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- 06/24/16--09:15: _Here's a UK Explain...
- 06/24/16--09:30: _So far the best thi...
- 06/24/16--09:45: _Village Voice Runs ...
- 06/24/16--10:37: _Donald Trump Trying...
- 06/24/16--11:09: _Hours After Brexit ...
- 06/24/16--11:31: _BuzzFeed Motion Pic...
- 06/24/16--11:50: _Neon Demon Director...
- 02/18/11--13:00: _Gizmodo Loves Axes
- 06/24/16--12:10: _Summer Is Over: Gaw...
- 06/24/16--13:00: _Jalopnik Is It OK T...
- 06/25/16--08:25: _Report Confirms Dan...
- 06/24/16--14:53: _Boris Johnson Was T...
- 06/25/16--10:20: _World’s Richest Who...
- 06/25/16--12:10: _Facebook and Youtub...
- 06/25/16--13:45: _Conservative Column...
- 06/25/16--23:19: _Sarah Palin Congrat...
- 06/26/16--08:00: _Obama Declares Fede...
- 06/26/16--09:30: _Trump Adjusts Musli...
- 06/26/16--11:35: _Instances of Racism...
- 06/26/16--13:25: _Illinois Cops File ...
- 06/24/16--11:31: BuzzFeed Motion Pictures Needs to Unionize ASAP
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- 02/18/11--13:00: Gizmodo Loves Axes
- 06/24/16--12:10: Summer Is Over: Gawker’s Dew Boy Sam Biddle Is Bongin’ No More
- 06/24/16--13:00: Jalopnik Is It OK To Judge People Based On The Car They Drive?
- 06/24/16--14:53: Boris Johnson Was The Worst Car Writer Of All Time
- 06/25/16--10:20: World’s Richest Who Lost Money Due to Brexit Still Billionaires
- 06/25/16--13:45: Conservative Columnist George Will Leaves GOP Over Trump
- 06/26/16--09:30: Trump Adjusts Muslim Ban Proposal, Golf Stroke
Let’s say you’re an American who woke this morning to the news that the people of the United Kingdom voted in favor of their nation leaving the European Union, and you’re unsure about what that means. Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that you happened to be abroad, in a country within the UK, when the news came in. All the Britons around you seemed to understand what was going on perfectly, and you felt like the odd man out. You wondered: What does England have to do with Wales? Why no Southern Ireland? Is that a boy wearing a skirt?
Fear not, ignorant American, whomever you may be. Gawker is here to explain Brexit—and indeed the United Kingdom in general—in terms even you can understand.
The United Kingdom is a sovereign nation, composed of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The latter three of these countries have their own local “devolved” governments, but are ultimately ruled by the government of the UK, which is based in England. (The name “Great Britain”—the large island on which sit England, Scotland, and Wales—is sometimes used informally to refer to the UK as a whole. Northern Ireland is on a different island.) In a neck-and-neck referendum this week, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, meaning all four UK countries are out.
What does that mean for you, though? Solely for the purposes of attaching a concrete example to these abstract concepts, let’s say that you own a piece of property in the UK somewhere. Let’s say—oh, I don’t know—let’s say that it’s a golf course, and let’s say that it’s a golf course in, to pick a location at random, South Ayrshire, Scotland. And let’s say you were in Scotland this week to attend the reopening of the golf course and also the five-star hotel you own. You might be expected to give a speech to mark the reopening, and thanks to the coincidental timing, you might be expected to address the Brexit vote in that speech. What should you say?
Let’s take our hypothetical a bit further and imagine that you are interested in politics, and you politics are of the reactionary and isolationist sort. You share the same fear of immigrants; the same yearning for your old country, an uncorrupted utopia that exists only in your memory; the same distrust of globalism; that seem to have driven many “leave” Brexit voters. In this scenario, you might be tempted to celebrate the Brexit vote in your golf course reopening speech. You might say, for instance, that the people of Scotland “took their country back
Hold it right there, mister!
Actually, the people of Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favor of staying in the EU. However, thanks to the concepts we discussed above, their political fate is inextricably hinged to that of the UK at large—for now anyway—which voted in favor of leaving the EU. So, instead of saying that the people of Scotland took their country back, you might consider saying instead that they lost something about their country which they seem to hold dearly: Its membership in the EU.
I know just what you, the broad caricature of an ignorant American I’ve constructed for the sole purpose of imagining an audience for this explanation of very basic political ideas, must be thinking: That in order to truly take their country back, the people of Scotland might consider declaring their independence from the UK, not from the EU. Funny you should mention it, my fictitious countryman: The people of Scotland tried to do just that, not two years ago. The Scottish independence referendum, too, was a neck-and-neck vote, with “no” narrowly losing in the end. It’s still kind of a sore subject for the Scots, and you might consider avoiding this “taking your country back” business entirely.
But there’s some good news: This very wresting of Scotland away from the rest of Europe, that you, my fellow American, were about to erroneously declare a victory for the independence of the Scottish people, may ultimately lead to an independent Scotland after all. You see, the Scots are in fact so mad about this EU departure news that you may have initially thought made them happy—the world is full of misunderstandings, ha ha!—that they’ve decided they’ll probably hold a second vote to leave the UK, just so that they can get back into the EU. Whether you’re for Scottish independence or against it, you’ve got to admit the situation is pretty ironic—especially the “took their country back” comment that I concocted out of thin air for you, the boastful American steak salesman, who, just for a bit of comic relief, let’s say is also a former reality TV star, and is also running for some powerful public office. I swear, I crack myself up sometimes.
This concludes our UK explainer for ignorant Americans, wherever they reside, from sea to shining sea, from Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Sixth Street to Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Seventh Street.
So far the best thing anyone’s been able to say about the Brexit
Last year, a man named Bayna El-Amin smashed a chair over the head of another man named Jonathan Snipes at a Chelsea Dallas BBQ. Snipes, who is gay, initially portrayed the attack to DNAInfo as bias-related and unprovoked. Because El-Amin fled the scene and wasn’t arrested until over a month later, the public didn’t get to hear his side of the story. That, along with our cultural imperative to believe a victim when he speaks out, meant that Snipes’ narrative prevailed. (Snipes’s boyfriend, Ethan York-Adams, was also involved in the altercation.) It seemed an obvious example of “anti-LGBT hate violence,” in the words of City Councilman Corey Johnson, until an important detail emerged: El-Amin himself is queer.
When I found conclusive evidence of that, last year, it made the story infinitely more fascinating. If El-Amin had called Snipes a “faggot” before their brawl, as Snipes alleged, could it still be considered a hate crime, especially given the intricacies of queerspeak, in which not all “faggots” are equal (out of the mouth of a gay man, the word can be neutral, endearing, or hateful, though probably not exactly in that hetero-bias manner)?
The incident was initially investigated by NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit, but according to the Manhattan D.A.’s office, reached earlier today, El-Amin was never charged with a hate crime. Last month, El-Amin was convicted of two counts of attempted assault in the first degree, a class C felony, and two counts of assault in the second degree, a class D felony—no hate crimes. His sentencing is scheduled for next month.
