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    Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten crashed on the descent with less than seven miles remaining in the 85-mile road race. While the course was different from the one we illustrated as being difficult-to-dangerous, much of it did follow the men’s course.

    We’ll update as news on Van Vleuten’s condition becomes available.

    Update (3:07 p.m.):

    Update (5:45 p.m.):…


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    Little-Known Republican Enters Presidential Race to Challenge Trump
    Photo: AP

    Multiple outlets are reporting that former CIA agent and conservative strategist Evan McMullin is launching an independent presidential bid in the hopes of siphoning votes from the Trump campaign.

    According to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, McMullin’s bid is supported by “key players in the GOP’s anti-Trump movement,” and appears designed to split off votes in states like Idaho, Texas and Utah, where McMullin was born and went to college, and anywhere else Gary Johnson had a shot at picking up a few votes.

    McMullin, the 40-year-old chief policy director of the House Republican conference, has never held political office. A graduate of Brigham Young University and the Wharton School of Business, McMullin’s brief bio also includes a Mormon mission and stints in the CIA and Goldman Sachs. At the time the BuzzFeed story went to press, he had just 135 followers on Twitter (that number has since jumped to 1,752.)

    According to ABC, his bid was arranged by the anti-Trump group, Better for America, which spent months searching for an appropriate candidate and is prepared to back him financially. They are also reportedly prepared to give legal cover in states like Texas, where he might have to sue to get on the ballot at such a late stage in the election.

    McMullin is not the first unknown conservative to have his name floated as a potential challenger to Trump—we have Bill Kristol to blame for that—but according to BuzzFeed, McMullin will file his papers today around noon. BuzzFeed also reports McMullin will have “the backing of serious Republican donors and fundraisers” to help him mount a challenge to Trump in several key states.…

    McMullin appeared to confirm the rumors to ABC in an exclusive statement, pretending his candidacy is anything other than a way to push Trump down in conservative states:

    “In a year where Americans have lost faith in the candidates of both major parties, it’s time for a generation of new leadership to step up,” McMullin said. “It’s never too late to do the right thing, and America deserves much better than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton can offer us. I humbly offer myself as a leader who can give millions of disaffected Americans a conservative choice for President.”

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    63 Killed in Suicide Attack on Gathering of Pakistani Lawyers Mourning Assassinated Colleague
    Photo: AP

    At least 63 people were killed and dozens more wounded in a suicide bombing Monday at a government-run hospital in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, the Associated Press reports. The bomber targeted a gathering of lawyers who had come to mourn their colleague, the prominent attorney Bilal Kasi, who was shot and killed earlier in the day.

    Kasi, the president of Baluchistan Bar Association, was assassinated on his way to the city’s main court complex. No group has taken responsibility for the subsequent suicide attack. According to Reuters, at least 50 people were wounded in addition to those killed.

    The province, which has major oil and natural gas resources, borders Iran and Afghanistan and is wracked with sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, a separatist insurgency, and Islamist militancy—the Afghan Taliban found safe haven there in the past. Agence France Presse reports:

    An AFP journalist said he was approximately 20 metres (65 feet) away when the explosion occurred.

    “There were huge black clouds and dirt,” he said.

    “I ran back to the place and saw dead bodies scattered everywhere and many injured people crying. There were pools and pools of blood around and pieces of human bodies and flesh.”

    Nurses and lawyers wept as medics from inside the hospital rushed out to help dozens of injured, he said.

    “People were beating their heads, crying and mourning. They were in shock and grief.”

    The head of the country’s main lawyers’ association, called the bombing “an attack on justice.” In a statement, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed “deep grief and anguish over the loss of precious human lives.”

    “No one will be allowed to disturb the peace in the province that has been restored thanks to the countless sacrifices by the security forces, police and the people of Baluchistan,” the statement continued.

    One of the wounded, Pervez Masi, told AFP that the explosion was so powerful and disorienting that “we didn’t know what had happened.”

    “So many friends were martyred,” he said. “Whoever is doing this is not human, he is beast and has no humanity.”

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    Donald Trump Comes Up With Worst Possible Set of Economic Ideas
    Photo: AP

    Apricot variety Donald Trump plans to unveil his bold new economic agenda in a speech today. Many of the worst possible policies, together at last!

    We live in a nation with levels of economic inequality not seen in nearly 100 years and a financial sector that still has not been fully reformed after its spectacularly destructive meltdown in 2008. What does Donald Trump plan to do about this, according to Bloomberg, which got a preview of his speech today? Let’s break it down categorically.


