That Violet Blue thing

POSTED BY admin, July 1, 2008 – 8:48 am | PERMALINK

Speaking for all the Boingers–

Boing Boing has been caught in the middle of a real internet shitstorm and pile-on over the last few days. A blogger named Violet Blue noticed that we unpublished some posts related to her. Some people wanted to know why.

Bottom line is that those posts (not “more than 100 posts,” as erroneously claimed elsewhere) were removed from public view a year ago. Violet behaved in a way that made us reconsider whether we wanted to lend her any credibility or associate with her. It’s our blog and so we made an editorial decision, like we do every single day. We didn’t attempt to silence Violet. We unpublished our own work. There’s a big difference between that and censorship.

We hope you’ll respect our choice to keep the reasons behind this private. We do understand the confusion this caused for some, especially since we fight hard for openness and transparency. We were trying to do the right thing quietly and respectfully, without embarrassing the parties involved.

Clearly, that didn’t work out. In attempting to defuse drama, we inadvertently ignited more. Mind you, we weren’t the ones splashing gasoline around; but we did make the fire possible. We’re sorry about that. In the meantime, Boing Boing’s past content is indexed on the Wayback Machine, a basic Internet resource; so the material should still be available for those who would like to read it.

Thank you all for caring what happens on Boing Boing. And if you think there’s more to say, by all means, let’s talk. We’re listening.

BoingBoingBoing podcast 13: game developer Jane McGonigal

POSTED BY admin, May 24, 2007 – 4:47 pm | PERMALINK

Super lucky #13 edition of the BoingBoingBoing podcast is now online!

Special guest for this episode is game designer, games researcher, and futures forecaster Jane McGonigal, who is probably best known as the brain behind I LOVE BEES and WORLD WITHOUT OIL. She’s also Pesco’s colleague at Institute for the Future. (Previous BoingBoing posts about her work: Link.)

– – – – – – – – – –

Podcast Feed, Subscribe via iTunes,, Listen at Odeo, Direct MP3 url, iTunes link.

– – – – – – – – – –

(total duration — 35:25)

  • The book “Stumbling on Happiness,” and what the search for happiness and lvl uppage means for game designers (previous BB post here).
  • Flying machines that can’t fly, made by eccentric people. They make for good video.
  • Bjork and those wild sound editing gizmos on the Volta tour (previous BB post here).
  • The difference between someone who tells you they predict the future, and someone who forecasts the future. Hint: One is always lying. The other, if they’re any good, is not.
    We recorded this podcast as a Skype conference call, and captured it with AudioHijack. The audio was later edited in Apple’s Garage Band, after some help from Levelator.

    1 (Mr. Jalopy, master craphound), 2 (Violet Blue, sex futurist), 3 (Gareth Branwyn, cyberculture writer), 4 (Chris Anderson, WIRED editor-in-chief), 5 (George Dyson, tech historian), 6 (Steven Johnson, author), 7 (John Hodgman, humorist and PC), 8 (Merlin Mann, productivity guru), 9 (Matt Haughey, MeFi), 10 (Bonnie Burton, Lucasfilm), 11 (Noah Shachtman, defense tech reporter), 12 (Q Burns Abstract Message, DJ and music producer).

    ( posted from Guatemala / Xeni )

    Awesome animated anti-AIDS PSAs from France

    POSTED BY admin, May 14, 2007 – 5:07 pm | PERMALINK

    Link, sexually explicit. One video is gay-themed, the other is straight. (Thanks, Susannah Breslin!)

    Reader comments:

    James Roe says,

    Violet Blue points to another ad from this series on You can see her take on this here: Link.

    Alberto Colin says,

    I just wanted to let you know that this is part of a campaign that started in 2005. This is the video for 2005: Link. This is the video for 2006: Link. And this is the new video for 2007: Link.

    All done by Wilfred Brimo.

    Steve LaNasa says,

    There’s a third one: Link.

    BoingBoingBoing podcast 12: Q-Burns Abstract Message

    POSTED BY admin, May 8, 2007 – 6:40 am | PERMALINK

    The long-awaited episode #12 of the Boing Boing Boing podcast is out! Sorry about the long delay since episode #11, but these homemade audio krafts take many fortnights for our tree-dwelling legion of squirrel-helpers to fashion from acorn husks and pine needles! Please direct complaints to our customer service manager!

