Comic Maeve Higgins to Shane Gillis: "Your words have consequences. Imagine!"

What Shane Gillis and his supporters seem to not understand is that free speech means others can respond to what you say in ways that might not make you happy.

From comic Maeve Higgins essay in The New York Times:

Comedy, like so many of our cultural institutions, remains dominated by men, usually straight and white men. I’ve seen countless versions of Shane Gillis and his material truly spread all over the world, and I’m not about to wrestle the mic from them. I have no problem with anybody speaking their piece, even when it’s lazy and xenophobic. I’m not going to listen, but please, get that off your chest, son! If the most absorbing and insightful thing Mr. Gillis and his buddies have to sound off on is that they find Chinatown to be ugly, then by all means, go right on ahead.

The problem is when Mr. Gillis — and the others like him — frame their words as bold and boundary pushing and brave. What would really be shocking, what would really be exciting and edgy to watch, would be a person climbing down from their safe height and fighting the powerful in a situation where there’s a chance they will lose more than a role on a show. I’m not saying comics need to get into fistfights. We’re too out of shape and anxiety-ridden for that. But a little real bravery wouldn’t hurt.

When anyone disagrees with something a comic says, or there are repercussions for their behavior, the comic too often seems genuinely shocked. Your words have consequences. Imagine! What these men need to learn is that just because you want a job on “Saturday Night Live” doesn’t mean you deserve one.

WeWork sounds like a real piece of work

According to a zany new profile in the Wall Street Journal today, WeWork (We Co) CEO Adam Neumann has told people...

• He'd like to be Israel's Prime Minister
• Interested in being “president of the world”
• Wants to be the world's first trillionaire
• He hopes to live forever.


“This account is based on interviews with current and former employees, investors and friends who interacted with Mr. Neumann as he built We.”

(more…)

Right wing freaks out over eco-art in Austria: "Go away and take your shitty forest!"

Photo of artwork "The Unending Attraction of Nature"

Back in 1970, Max Peintner drew a picture -- "The Unending Attraction of Nature" -- showing a stadium full of people all watching a forest of trees down on the field.

This year the Swiss curator Klaus Littman decided to make it a reality. He took 300 mature trees, some weighing up to six tons, and planted them in Austria's Wörthersee Stadium, turning it into a massive art project. Much like the original Peintner drawing, it's a haunting meditation on our relationship to nature, made additionally resonant given the today's depredations of climate change.

Of course, because it's about climate change, the reactionary right is pitching a hissy fit about the art. As Artnet reports:

Two hard right parties, the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), have publicly criticized the project, which is the brainchild of Swiss curator Klaus Littmann. Among other things, they have falsely claimed that the installation, which fills a local soccer stadium with a grove of 300 trees, was taxpayer-funded.

The resulting public controversy has taken on alarming dimensions. In a recent profile in Der Standard, Littmann claimed that he has not only faced verbal criticism for the project, but was also physically attacked on the street and pushed into traffic. According to the curator, his assailant shouted, “Go away and take your shitty forest!” (“Verschwind mit deinem Scheißwald!”)

Before the September 8 opening, the BZÖ rallied supporters on social media, instructing them to gather in front of the stadium during Littmann’s opening and make a statement with “non-functional chainsaws.” In the end, the debut was a largely celebratory occasion, but as a result of the furor the stadium is now being guarded day and night, according to Deutsche Welle.

“I had not previously experienced such reactions,” the curator told the publication. “Meanwhile people have come to thank me and talk about the project. The reactions are still bitter on social media though, where it’s obviously easier to lash out.”

It's a truly gorgeous work of art -- I wish I could see in person myself. The official web site has some great pix (one of them below), and it also curates some wonderful ones posted by visitors on Instagram; worth checking out!

Photo of the art installation "The Enduring Attraction of Nature"

Los Angeles: The variety hour that won't end! Tony Martini is back!

The Tony Martini Variety Hour returns to The Three Clubs this Saturday night! I'm going!

Mark Fite, Renee Albert, Jim Turner and a cast of vaudevillians, burlesque dancers and god knows what are getting together to put on a couple of hours of good old fashioned variety! A form of entertainment largely thought dead by the early 1980s!

Tony Martini, your host, and titular lounge singer-y guy is portrayed by Los Angeles' comedic hurricane Mark Fite. Mark sings, jokes, and frequently falls flat on his face. Luckily, Martini is accompanied by his super talented wife, Bananas Foster. Foster could only be played by rock and roll accordion grand master Renee Albert. Boing Boing favorite Jim Turner plays their less than kind and understanding manager.

