“Knocked The Bottom Out of Me”? Knock it off, PETA.

Oh, PETA…


(via SigKate)

Can’t you folks create any campaigns that don’t hinge on some form of insipid, othering, sexist objectification? It shouldn’t be that difficult, considering your stated aims. Here’s an idea: rather than euthanizing a vast majority of your rescues, how about hiring ‘em to come up with some new marketing and promotional material for ya? Argh… I’m halfway serious. It’s entirely possible that a golden retriever could provide something more palatable than the dehumanizing dreck you keep churning out like, well, sausage.

Seattle Stranger commenter CrankyBacon puts it well: “This isn’t a sex-positive vs. prude situation. Women can be engaged in policy issues, make coherent arguments, be persuasive, protest, etc. They have more to offer than standing naked outside a butcher shop, or pretending to give a blow job to a cucumber and titty fuck a carrot.” Female activists have more to offer than going nude to titillate for the cause. Women can aid your agenda in ways that don’t require them to be depicted as battered, pantsless-in-public, grocery-buying/fanny-flaunting fuckholes for ubersexed males. (Sure, naked men sometimes feature in your campaigns, but not nearly as often, and never presented in a remotely similar context.)

“Chicks Agree”? No, actually. Not this ”chick”. Not with the persistent, lazy, women-as-meat misogyny, anyway. C’mon, PETA, don’t you owe it to human beings and animals alike to try to encourage more responsible and respectful discourse?

“A Homogenous, Cancerous, Rhizomatic Junkspace”


Map of the Online Communities by XKCD, 2007. Larger version.

J.G. Ballard one said that his biggest fear was that the future would be boring. He feared the future would be “a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.” The notion, as applied to the Internet, was recently explored in two pieces on the changing face of internet culture.

Both are wonderfully-written, playful and full of insight. The first of these The Death of the Cyberflâneur, an opinion piece penned by Evgeny Morozov for the New York Times.

Thanks to the French poet Charles Baudelaire and the German critic Walter Benjamin, both of whom viewed the flâneur as an emblem of modernity, his figure (and it was predominantly a “he”) is now firmly associated with 19th-century Paris. The flâneur would leisurely stroll through its streets and especially its arcades — those stylish, lively and bustling rows of shops covered by glass roofs — to cultivate what Honoré de Balzac called “the gastronomy of the eye.” … it’s easy to see, then, why cyberflânerie seemed such an appealing notion in the early days of the Web. The idea of exploring cyberspace as virgin territory, not yet colonized by governments and corporations, was romantic; that romanticism was even reflected in the names of early browsers (“Internet Explorer,” “Netscape Navigator”). …

In the second half of the 19th century, Paris was experiencing rapid and profound change. The architectural and city planning reforms advanced by Baron Haussmann during the rule of Napoleon III were particularly consequential: the demolition of small medieval streets, the numbering of buildings for administrative purposes, the establishment of wide, open, transparent boulevards … But if today’s Internet has a Baron Haussmann, it is Facebook. Everything that makes cyberflânerie possible — solitude and individuality, anonymity and opacity, mystery and ambivalence, curiosity and risk-taking — is under assault by that company. It’s easy to blame Facebook’s business model (e.g., the loss of online anonymity allows it to make more money from advertising), but the problem resides much deeper. Facebook seems to believe that the quirky ingredients that make flânerie possible need to go. “We want everything to be social,” Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, said on “Charlie Rose” a few months ago.


Updated Map of the Online Communities by XKCD, 2010. Larger version here.

In response, Jesse Darling has penned a brilliant response essay titled Arcades, Mall Rats, and Tumblr Thugs over at The New Inquiry:

Evgeny Morozov writes from Palo Alto, a Californian charter city established by the founding father of Stanford University, at which Morozov is a visiting fellow. Palo Alto, nestled in a dewy corner of Silicon Valley, has been at various times home to Google, Paypal, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard: a prime piece of sun-drenched, Nor-Cal sprawl. Social media is to the Read/Write Web what sprawl is to the metropolis of modernity: a homogenous, cancerous, rhizomatic junkspace that expands exponentially outward on a sludgy wave of strip malls and sponsored links, greed and induced demand. This ruthless modernization produces miles of “junkspace” — a term coined by the architect Rem Koolhaas, who wrote that “more and more, more is more. Junkspace is overripe and undernourishing at the same time, a colossal security blanket that covers the earth in a stranglehold of seduction…

