The Academy Is… have broken up. Here’s a statement from the band.
“After nine years and three albums, The Academy Is… have decided to go our separate ways.
We began in 2003 as three young friends in the suburbs of Chicago, with dreams of creating music that meant something to us. Dreams of leaving those suburbs behind and seeing all of the beautiful things that this world has to offer. Dreams of making a difference in the lives of others.
It is now 2011 and we look back at the records we’ve made, the shows we’ve played, the places we’ve been. The people we’ve met.The Academy Is… has made its mark. We celebrate the experiences of our past, as we welcome what lies ahead. While we have never managed to make things easy on ourselves, it is safe to say that we have always found common ground in our love of music. And though we may not be together, you can look forward to hearing new music from each of us.
The music we have made together is our gift to you. From this point on, The Academy Is… belongs to you. Feel free to listen. Listen as loud as you’d like.
The Academy Is…”
Superman Fan Undergoes Cosmetic Surgery To Resemble The Man Of Steel
Herbert Chavez is a 35-year-old Filipino man who has since 1995 endured numerous plastic surgeries in an effort to more closely resemble Superman, the legendary DC Comics superhero. Chin augmentation, rhinoplasty and thigh implants are just some of the procedures Chavez, a hardcore Superman fan, has elected to undergo in an unsettling quest that one psychiatrist has identified as symptomatic of Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
According to UCLA’s Semel Institute for Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is:
…a body image disorder in which individuals are preoccupied with a perceived flaw in physical appearance, which can result in severe functional impairment and suffering. Individuals with BDD usually focus on one or more aspects of their appearance, such as skin, nose, hair, eyes (or any other part of their appearance), which they believe to be defective or ugly. Individuals with BDD often feel depressed, anxious and ashamed. Their degree of anguish and distress is such that it interferes with their day-to-day activities such as work, school, or social situations.
A psychiatrist interviewed by the Philippines’ ABS-CBN News (video at link) suggested that Chavez, who works as a “pageant trainer,” suffers from BDD. While she did not examine him personally, the doctor’s diagnosis would seem to fit the apparent facts. According to RealSelf.com, a website dedicated to the discussion of cosmetic treatments, Chavez’s surgeries to more closely resemble Superman and specific Superman actors include:
Chin augmentation for the cleft
- Rhinoplasty to simulate the nose of famous Superman actor Christopher Reeve
- Silicone lip injections
- Thigh implants
Judging by Chavez’s “before” photograph, RealSelf speculates that the man has also undergone procedures to alter his eyes, cheeks and jaw, and perhaps more.
Read more at ComicsAlliance.
There’s a lot of moral issues behind the intentional, planned killing of a US Citizen, albeit a terrorist, without a fair trial judged by a jury of his peers. Anwar al-Awlaki, a US-born member of Al Qaeda and senior officer within the terrorist group, and the mastermind behind the underwear bomber plot, was taken out by hellfire missiles yesterday in Yemen by order of the Justice Department.
Every United States citizen has a constitutional right a fair trial, and this act should be considered heinous by the American public.
We write to you as former wardens and corrections officials who have had direct involvement in executions. Like few others in this country, we understand that you have a job to do in carrying out the lawful orders of the judiciary. We also understand, from our own personal experiences, the awful lifelong repercussions that come from participating in the execution of prisoners. While most of the prisoners whose executions we participated in accepted responsibility for the crimes for which they were punished, some of us have also executed prisoners who maintained their innocence until the end. It is those cases that are most haunting to an executioner.
We write to you today with the overwhelming concern that an innocent person could be executed in Georgia tonight. We know the legal process has exhausted itself in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, and yet, doubt about his guilt remains. This very fact will have an irreversible and damaging impact on your staff. Many people of significant standing share these concerns, including, notably, William Sessions, Director of the FBI under President Ronald Reagan.
Living with the nightmares is something that we know from experience. No one has the right to ask a public servant to take on a lifelong sentence of nagging doubt, and for some of us, shame and guilt. Should our justice system be causing so much harm to so many people when there is an alternative?
