Mixed Media

Thanks to Victoria's Secret, We Now Know Models Get Sad With Body Envy Too

| Fri Nov. 14, 2014 3:45 PM EST

Following the backlash to their "The Perfect Body" campaign, Victoria's Secret appears to be attempting a bit of damage control with a new video that actually shows it's still as tone-deaf to body image concerns as ever.

The video, posted on Instagram, features model Sara Sampaio explaining that even beautiful models know what it's like to long for the bone structure of others—in this case, Candice.

But Sampaio knows that "not in a million" years could she have the body of Candice. The post cuts out to her looking dejected, while forming the shape of Candice's magical derriere. It's a sad day when we have to remind Sampaio she is in fact stunning, but at least we now have the comfort of knowing all ladies can relate to body hating.

 

Don’t stress about what someone else has—love what u got! @sarasampaio #VSFashionShow #KnowYourBody #ModelTalk

A video posted by Victoria's Secret (@victoriassecret) on

 

(h/t Jezebel)

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Study: White People Think Black People Are Magical Unicorns

| Fri Nov. 14, 2014 2:47 PM EST

A new study featured in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science concludes white people may possess a "superhuman bias" against black people, and are therefore likely to attribute preternatural qualities to black people.

Jesse Singal explains at the Science of Us:

In a series of five studies, some involving so-called implicit association tests in which words are flashed on a screen quickly enough to "prime" a subject with their meaning but not for them to consciously understand what they have seen, the researchers showed that whites are quicker to associate blacks than whites with superhuman words like ghost, paranormal, and spirit.

This image of a magical black person, someone holding extraordinary mental and physical powers, has long persisted through American culture, whether it be through cringe-worthy movie roles or literature.

And the damage of such a potential bias is significant. While it's easy to understand why most clichés are both dangerous and destructive, the study suggests white people's tendency to cast a black person as a magical being—a stereotype that on its face some might claim is positive—is actually just as detrimental as say the image of the angry black woman, absent father, etc.

The superhuman image may be able to explain matters such as why young black men are perceived to "be more 'adult' than White juveniles when judging culpability," write researchers Adam Waytz, Kelly Marie Hoffman, and Sophie Trawalter. If true, such a perception could outline the overwhelming racial disparities seen in prison systems throughout the country. 

This bizarre phenomenon could even have contributed to the immense hope Americans placed on President Barack Obama in 2008. As the Boston Globe recently pointed out, back in 2007 David Ehrenstein described Obama's campaign as such:

Like a comic-book superhero, Obama is there to help, out of the sheer goodness of a heart we need not know or understand. For as with all Magic Negroes, the less real he seems, the more desirable he becomes. If he were real, white America couldn't project all its fantasies of curative black benevolence on him.

Republicans later even attempted to make light of the stereotype with CD's featuring a song titled "Barack the Magic Negro."

Although the trope has been criticized for some time, researchers behind this recent study say it's the first "empirical investigation" into the matter.

(h/t Science of Us)

 

Book Review: The Unspeakable

| Fri Nov. 14, 2014 5:30 AM EST

The Unspeakable

By Meghan Daum

FSG

In a series of essays reminiscent of a slightly restrained David Sedaris, Los Angeles Times columnist Meghan Daum comes off as humorously dysfunctional and occasionally deranged as she plunges into topics best avoided: her true feelings as her mother lay dying, disdain for motherhood, bad dating choices, courting of lesbians (she's straight), abject failure as a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor and prospective foster parent, and even her awkward encounters with the singer Joni Mitchell. Reading The Unspeakable is a bit like watching Zach Galafianakis act: funny and slightly unsettling. You're not sure you like Daum, but you can't wait to see what she'll say next.

I Cannot Stop Watching This Video of Super Mario Hurting People

| Thu Nov. 13, 2014 2:09 PM EST

Via our friends at Gizmodo, this video is why I have not gotten any work done today.

Watch This Reporter Issue a Brutal Takedown of the International Banking System

| Thu Nov. 13, 2014 9:38 AM EST

Six years after the financial crisis, Paul Mason of Channel 4 News in England is officially fed up with watching big banks screw their clients, while financial regulators continue to dole out little to no punishment for each new banking scandal.

"I have sat in the rooms where they're pleading in the most genteel tones, 'Don't over regulate us. Don't make it possible for us to go to jail otherwise no one talented will come and run these banks," an exasperated Mason said on camera.

"If we're going to have a complex finance system, we're have to do something a bit more radical than all this cuff-link tweaking."

Mason's refreshingly honest take comes as six banks, including the Royal Bank of Scotland where Mason is seen standing outside in the recording, were recently fined $2.6 billion pounds after a 13-month investigation by regulators in both the United Kingdom and United States found the banks to be rigging the foreign exchange market. But criminal charges for the employees involved? Nope.

Mason says if "the banks had the same scrutiny over the traders and their own managers as they have over the camera crews standing outside," perhaps there would be no need for such an investigation and yet another round of fines.

