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Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

Can you figure out what's wrong with this picture of a half-naked 16 year-old girl with breast implants the size of her head?

Jannelle Asselin could, but when she wrote an article about the Teen Titans cover—in terms so measured and respectful that one is struck by her restraint--she was of course inundated nonetheless with relentless boyrage and misogyny from comic book guys; professionals included.

The Daily Beast's Tauriq Moosa summarizes the imbroglio.

After criticizing the new ‘Teen Titans’ cover, Janelle Asselin was name-called and threatened with rape. The worst part? No one is surprised. You’ve seen this scenario before, and you’ll see it again (until more of us do something). Woman writes about something traditionally regarded as a male-orientated industry or area of interest; if she’s conveying love, she’s doing it “for attention” (so what?) or “fake” (whatever that means); if she criticizes, she’s insulting, whining, moaning, on her period; if she says anything at all, her argument or point is made invisible because her damn biology is getting in the way.

There's something peculiar about this cover that really gets to the heart of it all. The discrepancy between what it thinks it is (a strong character for young girls to aspire to) and what it really is (objectified skin for old men to wank to) is just so obvious that it simply couldn't exist without the whole business's lifetime subscription to denial.

An ecologist imagines the world's end

Paul Kingsnorth is an English writer whose environmental activism got him jailed in the 90s and praised by the archbishop of Canterbury and the Prime Minister in the 00s. His Dark Mountain Project, founded in 2009, is an outdoor festival for artists and writers, described this weekend in The New York Times' profile.
In the clearing, above a pyre, someone had erected a tall wicker sculpture in the shape of a tree, with dense gnarls and hanging hoops. Four men in masks knelt at the sculpture’s base, at cardinal compass points. When midnight struck, a fifth man, his head shaved smooth and wearing a kimono, began to walk slowly around them. As he passed the masked figures, each ignited a yellow flare, until finally, his circuit complete, the bald man set the sculpture on fire. For a couple of minutes, it was quiet. Then as the wicker blazed, a soft chant passed through the crowd, the words only gradually becoming clear: “We are gathered. We are gathered. We are gathered.” After that came disorder. A man wearing a stag mask bounded into the clearing and shouted: “Come! Let’s play!” The crowd broke up. Some headed for bed. A majority headed for the woods, to a makeshift stage that had been blocked off with hay bales and covered by an enormous nylon parachute. There they danced, sang, laughed, barked, growled, hooted, mooed, bleated and meowed, forming a kind of atavistic, improvisatory choir.

This is actually a pretty normal weekend for Worthing, England, but I digress. The story here is the unsettling quality of his manifesto, Uncivilization, which hammers at the "false hope" of much said in the name of environmentalism--a darker, doomier view of our ecological future that is, to some, a betrayal, a "troubling abdication." It has a counterpart in fiction: Kingsorth's novel, The Wake, is a "postapocalyptic tale set 1000 years ago", after the Norman invasion, composed in a hybrid of modern and old English.

Hardcore chipmusic

"This post is an attempt to save some of the history of the harder kinds of chipmusic," writes Anders Carlsson, "before all of us forget what happened." Don't miss the follow-up on authenticity in chipmusic: "the demoscene is not as purist as people think, and never was." Rob 4

DIY AT-AT cat house

Would you like to make your own felt cat house in the shape of a Star Wars AT-AT? First, you'll need a cat. [The Owner Build Network. Thanks, Heather!]

Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree nominated for two Eisners

Congratulations, Ed!

"Hip Hop Family Tree," the roots-of-the genre series by Munhall-based comic-book artist/writer Ed Piskor (right), has been nominated for two Will Eisner Awards: best reality-based work and best lettering. Winners of the annual awards, considered the Oscars of the comics world and named for the pioneering comics creator and graphic novelist Will Eisner, will be revealed at a July 25 ceremony during Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Read Hop Hop Family Tree here at BB weekly; buy the collections from Fantagraphics.

Animated cartoons inspired by tweets

Twaggies--cartoons made from peculiar and noteworthy tweets--have been running since 2009. Now they're animating them, and here's the rather violent first episode! "Today's theme is grammar nazis," writes Twaggist-in-chief David Israel, "for all you smart folks who hate when people make ridiculous grammar mistakes."

The visual history of April O'Neil

Chasing Sheep posted part 2 of its visual history of Turtle-loving reporter April O'Neil; read part 1 first. One key issue: is April O'Neil a whitewashed person of color? Apparently, her ethnicity was never definitively settled in the original comic. Then the TV show happened, and that was that.

Resentment at techies might not be fair, but it's the future

Jack Halprin is a Google employee who bought a multi-unit dwelling in San Franscico and evicted the occupants. He's getting a roasting, as you can imagine. Here's Benjamin Wachs, writing as "Faux Jack Halprin" defending his decision.

