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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    It’s hard out there for a biker, even one as goofy as Conan O’Brien.

    With the cast of Sons of Anarchy set to appear on his late-night show prior to its final episode, Conan had to let down his hair and don some leather before hopping on a motorcycle for the cold open. Doing a TV show's cold open with the show's visiting cast is something of a tradition for Conan, but no matter how hard he tries, he's unliked to be accepted by SAMCRO anytime soon.

    It’s a tough crowd, for sure, but at least Conan's back tattoo is SAMCRO material. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how he transformed into a biker.

    Screengrab via Team Coco/YouTube


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    Let’s face it: The Grumpy CatChristmas movie from Lifetime is probably going to be terrible. Nobody knows this more than the actress trying to convince you to watch it.

    At first, Aubrey Plaza voicing Grumpy Cat seemed to be dream casting. The expectation was that she'd bring the sort of deadpan annoyance she nails on Parks and Recreation to the role of the Internet's favorite angry feline. Yet even Plaza can’t seem to disguise the fact that the film will be disappointing—that it will, in other words, just be a LIfetime movie starring an Internet meme.

    Plaza still has to sell the film, of course, and in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, she tried to convince the audience that the Grumpy Cat movie was something worth checking out—after you've had a few glasses of wine.

    “It’s really, I think, the most insane thing I’ve ever seen,” she told Jimmy Kimmel. “Ever seen on page and ever seen come to life.”

    Even more insane might just be imagining Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, with an actual entourage on the day Plaza actually got to meet the cat.

    “It’s a gift to America,” Plaza said. Yet another reason to blame America for the world's woes.

    Screengrab via Jimmy Kimmel Live/YouTube


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    This story contains sexually explicit material and may be NSFW.

    The Internet isn’t broken, but it does have a crack in it.

    Having some difficulty with your Wi-Fi connection today? Don’t panic and call your local cable provider just yet. This photo of Kim Kardashian balancing a champagne glass on her ass is to blame.

     

    #BreakTheInternet

    A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

     

    The above images are from Kim K.’s Paper magazine cover shoot with the legendary photographer Jean-Paul Goude, and they were apparently intended to “break the Internet,” if Paper’s headline and this tweet from Kim K. herself are any indication:

    She has a point there. Could that hashtag ratchet Willow Pape ever accomplish such impressive callipygian feats? Hashtag never.

    It’s unclear how, exactly, Kim thought a photo of her naked rear end would “break the Internet,” Minaj-style, considering we’ve all seen it many times, here, here, and (of course) here. Maybe she thinks the combined traffic from everyone looking at her photo will cause everyone’s Wi-Fi connection to momentarily slow down. Maybe she’s planning on going to your house and smashing your modem/router in with a ballpeen hammer. Maybe she has a little hacker living inside her sphincter. I mean, who the hell knows. The point is, if by “break the Internet” she actually meant “inspire the Internet to Photoshop her head on the body of a centaur,” then Kim K.W. was largely successful.

    And it looks like the trend is catching on.

     

     

    Can you believe more than 2 ass can fit on the same screen? Guess which one's real. Your move, instagram.

    A photo posted by Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) on

     

    H/T Marie Claire | Photo via Kim Kardashian/Instagram


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    With music increasingly driving traffic to YouTube, SiriusXM is creating a new weekly program, The YouTube EDM 15, to expand its YouTube music coverage to the world of electronic dance music (EDM).

    The move to court EDM listeners represents an evolution of SiriusXM's existing Youtube tie-in strategy. This summer at VidCon, YouTube superstar Jenna Marbles was announced as the host of The YouTube 15, SiriusXM’s first attempt to merge its music channels with YouTube’s content. The show, which plays Fridays on SiriusXM Hits 1, introduces songs from emerging performers along with established artists already making waves on YouTube. The artists remain firmly in the pop realm, but given that EDM is the fastest growing mainstream genre, SiriusXM’s choice to focus on DJs for its newest show is no surprise.

    “Building on the great response to The YouTube 15 show on our SiriusXM Hits 1 channel, we are excited to collaborate again with YouTube to create The YouTube EDM 15, which will spotlight emerging EDM songs on the world’s largest music video platform,” said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer at SiriusXM, in a press release.  “With The YouTube EDM 15, we will deliver to our listeners direct access to music emerging from YouTube’s worldwide audience and give our listeners an opportunity to go even deeper and discover even more of the EDM they love.”

    The Chainsmokers, a rising EDM duo known in the mainstream for their summer hit  #SELFIE, which garnered 250 million YouTube views, will serve as hosts for the new show on BPM. It premieres Nov. 21 at 8pm ET.

