September 16, 2013
Dear Shaun Munro: Please Stop Stealing From the Cracked Workshop

People are lazy. I’m lazy, for example. The difference between my lazy and the lazy of, say, a guy named Shaun Munro, is that my laziness takes the form of not doing any work at all. I just kind of lounge around until I build up enough self-loathing to motivate me to work. I’m a writer; I’m all about self-loathing and it’s apart of my creative process. It’s a hurdle I throw in front of myself because it’s fun to try to jump over it. Shaun’s interpretation of laziness takes effort  — he steals other people’s hard work and passes it off as his own because he doesn’t want to put in the hard work required to be good at something. And he does this a lot.

Shaun goes into the Cracked writer’s workshop and steals articles that aren’t finished yet, articles that are still in the midst of the pitch process and probably wont be published on the front page of Cracked for weeks. Before these articles are ever born, Shaun steals them and posts them on a site called WhataCulture. If I were to be a little hyperbolic about this, I’d say that’s like kidnapping an unborn baby. He does this regularly and with no repercussion. Apparently, he’s allowed to do this. WhataCulture seems to be a site all about institutionalized content theft. As a result of this theft, by the time the original Cracked version of the article is published, the Shaun Munro version has been up for weeks, which makes readers think that Cracked writers plagiarized the article from WhataCulture. That, of course, is bullshit.

You can read all about it in the post I’ve reblogged below, written and exhaustively cataloged by a great Cracked writer named .

srmxy:

This is Shaun Munro, acclaimed author of 10 Actresses Who Desperately Need To Go Nude:

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As proudly stated in his Twitter bio, Shaun is the Associate Editor of WhatCulture.com and a Tomatometer critic at Rotten Tomatoes. This is an article by Shaun Munro, posted at WhatCulture on July 1:

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And this is an article under the same premise pitched by two members of the Cracked Comedy Workshop exactly one week earlier:

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Shaun’s article has six entries in common with the Cracked pitch… but, y’know, so what? Websites steal full articles from Cracked.com all the time. There are entire Wordpress sites with dozens of subscribers that do nothing but repost Cracked lists as soon as they’re posted. Well, the difference here is that the articles Shaun is shamelessly copying haven’t been posted — he’s going into the Cracked Workshop (which is for registered members only) and swiping articles before they get a chance to go up on the site, making the original writer look like the plagiarist and thus putting their livelihood at risk. This has been called to Shaun’s attention, and he’s still doing it.

Read More

August 12, 2013
New Cracked Column up!

My latest Cracked column went up yesterday (Saturday, August 12th)! It’s about the Tour de France. I watched the whole thing because I’ve got a girlfriend who loves it and, well, I like having sex. So, I sat there and watched every second of that damn thing.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-ways-tour-de-france-awesome-if-you-ignore-bikes/

At times, I was infuriated by the whole thing. It’s an event that requires a lot of patience, like most European sports (coughcough soccer coughcough). I’m used to American sports where the actions lasts about 8 seconds before a whistle is called and everyone stops doing things 2 minutes.


Anyway, read it. If you like it, share it on Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy.

July 29, 2013
I’m a Cracked Columnist! Woo Hoo!

Hi folks!

I’m a Cracked columnist now! I should have mentioned that earlier. I forgot. As you can see if you scroll through some of my posts here, I tend to forget I have this Tumblr. But, yeah, I’m a columnist! Here’s my first column:


4 Commonplace Technologies That Every Movie Still Gets Wrong


My second column went up this past Saturday. I like it a lot, as do an overwhelming number of the people who took the time to leave a comment. While it’s received the best reviews I’ve ever gotten for anything I’ve ever written, It has an awfully low number of views. So, if you read it and you like it, please share it. Here it is…

Drones: The Movie Pixar Doesn’t have the Balls to Make

I wrote it, Winston Rowntree did the incredible art on it. Without Winston, this article would have been terrible.


I’m already working on my next one. I hope to get it done soon, which is proving to be difficult given the fact that since the last time I updated this Tumblr, I’ve landed myself a full-time editor job at a small web start up. When the site fully goes live, I’ll link it.

April 25, 2013
I’m in Maxim Again!

Here I am in the new issue of Maxim (May 2013, Issue 183). I have two on this page: “Evildoers’ Guilty Pleasures” and “Gut Bombs Away!”

April 11, 2013
Jinx

I’ve gone silent for a bit because there are some things happening that I don’t want to jinx. So, you know…shhhh.

March 15, 2013
Three — THREE! — of my pieces in the latest Maxim!

I’ve been holding on to this for a while and am only now getting to it. The March issue of Maxim is out and I as I predicted three of my Circus Maximus pieces are in it, and all on one page, no less! So on the newsstands now is a magazine in which an entire page was written by me. That’s a first.

Here’s a scan of my copy…

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Like I said in the post about my first appearance in Maxim, I’ll have at least one Circus Maximus bit in each U.S. edition of the magazine in the coming months, at least as far ahead as the July/August issue, which I sent off a fresh batch of pitches for yesterday. Fingers crossed one or more (please more, please more, please more) of those gets accepted.

