Last night was Gawker Media’s first-ever Fleshbot Awards, and before we go any futher I am going to stress that Fleshbot is a porn site and that this post, while far more PG than anything you’d ever find on Fleshbot, is nonetheless NOT SAFE FOR WORK – THAT IS WHAT NSFW MEANS. For the uninitiated amongst us. You have been warned.
Highlights: LEVI JOHNSTON WAS THERE. So was John Cameron Mitchell, who wrote and starred in Hedwig & The Angry Inch and if you love that movie/play like I do, you will find that very exciting. The event was held at The Box, Simon Hammerstein’s downtown emporium of late-night debauchery, and true to its reputation the evening was very, very far from something the Von Trapp Family might have enjoyed, unless Maria and the Captain were hiding a whole lot. (Simon’s grandpa was Oscar Hammerstein.) I have a full report from the event coming tomorrow but in the meantime there has been a clamoring for photos — naturally! — so please enjoy this abridged (yes, abridged) gallery from the event, as well as this video of some of the featured entertainment (it cuts off abruptly at the end because a bouncer came over suddenly and said, “No photos or video!” As you can see, I ignored him.
UPDATE, FRIDAY A.M.: I ignored him, but not Fleshbot editor Lux Alpatraum who asked me to please take it down (there were apparently “no photo or video” signs but I must have been distracted by the half-naked people hanging from the ceiling on hula-hoops. So anyway: NSFW gallery on the next page, so click at your own scary, debaucherating risk. It is, as Borat would say, filled with sexytime.
>>>>PHOTO GALLERY: FLESHBOT AWARDS
Lou Dobs may be leaving CNN, but it seems he's determined to go out with a bang. During his final broadcast on the network, Dobbs said America is "moving toward a combination of corporate power and political power" that is "disturbingly similar to what we witnessed in Italy in the 1930s" while he condemned the government's responses to the financial crisis. It was bombastic statements like this that got Dobbs in hot water in the first place.
Fresh off a $43 million first round of funding, comes news that social gamer Playdom has made its first two acquisitions: Facebook game developer Green Patch and iPhone game developer Trippert Labs. Financial terms were not disclosed. The news was first reported by ISG; Playdom has since issued a release.
Updated: Green Patch founders David King and Ashish Dixit are joining Playdom as a VP and an executive producer, respectively; their team of 15 developers and designers is coming on board as well. Trippert Labs CEO Omar Siddiqui will serve as Playdom’s new VP of production; the company said adding Trippert Labs will increase its development capacity by “more than 25 percent.”
King and Dixit launched Green Patch in 2008. Its first game was (lil) Green Patch, which let users help save a rainforest by sending virtual plants to each other; sponsors donate money for every 10 patches given, so more money gets raised as the game spreads. Its most popular game currently has more than six million active monthly users. Meanwhile, Siddiqui founded Trippert Labs in 2007; past games include MobRacer and Fighter Jets.
The acquisitions make Playdom a more complete company in the social gaming space. Playdom has seen most of its success with MySpace games, and launched Mobsters: Big Apple, its first iPhone game, in July; the addition of Green Patch bolsters its presence on Facebook, while Trippert Labs expands its iPhone development capabilities.
And even though Green Patch is much smaller than Playdom, the two companies have a common “enemy”—Zynga—which is suing them both, per ISG. Zynga’s suing Green Patch for copyright infringment; its lawsuits against Playdom allege that Playdom stole trade secrets and mislead players with sketchy ads.
Lou Dobbs's resignation from CNN yesterday is an important step forward in restoring greater fairness, accuracy, and balance on CNN and cable news. It is our hope that his resignation begins to undo the climate of intolerance fostered on his show, restore journalistic integrity to the CNN brand, and bring civility and truth back to the immigration debate.
