Ohhh boy. Yesterday, when Crystal O’Connor said that her family’s restaurant, Memories Pizza, in Walkerton, Indiana, would be obliged to deny a request to cater a mozzarella-themed wedding reception for a gay couple due to their religious “beliefs,” she surely didn’t anticipate the wrathful response on social media by homosexuals and/or fans of civil rights and “the American way.” Given that Memories is a local restaurant that serves pizza, the natural social media venue for a vigorous response was Yelp, the website that publishes crowd-sourced reviews of local businesses.
That response has been intense indeed—and hilarious:
The overall rating for Memories, at this writing based on 1,127 reviews, is hovering at about 1.5. Of course, not all of the people glomming onto the site are out to attack Memories; like Chick-fil-A, it has plenty of defenders too.
And lest we forget, Yelp allows reviewers to upload pics as well. Interestingly, there are currently fewer pictures than just a couple of hours ago, so Yelp or someone is seeking to remove the obvious trolls. Here, check some out:
It’s cool, you can call this sweater “gay.” It’s the world’s first and only 100% gay object.
Admit it, you’ve used the word “gay” to describe something negative. Oh, you haven’t? Great, glad to hear it, perfect person. This awareness-raising campaign by the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity is for the other people that have used “gay” in a derogatory manner. They’re hoping everyone will think twice before using that word in an inappropriate way.
The Gay Sweater is real and it’s knit from the human hair of over 100 homosexual people who donated their homo-locks to the project.
Watch this to learn more about this hair-y sweater:
When I first heard there was a video game called Social Justice Warriors which simulated Internet arguing, I (errantly) assumed that in the wake of the gamergate controversy, the title was invoking a pejorative use of “social justice.” Upon further investigation, I learned that the titular Social Justice Warriors are indeed the heroes in this turn-based RPG, battling “trolls” in a virtual simulation of every dumb Internet comment-thread ever.
The “warriors” in this crusade are based on standard medieval fantasy RPG heroes. The game characters are described on the game’s Steam site:
Social Justice Paladins duel foes with 140 characters or less while shrugging off attacks with a press of the Block button, at least until their foes create new accounts.
Social Justice Clerics serve in the name of their patron sub-deity, taking solace in its comforting presence to heal and summoning its divine power to smite their enemies.
Social Justice Mages conjure powerful constructs of fact and opinion to alter minds and reality… while occasionally summoning an activist organization or hurling a scathing fireball of a blog post.
Social Justice Rogues fight fire with fire. Throw flurries of vitriolic character attacks, confuse enemies with smokescreens of alternate accounts, then delete your accounts and withdraw into the shadows of the net.
JJ Shepherd, a video game historian, developer, and gaming researcher at the University of South Carolina, hipped me to the game and clarified the play:
Briefly describe the gist of what happens in a game of Social Justice Warriors.
Shepherd: Once a warrior is chosen, the battle against waves of trolls begins. The resources you’re given are simple but highly indicative of what it takes to argue on social media. “Sanity” can be thought of as health and strength. It corresponds to how effective your arguments are and how angry you are. For instance, if your sanity is low and you are reaching a boiling point, then attacks are far less effective as they start lacking coherency.“Reputation” is an interesting resource system. If the player has a high enough reputation they will gain favor with other social justice warriors, and they will bandwagon, helping the player fight. It can also be used to launch personal attacks against the troll (at a price).
Using these resources the player can launch one of four different attacks each turn. A logic attack targets the troll’s sanity, but has a low chance of accuracy—so while your logic is sound the troll is probably going to ignore it. Then there is the personal attack, which goes for the troll’s reputation and has a high chance of accuracy. While this can be a powerful anger inducing attack, it takes away from your reputation. A mixed attack combines the best of logic and personal attack, and in so you prove your point while calling them stupid, but keeps your reputation intact. Finally the special attack depends on the warrior. For instance the cleric will heal its sanity by talking in their sub-forums “/r deity,” or the rogue will dig up a scandal to completely defame the troll. Whoever’s sanity or reputation is depleted first is the loser of the battle. If the player wins they go on to face more powerful trolls.
It sounds like the SJW tactics are not so much different from what the trolls get up to. Can the game be beat, or is this a Professor Falken style lesson of “the only way to win the game is not to play?”
Shepherd: I’d agree with that to a degree. It reveals many truths about arguing with people on the Internet. It never matters who’s right, and all that matters is feeling like you won a pissing contest with idiots. It’s interesting to note the trolls are applying the same tactics against you, which reveals in many ways social justice warriors are also trolls in their own right. I haven’t been able to beat it yet, but I believe that’s what they’re going for. As hard as you fight you keep having to go against more and more trolls until eventually you give up and walk away from your keyboard. Is it worth sacrificing sanity and your reputation trying to prove a point? I believe their stance is “no.”