The fact that this was not ever charged as a hate crime by the D.A. did not stop the Village Voice from running the following paragraph this week in a story headlined “Scarce Victimhood: The Unsurprising Case of Bayna-Lehkeim El-Amin” by the writer Grace Dunham:
A short iPhone video of the fight went viral, and El-Amin soon turned himself in. The attack was almost immediately upgraded to a hate crime. Today, convicted, El-Amin faces up to fifteen years in prison.
Except, as we’ve just established: El-Amin was never accused of a hate crime by anyone whose opinion actually matters.
Seemingly carefully, the piece did not explicitly state that El-Amin was charged or convicted of a hate crime. But the placement of that sentence—“The attack was almost immediately upgraded to a hate crime”—in between El-Amin turning himself in and being convicted certainly implied it. This isn’t a fabrication, per se, but it sure looks intentionally misleading.
The piece goes on to discuss hate-crime legislation, a worthy topic that is out of place in a story about a man who was never charged with or convicted of a hate crime:
El-Amin’s case tracks with what some see as the fatal flaw of hate crime legislation — that its oversimplification of fault into a strict binary does not fix the underlying problems that lead to the crimes in the first place. “In addition to their failure to prevent harm, they must be considered in the context of the failures of our legal systems,” wrote the legal scholar Dean Spade in the seminal work Normal Life. Spade writes that because of socioeconomic factors, the definition of what a hate crime even is tends to favor those who can afford to plead their cases in court. In other words, hate crime laws are as susceptible to selective application as the rest of the American legal system.
This is appallingly misleading. It undermines Dunham’s point—that El-Amin was unfairly charged in the court of public opinion because of his size and blackness—by padding it with irrelevant information. That Snipes struck El-Amin first (with a purse) was a crucial bit of information that he left out of his initial account but was revealed during the trial. (Dunham’s account adds that El-Amin told a friend in the days after the attack that Snipes called him a racial slur.)
It’s absolutely true that this story is much more nuanced than initial reports made it out to be. The worlds of criminal justice and gay life are fraught with racism, and black people pay a disproportionate price for merely existing in either. Dunham’s instinct to humanize El-Amin via the accounts of his friends is potentially illuminating, which makes her sideways argument and half-truths that much more confusing. Dunham, for example, never examines El-Amin’s criminal record, which includes probation violation, credit card theft, drug possession, and several counts of forgery. None of these things make him a violent monster (or “hulking brute” as the New York Daily News put it), but two decades of criminal activity under the belt of a man facing 15 years in jail are at least worth a mention—and certainly more relevant to this particular case than any argument about hate crimes legislation.
Also, no one in the story seems particularly bothered by the fact that regardless of the nature of the initial conflict, El-Amin ended it by hitting a man over the head with a chair, which is not exactly the same as hitting someone with a purse.
In the piece, Dunham charges:
All told, the media portrayal of the dispute at Dallas BBQ last May created a simple scenario with binary roles — perp and victim — not what, according to El-Amin’s friends and supporters, might just have been an ordinary barroom fight.
But Dunham’s prescription is to merely invert the binary, distorting the story in a different way.
After I reached out to the Voice, Dunham’s story was amended with the following editor’s note:
*This article has been updated to clarify that while the incident was first investigated as a hate crime, El-Amin was formally charged with Assault, not Assault as a Hate Crime.
The sentence discussed earlier, “The attack was almost immediately upgraded to a hate crime,” has been removed, and a caveat to the above-quoted paragraph regarding hate-crime legislation has been added:
Though El-Amin was never formally charged with a hate crime, his case tracks with what some see as the fatal flaw of hate crime legislation — that its oversimplification of fault into a strict binary does not fix the underlying problems that lead to the crimes in the first place.
And yet, the piece remains a piece about hate crimes, pegged to a crime that was only briefly investigated as such, over a year ago:
But he’s also big and black, making his story an example of the arbitrariness activists and scholars say is inherent in hate crime laws. “We’re praying for a reduced sentence,” said Sean Coleman, a friend of El-Amin’s. “Fifteen years. The rest of his life is at risk. We need folks to know how unfair this is. I’m not saying Carlos shouldn’t be held accountable. But this was a dispute. If he is accountable, then why aren’t all parties accountable? Why did they get support, and he didn’t?”
With misinformed friends like these (or at least the implication of them, given the way their quotes are placed next to sentences about hate crime laws), who needs racist white gay enemies?
I reached out to Dunham via email and Twitter to get a sense of the thought process that went into writing this piece, which she sold on Twitter in the following fashion:
I also emailed Dunham’s editor on the piece, Rallian Brooks, who informed me of the additions to the piece, as detailed above. “We’re owning this one,” he said.
I told Brooks I’d love to read and run his explanation as to why a story pegged to what wasn’t a hate crime is about hate crimes, but I have not yet heard back. I will update this post if and when I do.
Update: It has been brought to my attention that Grace Dunham is Lena Dunham’s sister. Perhaps I should have realized this when I was working on this story, but I didn’t because I do not think about Lena Dunham’s life often enough to remember the name of her sister. I think that was for the best, anyway. I am glad I was able to evaluate the ineptitude of the Voice story on its own merit, without even the mild prejudice that may have tainted my opinion had I realized who Grace Dunham was.
Nonetheless, this is an interesting detail.
Not usually one to avoid the cameras, Donald Trump is attempting to suppress two videotaped depositions he gave in December and January pertaining to the two class-action lawsuits Trump University is facing in California. The transcripts of the depositions
This is, as attorney Jason Forge points out in a court filing submitted on Wednesday, a completely absurd claim for a presidential candidate who has spent the better part of a year denigrating both the substantive claims of the complaint as well as the individual class-representatives who have advanced those claims to make.
“Trump is concerned about a poisoned jury pool,” Forge wrote in the filing. “After dedicating months to poisoning that pool with dozens of nationally-publicized speeches denigrating the claims against him and championing his hollow defense, he should be concerned. He knows the best cure for a snake bite comes from the snake’s own venom. After months of spewing venom into the jury pool, Trump is trying to suppress the cure—his own admissions.”
Media organizations including the Washington Post and the New York Times have intervened in the case, arguing that the videos should be released given that Trump is a public figure. In attempting to suppress the video—clips of which would surely turn up in Clinton campaign ads—lawyers have invoked a federal law that allows the prohibition of video depositions’ release “to protect a party or person from annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense.”
Given what we already know Trump said in the depositions (and what we can infer from transcript about his behavior in those depositions), it seems likely true that releasing the videos would in fact cause the presumptive Republican nominee both annoyance and embarrassment—to the extent that Trump can even feel such feelings.
Take, for example, this dialogue on the nature of memory:
Asked directly whether he could remember telling NBC’s Katy Tur (only three weeks earlier!) that he had the world’s best memory, Trump testified, “I don’t remember that. I remember you telling me, but I don’t know that I said it.”
Clearly he remembers what he said during the rest of the deposition
One of the central claims made by supporters of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union was that £350 million per week that the nation was sending to the EU would instead be put toward the National Health Service. On Good Morning Britain today, UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farage said that claim is untrue.
When asked about the claim, Farage—one of the country’s most visible advocates for leaving the EU—countered that he specifically never made it, despite Leave campaigners having driven a tour bus with the £350 million figure on its side across the country. The clip is astounding to watch, and would be completely infuriating if it weren’t for the dressing-down GBP anchor Susanna Reid gave him over his dodginess.