    • End the carried-interest loophole that allows hedge fund and private equity managers to pay lower taxes.


    • He will repeal the estate tax, which only targets a tiny handful of the ultra-wealthy.
    • He will cut the corporate tax rate by more than half, to 15%.
    • He will revive the Keystone pipeline and trash the Paris climate agreement.
    • He will repeal Dodd-Frank, the post-crisis set of (fairly tepid) regulations, and “he will not propose any new financial regulations until the economy shows ‘significant growth.’” Deregulation, which led directly to the financial crisis, is back!
    • “Trump is expected to say that civil servants whose focus is job-killing regulation should be replaced with experts who would help create jobs.” (???). Bad things should be good things!

    In other news, it was reported today that the number of billionaires grew last year, thanks in large part to children inheriting great wealth. Angry blue collar Americans left out of the global economy demand that rich kids be allowed to inherit more.

    Easy to see this guy’s appeal.

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    I'll Tell You What's Not a Real Sport
    Photo: AP

    Riding a horse? That’s not a real sport.

    Maybe for the horse it is!

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    Poll: "Fondness" For Putin Down 8 Percent
    Photo: AP

    American presidential approval polls are usually a boring binary: “approve” or “disapprove.” Thankfully, earlier today, Russia’s independent polling agency the Levada Center has released their Putin ratings report and it is much more nuanced—almost mystifying.

    Since Putin’s rise to Prime Ministership in 1999, the Levada Center has conducted this same poll 17 times. People are asked about their “attitude/feelings” (отношение) towards Vladimir and given options—from worst to best, it seems—as follows (translations mine).

    So, what are their feelings about Putin?

    • It’s difficult to answer (1%)
    • Disgust (1%)
    • Antipathy (2%)
    • Can’t say anything good about him (6%)
    • Cautious, expectant (4%)
    • Neutral, indifferent (17%)
    • Can’t say anything bad about him (31%)
    • Fondness (29%)
    • Awe (8%)

    Overall, according to 1,600 people polled from various regions of Russia, Putin “fondness” is currently at 29 percent, down from 37 percent in March 2015. You can see all of the attitude/feelings fluctuating through time in Levada Center’s wonderfully neurotic graphic onto which I ‘shopped some translations:

    Poll: "Fondness" For Putin Down 8 Percent
    Author’s attempt at translation of Levada Center’s original graphic.

    Latvia-based news site Meduza has some good insight on the data, though I feel like their translation of “симпатия” as “sympathy” is off since “sympathy” is more commonly known as a “feeling of pity and sorrow,” instead of just being the opposite of the poll option “antipathy.” So I’m going with “fondness” to avoid the implication that anyone feels pity or sorrow for Vlad.

    According to Levada Center’s director Lev Gudkov, sanctions are partially responsible for the 8 percent dip in “fondness,” but also, the whole Crimea business doesn’t quite produce the same “emotional lift” it did before. Meduza reports that the government has their own theory:

    According to Dmitry Orlov, a political scientist and leading member of the ruling political party “United Russia,” Putin’s sympathy rating is merely “stabilizing” after a period of “patriotic mobilization.”

    According to Levada Center, when choosing Putin’s one “greatest achievement” from a list of possible options, 14 percent picked “strengthening the armed forces” and 11 percent picked “improving Russia’s international position.” Only 2 percent had special kudos for Putin’s efforts on fighting crime, terrorism or the influence of oligarchs on politics; and only 1 percent for his job with the economy, morale, social tolerance, or democratic and political freedom. Conversely, “fighting corruption” was Putin’s greatest failure according to 29 percent of those polled.

    As quoted by Newsweek: “The fall will be slow,” Levada Center’s director mused. “The elections in 2018 will not be affected very severely but this will change later on.” With the emphasis on later, presumably.

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    Remember When Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Were Maybe Forced To Pose Nude In College?
    Photo: AP

    Who really cares that Melania Trump posed nude? That the New York Post published the photos last month briefly distracted from her husband’s feud with the family of a dead Muslim veteran, but otherwise mostly served to ignite another scandal: What’s the deal with Melania’s early immigration status? We all moved on from the nudes per se so quickly that we all forgot to remember that thanks to a bizarre (and mercifully discontinued) practice at Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools, there is some chance—slim though it may be—that there exists, somewhere on this globe, a nude or two of Hillary Clinton and of Donald Trump.

