de.tech.ting

In other Howard Stern news: Gabourey Sidibe 'most enormous fat black chick I've ever seen' – Internets shocked and appalled

Posted by andreaitis on March 10, 2010

Actress Gabourey Sidibe at the Oscars in March 2010 (Getty Images)

Actress Gabourey Sidibe at the Oscars in March 2010 (Getty Images)

Howard Stern is having a banner week so far.   While he’s snagging headlines for his Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant, he’s also getting slammed for his comments about Precious star and Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe.

Howard Stern’s saying something shocking! (Shocker, right?) Today his target is Precious’s Gabourey Sidibe. “There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie.” And on Oprah Winfrey: “Oprah’s another liar, a filthy liar. She’s telling an enormous woman the size of a planet that she’s going to have a career.”

We should note Gaby just landed a role on Showtime’s The Big C.

via Link Party: Howard Stern Calls Gabourey Sidibe Enormous – E! Online

The twitter is overwhelmingly buzzing with those who are eternally offended.

kyledeb Howard Stern is a jerk. I’m watching the movie “Precious” now just to spite him and support Gabourey Sidibe. #sexism

Legacy_Maker the fact that people like howard stern are allowed to exist in this industry frightens me! http://bit.ly/bRD7GC he’s the epitome of an ASS!!

Zazochi Howard Stern Not A Fan Of Precious Star Gabourey Sidibe: http://bit.ly/bH0TBy via Stern being the loser dick he is.

In the midst of the stream, though, a drop of reason.

Cocoabella Howard Stern was a douche about it– but there was some truth to what he was saying.

Listen up, people.  Howard Stern is known for saying out loud what everyone else is thinking.  That’s his gig, we’ve all known that for years.  If you don’t like it, change the channel.  Cancel your subscription.  Turn it off.  But please do not sit there and tell me you didn’t think to yourself, “Wow.  Gaby is pretty large.”   It’s a fact.  She’s way overweight, and that’s not healthy.

[daylifegallery id=”1268327575771″]

I would guess 99% of those who are upset about Stern’s words didn’t actually listen to the clip.  Was it nice?  No.  Does Howard Stern have the right to say it?  Of course.  Just as Tony Kornheiser had the right to say Hannah Storm’s outfit was “horrible.” We have the right to free speech, not nice speech.

Is it really that awful?  Listen for yourself before you decide:

[youtubevid id=”JVzv-SmPtbU”]

Posted in Entertainment, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Jamie Jungers wins Howard Stern’s Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant

Posted by andreaitis on March 10, 2010

For the first time in a very long time, I miss Howard Stern.

I used to listen to Howard and the gang on WXRK in New York,  way back when commuters carried Sony Walkmen and still read newspapers.   In 2006 Howard moved to Sirius satellite radio, and I moved on.  I’ve thought about Howard over the years, but mostly with nostalgia and fond memories.  Until today, when my Tweetdeck informed me of the Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant.   I felt a pang, a sudden craving for the Howard I used to know and love.  So I did the next logical thing:  I googled.  And, lo and behold, Howard spoke to me from the inner workings of the internets as the story popped up reported by Jewish Business Magazine.  What?!?  I mean, who even knew jewbiz.com existed let alone would be a source of Howard Stern’s Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant news and information?  So, I googled some more and found the press release from JBM’s “successful launch.”

Andrew Cohn, decided to launch the Jewish Business Magazine to fill the need to connect the worldwide Jewish business community for Jewish business discourse and debate, Jewish business news, Jewish business networking events, Jewish business advice and tips and profiles of Jewish business leaders, executives, professionals and Jewish-owned Businesses.

That’s 7 Jewishes in a single sentence.   Certainly a publication ripe for Howard-worthy mockery.  Give them the benefit of the doubt, I thought.   Perhaps their Howard Stern coverage falls under the category of  Jewish business news or, um, Jewish discourse and debate.

What have we learned from the Howard Stern’s interview with the girls of the Tiger Woods Beauty Pageant?

Howard Stern is the greatest interviewer of all time, and the King of All Media.

On March 10, Howard hosted the Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant with Jaime Jungers, Loredana Jolie and Jaime Grubbs.

The winner received $75,000 courtesy of Ashley Madison, which is a dating site for people in a relationship and want to have an affair.

via Howard Stern’s Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant | Jewish Business Magazine

Not a very auspicious beginning, jewbiz.com.   I chased down googled the story one last time.  I had to know: what did we really (allegedly) learn from the Tiger Woods Beauty Pageant?

Reader/blogger Todd Dery from Waiting for Next Year chipped in with these highlights:

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 13:  Jamie Jungers hosts ...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

– Tiger didn’t use condoms with Jungers for 18 months. Jolie said he did and she was sleeping with him for two years. Tiger’s nickname for Jamie Jungers: “Jamie Juicers.” Think about it.

– Tiger flew Jamie Jungers COACH on Southwest to see him! Dude is a zillionaire.

– Tiger asked her about a three-some, but she said, ‘if your wife is involved’ and Tiger never brought it up again.

– Jungers was with Tiger in bed the night that his father passed away. She said he went to the hospital earlier in the day to visit his dad, and then later that night, he and Jungers had sex. She claims Tiger call the call about his

dad’s passing around 2 am.