“You’re saying, after 17 million people have voted for Leave—I don’t know how many people voted on the basis of that advert, but that was a huge part of the propaganda—you’re now saying that’s a mistake?” she asked Farage.
Guess so! Sorry, everyone.
Earlier this week, Ze Frank—the leader of BuzzFeed’s burgeoning video empire, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures—issued a public memo to his employees explaining the terms of their employment. The crux of the memo—the necessity of which was sparked by Frank firing two women for appearing in videos produced by other companies—comes when he states what BuzzFeed Motion Pictures employees owe to their employer:
We’re investing heavily in you, and we do ask for a real commitment in return. Concretely, this means that the work you do while you’re on BuzzFeed’s staff belongs to BuzzFeed, and that you can’t work for other productions without our permission. Being a part of BuzzFeed is a full-time job, with many benefits and opportunities, and as with any full-time job you are expected to be fully committed to your work and collaborating with your colleagues while you are here. These are, it’s worth noting, standard features of being an employee at any media or tech company — but we realize they’re different from the freelance Hollywood models, and wanted to explain each. We ask for the following:
I’ll highlight the most important part of this excerpt: “These are, it’s worth noting, standard features of being an employee at any media or tech company — but we realize they’re different from the freelance Hollywood models.” This is a neat rhetorical trick: Frank is saying that he wants his employees to produce like Hollywood talent while being treated like journalists. Very few TV writers or actors would trade their jobs to become journalists.
Frank’s attempt to define his employees as existing in some gray area between Hollywood and journalism is an important one. In the television and film industries—both of which BFMP is aiming to usurp—pay is standardized
None of those things are true (again, generally speaking) in media. Pay is negotiated privately and shrouded in secret. Most writers are not entitled to money if the owners of our work decide to republish it. Freelancing is usually at the discretion of our employers. You can see why Frank would want his employees to be part of the latter group instead of the former.
The main difference here is that television and film are deeply unionized. New media organizations are not, though that is changing. Gawker Media
Increasingly, our small slice of the industry is realizing the power of collective bargaining, and I can’t think of a subset of people that are in greater need of that power than the employees of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. At Fusion, ex-BuzzFeed video staffer Gabby Dunn wrote about the contract she signed when she began working there in 2014:
I left Buzzfeed in 2015, but they still own a Facebook fan page with my face on it. They can promote whatever they want there using my name and image. I still show up on their Snapchat account sometimes. They could conceivably cut together all the videos I made for them into a series, sell that series for millions of dollars using my work and my name and likeness, and not give me a penny or tell me about it at all.
This is a gallingly disadvantageous position for BuzzFeed talent to be in. Matt Bellassai—BuzzFeed video’s breakout star—had to give up the Facebook page for his BuzzFeed web series when he left the company, forcing him to rebuild from scratch his following on the world’s most important social network. That old page has 1.5 million fans; his current page has 416,000.
None of this is to say that working at BuzzFeed Motion Pictures is hell, or that its employees are an oppressed class. Before he explains to his staffers that their work is owned by BuzzFeed and that they can’t work outside of the company, Frank reminds them that BuzzFeed allows its talent access to an established infrastructure (studio space, an audience) and provides them with benefits such as paid vacation and investment in retirement.
But clearly BuzzFeed is taking advantage of its video talent because they are collectively powerless. Only the employees can change this. In fact, they have a unique opportunity to decide what a union that sits at the intersection of entertainment and media might look like. If BuzzFeed Motion Pictures staffers unionized—forcing BuzzFeed to negotiate terms of employment that it now simply decrees—they could win back some ground on the vitally important issues of content ownership and exclusivity, even if it meant ceding some ground elsewhere.
In a company meeting last August, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said that a union “wouldn’t be very good for employees at BuzzFeed.” Everyone at BuzzFeed, but especially those at Motion Pictures, should think deeply about whether he is right.
Upon meeting Nicolas Winding Refn in the NOMO SOHO suite where he was fielding interviews earlier this week I told him I was weirdly invested in his existential state. “Oh cool,” replied the director of 2011's universally acclaimed Drive.
The reason for my investment is the 2014 documentary My Life Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, in which his wife, Liv Corfixen, documented his turmoil and self-loathing during the creation of 2013's Only God Forgives, which went on to be universally panned. It was as poorly received as Refn feared during its creation, a real disappointment after Refn had achieved global success with Drive. In it, Refn put his megalomania on display and projected atypical candor for a public figure. He seemed unpredictable and eccentric. That’s why I wanted to talk to him.
We had convened to discuss his new movie The Neon Demon, a grotesquely gorgeous fairy tale starring Elle Fanning whose character breaks into the L.A. modeling world with deadly results. Thick with atmosphere, thin on plot and characterization, and with dialogue so halting that you can feel the ellipses on its actors’ tongues, The Neon Demon reminds me of the best work of cult director Jess Franco (Eugénie is the comparison that immediately comes to mind, though that movie isn’t quite as florescent). As I spoke with Refn about Demon, he stood the entire time, dramatically pacing, posing, and pausing. Without ever missing a beat, he had a ponderous answer to each of my questions about filmmaking and the ensuing response. That is to say that whether Nicolas Winding Refn is behind, in front of, or off camera, he knows how to put on a show.
A condensed and edited transcript of our conversation is below.
Gawker: Was making this movie as emotionally fraught as making Only God Forgives?
Nicolas Winding Refn: Always. Same process. Anxieties, paranoia, doubts, hatred, sometimes completely godlike state of mind, paranoia. The good thing on this one is I used [legendary director] Alejandro Jodorowsky a lot more, so I had a tarot reading every weekend by him.
That’s basically therapy.
In a way it was. I spoke to him this morning, even. He’s in Paris. I called him. He said to me, “You’re a warrior.”
So much of what plagued you when you were making Only God Forgives were the expectations coming off of Drive, which was beloved. Only God Forgives was much more divisive, to put it nicely.
Oh, you can put it clearly. It was very, very, very…it was an outrage.
Was it easier to go into your next movie with lessened expectations, then?
It was. It’s interesting you touch upon it. The best way for me to explain it is you know when Lou Reed did Metal Machine Music? Before that he made Transformer, probably one of the five greatest rock albums of all time. What do you do? He makes Metal Machine.
Burned it to the ground.
He destroys everything in order to continue. I knew I had to do that. I’ve always done that in all my films. You go right, then you go left. It doesn’t mean that you’re not making great, it’s just very different. But a lot of it was just myself deconstructing my… Drive’s about my own obsession with male fetish, to the point of a sense of homoeroticism. Where do I go? I need to emasculate it. I could do Drive 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, until the end of the world. But that would be the exact reason for not doing it. I needed to emasculate it. Deconstruct it. Reverse it. But also, at the same time, making a film that was much more interesting in order for me to be reborn into something else.
Do you feel reborn?
Well, I always wanted to be a 16-year-old girl and that was the way to do it.
Is that true?
I think there’s a 16-year-old girl in every man, and I think that part of Neon Demon was my opportunity to live out my own fetish of what it would be like having been born a beautiful woman.
Right. I feel like more than most movies, yours are obviously directed. Your gaze is present. The slow way that everyone talks in this movie—you can feel the ellipses. When I watch your movies, I feel your presence.
