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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    The nominations for the 2013 Grammy Awards are out, and two YouTube smash hits managed to make the cut.

    Canadian Idol finalist Carly Rae Jepsen and Australian artist Gotye have been nominated for “Call Me Maybe” and “Somebody That I Used to Know,” respectively.

    But the two artists are not competing against each other for any of the awards. Jepsen is up for Best Song and Best Pop Solo Performance while Gotye is up for Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Alternative Music Album for Making Mirrors (the album on which “Somebody” appears).

    “Over the moon excited. Two @TheGRAMMYs nominations!!! Extremely thankful,” Jepsen tweeted on Thursday. Gotye retweeted news of the nominations from the Twitter account of his management.

    The nods for Jepsen and Gotye mark a growing trend: musicians who gain immense popularity on YouTube are starting to be acknowledged with award nominations.

    The music video for “Call Me Maybe” came out in February and quickly blew up after Justin Bieber discovered it and—along with Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, and a bunch of their friends—donned mustaches while lip syncing to the tune.

    And soon enough, a new parody of “Call Me Maybe” began to appear online daily. YouTube stars covered it, the Overly Attached Girlfriend stared into our souls, a man in a bikini sung it to unknowing ChatRoulette users, and bros got in on it. The Daily Dot even created a one-stop shop for any “Call Me Maybe” cover worth watching. 

    Gotye’s hit song premiered on YouTube last July; the parodies soon followed. One showed rage faces, another was a Star Wars spoof. One duo even made fun of the song’s catchy nature when they complain about the song but can’t help themselves once the chorus hits.

    The parodies eventually came to a head when Gotye himself made a massive montage of all the song parodies, titled “Somebodies: A YouTube Orchestra,” in August.

    “In that six minutes, it just about covers all of my feelings about the song and what’s happened to it—some really poignant things and beautiful moments and some absolutely absurd, hilariously shit moments and a lot of stuff in between,” Gotye told the Daily Dot about making the montage video. “It was also a genuine thank you to all of the people who, in some cases, spent an incredible amount of time parodying the artwork.”

    The parodies helped both Jepsen and Gotye gain staggering numbers on their videos: Jepsen has more than 354 million views, while Gotye, with more than 352 million, isn’t far behind.

    However, the sheer number of YouTube views does not guarantee success (or even a nominee).

    Korean rapper Psy seemed unstoppable. The Internet caught “Gangnam Style” fever when the video first appeared online in July, and it hasn’t slowed down since. In just five months, it’s been parodied almost every way imaginable. Talk show hosts do the horse trot on live TV. Psy even beat another YouTube phenomenon, Justin Bieber, to nab the most-viewed video of all time. Even President Obama is a fan.

    But Psy and Bieber didn’t get any Grammy love this year. Both artists were snubbed. Bieber is listed under Diplo for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and Psy wasn’t nominated at all.

    Photo via Carly Rae Jepsen/YouTube


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    With over 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) Dave Warner, “Extraneous Lyrics 2012”

    Some of this year’s top pop songs (and viral hits) are given a wordier twist with the help of a thesaurus thanks to Dave “OkaySamurai” Warner’s annual Extraneous Lyrics mashup. It’s a mouthful, but you’ll be less likely to get it stuck in someone else’s head.

    2) Slacktory, “Supercut: Liam Neeson always gets the last word”

    Liam Neeson isn’t the most polite conversationalist and always has to get the last word in an argument. Whether he’s adding a witty comment or about to kill you, he’ll always win.

    3) Lance Ford, “Wreck It Ralph and Fight Club Movie Trailer Mashup”

    The first rule of Fix-It Felix is you don’t talk about Fix-It Felix. Edward Norton’s character from Fight Club game jumps around the city and attends group therapy sessions as he follows the footsteps of Wreck-It Ralph with help from Tyler Durden and Marla Singer.

    4) Dr. Cool Sex Comedy, “Super Mario Zombie Brothers”

    Armed with a hammer and plunger in first person shooter mode, Mario tries to save Princess Peach, but instead of from Bowser, it’s the zombie apocalypse. And Mario finds out the hard way that he’s essentially alone.