– Jolie said Tiger was “very into role playing” he would put a suit on, then go into a room with “several” naked chicks and he’d order these chicks to do stuff in front of them.

– Jolie said she “dated” Michael Jordan and Bruce Willis and that Tiger’s penis was larger than Jordan’s.

– Jaimie Grubbs was up third. First thing right off the bat – she banged Tiger two days after the birth of his kid!

– Grubbs did not Tiger was married when they met, and he was not wearing a ring. It took him three days to kiss her. “A lot of 8th grade flirting, he was definitely shy.”

– Grubbs said Tiger called her “skinny fat” because she ate like a “fat person” but was skinny.

– Grubbs thought that he would leave Elin for her. After she found out he was married, she didn’t see him for a year and he continued to text her and begged to see her. Meanwhile she was 21 when all of this was going down.

via Jamie Jungers Wins Howard Stern’s “Tiger Woods Beauty Pageant” — The Big Lead

In the dramatic final moments of the pageant, Jamie Jungers was crowned the winner.   A dubious title, certainly, but also a reminder of why Howard Stern still reigns.  This def goes into the greatest hits album.

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Should registered sex offenders be identified in social networks?

Posted by andreaitis on March 9, 2010

In October of last year, 17-year-old British teenager Ashleigh Hall ‘met’ a young, handsome teen named Pete Cartwright on Facebook.   They struck up a friendship and made plans to get together on October 25th.   Ashleigh told her mom she was going to stay with a friend, but instead went off to meet her Facebook friend for the very first time.   At least, she thought she was meeting Pete Cartwright.  Turns out she was really meeting Peter Chapman, a 33-year-old convicted rapist.

Peter Chapman and Ashleigh Hall.  Should Facebook add a Panic button?

Chapman raped and killed her, before dumping her body in a gully, close to Old Stockton Road near Sedgefield. He was arrested the following day.

Following his sentencing, Ashleigh’s mother, Andrea Hall branded the 33-year-old murderer “inhuman” and called for closer monitoring of sex offenders.

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Mrs Hall said authorities should reveal where sex offenders live.

via Facebook killer Peter Chapman monitoring probed — BBC News

Here in the U.S., we can find out where registered sex offenders are living with a couple of clicks on  Family Watchdog.  Type in an address or city/state  and you instantly get a map showing the name, picture and location of registered offenders.  You see their proximity to schools and parks, their convictions, any aliases and even sign up for alerts.   It is incredibly easy to find out if sex offenders are in our neighborhoods.   These days, though, we don’t just live in suburbs and cities; we also live online.   We can find out if registered sexual offenders are in our neighborhoods, but what about on our social networks?

The Liberal Democrats & home affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne, criticised Facebook for not adding a panic button, created by the Home Office & Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, to its site. Ceop says the button, a large graphic which once installed features prominently on each profile page and gives internet safety advice, should be added to all social networking websites. Its chief executive, Jim Gamble, said it was “beyond logic” that Facebook and MySpace have not joined.

via Facebook security measures criticised after Ashleigh Hall murder | UK news | guardian.co.uk

Facebook released a statement addressing Huhne’s criticism:

“What is clear is that Peter Chapman was a twisted, determined individual with an evil agenda who used every online and offline opportunity to meet people.  This case serves as a painful reminder that all internet users must use extreme caution when contacted over the internet by people they do not know.”

“We echo the advice of the police, who urge people not to meet anyone they have been contacted by online unless they know for certain who they are, as there are unscrupulous people in the world with malevolent agendas.”

According to a report in The Guardian, Chapman was just 15 when he was first the subject of several  sexual assault investigations.  At 19 he was sentenced to seven years in prison for raping two prostitutes, and was released in 2001.  Several months before Ashleigh’s murder, convicted rapist Peter Chapman fell through the cracks.

Merseyside police, who should have been monitoring Chapman, today referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The force acted after revelations that it waited nine months before issuing a national wanted alert for Chapman, after realising last year that he had vanished from his home.

This begs the question:  if we can’t properly track registered sex offenders in the real world, how can we possibly track them in a digital world where it’s even easier to hide?  Even if there was a solid technical solution (there isn’t), someone would surely find a loophole or hack.  There is momentum, though, for a proposal to remove sex offenders from social networking sites.

State Rep. Rob Teilhet is introducing a measure Tuesday that would allow the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to send sex offenders’ information to Facebook, MySpace and other sites.

The sites could then remove their information, ban them from creating profiles and notify state authorities of any suspicious activity.

A similar proposal has already been adopted in New York and others are being considered in California and Oklahoma.

via Georgia could restrict sex offenders from Facebook — Atlanta Journal Constitution

In Illinois, as of January 1, 2010 it is now a felony for registered sex offenders to join social networking sites.  Should all sex offenders be prohibited from joining social networks?  What about those who have served their time, who are now living their lives as proper citizens — should they be identified in some way if allowed to participate in a digital social circle?

In Ashleigh’s case, there very well could have been a different ending if Peter Chapman was not allowed to join Facebook.   Or, Peter Chapman would have found another way to get on Facebook and prey on teenage girls.

