Now the story of a website who lost it’s commission and the one writer who had no choice but to keep it all together. It's Arrested Adsense.
Some of you may know this pitiful tale of woe, but let me catch you up if you don’t or give you the fuller story. Given my limited sense of humor, I decided it would be funny to do a parody of Mormon porn (that’s those pictures of women in bikinis that have been photoshopped to look like they’re nude), but using all round pop culture characters. So, it’s basically circle on circle action. Kind of a one note joke (if even one note), but it made me chuckle, so I went with it, and I was kind of impressed with my bubble porn making skills if I do say so myself… first try, people!
Days later I get an email from Google giving me a warning for what they deemed as "lewd" content. Not funny I get, but lewd?
Adsense Policy Video:
The basic gist of their standards:
- We decide what’s offensive
- Everything can be offensive to someone
It’s interesting that they claim this to be a manual process because that means someone would have had to look at the above picture of Ms. Pacman and thought that it was actually offensive (and, maybe, it is offensive but you’d have to be very prudish and you probably wouldn’t say more than, “Oh, you little rascal.” And I'd say, "Grandpma, you just don't get me!"). I think obviously the keyword “porn” set off a warning flag (wait for the klaxon), but these images would only appear pornographic to something that had no concept of what it was looking at… like a robot. Like something that could only identify that there are circles covering what could be explicit content but not what the explicit content actually is.
So, given this was a parody piece of a scantily clad Ms. Pacman, who normally wears just a bow anyway (I also realize it may have been Power Girl's chest hole, but this is just what's visible on every comic image of Power Girl, so any website that publishes any picture of Power Girl should be in violation), I clearly (probably?) did not validate their policy. I wrote an email stating this opinion and low and behold they rescinded the penalty. That’s right, they rescinded the penalty. I fought the law and the Gnards won! Or so I thought.
Days after this I get a second email saying an article I wrote 4 years ago now violates their content policies. So, they gave me a small moral victory and then proceeded to run my website through the meat grinder to see what else they could squeeze out. Well played, Corporate Giant, well played. Now this page is admittedly a little more questionable. It’s an article poking fun of weird/sexy Japanese toys, so I can see their point but the content is still not trying to be provocative. It’s tongue & cheek, not tongue in cheeks. It was an old article though (before I had any quality control - yeah, this is quality control), and I hadn’t put a lot of work in to it and didn’t mind seeing it go, so I deleted it. Not even an edit… just BOOM! delete (and without giving too much away it eventually got unboomed). However, the next email from Google said my site was still in violation and it could be literally any page on my site.
And that was about all the fight I had left in me. I’m not going to let Google dictate my content because that’s essentially what they’re asking for, full editorial control. I have hundreds of pictures on Wolf Gnards that could be taken the wrong way if that’s the mindset you come in with. The problem is there is no humor algorithm, they can’t tell what’s parody or sarcasm, so if you have anything that pushes the envelope past PG, it can and probably will be subject to a penalty. I rarely curse and I rarely write anything that could be qualified as sexual, so if my content is considered dirty, all content is considered dirty.
The craziest thing though is that the most pornographic content I ever had on my site came for a Google Ad for League of Angels (which I refuse to link to on principle). Every time I logged onto my own website I had to be confronted with jiggling computer boobs! That's them putting this on my site, not me.
Typical Google Ad:
Which also given their rules means:
- They have to protect League of Angels from my eye damaging content
- League of Angels would object to my content
So, on one end you have Google taking ads (and getting money) from anyone with very little regulations regarding boob jiggle. And on the other end you have Google putting extreme regulations on the sites that they have to pay (and if they punish you at the right time, they get to keep the money you earned by hosting their ads). In short, it’s very easy to pay Google and very difficult to get paid by Google.
But I’m just a David and this website is the best slingshot I got, and Googliath will not even notice this. Will Sarah Palin worm her way out of the woodwork to support my first amendment rights? Probably not. Google actually is within their rights to do this, I get that (I technically did violate their terms), it just doesn't feel right to me.