March 2, 2013
hang, hanged, hung

This is the AP Stylebook’s entry on the differences between and uses of the words hang, hanged, and hung.

hang, hanged, hung One hangs a picture, a criminal or oneself.

For past tense or the passive, use hanged when referring to execution or suicides, hung for other actions.

I feel like the last sentence there should read like this…

For past tense or the passive, use hanged when referring to execution or suicides, hung for…uh, other actions.

February 28, 2013
If You’re Going To Hack A Twitter Account, Do Something Interesting With It

By now you’ve heard about the Burger King/Jeep twitter hacks – some lowly DJ from Boston got bored and hacked the twitter accounts of Burger King and Jeep, shouted a bunch of bullshit on the pages, and then the internet exploded in response, as if hacking a twitter account and giving your friends shout outs is somehow on par with hacking a nuclear silo and wiping out Greenland. If there were a college for hackers, hacking a twitter account would be on the entrance exam, and if you can’t do it you have to take remedial hacking classes with all the other dummies. Corporate twitter accounts get hacked all the time; they don’t always get the same media coverage as the Burger King hack, but it they’ve happened and the results are always another example of a blown opportunity to do something interesting, kind of like my recent Quick Fix article about people who blew their one shot at glory. 

In July 2011, someone hacked a Fox News twitter account. This had the potential to be awesome. Did the hacker go all Colbert and assume the character of a dimwitted uber-conservative pundit to skewer the Fox News bullshit machine? Nope. He sent out a series of “BREAKING NEWS” tweets regarding the assassination of President Obama. With a “prank” that large scale, by the time anyone has heard of it they’ve also already heard that it’s fake; therefore, the initial prank is canceled out and is rendered stupid within minutes.

Tech blog Gizmodo had their twitter account hacked in August 2012. As you would expect, the hacker was able to perfectly execute the first half of his hack –gaining access to the account– but failed miserably at the second part — doing something with it. With limitless possibilities to be funny and/or make some kind of point, the hacker called black people the N-word – a lot. Then, more shout outs to his friends.

Oh, you want another example of twitter hackers getting stage fright and just hurling slurs because they don’t know what else to do after they hacked an account? In early 2012, The Huffington Post’s twitter feed was hijacked and, of course, a rapid fire series of tweets were sent out, most of which were homophobic slurs, occasionally directed at someone named Wes. Even sadder, one of the final tweets read, “Sup bitches??? Hacked by: New York Post.” This means that the Burger King and Jeep hacks, where the hacker claimed each company had been taken over by its rival (McDonalds and Cadillac, respectively) were a rip off of the HuffPo hack. The hacker behind the Burger King and Jeep hacks was himself a hack.

Hacking is one of those things that we all know isn’t necessarily good, but when it’s done well we push our feelings about the act aside and applauded the work. There is such a thing as a well-executed twitter hack.

There was once a man who felt he had been unjustly screwed over by PayPal and had his account frozen. So, he took over PayPay’s Twitter feed, changed their profile picture to steaming pile of shit, and continuously tweeted a link to an anti-PayPal site that detailed their shady business practices. It was a silly hack, but it had a purpose.
 
After the Newtown shootings, the Westboro Baptist Church announced they would picket the victim’s funerals. A hacker named Cosmo The God then took over a prominent church member’s twitter account, changed the background picture to an image that read “Pray for Newtown”, and re-tweeted White House petitions to get the WBC recognized as a hate group. No slurs, ignorance or shout outs; it was a hack with a point.

A lot of hacks are for the sake of it. But if you hack a high profile account, you’d better have some clever ideas up your sleeve or all you’ll be doing is showing the world that you can guess the name of an account holder’s dog.

February 5, 2013
Alternate Version of “Homeland” Quick Fix

A couple weeks ago Cracked ran this article of mine about how the son from the show Homeland is a psycho. But that’s not the only version of that article. There exists a secret second version only a few people had a chance to read.

The version I originally pitched is the one that was eventually published on Cracked; the one you can read at the link above. A couple days after I pitched it, the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy happened, and there was a consensus between me, Cracked editor Adam Brown, and Cracked Editor-in-Chief Jack O’Brien, that we should delay the article for a little bit because of the subject matter. We originally wanted the article go up just before the Homeland season finale.

In an effort to save the article from being about a subject people (myself most certainly included) were too depressed to think about in any way, Jack suggested I re-write the whole thing with a new angle centered around how TV writers have no idea how to write child characters.

I wrote it up, liked it a lot, and I submitted it. About a week later I got an IM from Adam. He tells me he finally started watching Homeland and that I’m absolutely right about how shitty that kid is. Neither he nor Jack had ever seen the show, so they didn’t understand the profound uselessness of that kid. So, Adam ran the original version of the article.

And now I present to you the second version. Read’em both and compare!
 

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Writers for TV dramas are all people who understand a character’s failing marriage better than they understand their own.  If a character isn’t experiencing some profound level of adult-centric pain, sometimes it’s obvious they have no clue what to do with them. It’s apparent on a lot of dramas, but none moreso than on Homeland, which features one of the most poorly written kids on TV, Chris Brody, the son of the Marine-turned-terrorist Nick Brody.

