We asked Noel Biderman, the man behind one of the biggest online-dating sites for people seeking affairs, about his theories on adultery.
Teenagers Are Having Sex in Extremely Odd Places
“Never pass up a chance to have sex or appear on television,” Gore Vidal once famouslyadvised. While some may argue that the democratizing force of the internet has diminished the power of television, it hasn’t diminished the power of screens: Thanks to webcams and smartphones, we can all appear on our own personal TVs, and we can even have sex through them.
No one has absorbed this lesson more than teens, who just can’t seem to stop sending nude photos to each other. This Wednesday, on her NPR show Fresh Air, national treasure Terry Gross spoke to Hanna Rosin about the phenomenon, which Rosin addresses in a new Atlanticarticle, “Why Kids Sext.” The interview touches on some important points, like the fact that minors sending naked pictures to other minors is something that is both completely commonplace and sometimes a felony (as teenagers in Detroit may soon learn). It’s a conversation between adults who don’t want to judge young people but at the same time don’t completely understand them.
After all, there’s no way for someone who hasn’t been a teen for 30 years to truly understand what today’s adolescents are doing. At one point, Rosin tells Terry that girls say sexts are like, “the guys are collecting baseball cards or Pokémon cards,” adding that, because so much porn is available to teens, sexts are more “like a prank.” Do teens really treat their sexuality so casually? I don’t want to question Rosin’s sources, but I have a slight feeling they may have been grunge-speaking her. And where did she even find a teenager who remembers people collecting Pokémon cards?
-Teens aren’t just not passing up chances to have sex. They’re making new opportunities, sometimes in radical and wildly inappropriate ways. It’s not every day that the tabloidists at theNew York Daily News start an article with “Whoa!,” so when they do, you’d better pay attention. In Florida, where so many crazy things happen that making jokes about it is now gauche, a 19-year-old boy was charged with indecent exposure and criminal mischief after having sex with a stuffed horse inside a Walmart. Security cameras caught the teen grabbing the animal from a clearance bin, taking his penis out of his pants, and “[proceeding] to hump the stuffed horse utilizing short fast movements.”
SHOULD I TRY TO FIND TRUE LOVE ON TINDER?
If you were asking me a year ago, I would have said, “Sure, loser.” But it is 2014, and Tinder is now a platform for people to make jokes, take screenshots of their jokes, and then hope their Tinder joke screenshots get picked up by BuzzFeed.
Do you think you could ever truly love someone who does that? Exactly.
Chatting with the Artist Who Turned Edward Snowden into a Mobile Sculpture
On Friday, October 10, Edward Snowden appeared in New York’s Union Square, though few recognized him at first. You couldn’t blame passersby for missing him—the nine-and-a-half-foot-tall, 200-pound sculpture of the world’s most famous whistle-blower didn’t have any distinguising marks; he was just a giant white man made of concrete hanging out in the park. In a moment too serendipitous to make up, the first person to clearly recognize the model of the controversial NSA document leaker was none other than Glenn Greenwald, who happened to be eating breakfast nearby.
"It was totally random—we didn’t tweet at him or anything," said artist Jim Dessicino, who created the statue and put it in Union Square as part of the Art in Odd Places Festival. I talked to the Delaware-based sculptor and MFA candidate the next day, as he was unloading the sculpture in the Meatpacking District. “I emailed him months ago about the sculpture, and he never got back to me.”
I Accidentally Fooled Conservative Twitter with a Fake Lena Dunham Quote
The internet is always stupider than you think. When you’re telling a joke to an audience of anonymous online strangers, as long as the setup is believable no amount of absurdism in the punchline will give the game away.
Here’s an example: The week before Breaking Bad ended, I tweeted, “My uncle is a teamster and got a copy of the ending.” And I attached a fake script page that clearly demonstrated I had never seen the show. I referred to the main character as “Bryan Cranston from Malcolm in the Middle,” gave him lines like “Here goes nothing! Suicide!” and wrote in the AMC copyright information with a Sharpie. But people still got furious and demanded I immediately take it down. One guy said my uncle wouldn’t find work again. Another told me, “Teamsters are pieces of shit.”
So every once in a while I try to test the limits of that joke format. And on Friday, I struck the mother lode: I took a quote from economist/sociologist Thorstein Veblen’s seminal 1899 workThe Theory of the Leisure Class and attributed it to Lena Dunham’s new book of essays, Not That Kind of Girl. I know almost nothing about Veblen; I just thought it was a funny way to say I don’t like rich people.
