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How Bad Satire Fans the Ebola Panic Flame, Amazon's New BFF and More #Mustreads

Plus, Gamergate humor and a Joan Didion project on Kickstarter.

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  1. There is the Onion. Then there’s about 50 feet of crap. Then there’s that group of sites that just writes fake news headlines, makes bank on the page views and then defends it as “satire.” Unsurprisingly, this viral content cabal is making the American Ebola scare a whole lot worse with made-up stories of confirmed American Ebola cases. This piece from the Verge details all that, and nicely outlines Facebook’s complicity in the viral idiocy phenomenon.
  2. Speaking of the Onion, this article from Onion sister site Clickhole is perhaps the sole bit of great humor to come out of the Gamergate mess: “A Summary Of The Gamergate Movement That We Will Immediately Change If Any Of Its Members Find Any Details Objectionable.”
  3. Jeff Bezos and Amazon do not need help, but Vox’s Matt Yglesias is offering some anyway. Here’s a full-throated defense of the company against attacks from the New Republic’s Franklin Foer and the New York Times’ Paul Krugman. Clicky headline: “Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers.”
  4. Since 2010, we’ve heard a lot of reports about an academic fraud scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill involving phony “paper classes” to get student athletes a lot of easy grades. Yesterday, the university released the findings of its own internal investigation of the matter, and this Chronicle of Higher Ed write-up of the results feels like … an Onion article. For example, a selection presented with minimal context: “One of the most notable cases may be that of Jan M. Boxill, a philosophy professor and director of the Parr Center for Ethics. She was also an academic counselor to women’s basketball players who sent students to Ms. Crowder and suggested the grades they should receive.”
  5. If you’re a Joan Didion fanatic with $2,500 to burn, pay it to this Kickstarter for a Joan Didion documentary in order to receive a pair of sunglasses from Didion’s personal collection. The movie looks kind of interesting, too.

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