It’s the middle of November and fall is finally, fully here. All the leaves are brown, and the sky is grey. It’s just the right weather for a song, perhaps, or maybe to just sit inside and stare at the Internet where it’s warmer, thanks to the fires of indignation. What’s fueling those fires this week? Well, bad hair choices, bad advertising slogans, and the return of Shia LeBeouf to everyone’s hearts, thanks to a three-day livestream where he said nothing at all. Oh, Internet. Never change. Here, as ever: the highlights of the last seven days on the World Wide Web.

Finally, Someone Makes ‘WTF’ Safe for Work

What Happened: The Internet loves a comeback, but when it’s as fun as Missy Elliott’s return, who can blame it?

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, blogs, media think pieces

What Really Happened: If you didn’t spend all Thursday playing the new Missy Elliott, I don’t know what you were doing with your time. It was her first release in three years, and it quickly overwhelmed the Internet with its greatness. It was “everything we crave,” it was “brilliant, because she is brilliant”, and unsurprisingly, it was the song of the week. Probably thanks to it being “a bruising hip-hop banger,”as well as being “pure rhythmic pleasure.” Suffice to say, the media really liked it. But what about Twitter, that most reliable of Internet barometers?

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Bill Cosby is on the phone: “Wake up, man!” – ROB STODGHILL SUNDAY, OCT 11, 2015 09:00 AM PDT

Dozens of rape allegations leave historically black colleges, recipients of much Cosby cash, wondering what’s next

Bill Cosby is on the phone: "Wake up, man!"

Excerpted from “Where Everybody Looks Like Me: At the Crossroads of America’s Black Colleges and Culture”. This Bill Cosby interview was conducted prior to the rape and sexual assault charges against him; the author does discuss the allegations. The book, however, is about America’s historically black colleges, where Cosby had — and still has — a complicated and interesting legacy.

America’s once-favorite dad was on the line. It was an early weekday morning. “It’s the Bill Cosby machine,” the comedian announced. “Wake up, man! I wanna talk about these colleges.”

It’s tough to remember now, but there was a time when Bill Cosby seemed next in line to be carved into Mount Rushmore. He was so big, so pioneering, so damn likable that even black folks were willing, for the most part, to forgive what had become an embarrassing tic of sorts; a kind of media-induced Tourette’s in which Cosby, often unprovoked, would take the stage and rant endlessly on modern black life in America—witty if not misguided assaults on everything from irresponsible black teen mothers, to gun-toting gangsta youth, to hyperethnic, hard-to-pronounce black birth names.

More recently, though, what has become painfully apparent, too, is the extent to which Bill Cosby, in these artful soliloquies, has skirted his own personal failings, foibles, and perhaps even criminal proclivities; which, no less, include an ever-growing list of women alleging that, starting as far back as the early 1970s, Cosby drugged and raped them. While Cosby has denied or declined to address the various allegations, and even his own 2005 court deposition in which he admitted drugging a woman with Quaaludes for sex, his many accusers recount incidents of sexual assault and abuse that contradict everything we had imagined about him.

And yet in the perennially fragile world of HBCUs, where good press and large dollars remain in short supply, Bill Cosby’s fall from grace represents something close to an apocalypse. The black college doomsayer searching for a sign of imminent extinction can only relish the woes of Bill Cosby. However, few figures living or dead can boast the impact that Cosby has wielded across the black higher education landscape, whether it was the millions of dollars he gifted schools from his own pocket, or the millions he helped raise hosting HBCU fund-raisers, or the credibility he gave the institutions by simply sporting a black college sweatshirt through an airport.

Admittedly, there has been some suspicion about his agenda, an unsettling sense that maybe the man had become too rich, powerful, and detached to empathize and comment credibly on modern black life and its struggles. The fact that most had grown up in households that revered Bill Cosby as an entertainer, family man, and black citizen of the world started to become less relevant than his cultural shape-shifting; that the Jell-O pudding man, before our eyes, had morphed into the grumpy old sage and scold of black America. Like those kids on his ’90s TV show, Bill was suddenly saying the darndest things. “What part of Africa did this come from? We are not Africans. Those people are not Africans; they don’t know a thing about Africa. With names like Shaniqua, Taliqua, and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.”