    5) Paolo Monti, “Wham Vs PSY - Last Christmas, Gangnam Style”

    Last Christmas, Psy did the horse trot for you, but this year he might go somewhere else. Paolo Monti combined a one-hit wonder with one of the biggest hits of the year to create a mashup that clashes more than it flows together.

    Photo via Dave Warner/YouTube


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    Every evening, the Daily Dot delivers a selection of links worth clicking from around the Web, along with the day's must-see image or video. We call it Dotted Lines.

    Above: The viral PSA sensation “Dumb Ways to Die” gets a video game-themed parody.


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    Sitting all day can kill you.  At least according to some reports.  That’s why more feline office workers are opting to ditch the traditional cubicle setup in favor of so-called stand up desks.  

    The desks, which are essentially a raised platform on which you can prob your laptop or computer, force the user to stand while working.  This greatly increases circulation and can increase kitty life expectancy by up to 40%.  As an added bonus, the desks reportedly reduce on-the-job napping and can help combat feline obesity

    Via coconeko.


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    Spotify’s most popular songs of the year are an amalgamation of abhorrent radio fodder and YouTube’s one-hit wonders: Train, Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen, and not one but two Flo Rida tracks.

    That’s a heartbreaking reality for a year that flooded our collective inboxes with an endless stream of brilliant new music. The problem is that competent curators are few and far between. Traditional tastemakers have focused on creating apps that incorporate Spotify into their output, not the other way around--where the focus is on creating custom experiences on and for Spotify. (That will likely change with Spotify’s addition of new social features on Thursday.)

    The year in music deserves a sprawling playlist across genre lines, not a mere best-of list or compressed mashup—a block of music that prioritizes the listener and music discovery.

    Since late 2008, I’ve been on a Facebook thread with the most indignant music fans I’ve ever met, a gated community of fantasy football talk and pop culture critiques. It’s a libelous red carpet of veiled threats and genre experts whose interests include hip-hop, general indie rock, metal, alt-country, folk, and every bastard subgenre of electronic music. These people work: edit magazines, study digital copyright laws, hold down music columns for alternative weeklies, sneak their bylines into leading outlets, work the PR back end at labels in New York City, tour manage, and chime in with real talk. It’s the only reason most of us are on Facebook.

    This week we tackled an ambitious playlist project that was fleshed out in 300 messages over the last 48 hours. We debated the pros and cons of allowing The Weeknd a bid on our mix because his work came of age last year and his Trilogy is technically a major label reissue. (I successfully lobbied for “Valerie,” one of dude’s few standalone new numbers included on the 3-CD set.)

    Unfortunately, an overwhelming supply of the year’s best hip-hop stems from mixtapes, and even the highly touted ones like Action Bronson’s Blue Chips aren’t floating around Spotify’s vast digital chambers (a segregation problem in music for another day). But with so much good stuff on Spotify today, our collective focus birthed a behemoth playlist that spans 24 hours, 360 songs, and includes no more than three tracks from any given artist. (I’m sure there’s some production overlap but whatever.)

    You’ll skim tons for sure, but the thing works as a morning to the morning stream. It even comes around full circle with the first and last song from Father John Misty’s Fear Fun—one of those brilliant and gorgeously arranged albums that has yet to receive much year-end shine. Regrettably, metal makes but a cameo appearance and that’s 100% because our token metal guy ignored our pleas for selections, because "Spotify is for hipsters." 

    Photo via @FatherJohnMisty/Twitter


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    With over 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) Legs Media, “A Short History of the Gif”

    The 25-year history of the animated GIF and how it went from a format to an artform is told through claymation as Legs Media visualizes the original pronunciation, its survival and even how anything can be turned into a GIF.

    2) The Fine Brothers, “YouTubers React to Viral Videos”

    The Fine Brothers’ React series has finally gone meta. Their newest show features some of the biggest YouTube stars as they watch and discuss one of the earliest viral videos: “Evolution of Dance.”

    3) EW, “Best and Worst of 2012: Breaking Bad on Lifetime”

    It’s all in the network. If you ignore the meth business, Walter White is a pretty stand-up guy who comforts a crying Jesse Pinkman and holds his family together after an affair is revealed. Heisenberg probably wouldn’t watch it, though.