    Recall that in 1995, Ron Rosenbaum wrote a long story for the New York Times Magazine on “The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal.” Apparently, for about 20 years, from the 1940s through the 1960s, nearly every student at most of the Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools—including Wellesley, where Hillary Clinton went, and, for a time, the University of Pennsylvania, Trump’s alma mater—was photographed naked as part of some kind of eugenics-adjacent physical exam that involved attaching metal pins to the backs of the students being photographed. Rosenbaum himself was subjected to this strange ritual (emphasis ours):

    It didn’t occur to me to object: I’d been told that this “posture photo” was a routine feature of freshman orientation week. Those whose pins described a too violent or erratic postural curve were required to attend remedial posture classes.

    The procedure did seem strange. But I soon learned that it was a long-established custom at most Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools. George Bush, George Pataki, Brandon Tartikoff and Bob Woodward were required to do it at Yale. At Vassar, Meryl Streep; at Mount Holyoke, Wendy Wasserstein; at Wellesley, Hillary Rodham and Diane Sawyer. All of them — whole generations of the cultural elite — were asked to pose. But however much the colleges tried to make this bizarre procedure seem routine, its undeniable strangeness engendered a scurrilous strain of folklore.

    The photos, according to Rosenbaum, were the product of the American aristocracy’s interest in eugenics and social Darwinism. The presidents of Harvard and Yale, E. A. Hooton and W.H. Sheldon, began the practice in the years after World War II, George Hersey, a professor of art History at Yale, claimed, in a 1992 letter to the Times that served as the inspiration for Rosenbaum’s later story. Hooton and Sheldon believed “that a person’s body, measured and analyzed, could tell much about intelligence, temperament, moral worth and probable future achievement.”

    You know who else believed that? Adolf Hitler! The Nazis compiled archives of photographs, analyzing them “for racial as well as characterological content (as did Hooton). Thus, from nose shape, forehead height and distance between lower lip and chin, a subject might be identified as 30 percent Alpine, 30 percent Mediterranean and 40 percent Danubian,” Hersey wrote. “The Nazis often used American high-school yearbook photographs for this purpose.”

    According to Rosenbaum, by the time Hillary Rodham was at Wellesley, the practice had been modified to allow women to take their pictures only partly nude, if they so chose. By the late ‘70s, students and faculty had revolted against the appalling practice, seizing archives of photographs and negatives and burning them on the quads.

    In 1987, the National Anthropological Archives, a branch of the Smithsonian Institute, acquired W.H. Sheldon’s archives, which included posture photographs he’d taken at schools around the country. In 1995, the Smithsonian sealed the collection—which, the Associated Press pointed out at the time, may have included photographs of President George H.W. Bush in addition to photographs of Hillary Rodham. Also, Sheldon’s archives reportedly contain photos from the University of Pennsylvania, where Donald Trump went to school, although he transferred after spending his freshman year at Fordham. (We also know that Trump goes to great lengths not to be seen in the nude.)

    Since Bill Clinton went to Georgetown, this is the first mess he seems ever to have avoided.

    So! If you know anything about...any of that, please do get in touch.

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  • 08/08/16--10:48: He Really Said "Titties"
  • Donald Trump has a big, bouncing beautiful set of economic plans—just see for yourself.

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  • 08/08/16--11:00: Welcome to Senior Week
  • Welcome to Senior Week

    Gawker Media is undergoing some changes. The publisher of this site, and many of your other favorite (Kotaku) and least favorite (Deadspin) blogs, will be sold at auction next week. We’re celebrating 14 years of hard-hitting independent journalism and also dog with a week of fond reminiscing, a few stories we’ve always wanted to do, and some fun surprises.

    As always, if you have a tip or a suggestion, or if you’d simply like Ashley to text you a Shrek nude, please send your phone number to Stay tuned!

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  • 08/08/16--11:15: Ban the Olympics
  • Ban the Olympics

    My opinion: The Olympics are boring and bad and nobody actually cares about them.

    The professionalized version of sports events staged at the Olympics are in almost every case more competitive and more entertaining than their Olympic counterparts: No avid NBA fan cares about Olympic basketball; no Premier League follower gives a crap about Olympic soccer. It’s not just an issue of the sport not being played by less-than-elite athletes—it’s that the differentials between teams are totally arbitrary and contingent. The teams that represent their countries at the World Cup are composed of the very, very best those countries have to offer: Brazil’s Olympic soccer team has gotten held to 0-0 draws by Iraq and South Africa, not because Brazil is bad at soccer but because the team is Neymar and 10 dudes he was playing pickup with last week.

