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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    Tom and Jerry cartoons on Amazon Prime Instant Video now have a new disclaimer about racism.

    The BBC first noticed the disclaimer on the classic cartoons, some created more than 70 years ago, on the menu for Tom and Jerry: The Complete Second Volume. Instead of omitting episodes that contained content of a racist nature, Warner Bros. put in the disclaimer instead, for censoring would be a revisionist maneuver.

    Tom & Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming that these prejudices never existed.

    A similar warning has appeared on DVD boxes before. In recent years, Tom and Jerrycame under fire for depicting blackface and for its portrayal of Mammy Two Shoes, the maid, in the cartoon. In a previous DVD boxed set, Whoopi Goldberg introduced the show by explaining why the potentially offensive material was left in.

    Tom and Jerry isn’t the only beloved cartoon with offensive and racist material. Looney Tunes’s Speedy Gonzales was seen as portraying negative and offensive Mexican stereotypes and was taken off the air for several years before fans successfully campaigned to get Speedy back on the air. Those cartoons are now packaged with a similar warning.

    H/T Huffington Post | Photo via beniamin cotan/YouTube


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    There’s maybe only 30 seconds of new footage—at most—in the first teaser trailer for Inside Out, but we already want more.

    It’s the latest film from Pixar (the first one in over a year, by the time it comes out), and it’s taking us to a place where we’ve never been: inside our own heads. Emotions are front and center as Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear help navigate a young girl after she and her family move from the Midwest to San Francisco.

    The whole trailer is designed to tug at our collective heartstrings. With little new footage available and a quick glimpse into the vocal talents of Amy Poehler and the rest of the cast, it relies heavily on older Pixar films, demonstrating how those characters both have and display those emotions.

    And of course it goes for the emotional jugular. What else would you expect from the studio that made the first 10 minutes of Up?

    Photo via Disney•Pixar/YouTube


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    One Aussie father is taking parenting lectures to a place where his teens might listen—YouTube.

    Last month Will Reid schooled his teenagers on their poor toilet-paper-replacing habits in a video viewed more than 4 million times on the site. Now he’s turned the Teenager Instructional Video idea into a series with a new installment, this time focused on another loathed teeange chore, loading the dishwasher.

    In the new video, Reid shows off debris he collected from various rooms in the house, and walks the teens through a step-by-step guide to how to separate garbage from dishware, how to rinse off the plates, and how to properly load the machine. He then goes into the “advanced level” of dishwasher operation.

    “The advanced level, as ever, would be to put a dishwasher tab in here,” Reid deadpans, showing off the machine. “And these buttons here at the top are much like the buttons on your Xbox or PlayStation that make it work, or effectively boot it up. So give that a try.”

    It’s pretty brilliant move. YouTube is the digital home of choice for many teenagers, and while they’re finding out how to do things like apply makeup and dress for the first day of school, why not take what would be a boring parental lecture and turn it into extra YouTube time? It’s a win for parents and teens alike.

    Photo by David Locke/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    When YouTube’s ad revenue system handed them lemons, one sketch comedy troupe decided to make digital lemonade to support their growing channel.

    The Tin Can Brothers, a sketch comedy trio made up of Joey Richter, Brian Rosenthal, and Corey Lubowich, got their start as part of YouTube sensation Team StarKid, with Richter and Rosenthal on stage and Lubowich working behind the scenes. They’ve turned their talents to YouTube sketch comedy in recent months, producing weekly videos that joke about what it’s like to have a rich best friend and the joy of realizing your favorite TV show is back for a new season.

    But creating consistently funny videos doesn't come cheap, and so as the summer came to a close, they decided to take an iconic summertime act and give it a little digital reinvention with the help of Kickstarter. And lo, the digital lemonade stand was born.

    “Selling lemonade is a classic way that children make money during the summer months,” Richter explained. “And since it’s no longer summer and we are definitely not children, we thought it would be the perfect fundraiser. But then we realized three grown men standing on a street selling cold beverages might rub people the wrong way. So we decided to take the online market and leave the neighborhood corners for the kids."

    The group set their goal at $25, a respectable amount for a street corner stand, but they have easily surpassed it, bringing to mind other small-goal projects like the infamous potato salad Kickstarter from earlier this year. While that had a variety of levels of potato-backing, the Tin Can Brothers are more focused, offering limited rewards that won’t stretch their earnings like other Kickstarters might. For a $10 pledge, backers get a packet of Tin Can Brothers lemonade and a personal pop-up stand with paper doll cut outs of each troupe member. For $25, you also get a T-shirt, but that’s as fancy as these rewards get. With a targeted approach, they’ve raised over $3,580 so far, which Lubowich says they’ll spend on producing future videos as well as mounting their first-ever West Coast live show this fall.

    “In YouTube’s ad-supported ecosystem, it’s hard to generate substantial revenue directly from narrative content without millions and millions of views,” he said. “This Kickstarter is going to help us pay actors, buy props, rent a theater, and a whole slew of other costs which we otherwise wouldn’t have the means to cover.”

    While they’re happy with their earning so far, Rosenthal joked that they’re “still unrealistically holding onto the dream of making $1 million.”

    “A lot of the contributions have been made by current TCB fans, but we think there are a few hardcore lovers of lemonade out there who have yet to contribute,” he said.

    You heard it here first: Lemonade lovers, unite!

    Photo courtesy of the Tin Can Brothers


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    Overdubbing the audio track to a popular video has gone from frat house fun to a new art form, with styles ranging from pure grossout to comedic genius.

    With Bad Lip Reading reigning supreme in this genre, we find Jaboody Dubs somewhat closer to the hilariously juvenile part of the scale with this over-the-top riff on Food Network’s Guy Fieri. With his goofy signature phrases such as “welcome to Flavortown,” faux surfer spiky hairdo, and wannabe Vanilla Ice bling, Fieri is a sitting duck and favorite target for mockery across multiple media.

    The Jaboody crew pulls out all the stops with a nothing-is-sacred sendup of Fieri's signature show. The menu includes bathroom humor (quite a bit, actually), disgustingly funny sound effects, unabashed swearing, and lots and lots of insults. Truth be told, though, the food (especially the cannoli) still looks pretty good.

    This is far from the first time Fieri's been the subject of social media mockery. In 2013, TMZ got its hands on a clip in which Fieri had a knock-down, drag-out fight with his hairdresser in a car. In 2012, crowdsourced reviews, as well as a dagger to the heart from The New York Times, threw Guy’s Times Square restaurant under the culinary bus. 

    Knock him all you want. Fieri has gone from winning the second season of Next Food Network Star to being the host of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives—one of the most popular food shows on television—to game show host. And considering he's worth $16 million, Guy’s the one laughing all the way to the bank.

