FOTI #34: 40 Days of Dating

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Fortnight on the Internets is rocking a Victorian steatopygic prosthesis!

On this episode, we discuss the huge success of romance-chronicle 40 Days of Dating, praise an OCD Poet, and review the controversy sparked by the boastful founder of the new lady site Bustle. Internet friend Lily Vonnegut joins us to describe the wonders of VidCon. With music from Pity Sex and lots of great contributions from our Likers!

Four ways to listen:

If you subscribe or become a Liker, you’ll be able to get to new episodes faster than everyone else. You’d also be wise to follow us on our @FOTIpod Twitter account, where we often have fun interactions with the people and sites we talk about on the show…

Internet Report Card

These three items were so compelling, we decided to take some extra time to deep-dive on ‘em. Enjoy.

#1. 40 Days of Dating

A stylish website chronicling a contrived relaish and featuring a variety of ambitious artwork has the potential to annoy, but somehow manages to become incredibly compelling. Sort of like The Bachelor for the urban, don’t-give-a-fuck crowd.

Here’s their self-description:

Two good friends with opposite relationship problems found themselves single at the same time. As an experiment, they dated for 40 days.

Jessica Walsh is a designer based in New York City. She is a hopeless romantic who jumps into relationships very quickly.

Timothy Goodman is a designer based in New York City. He is afraid of commitment & tends to date many girls at the same time.

It’s been said that it takes 40 days to change a bad habit. In an attempt to explore and hopefully overcome their fears and inadequacies, Tim and Jessica will go through the motions of a relationship for the next 40 days: the commitment, time, companionship, joys and frustrations. Can they help each other, or will they fall into their same habits? Will they damage their friendship? What if they fall in love?

We mulled this over — I placed particular emphasis on the fact that “they boned” — and decided that we basically liked it.

Here’s what our Likers had to say!

  • Liker Joan N: “Productivity for today is totally shot! I love quirky life experiments. Can’t wait for this cute idea to be bastardized on the big screen by the likes of Katherine Heigl.” (HOW RIGHT SHE WAS.)

  • Liker Chaia: “I can’t get past the visual layout but wish them both the best.”

  • Liker Juan-Luis: “They’re so achingly navel-gazingly self-aware I want to smack them both. The entire overly-designed daily fonts and artwork and notes and everything make me want to throw up, even as I’m compelled to follow each detail of what’s going on.”

  • Liker Doan: “It’s a little TMI/we’re so precious, but then again, what isn’t these days? Some of the designs are nice, though.”

  • Liker and past guest Carrie with the final word: “Getting drunk at a party and boning could have saved them a lot of time.”

Weirdly enough, since their big Hollywood deal leaked the lovers seem to have gone internet silent. Will we have a big THE FINAL ROSE style reveal? No question they are going to publicly declare a romance at the end of this. Still worried about Jessie’s heart.

#2. OCD Poet

This genius speaks for itself. It earned our first “A-MEN!” Here’s his Twitter.

#3. BUSTLEmania!

Brian Goldberg, founder of the notorious sports linkbait, crap-slideshow, MASSIVE pageclick machine Bleacher Report, created an epic tidalwave of shit talk in the internet world by announcing a new website called BUSTLE aimed at smart, professional women.

His announcement on syncophantic tech news website PandoDaily pissed people off with such tone deaf pronouncements as: “Isn’t it time for a women’s publication that puts world news and politics alongside beauty tips? What about a site that takes an introspective look at the celebrity world, while also having a lot of fun covering it? How about a site that offers career advice and book reviews, while also reporting on fashion trends and popular memes?”

Of course a ton of these sites already exist! But he derided the competition as “niche,” or if gender-neutral, “aimed at men.”

The retorts came fast and furious: Valleywag’s Sam Biddle sniped representatively, “Who gave this asshole 6.5 million dollars to launch a bro-tastic lady site?”

Gawker founding editor Elizabeth Spiers delivered one of the most devastating critiques:

Most general interest sites have a heavy female component, and there are plenty of women’s interest sites that explicitly target women. (The announcement caught my attention in part because it described Gawker.com as a site for men, which, as founding editor of Gawker.com, was news to me.) […]

Goldberg also asserted that his $6.5 million in funding was a function of investor sentiment that the market he’s attacking is underserved and undiscovered and that his solution to the problem is a good one. This, too, is patently ridiculous. Goldberg got $6.5 million in funding because BleacherReport.com is a large, successful site and investors will give entrepreneurs with a track record funding even if their new products are weak. […] No investor in his or her right mind thinks that Goldberg is the first person to realize that women are a large consumer market and that they have a variety of different interests. They’re betting on Goldberg, for better or worse, not his unoriginal observation that women are a good — and very big — market.