    4) Tommy Edison, “Describing Colors to Blind People”

    If you think about it, color is a strange concept. Tommy Edison has been blind since birth and he discusses the many attempts by friends to explain color to him through sounds and other objects, but he doesn’t quite get it.

    5) Christopher Herr, “The Most Astounding Fact - Animated”

    One of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s many talks about the universe is given a visual depth by Christopher Herr thanks to footage of the stars and night sky from Tree of Life and a soothing song.

    Photo via Legs Media/YouTube


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    If the next season of Arrested Development is still too far away for you, here’s something for which it’s worth raiding the banana stand for money.

    The site 72Pins has reimagined parts of the show as video games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Sadly, they don’t exist as actual games; just the concepts with smartly designed game cartridges (which have real NES games on them and actually work, apparently).

    Just imagine playing a Donkey Kong-style game with Steve Holt as your nemesis, trying to fist pump his hands in your face as you try to jump onto his head. Or a car race game where finishing first is less important than avoiding banana peels and hop-ons (you’re gonna get hop-ons).

    We can only assume that Chicken Dance Revolution affords difficulty settings for your family members’ variations on the chicken dance.

    There are six games in the collection, though we can’t tell if Dr. Funke's 100 Percent Natural Good-Time Family Band Solution is a music game, a medical mystery, or (hopefully) both.

    We can only hope this is the start of something bigger. Fingers crossed for All You Need Is Smiles, which sees Oscar Bluth navigate the California coastline, and Call Me Maeby, a morally complicated relationship game aimed at saccharine-sweet-pop-loving tweens.

    Here’s hoping Gob Bluth doesn’t hear about all this, else he might want some Mr. Bananagrabber royalties.

    Photos via 72Pins


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    Have you ever wondered what happens when you do a Google Image search for “dying grandparents”?

    Sure, why not. It was a logical enough question to occur to a contributor at Buzzfeed, a factoid-aggregating website that deals in everything from OMG to LOL. Two days ago, it occurred to staffer Dave Stopera, and the result was deep into WTF territory.

    Dozens and dozens of pictures of Christina Aguilera.

    Was the Ecuadorian songstress moonlighting as some sort of granny-offing assassin? Has she ever been arrested for senicide? Could it be a case of search engine optimization gone amok? Was this somehow 4chan’s fault?

    Actually, the answer turns out to be nothing so nefarious as any of the above. As an A-List celebrity constantly featured in gossip blogs, Aguilera simply has so much Googlejuice that she blew away all actual dying-grandparent-having civilians, people who rarely have their pictures featured on RadarOnline or TMZ.

    Until this morbid story broke, the front page of Google’s “dying grandparents” search was full of mostly to-the-point articles about coping with the looming loss of family members. Down at the bottom of the page was a June 2012 article from RadarOnline which suggested the singer, who was estranged from her father, was missing out on the last days of her paternal grandparents, both of whom were gravely ill. You’d expect image searches to return a similarly varied slate of results, but you’d be wrong for several reasons.

    First, stories about dying grandparents tend not to be illustrated with photos of the grieving or the dying. The only exception is when it’s someone famous: When fame is involved, however tangentially, the media will always run a picture of the celebrity. You won’t see many stories about a star’s new yacht that come with a picture of the boat instead of the star. The public doesn’t care about a boat, really, and the media knows this. The same, alas, can be said for perfectly nice, but obscure, dying grandparents. Thus, the majority of pictures are going to be of the star with the dying grandparents.

    Secondly, once a story is on a gossip blog, it gets recycled and linked to by a dozen or more gossip sites daily. Celebrity blogs have a conspiracy of linking, you link to me three times a week and I’ll link to you three times a week, and this has been very, very successful at raising the search engine standings of gossip blogs, despite the best efforts of Google, Yahoo, et al. Search engines rank posts with incoming links higher than other posts. So, all other things being equal, a gossip blog’s post on a subject will generally outrank a non-gossip blog’s post on the subject.

