FOTI #20: Who or What is ANONYMOUS?

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Fortnight on the Internets: very, very good — very, very cheap!

On this episode, we gingerly attempt to answer the question: who or what is the mysterious hacker crew Anonymous? And how should we feel about them? We’ve got three great viral items to judge in our report card segment, including the biggest New Year’s Eve live TV disaster in the post-Dick-Clark era, an unknown New York City chef who launched a farting campaign on Craigslist, and a tumblr called Mean Girls of Capitol Hill. Plus, One Pound Fish.

Four ways to listen:

If you subscribe or become a Liker, you’ll be able to get to new episodes faster than everyone else. We’ve also continued our tradition of leaking out the topics on our @FOTIpod Twitter account, where we often have fun interactions with the people and sites we talk about on the show…

To the links!

We start off the show with the story of One Pound Fish Man, Pakistan’s first true viral celebrity. Here’s the original video that sparked his fame. And here’s a great NPR story about his triumphant return to his home country after achieving “The London Dream.”

Also, mentioned a few times on this podcast — our Best Music of 2012 Spotify playlist!

Internet Report Card

kdoc-nye

We open report card with an astonished and impressed take on the insanity that was the KDOC live New Year’s Eve broadcast.

Originally posted by YouTube user BlackDudeWhiteChick, it became a sensation as the entire world discovered the cavalcade of f-bombs, production snafus and general chaos that was one Orange County TV station’s attempt to do it live on NYE:

Note to future live NYE show directors: When Joey Lawrence fails to show up as promised for your New Year’s spectacular, it might best to simply pull the plug…

farting chef

This incredible post on the New York City Craigslist site described one chef’s attempt to fart on every single one of his employees. Why this got taken down from the Rants and Raves section, I have no idea — if anything, this should have been Best of Craigslist! But the good people at Uproxx have preserved most of the text for us.

Although it’s disappointing that the chef didn’t return to share the tale of all 37 fartings, this was still a classic Craigslist post worth celebrating.

meangirlscaphill

The post above went super-viral during the fiscal cliff showdown, and it’s the work of a tumblr called Mean Girls of Capitol Hill.

Despite our love of the Tina Fey masterpiece and crisp political humor, we were skeptical of how much mileage could be extracted from this conceit…but this post was pretty hilarious.

Our Musical Guest

memory-tapes

Memory Tapes is an alias for the Jersey based producer Davye Hawk, a multiinstrumentalist and skilled remixer whose most recent record of original material, Grace/Confusion was one of ROTI’s favorite albums of 2012. His songs are electronic epics that spin off in four or five different directions in every track. It’s a constantly surprising album that packs a lot into its six tracks, and we’re psyched to be featuring it on the show today.

Bonus track — his remix of Tanlines’ “Real Life,” featured in this crazy video entitled Rad Times:

Check Memory Tapes out on Facebook or at Blogspot.

Internet Challenge Surprise!

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We celebrate the all caps yet surprisingly sensitive writings of the genius known only as FILM CRIT HULK. 

Once you process the fact that he writes entirely in capital letters like the worst of internet trolls, you’ll soon appreciate that he’s one of the most perceptive, thoughtful and skilled writers taking on movies, TV and the entertainment industry.

We had to trim this from the podcast for time — but here’s one of his most amazing essays, in which he explains why the cliche of the quickie Hollywood marriage has a rational and pretty understandable basis. If this doesn’t change your perspective on the next celebrity divorce, then nothing will.

THE REASON THE QUICKIE MARRIAGE IS COMMONPLACE IN HOLLYWOOD IS BECAUSE A CELEBRITY’S LIFE IS FILLED WITH SUCH STUNNING IMPERMANENCE.