    Screengrab via Jaboody Dubs/YouTube


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    For decades now, animated series have been challenging every basic assumption about the format: That it’s juvenile, that it’s simplistic, that it lives or dies on a flurry of punchlines.

    BoJack Horseman, a Netflix original series, subverts all those notions with the sort of dark wit and emotional force that make for cult classic status. Fans can’t stop talking about the series, though their chatter is often punctuated with comments like “I can’t believe nobody is talking about this.” A vast majority of the user reviews follow the same line of thinking: that the first few episodes fail to impress—it’s typical crudeness on top of a threadbare plotline about trying to make a comeback in Hollywood—but the characters eventually reveal surprising depths.

    In fact, BoJack may have more in common with live-action dramatic comedies about self-destruction than Family Guy or the gonzo Adult Swim stable. The goofy but watchable Californication comes to mind, as does Enlightened, a bracingly original show so packed with Real Talk™ that HBO had no choice but to kill it. As with protagonists Hank Moody and Amy Jellicoe, Will Arnett’s BoJack Horseman is washed up, self-involved, and only sort of trying to claw his way back to the top, taking detours guided by his worst instincts. Most of all, he wants to impress the woman ghostwriting his memoir (Diane Nguyen, voiced by Alison Brie).

    That yearning for approval sets up some of BoJack’s bleakest scenes. At one point BoJack begs Diane, in front of a literary panel, to tell him that he’s a good person. Rather than cut him down, she simply remains silent. A late-season episode concludes with BoJack telling her, “I just really wanted you to like me.” Her devastating reply: “I know.” We get flashbacks to BoJack’s childhood and cruel upbringing that are played for laughs but nonetheless expose the origins of his failings as an adult. A medium built on two dimensions opens into the third.

    BoJack’s forerunners weren’t without pathos, of course. In its heyday, The Simpsons could tug at your heartstrings with storylines about Homer losing and regaining Lisa’s respect, or Marge’s disappointment over Bart’s criminal disposition. Futurama, Matt Groening’s next series, has more than its fair share of tearjerker codas, including a dog-centric one so profoundly upsetting that it’s become Internet shorthand for a weepy breakdown. (Seriously, I’m tearing up even thinking about it.)   

    Still, these sitcoms provide the “everything’s back to normal” resolutions we tend to expect. More chronological cartoons, like Archer and The Venture Brothers, dip gleefully into the wells of death, violence, and horror—but they’re so sleek and cynical that neither quite hits you in the feels, as they say. The sense of ennui on BoJack has something different about it, as if we’ve broken through one of the last barriers between cartoons and the people who would never normally watch them. Though it’s populated by anthropomorphic animals and peppered with cutaway gags, it feels realistic. BoJack’s flaws are recognizably our own, writ large. It’s a battle between explosive ego and the dearth of all self-esteem.

    Because it’s a cartoon, BoJack can also directly illustrate the bipolar psyche of its main character, both the deluded highs and harrowing lows. One memorable episode dedicates a full 10 minutes of its running time to a hallucinogenic trip that’s by turns absurd, alluring, downright terrifying, and heartbreakingly poignant: a companion piece to the chase through an actor’s subconscious depicted in Being John Malkovich. Juxtapose that virtuosic run with the season’s final moment, in which BoJack, alone at a Los Angeles landmark that happens to memorialize a ruined friendship, emits a surprised “Huh” when a fan calls him his hero—slow zoom out, barely any motion—and you get a sense of the series’ dazzling range.

    With that finale, we can no longer entertain any doubt that BoJack is, at heart, an animated tragedy. The only other one that comes to mind (and it probably shouldn’t count) is Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly. Yet the madness and fallout of drug addiction is but one ingredient in this poison cocktail; far more pressing is the inability to distinguish what’s truly important in life, or overcome jealousy, or repay the trust and affection bestowed upon you. 

    BoJack, as the series makes perfectly clear, lives a life of privileged luxury, with copious money from his time in the limelight, though it seems to mean nothing without the fame. Then, on the verge of becoming an A-lister once more, he recognizes the hollowness of that dream, too. In America, we always wonder why celebrities—whether teenaged or over the hill—are capable of their unique insanity. What BoJack makes plain in a way that no other TV show ever has is that this is the end result of mistaking an audience's adoration for real love.  

    Photo via Netflix


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    Who among us hasn’t crawled into bed on a cold, lonely night and soothed ourselves to sleep by cuddling up with a pillow and pretending it was our celebrity crush? For those of you who were imagining that pillow to be Japanese recording artists Gackt, things just got a lot easier.

    The 41-year-old musician, who is part of the flamboyant visual kei rock scene in Japan, treated fans to a little something extra with the release of his most recent single “Akatsukitzukuyo (Day Breakers).” Fans devoted and rich enough could purchase a premium edition of the track that came with the next best thing to having the singer in your bed, a body pillow (or dakimakura) of the singer you can strip.Thanks to a zipper feature, you can literally declothe the singer in your sleep. 

    Sadly for fans that were looking to get to third base with the singer, only the jacket is removable. But we're guessing that Gackt's sagging jeans will send many fans to sleep with sweet dreams. The real question now is, when is this techonology coming to America? I'm sure plenty of women will contribute to a Kickstarter campaign to produce a similar Ryan Gosling body pillow. 

    H/T Rocketnews | Photo via quinnanya/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    The Times Square mascots might’ve gotten a taste of their own medicine when Triumph the Insult Comic Dog came to play.

    The heroes and characters in costume have had allegations of harassment lately, so the Conan correspondent went out to investigate and to really teach them how to make even more money. And even he gets in on the fun after going from a cigar-smoking puppet to a cigar-smoking mascot.

    You thought he had a dirty mind before. Just wait until he’s life-size.

    Photo via Team Coco/YouTube


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    A report from the BBC revealed that the Los Angeles Police Department investigated Sam Pepper on “suspicion of a sexual offense.” The news came out as another woman in Los Angeles filed a police report Thursday alleging that Pepper raped her last month.

    The 19-year-old victim told BuzzFeed that she met Pepper at the restaurant where she worked on July 17 and he invited her over to his house. He started groping her, and despite her protests that she didn’t want to have sex with him, he raped her. She posted screenshots of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center a day later and posted records which showed that a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) exam had been conducted a day later.

    She spoke with a detective, who then filed the formal complaint with the LAPD without her knowledge. Police confirmed to Newsbeat that while they questioned Pepper, he was never arrested. The district attorney’s office never filed charges against him because the victim “was not willing to testify.”

    At the time, her father told her not to press charges because it might hurt her career, but after Pepper’s prank video of him grabbing girls’ butts went viral, she made 15-minute video and told viewers what happened.

    Many of Pepper’s alleged victims have now come forward to say that it was her video that inspired them to speak up about Pepper.

