Saturday, November 22, 2014

Kim Kardashian’s Butt Is An Empty Promise


Kim Kardashian’s Butt Is an Empty Promise
The celebutante's exaggerated behind on the cover of a magazine offers no truth or insight. It only makes us think about how it looks like a glazed Krispy Kreme donut

Last night Paper magazine released two of their latest covers, one featuring Kim Kardashian and the other one featuring an even more famous celebrity: Kim Kardashian’s butt. They were emblazoned with the words “Break the Internet,” and they certainly did. The images instantly shot to the highest currency in today’s media: they were trending. But that’s pretty much all they were. There is nothing behind that butt other than it being a really nice butt. That is the end–pun intended–of it.

This is not the first time that we have seen Kim Kardashian’s posterior. And it is not the first time that we have seen Kim Kardashian naked on the cover of a magazine. Strangely enough, she suggested back in 2010, the last time she was naked on a cover, that she wouldn’t pose nude again. She already broke that promise once this year, baring it all for British GQ. We had to know that it wouldn’t be true in hind sight (get it?).

The funny thing about Kim’s latest butt-shot is that all it is intended to do is create a frenzy, much like her famous “belfie” (which is a butt selfie for those of you at home who have better things to pay attention to). There is no reason Kim Kardashian wants to show off her ass or #BreakTheInternet other than because she can, she is expected to, and we fall for the trap every damn time.

It’s really provocation for provocation’s sake, the cheapest kind of stunt. Miley Cyrus, pop music’s current firebrand, was naked on the cover of Rolling Stone licking her shoulder. She revealed less physically, but more intellectually. It was that tongue hanging out, a pose she has repeated again and again while twerking. These moves, and, of course her memorable VMA performance with Robin Thicke, made us all think about cultural appropriation, female sexuality, third wave feminism, and what is appropriate behavior for a celebrity with such a large fan base of young women. Kim Kardashian’s butt on Paper magazine only makes us think about how it looks like a glazed Krispy Kreme donut.

Speaking of pop music provocation, this is nothing that Madonna didn’t do better, first, or smarter several decades ago. Everything from writhing around in her wedding dress on the first ever VMAs to her book Sex was pushing the envelope, but it was always with a purpose. It was about freeing herself from the shackles of the Catholic Church and conventional morality and showing the world that women can own their sexuality without being exploited.

And these aren’t the only women. Joan Rivers (RIP) was telling jokes that often raised controversy to show that if we can laugh at the Holocaust or 9/11, we can ease the pain we still feel about it. Sarah Silverman, another brilliant comic whose mouth frequently gets her in trouble, uses her jokes about racism, sexism, and homophobia to show the world how absurd all of those things really are when you examine them closely.

These are all people that think about what effect their actions are going to cause and see some sort of greater good by causing controversy. Kim Kardashian shows off her butt because she knows that people are going to freak out about it. Maybe it’s because Miley grew up forced into a sort of bright-eyed decorum by the suits at Disney that she knows how to rebel against something. Madonna had the Church and Rivers and Silverman have the male-centric world of standup comedy. They all have a barrier that they’re butting (ha!) up against and trying to tear down. What sort of obstacles did Kim, a pretty, rich girl from Beverly Hills, ever have to fight against?


Seriously, though, this is the only social currency she has in the world. I’m not going to break out that old saw that Kim Kardashian has no talent, but she has no occupation like Miley, Madonna, Joan, or Sarah. She has no outlet to express herself and keep herself relevant other than a highly scripted reality show with sinking ratings and her image. Remember, she is a celebrity whose initial fame, after being Paris Hilton’s closet organizer, was predicated on her having a sex tape. Kim Kardashian can only peddle in her body, and her ass is the most valuable part of that body.

Still, we follow it because that is what she does. It’s perfect that she’s married to Kanye West, whose hyperbole are so outrageous that we now just roll our eyes at them. It’s just Kanye being Kanye, much like Kim applying a liberal coat of oil to her derriere and slapping it on a magazine cover is just Kim being Kim. These two are all just provocation and bluster, repeated images that seem to offer us some sort of truth or insight but are really just self serving.