    Images themselves have huge Googlejuice, as every image offers multiple places to put in keywords, those words for which search engines are looking—in this case, “dying grandparents.” Gossip blogs are heavily image-dependent; you won’t find many posts without a picture. On Wordpress, the most common gossip site software, each image has four places for keywords: the file name, alt “floater” text, caption, and description. If each one has “Xtina dying grandparents” then one single image hits that result four times, without even taking into account the title and text contents of the post. Again, search engines are taking action to mitigate this effect, but it still means that any post with an image outranks any equivalent post without, and any blog with a lot of pictures outranks any site without, again giving the advantage to image-focused celebrity blogs.

    We hope that Xtina and her family have worked out their differences, but clearly if that singing thing ever starts to peter out for her, she could always go into the SEO business.

    Photo via Cea/Flickr


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  • 12/10/12--04:59: The Morning GIF: Bar noir
  • Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    Illustrator Ward Jenkins, known online as Wardomatic, is a bit of a machine, a bit of a social media star, and now a bit of a muse. He has the Internet bases covered with a website, a blog, a Tumblr, a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and, yes, an Etsy store. With an appealing and imaginative mid-century-influenced style, he’s got the artistic bases covered too.

    Now he’s sharing the podium with Banksy as an inspiration to GIF artist ABVH, who famously brought to life Banksy’s iconic graffiti.

    Choosing an atypically dark (in every sense) Jenkins piece as his starting point, ABVH turned it into a subtle cinemagraph. By animating only the eyes, the smoke, and the tip of the barfly’s cigarette, he was able to retain and even accentuate the claustrophobic immobility of the subject.

     

    The original Jenkins piece was an entry in Illustration Friday, a casually competitive challenge among professional illustrators and artists that dates to 2005. He explained:

    “I immediately thought of a film noir scene when I first read of the week's theme, black & white, and so, being that I had recently wrote about Frank Miller's Sin City, I wanted to get real dark and gritty. I wanted to go to both extremes with the tone, from bright whites to jet blacks, from bright lights to sunken shadows. So, what a better setting to convey this type of scene, than in a bar?”

    An decidedly noir scene for both normally sunny artists, the GIF has received 446 notes since it was posted yesterday. As for the subject, he’s probably on his third bottle and his last chance by now.


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    In Buzzed, we take a look at three things that trended over the weekend while you were away from your keyboard getting buzzed.

    On Twitter
    A slew of celebrities took to Twitter to share their condolences about Jenni Rivera, a Mexican-American singer who died in a plane crash Sunday. She was one of the most respected singers to continually top the Latin music charts and recently signed a television deal with ABC. She was 43 years old.

    On YouTube
    During this weekend’s KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concert, Gwen Stefani joined her husband, Bush singer Gavin Rossdale, and sang “Glycerine,” one of the band’s biggest hits. The rock-and-roll power couple holds this concert in a special place in their hearts, as they met 17 years ago at the annual show for the Los Angeles radio station.

    On Tumblr and Instagram
    American royalty and apparent Gallery Girls fans Beyoncé and Jay-Z stopped by Art Basel in Miami this weekend. The pair looked perfect per usual as they hobnobbed at various parties, including artist Jose Perla’s book party, from which Paper magazine posted pictures to their Tumblr.

    Baddie Bey posted some pictures of Basel experiences to her Instagram and Tumblr. We hope her pop-up store went a little better than End of Century’s.

    Photo via Beyoncé/Tumblr


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  • 12/10/12--06:14: The 8 worst Hanukkah fails
  • Happy Hanukkah, everyone! Nearly 2,200 years ago, Judah Maccabee revolted against the Seleucid Empire, reclaimed a holy temple, and lit it for eight days with one day's worth of oil. Today, we celebrate by lighting the menorah—and shaming people on the Internet who just don't get it.

    1) Elton John fail

    Don't mistake the Jewish holiday, which commemorates freedom from religious persecution in the second century B.C., with a song from The Lion King

    2) Spelling fail

    Don't forget how to spell it.

    via

    But if you do, just ask Bing:

    3) Menorah fail

    Don't run out of candles.

    via

    4) Matzoh fail

    Remember that matzoh is for Passover (in April).

    via

    (Whole Foods later apologized.)