    “After seeing The YouTube 15 on SiriusXM bring both more airplay for established artists and first-time radio airplay for many emerging artists, we see even more opportunity by teaming up again with SiriusXM to provide the data for The YouTube EDM 15," said Vivien Lewit, YouTube’s Head of Label and Artist Relations. “Together we’re connecting more fans with their favorite artists and helping them discover new music from all over the world, anytime and anywhere they’re listening.”

    With so many young people getting into the EDM production game, the surfeit of upcoming talent on platforms like YouTube should keep SiriusXM’s new show busy for a long time to come.

    Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Well, that was fast. Just yesterday it was announced that YouTube had secured licensing agreements with crucial indie label rep Merlin. Now it looks like YouTube’s aiming to roll out its music subscription service next week.

    YouTube Music Key will be invite-only in its beta stage, and cost $7.99 a month, a promotional price that's a bit cheaper than competitors like Spotify. This will include ad-free music videos and music, as well as offline play and access to Google Play’s 30 million-song music database. The standard fee will be $9.99 a month. 

    YouTube Music Key screengrab

                                                                                   Image via YouTube 

    A YouTube spokesperson did not disclose a specific date for the rollout, just that it “starts rolling out next week to invited users.” You can sign up for updates here

    H/T CNBC | Illustration by Max Fleishman


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    Actor Bryan Cranston has spent the better part of his on-screen career playing a parent. From fathering four boys on Malcolm in the Middle to buying Walt Jr.’s affections with a Denny’s grand slam on Breaking Bad, the guy knows a thing or two about how to raise kids.

    That kind of sage parental expertise is exactly while Audible chose Cranston to narrate the audiobook for You Have to Fucking Eat. Penned by Adam Mansbach, author of the equally curt alternative children’s book Go the Fuck to Sleep, the follow-up deals with the frustrations every father faces when it comes to getting kids to eat.

    If Mansbach decides to pen a cautionary tale for kids about answering the door for strangers, something tells me that Cranston’s got the perfect timbre for that too. After all, he is the one who knocks. 

    H/T Gawker | Photo via titi64/Flickr


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    Consumers have become the winner in the video on demand wars, with the latest victory coming in the form of Waiting for Mamu, a documentary about imprisoned children in Nepal

    M-GO, a video on demand service owned by DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor, is teaming up with Reframed Pictures, the indie production company behind this film festival favorite. The documentary tells the story of Pushpa Basnet, a Nepalese social worker who opens a childhood development center for youngsters who are forced to accompany their convicted parents to prison. The film has won best picture awards at the San Diego and Traverse City Film Festivals.

    For the first 90 days of release on M-GO, the VOD service will donate all proceeds to the development center in Nepal. The film can be either rented or purchased with different prices for SD and HD versions. It's also available on Vimeo’s VOD platform but only for select regions outside the U.S.

    M-GO is a VOD service available across all streaming platforms and devices. Because Apple charges a fee for in-app purchases, film rentals and purchases must be done through the service’s website but can then be viewed on iPhones and iPads.

    Screengrab via Positively 4th Street Productions/YouTube


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    Back in September, Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame did his part to help the job economy: He offered fans a chance to be his full-time blunt roller for $50,000 a year.

    Since this was a formal posting announced on Instagramand since he apparently did not hire Seth Rogencandidates had to submit actual resumes so Waka could vet them. He received 60,000 resumes, and Funny or Die was there to capture him sifting through this heroic stack.

    Looks like Waka is in a Too Many Cooks situation here. 

    Make sure to zoom out and read the whiteboard behind him. These are just a few of the things Waka is looking for in a blunt-roller: Six Flags season pass, U.S. resident, dope Instagram.

    Screengrab via Funny or Die


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    Warning: This article contains sexually explicit language and may be potentially triggering for readers.

    The latest YouTuber to face allegations of rape and manipulation is speaking out.

    Over the past few days, multiple people came forward through YouTube, Twitter, and Tumblr to share their experiences with British YouTuber Craig Dillon. They described alleged cases of abuse, sexual manipulation, requests for nude photos, and even rape.

    Dillon has adamantly denied the claims, and he filmed a response video in regards to allegations made in a video by Tate Wolverson. The two had had a sexual relationship before, but Dillon tells a different story of what happened—not of rape, but of a mistake. Before Wolverson made the video, Dillon says he was afraid of what would happen once word got out that he was the person Wolverson was talking about.

