FOTI #45: Pornhub Comments on Stock Photos


Fortnight on the Internets has mixed feelings about uncanny valley orgasm ladies!

On this episode, we praise our Report Card items like never before; we run down the controversy that Grantland unleashed by  publishing a transgender-unfriendly longform piece; and we enjoy the music of Speedy Ortiz.

Four ways to listen:

If you subscribe or become a Liker on Facebook, 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…

Worst MLK Day Tweets

Several cringeworthy screenshots lovingly collected by UPROXX.

Internet Report Card

#1. Pornhub Comments on Stock Photos

An absolutely hilarious Tumblr that delivers exactly what it promises.

#2. Fake London Underground Signs

Anonymous genius, please come forward! We will totally follow you on Instagram.

 #3. Metafilter Decodes Grandma’s Dying Prayers

A truly poignant story — and the latest triumph of Metafilter.

Musical Guest: SPEEDY ORTIZ

My full-blown rave of the Northampton MA quartet’s full length Major Arcana can be found here — but in brief, anyone who worships at the altars of 90s indie rock should know that its spirit is alive and well in this kickass band. Grab their album from Carpark Records post haste.

WEST COAST LIKERS! They’re coming to a city near you in support of Malkmus himself. Become aware by following ’em on Facebook — or reading their Livejournal.

One more for the the power of rock:

Internet Challenge Surprise!

This episode’s ICS is “Beauty” by Rino Stefano Tagliaferro, which came to us via Liker Ryan C.

You’ve just…gotta see it.

Here’s a detailed rundown of the techniques, the themes and the images found within.

Grantland and the Dr. V Controversy

“To my infinite regret, we never asked anyone knowledgeable enough about transgender issues to help us either (a) improve the piece, or (b) realize that we shouldn’t run it. That’s our mistake — and really, my mistake, since it’s my site. So I want to apologize. I failed. 

More importantly, I realized over the weekend that I didn’t know nearly enough about the transgender community – and neither does my staff.”

  • Christina Kahrl’s definitive response piece — on Grantland! (THE most prominent transgender sportswriter actually works for another branch of ESPN and pretty much nails the problems with the original piece on all fronts. Props to them for getting her to respond in their pages, but why nobody thought to consult her before this was published…I have no idea.)

“It was not Grantland’s job to out Essay Anne Vanderbilt, but it was done, carelessly. Not simply with the story’s posthumous publication; that kind of casual cruelty is weekly fare visited upon transgender murder victims in newspapers across the country. No, what Hannan apparently did was worse: Upon making the unavoidable discovery that Vanderbilt’s background didn’t stand up to scrutiny, he didn’t reassure her that her gender identity wasn’t germane to the broader problems he’d uncovered with her story. Rather, he provided this tidbit to one of the investors in her company in a gratuitous “gotcha” moment that reflects how little thought he’d given the matter. Maybe it was relevant for him to inform the investor that she wasn’t a physicist and probably didn’t work on the stealth bomber and probably also wasn’t a Vanderbilt cut from the same cloth as the original Commodore. But revealing her gender identity was ultimately as dangerous as it was thoughtless.”

  • Slate’s Josh Levin on the lack of empathy that might be the most disturbing part of the story

The fact that Dr. V once lived under a different name is not irrelevant to Hannan’s story—the name change complicated his quest to check up on her background, which I believe makes it fair game if handled sensitively. But presenting Dr. V’s gender identity as one in a series of lies and elisions was a careless editorial decision. Hannan makes no claim that her identity as a trans woman has any bearing on the golf club she invented or the scientific background she inflated. And yet it sent a chill up his spine. It’s this line that feels particularly inhumane. Dr. V is a con artist and a trans woman. Hannan, though, conflates those two facts, acting as though the latter has some relation to the former. It seems that, in his view, they both represent a form of deceit.

 It’s impossible for anyone to say why Dr. V committed suicide. It is certainly way over the line to call Hannan a murderer. It’s also wrong to claim with any certainty that it was his reporting that pushed her over the edge, or to argue that it’s 100 percent clear that she was more concerned with being outed than with having her phony credentials exposed. Even so, it’s very strange that the Grantland piece seems so incurious about the death of its subject.

The main problem with this story is that it seemed in places curiously cool, even callous. The writer is clearly thrilled and excited by what he is finding (as I would have been) but seems inappropriately undisturbed by the tragedy at the end, one that he likely had a role in. It’s like, “Whoops, she offed herself. Okay, time to end this thing now.” There are some moral mathematics here, and they should have been addressed. Doing so probably would not have silenced all the critics, but it would have helped, and I think it would have made their criticism sound a little small. This is mostly a matter of tone; an editor should have helped him there.

Two other things: The writer describes Dr. V. as having grown up a troubled “man.” You can probably make a literal. semantic case for that description, but those are fighting words to the gay, lesbian, and transgender community, and understandably so. Gender identity (as I understand it) is not something you “change”; it is something innate that you accept over time, and accommodate. The writer’s astonishment and excitement at learning of the transgender fact seems callow and even naive. It all made him sound insensitive. He also calls his story, at the end, a “eulogy,” which it certainly is not, and which looks defensive, manipulative, and self-serving.

  • Lessons learned? How about welcoming outside feedback and encouraging diversity as key to perspective: Joy’s Law for Journalism.

Shoutout to the Likers!

This fortnight’s J. Sue Gem: FOTI Olympics correspondent Jeni Sue announced her intentions to make KNITTING a recognized Olympic sport, posting the dlisted article “Ralph Lauren Hates the US Olympic Team” claiming this much is clear from the reveal on the Today Show of the US team’s sweater uniforms.  “It looks like the result of an Old Navy, NASCAR and Tommy Hilfiger outlet bukkake party.”

REPORT CARD CREDITS: Likers Neil C. and Nic S. pointed us to the Pornhub Comments on Stock Photos, while FOTP Nicky PoPo delivered unto us the Fake London Underground Signage. And thanks also to Liker Jeff H for encouraging us to get into the Grantland controversy.


#5: Liker Siyabonga stayed vigilant on the Bad Lip Reading front and sent us the newest NFL video highlighting even more players and coaches looking as if they are UNDENIABLY spouting hilarious nonsense on the field, on the sidelines, in press conferences, and via weird talking head interstitials.  Still one of the best things on the internet.

#4: Liker and Past Guest Ashley L. allowed us to collectively laugh at all that money we spent on higher education with the blog “LOL My Thesis,” a collection of weighty theses each boiled down to one really trivial-sounding sentence.

#3: Liker Zach W. found a College Humor post showcasing “Brutally Honest Movie Posters,” boiling all the Oscar contenders down to their true, often hacky essence via new titles and taglines.  My favorite was the DALLAS BUYERS CLUB (aka DANGEROUS BODY TRANSFORMATION CLUB)’s new tagline:  Dare to Believe These Three People Would Ever Star in an Oscar-Nomatined Movie.

#2: Liker Derick A. made our Report Card winnowing extra difficulty by submitting this fortnight’s near miss, the wonderful UsTheDuo Vine Channel full of delightlful 7 second covers!

And our Liker of the Fortnight is Liker Ryan C (aka Vicious Rumors) for giving us our highly entertaining Internet Challenge Surprise! He also gets serious props for creating the plaques in our Hall of Internet Fame. A true Hall of Fame Liker, he is.

Thank you all for listening, see you in two weeks!

Thanks to Elliot Colbert from Red Light Management for musical assistance.
Theme song by Snowplows.
Cover art by Vicious Rumors.

About Alpine McGregor
Just like you, man. I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. All in the game, though, right?

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