    5) Kosher fail

    While ham may be delicious, this is pretty insulting:

    via

    6) Stereotype fail

    Don't make stupid jokes about Jews being cheap (especially on a billboard).

    via

     

    7) Proportion fail

    At least pretend Hannukah is as important as Christmas.

    via

    8) Basic fail

    Most importantly, if you really have no idea what it is Jews celebrate in December, it's best not to brag about it on Twitter:

     

    Photo via Snopes.com


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    Judges of the 34th annual Feline Christmas Decorators Competition have crowned Daisy the winner for her magnificent spruce. The tree features plenty of dangling catnip-filled mice and a giant yarn ball topper.

    “We’ve seen some amazing trees in our time,” says Randy Kepler, one of the seven judges. “But Daisy’s is truly a Yuletide masterpiece.”

    Via anonalias.


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    Movies have the Academy Awards. Popular music has the Grammy Awards. Television has the Emmy Awards. Theater has the Tony Awards. For all their myriad flaws (“We Are Young” for record of the year? Seriously?) these awards are the gold standard for their respective mediums, a sort of Holy Grail of Prestige.

    Last Tuesday in San Francisco, Stitcher, the popular Internet radio service and app that serves as something of a Pandora for podcasting, took a stab at establishing the medium’s equivalent with the first annual Stitcher Awards. With 200 attendees and 160,000 votes, and hosted by the venerable Marc Maron, the Stitcher Awards were (relatively speaking) a fairly high-profile event. The winners included widely beloved Public Radio International stalwart This American Life for best overall show, while The Nerdistsnagged best comedy show, and WTF With Marc Maron’s Tenacious D installment won best single episode.

    Though they attracted little mainstream attention—outside of a fun writeup from USA Today’s Pop Candy blog—the Stitcher Awards were a noteworthy event for podcast fans. Though growing in popularity, podcasts remain a relatively niche phenomenon; only a fraction of the United States population listens to podcasts, and more than half of Americans aren’t even familiar with the concept, according to research from the Pew Research Center. If the Stitcher Awards are able to catch on and gain some mainstream traction, they can help expose new audiences to podcasts and can shed at least a little light on some trends in podcasting.

    Here are five of the major points that I observed in combing through the winners this year.

    1) Networks wield considerable power.

    Of the 20 Stitcher Award winners, a comfortable majority belong to some variety of network—whether that’s a traditional outlet (BBC, NPR) or one of the newer networks like Nerdist Industries, SModcast, or How Stuff Works. It would seem that the inherent strengths of a network, from the ability to pool resources to (at least in theory) a certain quality-control threshold, give podcasts that belong to a network a distinct competitive advantage over other shows. This is not to say that a totally independent podcast can’t break through, because a fair number of such shows managed to nab a Stitcher Award. But podcasts without the backing of a network definitely face a more uphill battle.

    2) Public radio doesn’t necessarily dominate.

    There are categories in the Stitcher Awards that are almost entirely owned by public radio, be it NPR, Public Radio International, or the BBC. Unsurprisingly, such networks dominate in politics, news and journalism, with BBC Global News winning best news and politics, and WNYC’s Radiolab winning most original journalism. And it seems unlikely that any podcast will unseat the overall dominance of This American Life any time soon. That’s not a surprise; traditional media enjoys a considerable advantage in politics and journalism, with access to better-known guests, larger audiences, and most importantly, more money. After all, original journalism is expensive work.

    But more Stitcher Awards went to podcasts that live entirely online than radio shows. This came as a moderate, and pleasant, surprise to Podspotting; while public radio outlets do great work—work that’s difficult to do for one podcast alone to do—it’s nice to see smaller operations managing to hang with relative giants like NPR and the BBC.

    Photo of Marc Maron via Stitcher Awards

    3) Defining podcast genres can be tricky.

    Don’t get me wrong, defining genres in any artistic medium can be tricky—perhaps most hilariously and consistently in music, which has given us such gems as chillwave, liquid funk, and slowcore, among many others—but it seems to be especially challenging in podcasts. Many of the shows straddle multiple genres and, consequently, fell into certain Stitcher Award categories seemingly arbitrarily. Take, for instance, the category of best games and hobbies. The category included everything from videogame shows (The Indoor Kids) to travel shows (Travel With Rick Steves) to quiz shows (NPR’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!). Those are three shows that should not be competing in the same category. Similarly, note the odd placement of Doug Loves Movies in best film and television, alongside the erudite film podcast Filmspotting; Doug Loves Movies would almost certainly make more sense competing as a comedy podcast or up against a quiz show like Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! There’s not necessarily anything Stitcher can do about this, but it stands out as a challenge in cobbling together any slate of podcast awards.