Kim Kardashian’s butt is the biological equivalent of click-bait. We can’t help but pay attention to it, but we’re always upset by the lack of substance. We want there to be something more, some reason or context, some great explanation that tells us what it is like to live in this very day and age, but there is not. Kim Kardashian’s ass is nothing but an empty promise. — Brian Moylan | TIME

Brian Moylan is a writer and pop culture junkie who lives in New York. His work has appeared in Gawker, VICE, New York magazine, and a few other safe-for-work publications.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Kim Kardashian's Kontroversial Kover

— Break The Internet —

NO FILTER: An Afternoon With Kim Kardashian
Kim wears Mikimoto necklaces and earrings, customized dress and vintage gloves throughout
If you know nothing else about Kim Kardashian, you know that she is very, very famous. Some would say that's all you need to know. At press time, she has 25 million Twitter followers, about a million less than Oprah Winfrey and nearly 5 million more than CNN Breaking News. Her Instagram account, where she is a prolific purveyor of selfies, is the site's third most popular. You can't walk through a supermarket without glimpsing her on a multitude of tabloids whose headlines holler about her relationships, her parenting style and the vicissitudes of her ample curves. But she has also graced the covers of highbrow fashion bibles like W and Vogue; with her now-husband, Kanye West, she appeared on the latter above the hashtag #worldsmosttalkedaboutcouple, creating a furor that made it perhaps the #worldsmostcontroversialcover.

Her millions-strong popularity and inescapable media presence have made her grist for think pieces galore. She is variously seen as a feminist-entrepreneur-pop-culture-icon or a late-stage symptom of our society's myriad ills: narcissism, opportunism, unbridled ambition, unchecked capitalism. But behind all the hoopla, there is an actual woman -- a physical body where the forces of fame and wealth converge. Who isn't at least a tad curious about the flesh that carries the myth?

Unlike most people, she looks exactly the same in person as she does in photographs or on television, with one exception: she is smaller than she appears in images, with tiny, almost doll-like ears and feet and hands. Everything else about her seems amplified, tumescent. Her black hair is thicker than any you have ever seen, her lips fuller, her giant Bambi-eyes larger, their whites whiter, and the lashes that frame them longer. If some of this is the result of artificial enhancement -- does anyone else have eyelashes that resemble miniature feather dusters? -- none of it seems obviously ersatz. But that's not to say it looks real, either. She is like a beautiful anime character come to life.

As soon as she arrives at the hostess podium of the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills, where we meet for our interview, a young fan who appears to be in her late teens or early twenties accosts her. The fan has been running to catch (keep up with?) Kardashian; she brings with her a breeze. "Will you take a selfie with me, Kim?" she pants. (This is what fans asks the High Priestess of Instagram -- autographs are so last century.) She obliges, leaning in for the picture and striding away almost before I can blink. "She's gonna post it," Kardashian says wryly. "I bet it's posted right now." Later, she will tell me that she's "not really a filter person," and that she doesn't generally use them when she publishes her many selfies. As she talks, I notice that her skin, which is the golden color of whiskey, is free of wrinkles, crow's feet, laugh lines, blemishes, freckles, moles, under-eye circles, scars, errant eyebrow hairs or human flaws of any kind. It's like she comes with a built-in filter of her own.

With its enveloping green leather booths and twinkling white garden lights, the Polo Lounge is a setting that lends itself to intimacy. Kardashian, who is wearing a monochromatic champagne-colored ensemble (Margiela bodysuit, Chloé silk pants, Lanvin silk coat), gives off a cozy vibe herself. She leans forward while she talks, resting her cheek in the palm of her hand as though she's chatting with her closest girlfriend. She tells me that the Kardashian clan is currently a week into filming season 10 of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which she has called "the best family movie ever," never mind the rampant speculation, in early 2013, that season 9 would be her last. I'm surprised to hear that they still enjoy the process, since your typical American family would no longer be on speaking terms. "We're kind of obsessed with each other," she explains.

Today, a day off, she spent at a pumpkin patch with West, whom she repeatedly calls Kanye -- she clearly enjoys saying his name -- and their 16-month old daughter, North. They arrived at the farm unbothered by photographers, a rarity in the circus that is her life ("literally every single day there's about ten cars of paparazzi literally waiting outside our homes"). It wasn't long, however, before the paparazzi had surrounded them. "I couldn't really pick out our pumpkins, and [North] couldn't really enjoy it," she says. After a moment, perhaps concerned that she has come perilously close to complaining about her fame, she adds matter-of-factly: "You just have to not care. You just have to say, 'This is our life, and it is what it is.'" Her delivery is Zen-like, almost affectless, as it is on the show. "All my friends tell me the world could be coming to an end, and I'm always so calm," she says, opening a packet of Equal. She empties its contents into a glass of passion fruit iced tea, then fastidiously bites granules of sweetener off her manicured nails.


