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Where is Laverne Cox?

This year's Time 100 List is out: conspicuously missing is trans activist and actor Laverne Cox, who had been consistently on the top of the poll. Many online are deeply unhappy, calling it a snub against trans women of colour (though not everyone agrees). Time has not responded; Laverne Cox is gracious and thankful.
posted by divabat on Apr 27, 2014 - 62 comments

Dust and Echoes

The world of video game music has blossomed in recent years, enough to support live concert tours and bestselling albums. But while most such work is licensed or contracted out to third-party composers, a rare breed make their living at a single company, imbuing entire franchises with their unique sound. And apart from Nintendo's venerable Koji Kondo, there is perhaps no dedicated gaming composer more renowned than Martin O'Donnell. From humble beginnings writing the jingle for Flintstones Vitamins, O'Donnell and longtime collaborator Michael Salvatori joined developer Bungie in 1997, penning music for Myth, Oni, and most notably the Halo trilogy -- an iconic blend of sweeping orchestral bombast, haunting choirs, and electronic ambience that became one of the most acclaimed and successful gaming soundtracks of all time. O'Donnell also helmed Bungie's audio department, managing voice actors, sound effects, and an innovative dynamic music engine, and was most recently working with Paul McCartney on the score for the upcoming Destiny. So it came as a surprise today when it was announced MartyTheElder was being terminated without cause (flabbergasted reaction: HBO/DBO - NeoGAF - Reddit). With O'Donnell following Joseph Staten, Frank O'Connor, Marcus Lehto, and other Bungie veterans out the door, what might this mean for the company and its decade-long plan for Destiny? [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Apr 16, 2014 - 28 comments

"...nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody."

R. Kelly's latest album, Black Panties, was released earlier this month to great praise from music and feminist outlets alike. However, Kelly's continued success has brought his history of sexual abuse and pedophilia back into the spotlight. Chicago-based music journalist Jim Derogatis speaks with the Village Voice about his coverage of Kelly's court appearances. On WBEZ, DeRogatis and several music critics, fans, and professors to discuss the intersection of Kelly's music and his offstage behavior.
posted by pxe2000 on Dec 16, 2013 - 165 comments

Mad Love

Chris Sims examines Harley Quinn, one of the most misused and misunderstood characters in comics, taking in her Batman:The Animated Series debut played by Arleen Sorkin (audio), through to The Batman Adventures: Mad Love and the New 52 incarnation which recently drew ire with a controversial try-out page for artists.
posted by Artw on Dec 6, 2013 - 40 comments

When is a screw not a screw: An examination of fastener nomenclature.

The difference between a bolt and a screw is a controversial topic. Confusingly, even some screws can also be bolts. Thankfully, the department of homeland security is on the case. The DHS notes, perhaps predictably, that "international standards are not necessarily applicable" to the US. In conclusion, fasteners are a land of contrasts.
posted by empath on Oct 24, 2013 - 90 comments

What might be right for you, may not be right for some.

A “very special” Diff’rent Strokes that’s terrifying for all the wrong reasons. The AV Club looks at a "very special" episode of Diff'rent Strokes as part of their TV Roundtable, which lately has been focused on controversial episodes: Ellen, Amos & Andy, South Park, I Love Lucy [more inside]
posted by crossoverman on Aug 21, 2013 - 42 comments

There never was a golden ratio

There are many subjects that will get people mad on the internet, but in cinephile circles, the reddest flag is aspect ratio. Ever since the bad old practice of pan and scan was abandoned, DVD and Blu-Ray releases have tried to echo the widescreen aspect ratio that a film was released in, but that's often very hard to get right. Most recently, the Blu-Ray reissue of Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon resulted in prolonged arguing and triumphant research. How did things get so confused? Filmmaker John Hess is here to explain, with an extensive and excellent history of aspect ratios.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard on Jul 5, 2013 - 91 comments

The Pepe LePew Manual on Getting Pussy?