    4) Multiple metrics are essential.

    Astute readers may have noticed that, in my various mentions of podcast awards thus far, I haven’t mentioned perhaps the most obvious example, the Podcast Awards, which will see its eighth installment in Las Vegas in January. There are a couple of reasons for that: For starters, the Podcast Awards remain relatively obscure and winners are often somewhat confounding, which, at the least, suggests that some fanbases may be really good at taking advantage of the system. This isn’t always the case—and the 2011 winners, on-balance, made sense—but the Podcast Awards have often seen hyper-specific shows somewhat inexplicably win general categories, like the dominance of Firefly-related podcasts.

    Like the Podcast Awards, the Stitcher Awards incorporate user votes, but they also took into account show rankings on the Stitcher List, which produces a series of winners that looks like a pretty accurate representation of what the podcast audience is actually listening to—and likely reduces the ability of any show to stuff the digital ballot box too much. Of course, those votes are coming from Stitcher users, which aren’t necessarily representative of the entire podcast audience; if any podcast award is to be credible in the long-term, it will probably have to exist independently from any single service. The Academy Awards, for example, probably wouldn’t be taken quite as seriously if they were, say, the Netflix Awards instead.

    5) Few new shows were able to break through in 2012.

    Though there were a smattering of shows nominated that emerged within the last year, and a couple of winners—including Good Job, Brain! for best album art and Mohr Stories for, well, best new show—for the most part the shows that collected a Stitcher Award were well-established, years-old properties. There are a few ways to view this: You might argue that the field of popular podcasts has largely solidified and that breaking in is exceedingly difficult. You might also argue that there just weren’t that many good shows to debut in 2012. More charitably, you might contend that podcast popularity is largely about the slow, steady effects of inertia, and that it takes time for even a great podcast to get into a groove and find an audience. At any rate, the field appears ripe for more innovation; with most of the popular podcasts a pretty known quantity at this point, the podcast world is overdue for some challengers to shake things up a bit; hopefully promising, inventive shows like The Truth and Decode DC will continue to expand in popularity and ambition in 2013.

    Logo via Sticher Awards/Twitter


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    With over 72 hours of footage uploaded every minute, it’s physically impossible to keep track of the content on YouTube. But in YouTube Guide, the Daily Dot will curate its five favorite finds for each workday.

    1) AwesomenessTV, “Cereal Killers”

    A psychotic health nut is on the loose—and he’s bent on global cereal domination. General Mills recruits Crunch, the world’s most decorated captain, who in turn enlists one lucky leprechaun and a Rabbit to take down the Quaker.

    2) Ze Frank, “True Facts About Baby Echidnas”

    The Echidna is a strange creature with a hard-to-pronounce name who was created shortly after God made marijuana. At least, that’s what Ze Frank is claiming in his latest “True Facts” video, which features a list of facts that are anything but.

    3) Shane Dawson, “Maybe This Christmas”

    First it was Alex Day, and now Shane Dawson is the latest YouTuber to release a Christmas music video. In “Maybe This Christmas,” he watches his girlfriend from beyond the grave and wants to be able to dance with her one last time.

    4) PandoDaily, “The Ballad of John McAfee”

    John McAfee had a fewbusyweeks on the run (and much mystery surrounding him) before he was arrested in Guatemala, and as the movie rights to his story were sold to Impact Future Media, PandoDaily paints McAfee’s tale with the rumors and facts at hand.

    5) ERB, “Moses vs Santa Claus”

    Santa may bring presents to children all over the world, but ERB managed to recruit rapper Snoop Dogg to play Moses, and even with the standard marijuana jokes, he beats Santa to the ground with his staff.

    Photo via AwesomenessTV/YouTube


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    After denying rumors last week that she walked off DC’s flagship Batgirl revival project, where she was hailed as one of the comic’s most innovative and important writers, beloved writer and feminist Gail Simone revealed the truth Sunday: She was kicked off the project last Wednesday via email.

    “It is baffling and sad,” she added.

