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The Greatest Story About Pooping You’ll Ever Read

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What kind of story starts with President Carter’s crippling hemorrhoids and ends with fat Americans unable to squat when they poop? An awesome story, that’s what kind.

Maybe it’s just because this Fishie is Jewish–our people seem to have an endless fascination with bowel movements–but Daniel Lametti’s recent story in Slate on the benefits of employing the Asian squat when pooping is the greatest and most practically informative thing we’ve read in months.

Take a gander:

People can control their defecation, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But that muscle can’t maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend between the rectum–where feces builds up–and the anus–where feces comes out. When we’re standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.

Proponents of squatting argue that conventional toilets produce an anorectal angle that’s ill-suited for defecation. By squatting, they say, we can achieve “complete evacuation” of the colon, ridding our bowels of disease-causing toxins.

God bless the Internet. Don’t think a story like this would have ever made it to print.

Now That’s Hard Hitting Local TV News

H/T HuffPo

Glendale Backs Plans for Disney ‘Creative Campus’ Expansion

Yesterday, the Glendale city council announced their intention to back Walt Disney Company’s plan for a 338,000-square-foot expansion of its creative campus in the northwest portion of the city. The announcement was basically a formality, seeing as the city and state have already spent $44 million in freeway and road improvements in the area in anticipation of the project.

The campus is already home to K-ABC News.

More from the Glendale News Press:

The plans included drawings of a six-story office building walled largely in glass and neighbored by a carefully crafted landscaped area that included towering palm trees and a dense park-like area that would provide a shaded space for outdoor activities.

No city officials criticized the plan and all said they were impressed by the designs, which were prepared by renowned firms Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Arup and SWA Group, firms responsible for designing major university buildings, hospitals and the Olympic Water Cube in Beijing….

In addition to the 1,200 new jobs for the creative campus, the Burbank-based media giant’s expansion would also generate about 200 construction jobs.

Can’t argue with new creative jobs. Can argue with Disney’s efforts to rewrite Glendale’s signage laws, presumably to stick giant billboards all over their new expansion.

American Able

American Apparel loves to brag that they use “real women” instead of models in their ad campaigns. Photographer Holly Norris and disabled model Jes Sachse called bullshit, and came up with something a little, um, realer:

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On Hitler as Internet Meme

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On his True/Slant blog, the always-fascinating cultural critic Mark Dery dissects the Downfall/Hitler YouTube phenomenon and the impact of its sudden copyright-induced theft from the online world.

The Downfall meme dramatizes the cultural logic of our remixed, mashed-up times, when digital technology allows us to loot recorded history, prying loose any signifier that catches our magpie eyes and repurposing it to any end. The near-instantaneous speed with which parodists use these viral videos to respond to current events underscores the extent to which the social Web, unlike the media ecologies of Hitler’s day, is a many-to-many phenomenon, more collective cacophony than one-way rant. As well, the furor (forgive pun) over YouTube’s decision to capitulate to the movie studio’s takedown demand, rather than standing fast in defense of Fair Use (a provision in copyright law that protects the re-use of a work for purposes of parody), indicates the extent to which ordinary people feel that commercial culture is somehow theirs, to misread or misuse as the spirit moves them. In the world where mass culture has given way to microniche markets and the culture wars are dissolving the body politic into socially isolated demographic clusters, copyrighted narratives and trademarked characters–Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Twilight–are the closest thing we have to a folk culture, the connective tissue that binds us as a society. Bruno Ganz gave Hitler life, but now he belongs to all of us, a psychopathic sock-puppet to be ventriloquized as needed.

Love it.

As always with Dery, be sure to read the whole piece.

Interning at HuffPo is Neither Free Nor Cheap

Ariana Huffington is definitely a genius. An Ayn Randian genius perhaps, despite her liberal politics, but definitely a genius. First she built one of the largest news websites in the world without paying the majority of her writers a cent. Now she’s got kids paying to be interns — to the tune of $9,000 a pop.