Obviously, Lena Dunham, who has chapters like “Take My Virginity (No, Really, Take It),” is not writing anything in the same universe as the Veblen quote, which critiques the cultural fallout of the Gilded Age while using words like “impinge” and “forfeiture” and “exigencies.” The joke made ten or so of my political science major friends smirk, which is all I thought it would do.
Your Password Is Not Secure and It’s Not Your Fault
When it comes to passwords, we’re all tolerating a broken system. The problems range from the irritating—it’s strange needing to remember some obscure code you created years ago in order to access some trivial thing like your Greyhound Road Rewards account—to the horrifying—no matter how much security goes into creating passwords and concealing their secrets, in too many cases, the fucking things don’t even work.
I set out to find the cure for this plague. I started by creating what seemed to me like a clever system for generating randomness in a way I could remember. I’m not going to write about it in detail because I’m still using it, but suffice it to say it involves using the name of the service to generate a code that only makes sense to me.
Then, with an open mind, I explained my system to security expert Nik Cubrilovic in case it needed tweaking. After all, there must be a system for creating good passwords that security experts agree on. And surely a layman like myself can implement such a system, right?
When I told him the confusing cipher I’d been using to generate passwords that can only be cracked inside my amazing brain, he very kindly shot down my system as confusing, stupid, and not very secure. I would soon find out that there are debates raging about the right way to do this, but the best solutions can’t really be implemented yet, and a functioning, universal system might never exist.
Authorized selfie of Nik Cubrilovic, courtesy of Nik Cubrilovic
The conversation picks up just after I explained my top-secret password system:
About That Fleshlight 9/11 Tweet
Today, on the thirteenth anniversary of the time two planes flew into the World Trade Center and set in motion a series of events that have led to uncountable cases of torture, death, and oppression, we are talking about brands. Specifically, we are talking about brands that have decided to commemorate 9/11 through social media. Even more specifically, we are talking about a single tweet from Fleshlight, a company that makes fake vaginas for men to ejaculate into for pleasure:
The Fleshlight tweet has been circulated far and wide on websites because putting “Fleshlight” and “9/11” in a headline is Facebook traffic GOLD, baby, and also because it is pretty funny and gross and awful that companies are taking a few seconds to metaphorically bow their metaphorical heads and go: See guys, we feel sad about the sad thing too. Here is a picture of a flag!
We do this every year. September 11 rolls around and people feel the need to acknowledge it, because it remains this shadow looming over everything. There are the streets named after 9/11 victims and the fading memorials painted on walls; there are the stories about young children who lost parents in the attacks; there’s also the matter of US foreign policy, which is still centered around getting the bad guys responsible in the Middle East. The event seems monumental and impossible to understand—this infuriating injustice that has spawned lots of other injustices. Just thinking about it for too long makes you feel angry and sick. It sucks all the irony out of the room, and you get a twinge of guilt or transgression when you joke about it.
RT to Kill: It’s All Fun and Games Until Someone Tweets a Death Threat
On the night of March 11, a Twitter user with the handle @StillDMC stood at a window in downtown Los Angeles and took a photo of his rifle, the barrel aimed at what appeared to be a couple of pedestrians standing on a street corner in the distance. At 12:09 AM, he tweeted.
“100 RT’s and I’ll shoot someone walking,” he wrote alongside the picture, which quickly racked up well over 100 retweets. An hour later, he followed up: “Man down. Mission Completed.”
This time the image showed a young man lying on the ground, clutching his torso—along with what looked, in the pixelated dark, like a chest wound.
The next day, LAPD detectives arrested 20-year-old Dakkari McAnuff. The police report states that investigating officers had “discovered multiple pictures displaying an unknown type of rifle pointing in the direction of various Los Angles city streets [sic],” determined McAnuff was @StillDMC, and confirmed his location. At midday, police officers arrived at 22-year-old Zain Abbasi’s high-rise condo building, where McAnuff was a guest.
According to Abbasi’s account of the arrest, the building’s property manager summoned him to his office, where detectives placed him and another friend in handcuffs. Helicopters circled the building, snipers took aim from a complex across the street, and multiple police cars blocked the parking lot.