    The 18-year-old woman who filed the police report against Pepper told BuzzFeed that she first met Pepper at a party on Sept. 5. She said he was a friend of a friend. She eventually left the party with Pepper and two of his friends and went to a café. After dropping his friends off, he took her to his house to watch some prank videos.

    After she rejected some of his sexual advances, she said, he raped her.

    She said that she tried leaving afterwards, but Pepper made her stay and she feared that Pepper would hurt her. She eventually left early in the morning, which is supported by an Uber receipt she provided.

    Pepper allegedly threatened legal action against the woman if she filed a legal report or spoke to the press, and someone who claimed to be Pepper’s attorney threatened BuzzFeed with legal action if that story was published.

    It’s not the first allegation against Pepper, who’s been accused by multiple women of taking advantage of them or engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct (some included non-consensual sex) in the past couple weeks. Dottie Martin went public with her story last week, but other stories have followed, many of them anonymous. This, along with the massive backlash and getting banned from multiple conventions following a prank video in which he grabbed girls’ butts in the name of a “social experiment,” may have led to Collective Digital Studio, his multichannel network, dropping him.

    He’s also been dropped as a YouTube partner.

    Laci Green, who helmed the effort in getting Pepper’s video banned and has spoken to many of Pepper’s victims (some who haven’t come forward yet), has updated fans indicating that more charges against Pepper may follow. She spoke to Channel 4 News about the recent allegations and noted the importance of parents speaking to their kids about sex education and what’s appropriate when it comes to meeting creators.

    Pepper has largely remained silent on social media since the rape allegations came to light, but a cryptic tweet posted Thursday had negative implications.

    H/T Newsbeat, BuzzFeed | Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)


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    While a spate of accusations of sexual abuse and emotional manipulation by prominent male YouTube stars came to light in 2014, the toxic environment between some YouTube celebrities and their fans and fellow creators has deeper roots.

    Some such controversies have been generated from on-YouTube conduct, such as inflammatory statements made in videos or comments supporting abuse; some have surfaced completely independently as victims began speaking out on Tumblr about their offline interactions with YouTube stars; and still others were uncovered by users searching for proof of sexual misconduct after watching offensive videos. While the community continuestoreact to these issues and call for change, the Daily Dot has compiled an outline of some of the major sexual abuse allegations that have rocked the YouTube community since 2012. 

    Onision: January 2012

    Gregory J, also known as Onision, runs a set of YouTube channels pegged as comedy that have often devolved into smear campaignsagainsthis exes. After many such videos, one caught the attention of the wider YouTube community in January 2012. In a video about a particular ex, Onision stated that since she had slept with more than 20 people before him, she was a “slut” who cannot be raped. Viewers reacted with vlogs labeling him a rape apologist and slut-shamer and calling for YouTube to revoke his partnership rights. Onision did post videos trying to clarify his statement, but they did little to quell community anger.

    The outcry had him banned from VidCon, but more than two years later, Onision is still making videos for his 1.3 million subscribers on multiple channels, including a recent video discussing blackface on YouTube.

    Mike Lombardo: July 2012

    Formerly signed to DFTBA Records, Mike Lombardo is a musician with more than 200,000 subscribers on YouTube. He was arrested in July 2012, after a prolonged federal investigation resulted in charges of encouraging minors to send him explicit photos and videos of themselves masturbating. According to popular vlogger Savannah Brown, who later wrote a Tumblr post and made a video about it, the FBI found “thousands upon thousands of inappropriate pictures and videos of minors” on his phone and computer, and "they were working on getting as many counts against him as they could before they could arrest him."

    It marked perhaps the first time that Vlogbrothers and DFTBA founders John and Hank Greenspoke out against a creator who sexuallyabused fans; they removed his music from DFTBA Records, and thanked the their fans, the Nerdfighter community, for having thoughtful discussions on the matter.

    Lombardo eventually pled guilty to receiving child pornography and was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of five years in prison earlier this year. Once he’s released, he’ll have to register as a convicted sex offender and serve five years' probation.

    Ed Blann (Eddplant): August 2013

    Ed Blann, better known as Eddplant among the YouTube community, had plenty of fans among Nerdfighters and even was part of the “Time Lord Rock” band Chameleon Circuit with Tom Milsom and Alex Day.

    Last August, Hannah Thompson wrote a cryptic post warning her followers not to idolize people and accused Blann of sexual and emotional abuse. Blann later admitted to infidelity and pressuring her to do things even after she told him to stop in a now-deleted blog post, and Thompson received support from Blann’s ex-girlfriend and much of the community. Blann got kicked out of Chameleon Circuit, and his solo music was removed from DFTBA Records.

    Blann disappeared from social media almost entirely until releasing his first video in almost a year back in June. It’s a song called “Inhuman Nature,” in which he sings about flaws and regret, but many of his former fans feel that he shouldn’t be allowed back in the community or to make money off his past abuse of victims.

    He’s since made a second video, with Day supporting his former bandmate and defending their right to make videos on YouTube.

    Josh Macedo: September 2013

    Josh Macedo was a minor Tumblr celebrity from Canada known for being a feminist, and his insightful writing inspired his own fandom even before he caught the attention of the Welcome to Night Valefandom last July. But after he'd gained further fame on the platform, a number of people started coming out with allegations of Macedo sending unsolicited nude photos, including one to a 15-year-old girl.

    Back in February, Tumblr user sweet-bitsy alleged that Macedo sent her photos of himself masturbating even after she revealed her age. Other Tumblr users came out with similar, vague allegations—since deleted—of Macedo being sexual toward these girls no matter how uncomfortable they appeared, and someone who claimed to be a former girlfriend of Macedo’s wrote that he pressured her into the relationship and listed many things he did that made her uncomfortable. She claimed to have later found photos of naked and semi-naked girls from Tumblr on his computer that he previously solicited from girls.

    Many fans turned against Macedo, and he’s since deleted his Tumblr.

    Kelly Montoya: January 2014

    Kelly Montoya was another YouTube musician and Tumblr-famous personality who gained a small but loyal following online with their (Montoya's preferred pronoun) covers and original songs. In early 2014, Jackie Farrell wrote a Tumblr post labeling Montoya as “a rapist and sexual abuser” after talking to many of Montoya’s former romantic and sexual partners. These partners spoke of being made or pressured to do things that they weren’t comfortable doing, and whenever these former partners tried to stand up for themselves, Montoya reportedly threatened self-harm or suicide. One of Montoya's former partners later explained her side of the story in greater detail.

    Some of Montoya’s fans spoke out against them, but they also had their supporters. Tom Milsom wrote a now-deleted post standing up for Montoya, in which he said the Tumblr posts going around set a “reeeally bad precedent for people just slinging the word rape around in situations where it really isn’t appropriate” and noted that the situation “needs to be reigned [sic] in before other kids start to think this sort of thing’s an acceptable use of public shaming.”