Bright side: As you can see, I do have ads back (at least, I did seconds before this was posted). I want to thank Lijit for taking a chance on a small town boy, just a steel mill worker with a dream of
dance putting advertisements on his website.
Five years ago, I had a dream. A dream of made up charts and obscure pop culture references. This is that dream. I’ve had a lot of fun though and even a little success. I got my work out there, mainlined into pop culture consciousness, and I’ve managed to meet a few cool people who might even call themselves fans. All and all it’s been a wonderful experience. I may not have actually solved any mysteries or really answered any questions, but I’ve had a ton of fun trying and that’s got to count for something.
So, if you’re a long time fan, let’s reminisce a bit… and if you’re new to Wolf Gnards, here’s a little recap.
The Top 5 Posts of the Last Five Years!
AKA the only Wolf Gnards Articles you Know
5. Hipster Irony – One of the sacred tenets of article writing is “something, something hipsters.” And, of course, if possible, “something, something bad about hipsters.” I don’t really care about the misuse of the term irony, and I’m not even entirely sure if it is a misuse. I just don’t like the idea of liking things ironically in that you only like it because it’s not worth liking and if was worth liking you wouldn’t like it. Or even the concept of “it’s so bad, it’s good.” Why can’t it just be good? I want to like things unironically. So, yes, I don’t like “hipsters” because they like things that they don’t actually like… and that also might be ironic.
4. Greek Tragedy – My favorite part of this is how people like to belittle my genetic expertise as if I have any sort of genetic expertise. The only advanced degree I have is in English, and look at all it’s gotten me! Of course, Greeks can be blonde, the Greek thing was probably more of springboard for me because it’s such a rare thing. The point is that it’s rare, and 3 out of 3 is not rare. Also, Dave Coulier tweeted this, so it pretty much validates everything...
This article about Full House, is brilliant!!! http://t.co/d1GMQJWw
— Dave Coulier (@DaveCoulier) July 27, 2012
3. Pictures of Topanga – This is another sacred tenet… picture of girls will get traffic. I very quickly discovered random pictures of girls will generate far more traffic than any well thought out piece of writing. Girls = traffic. Hot girls = even more traffic. Nostalgic hot girls = maximum traffic. Who didn’t have a soft spot for Topanga? A smart girl who doesn’t realize that she’s hot to the point that she’s willing to date (and marry) the lesser Savage brother (because if you read this blog regularly, you too probably identify yourself as a lesser Savage brother. We are all lesser Savage brothers).
2. Pictures of Zooey Deschanel – More pictures, more girls. Also, please, note that this was a pre-New Girl crush. There’s really not much to this article. It was really just an excuse to post this picture of Zooey’s bangs. I had the idea to do the bang breakdown, but I had no idea that it would be 50/50 until I started looking at pictures. Did this site make Zooey Deschanel famous… absolutely not. Did this site accurately decode why people like her? Probably not. Has Zooey Deschanel seen this picture? That’s a strong maybe. From my photoshop to her eye, not a bad day at all.
1. The Groundhog Day Article! – And then there was Bill Murray. This article is basically the guiding force behind Wolf Gnards (none of my Monster Squad articles even cracked the top 10). I didn’t really know what this blog was about until I wrote this article. It was kinda nerdy and kinda pop culturey, but no real focus in either direction. This article really set the tone for what Wolf Gnards would eventually become and the overall snark of the website. There was definitely a time when I was desperate to get out from under its shadow because I’ve never been able to come close to replicating its success (Pop quiz: what site launched this article? Digg. Can you believe that? One day on the limping corpse of Digg provided more traffic than any other referral source combined). But I’ve learned to love that shadow, and if you’re gonna be in anyone’s shadow it might as well be Bill Murray’s.
Is the only question man has left really “Where’s the Beef?” Where, indeed. Is the beef over here, is it over there? Is the beef in a house, is the beef with a mouse? Is the beef in Texas? Is the beef overseas? Has the beef been inside the human spirit this whole time? I like to think so. This is probably why I was drummed out of journalism (they made me hand over my checkered fedora with my press pass stuck in the side). I just couldn't answer these vital questions. Maybe, I just tried too hard to always get the most sensational beef headlines - “Beef Attacks Baby.” Maybe, I just failed to understand the who, what, when, where, how, and why of beef.