    The events that feature the most elite competitors in those sports are also the most boring. Coincidence? No. Track? Wow—running around an oval. Looks like they’re going pretty fast! Diving? Seen one, you seen ‘em all. Beach volleyball? No thanks! Too much sand. Most people are just trying to look at the butts anyway.

    Also: Those aren’t sports; they’re activities. At best, beach volleyball is a “game.”

    That is all to say nothing of the gross pageantry and performative patriotism that demands our investment and attention in these Olympics, so as to prove...what exactly? They are a vestigial spectacle left over from when the fiction of “sovereign” “nations” held sway—when nobody actually wanted to go to war with each other, but everyone still had something to prove, so they engaged in proxy wars to display dominance and conquest and character over everyone else.

    The modern Olympics drape themselves in this early 20th century finery but at bottom they are, like everything else in this godforsaken global hellscape, a corporatist ruse designed to extract capital from suckers who think where they happen to have been born holds any meaning or significance.

    The only good thing about the Olympics is the refugee team, although the brutal irony of course is that the competition itself has displaced some 20,000 poor families from their homes, which in turn will allow for real estate developers to build new neighborhoods and jack up property values.

    Nobody actually likes the Olympics. How could you? They’re awful.

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    New Jersey Dealer Refuses Sale Of Mercedes To Indian Man Fearing He'd 'Sell It To The Taliban'

    An Indian national who lives in the U.S. is suing a New Jersey Mercedes-Benz dealership for $1.26 million after the dealer refused to sell him a brand new car on grounds that “they were afraid he would sell it to the Taliban,” according to news reports.

    The Times Herald-Record reports that Surjeet Bassi, 50, went to Prestige Motors in New Jersey to replace his Mercedes ML350 SUV with a newer model and chose the larger and more expensive GL550.

    Bassi told the paper that after he negotiated the price with the sales staff, put a $1000 deposit on the car and had his insurance update his policy, the sales manager called him into the office to tell him he could not buy the car. The buyer was told that he comes from a “high risk” area that buys cars and sells them to the Taliban.

    That is when Bassi, who runs a medical transport company, told the manager that he has lived in the area for 30 years and that he has no relation to any terrorist organization. But the manager still refused to sell him the car. From the story:

    A search by the Times Herald-Record of Bassi’s name on a federal database of those banned from exporting turned up nothing. Bassi said the manager did the same search of Bassi’s name, address and telephone and came up empty, too.

    He said he was even willing to sign a waiver, as he had done before, promising not to export the car for three years.

    “I said, ‘Give me the paper, I’ll sign it,’” Bassi said. “I had a Mercedes already, if I wanted wanted to export it I would sell that one.”

    But Prestige refused, Bassi said. He said the implication that he would sell or be associated with terrorists hurt him.

    “Heartbroken,” he said. “I couldn’t tell you how bad I felt that day.”

    The Mercedes GL, like other large luxury SUVs, are very popular with wealthy customers in the Middle East and China. Due to the limited inventory and high tariffs, many high-end customers in those areas will pay two or three times the sticker price for a black market car. Mercedes dealers in the U.S. sometimes take precautions to make sure their cars are not exported overseas.

    Still, this case is beyond the pale. Bassi’s attorney Michael Sussman alleges the incident is part of a larger pattern of discrimination against immigrants. They have filed a suit against the dealership for “blatant racial discrimination” as well as refusing to extend credit under the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

    In 2014, Prestige was investigated over allegations of kickbacks being paid to its dealership salesmen in connection to a broader national probe into the exporting of luxury vehicles to China. While several of the sales staff were fired, no formal charges were brought against the dealership.

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    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Photoillustration: Jim Cooke, photos: Getty/Shutterstock

    Donald Trump is a businessman. Businessmen wear suits. It makes sense, then, that in the vast majority of photographs depicting him, Donald trump is wearing a suit. But for someone as hyper-visible and heavily photographed as Donald Trump, surely plenty of photos exist of Trump sans jacket, right?

    Reader, you could not be more wrong.

    Earlier this past weekend, as I was browsing Instagram, something just a little off caught my eye.

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Image: Instagram

    RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is fine. He’s lounging, he’s removed his jacket (as ones does when flying). Reince is ready to relax. Donald Trump, however, is not. Donald Trump’s jacket is firmly in place, despite the fact that, judging by Reince’s chill-level, Trump appears to have had ample time to remove it.

