifling U.S. creative climate in the realm of TV or films. Enjoy your trip to oblivion, PTC!

Why I'm Moving All My Twitter Content to My Blog (And Why You Should Too)

4 comments
Those of you who have followed me on Twitter or on Facebook over the past few years know that I love sharing interesting things I find on the web. The overwhelmingly vast majority of my tweets feature links to stories that I find provocative, enlightening, and/or infuriating.

That being said, I've decided to move as much of this content as possible over here to my blog. My tweets will still continue, with snarky movie commentary, scintillating discussion with colleagues, photographs, and veiled references to my personal life, plus the occasional fast-and-dirty link. But I'm making as much of an effort as possible to move my linked content here. Why, you might ask?

  • Equity - Twitter is a media company now, selling advertising/promotions off the backs of millions of users who contribute to Twitter's content for free. This is completely Twitter's prerogative. But it is my prerogative to want to derive some value or equity from the time that I put into building my online presence. If I'm just posting everything I find on Twitter, Twitter is getting all the value.
  • Archival purposes - Twitter's search function is atrocious and there is no easy way to access tweets that are more than a few months old. Having a blog that contains all your linked content is great in that it gains you the ability to search through old things you've written/linked, not to mention you can search via good-old-fashioned pagination (a feature that Twitter got rid of ages ago).
  • Some things require more than 140 characters to comment on - This is self-explanatory, but in addition to allowing longer-form writing, a blog also forces me to think about the stuff I'm posting and possibly even express a cogent opinion about it.
  • Response -  Blogs allow people the ability to comment on stories, and potentially engage in dialogue with you. This is superior (slightly) to Twitter's @reply functionality for a variety of reasons, primarily because it preserves the timeline and allows for categorization.
  • I own it - Ultimately, it comes down to this: I own davechen.net and all the inbound traffic/links here. I'll probably never monetize it, but the point is that companies come and go, they change and make poor decisions. Twitter won't die anytime soon, but I don't want to just surrender all my content to a Silicon Valley startup and hope it ends up for the best.
My hope is that eventually, more people will come here (or come here more frequently) than check my Twitter account. I'll keep putting in the work if you guys keep reading. Thanks.

"The toilet paper roll is about to undergo its biggest change in 100 years: going tubeless."

0 comments
From USA Today:

On Monday, Kimberly-Clark, one of the world's biggest makers of household paper products, will begin testing Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper at Walmart and Sam's Club stores throughout the Northeast. If sales take off, it may introduce the line nationally and globally — and even consider adapting the technology into its paper towel brands.

For some reason, my mind drifts to an episode of Seinfeld:

George: We discussed toilet paper.
Jerry: Toilet paper?
George: Yeah, I told her how toilet paper hasn't changed in my lifetime, and
probably wouldn't change in the next fifty thousand years and she was
fascinated, fascinated!
Jerry: What are you talking about?
Elaine: Yeah.
Jerry: Toilet paper's changed.
Elaine: Yeah.
Jerry: It's softer.
Elaine: Softer.
Jerry: More sheets per roll
Elaine: Sheets.
Jerry: Comes in a wide variety of colors.
Elaine: Colors.
George: Ok, ok, fine! It's changed, it's not really the point. Anyway, I'm
thinking of making a big move.
Jerry: What?
George: I might tell her that I love her.

Technology Gives Boys and Girls More Ways to Harass Each Other

0 comments
The Cyberbullying Research Center has released a new report, surveying cyberbullying among children ages 11 to 18. Among the findings:

• 7% of youth admitted that they prevented their romantic partner from using a computer or cell phone.
• 6% of boys and 4% of girls say they posted something publicly online to make fun of, threaten, or embarrass their romantic partner.
• About 7% of youth said they sent a threatening cell phone message to their romantic partner.
• 5% of boys and 3% of girls said they uploaded or shared a humiliating of harassing picture of their romantic partner online or through their cell phone

Alarming, but consider this piece by danah boyd about cyberbullying, which has shaped my thinking around the topic:

When are we going to recognize that the main issue is bullying and, rather than focus on the rapidly shifting technology, focus on the bullying itself? Like it or not, the technology is going to keep magnifying bullying in new and unexpected ways. Focusing on the technology will not make the bullying actually go away, although the more we push it underground, the less visible it is to adults. (For example, private profiles have made a lot of previously visible bullying now invisible.)