YOU REALLY HAVE NO IDEA. MOST OF US HAVE VERY STATIC LIVES AND EVEN THOSE OF US WHO TRAVEL FOR WORK, REALLY AREN’T FACED WITH THE BARRAGE OF SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT REQUIRED OF BEING A CELEBRITY. THERE IS THE ABJECT ATTENTION, THE GLARE, THE PARADE OF NEW FACES AND NEW PEOPLE YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CONNECT WITH. AND THIS RAPID IMPERMANENCE IN TURN CREATES THESE LITTLE INSULAR WORLDS FOR THE CELEBRITY TO CREATE THEIR OWN MEANING OF “HOME.” IT COMPRISES CLOSE FRIENDS WHO TRAVEL ALONG ON YOUR DIME. PUBLICISTS. AGENTS. HANGERS ON. BACK-UP DANCERS. GROUPIES… YEAH, YOU MIGHT HAVE NOTICED THAT THESE HOMES ARE JUST PARTS OF THE MACHINERY OF CELEBRITY AND THUS THEY HAVE OBVIOUS TEMPORARY SHELF LIVES. FOR INSTANCE, EVERY TIME AN ACTOR MAKES A MOVIE IT’S LIKE GOING TO SUMMER CAMP (REALLY, THAT IS THE EXACT FEELING OF BEING ON A MOVIE CREW). SO THINK BACK TO THE SOCIAL DYNAMICS OF SUMMER CAMP… YUP, IT’S LIKE THAT… AND UNLIKE CAMP, IT HAPPENS ALL YEAR, CHANGING EVERY FEW MONTHS. IT’S IMPERMANENCE.

SO THE FIRST THING THIS [IMPERMANENCE] DOES IS IT MAKES MAINTAINING ANY KIND OF RELATIONSHIP VERY, VERY DIFFICULT. BOTH THE CONDITIONS OF THE RELATIONSHIP AND THE WAY THEY UNDERSTAND THEIR RELATIONSHIP CAN CHANGE IN A SECOND. AND THEN CHANGE AGAIN. AND THEN CHANGE YET AGAIN. “HURRAY WE JUST GOT A FLAT IN LONDON! OH, WE’RE NOT GOING TO BE THERE FOR THE NEXT 8 MONTHS? … OKAY.” YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE COMPLAINTS OF THE SUPER-RICH (AND THEY ARE) BUT THINK ABOUT THE STRESS OF THE BASIC EMOTIONAL STUFF AT PLAY. EQUATE IT TO YOUR OWN LIFE. AND IT’S NOT EVEN LIKE ONE PERSON IS TRAVELING AND THE OTHER IS THE “HOMEBASE” SO TO SPEAK. BOTH CELEBRITIES ARE CONSTANTLY CHANGING THE ENTIRE MODUS OPERANDI OF THEIR LIVES. THINK COLLEGE LONG-DISTANCE IS HARD? TRY THIS. CELEBRITIES RELATIONSHIPS ARE EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN FOR REASONS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR CHARACTER OR DISPOSITION. IT IS THE SCENARIO THAT IS THE PROBLEM.

SO NOW COMES THE CATCH 22. WHAT IS PERHAPS UNFORTUNATE IS THAT SO MANY CELEBRITIES ARE ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY IMPLICITLY UNDERSTAND BOTH THE REQUIREMENTS OF BEING A CELEBRITY AND ALSO THE STUNNING RATE OF CHANGE THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT. CELEBRITIES ACCEPT IT IN ONE ANOTHER AND THAT IS RATHER COMFORTING. WHY? BECAUSE WHEN CELEBRITIES DATE SOMEONE OUTSIDE THAT WORLD THEY FIND THAT THE OTHER PERSON OFTEN DOESN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND. THE OUTSIDE PARTNER IS ENAMORED OF THE CELEBRITY ITSELF. THEY DISASSOCIATE FROM YOUR ACTUAL PERSONALITY. THEY MAY JUST WANT FAME FOR THEIR OWN RIGHT. MORE THAN THAT, THEY CANNOT GET USE TO THE “BARRAGE OF IMPERMANENCE” THAT GOES ALONG WITH IT AND OFTEN RESORT TO JEALOUSY.