    “These things on YouTube, they just get lost,” Dillon said. “I could post a video tomorrow and say anyone raped me. I could. I actually could post a video and say, 'This person raped me.' And I don’t need any sort of evidence, any sort of trial, or anything like that to ruin that person.”

    The video was met with mixed responses, and some some claimed that Dillon was removing any negative responses from the comments section, a claim his lawyer has denied. 

    Dillon has since written several lengthy entries on his blog responding to every allegation made against him. While he had already addressed claims from Wolverson, these were geared toward the people who came forward afterward.

    In one post, he denied having sexual relations of any kind with Drew Gilchrist, who claimed Dillon touched him in his sleep, and he explained that he thought that Gilchrist was older than he actually was. (A recent tweet from Gilchrist implies he's pursuing contact with law enforcement, according to Videoter.) Dillon says that any sexual activities between him, James Pine, and a third party who didn’t want to reveal his identity, were consensual. Another post details the interactions he had with Mike Jerry, with whom he cut off contact after Jerry sent him photos of self-harm. (The link contains images that may be potentially triggering for some readers.)

    All of the posts are meticulously documented by Dillon with screengrabs of texts, photos, and in one case, a receipt that appears to dispute the claim that Jerry spent £200 on a train ticket for Dillon to come visit him.

    “I worked very hard to get where I am and I’m not going to let it all go that easily,” Dillon wrote in another post that discusses a closed police case involving him and someone from his university.

    A lawyer for Dillon told the Independent that he planned to pursue defamation action against the “baseless” allegations and claims made against Dillon on social media. (Editor's note: Dillon's lawyer, Thomas Corbett, has also threatened to initiate legal proceedings against the Daily Dot for its reporting on the allegations.)

    Screengrab via Craig Dillon/YouTube


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    This young rapper may have an old-school swagger, but he is the future of hip hop. Following in the footsteps of other child acts like Kriss Kross, Another Bad Creation, and Lil Bow Wow, TMA TJ —TMA stands for “Talented, Motivated, Ambitious”—is a 13-year-old upstart from the Bronx, New York. Video journalist Kareem Ahmed filmed a short documentary that introduces TJ and his brother to the world and gives us some insight into his beginnings, motivations, and moral ideals. (The latter is surprising for such a young personality.)

    In the short video, TJ discloses that he’s been rapping since he was 11. He’s a dedicated student in school and seeks to be a role model to others. “Being a role model is, like, doing good things,” TJ explains. “Kids or parents can [say], ‘Be like this kid, or be like that kid, he has good grades, he’s well mannered and he’s respectful. And he has an education.” He goes on to introduce his brother, Mayson. He describes Mayson’s impact on his music and style, and talks about how the two look out for each other and keep each other grounded.

    “My main motivation is trying to be, like, real higher, like worldwide international, like Michael Jackson,” he boasts. “Everybody knows Michael Jackson around the world, so I want to be like Michael Jackson. I want everybody to know me around the world. … They can say my name.” 

    With the stage presence and charisma of a veteran performer, and lyrics like “You still acting dumb, but you got a smartphone” and “My jerseys say No. 1/No Rose, I’m just top-notch,” it shouldn’t be too long before TJ is a household name.

    H/T Noisey | Screengrab via Noisey


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    Weirdos who digest their Internet in TV form are no doubt familiar with Tosh.0, a mysteriously popular and cheaply produced Comedy Central series that traffics in the biggest viral videos of the moment. With that business model, you’d think that host Daniel Tosh would hesitate to throw stones at anyone for biting "his" content, but here we are.

    Tosh, who has frequently been taken to task by Reddit for “stealing” the stuff that they themselves have aggregated from myriad outside sources—and once fired back in kind—was livid to discover that ESPN’s SportsCenter was aping his “Web Redemption” feature, in which a subject who has committed an Internet “fail” gets the opportunity to score an “epic win.” His response? To gank SportsCenter’s “Sports Science” segment. Now that’s consistency.  


    The sooner we admit there’s nothing new under the sun, and that all Taylor Swift music should be free, and that I am the person who invented Grumpy Cat, the happier we’ll be.

    H/T Deadspin | Photo by Julian Jensen/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)


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    YouTube tech guru iJustine has joined forces with DoSomething.org to show you only have to be “super-ish” to help older adults how to get wired.

    Grandparents Gone Wired is a campaign aimed to having digital-savvy young folks reach out to older generations and help them learn new technology. Teach your grandmother to tweet, or your grandfather how to use Spotify. The possibilities are endless, and when you share a photo of your good deed, you’re entered to win a $10,000 scholarship. That’ll definitely make grandma and grandpa happy.

    iJustine’s PSA, in cooperation with AARP and DoSomething, shows her as a technological wonder who turns typewriters into laptops and carrier pigeons into iPhones.