As inept as he is, Carl from The Walking Dead has potential. He might do something interesting. Maybe he’ll do a backflip or something? Chris Brody’s thing is being so oblivious to all of the horrible shit his horrible family goes through (rampant infidelity, terrorism, dirty politics, murder, conspiracy, etc.) that he comes off as a delusional secret psycho who’s so good at repressing his emotions that he might one day transition into a different Showtime series.

Homeland’s writers have no idea how a 12-year old boy would react to troubling news, so they brush him aside. Sometimes by literally telling him to leave the room, or with Mike, the guy Chris’ mom is banging on the side. Here’s Mike running interference when mom and big sis need some privacy to talk about a homicide.

And here are the writers again throwing Mike at Chris like a towel over a vibrator when Grandma drops by. This time it’s when the Brody’s — who are all scared shitless — are placed in a lavish CIA safehouse.


The writers for The Walking Dead clearly had no idea what to do with Carl for a while, so they had him occasionally wander off so they didn’t have to make him do things. In Dexter, Dexter’s kids were an integral part of the show for years, until the writers realized they were getting in the way of all the ritual murdering; so they were shipped off to live with their grandparents. On Lost, Walt looked like he was going to be important, and then he was promptly kidnapped by smoke numbers and was rarely heard of again.

Writing children can be difficult, especially if most of your writing sessions involve talking about new ways the characters can fuck and murder this week. Writers often confuse innocence with stupidity, so they either write kids as oblivious or they over-compensate and make them borderline evil child geniuses.

There’s an incredible chance that some of Homeland’s writers have kids, just like the writers of The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Dexter. Yet kids might as well be dogs the writers tie to a bike rack while the adults grab a latte, or worse, used as props to raise the stakes for the adults.

In the penultimate episode in Homeland’s second season, the Brody family reaches a boiling point. In one scene, all of their anxieties spill out and it’s impossible for any of them to escape from the truth anymore – they suck.  

So Chris immediately storms away and starts playing video games.

You’ve probably turned to video games as a distraction from the harshness of life, but Chris’ version of it is so goddamn ridiculous you have to wonder if the writers gained their understanding of pre-teens by asking old people what they think of kids today.

If today’s TV drama writers made a show specifically about kids and how they deal with life, by the third episode we’d see all the kids evaporate into clouds and float away as an engine revved up in the background and the writers fled the scene.  

January 29, 2013
Rejected Quick Fix Pitch: Lupe Fiasco’s Fiasco

They can’t all be winners. Though, this pitch almost was. This one was about Lupe Fiasco getting kicked off stage at a concert celebrating President Obama’s 2nd inauguration. The editors at Cracked really liked it, so much so that there was some talk of turning it into an episode of an upcoming Cracked web show. Ultimately, a little too much time had passed and the subject wasn’t relevant anymore.

I never got to write a second draft, which would have been a little longer and obviously more refined. So this one is a little rough around the edges. But, still, it should be a fun read.


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On the Sunday before the President Obama’s second Inauguration, rapper Lupe Fiasco was booked as the headliner for the nonsensically named StartUp Rockon concert to celebrate Barack Obama for being able to keep his job.

Come performance time, Fiasco sang this catchy little diddy…

“Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist…Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say shit. That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either.”


He was booted off stage, and some suspect it wasn’t only because his rhyme schemes are shit. The whole fiasc—uh, calamity sparked all sorts of debates and anger over free speech, which would be valid if not for this little fact: he performed that one song for a half-hour. You can pull that kind of shit if you’re, say, Bruce Springsteen in front of union guys or Ted Nudgent in Mississippi. But people were there to attend a nice, controversy-free evening of fun, and then the guy who’s supposed to entertain rants for the length of a sitcom. He probably wouldn’t have been kicked off if he said what he wanted to say and then moved along through his catalogue of 1 ½ hit songs. No administration wants that kind of anti-free speech heat. But, no; instead, Lupe performed something that was like a mix of a Phish jam session and a pissed off Youtube commentor on a video of a waving flag.

We’re willing to bet Lupe didn’t get kicked off stage because of the anti-Obama stuff. He was kicked off stage because he didn’t do his stupid, easy-as-shit job. Kelly Clarkson is an avid Ron Paul supporter, but she acted like an adult and sang Obama a song right in front of him. But Lupe’s not the only person in this story who failed at their job miserably.

You see, back in 2011, Lupe Fiasco expressed his freedom of speech by publicly disagreeing with many of President Obama’s foreign policy decision by taking the high road of public discourse and calling the president a terrorist. We don’t know how many times someone’s been called a repugnant butt-fucking child molester and was then immediately given a big hug of acceptance, but the promoter in charge of the StartUp Rockon concert is sure things like that happen all the time. This guy’s one job is to make sure the people who come to perform to honor the president don’t think he’s just Bin Laden in a suit. He might as well have invited Ted Nugent and the outcome would have been about the same, just with more bazooka-shaped guitars getting rammed up the ass of pigs dressed like Hilary Clinton.  And this all because some dumbass didn’t vet a second dumbass by doing a simple “Lupe Fiasco+Obama” Google search.

Always Google search, folks.

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