Above The Game: A Guide to Getting Awesome with Women has raised $16,369 out of its $2,000 goal on Kickstarter. Casey Malone has called it out as "a book about how to sexually assault women" and "a rape manual", including quotes from seddit, the seduction subReddit (Google cache). A petition asking Kickstarter to withdraw funding has gathered close to 50,000 signatures, but while Kickstarter agrees that the material is "abhorrent and inconsistent with our values", it has declined to cancel the project. Author Ken Hoinsky is "devastated and troubled" by allegations that his book promotes rape, because the quotes were taken out of context. However, Jezebel reports that Hoinsky e-mailed them, "Wanna let your readers know [about the Kickstarter]? I'm sure they'll have a field day with this" which indicates he may be banking on the outrage and the backlash for added publicity. [via /r/feminism and /r/nottheonion]
posted by Lush on Jun 20, 2013 - 457 comments

Not a cheery indicator

A recent TV ad for Cheerios depits a heartwarming family vignette: An adorable tyke asks her mother if the cereal is good for the heart, her mother says yes, and the dad wakes up from his nap to find a pile of Cheerios on his chest. But the fact that the mother is white, the dad is black and the child mixed-race has touched off a firestorm of criticism that one media critic described as "a progressive-looking commercial collides with the ugliness of the Internet." Parent company General Mills says it is has no plans to stop airing the spot or to take it down from its YouTube channel. [more inside]
posted by Gelatin on Jun 7, 2013 - 219 comments

The Minerva Controversy

The Department of Defense recently announced the creation of the Minerva Research Initiative (PDF), also known as Project Minerva, providing as much as $75 million over five years to support social science research on areas of strategic importance to U.S. national security policy. The initiative indicates a renewal of interest in social science findings after a prolonged period of neglect, but it also prompts concerns about the appropriate relationship between university-based research programs and the state, especially when research might become a tool of not only governance but also military violence. The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) has invited prominent scholars to speak to the questions raised by Project Minerva and to address the controversy it has sparked in academic quarters.
posted by infini on Mar 7, 2013 - 17 comments

Coming soon: Pippi Blondestocking

An unknown publisher has used Amazon's CreateSpace to make a new, three-in-one volume of L.M. Montgomery’s classic "Anne of Green Gables" series with a bold re-imagining of Anne's look on the cover. Reactions are more or less as expected.
posted by Shepherd on Feb 7, 2013 - 65 comments

"Roe has been her life, but it's no longer much of a living."

"Better known as the “Jane Roe” in the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, Norma McCorvey has led a conflicted life. Forty years ago, she was at the center of the court decision that famously legalized abortion. Today, she is a zealous anti-abortion advocate." Why did McCorvey turn against the cause she once championed? Tracing the life of an Accidental Activist. Via
posted by zarq on Jan 24, 2013 - 39 comments

The main African American character in the novel is referred to as a "beast-man."

It's about a year since the storied Weird Tales magazine (previously) got a new editor and sacked its staff (previously), so WT elected to celebrate that milestone by publishing some text from actress, film director, sometime blogger and new author Victoria Foyt's debut Revealing Eden: Save the Pearls. Some people have a problem with its content and its video. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Aug 22, 2012 - 92 comments

Exercise and heart health: less straightforward than expected?

Some critics have noted that there is no indication that those who had what Dr. Bouchard is calling an adverse response to exercise actually had more heart attacks or other bad health outcomes. But Dr. Bouchard said if people wanted to use changes in risk factors to infer that those who exercise are healthier, they could not then turn around and say there is no evidence of harm when the risk factor changes go in the wrong direction. "You can’t have it both ways," Dr. Bouchard said. (SLNYT)
posted by Nomyte on Jun 3, 2012 - 61 comments

Just another firestorm in the ivory tower...

A recent post by conservative Naomi Schaefer Riley on the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brainstorm blog -- "The Most Persuasive Case for Eliminating Black Studies? Just Read the Dissertations" -- has caused quite a furor in the academic blogosphere. [more inside]
posted by artemisia on May 8, 2012 - 137 comments

Much Ado About Nothing

Physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote a book titled A Universe from Nothing. Philosopher David Albert wrote a rather scathing review. In a later interview with The Atlantic, Krauss suggested that philosophers feel threatened by science "because science progresses and philosophy doesn't." Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci weighed in on Krauss' comments, and Krauss non-apologized to philosophers who may have been offended. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne reflects on the controversy.
posted by Jonathan Livengood on Apr 27, 2012 - 84 comments

Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

Mass Effect 3, a blockbuster video game (previously: 1, 2), and no stranger to controversy, is encountering controversy of a different sort over the series ending. Some fans feel it is incomplete and lacks closure, over 90% by some polls. It opens up interesting questions, such as: how are video games different than other media? Do consumers of video games have a reasonable right to ask for another ending, or is it akin to asking for modifications to the Mona Lisa? Many spoilers inside. [more inside]
posted by brool on Mar 17, 2012 - 260 comments