There are some things we do know:

– Digital media easily allows anyone to create a persona, a veil of anonymity.

– It’s unlikely a panic button would have saved Ashleigh’s life.

– Facebook does offer several ways to alter privacy settings and block users.

– Parents need to be involved with their children’s online education and behavior.

– Authorities need to take responsibility for more vigilant monitoring of sex offenders.

– Ultimately, we still make choices about who we communicate with and in what manner.

Yesterday Peter Chapman was sentenced to life in prison for killing Ashleigh Hall.  At least we know where he’ll be for a good long time.

[youtubevid id=”UrxVenUu8UM”]

Posted in crime, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Arianna Huffington, Steve Case and Jay Rosen walked into a bar…

Posted by andreaitis on March 2, 2010

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 19:  Arianna Huffington a...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

“I didn’t kill newspapers, darling.”

Arianna Huffington knows a good soundbite when she says one.  Perhaps that’s why The Huffington Post co-founder quoted her own 2009 Webby Awards acceptance speech at the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ conference in San Francisco yesterday.  Ariantrepreneur (my new nickname for her) was at the4A’s conference to speak about their theme,  Transformation 2010.   Here’s a description of the conference from 4A’s site.  To help, I’ve highlighted in this lovely hue some of my favorite jargon-y phrases:

It’s time for a transformation. Not just of words, but of actions. Of the ways of thinking that influence how brands communicate with consumers. About moving the mindset from disruption to partnership. Of even changing the ways that agencies conduct business and think of their products and deliverables.

Transformation 2010 is not just the amalgamation of the 4A’s Media and Leadership Conferences. It’s a unique opportunity to get everyone—managers, creatives, media, digital, production—into the same room at the same time to discuss the pressing matters of the day. Collaborate with and ask questions of one another. Listen to leaders who have first-hand experience in transforming their own businesses to meet the emerging needs of a new era. Be a part of the bigger picture, the solutions to the time-consuming age-old questions of monetization and evolution.

via American Association of Advertising Agencies

Well.  You might expect a conference of ad agency types to have better, clearer, less trite copy.   What’s it actually mean, what’s the conference about?  A reasonable question.  Arianna provided some perspective by revisiting her famous five words:  “I didn’t kill newspapers, darling.”  In that she captured the ever-growing gap between traditional media and digital media, and the need for various bridges to help consumers, content creators and advertisers walk (or even run)  from single-minded media to social multimedia.

Arianna was there to help.  Knowing she was speaking before the national trade association of the advertising agency business, Arianna worked the room with a tried but true formula:  List + Alliteration. While she may have tossed off the old line, she unveiled some new ones as well:  the 4E’s.

She charted the “4E’s” — engagement, enthusiasm, empathy and energy — needed to tap into the zeitgeist of the digital era that’s transforming the content business.

“This is the era of engagement,” Ms. Huffington said, then quoted musician Will.i.am’s assessment of the news climate, where consumers used to get news on the couch, and are now getting news on a “galloping horse.”

via Arianna Huffington Preaches 4E’s of Web Content at 4A’s — Advertising Age

The second I heard the 4E’s I recalled a similar list from my AOL days.   Back when Steve Case and Bob Pittman held company meetings dressed as the Blues Brothers and, yes, threw the requisite beer bashes on the lawn, Steve Case also talked about the 5C’s.  This from a 2004 interview:

When I was trying to popularize the concept of the Internet — ten or 15 years ago — I came up with this concept of “the 5 Cs.” Services needed to have content, context, community, commerce, and connectivity. After that, when I was trying to think of what the key management principles were to build into the culture, I started talking about the Ps. The P’s were things like passion, perseverance, perspective and people. I think the people aspect is really the most important one.

via Steve Case interview, 2004 — Academy of Achievement

I don’t remember much talk about the 4P’s, but the 5C’s were the backbone of many strategic discussions at AOL.  Steve came up with this list in the early 1990s, and many of the words he selected are still relevant today.  Looking at the 5C’s, 4P’s and 4E’s together, we can group them pretty easily.

Product: Content, Context, Perspective

Interaction: Community, Engagement

Audience: People, Empathy

Drive: Passion, Perseverance, Energy, Enthusiasm

Revenue: Commerce, Connectivity (Rupert Murdoch would add Content here as well)

These all add up to a social, digital media experience.  While it is now mainstream, it is definitely not new.   Different words in different times, but Steve Case was undoubtedly the godfather of social media.  From Q-Link to AIM to AOL Chat… message boards, Member Directory, Hometown, AOL Journals and AOL Live… Steve Case and AOL paved the way for MySpace, Facebook, Skype, Flickr, Twitter, ChatRoulette and so many more.   Arianna calls this the “Era of Engagement,” and she’s right.  But this era dawned years ago with Steve Case and the 5C’s.  It often seems his contributions are overshadowed by finger-pointing over  the failed AOL Time Warner merger.  Were there flaws and mistakes in his leadership?  Of course.  Make no mistake, though:  Steve Case and AOL forever changed the way people communicate.