The rap on Kim Kardashian is that she has done nothing to merit her fame. But the longer I steep myself in the ambience of her pleasantly languid manner and hologram-perfect looks, the more facile this charge begins to seem. Of course, she has cannily leveraged that fame to build, with her sisters, a beauty-industrial complex, which includes a clothing line, a makeup line, a line of tanning products and seven perfumes. (A collection of hair care implements and styling products will debut in the spring.) Her mobile app, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, in which players climb their way to A-List status under Kardashian's tutelage, has earned over $43 million since its debut in June.

Yet her perceived lack of accomplishment is also, perhaps, an accomplishment in itself. Kardashian seems to know instinctively that, as Andy Warhol once observed, "When you just see somebody on the street, they can really have an aura. But then when they open their mouth, there goes the aura." Take the stream of small faux-confidences that she offers during the interview. They reveal very little yet foster a sense of closeness. She tells me that she is "obsessed with apps" but, when I ask her to name one, she replies, "I like all different apps." Of her 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries, one of her rare missteps that actually left a footprint, she says: "It's just one of those life lessons that you have to learn, and it's OK." Her behavior suggests that the key to total ubiquity is giving up all of one's verbal edges and sharp angles (while occasionally tossing out a memorable visual flare: a sex tape, say, or a nude photo shoot).

Social media has created a new kind of fame, and Kardashian is its paragon. It is a fame whose hallmark is agreeable omnipresence, which resembles a kind of evenly spread absence, soothing, tranquil and unobjectionable. There's an argument to be made that Kardashian has been recorded and viewed more often than any other personage in history, and while she has certainly had her awkward moments (posting a vampire facial on Instagram, announcing that she wanted to buy a stroller that complemented her unborn baby's skin color), she has also never made a truly ruinous gaffe, been caught in a Britney Spears-style public meltdown or sallied forth looking less than photogenic. As she puts it, "There's nothing we can do that's not documented, so why not look your best, and amazing?"

To mere mortals who occasionally visit the grocery store in yoga pants, her willpower and self-discipline are a marvel. Imagine being filmed and photographed constantly, yet never saying anything seriously controversial or appearing unkempt. The effort involved seems torturous, impossible. And yet, though her life requires work of a sort -- roughly two hours of hair and makeup each day, regular meetings for her assorted businesses, wardrobe fittings, photo shoots, 5:00 a.m. workouts -- you don't get the sense that she is hiding or suppressing her true, private self. "I think you've seen every side of me on my show," she says, popping a piece of pound cake into her mouth.

We're accustomed to our performers having onstage and backstage registers, but for her there is no division between the two. This is, indeed, the definition of a reality star. She's not performing, that is -- at least not visibly. She is being, and being is her act. Her appeal derives from her uncanny consistency, as does that of her show. It's relaxing to watch the sisters sprawl on each other's beds and talk about nothing, to see them discuss constipation cures or their preferred way to eat Nilla Wafers. Like Warhol's screen tests, Keeping Up With the Kardashians has a disarming purity. It invites us to glory in its stars' mundanity, which permits us to enjoy our own.


"My makeup artist said to me the other day, 'You haven't taken a selfie in a while,'" Kardashian says, as the afternoon slides into evening and the light turns magic-hour blue. To remedy this, she posted one of herself in full makeup and a white terrycloth robe, with the literal caption, "It's been a while since I've taken a selfie." It garnered more than a half-a-million likes. Selfies have been on her mind lately. She is putting together a collection of her oeuvre, called Selfish, to be published by Rizzoli in the spring. She has spent hours sifting through her vast, meticulously organized digital archive. "The book company edited them, and I was like, 'Wait a minute! There are like 300 here that you're not adding!'" she says. I remark that I am surprised she can remember and differentiate among a bunch of near-identical photos of her face. She can, she says; she is sorting them chronologically, dating them by what she wore to specific events. "I know what I wore, what accessories I wore, where I was, who I was with," she tells me. "I remember everything." Her mind, it seems, traps the minutiae most of us forget. For her, though, it's not minutiae; it's her life, and her life is her career.