Where’s the Beef? is not just something printed on ironic t-shirts, it was the jingoistic Wendy’s tagline of the 80’s to sell hamburgers. Your burgers suck, our burgers rule! Also, it’s a penis metaphor. Your burgers are tiny, our burgers satisfy her cravings. The commercials are basically about a cranky old lady asking “Where’s the beef,” in various locations under various circumstances over and over and over again.
The point is no one would ever snicker and point at you in the locker room while you're eating a delicious Wendy’s double stack (not that I’d know). So, where does this leave us...
Who’s the Beef (Tony Danza, obviously)?
If we study a brief history of Wendy’s spokespersons we may find the answer:
Illustrated Wendy -
Pippi Longstocking Wendy is the company mascot and is based of the founder’s then eight-year-old daughter. Whether she had freckles and pigtails the world may never know, but she moved burgers. Burgers are for closers. Wendy has been the mascot throughout Wendy’s run. However, the real Wendy isn't even named Wendy, she's named Melinda Lou. She was nicknamed Wendy because she couldn’t pronounce her own name (thanks Wikipedia!). Although, since her problems were with E’s and L’s, her nickname should have been Murindarou. Would I eat at a restaurant called Murder Yous, you bet I would.
Clara Peller (the Where’s the Beef lady) - Before her Where’s the Beef commercial fame, Clara was in a bitter custody battle for her children, resulting in her assuming a variety of disguises and vacuum dance montages. Eventually she was cast in what was supposed to be just a small part and history was made. Where’s the Beef didn’t just sell burgers, but records, board games, t-shirts, bubble gum, magnifying glasses, penis pumps, and spaghetti. Which eventually got Clara fired. She was the company’s spokeswoman until she did a commercial with Prego claiming she had finally found the beef.
Dave Thomas - After Clara left Wendy’s for a big Italian sausage, Dave Thomas, the Founder of Wendy’s, stepped in. Only Dave Thomas had the raw animal sex appeal that could save this fast food chain. It is weird that they decided to use bumbling old people to sell food to young people, but it worked great (Not clown great... or even king great... okay, maybe, not that great at all but better than a Jack-in-the-box). His commercials were probably far more success over the long run, but they weren’t a cultural phenomenon. After 800 some commercials the only things I can recall about Dave Thomas was that he never graduated high school and he was wonderful in Strange Brew.
Animated Wendy - After Thomas’s death, Wendy’s decided to animate and update Wendy for the new millennium. She’s a hip
old young granny redhead who can hip-hop, bebop, dance ‘til ya drop and yo-yo, make a wicked cup of cocoa (That’s Mrs. Doubtfire reference #2!). It didn’t work. Wendy's probably should have rastified her by another 10%. They needed something big, they needed a return to their roots, they needed The Goddamn Wendy.
Real Wendy - Where has the real Wendy been all these years? I feel there was a series of memos sent at Wendy’s Burgernational Inc. that pleaded her to step up because they needed a Thomas at the wheel (grill?). Then a series of replies saying that Wendy doesn’t really feel TV ready, but she does like the burgers. And why don't they just hire a sexy redhead instead. Then a series of interoffice emails saying, “Hey, doesn’t Wendy sorta look a little like Melissa McCarthy." Then someone had the bright idea, “Hey, if people love Melissa McCarthy and Wendy looks like Melissa McCarthy then people will love Wendy.” Which made Wendy Thomas believe by the transitive property of Melissa McCarthy that the world would love her too. All which leading to…
Hot Wendy - It turned out people might not want to be reminded of the side effects of a lifetime of eating fast food. So, they found a younger, hotter version of a grownup Wendy (ably played by the adorable Morgan Smith Goodwin). She’s the kind of Wendy you could really see yourself making a penis metaphor with. She’s the best of all worlds: she’s an updated Wendy for today's yo-yo cocoa twitter generation, she’s a real human being just like Big Dave, and she’s as catchingly annoying as Clara. But unlike Clara, you still kind of want to have “burgers” with her. And by “burgers” I mean "[edited by wife]," that’s what the quotations were about.
