The duo discuss the inspiration for the show's bicentennial episode, which features Tom Cruise, Kanye West and basically every other celebrity the show has managed to piss off ganging up to file a lawsuit against the town.
Mark Frauenfelder launched bOING bOING, an ink-on-paper zine, in 1988. He did the artwork for Billy Idol's 1993 Cyberpunk album, using a Mac instead of a photo studio. Frauenfelder joined Wired when that was considered a foolish move by media professionals. Later he resurrected Boing Boing as a website, then again as a blog in 2000. He's now editor-in-chief of Make magazine. Does this guy have an unlimited supply of cool? Not unless he learns to say no to advertisers who co-opt him.When Frauenfelder appeared in an Apple TV spot a few years ago, his fans loved seeing their fringe-culture hero take over the boob tube. But today ads are jammed full of Internet hipsters. Boing Boing's "band manager," John Battelle, has turned old-fashioned host endorsements into an online art form at Federated Media, his advertising agency. He's holding a conference right now in San Francisco's Presidio, telling eager brand managers that endorsers like Mark Frauenfelder make them part of a conversation with Internet consumers. Battelle builds sites whose ads feature authors on whose blogs he also sells ads. It's a reputational Ponzi scheme far more complex than a George Foreman grill. Maybe that's why I flinch when Frauenfelder's face pops up on my screen with an Adobe logo and a button that says Grab Widget. Mark, if I want a widget, I'll open your magazine and make one myself.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden, the Boing Boing comments moderator who posted Boing Boing's formal response to last month's Violet Blue "unpublishing" flamefest, is a smart lady who, judging from her own comments, doesn't afraid of anything. She invented the practice of removing the vowels from blog comments she deems out of line, to avoid scrubbing them completely from the public record. So I'm surprised to see that Hayden took down one of her own Twitter updates Monday, apparently because Blue linked to it. Teresa, wht th fck?
Internet sex educator Violet Blue has asked a court to serve a restraining order against Ben Burch, a Wikipedia editor. Blue's entry on Wikipedia has been home to almost as much conflict as the fallout from her deletion from the popular blog Boing Boing: her boyfriend, Jonathan Moore, is responsible for at least eighteen of the entry's edits (as "Wikiwikimoore"), prompting Burch and others to question whether he can observe the site's requirement for a neutral point of view regarding all subjects. Blue's response, based on documents forwarded to Valleywag, is to ask a court to declare Burch a threat to her physical safety.
What's the classiest finish to an Internet catfight? The shining example will be July 2008's Boing Boing vs. Violet Blue. It wasn't about player-hating and girl-on-girl sex, we'll all say. No no, it was about freedom and blogging and privacy and good versus evil. Now that we've all moved on, the New York Times steps in a week later to clean things up with a G-rated rehash that suggests Violet Blue may be the real winner. What have each of the participants learned?
Boing Boing's readers, hopped up on free-speech rhetoric, continue to find the tech-culture blog's act of unpublishing unspeakable. Hoping to put the Internet's most enduring drama llama this month to bed, the Los Angeles Times rounded up four members of Boing Boing's staff yesterday for a late-night confab. The result is transcribed here and there, but for those about to launch into a three-day weekend, we salute you with only the most wonderful bits, perfect for around-the-barbeque reblogging. It is at once brilliant and brain-numbing in its inconclusiveness. But if the answer to bad speech is more speech, why not answer an act of unpublishing with more nonwords?
Sex blogger Violet Blue may have tried to ride the Boing Boing coattail express to microfame by airing grievances publicly. But once upon a time she waged the same kind of war on Boing Boing cofounder Xeni Jardin's side against Matthew Neal Sharp, curator of xenisucks.com, and the New York Times. Now, after the bad breakup between the two bloggers became serious business, another gentleman has put a thumb in the third eye of the popular catalog of eclectic ephemera by creating violetbluevioletblue.net — a directory of formerly wonderful things from Boing Boing that featured Blue, deleted by Jardin from the site a year ago.
"We didn't attempt to silence Violet. We unpublished our own work." That's how the geek culture blog Boing Boing defended their decision to delete every post referring to sex writer Violet Blue for no given reason. The team's refusal to explain further turned this obscure event into a giant blog fight: because a couple of bloggers hid behind mealy-mouthed words instead of coming out firing all weapons, like proper Internet talk is supposed to go. Driven by the same old ass-covering impulse, anyone trying to make a buck uses bland business-speak online: "Restructuring" for mass layoffs, "brand advertising" for ads that no one clicks. Below are over a dozen such terms and their true definitions.
As a human being with a soul in there somewhere, I've avoided blogging about the Xeni-Violet scandal. But as a wannabe comedy writer, I found myself obsessively poring over the 1,200-plus Metafilter comments on our report. I'd forgotten why I love-hated Metafilter: It's a boyzone of spiteful, pseudonymous insult comics, but many are snappy with the English language. "Instead of calling it what it is, they're going to clown us with semantics." Red meat for you guys at MeFi: The "homophobic" headline on yesterday's post was added by big gay Owen Thomas himself. Discuss.