We bust the Ariana’s chops, but, in fairness, the Intern fees were raised in an auction to support the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. Yahoo! News has more:

Other winning bids this year: A week at Esquire went for $1,000, while internships at Black Enterprise and Niche Media brought in $550 and $500, respectively.

Perhaps to offset the appearance that only wealthy interns would get inside, each publication also created a slot that doesn’t cost anything, according to the RFK Center.

Insane tidbit of the day: Anna Wintour has kids paying $42,500 to intern at Vogue.

H/T Romenesko

Happy Earth Day: We’re Screwed

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Forty years after the first Earth Day and we can’t even get a consensus in our major media outlets that the planet might actually have catastrophic environmental problems worthy of attention. The L.A. Times says it’s time to panic, the Washington Post says forty years in, we’re losing. The New York Times apparently isn’t into dire prognostication and instead runs a photo essay on Jersey trash art. The Wall Street Journal says Earth Day is boring, and about that global warming thing? No problems here.

Rush Limbaugh
says he plans to personally bulldoze two acres of rain forest, while setting the air conditioning on his five rental properties to a cool 65.

James Cameron says he didn’t make enough money on Avatar, so you can listen to him talk about the environment for $50 bucks at LA Live.

Perhaps the most sage generalized Earth Day thoughts come from the Detroit Free Press, which notes the real Earth Day is 365 days a year.

A Belated April Fools’ Celebration of Literary Hoaxery

In honor of April Fools Day, HuffPo put out a list of the most enthralling literary hoaxes in history. We were pleasantly surprised to your humble Fishie’s LA Weekly story “Navahoax,” which outed “Navajo” memoirist Nasijj as a white, failed pornographer from Michigan, mentioned on the list.

Other hoaxes of note mentioned: JT LeRoy, Margaret B. Jones and Clifford Irving, who forged interviews and documents for a biography of notorious recluse Howard Hughes.

Gustavo Arellano’s 10 Greatest Stories in the History of Journalism

“Best Of” lists are always kind of silly and pointless. OC Weekly and “Ask a Mexican” writer Gustavo Arellano‘s recent list of the top 10 pieces of journalism EVER, is no exception. Seriously, any list of great journalism that contains two OC Weekly stories and only one Esquire piece is fucked. No Hunter S. Thompson, but a gonzo-esque piece by the Phoenix New Times? Come on.

That said, the only reason people write these lists is to get everyone worked up. And Arellano did makes some interesting choices. So we’ll play along and nitpick a little more.

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Alex Chilton: RIP

Last night, drunk off our ass at the Tam O’Shanter, we got a strange and melancholy text from a good friend.

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Alex Chilton died today. So lucky to have met him a million years ago. Gracious, weird and brilliant. A hero of mine. Sadness.”

This morning we woke up from our hangover and saw the news was true. The wildly underappreciated brains behind the band Big Star was dead of an apparent heart attack at 59.

Mark Ames at eXiledonline has by far the most interesting (and depressing) obit we’ve seen thus far:

Alex Chilton’s story always scared me more than the others–I’d figured he was already dead, for some reason–because in the romantic version of Alex Chilton’s life, he would have died decades ago, rather than drag it out the way 99.9 percent of us do.

Chilton was, for a couple of brief years in the early-mid 1970s, the purest, most dynamic talent in American pop music. But the hippies had no use for his talent, so Chilton was discarded for something more with the Zeitgeist, like Foghat or Yes. What’s so demoralizing about Chilton’s failed career is that there’s no villain to blame his wasted talent on. The early 70s were a bad time; the only humanoids to survive the hippie plague were the ones who went underground in New York to wait it out. Chilton was one of the few legendary fans of the Velvet Underground back in the dark hippie days, but Chilton wasn’t a New York hipster–he was a Tennessean– and back then, if you weren’t a hippie you’d better be a New York hipster, and if you weren’t either of those, you were nobody.

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