That’s the same thing Ryan said to me—Gosling. We did a Q&A in L.A., and when he saw the movie he said the same things to me, which is kind of ironic.
I read that you told Elle to watch Beyond the Valley of the Dolls to prepare for this movie.
I wanted to make a movie about women. There’s not a lot of films that are so surrounded by women that the male identity doesn’t really exist. There’s not a lot of cinema. Elle was only 16 when we started filming, so I showed it to her.
Beyond is my favorite movie of all time.
It’s a masterpiece.
The Neon Demon certainly falls in the women-treating-each-other-badly sub genre…
Where men are not the reason. They’re oblivious.
This subject matter spans All About Eve to Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant. Showgirls has it. The Duke of Burgundy is cast entirely with women. Did you see that?
Yes, I did. I liked that movie very much. Very well photographed.
I read reports of booing and cheering at the Neon Demon premiere of Cannes. What’s it like to have such a tangible example of how divisive your work is?
You feel like a rock star. I’ve been very fortunate that at the premieres, people are standing up and applauding. It’s at the press screening these [booings] happen. But fuck yeah. Diversity’s king. The essence of creativity is a reaction. Do you know how hard it is to make something people either love or hate? It’s not easy. But it’s the reason why it’s interesting.
Has it always been that way with you? It seems like having your work be openly hated might take some getting used to.
Your first impression is that it’s dangerous. We’re always being told, “Be nice. Do nice things.” “Be careful of diversity, it could hurt financial gain.” It’s all valid. But if I am to steal the time from people—which is essentially what entertainment is, it’s a time stealing machine—I would want something to fucking react to. Something emotionally to stir me up. Whether I love it or hate it is irrelevant to me. But it’s out of human respect, because as I said to Cannes at the end, “Guys, if it wasn’t for me, you guys might as well just stay home and watch television.” Part of creativity is scandal. Scandal means diversity. Diversity means something to talk about.
There seems to be “diversity,” as you say, even within The Neon Demon. You could read it as an indictment...
It’s not even an indictment, it’s an acceptance that beauty isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. But to do that, you also see the danger of it. In order to deal with it, you need to accept it.
You perpetuate it. This movie is beautiful and it’s filled with beautiful women.
Absolutely. Part of the film is a celebration of narcissism as a virtue. It’s a quality that’s no longer taboo. There’s the Jesse character on one hand—deer in the headlights, A Star is Born, innocence, comes to the big city to be corrupted—we’ve all seen that movie. The flip side, she’s an evil Dorothy, coming to poison everyone else.
(Here he pauses while brooding holding my gaze for eight seconds. Initially, it seems impolite to interrupt.)
Why is narcissism a virtue?
Elle’s generation and my kids’ generation are so more advanced than we were.
You think we’re evolving?
Absolutely, and the only way to deal with this is to accept it. My generation criticizes Elle’s generation for being so wrong and so self-absorbed. But wouldn’t we do it ourselves if we were young? Wouldn’t we have done the same thing? What is so wrong with loving yourself for all of your faults? And all of the great things? What is really so wrong about it?
The trap is that if you spend a disproportionate amount of time loving yourself, you don’t have time to love the world. Oftentimes as a writer, I see my peers making big displays of self-love and then putting out bad writing. It strikes me that narcissism sometimes has the effect of complacency—people think they’re so great that they don’t have to try.
There’s always a flip side to anything. But you see that’s… Art is hard. That itself has nothing to do with loving oneself. Art is a gift, it’s a way to express. But you can also express in a way where you’re maybe not as gifted technically but you have a singularity that compensates for your handicap. I don’t think there’s any right and wrong, but I think it’s very important that you love yourself. Individualism is beautiful.
Tell me about what you think about the concept of style over substance.
I don’t believe it exists. You can only have style if the substance is interesting. It’s just a way that we usually see mass entertainment is very one-note. The minute you go off beat, confusion kicks in, but that’s when it gets interesting. Style over substance? (Sighs) Please.
Film has always struggled with this comment or art [debate]. Take sculpturing, painting, poetry, it’s always been clearly defined as artistic expression or artistic experience. Their world seeks scandal. They crave controversy. In mass entertainment, it’s the reverse. I never understood why. In the end, what’s beautiful about mass entertainment is that everyone has access to it. Life is short and if you don’t react, life goes by. Not everything has to be consumed for the sake of a financial gain the stock market. Sometimes don’t you want something else to feel alive with?
The Neon Demon is in select theaters today.
This morning, we decided we think axes are awesome. Beautiful, functionally perfected, and, yes, great for elegantly chopping the crap out of things. Below, a roundup of our favorite old school cutting contraptions.
Best Made Axemaker's Kit
Best Made are the original badasses of the mega quality, immaculately designed American axe. But, at the moment, they're waiting until next month to release the next batch of domestic blades. In the meantime, however, they've paired up with Swedish axe legend Wetterlings for a DIY kit. For 140 bucks, you'll get two pieces of raw American hickory, a gnarly Swedish axehead, and sandpaper to finish it the way you'd like. [Best Made]
Base Camp X Titanis
Base Camp was born from the original founder of Best Made, and the former's DNA is imbued into the new bladed babies. Base Camp's Titanis is a hefty $445, but it's a monster. A weighty 5 lb head with a 7-inch blade and 30-inch handle is designed to really wallop wood, leaving behind broad, deep cuts. [Base Camp X]
Hultafors Handmade Hand Axe
If you need some chopping power for a smaller job, this $120 Hultafors piece is a killer choice. The blade is hammered out with sharpness and edge durability in mind, and sports a curved handle for one-handed leverage. [Orvis]
Gränsfors Bruks Mini Belt Hatchet
Not every axe need be an unstoppable metal force of chopping power. Sometimes you just want something light and handy, whether for gardening, or slashing away a pesky vine on a hike. Gränsfors Bruks' $160 blade packs a 20 year warranty, along with a small, 2-inch blade for precision cuts and carving. This one's a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. [Boundary Waters]
Gränsfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe
Or, you might just really feel like chopping a tree the hell down. This classic Swedish $130 chopmaster is handcrafted, with a thin, 3.5-inch curved blade aimed at slicing through fresh, sappy branches—not thick trunks. [Boundary Waters]
Marbles Safety Axe
This $45 piece of gear isn't quite as refined as the rest—its blade is stamped out in China these days, rather than being hand-forged like the rest. But we really dig the now rarely-seen foldout safety cover. So, you know, you don't accidentally axe your pal's arm off while in the field. Or your own. [Boundary Waters]
Best Made photo courtesy of Josh Abe
Today, after six years at Gawker Media, Sam “Bring Back Bullying” Biddle’s reign of terror is finally over. We will all miss him dearly.
From Editor-in-Chief Alex Pareene
I hope to receive some credit for the fact that after so many Gawker editors before me, I was the one to finally drive Biddle away.
While I’m admittedly sad to be losing Sam Biddle, I have to say I think he made the right professional move. It’s not always easy to figure out what you should do after working at Gawker, but as soon as Sam told me he was going to be a senior writer at Dabiq magazine I knew there was no way I could convince him to stick around: It was simply the perfect place for someone with Sam’s talents and fanatical beliefs.