Junkspace is like being condemned to a perpetual Jacuzzi with millions of your best friends. Seemingly an apotheosis, spatially grandiose, the effect of its richness is a terminal hollowness, a vicious parody of ambition that systematically erodes the credibility of building, possibly forever.” Koolhaas was referring to the airport and the strip-mall and the single-zone sprawl, but he could have been talking about Facebook…. If space is a practiced place, then collective navigation produces the commons. Like mall rats flipping tricks in a parking lot, users exhibit a feral fluency in the use (and transgression, as it is reimagined daily) of this common timespace: we tune out the ads and get on with the serious business of flirting, hustling, hanging out and talking shit. We know that this serious business is affective labor which produces capital for the custodians of netspace; indeed, meme culture (including but not limited to YouTube parody, stock photo art, cut-ups and image macros) can be seen as the user asserting a subjectivity that exists and thrives despite (and beyond) her status as targeted marketing demographic. Like the Occupy movement, these activities amount to a kind of politics of the public (virtual) body in (virtual) space. We may never own the means of production as such, but will continue to assert, pervert and subvert the commons anyway: a gesture of post-corporeal territorial pissing which necessitates neither phallus nor spray-can nor html.

The Internet: Serious Business. Well-played.

On a tangentially related note:

A Muppet Wicker Man

Oh… um.

Wow. Yeah. So… this exists:


Via Jess Nevins.

That’s the video preview for a full-length comic book mashup of The Muppet Show and The Wicker Man by Paul O’Connell.

It’s… uh…

Well, words seem to be failing at the moment.

Really, what can one say when confronted with something like this, except:

Human-Shaped RC Planes Soaring Above NYC

WOW! Check out this splendid footage of three human-shaped, remote-controlled planes being flown above downtown NYC/Brooklyn, creating the illusion of people flying:

VERY cool. Perhaps somewhat less cool: it’s apparently viral marketing for that movie Chronicle. “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… product placement!” But still. Wow.

[Via Wayne Chambliss / Gizmodo]

Wingsuit Flyers, Hunan Province

Courtesy of Base-Book, some truly heart-jolting footage of wingsuit badassery, recently shot in China’s Hunan Province:


Via Jason Zendtraedi, thanks!

Previously on Coilhouse:

Compare and Contrast: Teen Girls Talking About Gender on YouTube

Two very different videos of teenage girls airing our their grievances on YouTube have gone viral in the past two days. Here they are. Compare and contrast:

On the uplifting side, we have a 13-year-old vlogger named astrorice articulating the concepts of slut shaming and rape culture. “While I am fully aware that this is a bit of an unorthodox topic for a thirteen year old virgin to be talking about, it’s an important issue to discuss, and a great topic for girls my age to know about,” writes astrorice.

As Aaron Muszalski noted on Facebook, “This is the most inspiring thing I’ve seen this year. Seriously a must-watch. An amazing young person speaking out — eloquently and forcefully — about a topic that many people much older than her still have a hard time wrapping their heads around. Or indeed, even acknowledging its existence. Major props. As unfortunate as the issue of slut shaming is, this video and its maker give me great hope for the future.”

And on the dark side, there’s this: a 14-year-old girl calling for the boycott of Girl Scouts due towards their inclusive policy towards transgendered kids: in particular, a 7-year-old transgender child who was allowed to join Girl Scouts in Colorado. Richard Metzger writes, “From what I can make of her argument, young Taylor here seems to think that high school age boys are suddenly going to want to wear drag and join the Girl Scouts so they can rape her or something? Taylor, there are far, far easier ways for teenage boys to get laid! … Do you really want to be the Rebecca Black of intolerance? For the rest of your life?” Audrey Penven adds, “Shame on her parents for sucking so hard. Shame on her community for nurturing this kind of close-mindedness.”

These children, they are our future.

“Fotoshop” by “Adobé”

A deftly crafted satirical fauxmercial by Jesse Rosten sings the praises of an beauty industry secret known as “Fotoshop”:

“You don’t have to rely on a healthy body image or self respect anymore. [...] There’s only one way to look like a REAL cover girl: Fotoshop by Adobé.” OH SNAP.

