Currently viewing the tag: "Gawker"

Oh hey, turns out when I am feeling unwell, we have a great episode of Politics for People Who Hate Politics that is also way too long. Nevertheless, we had a good talk, even a little debate, and it’s worth a watch. Guest star is the dreamy hunk Jayel Aheram, with whom I have joyfully adventured in LA and DC.

A libertarian panel hosted by Lucy Steigerwald, where ranting is encouraged, and smashing the state is mandatory.

-Lucy Steigerwald: Columnist for VICE.com, Antiwar.com, Rare.us, and Editor in Chief of The Stag Blog; @lucystag

-Jayel Aheram: Writer, antiwar and libertarian activist, Marine and Iraq war veteran, kick-ass photographer; @aheram 

-Joe Steigerwald: Publisher for The Stag Blog, technical dude; @steigerwaldino

-Michelle Montalvo: Perpetual intern, sci-fi enthusiast; @michelle7291

-Cory Massimino: Student, writer for DL Magazine, Students for Liberty Blog, Center for a Stateless Society; @CoryMassimino

Our cranky, liberty-loving panel discussed gun control, the drug war, (debated!) this VICE column about Mendocino County’s marijuana policy, sex offender registries, and spent way, way too much time talking about X-Men.

I also have this sweet new graphic.Check out my most recent War at Home:

Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it did not intend to appeal last month’s court decision which removed Rahinah Ibrahim from the “No-Fly list” – making her the first person in years to be taken off that bureaucratic black-hole relic of the Bush war on terror.

This is great news for Ibrahim. But she has been battling for seven years to win this victory for herself. The rest of the however many thousands of folks on that list remain there, with no clear road out of that swamp. And that’s only a small aspect of the myriad ways in which Americans and visitors to America are harassed, oppressed and impeded during their travels.

Last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a study that harshly critiqued the U.S. government’s various watch lists, including the “no-fly” list that Ibrahim found herself on. Some of the problems the ACLU highlighted were the secrecy and the lack of an appeals process for folks who find themselves flagged at airports or downright prevented from flying. They estimate up to a million people are on such lists, and this includes US citizens. People who suspect they are on the no-fly list can only go to the airport and see if they’re prevented from flying. But they still may not get a straight answer from the government, or have any way to get off the list. There is no other way to discover whether a typo, knowing the wrong person or being from the wrong country put them on a list that radically decreases their right to travel.

During the last week of March, the Transportation Security Agency’s (TSA) official report to Congress said the agency wanted armed police officers to be nearby during peak passenger hours. Considering the state of cops in this country, and the complete lack of rights travelers – especially at the borders – have, this is a terrible idea. Yes, last November someone targeted and killed a TSA agent. That’s unfortunate. But thebureaucratic, thoughtless, petty TSA does not need any more power than we have already let it take. We do not want air-travelers who attempt to film their pat-downs or express objections to their treatment fearing that if they reach in their pockets, some itchy-fingered cop will get worried.

The rest here

esq-megan-fox-cover-0213-lgEsquire, oh Esquire. You’re the confederate vampire character Jasper in Twilight — compared to  the other characters/magazines (Bella/Cosmo), you are the weightiest, most literary thing.  But there you are, somehow still being terrible and shallow. You’re always there, a reminder of how bad you are, but don’t have to be, but how much better you are than things that are worse.

But first, a list. Cosmo and associated lady magazines think that women are interested in sex, men, make-up, clothes, things that will kill you, and not much else. Esquire, according to their February issue, believes that you, a Man, are interested in the following things:

Megan Fox’s weirdness and her hotness and her sadness (more on that later), Barack Obama’s second term, how the Post Office is the Best Thing in the World and is Also America, Everyone Should Calm Down About Sex Scandals, head injuries in the NFL,  Kevin Bacon wearing a 5,000 dollar suit, Alan Arkin’s life advice, how to make mushroom gravy for your steak, various sexual things, short stories, poetry — one poem is even by a lady, alcohol, which smartphones have the best cameras, the war in Afghanistan, jokes told by scantily clad women, clothing, the World Trade Center, Chris Christie.

Yes, they are selling you lots of shit, same as lady magazines do, but nobody who has given even a cursory glance at both general interest men magazines and lady ones could ever argue against this summary; that men’s magazines, even the most shallow ones, suggest a lot wider, and meatier range of interests than any women’s ones (even more than, say, Bust, which is just a little too into knitting and shit). You, a Man, have a lot of interests. Sexy ladies are just one of them. Sexy ladies are interested in their looks and in men, men are interested in doing things and thinking things and, yes, getting sexy women. This is not new. This is still frustrating.