    What an odd thing to do, I thought to myself. Surely this is an anomaly. So I looked at the now-fabled KFC tweet for reference.

    Another jacket.

    Who wears a suit jacket on a plane? Even more distressing: Who wears a suit jacket while eating KFC?

    As I began to rack my brain for answers, I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a photograph of Donald Trump without a jacket on. So I did a little research. I pored through the 30,000-plus images of Donald Trump available on Getty and AP to find the last known photograph of Donald Trump sans jacket.

    On March 5, in the year of our Lord 2015, Donald Trump was seen sporting a jacket-less torso for what may very well have been the last time. It was the World Golf Championship at the Trump National Doral golf course, and Donald Trump’s golden arm hairs glistened like silk in the Florida sun.

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacket-less, March 5, 2015. Image: Getty

    That white polo appears to have been a favorite; he also wore it at the Donald Trump Million Dollar Invitational tournament in 2006:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacket-less, May 25, 2006. Image: Getty

    Then again in 2012:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacket-less, July 10, 2012. Image: Getty

    As well as 2013:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacket-less, March 5, 2013. Image: Getty

    And 2014:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacket-less, March 7, 2014. Image: Getty

    But since that fateful day in 2015, no matter the situation or surroundings, Donald Trump has kept himself stuffed firmly into his suit jacket.

    Donald Trump is still willing to don his beloved Trump International polo, sure, but not without his constricting security layer:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacketed, June 23, 2015. Image: Getty

    But why is Donald Trump so keen on staying covered? The controversial 1993 Trump biography Lost Tycoon might give us a hint. In it, while discussing eventual second-wife Marla Maples’ early feelings towards Trump, author Harry Hurt writes:

    The funny thing is, there’s a side of Donald that not even [Marla] has seen. She has never seen him completely naked—at least almost never—because he won’t let her. Whenever they’re about to have sex, he makes her go into the bathroom while he gets undressed. As soon as he takes off his clothes, he jumps into the bed and pulls up the covers. She knows that he’s ashamed to show her what a flabby old body he has. He has no idea that just makes him seem cuter and more cuddly to her.

    It certainly wouldn’t come as shock to discover that someone as aggressively defensive as Donald Trump is, at his core, deeply and cripplingly insecure. Which might also explain why Trump is so loath to remove his apparently beloved additional layer of covering, even when social decorum would suggest it. Like at a hockey game, for instance:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacketed, May 25, 2012. Image: Getty

    Or at a baseball game:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacketed, July 30, 2012. Image: Getty

    But Trump wasn’t always like this. Here he is at the U.S. open in 1991, jacket free and much more appropriately dressed:

    It Has Been 17 Months and Counting Since Donald Trump Last Took Off His Jacket, According to My Research
    Jacket-less, August 30, 1991. Image: Getty

    Perhaps Trump’s body-image anxieties—if he does have them—have only worsened as the ensuing quarter-century took its toll on his decrepit torso.

    But, the skeptics may ask, is it simply the case that Trump wears the jacket to obfuscate his rumored bulletproof vest? It’s possible, but the timing doesn’t add up. According to New York Magazine, Trump began wearing the vest “several months” prior to April of 2016. By that point, it had already been a full year since Trump was last seen not wearing a jacket.

    With all this in mind, there exist several possible lines of query. Has Donald Trump been wearing a jacket of some sort for 17 months straight? Does he sleep in a suit jacket? Shower in it? Exactly how many jackets does Donald Trump own?

    And, perhaps most importantly, what is Donald Trump trying to hide?

    We’ve reached out to Donald Trump’s campaign to find out, and will update if and when we hear back. Until then, if you have any information at all regarding Donald Trump’s jacket and what may or may not lie beneath, please send us an email here.

    The people demand answers.

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  • 08/08/16--12:25: Public Dogs
  • Public Dogs
    This public dog may or may not be friendly: Flickr

    Maybe you like dogs but you can’t have a dog. That’s where public dogs come in.

    Have you ever been to a park? Plenty of room to roam. It would be no problem for anyone to release 20-50 dogs within the confines of a large urban public park. The dogs will live in the park. They are as free as they please except for the shock collars that will shock them if they venture too close to the borders of the park. There are many dogs currently confined to animal shelters who would jump at this opportunity to “make it” out there on their own.