Produced by Steven Espinosa, the cast is joined by a veritable mob of Los Angeles finest variety acts: Michael Rayner, Pam Severns, Karl Herlinger, April Showers, Hannah Beavers, Sarah Elizabeth Pace and the always mindbending contortionist Bonnie Morgan.

Live music will be performed by Ben Jaffe.

Bar opens at 7:30, show starts sometime thereafter. Tickets and more info here.

I'll be drinking heavily in the back.

Police seek drivers of abandoned Amish buggy equipped with loud stereo and Michelob Ultra

At 1AM last Sunday two men were enjoying a ride in their Amish buggy with a banging stereo and enjoying a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra when the cops showed up! Rather than discuss their apparently aberrant behavior with representatives of local law enforcement, the two revel-seeking reportedly Amish gents took to the woods! Leaving their horse, beer and stereo laden buggy ambling on down the road.

Mlive:

The men were drinking a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra that was settled atop the buggy while blasting music and riding through North Bloomfield, Ohio, deputies said. There were several open bottles in the buggy.

The Amish community is generally known for shunning high technology and typically avoids alcohol.

While the men ran into the trees, the horse continued down the road, police said. The horse and buggy were eventually caught. The buggy was towed while the horse was turned over to someone who can take care of it until the owners come forward.

Help FBI catch the Mummy Marauder

The FBI are seeking help in their search for the "Mummy Marauder" who robbed First Convenience Bank in Harris County, Texas on Friday the 13th. From CNN:

The suspect wrapped white gauze around his face and arms, the FBI said. He also wore a wig and baseball cap. No other information about the robbery was released.

He then fled the bank before getting into a black Mitsubishi Montero SUV with an undisclosed sum of money.

Of course the real problem is that without the gauze, he's invisible.

KFC launches trial of horrific "Chicken Donut"

Move over, Popeyes and Chick-fil-A! Fast-food giant KFC is trialing a new menu item in Pittsburgh and Richmond. The Chicken Donut is a slab of deep-fried chicken sandwiched between two glazed donuts.

Consumers are increasingly seeking novel, crave-able flavor combinations that give them the best of both sweet and savory worlds to create a unique taste experience. Through this test market, KFC is evaluating consumer appetite for bringing this growing food trend to its customers on a national scale.

Business Insider reports on the carb bomb.

The chicken-and-doughnut meal will cost $5.50 for one doughnut and $7.50 for two doughnuts. The sandwich is priced at $6, or as a combo meal for $8. KFC said customers can also add a doughnut — served hot — to any meal for $1.

KFC said in a press release that it was using the test to evaluate whether customers are craving chicken and doughnuts on a national scale.

According to a representative, the doughnuts will arrive at stores already cooked, and when a customer orders them, the doughnuts will be dipped in the fryers and glazed with a vanilla icing to ensure they are hot and fresh.

Harvey Weinstein's "life ruined", his lawyer complains

The life of reviled Hollywood sex pest and alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein is "ruined".

An attorney for Harvey Weinstein lamented that “his whole life has been ruined” and defended the accused serial sexual abuser and disgraced movie mogul against the more than 70 women — including former employees and Hollywood stars — who have accused him of sexual assault by blaming them instead.

“No matter what happens to Harvey Weinstein, he will pay the biggest price there is. Even if he wins, Gayle, his whole life has been ruined, toppled, damaged,” Donna Rotunno told “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King in an interview that aired Tuesday. “And whether it’s by his own doing or others, that’s the fact. And the fact is that no matter what we do ― and we can walk out of that courtroom with a ‘not guilty’ and walk him out onto those courtroom steps, and he never gets to be Harvey Weinstein ever again.”

Such a shame.

Our friend Ariel Waldman spent 5 weeks in Antarctica looking for extremophiles, and made a video series about it

Our friend Ariel Waldman (who has written for Boing Boing quite a bit) recently led an expedition to Antarctica to look for extremophiles. She made a great YouTube series chronicling her work there and recently uploaded the final video in the series.

Above: Ep. 1 - How to get to Antarctica.

Ep. 2 - Antarctica under the ice:

Ep. 3 - Camping in Antarctica:

Ep. 4 - Extremophiles of Antarctica:

Ep. 5 - Antarctica robot road trip:

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