Yesterday's resignation came after thousands of people and organizations pressured CNN to stop Dobbs's biased coverage of our community and the immigration debate. For years, NCLR has raised concerns with CNN about the gross distortions, misrepresentations, and falsehoods that Dobbs's program has perpetuated in describing the impact of immigrants on American society. We have documented a litany of issues, including:
His regular use of guests representing hate groups, vigilantes, and nativists as "experts" on immigration
His relentless repetition of stories on immigrants and crime that project an impression far from reality
His association of immigrants as carriers of disease that has been both inaccurate and pejorative
Just since July of this year, our colleagues at Media Matters have posted 299 items highlighting and correcting erroneous information from Lou Dobbs's show. I appeared on his show to ask Dobbs to curtail his bias and distance himself from the vigilantes and nativists he has featured. I have also partnered with CNN to address the levels of diversity before and behind the camera, in hopes that this would help.
However, in the wake of Dobbs's participation at an anti-immigrant rally sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)--an organization designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)--we joined the Drop Dobbs campaign and began to educate advertisers about the impact his rhetoric has on the Latino community.
As someone who has gone head to head with Dobbs, I must say that this has never been personal. This is an important substantive matter to the entire Latino community. We welcome Dobbs's departure, and we wish him well.
There are others giving voice to extreme and polarizing rhetoric on cable network news and talk radio, so our campaign to take hate out of the immigration debate will continue. We look forward to working in partnership with you--with your passion, your vision and support. Thank you for everything that you did to make sure that the Drop Dobbs campaign was a success.
The strange nexus of right-wing Christian identity politics and beauty pageants has produced Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Carrie Prejean. What is it about their world that turns toxic and causes flaky behavior?
For those who missed it, here is Miss California's meltdown on Larry King Live the other night:
When the biggest story about you is that your lawsuit against a pageant over "religious discrimination" was settled 24 hours after the pageant obtained your sex tape, you can't expect Larry King and Celebrity News Network to avoid the question unless you make it a condition in advance. In which case, you probably won't get the interview and your fifteen minutes are officially over. Prejean shouldn't have gone on a call-in talk show if she wasn't interested in taking, you know, questions.
Prejean had positioned herself to take advantage of right-wing outrage over the way she lost the pageant crown. Her stumbling response to Perez Hilton's question about gay marriage has become exhibit A for culture warriors, who argue that creeping political correctness violates their "right" to despise Teh Gay. Sex tapes are the last thing Prejean wants to talk about. Yet somehow, Miss California had not armed herself with a cover story for her target demographic. Taking off your microphone and walking away is a childish act of childish avoidance, but unwillingness to spin is the only sin left in mass-media.
In modern Christian communities, beauty pageants are an acceptable hobby for young women. Southern belles have more than their share of victories in Miss USA, and every last one of them describes her Christianity at some time in the process. Miss USA itself is a politically conservative organization (which made Hilton's question all the more strange).
By making an underage sex tape, Carrie Prejean had already broken the rules when she gave her answer. Prejean refused an obvious question because the answer was self-evident, and demolishes her credibility in a way that damages her chosencareer of media martyr.
The Miss USA pageant set these rules long ago to make the competition acceptable in conservative places; now they produce conservative movement leaders. Sarah Palin is also a former beauty queen, and like Prejean she is also a creature of charismatic Christian identity politics. Her recent behavior, too, has been exceedingly flaky. There was her lengthy, rambling word-salad of a speech, described best by Shannyn Moore:
With such a large national audience, Palin didn't talk about the plethora of issues facing Alaska. Why would she? She has much bigger fish to fry. She decided to slam Ashley Judd instead. Yes, really.
I don't know Ashley Judd, but I like her. I know this must shock the Palinistas; they think I dislike Sarah because she's pretty. According to Palin, she is some sort of Hollywood pixie; a "delicate, tiny, very talented celebrity starlet." I don't judge Ms. Judd on her stunning appearance; but on the criteria of her politics...just like Palin.
Nothing Palin says is apolitical. Her entire world-view consists of what she has learned from the conservative movement itself. As a result of that faith-based education, Sarah doesn't know enough facts to stand up to rational examination. She was weighed, judged, and found wanting -- against Joe Biden, of all people! -- and her poll numbers have plummeted ever since.
In an effort to control her message, Palin's publicity staff has done two things: (A) restrict everything but her book tour to Facebook, and (2) agreed to public speaking events only to deny they'd ever confirmed them and leave event planners in the lurch at the last minute.