    In a video that’s since been deleted, Montoya admitted that “I can now see the things I did would be called emotional abuse” and blamed everything on mental illness. They deleted their Tumblr and haven’t uploaded a YouTube video in eight months; while their Bandcamp page is still up, nothing has been updated there either. A Tumblr post from May showed Montoya performing at a show.

    Tom Milsom: March 2014

    Like Lombardo and Blann, Milsom was a solo musician with Hank Green’s popular DFTBA label, which features many of YouTube’s most prominent musicians. Then, in March of this year, a young woman named Olga made a Tumblr post (now deleted) alleging that Milsom had sexually coerced her and abused her when she was 15 and he was 22. Green himself confirmed her allegations, noting that Olga had been a fangirl who was invited into life behind the scenes of YouTube celebrity culture, and that he was “horrified and extremely disappointed in myself that I was not able to realize that this was happening and put a stop to it … maybe even before it started.” Just as with Lombardo and Blann, Milsom was swiftly dropped from the DFTBA Record label and uninvited from VidCon. He subsequently abandoned his primary social media accounts. 

    While the previous allegations directed at other YouTube artists seemed like isolated incidents, the revelations about Milsom sparked a wave of exploration and speculation into the relationships of other artists in the music industry. Perhaps this was because the substantiation of the accusations against him came directly from Hank Green, or perhaps it was because of the social circles in which Milsom ran, which included his Chameleon Circuit bandmates, previously outed abuser Blann and the uber-popular Alex Day. The abuse claims created a ripple effect, prompting more and more fans to come forward to describe their experiences with other YouTube celebrities.

    Alex Day and Danny Hooper: March 2014

    British vlogger Alex Day created his YouTube channel, nerimon, in 2007 at the age of 18. A year later, he founded Chameleon Circuit, a Doctor Who–centric band that gave rise to the term “Time Lord Rock.”

    But shortly after two of his fellow Chameleon Circuit bandmates, Blann and Milsom, came under fire for sexual assault, two Tumblr users made separate allegations against Day and his cousin, fellow musician Danny Hooper. The girls, who were 17 and 15 at the time, had both attended a sleepover where Day and Hooper were present, and each corroborated the other’s claims of inappropriate conduct and spoke of feeling emotionally manipulated and sexually coerced by the men.

    Their claims opened the floodgates for fans with troubling stories to share about Day’s behavior: To date, no fewer than 14 people, including Day’s former girlfriend, have come forward to allege Day behaved inappropriately and in some cases allegedly committed sexual assault. (Not all of these allegations have been substantiated, and some are anonymous.) At least one person has come forward to allege that Hooper was inappropriately sexual with her as well.

    Day’s albums and other media were promptly pulled from the DFTBA website, and a forthcoming release for what would have been Day’s first book was canceled. On his Tumblr, Day issued a now-deleted confession in which he acknowledged that he had engaged in unknowingly inappropriate behavior. “I created situations that put people under enormous pressure,” he wrote. “I’m deeply, deeply ashamed of this.” 

    After a few months' hiatus, Hooper reactivated his Twitter. Meanwhile, while Day has yet to make any new videos, in August he left multiple comments on the video that marked Blann’s controversial return to performance, defending Blann’s right to make videos and stating that fans should “ignore” the allegations made against Blann. He followed this up with multiple comments on Reddit in which he denied everything. “I wrote a thing saying I've never done anything with anyone without being 100% sure the other person then wanted it. And then a million other people chimed in and refused to accept that,” he wrote.

    Alex Carpenter: March 2014

    It’s a testament to how tightly interwoven the communities of the Harry Potter fandom, Wizard Rock, Nerdfighters, and YouTube vlogger culture are that the allegations against Carpenter originated with someone with close ties to the Green brothers, the two men who link all these different social spheres together. 

    Rosianna Halse Rojas is better known to fans as John Green’s personal assistant. But in a post on her personal blog in March, Rojas described the painful and harrowing experience of spending years being manipulated, coerced, led on, pressured, and lied to by the elder Carpenter—beginning when she was 16 and Carpenter was 25. “At this point it’s hard to express how manipulative he is,” she wrote. The same day, YouTuber sarasnitch shared a story of years spent experiencing similar behavior from Carpenter, and within days numerousothercommunitymembers echoed them, including musician Sunny Williams.

    Like most of the others who had faced accusations before him, Carpenter had his media pulled from DFTBA Records, and he left social media.

    Sam Pepper: September 2014

    Former Big Brother houseguest and YouTube prankster, Sam Pepper faced controversy when he posted a prank video that showed him pinching the behinds of unsuspecting women. YouTubers and fans banded together to call for an apology, to which Pepper responded by claiming his video was part of a series meant to bring attention to domestic abuse, in particular female-on-male abuse. In the wake of this controversy, several young women began accusing him of sexual misconduct ranging from YouTuber Dottie Martin claiming Pepper tried force inappropriate contact during a date to an anonymous woman who claimed Pepper had nonconsensual sex with her during an encounter. YouTuber Laci Green, who organized an open letter against Pepper and spoke out about women coming to her with stories of abuse by Pepper, says she received threatening emails from the YouTuber as well. Pepper was dropped from his multichannel network Collective Digital Studio in the wake of the allegations.

    A new report by BBC Newsbeat revealed that Pepper was questioned by the Los Angeles Police Department back in July after a detective filed a formal complaint on behalf of a 19-year-old who said that Pepper raped her, but Pepper was never arrested and charges were never filed because she "was not willing to testify." Another woman, who says Pepper raped her last month, filed a police report with the LAPD on Thursday.

    Jason Viohni: September 2014

    Jason Viohni works as a Warped Tour pit reporter, covering the annual musical festival and engaging with his more than 400,000 YouTube subscribers on the VeeOneEye channel. On Sept. 27, YouTuber Ania Magliano-Wright alleged in a video that Viohni got her drunk and slept with her when they met up in London when she was 15.

    After Magliano-Wright encouraged others who’ve had encounters with Viohni to come forward, reportsbeganpouringin. Viohni addressed the allegations in a video in which he does not deny his actions, but blames his Mormon upbringing and alcohol dependency on his behavior.

    •••

    While YouTube is far from the only community embroiled in sexual abuse scandals at any given moment, it's a platform that values its ability to blur the lines between fans and creators; unlike traditional Hollywood celebrities, YouTube stars have become idols to many for simply being themselves, and fans demonstrably appreciate that sincerity and approachability. But when that trust is shattered, as it was in each of these cases, it reignites an age-old debate about celebrity culture: Is it the stars' responsibility to draw boundaries around themselves and their work, is it up to fans to stop idolizing everyday people, or is it the duty of YouTube networks and labels to educate both groups about how to be safe and respectful?