I ask her whether Kim Kardashian would exist without social media. "I don't think so..." she says, slowly, then reconsiders. "I don't think social media was that heavy when we started our show, but I think we really evolved with social media." The next day, as I scroll through Instagram, I come across a photograph of her, taken the night of our interview, wearing the champagne getup at a restaurant in Venice. I also find two photos of North toddling around the pumpkin patch in a tiny fringed cape and Baby Vans. One of these pictures has more than a million likes. "I love sharing my world with people," Kardashian tells me, and I detect no hint of falseness. "That's just who I am." No more, no less. — PAPER

Styling by Alex Aikiu
Hair by Laurent Philippon at Calliste Agency
Makeup by Mario Dedivanovic
Manicure by Tatiana Sery at Aurelien Agency
Photographer assistants: Philippe Baumann, Franck Joyeux and Nicolas Premoli
Digital imaging: Helene Chauvet for Kilato
Digital: Christian Horvath For D-Factory
Producer: Virginie Laguens for Belleville Hills
Assistant producer: Gråce Salemme
Styling Assistants: Vanessa Ntamack and Ben Depinoy

Rock-Paper-Scissors: You vs. the Computer
Rock-Paper-Scissors: You vs. the Computer

Rock-Paper-Scissors: You vs. the Computer

Computers mimic human reasoning by building on simple rules and statistical averages. Test your strategy against the computer in this rock-paper-scissors game illustrating basic artificial intelligence. Choose from two different modes: novice, where the computer learns to play from scratch, and veteran, where the computer pits over 200,000 rounds of previous experience against you.
Rules of Engagement: Rock -vs- Paper -vs- Scissors
Note: A truly random game of rock-paper-scissors would result in a statistical tie with each player winning, tying and losing one-third of the time. However, people are not truly random and thus can be studied and analyzed. While this computer won't win all rounds, over time it can exploit a person's tendencies and patterns to gain an advantage over its opponent. — Gabriel Dance & Tom Jackson | The New York Times

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Americans Don’t Like Soccer Anyway

Americans Don’t Like Soccer Anyway
by Amasing

Ok, so the world says “football” but in America, we say soccer.  Next season New York will get an MLS (Major League Soccer) team called New York City FC (football club).

Who cares, we hate soccer anyway, and that’s true!  Though we hate soccer, the world embraces the sport and no other sporting event like the FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) World Cup reflects this.

The FIFA board announced that the 2022 World Cup will be held in the country Qatar.  For those who don’t know who or where this country is, think near Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Peninsula, and a Muslim nation.

Who would want to go to Qatar for the World Cup?  This is a country that restricts alcohol to hotels and certain other locations.  For Americans (and most Europeans), booze and sporting events go hand to mouth.  This is a country that also will imprison you for sexting (texting dirty words).  Yes, you can get arrested for sexting!  Speaking of sex, this nation does not tolerate homosexuals.

Like any place that wants your business (aka money), Qatar has stated that yes, alcohol will be served (though no word if it will actually be at the stadium).  They don’t hate gays, though they want you to remain in the closet, both literally and figuratively.  According to the countries sporting minister Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali (damn, long ass name): "this impression, illusion that we don't care about our tradition and our ethical values ... We are studying all these issues. We can adapt, we can be creative to have people coming and enjoying the games without losing the essence of our culture and respecting the preference of the people coming here. I think there is a lot we can do."  In other words, “we only want people who follow our traditions to come and if you can’t, please buy the merchandise anyway online.”

Money, money changes everything.  We think we know what we're doin' that don't mean a thing.  It's all in the past now money changes everything”Cyndi Lauper

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Adventures Of Snack Man!

CNN   Man stops fight armed with potato chips! CNN's Jeanne Moos reports on "Snackman" the hero.

•   •   •


Heading uptown on the 6 train, this woman sits down next to me. Then all of a sudden she jumps up and starts wailing this guy in the face. In complete disbelief I fumble for my phone and capture this...