I should note that while I enjoy mocking jargon, I’m not entirely opposed to it.  When we first started working on True/Slant we came up with our own jargon-y phrase for the news experience we wanted to create:  Open  Social  News  Exchange.   It wasn’t really a list, there was no alliteration and the initials didn’t create a cute name (OSNE?  Uh, no.).  Still, each word meant something to us.   We also talked about what’s most important to us, jargon aside:   authenticity,  credibility, transparency, intimacy, knowledge.   These words are filters not just for our contributors, but also for marketers and our real-time advertorials,  T/S Ad Slants.   To us, true engagement means breaking down walls between news providers and news consumers, but it doesn’t stop there.  It also means breaking down the wall between  marketers and consumers.   In this scenario the sixth C — credibility — is crucial.  That’s where NYU professor Jay Rosen comes in.  I found his post on Twitter today: Eight key terms for determining legitimacy in journalism.

Veracity, accuracy, transparency, intellectual honesty, currency, inquiry, utility.  That’s where I would start in attempting to define legitimacy in journalism. Providers of news, information and commentary who devote themselves to those seven things are solid citizens of Legit-a-land.

I have to add one more, but you will probably hate me for it because it will strike you as jargon, and all journalists claim to hate jargon (but “lede” is okay, right?) Anyway, my eighth pillar of legitimacy is polyphonicity. I know: awful term! It means “more than one sound.”

Journalism to be fully legitimate needs to present a plurality of voices, not just one.  I don’t mean to invoke the gods of balance. They are false gods. I mean to suggest that journalism isn’t a monologue. More than one person speaks in it. More than one angle is taken on the object.

via Eight key terms for determining legitimacy in journalism — Jay Rosen

I have to say, Rosen nailed it right down to polyphonicity.   He’s applying these eight terms to legitimacy in  journalism, but I think they go beyond.   They are really 8 commandments for good citizenship in a social media world.  These are the values that will make for productive social exchanges around news or any other subject.

As I thought today about  Steve Case with his 5C’s and 4P’s as America first went online, Arianna with her 4E’s at the 4A’s, and Jay Rosen with his 8 Commandments for credibility, I got dizzy (hah) and then I embraced the polyphonicity.    Plurality of voices, dialogue vs monologue, intimacy of engagement, this platform that is above all the great equalizer…

“I didn’t kill newspapers, darling.”

Posted in Business, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tony Kornheiser, Hannah Storm and free speech as an endangered species

Posted by andreaitis on February 24, 2010

Hannah-Storm-SportsCenter-outfit

Hannah Storm in the "horrifying" outfit. PS: I'd wear it.

Hannah Storm’s Wikipedia entry has been updated already:

In February 2010, fellow ESPN colleague Tony Kornheiser harshly criticized her outfit that day on his radio show, and was suspended from ESPN for 2 weeks. He has since apologized to her via a 15 minute phone conversation.

via Wikipedia

What did Kornheiser say that warranted a two-week suspension and a 15-minute apology?  Did he say she stood by and did nothing while videotaping kids bullying an autistic child?  Did he call her a racist?  Did he suggest she repeatedly and casually incorporated the other r-word into her conversations (hint: it rhymes with me-tard)?  Did he call her (gasp!) fat?!?

Nope, none of the above.   Kornheiser’s offense:  He criticized her outfit.

What Kornheiser said, on his weekday local radio show on ESPN’s Washington, D.C. affiliate Friday, was that Storm was on-air in a “horrifying outfit” with “red go-go boots” and a skirt “way too short for somebody her age.” He added the kicker: “She’s what I would call a Holden Caulfield fantasy at this point.”

Kornheiser has apologized on-air and as well as to Storm personally. On the show Tuesday, he noted his suspension and said he wouldn’t talk about it in any interviews.

So, some context. Kornheiser, on that show, occasionally critiques on-air TV fashions —Kathie Lee Gifford, on NBC’s Today show, has been found wanting — which is perfectly fair game given costuming is a big part of TV. He also makes great use of what he finds irritating — Storm’s stylings just seemed like fodder.

via ESPN suspends Kornheiser for comments on Hannah Storm’s attire – USA Today

ESPN executive vice president John Skipper said “Hurtful and personal comments such as these are not acceptable and have significant consequences.”    What he actually meant is that “hurtful and personal comments” about colleagues are not acceptable.

Asked if the key was that Kornheiser was talking about a fellow staffer rather than specifically what he what said, spokesman Mike Soltys said: “Yes. Respect for colleagues is paramount!”

And here is where we slap the WTF?!? label on this little incident.   Have we learned nothing from Jay and Conan?  Perhaps this is some reverse psychology plot by a super-smart TV executive to get some attention for ESPN, a last-ditch effort to get a ratings spike as February sweeps come to a close.  More likely, it’s just another boneheaded bungle.  How does ESPN react?  A wannabe white knight TV exec rushes in to protect and defend the damsel in distress, and the implication is that Hannah Storm went crying to management.

That is offensive — much more offensive than Kornheiser calling her outfit horrifying.  Where is Hannah Storm in all this? Trash talk is part of sports.  Where’s the feisty comeback, the call-him-on-the-carpet confrontation, the self-deprecating sense of humor?  More than anything, I’d like to hear from Hannah Storm, get her reaction and have her stand up to Kornheiser herself rather than standing behind the men of ESPN.