    Ultimately, none of the above might be entirely realistic. But as long as the current crop of YouTube and Vine fans continues to skew ever younger, it's up to all of us to remain vigilant and informed.

    Illustration by Jason Reed


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    These days, releasing your album via traditional promotional means is so boring. You’ve got to embrace the surprise reveal, as Thom Yorke and Beyoncé showed can be done successfully (U2, not so much). Now Everclear’s jumping on the bandwagon.

    Everclear, the ‘90s band that enjoyed a few hits that have stayed alive in various karaoke rooms around the country, is making a comeback in the coolest way possible: by dropping a new album via newly unveiled operating system Windows 10. And the reveal is everything you thought it would be. 

    Yes, it’s a Funny or Die spoof, but it’s also completely feasible that this could be real. It’s nice to see the blue screen of death again.

    Screengrab via Funny or Die 

     


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    The Daily Show is no stranger to the subject of catcalling, but now it’s going one step further: trying to solve it.

    While many women still have to insist to men that catcalling is in fact a thing and not just free compliments, correspondent Jessica Williams goes out and shows what it’s like to walk to work in her shoes. For the people who've experienced it, it’s not surprising at all.

    She and the many women featured who’ve experienced street harassment on an everyday basis no matter where they are in the city—they crowdsourced their data and found that no place was safe—or what they’re wearing (not that it matters) try to come up with some solutions. Wearing your best bitch face is highly encouraged, among other things.

    Some of them are completely ridiculous, but so is the notion of having to take an extra 55 minutes to get to work to avoid getting catcalled.

    H/T Jezebel | Screengrab via The Daily Show


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    Seventeen-year-old rapper A-F-R-O (real name Jamal Gutierrez) was recently involved in a car crash that left him with eight broken ribs, but you can’t tell by watching him flow.

    New York rapper R.A. the Rugged Man recently featured him in a freestyle video, and many people claimed he was given time to prep, or that it wasn’t spontaneous, or that it was too good to be real. So to silence the haters, he offered a new clip, in which A-F-R-O freestyles on items handed to him in real time, from shoes and water bottles to actual people, like his mother.

    The best part: When he tells R.A. his shoe “look like Roger Rabbit.”

    H/T Digg | Screengrab via RAtheRuggedManTV/YouTube


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    In the span of a couple weeks, YouTube personality Sam Pepper went from being a popular U.K. vlogger to being persona non grata in the community. He’s facingmultipleallegations of sexual harassment and rape, which started pouring in after he posted a video in which he covertly grabbed women’s butts. Soon after, multiple allegations against another popular YouTuber, Jason Viohni, came to light. 

    The two joined a growing list of YouTube personalities who’ve been accused of or admitted to sexual misconduct with fans. Pepper, who specializes in “prank” videos—a popular subculture on YouTube—later said the video was just a “social experiment.” 

    It’s been pointed out that YouTube has a “creep problem,” and eradicating this overgrowth isn't going to be easy. A spokesperson from YouTube explained that “YouTube’s community guidelines prohibit inappropriate content such as harassment. YouTube removes content that violates these policies when flagged by our users.” The site's harassment and cyberbullying guidelines outline the various scenarios for flagging or reporting a video, and every video that’s flagged gets reviewed. Pepper’s video was removed as “a violation of YouTube's policy on nudity or sexual content,” and he was subsequently dropped from his multichannel network, Collective Digital Studio. 

    Pepper and Viohni’s circles often intersect with pickup artist channels, built on the bravado of vaguely college-aged guys claiming they can help other guys pick up women. In many of these videos, though, picking up women is less about confidence and skill, and more about tricks— specifically tricking women into doing whatever the host wants. These channels have thousands, sometimes millions of followers, and the videos receive a proportionally astronomical number of hits. Prank and pickup videos attract the same type of followers, and their content has started to overlap.

    In a perfect world, banning prank and pickup channels from YouTube would be an ideal solution, but it’s tricky: Those subscribers and clicks make ad money for YouTube, and those channels often get brand endorsements. Many have claimed that the women in the pickup videos are actually actors, but that doesn’t absolve the men from being creeps. 

    In her video response to the Sam Pepper video and the subsequent allegations, vlogger Laci Greenexplored this toxic subculture. Among others, she singled out popular pickup artist channel Simple Pickup, which has more than 1 million followers across two channels, as being one of the worst offenders

    About a year ago, Simple Pickup—three guys who go by Jesse, Kong, and Jason—posted a video in which they motorboated women for breast cancer research awareness, donating $20 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation for every woman who let them do it. After the foundation learned of the nature of the fundraiser, the donation was returned. Simple Pickup's fans blamed radical feminists and “haters” for it backfiring. Kong claimed in a response video that their critics were “completely out of line.” 

    In a video from 2011, the guys pretended to be gay to pick up girls. As they distractedly engage with the women, they ask one if she spits or swallows. They ask another if she likes her face getting “jizzed” on. Early on in the video, one jokes, “Are you trying to get raped? Because I’m down to rape you if you’re down to get raped. Kidding! I’m not gonna rape you… yet.” 

    How to Be a Good Wingman” is a March 2011 video in which Kong explains how to avoid the scourge of the “cockblock” by having your best bro by your side: “I do everything in my power to make sure that their penis ends up in a girl's mouth, vagina, butthole, or whatever hole they're into, and as you can see, it usually ends up very well.” 

    At Comic-Con this year, Kong motorboated women once again, and instructed two girls to turn around and show off their costumes, so guys watching could “get a boner.” In a podcast clip from Project Go—an inspirational, instructional program for guys that will “show you how to confidently approach, interact, and attract women. No douchbaggery (sic), no cringe-worthy formulas, no step-by-step-tactics”—they instruct men on how to convince women to have anal sex. Their motto: “Get confidence. Get girls.” 

    But wait, there’s more!

    - Earlier this year, popular YouTuber Vitaly Zdorovetskiy posted a video in which he pretends to show women his penis in public, and disguises it as a “magic trick.”

    - Last year, Norwegian YouTuber Freddy Fairhair approached women on the street naked, often with an erection, in an attempt at seduction. 

    - Whatever also markets their pranks and pickups as “social experiments.” One video from 2013 features men literally picking women up off their feet without their consent. They also have a video called “Picking Up Girls with a Boner.” 

    - SimpleSexyStupid often collaborates with Simple Pickup. They have a video called “Slapping 100 Girls’ Butts.” In fact, there are a disturbingnumber of “prank” videos devoted to grabbing or slapping a woman’s ass. 

    - The channel JinkiesTV is heavy on “hot girl” pranks. One video employs the “thumb war” game in an effort to kiss girls on the beach. The host, Chris, a.k.a Prank Invasion, somehow always wins the game, so he always gets to kiss the girls. At one point in the video, we see a woman on her knees unbuttoning his pants on the beach, because he won, apparently. Prank Invasion also markets videos as “social experiments.” 

