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AOL’s ‘That’s Racist With Mike Epps’ Investigates the Stories Behind Stereotypes

It’s fair to say that AOL isn’t the first place you’d visit when seeking out fresh, original content in web videos (or in anything, really). Yet AOL On, the successor to AOL TV, has been quietly churning out some solid original series since 2012. The two most notable of the bunch are Candidly Nicole, a reality/sitcom hybrid starring Nicole Richie that went on to become a funny VH1 series (and earned a second season pickup), and True Trans, the documentary series from Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, wherein Grace talks to members of the trans community while also sharing details of her own transition. One of the newest additions to the slate is That’s Racist With Mike Epps, a docu-series where the comedian attempts to get to the bottom of well-known racist stereotypes — with surprisingly funny results. … Read More

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‘This American Life’ Episode Humanizes Internet Trolling as Only Radio Can

Just about every writer whose work is posted on the Internet has to deal with the bane of the comments section, but for Lindy West, a former Jezebel staffer who currently writes for publications like GQ and The Guardian, the comments section has become a war zone. She’s candid and funny, unafraid to criticize rape jokes or explain how airlines discriminate against fat people, and her fearlessness has made her one of the most notable voices on the Internet. … Read More

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The Last Days of Carles: A ‘Postscript’ to Hipster Runoff’s ‘Era’ of ‘Cynicism’

Who’d have guessed it? Carles, the shadowy creator of Hipster Runoff, the most ‘relevant’ alt of 2007 and the Internet’s foremost exponent of scare quotes, was an idealist all along. Our antihero has been in the news of late because he’s selling Hipster Runoff and its associated revenue streams — exactly the sort of cynical prank that you’d expect from him — and now he’s surfaced to publish a blog post entitled “Why I H8 Online Media.” (It’s the prelude to, god help us, an entire ebook, which is called Nothing Matters.) The site on which it’s published, carles.buzz, is supposedly the last we’ll ever hear from him, what he calls a “terminal pop-up art website blog where I will document my final days on the internet.” Of course, Carles being Carles, it’s hard to know how much of this is sincere and how much is ‘sincere’ — which has always been one of the most obnoxious things about reading him. But taken at face value, it’s an interesting, if profoundly depressing, insight into the bleak cynicism of HRO and its creator. … Read More

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Taylor Swift, John Boehner, and the New Intergenerational Condescension

Millennials, eh? Short attention spans, smartphones, narcissism, et cetera — how are you supposed to get through to them if you’re a good old-fashioned Republican looking to convince the majority of the American electorate to vote directly in contradiction to its own interests? (Again?) They don’t go in for patriotism, they’re skeptical of rhetoric about terrorism, and in general, they’re not big on old white men in suits. Well, unfortunately monikered House Speaker John Boehner reckons he has the answer: Taylor Swift GIFs! … Read More

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2015’s Amazon Pilots, Ranked

Amazon Studios has been going full throttle when it comes to releasing new and intriguing pilots every few months. Last year’s crop of pilots brought us one of the best new shows of 2014, with Jill Soloway’s Transparent, as well as the truly original and idiosyncratic comedy Mozart in the Jungle. To kick off 2015, Amazon has uploaded a whole new batch of pilots for viewers to watch and review. Unfortunately, most of them are strictly average — and a few are just plain terrible. Here are all of the comedies and dramas, ranked from worst to best. … Read More

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Music Critic Sasha Frere-Jones Leaves ‘The New Yorker’ and Heads to Genius

After 11 years of working for The New Yorker, music critic Sasha Frere-Jones is leaving the prestigious magazine to work for… Read More

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What David Cronenberg Doesn’t Get About Rotten Tomatoes (and Online Film Criticism)

It seems, at times, like there are more thinkpieces on whether critics still matter than there are reviews by working critics; it’s one of those perennial subjects that pops up with an alarming frequency in commentary corners, like whether TV is better than movies and what Girls is actually telling us about The Millennials. Last week, CBC News tackled the topic (and if you’re wondering how long it takes them to get to that old saw “Everyone’s a critic”: first sentence!), and since it’s a Canadian site, you won’t be surprised to hear that David Cronenberg weighed in. And he pins the blame squarely on the true villains: young bloggers. Sigh. … Read More

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