    “I can’t imagine going one day without using the Internet to stay connected with friends and family,” said iJustine in a press release. “I love working with DoSomething.org and Mentor Up for ‘Grandparents Gone Wired’ because young people are the perfect tech teachers and using the Internet to stay in touch is second nature for them.”

    According to a study from The Journal of Gerontology, the risk for depression in adults over 65 is reduced by 34 percent with Internet use, even if only 56 percent of older adults hop online currently. WIth the help of the younger generation, who live digitally, DoSomething hopes to change that, especially since a lot of the Internet is great for older adults. They’ve got a lot more to say for throwback Thursday, for one thing.

    Now, once you’ve got Grandma on Twitter, you’re going to have to teach her what a #tbt is, but just think: She can’t complain about you not calling enough when she can get updates on your life minute-by-minute.

    H/T Tubefilter | Photo via Alan Levine (CC BY SA 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed


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    This story contains sexually explicit material and may be NSFW.

    Chelsea Handler is on the ass train. Responding to Kim Kardashian’s Internet-attacking nude photo Wednesday, the budding comedian posted a mimicking mirror selfie with the same grand reveal.

     

     

    Can you believe more than 2 ass can fit on the same screen? Guess which one's real. Your move, instagram.

    A photo posted by Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) on

     

    Hours later, Handler posted a previously banned, Vladimir Putin-mocking topless shot on a horse along with the caption: “Just so I’m clear, Instagram… it’s ok to use nudity to sexualize yourself on your site, but not to make a joke? I’m just so confused.”

    It has since been either deleted or taken down by Instagram.

    While Handler didn’t take a dig at the muse and inspiration for her photo directly, Glee actress Naya Rivera did, commenting directly on Kardashian's Instagram page, “I normally don't. But... you're someone's mother...” on Kardashian’s original post.

    But Kardashian's husband, rapper Kanye West, was more than supportive.

    It's been a long day of processing Kardashian's talents, so we'll defer to comedian Billy Eichner

    Photo via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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    This story contains sexually explicit material and may be NSFW.

    Kim Kardashian woke up Wednesday and decided to mold the Internet in her image—her naked, champagne-washed image.

    The appetizer hit Kardashian’s Instagram profile—it helps that Kardashian’s account is the third-largest on Instagram—and it showed off the reality star’s oiled up, fully naked butt. It was artfully shot for the upcoming winter issue of Paper magazine.
     

     

    #BreakTheInternet

    A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

     


    Now, in an almost surely coordinated stroke of genius, the New York City magazine released its Kardashian interview… and the rest of its Kardashian photos Wednesday evening. There is ample full frontal (linkNSFW).

    While it’s somewhat ironic that a celebrity who originally became famous for a porn video is now stopping time with nude photos, she’s doing so in a different realm. Today, Kardashian is a household name, a media mogul, and one of the defining bombshells of the Internet era. (Oh, and her freemium app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood made $43 million last quarter.)  

    Lament the hollow nature of the act, or speculate about her surgical enhancements, the point is that the cultural cycle remains the same: Famous person gets naked. #BreakTheInternet? Probably not. But she knows what she's doing. 

    Photo via Kim Kardashian/Instagram


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    That viral video of a woman pretending to be drunk and meeting predatory, abhorrent men on Hollywood Boulevard was staged, reports LA Weekly.

    The YouTube video was billed as a “social experiment” to see what happens when male bystanders are approached by a drunk, lost woman. Everyone featured in the video hit on her and tried to take her home. After reportedly being tagged for his appearance in the clip by his Facebook friends, one of the men, Mike Koshak, wrote a Facebook post claiming he was acting. 

    “Just to let people know, the video that has me in it that's going around the web was all staged and all of the people in it were acting," Koshen wrote. "Please try to refrain from posting or tagging me in this video, as it was staged does not portray myself or any of the other people in it correctly.”

    In the comments of his post, Koshak seems defensive but generally at peace: “Lol cause it's a false ass portrayal and I was lied to about what the video even was. Faulty ass shit.”

    The claim, at this point, is a logical one for a guilty party to make, but LA Weekly obtained screenshots of private messages between the video’s producer and Koshak: “Yo dude, totally cool with you telling everyone that we came up to you and you acted the part for the video."

    At this point, it’s overwhelmingly likely that the video was, in fact, a staged situation that exists solely to bait clicks.