    - SoFloAntonio, a cohort of Prank Invasion, uses the magic trick front to try to get women to flash him on camera. A video from July, also marketed as a “social experiment,” is titled “Drugging Girls in Public.” 

    - Overboard Humor uses the “social experiment” excuse to grope women or harass them into showing their breasts. 

    - Troll Munchies tried to “teabag” women on the street. The joke: It’s an actual teabag! Not everyone they approached appreciated the “joke” because not everyone is a 14-year-old boy. 

    - LAHWF’s “Trying to Kiss Girls” video (another “collaboration” with Simple Pickup) features several men attempting to kiss women without their consent. They have other videos where they try the same tactic. 

    That so many fans of these channels are teenage or college-aged men is equally troubling. Colleges are finally having to step up and address an unchecked sexual assault problem, and consent is at the center of the discussion. (Of course, startups are now trying to edge in and “fix” the consent “problem.”) Young men raised on the Internet turn to the Internet for help with dating and self-esteem, and this is what they see as acceptable behavior. Harassing or degrading a woman on camera is OK if it’s a “social experiment.” 

    The guys in these videos all have some variation of the same look and the same charm-free approach and juvenile sense of humor. There’s not a lot of insightful dialogue, but there’s the chance a woman will be asked if she spits or swallows, and you might see her butt. But these videos aren’t social experiments; those usually yield some knowledge or insight. 

    Prank and pickup culture has flourished on YouTube, but that same toxic culture of entitlement, narcissism, and misogyny can be found in nearly every online space. You could certainly draw parallels to other recent events online: Ed Champion bullying and threatening women on Twitter, the misogynist saga of Gamergate, the privacy-hacking of Celebgate. Women were targets there, too, and accountability was often lacking or nonexistent. 

    YouTube was also recently called out by popular volgger Franchesca Ramsey for letting racist humor slide; the prank subculture has no shortage of videos in which white guys go into the “hood” to play pranks on black people. 

    But there’s been a signal boost, and so manymorewomen are speaking up. Musician and vlogger Lizzie Howard recently posted a video about Ed Blann (a.k.a. Eddplant) and Alex Day attempting to make comebacks after they faced allegations of sexual abuse and continuing to use social media under different names. “I’m just frightened that these people are suddenly going to have an online presence again,” she explained in the video, “after they gave up that right through their actions.”

    “I think a way of getting rid of it is talking about it,” Howard told the Daily Dot. “Because, as it has been established, people hear rumours about these things and they get swept under the carpet, and therefore, the abusers get away with their crime. However, if we continue talking about it as an issue on YouTube and in other communities and industries, then we can educate people about consent, about what is and isn't right, and about why sexual abuse (or abusing a fan from a position of power) is not tolerable.”

    Fellow vlogger Erika Lynae agrees, and says that she’s finally starting to see big-name creators take a stand, which in turn starts more dialogue. 

    “The Sam Pepper situation has really sparked a level of acknowledgement, discussion, and condemnation from prominent YouTubers that hasn’t been there during similar issues over the past year,” she explained. “I’m finally starting to see videos on the subject from larger-name creators. I’m finally starting to see the outrage on their end that the rest of us have been feeling and voicing for months/years now. Hopefully this collective outrage will continue to endure and act as a catalyst for real change.” 

    She adds that YouTube has to step up its accountability as well: 

    “YouTube as a business taking a firm stand against this sort of behavior from users and partners would be a huge stepping stone in reducing this vile behavior. Ideally, they should shut down or at least disable monetization for the channels of people who have used their position on the platform to abuse and harass people, but I understand that may not be feasible without hard evidence or convictions. So for now, my biggest wish is that they would give us the tools to push back against harmful and misogynistic content as much as we can.”

    And, as Howard said in her video, we have to keep talking about it. 

    Photo via Andrew Rotto/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    With more than 31 million subscribers, Felix Kjellberg—a.k.a. PewDiePie–is the most popular man on YouTube. The 24-year-old Swede is partnered with Polaris, the gaming-focused arm of top YouTube network Maker Studios. For Maker, Kjellberg’s massive audience of hugely dedicated fans is a powerful asset, but it’s one the network could soon lose. In an interview with Swedish magazine Icon, Kjellberg hinted that he may leave Maker Studios when his contract with the network expires in December.

    Earlier this year, Maker Studios was sold to Disney. The Mouse House is interested in connecting with creators like Kjellberg, who can easily reach the young demographic Disney targets. At the same time, Kjellberg doesn’t seem particularly interested in working with Maker’s new bosses. “The fact that Disney bought Maker Studios doesn’t really change anything for me,” he told Icon. “If I ask for help, they reply, but that’s all the contact we have. We’ll see what happens.”

    Kjellberg also recounted a time when Disney sent people dressed as Stormtroopers to his house to film a Star Wars-themed video:

    “First of all, they got upset when they found out that there was no specific room for them to change clothes. And then, they didn’t agree to do basically anything in the video because it was not OK with “The Star Wars universe”. It all turned into chaos and it took a very long time. Finally, we ended up with something that they were going to edit but it was so bad I had to do it over and edit it myself. Furthermore, I don’t want Pewdiepie to be some kind of trademark that I loose [sic] control over.”

    Before Maker, Kjellberg was partnered with Machinima, though he also expressed dissatisfaction with that network as well. “It was managed in such a terrible way,” he tells Icon. “During the time I was a member of their network, I grew into the world’s biggest YouTuber – and they didn’t even know I was with them! They didn’t get in touch a single time, except when I wanted to leave – then their CEO e-mailed me once.”

    If Kjellberg does choose to leave Maker, he will have more freedom than most other YouTubers. Three of the major services networks provide are promotion, better advertising rates, and production assistance for their partners, but Kjellberg doesn’t necessarily need any of those things. He already has a massive audience that grows larger every day. He certainly isn’t hurting for cash; In June, he told the Wall Street Journal that he grossed over $4 million in 2013.

    As for the production assistance, he told Icon he prefers to work alone. “The fact that people know that it’s just me making the videos – with no crew – has proved to be a winning concept,” he said. “The thing that has made YouTube so successful is that you can relate to the people you’re watching to a much higher degree than to the people you see on TV. And that’s why I keep doing it all myself, though it would save me a lot of work if I didn’t.”

    Still, it’s unlikely PewDiePie would go independent, since “Let’s Play” gamers like Kjellberg can use their status as “managed” channels to secure the rights they need to use gameplay footage. If he leaves Maker, Kjellberg is thinking about launching his own network alongside some friends. “I’m in touch with a couple of people who I think would be so right for this,” he explained. “I’m eager to get it all up and running. So far, all the networks have been managed in such an incredibly poor way, it’s embarrassing really. I’d like to help other YouTubers.”