Thankfully, Esquire also has some really solid examples of appalling sentences and paragraphs. Their fault, intriguingly (again, when contrasted with Cosmo, which is written at probably a fifth grade reading level) is most often that they are pretentious.  And so, presenting the top five most awful piece of writing in the February Esquire —

1) No reaction to the cover profile of Megan Fox could beat Caity Weaver’s blog for Gawker. Her headline, “Megan Fox Speaks in Tongues and is Symmetrical” is an impressively accurate summary of the content. Weaver’s takeaway, that Fox alludes to a lot of weird, fascinating beliefs, mentioning Pentecostal church, leprechauns  aliens —  but the writer — Stephan Marche — is much more interested in her face, is correct. The worst part of Marche’s writing (read it out loud in the most theatrical tone possible):

The symmetry of her face, up close, is genuinely shocking. The lip on the left curves exactly the same way as the lip on the right. The eyes match exactly. The brow is in perfect balance, like a problem of logic, like a visual labyrinth. It’s not really even that beautiful. It’s closer to the sublime, a force of nature, the patterns of waves crisscrossing a lake, snow avalanching down the side of a mountain, an elaborately camouflaged butterfly. What she is is flawless. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her.

As previously noted by The Awl and Jezebel. Marche also calls Amy Adams and Adele and Lady Gaga “perfectly plain.” This is obviously ridiculous. But says Marche, they are basically signs that ugly women have been okayed by society now. That leads him to his thesis — not that Fox believes weird shit and hates her body being used as dissected and that could be interesting, np — that it’s hard out there fore the symmetrical-faced.

Marche also has to put “I” in his lede. Every single profile of a sexy celebrity needs to start with the author sitting next to or across from their subject. It’s very important. It’s key. I am there, the sexy celebrity is there, look how she eats food, how she curls up her feet onto the sofa, look at her.

(All of this makes me realize how God damned good that New York Times Magazine article about Lindsay Lohan actually was.)

2) I am not reading your article about Barack Obama, Charlies Pierce. You are boring. Okay, fine, here’s something:

“The personal victory he won over most of the things that are cheap and lazy and stupid in our politics has given him the power to disenthrall the public from those same things, and to disenthrall his own administration from its notion that there was some good to be found in the people who so fastened themselves to the cheap and the lazy and the stupid, and that there was some patriotism to be found in the politicians who so profited from them. In his second term, it should be Barack Obama’s job to make that personal victory ours as well.”

Shut up.

3) “This isn’t a story about whether we could live without the post office. It’s about whether we’d want to.” Gawker, my God, your talents could be so great mocking this ode to American postal greatness, if only Hamilton Nolan wasn’t a God damned commie he could skewer this absurity so well.

The name Lysander Spooner sure never shows up in this piece. Nor is a query that maybe private folks could do this easier ever answered. It just hangs there for a paragraph. There is just a worried collection of numbers about privatization — we have 110,000 military contractors, private companies house 16 percent of federal inmates — that have nothing to say about efficiency or morality or public versus private. The person who wrote this piece had better be 150 years old, or we are doomed.

4) “He was the Martyred Jesus of Oral Sex with Interns…” No. Fuck you. Stop it. Your writing makes my my teeth itch. And if you’re pleading for a less puritanical America (fair enough!) do not include Eliot Spitzer in your list of fallen, free love heroes. You get to go to prostitutes, or you get to use your powers as attorney general to crack down on sex workers. You do not get to do both and not be awful. (Though, of course, cracking down on prostitution is gross either way. ) Author, your good points are buried under my urge to punch you.

5) Turns out everything else is tolerable. Tom Junod wrote about head injuries in the NFL, and Junod is overrated, but also not so bad. However, I already read about concussions in sports in Rolling Stone, and I cannot read two articles about sports in one day.  Pleasantly enough, many of asides and briefs are even funny. Something about this issue is slightly more charming than usual, but only the bits and pieces — which, as I know from Reason days, take plenty of time to ensemble, too.

And three out of nine poems aren’t bad — that’s a whole lot better than The New Yorker does.

The laundry list of wide, interesting subjects, the occasional humor, the excessive need to be literary about everything (calm down, we know you published Salinger, you don’t need to get so swoony about Morena Baccarin)… Esquire, you try. I want to like you more than I do, every damn time. This is why you’re are on my love/hate list. I want to write for you, but you piss me off at least half the time. You’re like the Red Eye of magazines, but with much, much worse politics. And yet, every time I start to rant about you, Esquire, I get even more depressed that women’s magazines aren’t even close to being as good as you.