Yet as unsettling as Cosby’s transformation was to watch, Cosby’s views on black people, and especially young black people, have undeniably shaped popular black identity. Fat Albert, Claire Huxtable, and even Little Bill are like bells in the black subconscious that cannot be unrung; not any more than yanking down the six Chicago Bulls championship banners from the United Center would erase from a hoop fan’s memory Michael Jordan’s soaring dunks. Even amid the scandals, it’s unlikely that a generation of black folks can—or are even willing to—let go of their fond recollections of A Different World, that funny, socially conscious ’80s sitcom set in fictitious Hillman College, Cosby’s paean to black college life. The trials of Whitley Gilbert and Dwayne Wayne did more to attract black college kids to black campuses than those “A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste” public service announcements ever could.

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Here’s a look inside the Facebook app that only famous people can use – James Cook Sep. 18, 2015, 7:00 AM

oscar selfie ellen degeneresEllen DeGeneres/APFacebook Mentions is where all the famous people hang out.

FBSep 18 20:00
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Facebook released a little-known app that, until recently, could be used only by famous people verified by the social network.

It’s called Facebook Mentions.

Mentions is a better way for influential people to “keep in touch with their fans,” according to the company. It’s accessible only to verified Facebook users, a privilege that was previously reserved for celebrities, sports stars, and musicians. Users are verified if they have a blue tick next to their name.

Since journalists can now be verified too, we downloaded the app to see what it does and how it differs from regular Facebook.

Beyond Brady – By Rob Hamilton SEPT. 4 2015 3:48 PM

 Tom Brady after the 2015 AFC championship game, site of Deflategate, Jan. 18, 2015. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Tom Brady after the 2015 AFC championship game, site of Deflategate, Jan. 18, 2015.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

When Judge Richard Berman vacated Tom Brady’s four-game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate, Berman not only handed the NFL a high-profile legal defeat, but he established the courthouse as the most viable option for players hoping to challenge the league’s policies. It’s a sign that the league must reform or face major—and embarrassing—ramifications for its disciplinary actions.

When allegations arose that the Patriots had illegally deflated game balls in the AFC championship game, the NFL hired Ted Wells to conduct an independent investigation. The resulting Wells Report concluded that it was “more probable than not” that Tom Brady “was at least generally aware” of the ball-deflation scheme, prompting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Brady for four games. Brady appealed the punishment, and the matter went to arbitration. Goodell, serving as arbitrator, upheld the suspension and proclaimed that Brady “knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards in support of” the deflation scheme.

The league’s response to Deflategate was reminiscent of its response to the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal in 2013. Allegations arose that Dolphins players had bullied offensive lineman Jonathan Martin to the point of a breakdown. (Martin briefly checked himself into the hospital before leaving the team.) The league commissioned an independent investigation, also headed by Wells, which produced a 144-page report detailing the torment heaped upon Martin by his teammates. It vilified lineman Richie Incognito, who would not find work in 2014, and led to the firing of offensive line coach Jim Turner. The report served as some rare good publicity for the commissioner’s office.

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Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman and Civil Rights Leader, Dies at 75 – By ROY REED AUG. 16, 2015

Remembering Julian Bond, a Champion for Civil Rights CreditJames Palmer/Associated Press 

Julian Bond, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights, notably as chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., died on Saturday night in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. He was 75.

The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Mr. Bond’s death on Sunday. His wife, Pamela Sue Horowitz, said the cause was complications of vascular disease.

Mr. Bond was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He was the committee’s communications director for five years and deftly guided the national news media toward stories of violence and discrimination as the committee challenged legal segregation in the South’s public facilities.

He gradually moved from the militancy of the student group to the leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, Mr. Bond was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer and college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.


Julian Bond at the N.A.A.C.P.’s annual convention in 2007. Credit Paul Sancya/Associated Press 

He also served for 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser.

Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face — he was often called dashing, handsome and urbane — became familiar to millions of television viewers in the 1960s and 1970s. On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s.

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