    This isn’t just a routine firing or reshuffling of resources. The success of the new Batgirl spoke to the desire of comic fans to support well-done revivals as well as change within an industry where sexism is deeply entrenched. As Tim Hanley noted, “of the 14 issues of Batgirl released so far, only ONE has sold less than DOUBLE what the previous series ended on...Almost all of this can be attributed to Gail Simone.” Popular comics Tumblr dcwomenkickingass laid it out:

     

    So in the bizarro world that is DC Comics:

    • Despite Batgirl selling the best of any of their female led books in the New 52 in according to the latest sales charts.
    • Despite the book receiving many accolades including from the New York Times (although the book had its detractors as well - welcome to comics).
    • And despite the fact it sold as well as, or in the latest sales chart, [better than] books starring Nightwing, Red Robin and Red Hood, the Holy Trinity of former boy Robins

    DC canned Gail Simone from said Batgirl book.

     

    Simone came to fame when she launched the groundbreaking website Women in Refrigerators in the late ‘90s. A simple and damning litany of female comics characters who had been tortured, raped, and murdered, most solely for the sake of providing more angst for male superheroes, “fridged women” became a cultural shorthand to refer to misogyny in comics, gaming, and other facets of geek culture. And Simone herself became an icon noted for her vocal stance on the need for greater gender equality.

    One female superhero who wasn’t fridged, but who couldn’t quite escape the cape unharmed, is  Batgirl Barbara Gordon. In 1988, a comic by Alan Moore of Watchmen fame saw Gordon (the commissioner’s daughter) left with spinal paralysis after being shot by the Joker. In her new role as one of DC’s few active disabled characters, she evolved into Oracle, a brilliant computer hacker and security expert who many fans felt had more power in a wheelchair than she ever had behind a cowl.  

    When DC announced it was rehabilitating Barbara Gordon and returning her to the role of Batgirl as part of the massive “New 52” reboot of the DC Universe, many fans had concerns about erasing Oracle’s disabled identity. DC largely allayed such fears with the subsequent announcement that Simone would be writing the new series.

    Simone was “the sole reason a lot of readers even picked up the New 52 in the first place,” The Mary Sue’s Jill Pantozzi pointed out.

    Simone is not only one of the comics industry’s few notable female power players, but an outspoken critic of misogyny and erasure of women and other minorities in comics. DC has opened itself up to ongoing criticism in the past due to both its notable lack of female writers and artists and the infamous Batgirl incident at last year’s San Diego Comic Con, in which cosplayer Kyrax2 (shown above with Simone), challenged DC on its lack of gender diversity at several panels.

    When a male audience member questioned DC publisher Dan Didio about why the already extreme gender gap at DC had widened from 12 percent female writers to 1 percent, Didio responded with hostility, “Who should we be hiring? Tell me right now.” (Audio clip, via kyrax2.)  Later, when Kyrax asked the New 52 panel if they were committed to hiring more women, Didio and other panelists refused to provide a straight answer.

    After the incident, Kyrax spoke to Simone, who reportedly told her that DC would be hiring more women in the “second wave” of new comics.

    Now, not only has Simone been fired for what many suspect are her own outspoken views on DC’s issues with gender diversity, but she leaves behind only two female writers working on ongoing series: Anne Nocenti and Christy Marx.

    The news comes just days after one of DC’s other few women of power, Karen Berger, announced her departure. Berger stood at the head of edgy DC imprint Vertigo during its golden era of acclaimed and groundbreaking output like Sandman and Y: The Last Man. With Berger and Simone both gone, DC will have few, if any, women occupying prominent roles within the company.

    Meanwhile, Simone has launched a successful Kickstarter project, Leaving Megalopolis, and Marvel artists are wooing her. Though others in the industry were outraged, Simone remained positive, stating on her Tumblr that although, “I feel a genuine sense of loss. This wasn’t just another assignment to me,” she also feels “very, very fortunate” to have worked on Batgirl at all.

    DC can only hope Batgirl fans continue to feel likewise. The company has yet to comment on Simone's firing.

    UPDATE: Simone wrote, via Twitter, "Have also have heard from the higher ups at DC and they have been very kind and have made it clear that things went awry and want other projects from me. So it is going to be a very different year, but things are going to work out, I am convinced. New challenges."