    People come to the park. Don’t like dogs? Fine. Just ignore the dogs as you do your fellow humans. Like dogs? Great. Go up to the dogs in the park and make friends with them. They are public dogs. They live off the love and good will of the public. You can be friends with the public dogs. You can play with the public dogs. You can feed the public dogs. And then you can go home and leave the public dogs in their spacious park. They love it and so do you. If any of the public dogs turn out to be Bad Dogs, simply replace them with one of the many Good Dogs languishing in shelters just waiting for their chance to prove themselves.

    Many will ask, “Is there a chance that public dogs could ‘disrupt’ the dog industry in the same way that Uber has ‘disrupted’ the taxi industry?” Yes there is. Any more questions?

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    For his latest trick, John Oliver has tackled how internet virality is killing journalism. He correctly indicts his own show as a cog in the machine that is dismantling local news, and now you’re reading about it on one of the million news sites to post the clip. It’s all very meta.

    It’s also a pretty good segment. If you’re reading this website but are for some reason unaware of the economic factors that have decimated the municipal newspaper industry, this is a decent primer. There is also a funny Spotlight parody at the end starring Rose Byrne and the very good boy Jason Sudeikis. John Oliver is very popular among celebrities, too.

    Last Week Tonight’s success in contextualizing complex and wonky news stories is perhaps unmatched in mainstream media. But Oliver and his team rely heavily on local news reporting to spin their YouTube gold, in the process receiving far more acclaim (to say nothing of money) than the local news reporters who write those stories. The same is true, of course, for Gawker, which has always augmented our own reporting and gossip hounding with heaping ladles of aggregated news stories of all kinds. Gawker went bankrupt before the Chicago Tribune only because a lunatic billionaire vampire has chosen to sue us out of existence. We didn’t even get the chance to rebrand as gonc.

    But as nice as it is for Oliver to turn his sizable following onto the plight of court and city hall reporters, you’ll notice the segment lacks a solution for how to reverse this problem. He offers an answer that’s such a non-starter as to amount to a cop out: “Sooner or later, we’re going to have to pay for journalism, or we are all going to pay for it.” By “we” he means “you,” and anyway there will be no great reawakening among the consumer public that leads to a newly robust local news industry. There will only be podcasts.

    Oliver would probably say he has no real solution because he’s an entertainer and not a media theorist, though those two things are not mutually exclusive (just kidding, yes they are). But Oliver, as the segment implies, has a dog in this fight: the continued deterioration of local news infrastructures will make his show harder to produce. Will John Oliver eventually employ an army of investigative reporters in cities across America? I doubt it, but I’ve heard worse ideas for saving journalism, honestly.

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    🔥HOT TAKE: Pokémon Go Is a Bad Game🔥
    Image: @Brachyzoid / Twitter. A paras and rattata spawned in the same location and clipped through each other, expressing how I feel.

    Woah buddy it’s 10:30am on a Monday and this hungover blogger has something to get off his chest. After writing no fewer than 17 posts in the past few weeks about our nation’s newest craze, I have some sad news to report to you all: Pokémon Go is a bad, bad game.

    Why, you ask, would I seek to spoil an experience bringing so much joy to millions? Why yuck our Great Nostalgic Yum? Foremost, because I am a bitter, unsentimental man. But mostly it’s for your own good. Let me shout the ways:

    Many things have stood between Pokémon Go players and this elusive quality called “fun” since the “game’s” release just over a month ago. Initially it was a total lack of in-game direction or tutorial, followed by server issues, hacks, and app crashes, all of which caused players to lose out on catches or waste valuable items. Great start guys. Then it was the three-step bug which made locating monsters impossible. (Third-party services that alleviated that issue were shut down by the game’s creator, Niantic, because fuck anyone trying to not wander around aimlessly.) More recently, escape rates have skyrocketed and monsters seem to change to new species after they’re caught. Swell.

    Players also realize this supposedly casual game is also hiding key information from them, requiring a massive crowdsourcing project and the work of some blackhat hackers to figure out. Yes, we’re still talking about a game that is ostensibly for children.

    In-game resources don’t scale properly and the XP curve is unforgiving (see: thoroughly broken) at higher levels. GPS tracking is wildly inaccurate, and the requirement to leave the app maximized is ridiculous. It drains battery and data, and caused a friend’s phone to regularly overheat. Trading never happened and gym mechanics make almost no sense. Spoofing is rampant, to the point where Twitch is cracking down on players who break the game’s Terms of Service on air. Services are selling high level trainers for hundreds of dollars—which is both cheating and a sign of how fucking boring the game is to play.