Chip Man

Hannibal Buress — Comedian Who Literally Destroyed Bill Cosby's Career

Hannibal Buress on Bill Cosby: “You’re a Rapist”
Comedian Hannibal Buress called Bill Cosby a rapist in a bit at the Trocadero on Thursday night. Cosby has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women.
Last night at his late night show at the Trocadero, comedian Hannibal Buress did an extended bit about Philadelphia native Bill Cosby, calling him a rapist. Cosby has been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting multiple women, including Barbara Bowman in Philadelphia magazine. He has not, however, ever been criminally charged with rape (the legal definition of which varies by jurisdiction).* The above recording starts about 15-20 seconds into it.

“It’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fuckin’ smuggest old black man persona that I hate,” Buress said. “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up black people, I was on TV in the 80s! I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom!’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches.”

"I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns," Buress says later. "I've done this bit on stage and people think I'm making it up.... when you leave here, google 'Bill Cosby rape.' That shit has more results than 'Hannibal Buress.'"

Buress — who has done stand-up for years and is a regular on Comedy Central's Broad City — praised Bill Cosby: Himself in GQ, and noted how hard it is not to curse on stage. He specifically praised Cosby's bit on drugs, which is one of the funniest parts of that special.

Immediately following Buress's Cosby bit, a man in front of the bar downstairs at the Troc threw up all over, causing such a commotion I first thought people had gotten into a fight over Bill Cosby.

•   •   •

Village Voice

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dr. Dre & Jimmy Iovine’s Academy For Arts | Technology | Business Of Innovation at USC

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s School for Innovation

After the runaway success of Beats—recently bought by Apple for $3 billion—the duo is launching a new academy at the University of Southern California with the goal of inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs

The duo behind the success of Beats, recently purchased by Apple for $3 billion, has launched a new dream factory at USC.
IF JIMMY IOVINE has a trademark, it’s his hat. For decades, the record producer turned label boss turned headphones magnate turned all-around music-biz oracle has rarely appeared in public without something atop his head, be it a casual wintry wool knit number or a navy blue baseball cap featuring the logo of his multi-billion-dollar corporation, Beats. What Steve Jobs was to mock turtlenecks or Phil Knight is to the swoosh, Iovine is to hats. And yet, it was still slightly incongruous to see him last May, standing at a podium in front of the University of Southern California’s graduating class of 2014, sporting a poofy doctoral tam with a gold tassel dangling from its side.

True Story Behind — "Dingo’s Got My Baby"


In 1982, an Australian mother was convicted of murdering her baby daughter. She was later exonerated, but soon fell victim to a joke that distracted the world from the real story.

Vindication at Last for a Woman Scorned by Australia’s News Outlets
‘Dingo’s Got My Baby’: Lindy Chamberlain's Trial by Media

To American ears, the word can seem odd, even comical: dingo. Sounds a lot like “dingbat.” Wasn’t that what Archie Bunker called his wife, Edith, on “All in the Family”?

But there is nothing laughable about the dingo, Australia’s native wild dog and a predator capable of inflicting considerable harm. Certainly, nothing was funny about the most famous episode involving that animal: the 1980 disappearance of 9-week-old Azaria Chamberlain while her family was camping in the Australian outback. Her mother, Lindy Chamberlain, said that a dingo had entered a tent where the baby lay, and made off with her; the body was never found. An initial inquiry supported her account. But then another inquest was held, and soon Ms. Chamberlain stood accused of having slit Azaria’s throat. Found guilty of murder in 1982, she was sentenced to life in prison, only to be released three years later when new evidence surfaced that absolved both her and her husband, Michael Chamberlain, who had been convicted as an accessory after the fact. Even so, it took nearly three more decades before a coroner, in 2012, finally issued what the now-divorced parents had long sought: full vindication in the form of a death certificate formally ascribing Azaria’s fate to a dingo attack.
The Retro Report series of video documentaries examining major news stories from the past takes a fresh look at this Australian tale even though it may seem remote from American experience. It is not. A defining element of the dingo story was news coverage that might reasonably be described as a circus if that would not be a gross insult to circuses. Americans are surely no strangers to three-ring court cases of their own, whether that of O. J. Simpson in the 1990s or the continuing trans-Atlantic juridical odyssey of Amanda Knox.