So, what do I do with my day? I mostly keep tabs on actors who auditioned for the role of Horace in the Monster Squad. This is a brush with nard destiny that’s a little hard to ignore (for me anyway).
These Actors Almost had Nards
Which I realize is incorrect because it’s the Wolfman who “gots” nards and not the kid who “gots” nards.
TV’s Wil Wheaton – Before he was named the official unofficial King of the Nerds (a title he received, may I add, for simply wearing a Cosby sweater in space), Wil Wheaton was a child actor who almost got to kick a werewolf in the nards.
Fun fact: I auditioned for MONSTER SQUAD. I made it all the way to the final round, but was not cast.
— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) August 20, 2013
Jeff Davis – Jeff B. Davis is an improv comedian, comptroller for Dan Harmon’s Harmonberg, and I’m 96% sure, at least, the partial inspiration for Jeff Winger on Community. He admits to almost getting nard time in this episode of Hamonville. It’s safe to say his interruption would not have been the same: The Wolfman has Gnaaaaaards.
Also interesting is Jeff tried out for the Wil Wheaton part in Stand by Me.
Some Dude – Zach Baker wrote a comment on this very site, confirming that the original script of Monster Squad spelled nards with no “g.” I’d like to add that I do realize the whole world spells it this way, but I still don’t have to agree with it. Zach Baker appeared in Mr. Belvedere, was a Jeopardy! champion, and now works in gaming. He’s like a version of me who’s smarter and more motivated.
So, if you auditioned for Monster Squad, or know anyone who has let me know and I’ll post you here!
Elsewhile in Cyberspace
Wolfman's Got Shirt!
Remember when I said I was going to kick 2013 in the nards? Well, I didn’t. I grazed the nards, at best. It’s sad to both try to kick a year in the nards, and to fail miserably. Yet here we are…
This is the 2013 Nards in Review, AKA the Top Gnardicles of 2013!
What do you get when you combine a C- blog with an F+ concept (nobody reads anymore) with a solid D writer? Well, if you’re still reading this, I probably don’t have to tell you. Wolf Gnards! Yes, Wolf Gnards America’s 149,958th rated website! We’re #149,958! We’re #149,958!
We did have one article that did well this year, can you guess which one?
10. My Analysis of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer - I wrote this in the last week of 2013, so considering it’s the 10th most popular article in 2013 probably gives you a good idea of the kind of year it’s been.
8. Indy is so Indie – I started an Instagram for the sole purpose of making these photos.
7. Things That are Not Knives – This was supposed to be a groundbreaking exposé on everything that is not a knife, which turns out to be a lot of things. I did enjoy the “That’s my wife” photo though.
6. Masters of Disguise – The only disguise is this trying to pass as an article. There’s probably a little too much of my patented brand of bad photoshop, too.
5. My Tribute to Walter Peck – Hero of heroes, I stand by everything I said. Peck was a great man and environmentalist even if he had no dick.
4. Girls Dressed as Doctor Who – Guys like girls dressed as Doctor Who, girls like girls dressed as Doctor Who, but nobody likes guys dressed as companions
3. Statues I will Someday Commission – Sadly the commemorative Balki statue is one of my better ideas.
2. This Post – Which is really just a companion piece and prelude to my #1 article of 2013…
1. Back to the Future had Two Martys (Marti?) – This is the article where I explain that in Back to the Future there are two Marty McFlys. Most of you couldn’t figure out what I was talking about, I certainly couldn’t figure out what I was talking, but I like to think a few of you could separate my gibberfacts out from my gibberish. This article did so well it made the follow up article the second most popular article of the year.
Thanks for sharing my love of Back to the Future and enjoying another year of musing (or tolerating them, whatever).
As a kid, one of my all time favorite Christmas carols was, of course, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (that and a little diddy about Batman smelling). I think few songs really manage to combine the festive holiday spirit with bloody murder quite like this one. And that’s right, I said murder because Grandma did not die from sleighicular manslaughter, this was a premeditated murder.