THUS, CELEBRITIES TURN TO OTHER CELEBRITIES. WHICH BRINGS US TO THE PROBLEM. THE ATTRACTION TO SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS THE SITUATION UNFORTUNATELY MEANS THEY ARE ALSO GETTING INVOLVED WITH SOMEONE WITH THE SAME COMPLICATIONS OF IMPERMANENCE. THEY ARE LITERALLY DOUBLING THE DIFFICULTY AND REMOVING THE VERY POSSIBILITY OF HAVING THE “BASE” THEY ACTUALLY WANT AND NEED. THE VERY THING THEY SEE AS A SOLUTION IS THE SAME THING THAT SETS THEM UP FOR EVENTUAL FAILURE.

More great articles include his defense of Lena Dunham’s GIRLS, his takedown of Twilight, his response to New Girl haters, and his dissection of the failures of storytelling in John CarterHere’s FILM CRIT HULK’s archive from his home at Badass Digest that gathers everything he wrote up to last May.

Eight Minute Explanation:
WHO IS ANONYMOUS?

anonymous

In a new segment we’re calling the Eight Minute Explanation, we attempt to explain in a concise fashion the hacker collective Anonymous. It takes us more like 12 minutes to unpack and discuss this topic, but we tried our best to be brief…

Here are the key takeaways:

  • Anonymous is an amorphous, leaderless group of hackers and activists that emerged as a true online force around 2008, though they began to organize and make a name for themselves as early as 2005-2006.
  • They’re often linked with 4chan and other anonymous chat sites — hence their name — but Anonymous is more of a political movement than an actual organization. Essentially, any individual or small group of individuals can form an Anonymous cell and begin activity on behalf of the movement.
  • When appearing in public, they’re known for wearing Guy Fawkes masks inspired by the Alan Moore graphic novel V for Vendetta, later made into a Nat Port film. Members often state that this stresses the unimportance of their individual identities when compared to the larger goals of the movement.
  • Enemies of Anonymous — and targets of their “operations” —  include the Church of Scientology, the recording and movie industries, repressive or anti-gay national governments including our own, security consultants, and News Corporation. They’re vehemently against censorship, corporatism, and anyone who attempts to infringe their online activities. When Anonymous identifies a suitable target, they often attack en masse with no regard to legal constraints.
  • Consequently, the US government has moved to take down Anonymous’ most radical cells, including a wholesale roundup of the LulzSec cell in March 2012.
  • Their tactics range from in-person masked mass protests, to hacking or disabling servers, to leaking of vast reams of personal data — usually with a good deal of collateral damage.
  • All of these tactics have been employed in the case in Steubenville, Ohio, which is the work of an Anonymous cell calling itself #KnightSec. In August 2012, an alleged sexual assault occurred at a party in that forlorn Midwestern burg, with the accused perpetrators being two stars of the football team that everyone in town worships. The police couldn’t build a case, but when #KnightSec went on the attack, the Internet was soon flooded with evidence that had been suppressed — incriminating deleted tweets, videos and other items that forced the legal case forward. This story continues to develop, but it surely won’t be the last time we hear about Anonymous and wrestle with its nature, productive or destructive.

For more on Anonymous, check out this documentary, WE ARE LEGION:

And on the lighter side, here’s a amusingly over-the-top report on Anonymous by an Los Angeles FOX TV station.

In conclusion, please don’t hurt us, Anonymous!

Shoutout to the Likers!

Our Liker of the Fortnight is one of our most active and brilliant Facebook pals, Liker Andrew W!

Andrew W always comes correct with crazy videos of twerking, wildin’ out and the like. Props to you, Andrew!

On that note, we urge you all to check out the “Recent Posts By Others” area of our Facebook page — it’s packed with goodness that Andrew W and others are consistently serving up.

More Likers worthy of honor for their recent contribs:

Much love to all! We’ll be back in two weeks!

Thanks to David Laurie from Something In Construction and Todd Hyman from Carpark for musical assistance.
Theme song
 by Snowplows: Check out their four new songs on Bandcamp!
Cover art by Vicious Rumors.

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