Media, pop culture, news, trends, photos, rants + things we like.
Subscribe to Newsweek on the web.
Vincent Canzani spent most of his evenings at Easton Town Center, an upscale outdoor shopping mall that seems like a great idea from April to October in Columbus, Ohio, and a less great idea the rest of the year. The routine began when Canzani managed a tire shop — he’d close down the store in the evening, then head to a cigar shop at Easton called the Tinder Box. With an iPad in one hand and a cigar in the other, Canzani would park himself in the shop’s lounge or sit on the adjacent patio at Fadó, an Irish pub. After quitting Mr. Tire, this little corner became Canzani’s second home. He came by five or six days a week and even picked up a shift selling cigars one day a week. An avid photographer, he took portraits of employees and shot various events at the shop.
It was a warm night on June 21, 2013. Canzani was shooting the breeze with fellow Tinder Box employee Todd Gordish. After Gordish closed the shop at 10 p.m., he and Canzani walked over to Easton’s movie theater to catch an action flick.
They made plans to go to a Columbus Clippers baseball game the next day, then parted ways around 12:30 a.m. Canzani wasn’t ready to go home quite yet, probably because “home” had become indefinable. Ever since moving back to Columbus from northern Ohio after his marriage of 10 years ended in 2012, his birthplace felt like a different town.
WASHINGTON — Staci Bivens knew something was seriously wrong when her bosses at Russia Today asked her to put together a story alleging that Germany — Europe’s economic powerhouse — was a failed state.
“It was me and two managers and they had already discussed what they wanted,” Bivens, an American who worked in RT’s Moscow headquarters from 2009 through 2011, said of a meeting she’d had to discuss the segment before a planned reporting trip to Germany. “They called me in and it was really surreal. One of the managers said, ‘The story is that the West is failing, Germany is a failed state.’”
Bivens, who had spent time in Germany, told the managers the story wasn’t true — the term “failed state” is reserved for countries that fail to provide basic government services, like Somalia or Congo, not for economically advanced, industrialized nations like Germany. They insisted. Bivens refused. RT flew a crew to Germany ahead of Bivens, who was flown in later to do a few standups and interviews about racism in Germany. It was the beginning of the end of her RT career.
“At that point I’d been there for a little bit and I’d had enough of the insanity,” Bivens said. She stayed until the end of her contract in 2011 and didn’t make an effort to renew it.
Judging by interviews with seven former and current employees, Bivens’ story is typical. RT, the global English-language news network funded by the Russian government, has come into the spotlight since the Russian invasion of Crimea, which the network has defended tooth-and-nail. The invasion has led to two high-profile rebellions within the ranks: first, an on-air condemnation of the invasion by RT America host Abby Martin, followed days later by the live resignation of another host, Liz Wahl.
Martin, who hosts an opinion show, said that Russia’s actions were wrong; Wahl, a news anchor, went one step further, saying that she could not work at a network that found Russia’s actions acceptable.
Combat is imminent at Caerphilly Castle. It’s a bright, chilly morning at the imposing 13th century fortification in South Wales, and we’re about to witness the kind of brutal violence this historic site hasn’t seen for half a millennium.
Huge, hulking men covered head to toe in glistening steel are sizing each other up, slicing immense swords through the air, or reacquainting themselves with the heft of their favorite axe. Visors are dropped with menace. We hear the fighters emerge before we see them, rattling sheets of chain mail echoing through the castle’s Great Hall before a long shadow announces another arrival. The courtyard shivers with anticipation as the arena fills with around 25 brutes.
A flag goes up, swords are raised, and any last prayers uttered before — wait. Someone’s missing. “He went to Morrison’s for food,” a voice ventures. “He doesn’t have time to go to Morrison’s,” another retorts. “Well, we can’t start without him,” a third decides.
And so the latest battle of Caerphilly is delayed while the missing fighter picks up provisions. There are a few more delays: Crowd barriers need readjusting; one warrior has a broken visor; another’s not wearing his helmet. But when war finally commences, it’s sudden and chaotic and instantly the stuff of George R. R. Martin’s most bloodlusty prose.
Steel kisses steel. Actual sparks fly. An axe snaps in half as it dents a helmet. A municipal garbage bin, carelessly left at the fringes of the fight, implodes in a sorry mess of dented plastic as four armored men collapse onto it.
I’m witnessing, from the far side of a flimsy rope, something much more violent than your average historical battle reenactment. These men are engaging in full-contact medieval combat in an open training session for Battle Heritage GB, one of two UK-based national teams that are part of a growing, if fractious, global society. More GBH than LARP, it substitutes foam weaponry for real steel and scripted acting for unpredictable scuffling, and despite the mayhem, operates under tightly controlled rules and regulations.
And then Dave the large predator expert said to Tyson the 5-week-old lion cub, “These are BuzzFeed employees…”
In which BuzzFeed launches a music section.
I wrote a piece about Ben Smith’s troll-filled comments section last year. Politico has since gone to Facebook Comments. Today it was announced Smith will be new Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed, no stranger to crazy Internet people! (via moneyries)
Internet watchers and usenet fans this past week may have encounted Horsemaning, an internet trend many are calling “the new planking.” Some foolishly believed it hit the high-water mark this morning with the Horsemaning of Kathie Lee and Hoda on the Today show. But nope! Moments ago, Newsweek & The Daily Beast teamed up with BuzzFeed to bring you Horsemaning 2.0, the future, and it’s fueled by the connective infrastructure of Google+.
History will never be the same.