One can go back further, to the 1950s and the ordeal of Sam Sheppard. He was a Cleveland doctor convicted of murdering his wife, Marilyn, in their home, despite his insistence that an intruder had killed her. (If that summary rings a bell, it may be because the Sheppard case is widely assumed to have been a model for “The Fugitive,” a popular 1960s television series and a 1993 film starring Harrison Ford.) Newspapers in effect convicted Dr. Sheppard before he had even been arrested. “Why Isn’t Sam Sheppard in Jail?” a Cleveland Press headline thundered on the front page. The coverage was so lopsided that in 1966 the United States Supreme Court overturned the conviction, citing the “carnival atmosphere” and the trial judge’s bias. In a new trial that year, a jury found Dr. Sheppard not guilty.

The Chamberlain saga managed to find a niche in American pop culture. It was the case that launched a thousand quips, on shows like “Seinfeld” and “The Simpsons,” and in the 2008 film “Tropic Thunder.” That unfamiliar word, dingo, had something to do with it. So did a 1988 film, “A Cry in the Dark,” in which Meryl Streep resorted to another of her many foreign accents to play Lindy Chamberlain. The mother’s cry, “The dingo’s got my baby,” became a punch line, usually rendered in a mock Australian accent as “The dingo ate my baby.”

When it came to the Chamberlains, the collective failings of Australian officials and news organizations verged on the cosmic. For starters, even before the family had set up camp at Uluru — formerly known as Ayers Rock, in Australia’s Northern Territory — the chief park ranger there had warned his superiors that dingoes were a growing threat to humans and that their numbers needed to be thinned. He was ignored. Supposed experts in forensics thoroughly botched the job. For example, they identified stains on the floor of the family car as dried blood — evidence, they concluded, that Ms. Chamberlain had taken the baby there and cut her throat with some sort of blade, possibly nail scissors. Actually, the stains were the remains of a drink and a chemical compound that came with the car.

Everything about the Chamberlains seemed fair game for Australian cameramen and notepad holders (a phenomenon that Americans also know well). They were devoted members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, a denomination alien to most Australians. Many of them were open to suggestions that this was a strange cult capable of killing an infant. Word got around that Azaria was Hebrew for “sacrifice in the wilderness.” In truth, it means “God helped.”

Then there was the behavior of the parents. They had three other children, all in fine shape, and left in the father’s custody, including a baby born soon after Lindy’s murder trial. To the journalist pack, Michael seemed overly diffident and Lindy too eager to play for the cameras. Her “sultry good looks,” as one writer put it, arched many an eyebrow as did her wardrobe in public appearances; it tended toward sleeveless dresses held in place by thin shoulder straps. A further turnoff for many was her cold, clinical discussion of wince-inducing subjects, like how meticulous a dingo could be in peeling layers of flesh from its prey.

Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton — years after her divorce in 1991, she married an American, Rick Creighton, and added his name — says she felt trapped in a no-win situation. “If I smiled, I was belittling my daughter’s death,” she told Retro Report. “If I cried, I was acting.”

Judging the manner of a criminal defendant in a heavily publicized case is no less an issue today. It may weigh more heavily than ever in this age of social media, when everything can be dissected in endless detail by millions of self-styled experts. Take Oscar Pistorius, the South African track star, who was sentenced last month to five years in prison for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Through much of his trial, Mr. Pistorius sobbed loudly and uncontrollably. On Twitter, Facebook and the like, people around the world were free to speculate on whether he was genuinely agonizing or grandstanding.

In the 1980s, Australians by huge margins told pollsters that they were sure of Lindy Chamberlain’s guilt. Some animal rights activists even seemed to prefer the thought that a mother had butchered her baby than that a wild dog was responsible. Journalists who covered her trial now say that while Australian public opinion has shifted strongly in her favor over the years, some still doubt her innocence. In a sense, it is the flip side of O. J. Simpson (who, as it happens, once appeared in advertisements for Dingo cowboy boots). Polls show that regardless of Mr. Simpson’s 1995 acquittal on charges of murdering his former wife and her friend, growing majorities of Americans, including African-Americans, now believe he indeed did the crime.

Americans, be they journalists or their readers and viewers, may see a bit of themselves reflected in observations from John Bryson, an Australian journalist and lawyer who was convinced of the Chamberlains’ innocence from the start. His 1985 book on the case, “Evil Angels,” formed a basis for the Meryl Streep film. “Celebrity cases are momentously silly, inaccurate, overblown, largely because we in the media have such a good time with it,” he told a Retro Report interviewer. “And everyone was having a great time with this astonishing story and the astonishing capacity of the Australian public for suspending disbelief that they would never, in different circumstances, have been party to.”