    This concept—a multi-channel network run by YouTubers for YouTubers—also accurately described Maker Studios when it took shape back in 2011. Everything old is new again.

    The full Icon interview—which also discusses Kjellberg’s effect on game sales, his relationship with his fans, his charity work, and much more—can be read over at the magazine’s website.

    Screengrab via PewDiePie/YouTube


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    Often when brand representatives reach out to a popular YouTuber to work together, all they’re asking for is a mention in a video, perhaps a red carpet visit shared with their fanbase. So when Warner Bros. partnered with YouTubers last weekend by sending them on a Tough Mudder course with American Ninja Warrior contestants and other professional athletes, it was a bit out of the ordinary.

    A Tough Mudder is a grueling physical obstacle course completed with a team in, you guessed it, muddy conditions. Warner Bros. picked Seattle’s most recent event to coincide with the DVD release of the Tom Cruise adventure flick, Edge of Tomorrow. Some of the YouTubers, like adventurer Jon Watson, had experience with mud runs in the past.

    “I’ve done two Tough Mudders before—I’ve done quite a few mud runs, around 25 mud runs—but I’m definitely not a professional athlete and not at the level of people I ran with,” he said. “We had people on our team from all different fitness levels, but we all helped each other out.”

    Others, like prankster Stuart Edge, had limited experience with mudder-like events.

    “I think the longest I’d ever ran in my life was 6 miles,” Edge laughed. “I was a little nervous about that, but I actually enjoyed it a lot.”

    Overall, the event was a success in more ways than one. Edge told the Daily Dot that he was able to experiment with new mediums outside of YouTube during the race, creating a Snapchat story to interact with his fans. He also said it was more fun than a simple brand video, and that he was pleased that Warner Bros. cared about who participants were, not just the numbers they could bring.

    “I get approached by brands a lot, mainly to make a video where I promote their product,” Edge explained. “I really liked this one though, because it was to come and be yourself, be who you are. They didn’t care so much about number of views. I felt more like I was appreciated. I do get approached by brands where you can tell that they don’t really care who you are, they just care that you have numbers associated with your name.”

    The event also may have inspired Edge, who cleaned porta-potties for a living before he started his YouTube account, to go on a new adventure.

    “To be honest, I was talking with the guys on my team, and they said I should train and go on American Ninja Warrior next year,” he said. “So that’s what I’m going to do this year, I’m going to train for [American Ninja Warrior].

    Screengrab via Jon Watson/YouTube


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    Thanks to Internet's ability to keep cultural icons alive, some 15 years after Mystery Science Theater 3000 vanished from the tube, loyal fans across generations can still delight in the show’s unduplicable, arcane, and comedic sensibility. 

    With 197 episodes in various media ranging from the hard stuff (DVDs and yes, VHS tapes) to digital downloads, there more than a nonstop week's worth of Joel, Mike, Tom Servo et al. to enjoy in the ultimate comedy binge fest. No matter your tolerance for financial pain, desire for HD viewing, and number of video on demand sites you have on your monthly payroll, there is a MST3K plan for you. 

    YouTube and TV

    If you want to visit the Satellite of Love on the cheap, the good news is that YouTube has two free, copyright-in-tact full episodes to enjoy. "Mitchell" (episode 512) and Manos: The Hands of Fate (episode 424) are available in all their glory on YouTube from the official MST3K channel from the Shout Factory. The good news is the price. The bad news is the quality is rather bad, especially if you are watching on your big-screen TV via the YouTube streaming app. For me, the verbose annotations in this particular version, which tie every line in the show to an on-screen comment, are annoying and take the fun out of deciphering the fast-paced spiel. 

    YouTube also is home to more than 44,000 other complimentary copies (as in taken without copyright permission) of full MST3K episodes, generally in fairly crummy visual form. I considered creating an algorithm to determine how many different shows that represented, but I ran out of space on my slide rule.

    And for those luddites who still have in free, over-the-air television, an upstart channel featuring programming from the bygone world, Retro TV, runs the show on a weekly basis. Retro is carried on both digital channels and local cable networks across the U.S.; set your DVRs and go to town.

    Amazon, Vimeo, Netflix, and Hulu

    In the pay-to-play sector, you have Amazon, legit YouTube, and Vimeo. By my count, Amazon has more than 115 MST3K episodes available. Some are in physical form (DVD), while about 80 others can be purchased or rented online for various fees ranging from $1.99 to $9.99. I presume the variation in fees may be that there appears to be more than one license holder for the series. There are myriad DVD collectors’ editions for $35-$90 with some of the special sets including the usual behind-the-scenes addendums. Amazon Prime does not offer any of the MST3K episodes as part of its Instant Video package (boo, hiss.)

    Did you know you can rent videos from YouTube? Yep. As with Amazon, that’s especially handy if you want the search giant to be keenly aware of your “eclectic” tastes in media. There are 17 MST3K episodes from the Shout Factory that rent for $1.99 a shot. It’s difficult to tell if they are offered in another quality other than SD, so the big-screen experience could be grainy.

    Vimeo offers all 80 available for digital distribution at a $2.99 rental or $9.99 purchase price, and if you want to go the who enchilada, $300 will buy you all 80 shows in sparkling HD. The video on demand site will be bringing other episodes to viewers in the coming months.

    But what if you already plop down a monthly fee for Netflix or Hulu Plus? 

    Netflix currently has 12 episodes available for streaming and Hulu Plus has 27, making it far and away the best deal for those on a streaming plan. 

    eBay, Craigslist, and beyond

    But wait, there’s more. Although not an especially good bargain, eBay has tons of MST3K DVDs for sale, ranging from a low of $7.99 per title up to a 12-DVD set that goes for $125. On the other hand, Half.com, eBay’s low-cost sibling, has 84 titles for sale with some as low as $4 per title. Craigslist is surprisingly sparse in its MST3K sellers in major U.S. cities, but there were two used copies for sale in Minneapolis (where the show started) for $5 each. Caveat emptor.

    Let me let you in on one of the better-kept secrets from the annals of budget video-viewing. It just so happens, while you were reading books on your smartphone, tablet, or Kindle, your public library has been stocking up on DVDs, CDs, and even books on tape. So, I checked the two public libraries to which I am a card holder: One has a four-disc MST3K collection for check out and the other (from a much larger library system) has four collections for 14-day loan including 1996’s Mystery Science Theater: The Movie which was good enough to get a 7.5 rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

    If you want to be selective on how you spend your time or money, here’s a tip: Since Amazon deals in volume, after searching for MST3K, I filtered by average customer review to see which ones were most popular with viewers. The winner was MST3K Vs Gamera, a five-disc set with five stars from 78 reviewers, followed by Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Final Sacrifice, with four and a half stars from 65 reviewers. This review of The Final Sacrifice on Amazon has to be my favorite: "It is proof of God's great mercy, or cosmic balance, or whatever you want it to be, that an unending supply of truly horrible films is available for this kind of treatment."