A controversy in bioethics

When Alberti Giubilini and Francesca Minerva published a provocative paper about the ethics of infanticide in the Journal of Medical Ethics, the hostile response they received included death threats. [more inside]
posted by xchmp on Mar 3, 2012 - 131 comments

Right-wingers are simply dumber on average

According to this substantial study recently published in Psychological Science, "lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology.". As the Daily Mail summarises, right-wingers are less intelligent than left wingers. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Feb 6, 2012 - 119 comments

In Mother Russia, Leaks Wiki You

Yesterday, news broke Wikileaks founder Julian Assange announced a 10-episode television show that will feature "key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries." Today it was announced that the show will be broadcast by the Kremlin funded English language channel Russia Today. The press seems unimpressed with Wikileaks' chosen distribution channel.
posted by to sir with millipedes on Jan 25, 2012 - 94 comments

Great Zimbabwe: An African empire

Built by the Shona (1100-1500 AD), the empire of Great Zimbabwe, one of Africa’s greatest civilizations like Egypt and Meroe, stood between present-day Zimbabwe, eastern Botswana and south-east Mozambique. The empire’s highly developed architecture overwhelmed discoverers. And much in the same manner as German anthropologist Doctor Frobenius ignorantly mistook the Kingdom of Ife in Nigeria for the lost kingdom of Atlantis in 1911, some Europeans blatantly refused to believe that Great Zimbabwe was built by Africans. Dawson Munjeri, former director of Great Zimbabwe, a World Heritage site, discusses the history of the exceptional Zimbabwe empire. [more inside]
posted by infini on Nov 15, 2011 - 19 comments

It used to mean a bundle of Mongolians

Is it ever OK to use words like 'mong' or 'spaz'*? Ricky Gervais has inspired controversy by use of the word many feel is a slur against disabled people, prompting reactions from his peers and bloggers. He argues that words change their meaning over time. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Oct 20, 2011 - 276 comments

March of Time

From 1935 to 1951, Time Magazine bridged the gap between print & radio news reporting and the new visual medium of film, with March of Time: award-winning newsreel reports that were a combination of objective documentary, dramatized fiction and pro-American, anti-totalitarian propaganda. They “often tackled subjects and themes that audiences weren’t used to seeingforeign affairs, social trends, public-health issues — and did so with a combination of panache and subterfuge that today seems either absurd or visionary.” (Previous two links have autoplaying video.) By 1937, the short films were being seen by as many as 26 million people every month and may have helped steer public opinion on numerous issues, including (eventually) America’s entry to WWII. Video samples are available at Time.com, the March of Time Facebook page and the entire collection is available online, (free registration required) at HBO Archives. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 22, 2011 - 8 comments

The Worst call in the history of baseball

Nineteen innings. Nearly seven hours of play. The "Worst call in the history of baseball" ends Pirates/Braves game. [more inside]
posted by misha on Jul 27, 2011 - 158 comments

Kumar Sangakkara's 2011 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture.

"Kumar Sangakkara delivered an exceptional speech in his 2011 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture, touching on the history, culture and opportunities for Sri Lankan cricket as well a moving recounting of the terrorist attack on their team bus in Pakistan." [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Jul 5, 2011 - 14 comments

The Professor is Dead. Long Live Netflix!

The Professor is Dead. Long Live Netflix! As Netflix rebrands itself as a cable TV alternative rather than a by-mail video rental service, it's killing off its user community and anonymizing reviews. Top reviewer The Professor is philosophical about the change (see main link), others less so.
posted by Scram on Jun 28, 2011 - 106 comments

In The Playroom

Canadian photographer Jonathan Hobin's In the Playroom series depicts children reenacting infamous tragedies, such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Princess Diana's death, and the Jonestown massacre. [more inside]
posted by changeling on May 9, 2011 - 61 comments