    In podcast episode #12, we talk with DJ and independent music producer/publisher Michael Donaldson, also known as Q-Burns Abstract Message (Website | MySpace | Amazon link to buy CDs).

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Podcast Feed, Subscribe via iTunes,, Listen at Odeo, Direct MP3 url, iTunes link to this episode.

    – – – – – – – – – –


    In the realm of dance music, there are few producers that thrive on blurring the boundary between eclectic experimenter and populist ass-shaker as much as Q-Burns Abstract Message. Equally comfortable covering Krautrock legends Faust or dropping his favorite chunky house grooves into the mix, Q-BAM—known to his parents as Michael Donaldson—is indeed the rare auteur. Whether globetrotting as a DJ, co-running the Eighth Dimension Records label, remixing artists like Rabbit in the Moon, Fila Brazillia and Mazi & Collete, or recording his own original productions, Donaldson is all about the coaxing the maximum soul out of the machine.

    Based in Orlando since the early-’90s, the former record shop owner and college radio DJ has spent the past two decades developing a sound that is obsessively devoted to the funk. His animated, vodka-soaked DJ sets have won audiences for the well-traveled Donaldson from 
San Francisco to (literally) Siberia, and landed him primo opening slots for GusGus, Chemical Brothers and Meat Beat Manifesto.

    In addition to his ongoing nonstop (no, seriously) worldwide tour schedule, he has a new mixed CD out (Agave Nectar Vol. 1, on Agave Records), and a new record label that produces nothing but 12″ vinyl releases. That label is known as EIGHT-TRACKS.

    (total duration — 38:20)

  • How did Michael Donaldson end up going from major label artist to DRM-free DIY? Hint: it’s all about chance, and it had to do with an ill-advised album title, and 9/11. (section begins at 17:41)
  • What is up with the internet fracas over “swiping” allegations surrounding artist Todd Goldman (previous BoingBoing posts). When exactly does inspiration, remixing, or borrowing become creative theft? (section begins at 00:27)
  • What is the dealio with Arnold Schwarzenegger and that curious photo EULA? (BB post) (section begins at 08:20)
  • Why did the mayor of Boston ban BoingBoing over boobies? (BB post) (section begins at 13:00).
  • What cool things might we experience at the Maker’s Faire on May 19-20 in San Mateo, CA? (BB post). (section begins at 11:09)
  • What do cutups have to do with creativity, and why is a copy of the epic William Burroughs/Brion Gysin tome, The Third Mind, worth paying $200 for if you can find it? (section begins at 27:47)

  • Where did Q-Burns get his stage name? (section begins at 34:27)
  • What was New Wave Theater, and is it true that the show’s murdered host Peter Ivers wrote and performed “In Heaven Everything Is Fine,” in David Lynch‘s classic nightmare film, Eraserhead? Oh, the hell with it, yes. (section begins at 36:25)
  • MUSIC:
    The tune you hear in this podcast is by Q-Burns Abstract Message — his remix of “Angel Soup” by Cold Hands, recently released on vinyl and digital via
    Blunted Funk Records. Listen to the whole thing here.


    In this podcast episode, you’ll hear the voice of Matt Plumb, who won Mark’s BoingBoing Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation voicemail contest.

    We recorded this podcast as a Skype conference call, and captured it with AudioHijack. The audio was later edited in Apple’s Garage Band, after some help from Levelator.

    1 (Mr. Jalopy, master craphound), 2 (Violet Blue, sex futurist), 3 (Gareth Branwyn, cyberculture writer), 4 (Chris Anderson, WIRED editor-in-chief), 5 (George Dyson, tech historian), 6 (Steven Johnson, author), 7 (John Hodgman, humorist and PC), 8 (Merlin Mann, productivity guru), 9 (Matt Haughey, MeFi), 10 (Bonnie Burton, Lucasfilm), 11 (Noah Shachtman, defense tech reporter).

    [Link to larger image.]

    Sex toy ban upheld in AL, adult gizmos = illegal devices

    POSTED BY admin, February 15, 2007 – 3:44 pm | PERMALINK

    This just in, snip from Xbiz:

    In a unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Alabama statute banning the commercial distribution of sex toys, saying that there is no fundamental right to privacy raised by the plaintiff’s case against the law.