    Photo by Comics Blend


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    Every evening, the Daily Dot delivers a selection of links worth clicking from around the Web, along with the day's must-see image or video. We call it Dotted Lines.

    Above: 10 of your favorite film locations in real life.


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    Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.

    Pusheen, reigning monarch of the definitive feline social media realm, has created a typically archetypal holiday GIF. Summing up all that is best (so precious) and worst (so inconvenient) about our beloved pets, this GIF pretty much encapsulates the Christmas experience for cat owners.

    Minus the ever-delightful experience of pulling semi-digested tinsel out of cat butts. Feliz Navicat!



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    According to numerous reports and yet-to-be-identified local cat was subjected to a full 20 minutes of forced cuddle time this afternoon.  He reportedly was okay with it for the first five minutes or so, but then began to squirm and give onlookers the stink-eye.

    “You could tell he wasn’t happy,” said one source close to the situation.  ”He was already plotting his escape a few minutes in.”

    Once the kitty was free of his ordeal, said our source, he ran a few feet, stopped and then gave himself a good all-over cleaning.

    Via coconeko.


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    Popular YouTuber Ray William Johnson has broken his silence concerning his much-discussed October breakup with Maker Studios, writing in a New Media Rockstars post that "Maker Studios has pushed me to a point where I need to tell the truth about what happened."

    In the confession, Johnson—who runs the most-subscribed-to channel on the video-sharing site—detailed a series of contentions with Maker Studios' CEO Danny Zappin, who Johnson says hid information about his checkered past until Johnson had signed his contract in 2010.

    The big-haired entertainer also explained that the company, which operates out of Los Angeles, tried to restructure the two's contract with eight months left on the original deal and offered a renegotiation that he deemed "incredibly aggressive."

    "They wanted 40 percent of my YouTube channel's Adsense revenue after production costs, and more importantly, they wanted 50 percent of the show's intellectual property in perpetuity.

    "Let me clarify: they wanted to own 50 percent of the intellectual property of 'Equals Three' for the rest of eternity and weren't offering much in return. I have it all in writing."

    That, in tandem with the company's alleged response to Johnson's refusal to restructure—Johnson says that Maker immediately shut down production on a musical album the two parties had been working on "for eight months" and shut down production on "Equals Three" a day later—led to his walking out on the company. That, as he writes, was followed by a "passive-aggressive PR statement" rooted in inaccuracies "to make me look bad.

    "Interestingly enough, at the time I hadn't experienced an overall decline in 'Equals Three' viewership," as the company had claimed, he wrote. "In fact, I was receiving 5 to 6 million unique viewers per month when the entire maker Studios network was only receiving 21 million total unique viewers per month. The statistics are public and anyone can look them up. I also never had a 'production staff of 12 people including a team of writers.' These are simply false accusations designed to paint me in a poor light."

    Maker Studios did not respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment, though Zappin did respond to Johnson's tell-all, reportedly texting a message to him that read "You're lack of integrity and character are sad. Fuck you. Prepare for war… bitch."

    Johnson has since temporarily taken his "Equals Three" program to director Julian Smith's Papertown studio and has plans to open up his own in short time. He announced those changes in a Nov. 27 video titled"Equals Three 2.0."

    "Here is 'Equals Three' the way I've always wanted it to look," he said before leading into a comic book set that looks a lot like his old show.

    The more things change, the more they tend to stay the same.

    Photo via Ray William Johnson/Facebook


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    Real talk: Is there a greater cesspool of crudity and NSFL trolling than an Internet comments section? Check it on Gawker, YouTube, or Yelp. There's simply nothing more vile than the comments that show up under the cloak of anonymity.

    Erik Hoffstad knows this. The 27-year-old Los Angeles copywriter has spent much of his adult life cruising through the comments sections of nearly every Web site on the Internet,  deducing the proper formulas for concocting an ideal comment for each one.  

    Through Internet Comment Etiquette, Hoffstad will show you how to troll the trollers, bringing you a basic how-to for posting comments and raising hell. His suggestion: Write as many F-bombs as possible. Ours: Grab yourself a stiff drink and witness the master at work.

    Photo via Internet Comment Etiquette/YouTube


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