    Every one of those totally legitimate issues is a distraction from the larger problem: the game sucks, right down to its brittle, sucky bones. Maybe playing Pokémon Go gives the impression that you—the player—have some level of control and self-determination over your team of cockfighting anime monsters. You don’t. The game is a sprinkle of dumb luck with a heart-stopping dose of relentless grind, and the latter only gets worse the longer you play.

    You can’t catch ‘em all, as the tagline goes, because many monsters are either unavailable or region-specific, and you can’t become a gym leader for any meaningful amount of time. The battle mechanics are laggy and lopsided. The same five monsters seem to dominate every gym, only to be replaced within minutes by a different team’s identical monsters in any reasonably populous area. So what’s the end goal here? To slowly and painfully shamble towards the next level, where the rewards cease to meet the required effort?

    It’s getting people outside in terrifying droves, but everyone I’ve met in this fashion I could have happily never spoken to. Pokémon is not a defining part of my personality. I have enough friends. The only thing that was ever fun about Pokémon Go was figuring out just what we were supposed to be doing. Now we know the answer: wander, pray, get our asses kicked by cheaters. I’m deleting my account (so long, Bongqueen69) and so should you.

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    A Master Painter Is Trying to Prove in Court That He Didn't Paint This Painting
    Still: Peter Bartlow/YouTube

    The signature on the jaunty, vaguely surrealistic desert landscape you see above reads “Pete Doige 76.” That’s two letters and two digits removed from the name of Peter Doig, one of the world’s most renowned and successful living painters. Are Doig and Doige one and the same? That’s the $5 million question.

    A retired Canadian corrections officer named Robert Fletcher says that he bought the above painting for $100 dollars in the mid 1970s, from an inmate at the Thunder Bay Correctional Centre with whom he had a friendly relationship. The inmate, named Pete Doige, was an aspiring painter who was serving a five-month sentence for possession of LSD. Now, as an article published in the Globe and Mail this weekend lays out, Fletcher is claiming in court that Doige is in fact Doig, and that the work in his possession is by extension worth a lot more than the hundred bucks he paid for it.

    After a friend alerted Fletcher to the similarities between the name on his painting and that of the famous artist several years ago, Fletcher branded the painting as an early Doig and attempted to sell it via a gallery in Chicago. Doig himself then served Fletcher and the gallerist with a cease-and-desist letter, claiming that he didn’t paint the western tableau. Fletcher responded by suing Doig for damages between $5 million and $7 million in a trial that is scheduled to begin today, claiming that Doig blocked him from a large financial windfall by falsely disavowing the work. Doig must now prove that he did not paint the painting in question if he wants to avoid paying up.

    Doig has a pretty strong case. There is no record of Doig having attended Lakehead University, where Doige and Fletcher supposedly first met before Doige’s stint in jail, or having worked at the Seafarer’s Union, where Fletcher supposedly set Doige up with employment. Doig’s lawyers also tracked down a deceased Canadian man named Peter Doige, who did attend Lakehead, and was a member of the Seafarer’s Union. Neither Doig nor the dead Doige are on record as having served time at Thunder Bay Correctional, however, but the former art teacher at the jail swears that he watched the dead Doige paint the desert painting. The dead Doige’s sister believes that her brother is the artist responsible, and that the image depicts an area in Arizona where their mother used to live.

    The prosecution’s Doig=Doige evidence is less concrete, but eerier. Doig is known for painting haunted, bare landscapes, often with a body of water at the fore, just like the Doige painting. His work is generally less figurative than the Doige but it’s not hard to see the resemblance. If you took a well-known Doig painting—say, Grand Riviere, from 2002—and asked yourself, ‘What would this look like if it were painted a few decades ago, when the artist was still finding his style?’ you might imagine something a lot like what you see above. (Check out the YouTube channel belonging to Fletcher’s gallerist, which documents alleged similarities between the works, if you’re looking for a good rabbit hole.)

    There are other similarities: Doig and the man that sold Fletcher the painting are both of Scottish heritage, and Doig has said that he used LSD as a young man. Doig and the dead Doige bear a strong physical resemblance to one another. And, according to Fletcher’s attorneys, there is a gap in the record of Doig’s life that coincides with the time that the desert painter apparently spent in jail.

    But even if Fletcher wins, he might still be out of luck. Amy Adler, an art law expert at NYU, told the Globe and Mail that regardless of the verdict, the art market would not treat the painting seriously if Doig disavows it. “Whatever a judge says about authenticity is irrelevant,” she said. “The market will follow Doig’s word.”