We urge you to ask the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider their decision. Should that fail, we urge you to unburden yourselves and your staff from the pain of participating in such a questionable execution to the extent possible by allowing any personnel so inclined to opt-out of activities related to the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. Further, we urge you to provide appropriate counseling to personnel who do choose to perform their job functions related to the execution. If we may be of assistance to you moving forward, please do not hesitate to call upon any of us.
Respectfully and collegially,
Allen Ault – Retired Warden, Georgia Diagnostic & Classifications Prison
Terry Collins – Retired Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Ron McAndrew – Retired Warden, Florida State Prison
Dennis O’Neill - Retired Warden, Florida State Prison
Reginald Wilkinson – Retired Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Jeanne Woodford – Retired Warden, San Quentin State Prison
Brazilians Protesting Political Corruption Don ‘V for Vendetta’ Guy Fawkes Masks
The Guy Fawkes masks worn by V in Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta have taken on new meaning as symbols of resistance — and sometimes anarchy — for hacktivist groups like Anonymous and protest movements around the world, including yesterday’s rallies against corruption in Brazil. A Brazilian CA reader e-mailed us with photos of the event:
“Hello Comics Alliance, let me share with you some news from Brazil. Yesterday we celebrated our Independence Day and we had a lot of street protests against corruption. The Activists wore masks of Guy Fawkes, like the character V, from the legendary Alan Moore’s graphic novel. These protests came out on the main newspapers in Brazil and we believe that the world should know that we are fighting for a better country… We would be grateful if you could show the world our actions.”
The BBC reports that protestors, who have no political affiliation and were also “wearing face paint and clown noses” joined crowds in the capital of Brasilia as the traditional military parade took place. The rallies were sparked by a series of corruption scandals that caused the resgination of three government ministers, and the BBC notes that many of the protestors were students who organized via social networking sites.
In a recent interview with ComicsAlliance, V for Vendetta artist David Lloyd described the use of the V for Vendetta mask by Anonymous as “resisting oppression the best way they know how” and said he hoped that the character V would continue to be a “symbol of protest for all those who feel they need to use it as such.”
It comes as no surprise that Al Qaeda, the militant group founded by the now-deceased terrorist Osama bin Laden, has been using the Internet for around a decade to spread their propaganda in the form of news releases and videotaped messages.
But as the internet has evolved over the past five years away from stationary single-serving news websites to a platform of mass communication and recruitment through social media, so has the methods of Al Qaeda and its media branch, the Global Islamic Media Front or GIMF.
Shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden, I became curious as to how Al Qaeda was spreading its message of jihad through the Internet. I began tracking down various websites, web forums and blogs used by members of Al Qaeda and their supporters and made a few interesting discoveries, one of which being that Al Qaeda is beginning to use social media as a method of recruitment and broadcasting.
The other discovery made surprised me: Many Al Qaeda websites are hosted on American servers and are paid for with American dollars. Domain registration and hosting services trace back to American companies. Domains are frequently registered with American-based Yahoo and Microsoft Hotmail email accounts. American software, like Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop, is being used (and legitimately licensed) to create slick-looking videos and fancied-up press releases.
Videos are being published frequently to YouTube and the Archive.org project. Newsletters and press releases, such as this one released shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden and obtained by ProducerMatthew.com in May, are being uploaded MegaUploader and other file sharing websites — multiple times, just in case they’re discovered and deleted.
American services and American ingenuity is tapped into and frequently exploited by the Global Islamic Media Front, Al Qaeda and its supporters to spread propaganda, messages and to recruit.
These forums and blogs have become a lifeline for Al Qaeda and its supporters. There’s a web forum for Al Qaeda in Iraq, another for Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Conversations published on the forums range from a discussion of the will of a recently-deceased leader within the group to advice and support on Adobe Photoshop.
Tomorrow, I’ll publish a story both here and on Quotse detailing four months of investigation into these forums and revealing platforms the terror network uses to spread both its anti-American propaganda and its call for terror.
Can you imagine how much trolling Al Qaeda might get?