Before sharks swam in formaldehyde, there was Piss Christ

Andres Serrano (some NSWF images) has made controversial art for decades, with his piece Piss Christ causing controversy shortly after it was created in 1987. In 1989, the photograph initiated outrage against the National Endowment for the Arts because of "anti-Christian bigotry". Then the piece was physically attacked two times in one weekend, when it was first shown in the National Gallery of Victoria in 1997. In December 2010, the Collection Lambert museum of contemporary art in Avignon, France opened a show called "I Believe in Miracles" that includes pieces of minimal art, conceptual art and land art, and includes Piss Christ. The photograph had been shown in France before without disturbance, and had been shown without incident in Collection Lambert for four months, but around 1,000 protesters marched to the museum on Saturday, and on Sunday vandals succeeded in attacking the picture, breaking the plexiglass shield and slashing the photograph. The museum is open again, and the damaged work is still on display. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 19, 2011 - 143 comments

And if this old world starts a getting you down, there's room enough for two - up on the roof

At the University of Southern California, in the spring, a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love…making atop the roof of the campus' Waite Phillips Hall. Photos of the tryst went *cough* "viral" this week, and in the aftermath of the incident, the male Kappa Sigma member has gone into hiding. Web forum Hipinion checks in with some Photoshop re-interpretations of the couple's romp.
posted by porn in the woods on Apr 3, 2011 - 129 comments

Theological Clusterf***

Who Goes to Hell? An editorial response (by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, posted on Foxnews.com) to the controversy of Chad Holtz, a Methodist Church pastor in North Carolina, having been fired for questioning whether hell exists.
posted by rodmandirect on Mar 29, 2011 - 397 comments

“I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up … I finally wanted to speak the truth.”

Last year, the unofficial Dean of the White House Press Corps, Helen Thomas, spoke about the State of Israel on camera. (Previously) Her replies: "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," and that the Jews "can go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else," sparked media outrage, prompted her to issue an apology and retire. After months of being out of the the public spotlight, she has now given her first long-form interview, which will appear in the April issue of Playboy Magazine. In it, she explains what she meant, tells us how she would like to be remembered and expands upon her positions regarding Israel, Jewish political influence, Presidents Bush and Obama, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2011 - 224 comments

It's an intense thing, but it's a small thing.

In strange reversal of conventional wisdom, four fifths of enrolled undergrads skip out on optional Fucksaw presentation. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Mar 2, 2011 - 240 comments

Skeptical about this Skeptic

The credibility of Skeptoid podcast creator, Brian Dunning, has come under fire from the Science Blog / Skeptic community after he posted a questionable podcast regarding DDT. A comprehensive fact check in two parts hit the web soon thereafter, followed by other critiques - suggesting that Dunning's objectivity may be tainted by conservative / libertarian political leanings. [more inside]
posted by jnnla on Dec 22, 2010 - 37 comments

Could you really care less?

"I couldn't care less" vs. "I could care less"... A letter to Ann Landers in October 1960 is credited with starting the debate over "one of the great language peeves of our time." Via. [more inside]
posted by amyms on Oct 31, 2010 - 167 comments

Richard Dawkins vs. Josh Timonen

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, has filed four lawsuits in a Californian court alleging that Mr Timonen, who ran its online operation in America, stole $375,000 (£239,000) over three years. [more inside]
posted by peacheater on Oct 25, 2010 - 60 comments

Deep in the heart of Islam

Warning of a "creeping Middle Eastern influence" in our nation's school textbooks, the Texas State Board of Education will vote today on a resolution [.pdf] that would prohibit the State of Texas from purchasing textbooks which exhibit a "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias”. Reaction in Texas is mixed. [more inside]
posted by Avenger on Sep 24, 2010 - 134 comments

"Neither the college nor the band endorses pornography."

Grand Rapids-based Calvin College has canceled an upcoming concert by acclaimed rock band The New Pornographers because of concerns over the band's name. [more inside]
posted by 40 Watt on Sep 15, 2010 - 115 comments

Resolution of a makeup controversy

MAC Cosmetics and Rodarte partnered to create a makeup collection. Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind Rodarte, "were struck by the ethereal landscape and the impoverished factory workers floating to work at dawn in a sleepy, dreamlike state." People started questioning the sensitivity and intelligence behind the naming, particularly a glittery pink nailpolish named Juarez. [more inside]
posted by nadawi on Aug 3, 2010 - 31 comments

"Fine. That will have to do."

" I was wondering if you are not to busy you could make a poster for me." Simon (of 7 legged spider fame) responds to a request from his secretary.
posted by empath on Jun 24, 2010 - 180 comments

Religion and America's Academic Scientists

Science vs. Religion: a new book, Science and Religion: What Scientists Really Think by Rice University sociologist Elaine Ecklund, discusses the results of her detailed study of 1,646 scientists at top American research universities. Among her findings: ~36% of those surveyed not only believe in God but also practice a form of closeted, often non-traditional faith. They worry about how their peers would react to learning about their religious views. Interview with the author from the Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry podcast. Also, here's a webcast from an author discussion forum held at Rice University on April 7th. [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 30, 2010 - 89 comments

Why do women love Jesus?

