I’m soaking wet, dear readers. Your trusted Urban Explorer spent Thursday evening reviewing film fest screeners and sipping G&Js—damn near forgot what day it was and had to run in the rain! Creative Loafing’s cat fight, Rush Limbaugh’s exploitative second cousin, social engineering and more, after the jump:

  • Tim Arango reports in the New York Times that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with Viacom: “[T]he Gates Foundation is set to expand its involvement and spend more money on influencing popular culture through a deal with Viacom, the parent company of MTV and its sister networks VH1, Nickelodeon and BET. It could be called “message placement”: the social or philanthropic corollary to product placement deals in which marketers pay to feature products in shows and movies. Instead of selling Coca-Cola or G.M. cars, they promote education and healthy living.” Creepy? Hell yes. Effective? Next generation’s obesity rates will be the judge of that. More here.
  • After it was made public that Ben Eason would remain in control of Creative Loafing (which owns the Washington City Paper), CL employees of all persuasions spoke their mind in the biggest e-catfight this company has ever seen. A sampling:

“Hope you guys have life boats and that your president has a nice captain’s uniform——– as the bloggers still blog in the distance and the hull fills with Google web ads.. I bid you all farewell..And good luck ….bring on the next round of layoffs”

Was met with:

“All of you nay-sayers need to find somewhere else to spread your negativity. We are happy and celebrating right now! :)”

Check out the entire thread—which is not only hilarious, but also throws into question the writing qualifications of many of the commenters—here.

  • Rush Limbaugh has a (second) cousin who’s a liberal and doesn’t hate him! At least, that’s what Julie Limbaugh said in her Salon piece about growing up in the shadow of Rush and his cochlear implant. It’s a fascinating piece, full of love and doubt and various “Good Rusty/Bad Rusty anecdotes,” until Julie gets to this part riiiiiight here: “Yet lately, I must admit, being a Limbaugh has been a little tough. When listening to Jon Stewart or just about everyone lay into the latest outrageous thing Cousin Rusty has said, it just doesn’t seem like he’s in on the act, and that makes it hard for me to separate my cousin from his persona. Maybe it’s just me — afraid of facing my student loans in our crumbling economy, or maybe I have officially become one of the “crazy liberals” my uncles always warn me of, but it seems that Rush is no longer just playing the political game he plays so well. Rather, he has been attacking hope, and now it feels like there’s little room for that.” Ugh—are you kidding me? This graf makes it sounds like it was written by a brilliant 12-year-old.

Ok folks, back to film fest screeners.