Here is a picture of the statue
Gawker will never be the same, until Sam comes back in a year because Pierre Omidyar won’t let him write blog posts about viral videos of sick weirdos fucking animals
From Executive Features Editor Tom Scocca:
Five thoughts about Sam Biddle:
1. Sam Biddle wears the worst shoes I have ever seen anyone wear, and I barely pay attention to shoes.
2. Sam Biddle is very much a millennial in that the more he performs his idea of himself on social media, the worse he is.
3. Sam Biddle is of an old lineage in Baltimore—there is a Biddle Street downtown—which helped make Baltimore everything it is today.
4. Sam Biddle has achieved the deeply unlikely feat of being an emo lax bro.
5. Sam Biddle still doesn’t know who keeps deleting his messages in Slack.
From Executive Managing Editor Lacey Donohue:
Sam Biddle is a nightmare in Slack, his knowledge of basic nutrition is shockingly poor, he doesn’t know how to drive a car, and he still owes me money
My first interaction with Sam was an email he sent telling me a blog I’d written on a Gawker night shift was funny. I won’t link the blog because it’s actually not funny (Sam will laugh at anything), but that’s the kind of colleague he is: a relentlessly supportive team player, who, when he isn’t busy begging for attention on Twitter, goes out of his way to make every coworker feel like they are the best writers and editors in the world. He was my first Gawker friend and my best Gawker friend. I bet everyone else feels the same.
From Art Director Jim Cooke:
Sam is a kind, warm, and smart writer and I am proud to have worked with him all these years. But he has a laugh that is loud, unmistakably recognizable, and frequent. Sharing an office with him sometimes sounds like being in an asylum. He laughs openly even if something is only barely funny. It’s the kind of laugh that you might think you hear, off in the distance, even if it’s not there. It follows you around. I will miss Sam, but I fear that his laugh will haunt me forever.
From Deputy Editor Kelly Stout:
My first time inside the Gawker office was at some kind of party instead of a regular work day, and I felt intimidated by the vibe, so Sam kindly offered to act as my “spiritual counselor and guide.” And so it was in perpetuity. As much a pleasure as he is to read, he is a joy ten times over to edit because Sam is the rare writer who is almost always right, yet never insists that he is. I will miss everything about him except how disgusting his desk is. I left a salad there overnight once and he didn’t notice.
From Senior Writer Hamilton Nolan:
Many people would be shocked to discover that Sam Biddle is an extremely talented reporter, an engaging writer, and one of the best bloggers we had here in years. I sure was. Before I knew Sam, he was, in my mind, the guy who got to take a junket in order to write about a bath tub
-“I’m at the end of my rope”
-“I’m a snake”
-“I’m a snake in the grass”
-“I’d love to be thrown to the ground in a huge pile of mulch”
Although I never got the chance to get Sam to stop saying “lol” as a nervous tic, I still consider him my friend. He is really a nice guy and I’m sure that he will do great things at The Intercept, although not as good as this
From News Editor Gabby Bluestone
Sam is a funny and talented writer who always has a pack of what I assume is communal gum on his desk. I will miss Sam, his gum, and his disturbing relationship with Hamilton.
From Senior Writer Rich Juzwiak
I call my Sammy a red cutie. Watermelon season just won’t be the same without him.
From Senior Writer Keenan Trotter
This website, and this company, will be lesser in Sam Biddle’s absence. That’s not just because his body of reporting offers one of the best arguments for Gawker’s existence. It’s because he is one of the truest believers in what Gawker does, and the people who do it, every day. What else can I say? Sam: I love you, and it breaks my heart that you’re leaving.
From Staff Writer Andy Cush
It’s hard for me to imagine a Gawker without Sam. He’s been here for much longer than I have, and he represents a sort of platonic ideal of a writer for the site’s current iteration: irreverent, opinionated, thick-skinned, dogged in both his reporting and his commitment to humiliating himself in blog posts and workplace Slack chats and as regularly as possible. But what stands out even more than the greatest hits of his distinguished career here—the Sony Hack, Brands Are Not Your Friends
From Staff Writer Jordan Sargent
My favorite sentence Sam ever wrote has been erased from the internet. Thankfully, it was preserved by my Twitter account:
It neatly encapsulates everything that is great about Sam’s writing: the rage of the oppressed, the easy humor, the extreme confidence in his words despite the possibility that he has no clue what he’s talking about. Sometimes in my most quiet moments I think of Wrigley Field theatrically crumbling to the ground like something out of the San Andreas trailer while a guy with a Boston accent screams “AH FAHK YOU!!” in pure, utter anguish—the hallowed home of his beloved baseball team (the... Boston Cubs?) morphing into dust before his eyes. It’s a perfect image that makes me smile. I cherish it. This sentence is a work of art.
From Senior Editor Marina Galperina
“Such very interesting socks” and “what a really nice guy” I thought, the first time I finally met Sam when he came down to talk to me in the lobby when he really didn’t have to. Now, I know Sam to be a consistently righteous human, who luckily for everyone is a brilliant, passionate reporter. He also might have incepted me with the idea that the world is one giant startup and no one will tell us what it does
From Senior Writer Ashley Feinberg:
As much as Sam would try to deny it, and as much as it pains me to say it now, Sam Biddle is one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve met. I started as an intern at Gizmodo about two years after Sam did, and I still remember how, in my first few weeks, Sam would feed me links and post ideas over IM so that I could drop them in our group chat when I had no idea what I was doing. Also in my first week, Sam forced me to shotgun a beer on the roof after he put a match out on my knee. It’s a wonder he hasn’t been fired.
From Staff Writer Brendan O’Connor:
On an Internet that increasingly celebrates the narrow, myopic, and self-centered, few writers have been able to maintain as expansive and nuanced a voice as Biddle’s, embracing outrage and absurdity with unflappable aplomb. His clarity of thought and prose is remarkable unto itself without even taking into account the consistency with which he achieves it. Biddle’s best work is amongst the best that Gawker has ever published and is exemplary of what makes writers want to work here. It’s really too bad that he is dead now. Say what’s up to Harambe in heaven for us, Sam. RIP.
From Jezebel Editor-in-Chief Emma Carmichael:
Sam is one of the best coworkers I’ve ever had. He is funny, kind, endlessly self-deprecating, genuinely friendly, a reliable fellow neurotic, a loyal friend, and, of course, a proud virgin. He is the rare member of New York Media who is actually far better in person than he is online. This is all coming from someone who has plenty of reasons to hate him. I once asked Sam for help registering a domain for my personal website, and while he was helping me he bought it himself and put a stupid GIF of me dancing on it. Another time he bought me so many fake Twitter followers I got put on a “biggest frauds in sports media” list.
These owns are particularly frustrating because Sam remains a nearly impossible person to shame on the internet (I’ve been trying for 6 years now). The man has made a career half-formed out of constantly shaming himself, so there’s not much left to say. But I do have one thing to share today: His decade-old DCist archive, which includes, among gems like “Errrbody in the Bistro Gettin’ Tipsy” and “Iraq ‘n’ Roll,” my personal favorite Vintage Biddle: “Can A Sista Rock A Mic? Most of the Time, Yeah.” This blog post, a dispatch from a women’s hip hop showcase that some poor editor decided to send 19-year-old Sam Biddle to, contains the parenthetical, “(I’ll admit the few angry lines railing against ‘the oppressor’ made me gulp).” Sam! Silicon Valley had no idea what was coming. I’ll miss you, you prick.