GGRObaR (as the kids say) is an interesting take on perspective. The joke of the song works because it juxtaposes Santa committing a hit and run with the reality of Grandpa who just got away with the perfect murder. Blaming Santa Claus is like saying a one armed man murdered your wife (side note: The Fugitive theoretically has given any person with one arm free reign to murder whoever they want because what cop is going to believe a one armed man did it?). Fictional characters don’t usually commit a lot of murders, I don’t have the actual crime statistics on hand but I have to believe the number is 0% of murders this year were caused by fictional characters.
What I’m trying to get at though is that there are two realities in Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer: that of a child who believes in Santa, and that of the more cynical adult who does not. Take the song I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus for example. As adults we know that Mom is just kissing Dad who is dressed as Santa Claus, but as children we’re forced to assume Mommy is a bit of tart (regardless of the sexual assaulting powers of mistletoe). To a kid this is a song about your mother cheating on your father. Grandma Got Run Over has the same play, and both versions are sort of horrible The children version is about Santa performing a heinous act. That’s pretty dark when you think about it. As an adult though we both know that grandpa committed the murder and that most of the family is pretty okay with it (which make me wonder what was so bad about Grandma?).
Let’s look at the song:
Grandma got run over by a reindeer
Walking home from our house Christmas Eve.
You can say there's no such thing as Santa,
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.
Why is Grandpa so eager to believe that Santa did it? I think it’s natural given the “evidence” for a kid to think Santa was involved, but why would Grandpa encourage it? He should know better. As a rational person, I might think a regular deer caused it or a drunk driver or something without supernatural powers. That fact that Grandpa is trying so desperately to pawn this off on Santa makes me wonder what he’s really trying to hide.
She'd been drinking too much eggnog,
And we'd begged her not to go.
But she forgot her medication,
And she staggered out the door into the snow.
When they found her Christmas morning,
At the scene of the attack.
She had hoof prints on her forehead,
And incriminating Claus marks on her back.
If Grandpa was so concerned over her safety, why would he let a woman (presumably in her 60’s) walk out in the snow alone? He should know how much “nog” she can handle. And why did Grandpa wait until the morning to report Grandma as missing? And while somewhat Santa-leading, the hoof print could have been caused by almost any blunt instrument. And if it is an actual hoof print, that doesn’t necessarily point to the hoof of a magical reindeer. Also, what is a Claus mark? Some sort of fat mark, did it look like she was sat on? Or was it white beard hairs? Cookie crumbs? And if so, then how fat is grandpa and how white is his beard? It seems like cookie crumbs could be easily planted. If we were living in a world with a Santa Claus, a mystical being that has never been seen… I think he would cover his tracks better than that.
Or did the police report say "claw marks" on her back, and a series of wild animals trampled Grandma?
Now we're all so proud of Grandpa,
He's been taking this so well.
See him in there watching football,
Drinking beer and playing cards with cousin Mel.
Seems like pretty blasé behavior for someone grieving over his dead wife. In the context of the song this is within hours of discovering her body. The police haven’t even finished filing out all the paper work yet. And who is this cousin Mel? Hot cousin Melanie? Shifty cousin Melvin with his get rich quick schemes?
I’ll admit that the evidence against Grandpa is circumstantial at best. I don’t think it would hold up in any court of law, but it is more evidence than the evidence against a person who doesn’t exist.
Lastly there’s this:
I've warned all my friends and neighbors.
"Better watch out for yourselves."
They should never give a license,
To a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.
Santa shouldn’t be judged by his company, no matter how tiny or pointy eared they may be. That has nothing to do with the accident. Also, Grandma was the one drunk on eggnog. I’m not saying Santa is real, but if he were real, this would be Grandma’s fault.
The lesson of the song is either Santa Claus accidentally killed your grandmother while delivering presents to you. Or your grandfather used the cover of a snowstorm and your belief in a magical being to pull off the perfect crime. It's your fault. Merry Christmas!