Deconstructing the Gambler's Narrative

0 comments
Jay Caspian Kang has written my favorite read of the week, a deeply personal essay on his life as a gambling addict that happens to feature a deconstruction of the gambling narrative:

Unlike drug narratives, which fixate on withdrawal and destruction, gambling narratives tend to glamorize the upswing—the writer/gambler will always tell you about his biggest score, how quickly he blew the money, and how fast he was back at the tables, but he will rarely tell about the scraped-out bottom. Massive losses are almost always followed up by a massive rallying—a man’s last five dollars turned miraculously into the $10,000 dollars he needs to pay for his fiancĂ©e’s wedding ring. Indeed, the only truthful gambling narratives are told by the family members and friends who witnessed the fallout: the bank account receipts, the early morning arrivals, the hanging stench of re-circulated cigarette smoke. Whereas drug literature comes from those who have bottomed out, there exists no bottom in gambling because every new hand brings fresh hope and possibility. Is it any wonder why most narratives written by gamblers read like boyhood fantasies—every casino a palace, every bellhop a best friend, every dealer an alchemist? Gambling narratives are projections of casinos’ fantasies—the tracers of lights that flash inside a gambler’s head as he watches the ball spin around the roulette wheel. 

When Physics and Modern Life Intersect

0 comments

A brilliant, droll illustrated essay by Christoph Neimann.

Your Smartphone Brightness Controls Are Even Worse Than You Thought

0 comments
Anyone who owns an iPhone or an Android phone can tell you that the auto-brightness controls are worthless. Now there's scientific proof:

Automatic Brightness on existing smartphones is close to functionally useless because the manufacturers have not made the effort required to develop, evaluate and test the software and hardware so that they work properly and effectively. All of the models we tested also have serious operational errors and bugs indicating how little an effort has been made to make them work (or rather not work) properly. It's clear that most manufacturers are using ad hoc implementations instead of methodical science and engineering, which is shameful and shocking

The Fascinating Story of the Starbucks Cup

0 comments
Fast Company, on how Starbucks has tried to eliminate the biggest source of waste from their stores:

Starbucks's first problem was defining the term recyclable. "Early in the process, we all had a belief that there was going to be some silver-bullet material out there we could magically change our cups to, and it would be recyclable or compostable," says [Jim Hanna, the company's director of environmental impact]...Senge calls this the "happy cup" fallacy. "Everybody gets so excited holding a cup that says biodegradable or compostable," he says, "when the fact is, you're going to dump it in a trash can, and then it goes in a landfill sealed in an airtight bag. That cup will never break down." Hanna notes that for the FTC, which regulates environmental marketing claims, to consider a material worthy of being branded with those famous triple chasing arrows, the majority of the public has to actually have access to recycling facilities. "Once we started understanding the full system, we realized that what our cups are made of is the least important factor."

FOX: Won't Give An Interview To Us? We Will F*CK Your Movie Over

1 comments
News Corp. is pooling its considerable resources together to screw over any film whose stars won't give interviews to its outlets. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

'Before we were quite disjointed as a company … but we are really getting together now to say 'OK, if you don't want the help of the Fox network then let's see how your film goes'. We are really starting to push back,'' Devlin said...What it will mean for the rest of the Hollywood studios - Sony, Paramount, MGM and Disney - remains unclear as they face the prospect of being denied any air time on Sky, Fox News and Foxtel or coverage in The New York Post, The Times and The Sun in Britain or Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

The wonders of media consolidation at work.

Colleges Switching to E-Textbooks to Save Students Money

4 comments
A report from the Chronicle of Higher Education, about pilot programs that will reduce the cost of college courses by using e-textbooks instead of regular books:

The real champions of the change are the college officials signing the deals. They say they felt compelled to act after seeing students drop out because they could not afford textbooks, whose average prices rose 186 percent between 1986 and 2005, and continue to shoot up each year far faster than inflation. "When students pay more for new textbooks than tuition in a year, then something's wrong," says Rand S. Spiwak, executive vice president at Daytona State, who is leading the experiment there. "Our game plan is to bring the cost of textbooks down by 75 to 80 percent."

The idea is that instead of forcing students to obtain the books individually, each student would be charged a flat fee that's dramatically lower than what they would otherwise pay. Of course, using e-textbooks introduces a whole new set of problems. As the article points out, many professors make their own books part of their courses. What are the ethics of a professor essentially having the ability to force people to buy her book? Furthermore, there are numerous advantages that physical books posses over e-books, advantages that are amplified in the textbook realm.

Still, any initiative that tries to allow more people to get a college education is one I can get behind. I wish them the best of luck, and I'm sure the industry will be monitoring them closely.

[Also, kudos to the Chronicle on the ridiculously hyperbolic title, not that I've never done something similar before.]

The Magic of Back to the Future

0 comments
Katey Rich has written up a brief, loving tribute to Back to the Future:


Back to the Future is the oldest kind of movie magic, a story both wild and innately familiar that's so confident it captivates the audience as a whole; it is that rare experience of sitting in a room full of hundreds of people, all feeling and thinking the same thing in unison. Seeing Back to the Future in a theater is proof that a great movie is both intensely personal-- the way I felt so desperate to time travel as a child--but universally appealing as well. Take anyone and everyone you know to see it, like I did, and get that unique thrill of discovering something you already thought you knew perfectly.