From former Deadspin Staff Writer Kyle Wagner:
From former Editor-in-Chief Max Read:
I expect to outlive Sam, so I want to save my best material for his actual funeral. Suffice it to say: Sam is a superb reporter, excellent writer, and delightful co-worker. But readers of Gawker will only ever get part of Sam’s gifts. His true talent is emails and texts, which he sends to more or less randomly selected assortments of people, at odd hours of the day and night, without context or explanation. Off the top of my head I can think of half a dozen iMessage groups I know Sam to be in. Some evenings he will text them all the same thought at once, just to see what replies he’ll get. “I ate a lot of cured ham last night and I’m so dehydrated,” he texted me and two friends this morning.
One sunny Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago he forwarded, with no accompanying text, an Amazon order confirmation (for “Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet”) to me, some of his college friends, his girlfriend, and some former coworkers. I have a treasured email from last year, sent to a different group of unacquainted friends, to which is attached a PDF of a J. Crew shopping cart containing six t-shirts, some shorts, and a sweater. The subject line: “thoughts??” There are not many people who are so purely, gleefully themselves — so unmistakably likable and charming — that they could get away with this. But I do more than tolerate it from Sam: I look forward to it. I am excited to read what he does at the Intercept. But I am even more excited to learn, shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, what he is purchasing from Best Buy. For the rest of my life.
From former Features Editor Leah Finnegan:
Editing Sam was like scraping fungus off a beautiful tree. Except the fungus was also beautiful. And psychedelic. Reading his words, sometimes I didn’t know if either of us were high or sober. I love Sam and I’m glad he’s my biological son. Sam and I both also love mice. I hope he finds a friend who loves mice at the Intercept. Bye.
From former Staff Writer Allie Jones:
I bet if Sam went back to high school now, he could be popular if he wanted.
From former Deadspin Staff Writer Leslie Horn:
Sam has done some fantastic investigative reporting over the past couple of years, but my favorite pieces of his are from his Gizmodo days. It’s OK To Be A Hater Because Everything Is Bad
From former Staff Writer Dayna Evans
I’ll never forget the day Sam spent eight hours in the Gawker office watching a live-stream of bros spring breaking at a Holiday Inn in Panama City Beach, Florida. Gawker’s then edior-in-chief M*x Read repeatedly asked Sam if this was worth his time and if he had plans to eventually turn his voyeurism into a story. Biddle said yes, but none of us believed him. At the end of the day, by surprise, Biddle had published one of my favorite things he’s ever written: My Super Spring Break: Watching This Holiday Inn Pool Cam All Day
Biddle, just like the spring break bros, you were always perilously close to getting in trouble with the authorities, but also like the spring break bros, the time eventually came to get out of the pool. Good luck at your second-ever job (third if you count the tea shop you were constantly claiming you worked at in D.C.). Thanks for the memories, specifically the time you ordered us baked potatoes for lunch.
From Jezebel Deputy Editor Jia Tolentino:
Sam Biddle was the only person who said hi to me in the kitchen when I first started working at Gawker, and whenever I see him at the office, I still feel like I’ve just arrived at a daycare specializing in emotional disabilities and spotted my very best friend. Sometimes we wave at each other, usually with both hands, and sometimes we pass by each other in the hallway and say “Aw!” at the same time. It’s too bad that on that hot day in May he got too curious, became increasingly agitated by the screams of onlookers, dragged a tot through the waters of his own captivity, and then attempted to strut and bluff his way out of the situation. It was a tragedy that he was murdered by zoo officials and is currently burning in Ape Hell, but it was an unavoidable tragedy. I’m going to miss Sam a lot.
From former News Editor Taylor Berman:
In most ways, Sam was the perfect Gawker writer. He’s smart, funny, and unafraid to take the risks that any reasonable person would avoid because of their obvious and terrible consequences. Billionaires, deranged gamers, sociopathic media moguls, Max Read—-all sorts of bad people have taken their best shots at him, and he’s somehow survived, and even kind of thrived.
That said: Working with Sam was tough. I used to sit across from him, and almost every day I’d catch him staring at me. He’d often take creep shots of me and text them to my friends. Every three weeks or so, he’d go through my Facebook and post the most embarrassing pictures of me from college in Slack. He sold me a broken Kindle and then publicly mocked me for it. He also regularly claimed that I was his and Hamilton Nolan’s son. It all made me very uncomfortable, and my life has been much better these past six months that I haven’t worked with him. I’m excited that the rest of former colleagues will soon experience a similar relief, and I offer my sincere condolences to Glenn Greenwald.
From former Gizmodo Editor-in-Chief Joe Brown:
Brian Lam, former editor of Gizmodo, is a very sensitive man who loves the ocean. Once, I insulted a shark, and as revenge he hired Sam Biddle and then instantly quit the company—leaving me to deal with this jumped-up Maryland frat boy who thinks Twitter counts as writing.
The first story I ever assigned Sam was a techversary (Technology + anniversary. I didn’t name it.) on Sputnik 5, on the occasion of its 50th anniversary
Just think of the contributions to culture and journalism we would have missed if I had been so rash: Racoon girl, the camgirls
I wish Sam the best of luck continuing his work at The Intercept. And I wish the Intercept the best of luck with Sam: His “Open Letter To the 5 Million Confused People Who Bought a Samsung Galaxy Note
From former Deputy Editor Leah Beckmann:
Sam is a brilliant writer and a dauntless reporter, sure, but he’s more than that. We once took a trip together to The Watcher House, where we hoped to get the scoop of a lifetime. We didn’t get a scoop that day because we declined cigarettes (Sam is asthmatic :) ) from the extremely cool Watcher lawyer who offered them to us, but it didn’t matter. Instead we found the biggest scoop of them all: our friendship. Like Woodward and Bernstein, if they didn’t have sex.
Sam is kind, supportive, and hilarious. He is blessed with a curious mind that he often uses to find cute baby clothes for children he does not have. Perhaps my favorite memory of Sam is from 2013, when I watched him fall deeply in love with The Weather Channel interns
Damn, sounds like Shelly has a great life. May the Intercept be your river in sunny Florida, and may you one day be as happy as a former Weather Channel intern. Don’t siss your pants on the first day. Love you bud.
From former Executive Editor Tommy Craggs:
Ed note: Tommy Craggs did not meet his deadline.
From Executive Editor John Cook:
Jalopnik Is It OK To Judge People Based On The Car They Drive?
Lead levels that shoot above 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood in children under the age of six are considered dangerous and can inhibit the child’s growth and cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems. A report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday found the odds of a young child living in Flint Michigan contracting such high levels of lead in their blood system rose by 50 percent after the city switched its water supply from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River in April 2014.
The river supplied Flint residents with water contaminated with corrosion from old pipes for eighteen months.
Flint went back to using Detroit’s water system in October. However, it wasn’t until Thursday that federal officials deemed Flint’s filtered tap water safe enough for everyone to drink, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under the age of six. The amount of lead in the children’s bloodstreams returned to pre-crisis levels after last fall.
The report’s results are based on blood tests conducted on 7,300 of the 9,600 children younger than six living in Flint during the water crisis.