The detectives told Abbasi to call McAnuff and to instruct him to come down to join them. As soon as he left the condo, McAnuff was apprehended by ten LAPD officers who were lying in wait, their guns drawn. The officers searched Abbasi’s apartment and found the weapon pictured in the tweet: an unloaded air rifle.
The entire group was handcuffed and taken into custody. McAnuff was “jailed on suspicion of making criminal threats,” and his bail was set at $50,000.
It was all supposed to be a joke, of course.
This Porn Site Operator Is Offering a Reward for Helping to Catch the ‘Fappening’ Leaker
Mike Kulich would like to be known as one of the good pornographers. When “The Fappening” occured on Saturday, it was still being called “Celebgate,” and the nude photos of such celebrities as Jennifer Lawrence, McKayla Maroney, and Krysten Ritter were still being called “alleged nude photos.” Before they could be authenticated, much of the internet rushed to masturbate rapturously, tweet dumb shit, and then make jokes. This time though, there was a louder-than-average outcry against the leaker who apparently exploited a security hole in Apple’s iCloud in order to peak at the nipples of people who act in movies.
One seemingly unlikely condemnation is coming from the porn site SkweezMe.com. On Sunday, when the news of the leak was still fresh, they issued a press release stating not only that they ”want this hacker brought to justice as much as the women who are the direct victims of this hack,” but that there would be a “very generous cash reward to anyone who can provide us with any information on the perpetrator.”
We caught up with SkweezMe.com Managing Partner Mike Kulich to find out what burns him up so much about leaked celebrity nudes, and to find out how to collect this reward.
VICE: What made you decide to offer this cash reward?
Mike Kulich: Consent is one of the keystones of the Adult Entertainment Business. Regardless of what anti-porn organizations claim—for instance: that we are all human traffickers and pimps—every girl that appears on film for any production company is there of her own free will. She is consenting to everything that happens on screen. The adult industry feels very strongly about consent, which is why it has been heavily involved in our support for legislation banning revenge porn, which has become illegal in a number of different states.
Jennifer Lawrence’s pictures were meant to be private and whoever hacked her computer or phone had no right to ever see those pictures, let alone leak them to the world. We want this person brought to justice.
How much is it and how will you fund it?
We will fund it with revenue generated from SkweezMe.com. We have thousands of users who use our site. After our payouts to our studio partners, we will be taking the money out of our cut, and giving the reward to whoever provides us with the information leading to the apprehension of the party responsible. The reward will be based on the validity of the information and the coordination with law enforcement. We expect to get a number of inquiries because people see dollar signs, but we will only be rewarding someone who gives us pertinent information that is valid, and leads to an arrest.
Everyone’s Losing Their Shit About a Nail Polish That Detects Date Rape Drugs
A lot people on the internet are dumb. This we can take for granted. But dig a little deeper, and behind your standard pickup artist or generic troll you’ll find another, more considered, breed of moron. These people are not hastily brainstorming which tabloid journalist’s tired career to revive via an onslaught of illegible sexist drivel; instead they see themselves as campaigners for social justice. These internet vigilantes are intent on scrubbing the world clean of anything remotely offensive to absolutely anyone anywhere. They make cartoons like this. They are the human equivalent of a red correcting pen.
I’m pointing this out because of nail varnish, weirdly. More specifically, a nail varnish that some North Carolina college students are developing that will enable people to dip their fingers into drinks and find out if they’ve been suddenly transformed into a Rohypnol on the rocks. This is a pretty “whatever” idea as long as you’re cool with using your finger to mix your drink—which to be honest most of us are because it’s often halfway down our throats trying to bring up the eight shots of tequila we knew weren’t a good idea for a weeknight. Unfortunately, the invention has been hit with a barrage of fury from across the internet, and I’m not completely sure why.
This is not an unbelievably earth-shattering concept. Nobody has suggested installing microchips into immigrants that explode when their visas expire, or mandatory mood rings for people with bipolar disorder. Sure, there are a bunch of issues at play, particularly whether this product could potentially encourage the dangerous idea that a woman who isn’t wearing it is putting herself at risk. But a hyper-awareness of that kind of horribly sexist, victim-blaming mentality should not stop research into products that simply make you feel safer in a situation where you may otherwise have felt vulnerable or concerned.
Basically I think this idea is a) fine and b) nowhere near as problematic as the UK government’s rape awareness posters that featured a (unforgivable phrase alert) “scantily-clad” woman with mascara dripping down her face.