    According to the statute, it is ‘unlawful for any person to knowingly distribute any obscene material or any device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.’

    Link, and the American Consitutional Society blog has more: Link (thanks Violet Blue and Jason Schultz).

    Previously on BB:

  • Sex toys still banned in Alabama, guns okay
  • Court upholds sex toy ban, no fundamental right to dildos
  • Texas sex toy ruling by Supreme Court: guns yes! vibrators no!
  • New TSA restrictions and sex toys: whither the lube?

    Reader commment: Jason Gill says,

    Considering that they narrowly worded the statute, do you think that
    the law in Alabama allows for devices marketed as useful for the
    stimulation of non-human animal genitals? Just slap a “Cats love it!
    NOT FOR USE ON HUMAN GENITAL ORGANS” label on your Hello Kitty
    Vibrator and you are in business.

    The Alabama legislature must be a bunch of sick bestiality types to
    let this sort of thing slip by, but I think that probably goes without

    Devin Binger says,

    I am certain that the bill specifies human genitals when banning sex
    toys in order to avoid prohibiting devices for the collection of
    animal semen for breeding. One such device was featured on Boing
    Boing: Link

  • Book distributor bankruptcy means indie publishers screwed?

    POSTED BY admin, January 8, 2007 – 9:32 am | PERMALINK

    Violet Blue has a post up today about the Publisher’s Group West bankruptcy story, which was recently covered in the New York Times, Mediabistro, and on parody site Radio Free PGW.

    Bottom line: get ready to say goodbye to many indy/small book publishers. The New York Times article quoted an “anonymous” (um, yeah) publishing executive, stating that “authors and readers were unlikely to be affected by the bankruptcy filing”. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Let me explain, with what I’ve learned tonight. Publishers Group West is the largest book sales and distribution company in the US — it is the distributor that my publisher, Cleis Press, uses and PGW doesn’t just do indies but also their parent company AMS distributes biggies like Random House. Here’s their active list of publishers. PGW was founded as company on their own, and then in 2002 became part of a behemoth book distribution company called Advanced Marketing Services. AMS filed for bankruptcy, and as of December 29, 2006, all assets were frozen and are now held. So even though book sales were terrific last year and PGW (and all the publishers they distribute) had a great year, the book publishers’ money now belongs to the court.

    The money, exactly, is from sales months September though December — the most profitable book sales months of the year. This is calculated as roughly a third of most publishers’ yearly income. For those months, publishers like Random House are now out to the tune of $43 million. Imagine what’s going on at all the small book publishers, where $20K is like a million dollars to them. Off the cuff legal advice tonight told me that it may be possible that some publishers *might* see about 70% of those funds by the end of the year, but that it will likely take longer, and making it to that point will be the question. I have now received emails on this topic from friends who run publishing companies who have laid off their entire staff. Happy New Year. Say goodbye to small publishers. Only the big boys are going to make it.

    Link to Violet’s post.

    Kathryn Cramer adds,

    The national press just isn’t putting this story together properly. American Marketing Services was the only way for publishers to get books into the club stores like Costco, so nearly all publishers did business with them even though they’ve had an SEC investigation and three execs convicted of cooking the books. The FBI seems more interested than the publishers in addressing the problem. This is insane. Monopoly capitalism in action!

    Link to related post on Kathryn’s blog.

    Update: Here’s another post on Mediabistro about PGW: Link to “PGW publisher options, legal issues.”

    Media overestimates porn industry’s girth, say indie producers

    POSTED BY admin, January 4, 2007 – 5:21 pm | PERMALINK

    Photo: Models at the Playboy Mansion (2004, Xeni Jardin).