Here’s how this should have gone down:

– Tony Kornheiser does what he always does.  Nothing new, nothing different, and certainly nothing extraordinarily offensive.  He criticizes Hannah Storm’s outfit and her judgment in wearing such an outfit.  File that under “freedom of speech.”

– Let’s imagine Hannah Storm blows a gasket or, at the very least, is annoyed.  She has several options:

1. She calls into (or shows up on) Kornheiser’s  show, Pardon the Interruption, to criticize his tie.

2. She invites Kornheiser onto her show, SportsCenter, to criticize his tie (and talk about trash-talking in sports).

3. She comments on Twitter, Facebook or in a blog post.

4. If ESPN execs release their idiotic statments, she notes the double-standard  idiocy:  It’s okay to make fun of other people but not of one another?   She also notes the ridiculousness of a two-week suspension and her ability to speak for herself.

5. They appear together on The Daily Show, with Dr. Phil and Jon Stewart as mediator.

6. They appear together as surprise judges on Project Runway.

7.  They immediately shoot a series of promos for ESPN that are posted to youtube and predestined to go viral.

8. Hannah Storm makes a video ripping apart Tony Kornheiser’s Penguin Dance.

[youtubevid id=”7RO82Rwdj1o”]

Remember,  Tony Kornheiser likes to have fun.  And Hannah Storm likes to dress up.

[daylifegallery id=1267047120620]

Were Kornheiser’s comments nice?  No.   Does he have a right to his opinion?  Yes.  The reaction by ESPN implies there was a complaint.  Did Hannah Storm have an issue with Kornheiser’s comments?  I’d really like to know (Hannah, you can reach me at andreaitis@trueslant.com).

Meanwhile, I just told my T/S colleague Michael Roston that his grey shirt doesn’t go with his brown sweater, and suggested he try Garanimals.   Gee, I hope I don’t get suspended.

Posted in Business, Entertainment, sports, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Today's celebrity Twitter fight: Steve Case vs Sarah Silverman!

Posted by andreaitis on February 15, 2010

Sarah Silverman on stage at TED2010 (via ted.com)

Sarah Silverman on stage at TED2010 (via ted.com)

Yesterday it was Kevin Smith in a blistering twitter tirade about having his chubby self chased off a Southwest Airlines flight because he was ‘too fat to fly.’

Today it’s AOL co-founder Steve Case in a snit-pick with comedian Sarah Silverman.

The Issue: Sarah Silverman spoke at a fancy schmancy conference and used the word retarded over and over (and over) again.

Let’s see how this scene unfolded…

The Place: TED2010, a conference that describes itself as “a lineup of amazing speakers, performers and attendees…gathered for four days of TED in Long Beach and Palm Springs.”

The Background: It costs six thousand dollars to attend TED.    Six.THOUSAND.Dollars.    According to blogger, author and tech evangelist Robert Scoble (he’s worked at Microsoft, Fast Company and is currently at Rackspace),  TED never even gives out more than 15 press passes.  It’s been called elitist, smug, pompous and unattainable; the Conference for the Rich & Famous.  Scoble himself suffered from TED Jealousy in 2008.  Now, though, he’s a convert.  In a Scobleizer blog post he wrote yesterday:

Truth is, TED has opened up its content to the world. More than 500 talks have now been shared on TED Talks.

On the TED stage I saw that they had hundreds of events where the live feed was broadcast, including many into Silicon Valley (several VCs and entrepreneurs invited me to view TED with them at their houses, or work offices). Rackspace bought the feed too and lots of my coworkers were talking with me about the talks. So, getting access to the content might not be attainable by everyone in real time, but is certainly attainable eventually by everyone.

via The elephant in the room at TED — Scobleizer

The very first TED conference took place in 1990; over the years speakers have included Lost creator J.J. Abrams, novelist Isabel Allende, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, magician David Blaine, True/Slant’er Michael Shermer, Avatar director James Cameron, Richard Branson, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Bono.  This year TED ran from February 9th through the 13th, and included the one and only  Sarah Silverman.

The Incident: TechCrunch has a good write-up of Sarah’s TED performance, from someone who was actually in the audience.

(I’m recalling from memory):

“I want to adopt a special needs child (to which one person applauded), because adopting a special needs child, who would do that? Only an awesome person, right?” I looked around the room and I knew exactly what was coming next. She was going to say retarded and not only was she going to say it, she was going to drop it like 10 times. I knew it wouldn’t be ok, but I was excited about it…

…She went on to say:

“The only problem with adopting a retarded child is that the retarded child, when you are 80 is well, still retarded and that she wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms of setting them free at age 18, so she was only going to adopt a retarded child with a terminal illness so it has an expiration date, because who would adopt a retarded child with a terminal illness? Well, someone who was awesome like her”.

The room went silent and she went on with her show and sang a song about how all of the penises in the world couldn’t fill your heart holes.

The Aftermath: Aside from a mixed reception from the crowd, the man responsible for pulling TED together  took to the Twitter waves with his own reaction.