When the source of the water supply was switched to the Flint River, without appropriate corrosion control measures, young children who drank the water had blood lead levels that were significantly higher than when the source of water was the Detroit water system.
A report from a panel appointed by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to investigate the water crisis called it a case of “environmental injustice” and concluded that:
Flint residents, who are majority black or African American and among the most impoverished of any metropolitan area in the United Sates, did not enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards as that provided to other communities.
Patrick Breysse, director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health said in a statement that the Flint water crisis was, “entirely preventable, and a startling reminder of the critical need to eliminate all sources of lead from our children’s environment.”
“It was as though the whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs,” wrote Boris Johnson, dude who used to run London and now helped run the UK out of the EU about wheeling a Ferrari F430, “to be ravished by the Italian stallion.”
And that’s leaving out how he made his editors actually weep because he was such a dick to them, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Boris Johnson, the flop-haired ex-mayor of London, has been an outspoken supporter of Brexit
He even did burnouts in a British Ginetta with campaign slogans on it.
If you weren’t aware, Boris made his name as a columnist before he got known as a politician, and he worked his way from political reporting into a couple cushy gigs as a car reviewer.
Reviewing cars is not only the easiest job in journalism, it’s the one with the most conflicts of interest and possibly the most extravagant perks. I would say that Boris was perfect for the job, but man, this dude was just about the worst employee a newsroom could have.
This is all neatly pieced together by biographer Sonia Purnell in her 2011 book Just Boris. Sonia has a number of anecdotes about Boris as a writer, from his use of extremely British racist slurs for black and Chinese people, arguments that Africa would be better off under colonialism again, and some surprisingly backwards lines about the gay community.
There are notes on his contempt for his own job as a reporter, whom he referred to as “parasites,” and his often-private, sometimes public sexism. “He also devoted almost an entire leaving speech for a departing female colleague to the proportions of her embonpoint,” Purnell writes.
The quality of his writing was equally noxious.
The guy notoriously made up the tech details of the cars he drove, and what he wasn’t fudging, he was filling with sexual overtones. He fantasized about the tits the navigation system’s voice must have, and he wrote about getting passed on the road by women drivers and then “taking them from behind.”
The line about the Ferrari F430 is really triumphantly bad writing, and I’m just going to relish in its awfulness one more time. “It was as though the whole county of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to be ravished by the Italian stallion.”
Someone actually published that. My god.
He also wrote, more tongue-in-cheek, about driving a Murano “Tee-hee! What was it saying, with the plutocratic sneer of that gleaming grille? It was saying ‘out of my way, small car driven by ordinary person on modest income. Make way for Murano!”’ A Murano, man. Boris sucked.
Purnell also offers a truly a spectacular description in how he fucked up GQ’s finances as well as the sanity of its editors.
His then editor at GQ, Dylan Jones, believes the column to be probably the most expensive in magazine history. Boris was certainly paid handsomely for his work but he would hugely increase the cost through majestic indifference to the normal rules of car use. He collected dozens of parking tickets and fines by casually double parking the cars outside the likes of New Scotland Yard of the Royal Festival Hall. Penalty notices were, in Boris’s own words, ‘building up like drifting snow on the windshield’ and more than once an underling had to be dispatched to rescue the car from the pound.
Remember, this is for a dude talking about the towering stance of a mid-level Nissan.
Boris would never dream of paying these fines himself, of course. GQ paid up, one of the reasons why Jones recalls that Boris managed to reduce three managing editors to tears during his association with the magazine.
Another biographer, Andrew Gimson in his 2012 book Boris: The Rise of Boris Johnson also notes that he was not only spectacularly bad at writing about cars, he was catastrophically awful at driving them:
Ann Sindall, his secretary, said, “these car articles— so much work goes in to doing them. These guys at GQ deliver these cars. They leave them at his house and think he’ll drive them to Henley. They get towed away and taken to the pound. I tell them they’ve got to get them from the pound. He came in once and said, ‘I can’t find the car.’ I said, ‘What colour was it?’ He said, ‘It’s red or purple or green.’”
It goes without saying that his subordinates had to pay for his shit.
“Boris tended to miss the session at which he would have been shown by the delivery driver how to use the car. Sindall said: ‘The thing is he’s so busy sometimes I’ll have Mary Wakefield outside the Spectator offices learning how to use the car. He’ll ring me and ask, ‘How do I use the door?’”
Wakefield confirmed this account: ‘He called me all through Saturday to get me to talk him through it, because he hadn’t concentrated and couldn’t work out how to open the door from the inside. He must have been stuck inside it. You had to turn a little dial to open the door.’”
And if you think that Boris was just some lovable goofball, racking up massive bills on a corporate account and giving his coworkers a hard time, this dude helped plot how to get the shit beaten out of a journalist who’d discovered he was part of a reportedly massive fraud operation.
Purnell writes that in ’93, he faked getting tied up, beaten, and robbed in a New York hotel room with a buddy, allegedly defrauding an insurance policy with Lloyd’s of London for £1.8 million. A News of the World reporter hounded after the story. Boris’ buddy decided to have the dude beaten up (something that ultimately never happened) and called Boris for the reporter’s home address and phone number. The guy who had been paid to tie them up recorded the call, cooperated with the cops, and became chief prosecuting witness against Boris’ buddy, who did indeed get convicted and jailed. Purnell chalks up Boris’ lack of reprimand, either from the courts or from his bosses at the time, to basically playing the fool, Bumbling Boris, loyal to an old friend but not knowing anything.
When a cop leaked the tape in ’95, Boris described the whole affair as “a bit of a joke.”
Amazingly, he played it out well on TV and in print, sort of becoming “a 1930s upper-class twit,” as Purnell describes. The idea of him as charming in his hopelessness kept up in print, particularly with deadlines.
Indeed, Boris became notorious for filing late—keeping section heads, sub-editors and even editors themselves tapping their fingers and counting the seconds before the presses had to start rolling. Charles Moore recounts how he would often phone his star at 5:30 p.m., half an hour before the deadline, to find out how he was getting on. Quite often , Boris would not have even started writing then. Or even know what he was going to write about. Each week Boris would apologize with humor and bravado, and so it would go on. I can’t believe I’ve been so disgraceful again,’ was a favorite apology. ‘He would say sorry, admit he was wrong and make a self-deprecating joke. you felt unable to say any more because you didn’t want to lose what you thought was his friendship,’ recalls one of his ‘handlers.’
What an asshole.
Purnell notes that even his strongest supporters eventually had enough, at one point replacing his column with another after he missed a deadline by hours. Sub-editors had young children waiting at home, the newspaper risked missing its slot on the presses.
“Boris went completely ape,” recalls the long-suffering [Mark] Stanway, who was kept late in to the evening by Boris for years. “He phoned me, f-ing and ceding. I said it wasn’t my decision. He came back ten minutes later full of apologies. But Boris has a ferocious temper—he is not a cuddly teddy bear all the time.”
He was often absent, late, couldn’t be found when he was needed to back up for someone or write following breaking news.
Purnell writes, “yet another former colleague, a very senior man who perhaps understandably wishes to remain anonymous, sums it up: ‘There is an inverse relationship: the greater the proximity to Boris, the less you like him. If you just see him cracking jokes on Have I Got News For You, you think he’s a great bloke. If you’ve worked with him or relied on him, it’s a different matter.’”
