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Posts Tagged ‘kevin smith’

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.

[youtubevid id=”WTADSFR0E_c”]

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).

[youtubevid id=”IAqej4v6WCc”]

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 »

And the #biggaybattle winner is…

Posted by andreaitis on January 6, 2010

This #biggaybattle between Neil Patrick Harris and John Barrowman has been nothing short of  legen – wait for it – dary.

It got its own name courtesy of Neil Gaiman, and  a full-fledged meme on Twitter:  #biggaybattle#voteNPH, #votebarrowman

It has celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Alyssa Milano and Kevin Smith mixing it up with the regular peoples on Twitter.

It has fan art

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang)

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang)

…and sparkly fan art:

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in sparkly #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang and sparkly friend)

John Barrowman and Neil Patrick Harris in Sparkly #BigGayBattle (art by Jean Kang and sparkly friend Alix)

…and a YouTube video:

[youtubevid id=”A5TygZjr3Lc”]

It’s endorsed by the ACLU.  The poll, not a candidate, of course. Because that would be wrong.

ACLU on the #BigGayBattle

ACLU on the #BigGayBattle

It even got a big gay Wall Street Journal story.

And to think it all started with a simple Who is (Gay) Man of the Decade poll on afterelton.com.

So, afterelton, who gets the glittery title and tiara?  Did the USofA take down the Brits?  Did @actuallyNPH out-tweet @team_barrowman?  Did Dr. Horrible crush Doctor Who?

The answer:  YES!  Neil Patrick Harris is officially the Gay Man of the Decade.  I can hear the chanting now.  N-P-H…N-P-H…N-P-H.   Will John Barrowman request a recount?  A sing-off or a duel or a Dancing on Ice throwdown?

We can only hope.   ❤  #biggaybattle 4evah.

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