Chris Anderson on Sarah Silverman and TED

Wikipedia describes Chris Anderson as “the curator of the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference, an influential annual conference.”  I’d describe him as someone who 1. couldn’t wait to distance himself from the expectedly controversial Silverman and B. has a hypocritical sense of the free thinking that TED is supposed to embrace.

At any rate, Silverman posted her own Twitter message, which prompted AOL co-founder Steve Case to jump in, and…well…Gawker pulled together the entire She Said/He Said exchange:

Earlier today, TED Organizer Chris Anderson called Silverman’s “retard”-filled talk “god-awful,” which set off this exchange between Silverman and AOL founder Steve Case:






The Analysis: What caused all of this?  Robert Scoble has the most prescient and balanced perspective on  Sarah Silverman and TED:

Silverman succeeded because her talk was a science experiment, albeit one of trying something out on a much different audience than she usually gets to perform in front of. TED is all about trying out ideas and seeing which ones are the best and hearing from the people who do the best experiments, from dance to algorithms. Silverman is the best at her craft alive today. Or certainly in the top .001%.

It was why she was on the TED stage. She used that opportunity to try to challenge the audience. That was successful and I hope TED invites her again to perform another one of her experiments on stage.

But it failed too. I found her talk repulsive and challenging. I was in the second row. I actually was one of those who called for her to come back out on stage, although I knew that she had challenged the audience in a way that would be viewed as a failure. She challenged me quite a bit with her experiment. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that Chris Anderson, the guy who runs TED, had said she was “god-awful” on Twitter (he now has removed that tweet).

I didn’t have a chance to discuss that talk with Chris, but I would say that he was wrong and right. He was right that her talk wasn’t up to the usual TED quality but that she represented the best of what TED is: science experiments in human living.

via The elephant in the room at TED — Scobleizer

“Science experiments in human living.”   We can apply that to Twitter as well.  We’ve been granted access to intimate moments we might otherwise never see.  We all experienced first-hand the emotions around Silverman’s performance because Sarah Silverman and Steve Case allowed us to do so, as did Chris Anderson (until he deleted it).   With Twitter, Facebook and now Google Buzz, we’re all experimenting with what we share, how much we share when, where and with whom.  It happens to the rich and the poor, the known and the unknown, the savvy and the meek.   I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  Technology, social media, social publishing, digital community — it is collectively the great equalizer.

Chris Anderson should not shy away from this.  It is, as Scoble states, what TED is all about.   It’s exemplary of what we are all going through now as we fumble through new social terrain.   It is what you should have expected  from a Sarah Silverman performance, and you should have embraced it at that moment.  Why did it split the audience?  Why did it trigger such strong emotions?  That’s the hard but most interesting part.  Don’t favor political correctness at the expense of greater understanding.  We can look at @thatkevinsmith’s rabid ‘too fat to fly’ twitter rant and see the very same thing.

The Conclusion: It’s all so awesomely exciting that I’ve come up with a new word for this phenomenon:  twumble.

Twitter + Rumble = Twumble.

@johncmayer, I’m pretty sure you’re up next.

I’ll leave you with one last thought on the Sarah Silverman saga and, really, it’s all we need to know:  She’s f**king Matt Damon.

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Posted in Entertainment, social media, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Clerks, Cop Out director Kevin Smith's 'too fat to fly' twitter rant against Southwest Airlines

Posted by andreaitis on February 14, 2010

There is no love lost this Valentine’s Day between director/writer and sometime actor Kevin Smith and Southwest Airlines.   According to his rabid, blistering twitter rant,  Smith was kicked off a Southwest Air flight last night for being too wide for the skies. Smith has always been a larger-than-life character.  He shot his first film, Clerks, for a grand total of $27,575.   It debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 1994 and went on to earn millions.   You may also know Smith from  Chasing Amy, Dogma and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.  Today he’s not-so-silent Bob.

thatkevinsmith starts southwestair twitter rant 2-14-2010 8-51-03 AM

That started a string of twitter rage.   I de-tweeted it all into the following ‘graph:

Dear @SouthwestAir, I flew out in one seat, but right after issuing me a standby ticket, Oakland Southwest attendant Suzanne (wouldn’t give last name) told me Captain Leysath deemed me a “safety risk”. Again: I’m way fat… But I’m not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I’m seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who’d already I.d.ed me as “Silent Bob.” So, @SouthwestAir, go fuck yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no “safety risk” (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?).  I was wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And fuck your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don’t embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don’t sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir.

Smith’s emphasis on ‘ARM RESTS DOWN’ is intentional.  Looking through Southwest Airlines’ Guidelines for Customers of Size, the arm rest plays a key role in determining whether a passenger is fit to fly.

Customers who are unable to lower both armrests and/or who compromise any portion of adjacent seating should proactively book the number of seats needed prior to travel. The armrest is considered to be the definitive boundary between seats and measures 17 inches in width. This purchase serves as a notification of a special seating need and allows us to process a refund of the additional seating cost after travel (provided the flight doesn’t oversell). Most importantly, it ensures that all onboard have access to safe and comfortable seating.

In fact, there’s an entire Q&A about Customers of Size.  Just like the name, it’s all very politically correct.