Introducing — The Virtual Repo Man

As auto lenders reach out to those with poor credit, they are increasingly using starter interruption devices, technology that allows them to remotely disable a car, to spur timely payment.

Late On A Car Loan? Meet The Disabler

Jamie De Lisle's Buick had been warning her for days, first with a flashing yellow light, then a flashing red light. But the 31-year-old mother of two from Collinsville, Ill., was too busy to heed the distress signals. It was only when Mrs. De Lisle began hearing an incessant beeping that she took notice: If she didn't make her car payment that day, the vehicle wouldn't start the next day.
Scott Pollack
The repo man has found a new hiding place -- inside your car. Increasingly, used-car dealers are installing remote disabling devices that keep the cars from starting if the buyer gets too far behind on payments.

These so-called disablers, palm-sized devices that are placed under dashboards and wired into ignitions, once were limited to what industry insiders call the "buy here -- pay here" segment: the kinds of small used-car lots that line state highways, strung with lights and multicolored pennants. But as the economic downturn deepens, larger, more mainstream dealerships are using the devices as a condition of financing.

Even as the recession has fueled the used-car market, it has made it harder for auto buyers to obtain credit. Eager to book sales, dealers and finance companies are expanding their own financing operations, and the use of disablers helps them prod customers to make timely payments. Satellite-based locators are often built into the remote systems, though some dealerships say they don't make use of that capability.

The companies that sell the disablers, with brand names including On Time and PayTeck, say that the use of such devices not only expands lending but also helps financially strapped customers change their ways for the better. Don Lavoie, president and CEO of Sekurus Inc., the Murrieta, Calif., company that markets the On Time device, calls the starter-disabling technology "a behavior-modification method." The company says sales of the devices rose about 25% in 2008 compared with the year earlier, and it expects sales to double this year.
The Cellphone Principle
Mr. Lavoie points out that few people neglect to pay their cellphone bills, because they know the phone will stop working if they do. Applying the same principle to cars helps move auto-loan payments higher on the consumer's list of priorities, he says.
Jamie De Lisle's used car came with a remote-disabling device that will
keep the car from starting if she is too late in making payments.
Jean-Marc Giboux for The Wall Street Journal

It also helps a broader range of customers qualify for loans, he says. 

"Typical customers may have no established credit or they may have dings on their credit," Mr. Lavoie says. The used-car market in the U.S. has ranged between 35 million and 45 million vehicle sales annually in recent years. About 20 million of those go to customers considered subprime because of their credit history, Mr. Lavoie says.
Advantage for Repo?
In the past, many dealers weren't willing to take the risk of extending credit to certain customers. But Mr. Lavoie and dealers who have installed his company's disabler say more buyers do pay on time when they have the devices in their cars. Of course, the built-in satellite-based locators could also make it easier for repo men to find the vehicles.

Customers have at best mixed feelings about the systems. "Sometimes I tell our friends our car is under house arrest," says Michelle Gibbs, a 36-year-old resident of Blue Springs, Mo. Although the remote device on her silver Honda Accord has never actually shut down the car, she compares it to "those ankle bracelets they put on you when you've done something bad."
The remote-disabling device in Ms. De Lisle's car.
Jean-Marc Giboux for The Wall Street Journal

At the same time, she says, the remote kill switch in her car seems like a reasonable price to pay when she doesn't think she could qualify for a car loan elsewhere.

The device's persistent reminders, she says, have kept her from missing payment deadlines on a number of occasions. "For the most part we've liked it, because it has helped us build better credit," Ms. Gibbs says.

But consumer-advocacy groups such as the Consumer Federation of America say the devices represent a disturbing new layer of surveillance and could potentially endanger drivers if the devices leave them stranded when the cars get shut down.

John Van Alst, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, calls the practice of remote disabling "electronic repossession" and says it represents a kind of intimidation, as well as creating extra hassles for people who are already financially strapped. "These devices are effective because of the threat they represent," says Mr. Van Alst. He says that some customers who seek financing from used-car dealers have given up on more traditional financing sources too soon.