Wait! Look, what do you see? A new crucifix has been hung behind the altar at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Oklahoma City. It has caused quite the stir. [more inside]
posted by the_royal_we on Apr 20, 2010 - 198 comments

Young Indiana Jones Discovers Missing Link (maybe....)

"So I called my dad over and about five metres away he started swearing, and I was like 'what did I do wrong?' and he's like, 'nothing, nothing - you found a hominid'."
The remarkable remains of two ancient human-like creatures (hominids) have been found in South Africa. Some researchers dispute that the fossils are of an unknown human species, but others say they may help fill a key gap in the fossil record of human evolution. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2010 - 26 comments

The worst space-related disaster happened in Xichang, China? ...in 1996?

The date was February 15, 1996. The place was the Xichang Satellite Launch Center (Google Map), situated some 64 km northwest of Xichang City, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. At 2:50 AM, the Chinese Long March 3B rocket launched carrying the Intelsat 708, an American communications satellite. Seconds later, the worst space-related disaster in history occurred sparking a technology transfer controversy. Chinese authorities said 6 people died but video footage tells a different story.
posted by stringbean on Mar 21, 2010 - 26 comments

Irrational Skepticism?

Richard Dawkins has been tweeting on the controversy over the apparent closing down of the RichardDawkins.net Forum. [more inside]
posted by jonnyploy on Mar 1, 2010 - 86 comments

Another look at international development from someone who's been there

Blood and Milk is the blog of international development worker and writer Alanna Shaikh, who consults on global health development and writes for publications such as the UN Dispatch. Her views, based both on her work in the field and her study & understanding of sociology, international relations, and other such subjects, tend to be contrary to most other opinions on international development: voluntourism isn't helpful, development work is mired in a culture of nice, don't bother starting an NGO (or, if you will anyway, here's how to succeed), global health doesn't need innovation, and microfinance is a disappointment. Also, here's how to tell if your health project is doomed, and Haiti doesn't need your shoes (some people vehemently disagree). Educated well-researched iconoclast, or pessimistic Mary Contrary?
posted by divabat on Feb 4, 2010 - 20 comments

Top Ten Conservative Movies of the last ten years

This is a list of the ten best films of the last decade that have advanced a conservative message, ranging from strong support for the military and love for country to the defence of capitalism and the free market. These are all brilliant movies that conservatives can be inspired by, and which are guaranteed to offend left-wing sensibilities in one way or another. [more inside]
posted by philip-random on Jan 2, 2010 - 167 comments

The Hand of God, Part Deux

The world of soccer has been rocked by a French player's game-defining handball in the much-anticipated qualifier match between France and Ireland. Thierry Henry has admitted to the offense, but said ultimately it is the duty of the linesman to make the call. His action and subsequent admission have drawn strong reactions, including attempts to vandalize his Wikipedia page. [more inside]
posted by lovermont on Nov 19, 2009 - 112 comments

This art is no good, attack the radical!

Tom Sanford, a NY based artist, has created paintings depicting pop-culture icons before, but none have created a "regular trickle of hate mail/criticism" like this one. [more inside]
posted by dubold on Nov 12, 2009 - 67 comments

Makeup and mutinies

The Mineral Makeup Mutiny was founded to encourage consumers to buy indie self-made mineral cosmetics, instead of overpriced makeup that were repackaging wholesale micas from companies such as TKB Trading, or publishing contradicting ingredients lists and sending Cease-and-Desist Letters to unfavourable reviews. Miss K of Aromaleigh, founder of the Mutiny (and former seller of repackaged wholesale hues, which she's discontinuing in favour of original colours), demonstrates how mineral eyeshadows are made. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Nov 7, 2009 - 33 comments

"An Epidemic of Fear." Wired takes on the anti-vax movement

Wired profiles pediatrician Paul Offit, co-creator of the RotaTeq rotavirus vaccine and a primary target of the anti-vaccination movement. Dr. Offit published a book,“Autism’s False Prophets” in 2008 but didn't tour, because he had received too many death threats. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 28, 2009 - 136 comments

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