Is the policy unique or new to Southwest Airlines?
No, other carriers have similar policies, but to the best of our knowledge, no other carrier offers a refund after travel. We’ve followed this policy for 29 of our 38 years of operation, but only became more vigilant regarding the additional purchase when we began seeing an increase in the number of valid complaints from passengers who traveled without full access to the seat purchased because a large Customer infringed upon the adjacent seating space.

Smith addressed this issue right from his seat on the plane:

kevin smith on southwest air arm rests  2-14-2010 9-51-42 AM

kevin smith on southwest air flight He even took a picture of himself and twitpic’d it out to the digital court of public opinion.  Piecing together what happened next from Smith’s tirade, it seems he was placed on another Southwest flight (after, I presume, a rousing discussion with Southwest officials and anyone else within earshot).  Kevin Smith was clearly not going to take this sitting down.  He spewed his unfiltered anger all over twitter, and it spread from there.  He had a point to make and he was going to make it.  Sitting in his second Southwest seat of the day, he twittered:

Dear @SouthwestAir, I’m on another one of your planes, safely seated & buckled-in again, waiting to be dragged off in front of the normies. And, hey? @SouthwestAir? I didn’t even need a seat belt extender to buckle up. Somehow, that shit fit over my “safety concern”-creating gut.

You have to admit, he does know how to play a scene.  I don’t doubt his anger is authentic, but the timing is also quite interesting.  Known for following his own path writing and directing offbeat movies, Smith recently directed a Hollywood formula buddy-cop movie starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan.  It’s the first film he’s directed that he has not written himself.  It happens to open in a couple of weeks, on February 26th.  As I said in my last post, timing is everything.  Let’s drag out another too-true cliche:  There’s no such thing as bad publicity.  I don’t doubt Kevin Smith was outraged and angered, but being (allegedly) discriminated against because you’re (allegedly) too fat certainly won’t hurt the promotional campaign for Cop Out.  It’ll totally help (no allegedly).

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Kevin Smith finished his venomous tribute to Southwest Airlines with this:

kevin smith final twitter rant against southwest air 2-14-2010 10-01-09 AM

Classic.  A good director knows how to play a great scene and what to do with priceless material when it falls in your large lap.   Kevin Smith shows his talent even when he’s unhinged with rage.  Oh, and the absolute irony of this high-flying adventure?  The Valentine’s Day message up at the Southwest Airlines website:

southwest airlines v-day ad  2-14-2010 8-42-00 AM


Happy Valentine’s Day, Kevin Smith,  from the LUV Airline.


Posted in Entertainment, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

How Betty White got screwed by the Winter Olympics

Posted by andreaitis on February 12, 2010

NEW YORK - JUNE 11:  Actress Betty White atten...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

She’s the hottest octogenarian ever. Golden Girl Betty White may have started her showbiz career in the 1940s but these days you haven’t hit the big time until you’ve gone viral. Now, finally, the 88-year-old actress has arrived: Betty White is a real live meme.

More than 245,000 people have joined a Facebook campaign suggesting Betty White host Saturday Night Live. You hear that and you think, “Huh. Good idea, Internets.” The Facebook page Betty White to Host SNL (please?)! has been gathering momentum with status updates and blog posts and twittering and re-twittering.
Are you listening, Lorne Michaels?

Dear Lorne Michaels...Please let Betty White host SNL.  Love, the Internets.

Dear Lorne Michaels...Please let Betty White host SNL. Love, the Internets

You can’t really call this a comeback since Betty White never went away. She is on quite a streak, though, the kind  that makes Chevy Chase, Mickey Rourke and Jay Leno drool with envy.

The streak started with Betty White’s role in the movie The Proposal, alongside Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. Is she funny in the movie? Yes. But she’s even funnier in this behind-the-scenes spoof.

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That sent Betty White and the phrase “ab-crunching jackass” into the digital galaxy. In the past month, though, Betty kicked it up three notches:
1. She accepted the SAG Lifetime Achievement award with this line: “I look out at this audience and I see so many famous faces. But what really boggles my mind is that I actually know many of you. And I’ve worked with quite a few. ::beat:: Maybe had a couple.”

2. She was the surprise star of a Super Bowl ad:
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3. She became the subject of the aforementioned grassroots Facebook campaign to get her to host Saturday Night Live, which prompted coverage from NPR and the New York Times.

All good, right?  Wrong.  As Betty White knows, timing is everything.  In this case, the timing could not be more off. You see, there is a new formula for today’s multimedia economy:

Digital Presence + Story Arc = Window of Opportunity

In the past, the Window of Opportunity would stay open weeks at a time.  As information immediacy grew with blogging and Facebook and Twitter, the WoO closed bit by bit.   Television has four Sweeps periods each year; in the digital world every day is Sweeps.  Scratch that, every hour is Sweeps.  Looking at the formula in Betty White’s case, the timeline is pretty clear.   Her digital presence is high, her story arc is peaking, the window of opportunity is now.  She should be on Saturday Night Live tomorrow night.