Wacky Taiwanese Animators Lend Support to Assaulted Syrian Cartoonist Ali Ferzat [Video]
Best known for reenacting celebrity gossip in comically bizarre videos that look ripped straight out of The Sims, the Taiwanese animators at Next Media Animation recently responded to the horrendous assault on Ali Ferzat, a renowned Syrian cartoonist who was beaten and had both of his hands broken in retribution for drawing cartoons critical of Bashar al-Assad.
As their unusually restrained and tasteful animation explains, the assault on Ferzat produced an unintended Streisand Effect when artists the world over rallied to his defense and created their own cartoons ruthlessly criticizing al-Assad; rather than being silenced by the attack, Ferzat’s message has spread even wider than before. Our feelings are perhaps best summed up by this slightly NSFW cartoon drawn by a supporter, which was erroneously credited to Ferzat in some reports, but nonetheless remains an inspiring symbol of defiance in the face of tyranny and the solidarity that everyone who believes in free speech needs to demonstrate if we would have it for ourselves. We are all Ali Ferzat.
Two young filmmakers went out during Hurricane Irene to document their Manhattan neighborhood.
Rise of ‘Anonymous’ Fuels Sales Of Time Warner’s ‘V For Vendetta’ Masks
In a New York Times piece published this week, writer Nick Bilton makes the keen observation that the cultural ascension of hacker group Anonymous has been a financial boon for Warner Bros., the media company that owns the Guy Fawkes image that protesters wear as a mask. Based on the character “V” from Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s classic graphic novel V For Vendetta (as well as the film based on the book),the Guy Fawkes mask sells over 100,000 units a year, with Warner Bros. — the parent company of comics publisher Vertigo — earning a licensing fee for each mask sold.
Read more at ComicsAlliance.
Syrian Security Forces Break the Hands of Political Cartoonist Ali Ferzat
Prominent Syrian cartoonist and human rights advocate Ali Ferzat was hospitalized for serious injuries Thursday morning after being kidnapped near his Damascus home by a group of masked gunmen believed to be part of the government’s security forces under President Bashar al-Assad. The gunmen beat the 60-year-old Ferzat, singed his beard, broke both of his hands, covered his head with a bag and dumped him by the side of the road, threatening the cartoonist that the attack was “just a warning.”
Though they often deal with controversial social and political issues, by American standards Ferzat’s cartoons are visually tame and contain the kind of all-ages gags one might read in a newspaper’s sports or business pages. Ferzat’s latest cartoon compared Assad to the recently ousted Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, depicting Syria’s president as a hitchhiker. The simplicity of the gag underscores both the horror of Ferzat’s attack and also his medium of choice’s power as a tool for mass communication:
According to The Washington Post, attempts by Syria’s government to quash political dissent have escalated over the past several weeks, namely among writers, actors and other expressive professionals. Opposition activists say that more than 2,200 dissidents have been killed since mid-March alone.
The White House condemned Assad’s regime in a recent statement by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, citing Ferzat’s attack and related violations of human rights. “While making empty promises about dialogue with the Syrian people, the Assad regime continues to carry out brutal attacks against peaceful Syrians trying to exercise their universal right to free expression,” Nuland continued. “We demand that the Assad regime immediately stop its campaign of terror through torture, illegal imprisonment and murder.”
“We are all Ali Ferzat,” his Arabic-language Facebook fan page reads, a reminder that freedom of expression is not to be taken for granted in a world where rulers can be easily stirred by the commanding simplicity of a gifted cartoonist’s work.
Mike Z has confirmed that Skullgirls will be launched with an 8-character roster. Too small a roster? Well, post-launch will have DLC characters to put those at ease, plus seeing how the team behind Reverge Labs painstakingly drew every frame of animation for every character, this is a feat. Read on for demo hopes.
Man Wears V for Vendetta Mask, Watches London Burn
In this photo by Emily Jackett,
a mansomeone photographs (or videos) a car burning in East End of London during the recent riots while wearing a V for Vendetta mask, which has become a symbol of faceless protestfor hacktivist groups like Anonymous. The photo is a reminder of how easily mindless violence and chaos can graft themselves on to symbols and movements that originate in justified anger and non-violent resistance, hurting not only innocent people in the process but also the symbols and causes they would co-opt. (Via BC)