Hurricane Maria started in 1898: how America spent more than a century brutalizing Puerto Rico

Nelson A Denis is the author of War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America's Colony, a highly regarded, bestselling 2016 history of the injustices perpetrated against Puerto Rico by successive American governments starting in 1898 and continuing literally to this present day. Read the rest

NYU grad student goes undercover in Chinese iPhone factory and it ain't pretty

NYU grad student Dejian Zeng worked undercover at an iPhone factory in Shanghai, China for six weeks, and "grim" is a nice way to describe it.

Zeng was in charge of one screw per phone, fastening the speaker to the back of the iPhone case. He had to show up at the factory at 7:30 and work 12 hours per day, but was only paid for 10 1/2 hours per day since breaks are unpaid. And his work week consisted of 6 days per week, for which he only gets paid $450/month, including overtime.

The workers live in prison cells, er, I mean dorm rooms that are as bleak as hell. They have only one uniform to wear all week, as well as a pair of slippers. But they do not receive an iPhone as a perk – it's rare to see anyone with a personal iPhone at the iPhone factory. Most workers have a phone that is cheaper.

The thing that shocked Zeng the most was the managers' attitudes - "yelling at the workers is kind of routine in the factories." But the good thing is that the company has installed nets around the stairs to prevent people from committing suicide. Oh, and the windows have cages around them so no one can jump out and kill themselves.

There are more fascinating details in this video. Good undercover work, Zeng! Read the rest

Watch Pages of Death, the long-lost anti-porn public information film

Oregon Historical Society has posted Pages of Death, a "long-lost" anti-pornography movie in similar vein to the legendary Reefer Madness: "These kids can pick up girly magazines and sex-violence stuff all over town!"

It was released in 1962, much later than most of those propaganda exploitation flicks. If it was already old-fashioned at the time it came out, that fact might not be obvious to present-day viewers.

The blurb follows… Read the rest

Bizarre illustrations from old men's adventure magazines

Soon after American soldiers returned home from World War II, a new type of magazine was created for them – the man’s adventure magazine. With names like, Peril, Male, Real Men, Men in Conflict, Stag, Man’s Epic, and Man-to-Man, these magazines featured “true” stories about vicious animal encounters, sexually demented Nazis, sadistic communist spies, bloodthirsty headhunters, and whip-cracking women in leather bikinis. The sensationalist articles and outrageously lurid cover art were xenophobic, racist, misogynist, and gratuitously violent. They turned the things readers feared into cartoonish caricatures that could be defeated by a rugged cleft-chinned hero with a torn shirt and a blood-stained bowie knife.

It's A Man's World, edited by Adam Parfrey, is a fascinating coffee table book containing hundreds of covers, depicting everything from Fidel Castro about to snub out his lit cigar on the bosom of a half-clothed damsel in distress, to an absurd weasel attack (cover line: “Weasels Ripped my Flesh”). It includes a history of the magazines showing their origins in “cowboys and Indians” magazines and war propaganda posters, and has profiles and interviews with the journalists and illustrators who cranked out content for the magazines during their heyday of the 1950s - 1970s.

It's A Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps

It's A Man's World

by Adam Parfrey (editor)

Feral House

2015, 320 pages, 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches

$17 Buy a copy on Amazon

See sample pages from this book at Wink. Read the rest

Jailer-owned "Christian business" forced inmates to make cornhole games

Stand Firm Designs' website was taken down for unknown reasons (archive.org snapshot), but when the website was operational you would have learned that the self-described “Christian Construction Business” employed “retired contractors” to make its bean bag “cornhole” boards. What the website didn't say was that the company is owned by two Tennessee jail officials and that they are accused of using prison slave labor to build the boards. They were caught after inmates hatched a plan to expose them:

To prove the items being sold by Stand Firm Designs were made by inmates, Stephney and Brew concealed their names under pieces of wood nailed to the backs of items. They also wrote the number 412148, which refers to a section of Tennessee code that makes it illegal for jail officials to require an inmate to perform labor that results in the official's personal gain. The AP was shown some of the items with the concealed names and numbers.

Stand Firm Designs is operated by Rob Hill, a building trades instructor at the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility; Steven Binkley, a computer instructor who works out of a room adjoining the woodworking shop; and Roy Napper, who formerly worked at the jail run by Corrections Corporation of America.

Stand Firm Designs co-owner Roy Napper is standing firm: “All I can tell you is it’s really just a bogus thing. There’s not really any slave labor going on over there,” Napper told the AP. “Since it’s under investigation, I can’t really tell you anything else.” Read the rest

Revealed! Kony 2012's sinister Musical Comedy roots

From the first time I watched "Kony 2012," I always sensed a link with the storyline of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's Book of Mormon musical. But sweet fancy Moses, I did not know how closely linked the two truly were.

Aaron Stewart-Ahn tells us about the video above (which has been taken down by Invisible Children, but mirrored elsewhere):

Here's where the money has been going to: Invisible Children founder Jason Russell's vanity dance musical numbers which start off with exploitative footage of suffering children. How did no one else catch this? It makes the Kony 2012 video look subtle and sane. He's basically using this to fund his desire to make Glee.

This is where the millions are being spent: vanity musicals. Did Trey Parker write this??!! Russell has mentioned repeatedly how his ambitions were to make musicals. He intimated that he was going to make the musical popular again á la Glee, but this didn't work out—so he ended up in advocacy. It was that chat at the evangelical conference. So, here's a direct youtube link to 9m 10secs in the video where he talks about making musicals, and casually talks about his dream of documenting genocide.

That bit with the t-shirt with the African child on it is just... I'm speechless. Wonder why they've removed it from their YouTube channel, since it looks so damn expensive? It's insane, isn't it? I mean, seriously: it makes Scientology videos look charmingly naive.

UK funnyman Charlie Brooker has a bit of fun with Invisible Children and the Kony 2012 viral phenomenon, in the video embedded below. Read the rest

Glorious comb ad

The lost art of comb-advertising. Seriously, when was the last time you saw an ad for a comb, let alone one this compelling?

The Age of Hair is the Era for Ace

Previously: Plastic Knife Hidden in Comb - Boing Boing Tangle Tamer -- wonderful product - Boing Boing Uncombable Hair Syndrome - Boing Boing Amusing Shanghai beauty products - Boing Boing Read the rest