"All we ask, all we can ask, is that the regulators do their job proactively," Mason says, steps away from RBS's headquarters. "That they actually get on the case, just like the security guards outside here, and the CCTV cameras there, and the City of London police, they get on the case and stop wrong doing – what’s so hard about it?"

 

Fast Tracks: "Spanish Mary" From Lost on the River

| Wed Nov. 12, 2014 8:48 PM EST

TRACK 4

"Spanish Mary"

From Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes

electromagnetic recordings/harvest

Liner notes: "Is it a mystery to live/Or is it a mystery to die?" Rhiannon Giddens asks with cool grace, as banjo and mellotron add arresting texture to this spooky toe-tapper.

Behind the music: Entrusted with previously unseen Bob Dylan lyrics from 1967, T Bone Burnett recruited Elvis Costello, Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), and Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons) to collaborate on these "new" songs.

Check it out if you like: Dylan's Basement Tapes.

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"Pouring Rain" by Dream Police

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 6:09 PM EST
dream police

TRACK 4

"Pouring Rain"

From Dream Police's Hypnotized

sacred bones

Liner notes: Woozy analog synths + jittery drum machine + yearning vocals = scruffy, poignant psychedelia.

Behind the music: Dream Police is Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro, founders of the mercurial Brooklyn band the Men, which has ranged from brutal punk to rootsy Americana.

Check it out if you like: Velvet Underground, Neu!, early Human League.

Oh Great, Here's a Hit Song Demanding Women Shut Up and Drink

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 5:05 PM EST

While students around the country join Emma Sulkowicz's fight against flawed campus sexual assault policies, a new song by popular duo Play-N-Skillz is glorifying rape culture to the catchy tune of telling women to quit resisting and drink up already. The video, which came out in late October, has already been viewed more than 600,000 times. 

Sample lyrics include: "A shot of vodka? I can't. Tequila? I can't. After party? I can't. Girl-on-girl? I can't. Literally I can't. Literally I can't."

This back and forth banter is repeatedly met with a resounding: "Oh my god. Shut the fuck up!" 

On the surface, "Literally, I Can't" is a weak, and late, attempt to poke fun at an internet-established joke about a woman's inability to utter concrete sentences to describe their unbridled excitement/disgust/horror/delight. But the result is an incredibly offensive mantra with an equally repugnant video starring fratty dudes in "STFU" varsity jackets, imploring the prude sorority girls of LIC to give in and let loose.

Lovely, no? As for a purely musical assessment, the song is just insufferable. Envisioning bros singing along to it, red Solo cups at the ready, is eye roll-inducing. But when you recall that Sulkowicz is still out there literally carrying the weight of the issue, that's when it gets truly heartbreaking. 

(h/t Mashable)

 

Watch John Oliver Explain How the Government Seduces Americans to Spend Huge on the Lottery

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 9:14 AM EST

Americans spend a colossal amount of money betting on the lottery, even when the chances of winning have always been near-impossible. In fact last year alone, lottery sales raked in a massive total of $68 billion, according to the latest Last Week Tonight.

"That's more than Americans spent last year on movie tickets, music, porn, the NFL, Major League Baseball, and video games combined," John Oliver explained. "Which means Americans basically spent more on the lottery than they spent on America."

It becomes even more bizarre when you understand it's our states governments profiting from the giant business, which targets lower-income families who have historically spent more on tickets than the wealthy.

One of the frighteningly successful ways governments accomplish this is by creating ads that essentially mask the lottery as some kind of mutual fund or "charitable investment." Watch below:

 

 

Bob Dylan and The Band's Legendary "Basement Tapes" Live up to the Hype

| Mon Nov. 10, 2014 6:00 AM EST

Bob Dylan
The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
Columbia Records/Legacy Recordings

The recordings Bob Dylan made with The Band in the basement of a house in West Saugerties, New York in 1967 have long been the stuff of legend. Bootlegged in part as Great White Wonder before the end of the decade, released officially in truncated and doctored form in 1975, and repeatedly bootlegged in numerous permutations since, these remarkable recordings found Bob and friends in back-to-basics mode, tackling a mix of enticing Dylan compositions (including "Quinn the Eskimo" and "I Shall Be Released") and rootsy covers with the verve of a boozy roadhouse ensemble. With a mind-boggling 138 tracks on six discs, The Basement Tapes Complete lives up to the hype. The performances range from sketchy fragments to fully realized pieces, many with surprisingly good sound quality. (The lowest-fi bits are consolidated on disc six.) The tapes also include obscure Dylan originals such as "I'm Your Teenage Prayer" and "I Can't Come In with a Broken Heart," while the covers revisit songs associated with Johnny Cash ("Folsom Prison Blues"), John Lee Hooker ("I'm in the Mood"), and Elvis Presley ("I Forgot to Remember to Forget"), among others. Endlessly fascinating, often surprising, and essential listening for Dylan fans.