Entertainment

Dear Joanne, You won’t remember me but nearly 20 years ago we worked together briefly in a school in Edinburgh. Your talents have since made you a lot of money and given you considerable status and influence; I have continued to channel mine into that Freirean project of opening minds and changing the world from the classroom. You now have millions of Twitter followers; I have six. People should always act on their conscience and yours has obviously prompted you to speak out in order to try to prevent Scotland voting for Independence. In doing so over the last few days you have claimed to be speaking not out of self-interest but on behalf of ordinary Scots who, you claim, are set to suffer immeasurably under Independence. You speak of three kinds of Yes voters – the first are...
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Dear artists, A year ago, in order to support the blackout against SOPA, I wrote a blog post explaining why I was pirating your work. A few hours later, the sudden closure of Megaupload gave an unexpected popularity to my text. In the weeks that followed, nearly 100,000 people read it on this blog, not to mention the numerous translations. With Flattr, I earned a total of € 34.70 for that post and its French translation. If I had a 1€ paywall, this post alone would worth € 100,000. Even considering that only 10% of readers would pay, it would still be around € 10,000. Not bad, isn’t it? But if I charged visitors, nobody would have read that text in the first place. It would never have become viral and I would not have earned a single euro on Flattr. This seems obvious, isn’t it?...
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Dear Mr. Stone, I am an academic historian who likes to think he has some knowledge of world events during the past centuries. I am someone who has watched and thought about some of your better films and who had the good fortune to have been in Kyiv on the Maidan in November-December 2013. I was appalled and distressed when I read that a person of your stature had decided he would make a film about Ukraine’s ousted dictator Victor Ianukovich. What unsettled me was not your idea about interviewing a dictator on film. Documentaries about surviving ousted dictators are important and useful. What I found appalling was not only that you seem to share his interpretation of his fate, but that you seem to attach particular significance to that interpretation. You seem actually to believe Mr...
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Dear Eric, Hello, Eric. I hope you are well! I am writing you this open letter on the morning of Monday October 14th in hopes that you read it along with our fans, friends and colleagues. I want you and everyone else to know that this letter comes from a place of honesty and respect. As you know over the past several years we have, together created a lot of work. We began in college making experimental films and projects, learning the craft, making each other laugh and exploring our own creativity. We continued to create after college, pursuing an often risky course towards making our art and comedy professionally. Through hard work and luck we were able to make our first series: The animated short form comedy, “Tom Goes To The Mayor” for Adult Swim. Soon we found we had created a...
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Dear Kid Rock, Congratulations on your new album! You're everywhere these days promoting it and, while I wish you the best and baddest of luck, I can't help but notice that right in there with "First Kiss is a return to form" and "Kid Rock is a real American badass," a key element of your marketing campaign seems to be "it's fun to use the word 'gay' as a pejorative." You told TMZ that selfies are "so gay." In an interview with the Guardian, you called rap-rock "gay." You regaled Howard Stern the other day with a story about how miserable and oppressed your son felt in a Malibu high school that hung a single sign forbidding the use of the word "gay" as an insult, and how you shared a moment of father-son bonding over how gay the sign itself was. "If someone says you can't say 'gay'...
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Dear Steph, Saturday morning I noticed what I thought was a gigantic plastic bag plastered to the end of my driveway. I didn’t think much of it at first, other than to say to myself, well, there’s another piece of trash that has found its way to my yard, I guess I’ll be the one who has to pick it up. Which I did not do. Not at first. So it sat there in the rain for a while. In the afternoon the rain slacked off, and during one of my treks from the front door to the car, headed off to shuttle my daughters to their various activities, I saw it again. I thought again about how it had become one more chore on my to-do list. Then I noticed it had writing on it. When I came closer I saw that it wasn’t plastic at all, it was thin, wax-coated paper, tangled with a bit of twisted wire. You...
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Dear ArenaNet, When you sell someone a game, when you take their $60, you are promising that person a good or service, in this case Guild Wars 2, or as I now call it, Politically Correct Wars. You may have designed, developed, distributed, and hosted the content of the game, but that doesn’t give you the right to take away what the Constitution of the U.S. of A. promises me (and all your other customers from around the world). Last Thursday when I logged into your so-called MMORPG (how can it count as “online” if you get banned?), I was unceremoniously notified that I had been suspended for 72 hours from the service I paid for. Even though you were willing to take my money, enough money to buy at least fifteen Red Bull energy drinks, you seem to think you can take away my ability to...
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Dear YouTube, I’d like to spend more money with you. A lot more money. My clients are spending significant amounts on TV advertising, which is becoming increasingly expensive and the value is hard to quantify. AdWords has been a revelation for our digital media spend. Where once we were stuck to buying bespoke packages based on estimated impressions, real time bidding has allowed for a more efficient, targeted use of spend that means we can get our content in front of the right people at the right time. Alongside AdWords, Google Analytics has allowed us to track the performance and value of our adspend alongside our referring traffic from links, social media and organic search, meaning we can better understand our customer conversion funnels; and thereby create better ads which...
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Dear Gwyneth, I really enjoyed your recent comments to E! about how easy an office job is for parents, compared to the grueling circumstances of being on a movie set. “I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,” you said. “When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day, and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.” As a mother of a toddler, I couldn’t agree more! “Thank God I don’t make millions filming one movie per year” is what I say to myself pretty much every morning as...
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Dear Judy Blume, ​We are fourth graders from Mrs. Sonnenberg’s class at Howe Elementary School in Wisconsin Rapids. Our class really liked your book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Earlier this year we also read Freckle Juice and The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo. Your books are funny and entertaining. ​In Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing we thought Fudge was very hilarious. Especially when he ate flowers, played with socks, ate Dribble, and didn’t eat his food. He seemed like a normal two year old boy at times though. Like when he was banging on pots and pans. We did enjoy the ‘Eat it or wear it!’ part very much. ​Peter tried to act all mature. There were many times Peter wished Fudge was never born. Boy, we had a lot of connections with that. One time Peter was really...
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