Having a billion dollars seems pretty good, but losing billions of dollars and still having billions of dollars left over is still preferable.
Bloomberg reported on Friday that the 400 richest people in the world lost $127.4 billion the day after Britain voted to leave the European Union, or “Brexit” as the kids who didn’t vote for it are calling it. The billionaires’ losses are helpfully documented in a Bloomberg line graph titled “World’s Richest Crushed.”
The wealth of the wealthiest is now in the gutter at a mere $3.9 trillion combined net worth.
But not all billionaires are holding funerals for their money—in fact some are profiting hugely off Brexit. Like George Soros, whom New York Magazine reports, “looks set to make another windfall similar to that which earned him his reputation in 1992.” Someone give that man a bonus.
Some of the most trafficked websites for watching videos have begun deploying systems that remove and automatically block extremist content, Reuters reported on Saturday. These new restrictions on videos were enacted amidst concerns expressed by European leaders and President Barack Obama over online radicalization following an uptick in terror attacks in Europe and the United States.
According to Reuter’s sources, who are familiar with the process, Youtube, Facebook and Google have all been quietly implementing the censorial technology, which was originally developed to wipe copy-righted material from video sites.
The technology can also identify reposts of banned content. Because the system operates by searching for a unique digital fingerprint automatically assigned to certain videos by internet companies, it would not be able to automatically block a kind of video that has never been seen before.
Reuters reports that the two sources for its story, “would not say how videos in the databases were initially identified as extremist.”
Internet companies including Youtube, Facebook and Twitter met (virtually) in late April to discuss implementing content-blocking systems for extremist content.
Until now, most internet companies have mainly relied on users to flag inappropriate content that violate their terms of service.
Not all internet companies are on board with these new contont-managment tools, or at least not yet. A spokesperson from Twitter told Reuters that the company has “not yet taken a position” on automated policing of extremist content.
Conservative columnist George Will
Will said that he’d prefer a Hillary Clinton presidency with a Republican-led Congress to a Trump presidency with a Republican-led Congress that poses no opposition to him.
In fact, Will said he’s a fan of political gridlock in general, calling it an “American achievement.” Other governments wish they had a political system as gridlocked as America’s, he said.
PJ media quoted Will, who is part of the #nevertrump movement, saying “This is not my party” in the course of the speech.
Trump has called Will, “a major loser.”
If there’s one thing noted Facebook user
In a Facebook post regarding the Brexit decision
But, you might be wondering, why is she comparing the EU to the UN ? Don’t they serve two totally different purposes? Well, sure—if you don’t count the fact that they’re both part of the normalization process towards our eventual enslavement to the coming New World Order.
Sleep well, sheep.
You can attempt to read Sarah Palin’s post in full below.
Obama declared a major disaster in West Virginia Saturday night following historic flash flooding in the state that has left at least 23 dead and some 32,000 without power, according to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s latest count.
State and local recovery efforts began on Wednesday when areas of West Virginia began experiencing flooding, landslides, and mudslides.
The President’s announcement will free up federal funding for individuals affected in Greenbrier, Kanawha, and Nicholas counties, providing them with temporary housing, home repairs and loans to cover uninsured property losses.
Some areas of West Virginia experienced the worst flash flooding in a century, according to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. The flooding seriously damaged or destroyed 100 homes, Tomblin said.
The scale of the damage was due in part to the speed at which the flood approached some areas, catching people off-guard. Scott Finn of West Virginia Public Broadcasting told NPR on Friday:
The flash floods have tremendous power—we have reports of boulders in the middle of downtowns, people were literally running up trees to escape it. And then some stories of amazing heroism, of first responders rescuing a woman who was up to her neck in a car before she drowned. So it was fast, it was furious.
Trump continued to adopt new, morally bankrupt positions on national and global affairs at Scottish golf courses
At Trump International Golf Links in Balmedie, Scotland, Trump struggled to keep his Muslim ban proposal consistent from one hole to the next as he putted and prattled through interviews with the press.
The New York Times reports that on the 14th hole, Trump said he’d have no problem with Muslims from Scotland entering the United States, a comment that seems to jibe with past statements of his that the ban would apply to Muslim immigrants from countries with “a proven history of terrorism.” Previously, Trump had said that ban would apply temporarily to all Muslims trying to enter the U.S.
By the 18th hole, Trump was telling the Daily Mail that Muslims from any country could enter the U.S., so long as Muslims from “terror countries” are more strictly vetted.
After Trump made these comments, Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s national finance chairman, told a small group of reporters that Trump, “wanted us to clarify that it is about terrorism and not about religion,” according to the New York Times.
According to a Bloomberg Politics reporter, Trump reportedly said later that day, over fish and chips at the resort’s clubhouse, that he doesn’t consider “mass deportations” to be part of his immigration plan, without clarifying what that meant.
Speaking at the Trump Turnberry resort golf course on Friday, Trump praised Britain voting to leave the European Union and mused that running a nation is a lot like running a golf course.
On Sunday morning, racist graffiti was discovered on the entrance of the Polish Social and Cultural Association (POSK) in west London, The Guardian reports. The message has since been washed off and neither the police nor the POSK have confirmed precisely its wording.
Police are also investigating an incident in Huntingdon, where people allegedly passed out cards in the hours after the referendum vote on Friday, which read “Leave the EU/No more Polish vermin” in English and Polish, according to Cambridge News.
Baroness Warsi, the former chairwoman of the Conservative party and fair-weather supporter of the Leave campaign, told Sky News that since the referendum immigrants have been stopped in the streets frequently and told to leave:
I’ve spent most of the weekend talking to organisations, individuals and activists who work in the area of race hate crime, who monitor hate crime, and they have shown some really disturbing early results from people being stopped in the street and saying look, we voted Leave, it’s time for you to leave.
Many have been documenting the hate speech on social media, using the hashtag #PostRefRacism.
So far, the vitriolic words have primarily been directed toward Polish immigrants:
As well as Muslims (or those whom the perpetrators mistake for Muslim) residing in the UK:
While some have been voicing their opposition to all immigrants:
Police officers in the suburb of Round Lake Park, Illinois are suing the village over allegations that their own body cameras secretly recorded actions private in nature, like using the bathroom and changing their clothes, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The officer claim that when they received the body cameras in September, they were instructed only to activate them during traffic stops and other interactions with civilians, and didn’t realize that the cameras didn’t stop recording in between.
In a suit filed on Thursday by 10 of the 13 officers on the force, the defendants claim the recordings violated their civil rights and constitute an invasion of privacy. They are seeking damages of more than $100,000 each.
The Round Lake Park police department has a policy not to record body parts or non enforcement activities. The suit calls the body camera recordings that are in violation of this policy, “highly offensive and voyeuristic intrusions.”
Civil rights and privacy advocates, including the ACLU and the NAACP have voiced concerns about police body cameras violating the rights of those they profile (i.e. civilians, and not cops) and have urged more oversight of officers handling the footage.
But lawsuits brought by and on behalf of civilians, whom the cameras were actually designed to surveil, haven’t focused much on privacy rights. They’re a little preoccupied with getting police to make footage from those cameras available to the public, like they’re supposed to, instead.