Nor were these speeches scheduled for unsympathetic audiences: she was asked to speak at the Ronald Reagan library, even an Alaskan anti-abortion rally. She doesn't hesitate to demand cash, even in Iowa. The 2012 Palin campaign has started by asking for the love-offering up front and insists the event sign a rider. You can see that in the event publicity materials.
The message control is amazingly strict. Press and cameras have been banned from all the appearances she has made, but also cell phones and personal recording devices -- little wonder, as all the speeches she has done have beenpanned by notetakers. Her 90-minute Hong Kong speech was described by Paul Krugman as "half a Castro" in length.
As if in imitation, Carrie Prejean has gotten in the habit of canceling appearances, too (though not Larry King, for some reason). Another famous conservative woman with a similar background is Michele Bachmann (R-Oppositesland), who placed in the top 10 in the Miss Anoka Pageant and was crowned Miss Congeniality. Today, she has her own action figure and stars in a "conservative women" calendar along with Prejean.
While Bachmann rarely flakes on apearances, she often flakes in person. There's a moment in this video when Michele Bachmann gets too crazy even for Glenn Beck. By happenstance, you don't even have to play the video to see it:
If you do play the video, you'll hear her ask of the US Census:
Do they really need to know our phone numbers? Do they really need to know, like you said, the date and time that we leave...mental stability?
Followed by a prolonged blink.
That's Teh Crazy™.
You know the one question that is not on this survey, Glenn? "Are you a U.S. citizen?"
This is Teh Stupid™, because she also argues that this information can be used to round up Republicans and ship them off to the Glenn Beck doom bunker death panels.
"This would be your perfect opportunity to find out how many illegal aliens are in the United States."
This is Teh Wacky™, wherein reflexive stupidity and and insane scenarios collide at the limits of mental reach. The chances of American government awarding Republicans an all-expenses paid vacation at FEMA death camps are remote. A non-citizen's fear of deportation is far more likely, and rational, by comparison -- and the whole point of the US Census is to count people, not citizens -- it's in their 200-year old charter.
After delivering this nonsense, Bachmann makes another prolonged blink. That blink is a recurring pattern with her special flavor of Teh Wacky™. In poker parlance, it's her tell. Watch as she describes Teh Evil Plan™ to turn school clinics into abortion factories through health care reform:
I wasn't sure what to make of it; I'm no psychologist. So I talked to a friend of mine with a degree in psychology and a fascination for neurolinguistic studies.
But wait, I hear you cry. What is that...neuro lingua thingy again? That's fine; I should explain that neurolinguistics has gotten a bad rep from con men and entertainers, the former group using it for ill and the latter passing it off as "mind-control." Neurolinguistics is the study of verbal and non-verbal cues. In plain English, my friend PistolPro can "read" people in a way similar to Tim Roth's character on Lie To Me.
The problem, he says, is that we'd need a sample of Michele Bachmann telling the truth to serve as a baseline -- and try as I might, I cannot find a video of Bachmann that doesn't have Teh Wacky™ in it. So rather than pursue a more exact diagnosis, I have decided to coin a phrase: Palin-Bachmann Syndrome™, defined as the psychological imbalance produced by a toxic mix of right-wing identity politics and diva training.
Palin-Bachmann Syndrome™ manifests in the following behaviors: rambling, inane "word-salads" while speaking in public; paranoid access-control; espousal of fringe insanity; appeal to prejudices. See also: borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. In rare cases, Palin-Bachmann Syndrome™ can produce strongly offensive behavior:
Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has confirmed its purchase of VOIP startup Gizmo5. The deal had been rumored earlier this week. In a short post on the Google Voice blog, Google said no new features would immediately come to Google Voice, but it did say that Gizmo5’s engineers would join the Google Voice team to “continue improving the Google Voice and Gizmo5 experience.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although TechCrunch—which first reported that Google had purchased the startup—put the purchase price at $30 million. Gizmo5 had raised $6 million in a round of funding three years ago.
In September, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company was once again on the acquisition trail. He obviously was not kidding. After a streak of eleven months without a single purchase, Google has now bought up four companies: video compression firm On2, “captcha” startup reCaptcha, mobile ad network adMob, and Gizmo5.