    HT LA Weekly | Screenshot via Stephen Zhang/YouTube


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    When Chris Picco lost his wife during the premature birth of their son earlier in November, he turned to the only person he had left to remember her through—the couple's newborn baby, Lennon.

    According to the memorial page set up by Picco, his wife Ashley died from complications on Nov. 8 during Lennon’s birth, who was due next February. However in a double tragedy, young Lennon was only around for three days, dying on Nov. 11.

    The day before the young boy passed away, Picco sang an emotional rendition of the Beatles standard “Blackbird” to Lennon while he lay in an incubator in a California hospital. According to his father, the newborn died from complications as a result of being born so early.

    Since the deaths of both, the family set up a memorial fund to pay for the medical expenses of the ordeal with a target of $50,000. In a matter of hours, the page lists the total funding at more than $56,000.

    Screengrab via Chris Picco/YouTube


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    Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence has vowed never to get Twitter, saying that “the Internet has scorned me so much.”

    In an interview with the BBC, the 24-year-old actress said she doesn’t “really understand what [Twitter] is, it’s like this weird enigma that people talk about.” 

    “Because the Internet has scorned me so much,” said Lawrence, “I feel like it’s that girl in high school that I’m like ‘Oh you want to talk about her? Yeah I’ll do that.’”

    Lawrence was referring to the leak of hundreds of intimate photos of dozens of female celebrities in November dubbed “Celebgate,” of which she was one of the most high-profile victims. The photos are believed to have been stolen by multiple hackers from Apple’s iCloud storage platform over a number of years, and speaking out afterwards, Lawrence described the leak as a “sex crime,” and called for a change in the law.

    “It’s my body and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting,” she told Vanity Fair. “I can’t believe we even live in that kind of world.”

    Following that incident, Lawrence said we’re unlikely ever to see her on social media. “I cannot really keep up with emails so the idea of Twitter is so unthinkable to me,” she told BBC host Nick Grimshaw.

    “If you ever see a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter that says it’s me, it most certainly is not me.”

    H/T BBC | Photo via Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Remix by Rob Price


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    The harrowing list of accusations against acclaimed indie poet Gregory Sherl, whose recent debut novel drew warm praise from the Washington Post and fourth-wave feminist Roxane Gay, has gone unchallenged—and largely unheeded—for nearly 10 months. 

    It was in January, when Sherl was crowdfunding an inpatient treatment for what was characterized as obsessive-compulsive disorder, that writer Kat Dixon first felt the need to speak out. “DO NOT SUPPORT GREGORY SHERL,” she wrote on her blog:

    Poet Gregory Sherl is the subject of this fundraiser seeking $10,000 from donations. Gregory Sherl is a known abuser of women. I lived with Sherl for the better part of a year and endured constant physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I later learned that I was not the first (nor the last) to be victimized by Sherl. PLEASE help me in sending the message that ABUSE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE by REPORTING THIS FUNDRAISER, REFUSING TO CONTRIBUTE, and SHARING THIS MESSAGE.

    Commenters alluded to similar histories with Sherl, and soon enough, QuaintMagazine editor Kia Groom joined Dixon’s grassroots campaign—which also encompassed a relief fund for abuse victims—with an essay on her destructive long-distance relationship with him.

    [T]he psychological abuse was intense. It was very real. I exited that relationship very hurt, very broken. He completely demoralized me, ground me down, and submitted me to what I can only describe as severe psychological torture. The specifics are not important, in my view, but I felt it was important to add my voice to Kat Dixon’s. If Gregory Sherl could make me attempt to slit my wrists in a bath tub from thousands of miles away, I can only imagine what he would have been like to live with.

    A “Helen Power” commented on this piece, saying that she had watched her daughter endure similar abuse from Sherl while enrolled in an MFA program in New Orleans:

    It was a particularly bleak experience to watch her suffering as a result of this callous and cruel individual’s psychological abuse. As a mother, I suffered too, watching my much-loved daughter begin to doubt herself, her future plans, her very existence, as this vile piece of human-kind manipulated her mind and made her feel worthless.