    A number of adult industry bloggers are taking aim at what they believe to be sloppy math in media reports about porn industry profits. Next week, the annual Adult Entertaiment Expo takes place in Las Vegas, and at issue today is a state-of-the-biz story in the New York Times by David Cay Johnston (reg-free Link), which states:

    The sex-related entertainment business grew in 2006 by just 2.4 percent, roughly the rate of inflation, to just under $13 billion (…)

    ORLY? In a forum called Adult DVD Talk, Oren from Anarchy Films disagrees:

    An average gonzo cost about $13,500. Than editing hard and soft is about $1,200. Design a sleeve is about $600, authoring is about $700, sleeves are about $500, replication is about $1,500 for 3000 pcs. So if you do the math right you looking into a $18,000. A good distributor will bring you back about $19,000 in the first 45 days of release. To keep a company going you need to release about 50 movies a year with an invesment of at least 1,000,000 in cash. (do the math).

    Tony Comstock, founder of real-couples adult film company Comstock Films, continues that argument on his blog:

    If the average gonzo flick (the mainstay of the industry) costs $18K out the door, with 12,000 +/- titles/year, that puts the total annual production, post-production, replication and packaging costs somewhere around $216M/year. The Times is asking us to believe that $216M investment is generating annual revenues of $13B. How’s that for a return on investment! Even with promotion and overhead you’ve got to like those numbers!

    The only problem is, the figures that actually make sense and are supported by any evidence are Oren’s. Look at any porn video and it’s easy to see the producers didn’t spend a lot of time or money on it.

    But the numbers reported by the Times are complete fabrications that have be reported as fact without the journalist even taking the time to run them through a calculator.

    If Americans are spending “90 cents on porn for every dollar they spend on Hollywood movies” where are the $12M/picture stars with homes in Malibu and East Hampton? Where are the the $10K/day cinematographers or the $2000/day steadicam operators? Where’s the craft-services table piled high with an endless supply of Heineken and Perrier? They’re nowhere to be found because there’s not enough money in porn to pay for them.

    Yes, I know, I know. The money flows to a secret cabal of ultra-discreet distributors. As PBS reported, “That’s why you don’t see most of them running around in the Rolls they keep that in the garage and take out on weekends.” Talk about a porn fantasy!

    Link to the full post on Tony’s blog. Here are two Forbes items which offer alternate estimates of the porn industry’s size: Link 1, Link 2.

    Update: Here’s an interesting snip from Luke Ford’s blog, back in July 2006. The guy he’s interviewing is Greg Zobary, of Zeborary Insurance Services — a broker who covers porn productions:

    Luke: “Do you think there are any millionaires in the industry who are solely employees?”

    Greg: “No.”

    Luke: “Do you think there are any billionaires in the industry?”

    Greg: “No way.”

    Luke: “Maybe this isn’t a $12 billion a year industry.”

    Greg: “It’s a $400 million [DVD] industry, maybe $500 million. The industry went out and promoted these figures that included strip club revenues, hotel revenues, etc and came up with this [$12 billion] figure, hoping it would lead to the legitimization of the industry. What it has really led to is a bunch of idiots who watch this stuff and think that porn is the new gold rush. They jump in and produce a few movies and think they’re going to get rich. Everyone I’ve seen who’s done that has walked away with no money. We no longer insure these people. They don’t stick around.


    Update: Cory Silverberg, About Sexuality editor for (which is part of the New York Times Company), says:

    This has been pissing me off for over a year now, great to read its being challenged a little more loudly.

    The multi-billion dollar numbers really got going with an AVN state-of-the-industry “study” in December 2005. Like others, I’ve been bitching about this for a long time, since the figures represent a pathetic circle jerk between AVN, porn production companies that have PR people, and mainstream media like NYT, Forbes, etc… The proof of this?

    The stats from AVN, which is what the MM always quote are not based on any verifiable sources. In fact the AVN stats cite New York Times articles, and when you go to the articles, guess who they cite to back up the multi-billion dollar claim? AVN!!!

    From a Dec/05 blog post of mine:

    “This week they have released figures proposing that adult industry revenue is poised to top 12 billion dollars for 2005. While this could be true, many of their numbers either come from “internal data” or from articles in reputable sources (New York Times, Forbes), except that those articles relied on AVN interviews to reach their conclusions about the financial value of the industry.”

    Here’s the original AVN “study”: Link.

    Again, what I find most disheartening is the fact that WaPo, the Times, and Forbes care so little about accuracy when it comes to sex stories, that they run this stuff. Ironically, I was just interviewed by someone from AVN, and they took the time to fact check a claim I made!