He also is worried that the devices could become more a rule than an exception. "It could be the way of the future," he says. Now that the devices are becoming common in the used-car business, in time they could turn up on new cars as well. "Maybe they'll put one on my refrigerator," he says, only half in jest.

Dealers who sell cars with the On Time hardware are quick to point out that the system doesn't shut down vehicles that are running. After the driver has missed a payment, the device doesn't allow the engine to start once the car is turned off. Still, the dealers say this rarely happens. The disablers can be removed when the cars are paid off; some can also be used as anti-theft devices.
Why Most Customers Pay
Leon Green, owner of Buy Now, a Kansas City, Mo., dealership, says customers have rarely missed their payments since he began installing disablers. The possibility of suddenly losing mobility has proved enough of an incentive to keep most customers paying on time, Mr. Green says. As a result, he says, his company's cash flow has improved, and he's able to acquire better used vehicles at wholesale auctions.

Donald Birger, president of InstaCredit Automart, which sold more than 3,000 vehicles in 2008 through its two dealerships in Collinsville, Ill., and O'Fallon, Mo., says he initially was "leery" of the remote disabling systems, in part because he thought customers might object. But buyers don't seem to mind that much. "We have not lost a sale due to our use of the device," he says. — Jonathan Welsh | The Wall Street Journal
"I have disabled a car while I was shopping at Walmart," said Lionel M. Vead Jr., the head of
collections at First Castle Credit Union in Covington, La., who said that starter
interrupt devices and GPS tracking technology had made his job easier.

Cheryl Gerber for The New York Times

"36 Seasons" Revenge Of The Ghostface Killah — Tony Starks Strikes Back

Ghostface Killah Will Play Vigilante Superhero On New Album '36 Seasons'
Wu-Tang rapper gets soulful and somber on first single, "Love Don't Live Here No More"

Ghostface Killah will recreate himself as a vigilante superhero on his new concept album, 36 Seasons, which will see release on December 9th via Salvation/Tommy Boy.

The Wu-Tang Clan member teased the record with "Love Don't Live Here No More," which tells the pained tale of the narrator returning home after a nine-year absence to find his girl shacked up with another man. The cut features singer Kandace Springs on the soulful hook and boasts a classic, crackling boom-bap beat courtesy of the Brooklyn band/production team The Revelations.

According to a press release, 36 Seasons tells the story of "a hip-hop superhero for the 21st century" who returns to Staten Island in search of personal retribution and on a mission to save his community from corrupt authorities and urban decay. The album will also feature guest appearances from hip-hop luminaries Kool G Rap, AZ and Pharoahe Monch, while production duties were handled by The Revelations, as well as The 45 King, Fizzy Womack (M.O.P), Angela Johnson and Malik Abdul-Rahmaan. A full track list is below.

The CD and vinyl packaging for 36 Seasons (which is available for pre-order now) will come with a 20-page booklet filled with illustrations from various comic book artists. The packaging was produced by Matthew Rosenberg, who created the comic mini-series that accompanied Ghostface Killah's 2013 album, Twelve Reasons to Die.

36 Seasons will be released just one week after the new Wu-Tang Clan album, A Better Tomorrow, drops on December 2nd via Warner Bros. Though it arrives in time for the seminal hip-hop group's 20th anniversary, the album took 18 months to make and was almost derailed by Raekwon, who temporarily went on strike from the group before reuniting with the entire Wu-Tang Clan on The Daily Show.

36 Seasons Track List

01. The Battlefield (Feat. Kool G Rap, AZ & Tre Williams)
02. Love Dont Live Here No More (Feat. Kandace Springs)
03. Here I Go Again (Feat. AZ & Rell)
04. Loyalty (Feat. Kool G Rap & Nems)
05. Its a Thin Line Between Love and Hate (Feat. The Revelations)
06. The Dogs of War (Feat. Shawn Wigs & Kool G Rap)
07. Emergency Procedure (Feat. Pharoahe Monch)
08. Double Cross (Feat. AZ)
09. Bamboos Lament (Feat. Kandace Springs)
10. Pieces of the Puzzle (Feat. AZ)
11. Homicide (Feat. Nems & Shawn Wigs)
12. Blood in the Streets (Feat. AZ)
13. Call My Name
14. I Love You For All Seasons (Feat. The Revelations)

Ghostface Killah

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