    Amen. Happy hunting.

    Illustration by Jason Reed


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    This American Life is stretching out its storytelling muscles for a new show called Serial, but you won’t hear it on the radio. 

    Serial’s producer Dana Chivvis says the podcast format was ideal for the show’s investigative, longform approach, and that “radio shows and podcasts are sort of rethinking the business side, and how to organize around podcasting versus radio, so it’s kind of the wild West.”

    It's truepodcasting is now a bigbusinessThis American Life also recently parted ways with its longtime distributor, Public Radio International, which adds an air of uncertainty and excitement to this experiment. 

    But This American Life fans are legion, and they’ll likely tune into Serial as well. The show, which debuted Oct. 3, is hosted and executive produced by This American Life producer Sarah Koenig, with co-executive producer Julie Snyder andThis American Life host Ira Glass as editorial advisor. Over the course of a season, they'll tell a story in serialized form, complete with cliffhangers, character development, and plot twists. It’s sort of like a TV show, but you can’t binge-watch this one.

    “People kind of tend to tune in to radio shows when they’re in the car or when they’re doing something around the house, so often they come in in the middle of the story,” Chivvis said. “With this particular format, you have to start with the first episode and move chronologically from there or you’ll miss something. If you started watching True Detective in the third show, you wouldn’t know what the hell was going on.”

    About a year ago, Koenig and Snyder came up with the idea for a podcast centered around stories that had happened during the week. When that didn’t get the best reception, they refocused, and then Koenig started exploring the case of Baltimore teen Hae Min Lee, who was murdered in 1999 when she was a senior in high school. The idea took off from there.

    A family friend of Adnan Syed, Lee's one-time boyfriend and the man convicted of her murder, reached out to Koenig about a year ago. Koenig had been a reporter at the Baltimore Sun around the time of the murder, and had actually written some articles about the Syed’s defense attorney. 

    “About two years after she lost his case, she was disbarred, and Sarah wrote a couple articles about her being disbarred," Chivvis explained. "The family friend came across her articles, and the woman is an attorney herself now. The defendant has always said he was innocent, so this friend has sort of been his champion the last 15 years. She said, ‘Hey can you look into this case? I think his attorney botched it on purpose.’”

    And so Serial’s first story took shape. In the debut episode, “The Alibi,” Koenig starts off by exploring how we account for time. She asks teenagers to remember where they were after school on certains days, or where they went at night. This leads into the story of Lee and Syed, and Koenig expertly unravels the Shakespearean tale and all its tragic chapters and verses. Soon, you're reaching True Detective levels of obsessed.  

    Photo of Adnan Syed, courtesy of Serial 

    Not every season will be true crime-related, and Chivvis isn’t sure what season two will hold just yet.

    “When we started trying to describe Serial to people, the shows we pointed to as the best parallels were Sarah’s longer shows, like “Dr. Gilmer and Mr. Hyde," she said. "So the general sensibilities of This American Life definitely carry through, but a lot of it is really Sarah’s voice that defines the thing, coupled with the fact that Sarah and Julie are just brilliant women… and they know how to do this so well."

    This weekend's debut episode will be on the radio, but the rest will be podcast-only. You can find the first two episodes here.

    Photo by Meredith Heuer 


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    Ever wondered what Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” would sound like while watching actual zombies, or have you imagined some quality WWE wrestling while relaxing with Brahms Violin Concerto in D Major? See Hear Party can make that happen, and it will suck out your soul. 

    Get ready to kiss a few hours goodbye. In fact, might as well make it an entire week. 

    See Hear Party is a music video generator from Peter Javidpour, a game designer for Naughty Dog and one of the minds behind its most popular game, The Last of Us. Only instead of mixing tunes, you’re mixing GIFs. That’s right, the music videos are made entirely of GIFs, and they’re as amazing as you think. 

    “I realized the Internet is full of images, so why not pair them up with music that’s already out there,” Javidpour told the Daily Dot. “I think the reason people are intrigued with [GIFs] is because they’re used not only just to compress a movie down … but also for self expression.”

    It’s pretty easy to create one of the music videos. Simply type in up to four keywords or phrases that you want featured in the video, then pick or search for a song, and you’ve got your master creation. The service pulls from Giphy and SoundCloud, so it does a good amount of the work for you. Javidpour said the GIFs are synced to match the beat of the music, and they randomly generate from the picked keywords, so the music video is different each time you play it.

    However, if you think creating a perfect music video is easy, you’ve got another thing coming. The only exception is Beyoncé, because there’s no work involved. All you need is Beyoncé, and she takes care of everything else. 

    Via See Hear Party

    I spent several hours trying different combinations of words and phrases to make sure they paired well with the songs I picked. Since you can’t filter out certain GIFs if you don’t like them, it becomes a game of figuring out what combinations work and which ones will result in watching Santa Claus run a Christmas tree-style drill through a child’s face. 

    That actually happened, and it didn’t really match the holiday magic of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Before you ask, no, it’s never too early for Mariah Carey and Christmas magic. 

    Via See Hear Party

    Pro tip: It’s smart to go to SoundCloud and get the exact links for the songs you want, because the search function can be a little funky. I typed in “I don’t care” to try and get a song like Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” but it instead pulled a song from Demi Lovato. It somewhat worked in this case, but that was purely an accident.

    Via See Hear Party

    See Hear Party is only available on desktops and laptops with Google Chrome. Javidpour said he’s working on making it so you can plug a microphone or device into the computer to use during the videos, which would make it easier for deejays to use during events. But for now, it’s a great service that gives you a chance to have fun, be creative, and give personality to some of your favorite tunes. 

    “The spirit of the Internet is mashing up different sorts of content to create a new experience,” Javidpour said.

    So now there’s only one thing left to do. 

    Via See Hear Party

    Photo by Gwyrosydd/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    On Wednesday night, Jerry Seinfeld won a Clio, a prestigious award given to those who excel in the field of advertising. After offering the requisite thank yous, he explained, “I love advertising because I love lying.”

    What followed is four minutes in which Seinfeld breaks down the world of advertising to its basic instincts, saying, “We are a hopeful species. Stupid but hopeful. But we're happy in that moment between the commercial and the purchase. And I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy."

    Seinfeld was taking shots at himself, too: He’s been shilling for Acura as part of his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series. But he did point out the more soul-sucking aspects of modern advertising and make us question our existence, so there's that. 

    “If your things don’t make you happy," he explained, "you’re not getting the right things.”

    Screengrab via Affan Khokhar/YouTube


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