There are many, many, many reasons to hate on Gawker, but somehow Jezebel always manages to do a hell of a lot worse than its older sibling, even in political matters. Gawker is left, it hates on libertarians (or rather, conservatives, objectivists, and libertarians, being unable to tell them apart), and it, in Daily Show style, hates a lot harder on the dumbest critics of Obama and co than the ones with actual power.

And yet, Gawker is never quite this bad.

The headline: “President/Valedictorian Obama Gets Sweetly Nostalgic Following the Inaugural Address” — the actual comments:

Penabler  an hour ago OH GOD HE STILL LOVES US, EVEN WITH ALL OUR SHIT. America seriously doesn’t deserve this guy. We are so awful.

crazyshapedlady and 1 more I know I get really ashamed of America sometimes..

 LittleFlower This scene is so beautiful for exactly that reason… you’d think he’d be completely worn out by now, but that’s a look of pride on his face. He’s soaking it all in, and he looks happy and grateful and humble. God, I love that man. Not even an American, over here. I just love that whole family so much; I’m so relieved he’s getting another 4 years. I hope there’s less opposition to change, this time, but maybe that’s naive of me? Fuckit, I’m happier when I’m naive. *La la laaaa hearts and flowers*
AshleyAutumn I have this in .gif format and it made me weepy when I saw it, so I saved it.
badmutha 1 of 5 replies @Penabler It is funny that you write this because when I read FB and other sites, and read all the awful things the red necks and others say about him, it just breaks my heart. Even with all our shit, he wants to be our President.
Penabler1 reply @badmuthaan hour ago Its super silly, but I love the Obamas, Clintons, and Biden with the manic intensity that a 13 year old has for Justin Bieber. I really hate all the crap we give him collectively as a country.
  • “One would like nothing so much as a powerful legislative drone strike against the NRA and the industry it represents as the opening round in a long and relentless war against gun violence.”
  • “I don’t know what you talking about, I voted for Gary Johnson…I’m a libertarian” — Big Boi talks to Alyona Minkovski about, uh, certain assumptions people make about his politics.
  • One of my favorite things about Reason editors in chief is their ability to ruin everyone’s fun re political light heartedness. Seriously, it is one of their grand traditions. Check out Nick Gillespie’s heroically cranky response to the White House’s “cute” reaction to the can we build a Death Star petition.
  • I am starting to feel like I should be a bigger Tarantino fan.  Also, see, Hollywood people, you can do more than just cozy up to Chavez!
  • The Weekly Standard looks at Bill “my dad” Steigerwald’s Dogging Steinbeck book.
  • Gawker mocks libertarians/mostly just mocks Glenn Beck and confuses objectivists with libertarians. 
  • Go, Montana! Be the libertarian dream-state I so wish you were!
  • Every time I see a story about SWAT used for someone with mental health problems, I shudder. What’s the last thing that would make me feel better if I was in such distress? Jesus.

A few months ago, the internet was briefly entranced by the hilarious Amazon.com user reviews that appeared on the product page for Bic Pens “For Her.” Because Jesus Christ, people, this is why vaguely feminism blogs like Jezebel should exist, to counter this kind of absurdity and to mock it to death. If pens are not gender neutral, nothing shall ever be.

Today my cousin (in seriousness)  shared a facebook photo of a book called The Night Dad Went to Jail. The cover has a sad anthropomorphic bunny writing a letter to their jailed father rabbit.It is a troublingly cute, troublingly human-looking rabbit which is why it’s sort of funny at first glance. Except when you click on the author’s name, Melissa Higgins, you see that she has also written a book to help children get through their parents getting divorced.  The book, it seems, is meant to be taken very seriously. The subtitle in the other edition I found is What to Expect When Someone You Love Goes to Jail.

And why not? This situation has arisen many more times than I can stand to consider. But this reality didn’t stop three quarters of the Amazon.com reviewers from posting fake reviews that joke about soap dropping and soliciting “trannies,” selling drugs and being a super villain as reasons for buying this book for your kids.

It’s a small thing for me to be peeved at, but then again it’s not, if only because of all the propaganda in the air that says if you’re in jail, you’re not like the rest of us, you deserve this, and you are certainly not ever innocent.

I just find it strange that a country with two million people in jail can still so brilliantly get across that jail is what happens to other, bad people. This, and every other sitcom or bro-movie that makes prison rape jokes, is just another reason the state will always win. We should, at least, stop believing this idea and start looking into just who is being caged in our name and with our money.