I saw the film tonight at AMC, which only screened it twice in celebration of the film's 25th anniversary. My favorite moment by far was towards the end of the film, when Doc flipped down those opaque sunglasses and says, "Roads? Where we're going we don't need....roads." The audience knew those lines by heart, recited them aloud, along with Christopher Lloyd, then spontaneously started applauding at the shared experience. What an awesome film.

[Also: Gawker has a nice list of 14 things from Back to the Future II that Actually Came True]

Addicted to Food

0 comments
Over at Salon, Jennifer Joyner has written a heartbreaking account of what it's like to be morbidly obese. It includes this tidbit on the difficulties of the physical act of love:

As if this weren’t enough, I now have to have sex with my husband. Michael is not the problem here; he loves me unconditionally and has stood by me for 16 years of marriage, even after I gained 100 pounds before our first-year anniversary. He actually, unbelievably, wants me. This I cannot possibly understand. He hugs me so fiercely, so lovingly, and I am repulsed for him. He is 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds. How can he stand to touch me? He kisses me with passion, and I try to lose myself in the moment, focusing on my love for him and the memory of our once insatiable sex life. But these days, our lovemaking is physically limited to one single position. You wouldn’t believe how we must contort our bodies to make sex work; suffice it to say the measures we take greatly interfere with achieving true intimacy. Once the act commences, there is no passionate kissing, no stroking of your lover’s face. Our being together becomes a perfunctory means to a physical end. The finale leaves me devastated.

No joke: I think that description left me devastated.

The Ultimate Youtube Playlist

0 comments
Youtube and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation have collaborated to create "the ultimate Youtube playlist," a series of videos selected by an 11-person panel of extremely talented and respected individuals. Unifying factors of this list, in my opinion: uniqueness, technical virtuosity, and occasionally, brilliance. Here's a sample:



Find the whole list here.

South Park Creators Copy Collegehumor Video

0 comments
Great analysis by /Film's Adam Quigley on the recent Inception-inspired episode of South Park:

Regardless of what your stance is on the matter, nothing changes the fact that the South Park creators watched an internet comedy sketch that already made the same joke they were planning to, had no reservations about continuing forth with the joke anyway, and then worst of all, copied lines from said video without a second thought. Simple error in judgment or not, this is clear evidence of the show’s fading creative energy and inspiration.

This article is great if for no other reason than it introduced me to this video:

Children's Books With Explicit Sex and Violence Help Lower Uganda's HIV Rate

0 comments
Rape, threesomes, and brutal violence, children's books in Uganda have it all and more. According to the BBC:

The book How Kwezi Got Into Trouble has a picture on the cover of a girl sobbing into a tissue at a school desk. So when I saw it, I thought Kwezi might have got into trouble for handing her homework in late, or perhaps she had been copying somebody else's exam paper. Then I looked at the text on the back cover and got quite a shock. It read: "At her mother's funeral, Kwezi is raped by her late father's best friend."Kwezi has no-one to tell but her mother lying in the grave. Though she gets Aids, Kwezi is determined to let other pupils know how dangerous Aids is." It is a surprising storyline for a book aimed at eight-to-10-year-olds.

According to Ugandan President Museveni, "When a lion enters your village, you must raise the alarm loudly." In the past few years, the HIV rate in Uganda has dropped from 20% to 6.7%.

Will the Mac App Store Be a Wasteland?

0 comments
At a recent event, Apple announced the Mac App store, taking their white-hot concept of "App Store" to the Personal Computer. Gizmodo penned a rather alarmist interpretation of this announcement, but Ryan Block from GDGT asks a better question: Will the Mac App Store have enough to sell?

[E]ven if the desktop software business is ripe for disruption or revival (and I'm not sure that it is), the space is nothing like mobile apps prior to 2008, where distribution was the primary problem. The real issue with the desktop software market is that (unless you're talking about productivity software) there just isn't all that much consumers need to buy anymore. The boxed software business didn't die because of app stores, it died because of an overabundance of great programs that are free, open, or otherwise subsidized that are available through other web or internet services. To put it another way: lately, how often have your parents bought software for their computer (that wasn't Microsoft Office)?

"With the crap you guys have put on over the last 10 years..."

0 comments
I've watched virtually every episode of The Daily Show for the past 7 years or so, but whenever host Jon Stewart releases a book (once every few years for the last few years), we've gotten the unique opportunity to see him go on press tours and talk frankly, not in character and without the faux-formality of his trademark Canali suit. Recently, he went on Larry King Live to share his thoughts on a variety of topics, including the firing of Rick Sanchez:

Should they have fired him? No. With the crap you guys have put on over the past 10 years? What, are you kidding me? Fire somebody if you don't think they're doing a good job as a news person. This whole idea...you know they fired a woman for tweeting something on her blog. They fired Sanchez for saying what he said. I think it's absolute insanity.

Watch a few minutes from the interview below and read the transcript: