If you’re a faithful reader of EMandLO.com, then you know we love us a good Ted Talk. So we were thrilled to discover that the two of us were in one! Well, just a fleeting picture of us, but we’ll take what we can get. Our old boss, Nerve.com-founder Rufus Griscom, went on to found the parenting site Babble.com with his wife Alisa Volkman, and the two recently gave a Ted Talk on some big parenting taboos. Most Ted Talks include images used to illustrate the presenter’s thesis, so we were surprised and delighted, yet confused to see a 20-foot picture at the start of the talk of the four of us in an old flame-painted convertible known then as the Nerve-mobile (Rufus and Alisa in the front, us riding up and out in the back) on our way to one of those fabulous turn-of-the century Internet parties in New York City. We guess they used it to illustrate their pre-baby pre-Babble lives (Rufus said he’s always loved that picture) but viewers must wonder what those two badly dressed freeloaders are doing in the car that Ruf and Alisa are driving into the future of their lives together.
Writer/performer/artist Merrill Markoevisited the Creation Museum in Kentucky last year and absorbed all the “proof” there that the world was created just 6,000 years ago and that dinosaurs walked among humans. As if through divine intervention, it suddenly, recently dawned on Markoe how to help the museum make their case. So she created this video. Now we finally understand why we women deserve to be dominated by men and suffer pain during childbirth!
A few weeks ago, Craigslist TV (on YouTube) launched their second season of mini-documentaries based on real Craigslist ads. (Watch the trailer for the series here.) If you think reading the ads is great entertainment for inducing second-hand embarrassment, try watching them. Our favorite, of course, is still the first one from the first season, “Trista and Tara’s Missed Connection,” probably because it reminds us of our own humiliating single life adventures (i.e. two drunk girls out looking for love in all the wrong places!). All L.A.-based, the episodes are surprisingly well-crafted, simple, quirky, painful and touching in their own ways.
We’ve got our TiVo hooked up to get the latest Ted Talks on our TV, so we were delighted to find Mechai Viravaidya’s presentation “How Mr. Condom Made Thailand a Better Place” in our “Now Playing” list recently. Viravaidya is an eloquent and funny speaker, which alone makes it worth watching the 14-minute talk. But what’s really amazing is his account of how a country dedicated to reducing poverty and saving lives can really make strides when they’re not set back by a narrow-minded, religiously zealous, sexually repressed culture (yes, we’re talking about you, America).
A great article in the NYTimes this past weekend about cyberbullying — and in particular cyberbullying over sexual orientation — included this line which really made us stop and think: “the punishment must fit the crime, not the sense of outrage over it.” It’s wise and it’s true, but we’d forgotten that — and it doesn’t answer the question, what do you do with all the outrage you feel? The outraged part of us feels that Tyler Clementi’s college roommate — who secretly filmed Clementi hooking up with another guy then posted it online, leading to Clementi’s suicide — deserves to go to jail for a long, long time. Same goes for the assholes who bullied 13-year-oldÂ Seth Walsh about his sexual orientation — Walsh hanged himself fromÂ a tree in his backyard last month and died after more than a week on life support. And countless other gay teen suicides across the country — often as a direct result of peer bullying.
But now we’ve figured out what we can do — throw all our energies into supporting Dan Savage’s awesome new YouTube channel, “It Gets Better.” Savage and his husband filmed the first video themselves, and we dare you to watch it without crying, especially in light of the recent bullying and suicides. Their message to gay teens? Life after high school does get better, but only if you stick around and live your life. And if you don’t stick around, the bigots win. They talk about how they each found a community of supportive friends, how they came out to their families, how they found each other, how they adopted their son together, and how awesome life as a gay man can be, once you’ve left the teenage bigots behind. And now they are soliciting video submissions from anyone else who can help spread the same message (they already have more than a hundred submissions). As Savage writes in his column, “LGBT kids who don’t know any LGBT adults need to seeâ€”with their own eyesâ€”that gay adults lead happy and rewarding lives. So if you decide to make a videoâ€”and I hope that you doâ€”don’t just share your pain. Share your joy. Give ‘em hope. Save a life.”
Savage and his husband both say that their lives improved the second they graduated from high school, though sadly that wasn’t true for Tyler Clementi. But the ultimate message is, once you can choose where you live and who you live with and who you socialize with — which may not happen until after college for some people — you are going to have an awesome life. Please tell everyone you know about this channel; we can’t imagine a better, more uplifting response to all the asshole bigots like Clementi’s roommate. Also, will someone please make Dan Savage — who is, no shit, a good Catholic boy — a goddamn saint already?
We’ve been long-time fans (well, long-time in terms of Internet years) of the website and podcast “Know Your Meme,” a “web series and online database dedicated to documenting Internet culture, one scientismic investigation at a time.” They give you information on the back-story, viral development and spin-offs of every crazy contemporary meme out there, from Auto-Tune to Double Rainbow to shit you’ve never even heard of. While the whole thing is kind of silly, the “scientists” (read: comedians) behind KYM actually do pose — and answer quite well — some smart and interesting questions about our fast-paced viral Internet culture. Take their report on Antoine Dodson/Bed Intruder: Are we laughing at Atoine or with him, as his flamboyant threats against his sister’s would-be rapist to a local news crew are Auto-tuned into a smash hit available on iTunes?