Oh My

Irony Shows Signs of Life as Viral Behemoths Buzzfeed and the Oatmeal Duke it Out

U mad?

It seems just yesterday that Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman was one of the most beloved men on the Internet, having converted a generation of readers into fans of the turn-of-the-century scientist Nikola Tesla and spearheaded an Indiegogo campaign to get the man an American museum.

Nowadays, between the rape joke and the angry screeds, he’s starting to look like a guy who just can’t quite learn when to keep his mouth shut. Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

The Oatmeal Is Being Sued Again

(Photo: Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal)

Deja vu? Matthew Inman, creator of the popular comic series The Oatmeal, is being sued again, this time for trademark infringement.

A greeting card company called Oatmeal Studios didn’t take kindly to Mr. Inman’s decision to collaborate with Recycled Greetings to turn his web comics into greeting cards, available for purchase in his online store. Ars Technica reports that the Massachusetts-based company has sued Mr. Inman for trademark infringement, arguing that his crossover into the ever-competitive greeting card market will confuse potential customers, who might not know The Oatmeal and Oatmeal Studios are different properties. Read More

NYCC 2012

Betabeat Takes Its First Trip to New York ComicCon

Homestuck cosplayers converge on NYCC.

“What is… going on here?” asked Betabeat’s confused cab driver, as we bore left onto W. 37th street and the entire block began to fill up with people in costumes.

Since we had never been to ComicCon before, we found ourselves at a loss to explain to him the scene that was unfolding before us. Halal carts and hotdog stands swathed Lolita cosplayers and superheroes in heavy meat smoke. Girls in thigh-high boots stumbled out of an event hall decorated with Pokemon characters. Homestuck fans, cosplaying as trolls with orange horns protruding from their heads, scurried across 10th Avenue towards the Javits Center.

“It’s… a convention for people who like comics?” we offered by way of explanation. Our cab driver shook his head with a mixture of bemusement and disgust.

“Enjoy?” he called after us, as we stumbled out of the cab and into the street, immediately sucked into the hoards of costumed convention goers. Read More

Icons

Why Nikola Tesla Is Your New Hacker Hero

Nikola Tesla, circa 1895. (Photo: Marc Seifer Archives)

For all the modern-day desire to emulate Steve Jobs, the heroic nerd isn’t a new American trope. As long ago as the Gilded Age, scientist Nikola Tesla was a celebrity. He lived at the Waldorf Astoria and was close friends with Mark Twain.

But he was neither entertainer nor robber baron. Rather, as the inventor of an effective alternating current system of power generation, he’d helped usher in a new, electrified era. His ambitious visions of the future (and complete lack of a filter) made great copy, meaning newspaper reporters were always eager to put him in print.

In 1901, at the height of his fame, Tesla built a laboratory in the rural farmland of Shoreham, Long Island. Dubbed Wardenclyffe, the facility was designed by Stanford White and meant to be the site of his greatest achievement yet: Intercontinental transmission of wireless radio signals. But it wasn’t to be. “Wardenclyffe was a landmark as magnificent in concept and execution as America’s Golden Age of electrical engineering ever produced,” writes Margaret Cheney in her 1981 biography Tesla: Man Out of Time—“magnificent and doomed.” Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Independence Edition

(Photo: Game Informer)

The Oatmeal is finally free of Charles Carreon’s bizarre legal machinations. Mr. Carreon decided to drop his case against Matthew Inman, who apparently was represented by the EFF. Everything about this was weird. [EFF]

Porn producers are all about Project Glass. We’re sure you can guess why. [PC Mag]

Apple is reportedly planning to debut a smaller, cheaper iPad–terrible news for the Nexus 7. [Bloomberg]

Kim Dotcom has a grudge against vice president Joe Biden. [TorrentFreak]

Airport security apparently stole the Nexus Q used at Google I/O. [Dan Ellis]

When Lawyers Send Letters

The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman Tells FunnyJunk Lawyer to Please Just Chill Already

Discourse. (Photo: The Oatmeal)

We’re not going to lie: We’ve enjoyed following every single development of the FunnyJunk/Charles Carreon-versus-Oatmeal/Matthew Inman fustercluck. But at this point, with a lawsuit targeting the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society, it’s getting a little ridiculous. And if Mr. Carreon digs himself any deeper, he’s going to pop out in Beijing. That’s probably why Mr. Inman just addressed Mr. Carreon’s eyeroll-inducing legal antics with a blog post informing him as gently as possible (well, for the “ptero-you-a-new-asshole” Oatmeal) that he is making matters worse.

“You’re upset, I get it,” grants Mr. Inman, before doling out a little real talk: “My advice: take a few weeks off, stop saying crazy shit to journalists, and come back when you’ve calmed down. Write an apology to whomever you feel is appropriate, or just don’t write anything ever again.” (This is actually pretty solid counsel for anyone who ever incurs the wrath of the Internet.) Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

Indiegogo Fires Back at FunnyJunk Lawyer’s ‘Internet Jihad’ Lawsuit, Calls It ‘Frivolous’

(Photo: The Oatmeal)

Late Friday afternoon, the legal dustup between popular Oatmeal webcomic creator Matthew Inman and FunnyJunk lawyer Charles Carreon careened full-speed into OMGWTF territory. Mr. Inman initially launched a campaign on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise money for the National Wildlife Foundation and the American Cancer Society in response to a trademark complaint filed by FunnyJunk. On Friday, Mr. Carreon, who is representing FunnyJunk in the case against The Oatmeal, filed his own lawsuit against Mr. Inman, alleging that he incited “cybervandalism” and initiated an “Internet jihad.”

In the suit, Mr. Carreon alleges that Mr. Inman’s campaign unleashed a swath of cybervigilantes who have fraudulently impersonated him and harassed him. But the thing is–Mr. Carreon is also suing the charities that were unwittingly dragged into this mess, as well as Indiegogo. Read More

When Lawyers Send Letters

The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman Responds to Lawsuit Threat By Raising $25K for Charity

There were some other parts to Mr. Inman's response. (theoatmeal.com)

Popular webcomic The Oatmeal has reportedly been threatened with a lawsuit for making allegedly defamatory statements about FunnyJunk.com. Did the threat work? No, not at all, as of this writing.

FunnyJunk is a site with which Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman has some history. In response to the demand for $20,000 in damages, Mr. Inman proposed raising $20,000 on on Indiegogo, which he has pledged to donate to the National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society. The project hit $20,000 in 64 minutes and is up to $25,000 with 15 days left to go. How do you like them oats?