Naturally, all of these things drew criticism from people who work in women’s publishing now, women generally, and anyone with an IQ over 80 and enough intelligence to know that the interests of women extend beyond fashion, cosmetics, and celebrities and that this is not novel.

[Moreover, Spiers argued:] There are very few sites that have tens of millions of users, period, and those that do break down pretty evenly on gender lines. The Huffington Post is a useful example because Goldberg’s company BleacherReport had a similar model in the beginning: take unknown writers, pay them nothing to contribute with the promise of a platform for their amateur sports writing and churn out as much content as you can. Which is a model of sorts for traffic, but not one for quality or consistency. . Goldberg says Bustle will pay its writers from the beginning and there’s no mention of user submitted content, but what that means in practice is a $100/day rate for three days a week minimum of work (according to a now-deleted job posting for the site), a gig that would generate $24,000 in annual pre-tax income if the well-educated smart experienced writers Goldberg claims to be hiring work five days a week.

Twitterer @KevinMarks quipped: “Why would you name a 21st century women’s publication after a Victorian steatopygic prosthesis?”

In conclusion:

Brian Goldberg.

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Our Musical Guest: PITY SEX

This episode features the music of Pity Sex — they are a shoegaze band from Ann Arbor, MI that make a very refreshing change up from the NY/LA/Portland axis of music we usually rock on this show!

Stereogum’s Michael Nelson called that song we just heard, Wind-Up: “one of my favorite songs of 2013 — all feedback and fat, fuzzy guitars, glorious melancholy and insane pop hooks. I honestly love it.”

Here’s the band taking on Alison’s favorite track, “Drown Me Out”:

Buy Feast of Love now — a mere $8 from Run for Cover records! And like ‘em on Facebook.

Internet Challenge Surprise!

You might remember Liker Doan blowing our minds and hitting a walk-off home run in a super-close LOTF battle with this gem:

Well, Youtube genius boinky333 has almost completed his Songs of the Presidents series! And though he may describe his work as “Dumb Videos for Idiots,” we think his efforts are nothing short of brilliant.

A few of our favorites include…

The tender balladry that is “Ronald Reagan.”

The Zach de la Rocha-esque stylings of “Ulysses S. Grant.”

The pure horror of “Franklin Pierce.”

And the old-school hip-hop of “Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

For all the videos so far, and much more great stuff from boinky333, subscribe to his Youtube channel.

Lily Vonnegut Braves VidCon

Our Internet friend and Youtube sensation Lily Vonnegut, co-star and producer of The Most Popular Girls in School, recently braved the growing online video conference VidCon to meet the fans and take the Barbies on the road.

Some of the stuff we talked about…

  • What’s been going on with MPGiS since we talked to co-creator Carlo Moss in FOTI #25
  • What VidCon is all about and how the MPGiS crew was summoned there by their loyal viewers
  • The perils of taking a suitcase full of Barbies through security
  • The fun and freakiness of meeting your most hardcore Youtube fans
  • The most popular boys in VidCon (hint: Smosh)
  • The controversy that erupted when Jenna Marbles flaked on VidCon
  • Alpine and Alison’s dreams of a glorious future for VidCon, and for us all

Obviously you should be a liker of The Most Popular Girls in School. Brittnay Matthews 4-eva.

Shoutout to the Likers!

If you aren’t a Facebook Liker, you are missing out on great posts from the two of us and our co-conspirator Jeni Sue. We like to call her best work Jeni Sue Gems. 

Like this fake music festival poster that Alpine and Jeni cooked up after a WAYYY too detailed discussion about a joke that a cool dude made on OK Cupid.

Likers who inspired us this fortnight:

And our LIKER OF THE FORTNIGHT is:

  • LIKER PATRICK C! He was named LOTF for not only submitting the Kids’ Guide to the Internet, but also for sitting Alison down and MAKING her watch the glory that is the Sam Horowitz Bar Mitzvah video. Liker Patrick C, for your services to the Internet, FOTI and all mankind, we crown you Liker of the Fortnight!

Sweeping hat doff to you ALL for your great contributions this fortnight!

Thanks for listening, we’ll be back in two weeks!

Thanks to Pity Sex and Run for Cover Records for musical assistance.
Theme song by Snowplows: Check out their songs on Bandcamp!
Cover art by Vicious Rumors.

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