    Groom and another woman, Donora Hillard, had initially leveled claims against Sherl in a comment thread on an HTMLGIANT post about Dixon’s rallying cry, reported Dena Rash Guzman in Luna Luna Magazine at the end of that month. Writer Ryan Bradley launched a petition aimed at convincing the Good Men Project to delete posts by Sherl, who had contributed to the site through 2012 and often wrote about his romantic life. Here’s an excerpt from one of his final entries, “I’d Tell a Joke Here, but I’ve Got Nothing”:

    Out of the shower I run my new book idea by Elizabeth. First, I tell Elizabeth, I need the names and addresses of all the men you touched below the waist. In my mind I have already rented a car, bought a tape recorder that fits in the breast pocket of the new black T-shirts I have also bought, some Clif Bars for energy. A chapter for every guy, a monetary reason for me to think the things I think. Epic, I tell her. We’ll be rich or at the very least, not nearly so poor. My beautiful future wife says, You can have a book or a marriage. And this is the end of that conversation. 

    Bradley scrounged together 136 signatures—64 short of his goal. At least two small presses made public statements about dropping Sherl’s books. Then: nothing. Gene Morgan became managing editor of HTMLGIANT in late February and labeled Kat Dixon a troll for raising the issue of rape in the ensuing comment thread; in an April interview on Hobart, another literary site, writers Elizabeth Ellen and Juliet Escoria concurred with that assessment. Ellen had this to say about Sherl’s case, then already fading from view:

    i found myself wanting to defend him from the public stone throwing because from what i know, he's not guilty of the charges. he’s gulity [sic] of other things, like being (questionably) a douchebag, but...i can't get into details. but...we have to admit that what is public ‘knowledge’ is public ‘gossip.’ to cancel someone's book based on gossip? idk, man. that just seems really really wrong to me. and i refuse to align myself with this sort of...public shaming based on hearsay. and i think that makes me a ‘bad feminist (shout-out to roxane).’ lol. or something.

    Summer came, and Sherl’s new book, The Future for Curious People, rolled toward publication without any apparent obstacle. Then, in August, poet Sarah Certa, one of Sherl’s ex-fiancées, came forward. Writing for HTMLGIANT, she identified herself as the organizer of the OCD fundraiser that sparked the first flurry of abuse claims and thanked Dixon for speaking out at the time. Dixon’s persistence despite the backlash, Certa said, gave her the strength to finally break free of Sherl’s emotional manipulations. 

    With October’s arrival, the alt lit (or “alternative literature”) bubble was rocked by rape allegations against novelist Tao Lin and Stephen Tully Dierks, editor of Pop Serial. This prompted reply from all of the websites mentioned above—Kia Groom reiterated her experience in a Quaint article on the death of the scene, while Hobart ran a bewildering essay by Ellen, later demolished by the Toast’s Mallory Ortberg.

    Ellen’s pseudo-defense of the men accused in the scandal elicted an open letter from Certa, who had continued to add details to her own story. She had been engaged to Sherl “up until May 31st” of 2014, she wrote, and none of what Dixon had said about him shocked her:

    I can also tell you that during my relationship with Gregory I was emotionally, psychologically, and sexually abused by him. I can tell you that I was raped on more than one occasion. And that should be enough. But over and over I see victims of rape and sexual abuse have the legitimacy of their claims questioned. People demand details. Context. Evidence. Proof. This is problematic for many reasons that to even think about addressing the issue makes my head spin. But at this point, on behalf of all the victims who continue to be silenced, questioned, and criticized, to say something is to further resist oppression.

    Later that month, Certa wrote an email to both an editor and a reviewer at Oprah.com, which had selected The Future for Curious People—a sci-fi novel in which matchmaking technology can also predict the outcome of a couple’s romance—as a featured book for November. She urged them not to enable the success of a “serial abuser.” With no answer forthcoming, she mounted a new petition, which also took publisher Algonquin Books to task for failing to pay their promised lip service to victims of domestic abuse:

    The publishers, Algonquin Books, as well as the co-author, Julianna Baggott, [and the agent, Nat Sobel] are well aware of [Sherl’s] enacted violence against women. When I first spoke up in the summer they told me, via phone call, that they would make a statement acknowledging the suffering of the women who have been abused by Sherl. But a statement never came, and it pains me to see his book continue to be promoted, especially since he preys on women who admire his literary work.

    In an email to the Daily Dot, Certa outlined her interactions with Algonquin further:

    Algonquin Books knew about the allegations as soon as they came out—I was still dating Gregory at the time, and no one at Algonquin seemed to question whether or not they could be true. I mean, they didn't question Greg and they certainly didn't ask me anything except to make sure he would be on time for his conference calls. He just told everyone the allegations weren't true, that (also like [Jian] Ghomeshi), Kat Dixon was a crazy ex-girlfriend who’d been waiting for an opportunity to bring a smear campaign against him. This is the classic defense of many abusers, and anytime we hear this defense we need to recognize it as the red flag that it is. Julianna Baggott, Greg's co-author for the novel, as well as Nat Sobel, Greg’s literary agent, also knew about the allegations as soon as they came out. As far as I know Nat Sobel dismissed them without much thought, saying, “there are two sides to every story,” and when Greg pitched an idea for a memoir on having been cyber-bullied (because of course that's how Greg interpreted the allegations, since he is always the victim, since he is never responsible for his actions)—Nat and Julianna both loved the idea.