What I'm trying to say is that, in a free society, some people make better choices than others, and we reward those people with the homes of their vanquished enemies. Some people, for example, choose to be teachers, and spend their lives teaching other people's kids things that they can Google for free. Naturally, we pay them very little money -- so little that they're practically homeless already. Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone even notices when I evict someone making under $150,000 a year. Honestly, how can you tell?

Then there are other people, like me, who make good decisions, becoming important parts of the companies that sponsor TED talks. Naturally, we pay these people what they're worth. Why am I so highly compensated? Well, if I weren't at the office every day, doing the work I do, the government wouldn't be nearly as good at spying on you.

The humor is brutal and crude in its villain-painting, but it's that last line that really stands out. The perception was the tech industry is a victim of domestic surveillance, but this perception has changed. Zuckerberg's affected outrage doesn't cut the mustard, whereas the "get with the program" nonchalance of hiring Condoleezza Rice just cuts.

To be seen as selfish, exacerbating a city's housing problems while abusing its public services, is one thing. But to be seen as the intelligence community's self-justifying handmaidens? If you're betting on public complacency and disinterest, it's worth remembering that this is a bet you won't be able to change mid-race.

Japan copies, improves Western culture

Japan makes the best bourbon, denim and burgers, writes Tom Downey.
It’s easy to dismiss Japanese re-creations of foreign cultures as faddish and derivative—just other versions of the way that, for example, the new American hipster ideal of Brooklyn is clumsily copied everywhere from Paris to Bangkok. But the best examples of Japanese Americana don’t just replicate our culture. They strike out, on their own, into levels of appreciation and refinement rarely found in America. They give us an opportunity to consider our culture as refracted through a foreign and clarifying prism.
Jason Kottke points out that the same is true of coffee.

And it's not just stuff; consider Kazuo Ishiguro, who moved to England as a child and gained a startlingly clear view a particular kind of Englishness. These are all things that never truly existed until something new was inspired by the idea of them—a process as conservative as it is creative.

HOWTO equip your drug-dealing operation

Buy one part of the set--say, an AWS-100 digital scale--and Amazon's "what other customers bought" feature will tell you the rest you need. Alexis Madrigal:

Amazon clearly did not set out to create such a field-tested kit for starting an illicit business. But looking at the list of items, it sure seems like they've created a group of products by looking at the purchasing habits of people who may not be recording all of their incomes on W-2s and 1099s.

Buyer beware, seller aware.

Dear Falcor

Editorial note: In a recent BBS thread concerning legendarily passive-aggressive advice column Dear Abby, Boing Boing commenters took it upon themselves to request assistance in their daily lives from our moderator, Falcor the Don't-Push-Your-Luck Dragon. This morning a pile of noisome, crudely dehaired human-skin hides were left outside Boing Boing's secret lair; upon close inspection, they turned out to be scrawled with Falcor's answers. I've transcribed them below — Rob

Dear Falcor,
I've recently killed a man (in self-defense, I swear!) and need to dispose of the body. What do you recommend? — JUST KILLED A MAN IN ONTARIO (Jardine)

Read the rest

A century of earthquakes in one map

Earthquakes with a magnitude of at least 5 are enough to damage buildings, and there were at least 72,000 such events in the last century, writes Nathan Yau at Flowing Data, who created a plainly-readable world map depicting all of them. He provides the code to reproduce his work using USGS data, too, and it's surprisingly short and straightforward: "the dataset linked in the code is just a small sample of what's available."

Famous album covers, reimagined from the other side

Harvezt recreates famous album covers to depict the subjects from opposite or alternative viewpoints. Some are subtle masterpieces, others gloriously cheeky, but my favorite is this ingeniously reversed version of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures.

Bears on Stairs, an animation made from 50 3D-printed frames

This isn't a CGI bear: it's a stop-motion animation created by Blue Zoo, for London design outfit DBLG. Fifty frames were painstakingly modeled, printed out and filmed over four weeks, just to create two seconds of perfectly-looping footage.

Universal subway map design rules

Designer Jug Cerovic proposes a standardized approach to subway mapping, encompassed by 7 simple rules:

1. The city center sits at the center (because, duh).
2. The center is a basic shape, like a circle or square (for visual simplicity).
3. The center is zoomed in (because that area is always congested with lines).
4. All lines must run vertical, horizontal, or at 45-degree angles (again, for visual simplicity).
5. Their angles should be smooth (to feel more familiar, city to city).
6. Their colors and connection iconography are standardized (duh again).
7. All text must be listed in local and Latin lettering (for the tourists, aka all of us).

The subtext to subway remapping projects is often "London basically got this right 80 years ago, deal with it."— so his version of The Underground, above, is interesting food for thought.

Previously.