MotherJones.com cartoonist Mark Fiore just won a Pulitzer for his online animations, but he can't get his own iPhone app. The Nieman Journalism Lab reports that Apple has rejected an app that Fiore developed, saying that it "ridicules public figures," an apparent no-no in the iTunes app store, which only sells high-minded titles such as iFart, Atomic Fart, and Fart Piano. Not to mention the recently launched app from the reverent folks at The Onion, which I just installed on my iPhone of evil. Let's see—its current lineup includes items that make fun of Oprah's weight, call the Pope a Scrabble cheat, and portray Congress as a bunch of porn hounds. Hey, Mark, I think you should try to win this one on appeal.
It's been a very good week for WikiLeaks. Last Monday, the whistleblower site released a classified video shot by an American attack helicopter as it mowed down a group of men on a Baghdad street, two of whom were unarmed Reuters journalists. The video has been watched no fewer than 5.7 million times and the debate over whether it depicts a war crime, a justifiable action, or a tragic example of the fog of war, is still going strong. "WikiLeaks" became a top Google search term as a site once frequented primarily by journalists and activists became a major media player. And the attention seems unlikely to abate soon: WikiLeaks says it's about to release footage of an American missile strike in Afghanistan that killed dozens of civilians.
Much of the attention on WikiLeaks has focused on its mysterious mastermind, Australian hacktivist Julian Assange. He's been hailed as a fearless fighter for transparency, but his emergence from the shadows has also revealed him to be as prickly about unwanted disclosures as any of his powerful targets. When David Kushner wrote about Assange's fascinating blend of passion and paranoia as well as WikiLeaks secretive inner workings on this website last week, Assange fired back, claiming the story was "full of errors" and "extremely irritating tabloid insinuations of the type that might be expected from a poor quality magazine." Amusingly, his comment has become the most popular one in the history of MotherJones.com, with 43,000 recommendations and counting.* (Assange hasn't elaborated on the supposed inaccuracies in the article.)
Big congratulations are in order for Mark Fiore on just winning a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. Mark started doing his sly, jam-packed animated cartoons back when online poltical cartooning was just kicking off and way before Flash movies became cool. We're proud that Mark's work has appeared weekly on the MoJo website for years. (We can't claim him all to ourselves, however; his work also runs on newspaper websites like the San Francisco Chronicle's, which officially gets Pulitzer bragging rights, being a newspaper and all. If you haven't watched Mark's stuff, you're in for a treat. Browse his past work here, or watch his recent takes on the Vatican sex scandal, how to talk like a Teabagger, and closeted homophobic pols. Congrats again, Mark!
OVERSIZED SHADES have replaced pith helmets, but the new scramble for Africa has its share of adventurers, would-be saviors, and even turf battles. As Madonna's publicist explains, "She's focusing on Malawi. South Africa is Oprah's territory."
The map below takes a lighter look at the sometimes serious, sometimes silly business of celebrity altruism. For more on how Africa became the hottest continent for A-list do-gooders like Bono and Brangelina, see here. And if you're looking for a more sober approach, check out our recent package on human rights.
Click on a country to learn which celebrity has claimed it, and how.
Madonna gets custody of a boy from Malawi; adopts a girl in 2009.
After filming Ali in South Africa, Will Smith says, "We want to move to Africa...I definitely felt like there was magic there and it was a magic I wanted my family to experience."
Opening of Oprah's girls' academy in South Africa attended by Quincy Jones, Tina Turner, India.Arie, Chris Rock, Mary J. Blige, and Mariah Carey. Students get uniforms designed by Oprah and pillowcases embroidered with O's.
Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest visit Kenyan slums for "Idol Gives Back."
Senegalese-American hip-hop artist Akon defends owning a diamond mine in South Africa: "I don't even believe in conflict diamonds...Diamonds are the least of our worries."
Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon found Darfur group Not on Our Watch. Cheadle cohosts celebrity poker tourney to fight genocide.
Bono edits Vanity Fair's Africa issue.
Paris Hilton says she's going to Rwanda: "I know [Rwanda] went through a lot of traumatic experiences, and I feel like if I go there, I can help save some people’s lives." Instead, she visits South Africa in 2008, where she gushes, "I love Africa in general—South Africa and West Africa, they are both great countries."
Naomi Campbell says she's planning on starting a modeling school and rehab clinic in Kenya.
Bono calls for United States of Africa.
Angelina Jolie announces, "We will be building a TB/AIDS clinic in Ethiopia. One we plan for Zahara to take over when she is older."
Ashton Kutcher donates 10,000 mosquito nets in a bid for 1 million Twitter fans.
After visiting diamond mines in Botswana, Kim Kardashian blogs, "I used to assume after watching the movie Blood Diamonds [sic] that diamonds were not acceptable to buy from Africa. However, it is the complete opposite!"
The Reverend Jesse Jackson inherits Michael Jackson's princely title.
Prosecutors allege that former Liberian president and warlord Charles Taylor once gave a blood diamond to Naomi Campbell.
The major powers of African celebrity action
Good Job: Made international debt relief look cool Good Grief: Made Jesse Helms look cool
Good Job: Giving billions to fight viruses like malaria and HIV Good Grief: Made those billions with virus-prone operating systems
Good Job: Got huge price cuts for antiretrovirals and antimalarials Good Grief: Ignored the 1994 Rwandan genocide
What can Africa do for you?
"My life changed, really, there."
"Totally changed my life."
"It's changed my life."
—Country singer Michelle Wright
"This trip has changed my life."
—NFL player Reggie Bush
"One of those things which will sort of change your life."
—American Idol's Simon Cowell
"It truly was a life-changing experience."
—The OC's Mischa Barton
"It was truly a life-changing adventure!"
—Disney teen star Selena Gomez