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    Marnie the Dog For Sure Dead Inside But What About Out
    Photo: AP

    In photographs, Marnie the Dog looks dead. Sources who have met her say she “smells like death.” So, is Marnie the Dog...dead? “I heard that Marnie was originally named ‘Stinky’ before she was adopted,” a source said. (This is true.) “She still smells really bad.” Maybe because she’s dead—and rotting.

    “Marnie looks dead when she sits still,” another source told Gawker. “It’s very unnerving.” Something that would explain that: She is dead and has been stuffed, making her look like she is a little bit alive. “I met Marnie in a club—at a comedy show?” one fan recalled. “It was like, ‘Why is that dead dog in here?’” Why not? She is (was?) very funny:

    Part of what makes Marnie look dead is that her face is all kinds of fucked up. It’s not her fault! She briefly suffered from something called Vestibular Syndrome, which is like a stroke. Also her tongue is just very long. An unfortunate confluence of events for Marnie—though not so unfortunate for Marnie’s owners, who have turned this stinky little pup in an Internet behemoth.

    Marnie isn’t the only famous pet whose brand is inextricably linked with some kind of physical disability or disfigurement: Grumpy Cat’s unique appearance is the result of feline dwarfism and an underbite; meanwhile, Lil Bub also has dwarfism, as well as an underdeveloped jaw and no teeth. Possibly osteoporosis as well. (Also: Did you know that Grumpy Cat’s old name was “Tard?” Can’t imagine why they stopped using that one.)

    Anyway. Pets aren’t brands! When an animal comes into your care you become the steward of another living thing, responsible for its health and well-being. You should not commodify your cat—especially if it’s got a fucked up face.

    I follow several pet accounts on Instagram. They enliven my day, when I am at work, and missing my own cat. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s good. This, however, is bad:

    Staring into those beady little eyes for long enough and one begins to wobble, tipping forward off one’s chair and towards the computer screen, towards the vast, sucking maw of the social web, the air filled with the sickly sweet scent of shareable content. They brought the dog to a demonstration in support of the victims of the Pulse shooting and their families. “Don’t shoot gay ppl,” Marnie’s Twitter account said. “This needs 2 stop,” was her comment on police shootings. What is the point of doing this??? Why?????????

    Ugh. Anyway. Is Marnie the Dog actually dead? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. Does she make me want to be dead? Yes.

    Update – 4:45 pm


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    Fox News Host Claims Network Ignored Her Sexual Harassment Complaints Against Roger Ailes
    Andrea Tantaros and Roger Ailes. Photos: Getty

    The sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes—the number of which seems to grow every day—have raised serious questions about whether Fox officials were aware of Ailes’ behavior toward female employees. The network has denied any knowledge among higher-ups. But according to Gabriel Sherman of New York magazine, at least three executives knew that Fox News host Andrea Tantaros had complained about Ailes’ sexually-charged comments toward her:

    Through her lawyer, Judd Burstein, Tantaros says that both she and her agent told Fox executive vice-president Bill Shine, senior vice-president Suzanne Scott, and general counsel Dianne Brandi about episodes of Ailes’s alleged harassment. “She made multiple harassment and hostile-workplace complaints,” Burstein says. As far as Tantaros knows, Fox executives never investigated her complaints, Burstein says; instead, they claim, Fox sidelined her. “I believe it’s retaliatory,” says Burstein.

    Tantaros claims that Ailes told her, among other things, that she would “really look good in a bikini” and asked her to show off her body in his private office. She also believes that her mysterious disappearance from Fox News programming earlier this year was directly related to her complaints against Ailes.

    At the time, Fox maintained that Tantaros was removed from her slot on the daytime show Outnumbered over unspecified “issues” regarding her contract with the network, and has since clarified that those issues pertained to her recent book, Tied Up in Knots: How Getting What They Wanted Has Made Women Miserable, which Tantaros allegedly published without allowing Fox to vet its contents. (Weirdly enough, Fox continues to employ Tantaros, albeit without allowing her to appear on-air.)

    If Tantaros’s allegations are true, the scope of the ongoing internal inquiry into the complaints against Ailes is likely to change dramatically—from a probe of one powerful man’s behavior toward women, to a much wider investigation into a company whose most powerful executives allegedly tolerated the exploitation of women.

    CORRECTION, 10 p.m.

    This original version of this post featured a photo of a woman who was not Andrea Tantaros. Our error stemmed from what appears to be an incorrectly captioned photo in the Getty Images database. Gawker apologizes for the error. Thank you to Donna, Andrew, and Astero for pointing this out.

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