    Certa and Dixon are now working in tandem to thwart Sherl’s career. Both continue to write about him, and Dixon has even taken the fight to Amazon, where she argued with a reviewer who said that he had Googled Sherl’s name and found only “a really high-quality catalogue of writing”—a dubious assertion, as Dixon’s January post about him is currently Sherl’s top-ranked search result. 

    In a separate email to the Daily Dot, Dixon made the case that it’s irresponsible to divide Sherl’s actions from his work, as one has everything to do with the other. 

    What Greg did to me, well, is something I'd prefer no one ever have to experience, and the literary community, in all its insularity, is particularly inclined to foster this sort of behavior—or, at the very least, to shut down discussion of it under the guise of some grand separation between so-called art and artist. In the case of Greg, who exploits his relationships for his work and uses his professional status to prey on women, allowing this false separation comes at a detriment to all women, and it sends the message that the lives of the women he has already victimized are of lesser value than his final product. Speaking personally, I am unfortunately aware of the ways in which the horrific abuses I suffered didn't end when the relationship did. Greg went on to write and publish Monogamy Songs, which re-detailed our relationship—and me—from his perspective, the same perspective he'd used to gaslight me for months. It, of course, contained no mention of abuse, and he was again able to present himself as this mystic victim of love.

    Certa said that the petition and general push for industry acknowledgement became necessary when Oprah.com deleted comments advising readers to research Sherl’s past. “[I]t’s true that three small presses immediately dropped his books, publicly cutting their ties with him and standing in solidarity with the women who had spoken up,” she wrote. “This is what we need to see on a larger scale, but of course on a larger scale we run into even more problems—capitalism, the prevalence of rape culture, patriarchal beliefs and attitudes that the public at large continues to enforce, as opposed to dismantle. Money, business contracts, and company reputations have higher value than the lives of women.” 

    “Sarah has been very concerned that [The Future for Curious People’s] marketing to women, and endorsements from O Magazine and Roxane Gay, have and will continue to allow Greg more opportunities to find and victimize a greater number of women,” Dixon added. “I have to agree. These endorsements are hypocritical, at best, as they blatantly support a perpetrator outed by numerous women, and at worst, they create a greater risk for the women who may one day fall within Greg's sight line.”

    Gay, for her part, bristled at the notion that she might be blamed for Sherl’s future actions. “I am just rather frustrated by the narrowness of this. I abhor this situation but a lot of responsibility is unfairly being placed on my shoulders,” she wrote in an email to the Daily Dot. Although she and Sherl moved in the same circles for years—she favorably reviewed Heavy Petting, a collection of his poetry—she noted that she has vigorously denounced him on Twitter and her blog. The blurb, she explained, was a matter of bad timing: 

    [Sherl’s] violent, physically, emotionally, and sexually abusive treatment of women is absolutely unacceptable. My heart breaks for the women who had to endure his abuse. I blurbed his novel because his co-writer, Julianna Baggott approached me and I am a big fan of her work. I had, previously, also admired Sherl's work. And then, after the blurb was turned in, the allegations began coming out. As a survivor, as a feminist, as a human being, it was sickening to know my words were out there, endorsing a book by a writer capable of such cruelty. Unfortunately, I cannot undo the blurb. I cannot turn back time. It has been frustrating that a blurb for a book that received little notice of any kind (and rightly so given the allegations facing Sherl; the market reacted accordingly), has now been assigned a disproportionate amount of influence. Because I haven't publicly performed my outrage on this issue in the exact way those involved would like, I have been accused of all sorts of things.

    “I highly doubt my blurb will draw more women into Sherl's orbit and it is irresponsible and unfair to suggest so,” Gay concluded. “The only person responsible for drawing women into Gregory Sherl's orbit is Gregory Sherl.”

    When asked how Sherl has continued to thrive professionally with so many people allied against him, Certa was blunt: “[P]artly because of his ability to manipulate others,” she wrote. “He is incredibly intelligent, charming, and knows exactly what people want to hear. He is always one step ahead of everyone else, often positioning himself as a victim of mental illness and passion only to then turn on those who empathize with him.” But Certa also laid blame upon “a system that enables him to do what he does for as long as he does without ever facing consequences or being held accountable for his actions.”