    SF Chron columnist, author, and blogger Violet Blue writes:

    Yup, this is the same circle jerk I get when I try to get hard
    statistics on porn sales, as well as viewership. That’s why I never
    cite MSM or AVN in my books for numbers, they’re both equally full of
    shit (read: their own agendas). Except MSM spins it, “omg, look how
    much dirty money they make from the sex, it is bad” and AVN spins it
    “omg look how much money we make, we are powerful and obviously right
    to do what we do in the ways we do it.” Both are dangerously, stupidly
    incorrect in their assertions and it has nothing to do with what their
    viewers or readers want, or like.

    Bleah. We’ll all be better off when these big companies tell the truth
    about sex and money. I live my life every day to make them do just


    Top 10 sex memes of 2006, by Violet Blue

    POSTED BY admin, December 29, 2006 – 9:48 am | PERMALINK

    Blogger and San Francisco Chronicle columnist Violet Blue shares this roundup of memorable moments in memehood with BoingBoing readers. Full text follows after the jump.

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    The Top Ten Sex Memes of 2006
    Violet Blue

    Memes snake around and wind up on everyone’s blogs, sites, get injected into inboxes and become just generally known by most without widespread recognition from a news or mainstream media site. They propagate, survive, spread and mutate, through a user-supported natural selection process. Typically — and especially with sex memes — they’re too scary or NSFW to get any official traffic. And yet everyone finds out about them, and are fascinated for at least one solid minute. But the best part of sex memes, besides the weirdness and snarky wrong ironic humor? The gap between perception and reality is often a goatse-like chasm…

    10. Celebrity Cooch Flash-A-Palooza
    I’m just relieved that leatherface Joan Rivers isn’t on the cooch-flashing bandwagon this year, but if trends continue through 2007, we’ll be seeing that (no doubt) surgical wonder in no time. Pretending to flash your pantyless pundenda was the new black for starlets 85 lbs. and above and they made the webrounds like a coke-encrusted credit card in the Marmont bathroom. On the list: Pam, Paris, Britney (don’t forget the “sex tape” — *yawn*), Lindsay… even D-list porn stars like Mary Carey gave it a try (and gets a double “D” for effort).

    More… a url worth dying for?

    POSTED BY admin, December 13, 2006 – 2:41 pm | PERMALINK

    Blogger, podcaster, SF Chron columnist, and sex educator Violet Blue writes:

    In a twist worthy of a James Ellroy novel, con man Stephen Cohen — who forged a letter convincing Network Solutions to give him possession of the URL (via VeriSign) and whose whereabouts are still unknown — can now add “gangland murder attempt” to the new chapter in his real-life, neo-noir crime drama. When the URL’s owner, Gary Kremen, had the courts order Cohen to return and pay him $65 million in damages, Cohen fled to Mexico — after he’d had the URL for three years, allegedly making $500,000 a month selling banner ads to other online porn sites. Come to think of it, the whole story (now 11 years in the making) could only be written by Carl Hiassen to have a fitting and sensible end — especially when you throw in a history that includes a convicted felon, a private investigator with a Stanford MBA, a startup dot-commer (now former) tweaker, a daughter caught smuggling 202 pounds of marijuana, a bizarre bid to buy Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and the operator of a Mexican shrimp farm. Don’t forget the Tijuana assassination attempt.

    Now, Cohen is on the lam again and his lawyer in Mexico was attacked in a old-school Mafia-style whack attempt last week, injuring the lawyer’s cab driver and a young boy. Think Cohen will show up for his San Jose court date next February? Yeah, sure.


    Reader comment: Gavin Brown says,

    British tech journo Kieren McCarthy (Link) has written about the incredible
    story of More info on the book: Link.

    MondoGlobo podcasts: Violet Blue, Eddie Codel, Ryan Junell

    POSTED BY admin, October 19, 2006 – 7:20 pm | PERMALINK

     Images Images Rusirius-Badge

     Neofiles Wp-Content Themes Neofiles Images Banner

    This week, three BB pals invade RU Sirius’s MondoGlobo network podcasts. Violet Blue is the guest on the RU Sirius Show while Eddie Codel (GETV) and video artist Ryan Junell, organizer of the Webzine conference, chat up RU on the NeoFiles.