Rosten’s piss-take nails the spooky Stepfordian tone and presentation of the average beauty commercial. He’s so crafty, in fact, it takes a few seconds for the “I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE” to kick in. Just in case anyone’s confused, a statement beneath the Vimeo embed reads: “This commercial isn’t real, neither are society’s standards of beauty.”

Invasive, absurd digital manipulation’s not going anywhere. Still, it’s nice to know we’re at the point of not just openly discussing its ubiquity, but mocking it mercilessly!

Previously on Coilhouse:

BTC: Briohny Smyth for Equinox

In this advert, an exquisitely beautiful and powerful yogini, Briohny Smyth, clad in fetching skivvies, moves through her acrobatic morning practice in a million dollar Manhattan apartment for all us wistful voyeurs while her oblivious bedroom companion snoozes away in the background:

Well played, Equinox. Manipulative as hell –as many have noted– but still. Well played, ye bastards.

(Not your scene? There’s always “Cat Helps With Yoga Routine“!)

Vermin Supreme for President, 2012

The venerable Vermin Supreme is back once again! Last month, he let loose at the Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum in New Hampshire:


Via Sean Donahoe, thanks!

He wants you to brush your teeth. He wants to control your life. He wants to protect you from the impending zombie apocalypse. Best of all, he wants to give you a pony.

Mah feller ‘merkunz, try to look beyond that gnomish beard, the teetering boot-hat. Mr. Supreme is, without a doubt, the most trustworthy, straight-shootin’ Republican hopeful running for President in 2012.

Remember: “A Vote For Vermin Supreme is a Vote Completely Thrown Away”!


Vermin Supreme glitterbombs fellow presidential hopeful Randall Terry during a debate in 2008.

Trent Reznor & Erik Satie: Majestic Angst-Bros of Minor Key Minimalism

Editor’s Note: This gem of a submission from writer/proto-ambient scholar/fervent NIN-lover Matt Keefer was discovered several tiers deep during a recent trawl of the Coilhouse slush account. It’s an offbeat and spirited piece, simultaneously comparing and cross-referencing the musical and philosophical kinship inherent between Erik Satie and Trent Reznor, and issuing several preemptive strikes against any and all Would-Be Jaded Hipster Remonstrators. (Also, somehow, on a profound level, it feels like the perfect blog follow-up to that horrifying “Keyboard Cat In Hell” clip Ross just posted). Thank you, Matt. Keep on angstin’ on, comrades.

Trent Reznor is the rightful successor to the great Erik Satie. Don’t let yourself ignore this plain and obvious fact because you are embarrassed of your youth. And no, Trent isn’t disqualified from this lofty inheritance by his perpetual unhappiness. Satie had it just as bad.

In the Spring of 1893, the ever-eccentric Monsieur Erik began a torrid affair with the artist and model Suzanne Valadon. An odd duck in her own right, Madame Valadon kept a goat at her studio to gobble up any of her work that she was unhappy with. After only a single night with Valadon, Erik proposed; the marriage never happened (or if it did, the records of such were later eaten by said goat), but Valadon did move to the room next to Satie’s at the Rue Cortot in Paris. Satie became increasingly obsessed with Valadon, often referring to her as his nanny-goat and filling notebooks with worshipful scrawlings about “her whole being, lovely eyes, gentle hands, and tiny feet.” Indeed, Satie composed his Danses Gothiques as a calmative to restore his composure in the face of the amorous frenzies that Valadon inspired in him. In turn, Valadon painted a portrait of Satie and gifted it to him:


Portrait of Erik Satie by Suzanne Valadon. Who can resist the Pince-Nez? WHO?

Sadly, six months later, the affair ended. One chilly winter evening Valadon vanished, leaving Satie with only his portrait and a broken heart to remember her by. Satie snapped, scrawling in the latter pages of his journals that nothing remained for him “but an icy loneliness that fills the head with emptiness and the heart with sadness.” This is the only intimate relationship that Satie ever had. He would later move to a room in Arcueil and in the 27 years before he drank himself to death, there is no record of anyone visiting his room.