    Dixon had more to say on that score:  

    From the time I first began speaking out until now, I've received the same kind of responses: it's no one's business but my own; this isn't the appropriate time/place to discuss this; what happens behind closed doors is unknowable; it's too easy to call out men on the Internet—thus more likely that I'm a liar; Greg is the real victim for having his reputation tarnished, etc. Greg has the privileges all male perpetrators have: his word (even if it’s a silent one) counts more than mine. His word counts more than even a number of women relaying similar stories. No matter how intimately I detail my experiences, he will always be given the benefit of the doubt, and as such, Sarah and I (and other women who have or might one day speak out publicly), are not. The literary community, in particular, is quick to make young male idols and very hard pressed to let them fall.

    Does the pair expect a response from Algonquin or the Oprah empire? “To be honest, I don't,” Certa wrote. “Not any time soon. Not until more media outlets pick up this story and the pressure gets higher. It is slow work, it is hard work, but most important work is. I often say, ‘If you are working for women's rights and you are not mostly miserable, then you're probably not working hard enough.’”

    Sherl did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication. When we called the office of Nat Sobel, who currently represents Sherl, we were informed that he was traveling and unavailable for the next week. No one else at his literary agency, Sobel Weber Associates, was able or willing to comment further. 

    Photo by Sean McGrath/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


    0 0

    When I saw the words “Kim Kardashian full frontal” and immediately clicked through (of course I did), I was surprised by what I felt—and no, that’s not a boner joke.

    Mrs. West looks bangin’ in her fully nude spread for Paper magazine. Of course she does. But her facial expression is ultimately the most interesting thing about that picture. 

     

     

    Long after this particular image of her particular boobs and vagina have faded into the not-at-all particular stream of boobs and vaginas that ripples through every American’s subconscious, that facial expression will still be interesting. Kim Kardashian looks really, really happy in that picture, and I feel happy for her. 

     

     

    I’m not a particular Kim Kardashian apologist. I’ll watch the shows at the gym, when I get to the gym. I don’t play her game, although lots and lots of people do. Honestly, I expected to be a little grossed out by the full-frontal picture. She’s greased up to an almost illogical degree, and merely posing nude isn’t normally a thing that primarily makes me think, Hey, good on you. I noted the earlier butt photo and moved on, impressed but unmoved. But now, with the full frontal—that face! She’s got me. 

    Of all of the facial expressions to choose for a full-frontal nude photograph that will immediately and undoubtedly be seen by more people than the Super Bowl, Kim went with one that seems more appropriate for a surprise party, or the opening credits of a ’90s sitcom. And that is absolutely delightful to me.

    That face is saying, “HAYYY GIRL! I’m the nakedest!” It’s not a sexy smoulder, a half-lidded blowjob face, or anything you’d expect from the phrase “Kim Kardashian full frontal”—she is having a great, goofy time. From the neck up, she looks like someone pulling off her nightgown in the middle of a fancy dinner party. From the neck down, it’s a different kind of dinner party, but the overall effect isn’t as much sexy as it is fun. It’s been said that she has a “light in her eyes.” She looks almost innocent: playful and unrestrained. She looks happy, she even looks kind of funny. 

    That face seems to anticipate (because both the Kardashians and the Wests do nothing if not anticipate) any criticism and wave it away. What are you going to say to that look of pure joy? You want her to feel bad because she’s someone’s mother? Look at that face: She is someone’s mother and she looks damn good being one. You want her to cover up and get a real job? Look at that face: She’s turned her body and image into a multimedia empire. You don’t care because we’ve seen it all before? Look at that face: It knows you’re looking. She’s showing us the most famous body in America, again, and we’re all looking, again. 

    Looking at these photos, I feel strangely proud for her. She might be stark naked, but she has never looked more in control. Break the Internet? For sure. Kim Kardashian’s face is a troll face, and it’s beautiful.

    Photo via Paper magazine


    0 0

    Those aren’t just boxes they’re talking about.

    Jimmy Fallon and Channing Tatum are putting on their best poker faces to try to thwart the other in another game of “Box of Lies.” By now, the audience knows the general schtick of the variety game, and while Tatum might be a better liar than Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone, he still needs to resort to innuendos and some rare truth-telling to trip up his competition.

    Instead of trying to lie their way through what’s in the box, can we just watch them try to push the envelope over what could be in it through suggestive puns and eyebrow raises?

    Screengrab via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube


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