Enter the Winter Olympics.  More than 2,500 athletes from 80+ countries over 17 days  are collectively ruining the Betty White SNL dream.  All that Olympic-ness is on NBC, home of — you got it — Saturday Night Live.   In fact, SNL isn’t even on the air tomorrow night.  The next show is scheduled for February 27th with Jennifer Lopez as host.   Anything can happen between now and then, 15 days is an eternity in the tweet life.  One thing, though, will most certainly occur:  the Betty White momentum will stall.  Might she still appear on SNL?  Very possibly.  Will we still tune in on a Saturday night two weeks from now with hopeful anticipation?  Very possibly not.  If it happens, we’ll catch it on Hulu the next day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Betty White host SNL.  It’s exactly the kind of surprise that show needs.  But the meme-line demands it happen now to take advantage of the build-up, the Betty White mind-meld.  With the 2010 Winter Olympics starting tonight, we’re already off meme’ing about Vancouver and luge and the fateful turn of events.

Still, the idea of Betty White on SNL is too good to let it fall into the short-attention-span precipice. So Lorne Michaels, here’s what you should do:  Make Betty White a regular. Have her join the cast of Saturday Night Live.  Let Betty White pop in and out of every show in an unexpected and surprising way.   She can sing with Samberg.  Report the news with Seth.  Hijack JLo’s monologue — or better yet, sing and dance backup.

We’ll never know when she’ll show up or how, but we’ll all keep watching and waiting for Betty White.   If you really want to shake things up, don’t even tell the cast members which skits she’ll be in.   Let’s see what happens when you go off-script with improvisation and ad-lib.  A cameo by Abe Vigoda wouldn’t hurt, either.

The new meme starts now:  Put Betty White on SNL, and put the Live back into Saturday Night.

Posted in Entertainment, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Valentine's Day: The tighter the dress, the bigger the box office?

Posted by andreaitis on February 10, 2010

Who cast this movie, anyway?  The red carpet walk  for the movie premiere of  Valentine’s Day will surely set off the hot babe alert on several continents.  There’s an app for that, right?

Tight dresses.  Short hems.  High heels.  Lots of skin.  A glitzy gimmick to tempt us into the theater or a distraction for a sub-par movie plot?

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Final word: I bet Jessica Biel didn’t climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in that.

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Google Search is the new Kodak Moment

Posted by andreaitis on February 8, 2010

I just read T/S’er Kashmir Hill’s post Super Bowl upset: Google puts on the best ad.    In it she says:

Getting the millions of people watching the Superbowl to feel all warm and fuzzy toward the company “that does no evil” may have been one of most strategic plays of the evening.

She’s right on all accounts, but the words that jumped out at me  are “warm and fuzzy.”   There aren’t many products people feel warm and fuzzy about these days.   Apple causes gotta-have-it Mac attacks, and the  iPad certainly led to obsessive reporting and was cleverly and very publicly punk’d by Jason Calacanis.    But warm and fuzzy?  Not so much.  In fact, I can’t think of a product that has elicited such emotional ties since Kodak.   Take a look at this Kodak commercial from the 1960s.  If you make it to the end without sobbing you’ll hear “One little girl.  One precious childhood saved for years to come, in pictures.  You can do it too.  All it takes is a camera, Kodak film, and thoughtfulness.”     Yes, that’s right:  Thoughtfulness.

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In this commercial from 1985, you’ll hear Barbra Streisand singing ‘Memories” while the hypnotic voiceover urges “When the moment means more, trust it to Kodak video tape.”

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George Eastman was an entrepreneur by his mid-twenties, way back in 1880.  He had a simple goal for the Eastman Kodak company:  “to make the camera as convenient as the pencil.”

Eastman’s faith in the importance of advertising, both to the company and to the public, was unbounded. The very first Kodak products were advertised in leading papers and periodicals of the day — with ads written by Eastman himself.

Eastman coined the slogan, “you press the button, we do the rest,” when he introduced the Kodak camera in 1888 and within a year, it became a well-known phrase.

via History of Kodak

Like Google, Kodak was used as a verb.   While Google’s verb-alization came organically, Kodak included it in the advertising headline “Kodak as you go.”   That phrase didn’t stick, but “Kodak Moment” did.   It’s a phrase still used today even though Kodak no longer plays a central role in our lives or our memories.  In fact, I suspect some people use “Kodak Moment” without really knowing where it originated.   Kodak created an emotional connection with its customers, and fed that through its advertising campaigns.   As Kodak struggles to find its place in an increasingly digital world, Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hayzlett is trying a new approach.

Mr. Hayzlett has abandoned the warm-and-fuzzy branding ads once typical of Kodak. Well-known slogans have included “You push the button — we do the rest” and “Share moments, share life.” Instead, he favors more product-specific ads. “We have to have ads that drive sales,” he says.

As part of Mr. Hayzlett’s effort to give Kodak a hipper image, the company was featured last year in the reality-TV show “The Celebrity Apprentice,” and recently signed on for another season.

via Kodak Ads Get More Aggressive – The Wall Street Journal

The implication here is that “warm and fuzzy” cannot be hip.   Last night, Google blasted that theory to bits.  Google beautifully and simply told the story of boy meets girl, with Google Search helping them every step of the way toward happily ever after.   Google created an emotional connection that only further cements its place in our lives and now, gently,  in our hearts.   That Google commercial?  A Kodak moment, for sure.

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