If our assumptions are correct, this time-waster is a statement on time-wasting—but without all the hurt feelings and impotent death-threats.
With assholes like Rush Limbaugh, all you have to do is wait…
For days the rumor has circulated that WLS 890AM, the Chicago market Cumulus-owned talk radio station, is about to drop Rush Limbaugh from its 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday slot at the end of March, although the company has denied this.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility that this “leak” was a way to grind Limbaugh down in contract renegotiations, but then Limbaugh himself posted this curiously self-aware statement on his official Facebook page:
My oh my, that sounds to my ears like the “Mayor of Realsville” admitting defeat, don’t you think?
WHO is gonna miss Rush Limbaugh when he retires? The only person whose life would be changed for the worse is that of the woman who married this asshole. Now he’s got more time to spend with her…
Limbaugh has been with the Chicago station for 25 years, but recently his show has become, in the words of one WLS insider “impossible to sell.” Both TIME and The Wall Street Journal have cited Limbaugh’s “failure to generate ad revenue” and credit his fall principally on social media campaigns like StopRush, BoycottRush and FlushRush that put public pressure on his advertisers, shaming them on social media where any association with Limbaugh is obviously toxic. Another of Limbaugh’s corporate benefactors, IHeart Media (formerly Clear Channel) which carries The Rush Limbaugh Show on over 500 of their stations, reported a quarterly loss of $309 million and upwards of twenty billion dollars in debt. Rush needs to pick up the hint and get the hook before he burns their house down! (He’s allegedly got a $400 million contract with them. Regrets? They’ve had a few hundred million, I’d reckon…)
Who says that hate speech, racism, misogyny and homophobia aimed at an audience dying off faster and faster with each passing year doesn’t pay? Ask the fuckwits tanking their stock carrying Jabba the Rush’s relic of a radio program in 500 markets in 2015! (How incredibly innovative of you, IHeartMedia!)
It will be a good day for America when El Rushbo hangs up his headphones for good, but I for one wish him a long life. Not a happy life, mind you, but a damned long one. May his millions pay the finest physicians that money can buy to keep him alive forever, like the Face of Boe on Doctor Who, his big fat head preserved in a tank of formaldehyde, his mind driven to madness by the realization that his entire life’s work was, in the end, of little value to anyone and with the lasting resonance of a particularly sulphurous fart in the howling winds of history. May he live forever and a day.
If you have to take a leak in the St. Pauli party district of Hamburg, Germany, be sure to take the time to find a bathroom. To discourage drunk people from taking a public whiz in the neighborhood, a group of local community activists have applied a special liquid-repelling (superhydrophobic) paint to its walls. When someone pees on the specially-coated wall, it bounces back on the tinkler and gets them wet.
This pissed-off German said about his community’s problem with peepee, “I’m really pissed off that people pee everywhere.”
Watch the video the anti-public-urination group made which shows some pee-bodies getting sprayed with their own piss. It’s called “St. Pauli Pees Back”:
Want to stop public urination in your own ‘hood? You should, but you’re going to need a kit like this first.
In the immortal words of Twisted Sister, “We’re not gonna take it anymore!”
Banksy’s back, and this time he’s traveled to Gaza to get the world’s attention. Never one to shy from controversy, the artist’s website was recently updated to show 4 new pieces that he spray-painted in bomb-ruined Gaza, along with a tourism-style video purportedly shot by the man himself. The 2-minute short, aimed at making a big statement about the grim situation there, is mockingly titled Make this the year YOU discover a new destination.
Here’s a look at the new stenciled art with descriptions, if given:
This one is called “Bomb Damage” and appears to be inspired by Rodin’s famous bronze sculpture, “The Thinker.”
Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons - they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day.
A local man came up and said ‘Please - what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens.
If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful—we don’t remain neutral.
To give you a feel for it, here’s a couple stills from Make this the year YOU discover a new destination:
Caligula actually had a lot going for it, at least on paper, but it was a doomed film from the start. The original screenplay was by Gore Vidal, but then he disowned it after director Tinto Brass made substantial changes (Brass maintains Vidal’s script was terrible, but it’s entirely possible that it was just too gay for his likings). Brass still could have made a good film though—at this point in his career he was known for groundbreaking experimental cinema (like the notorious “high class” Nazi sexploitation film Salon Kitty)—but producer Bob Guccione (of Penthouse magazine fame) wanted to film actual hardcore (rather than simulated) sex. Brass refused, so Guccione had someone else film the scenes, adding to the disjointed insanity of the whole production. Even the fantastic casting—Malcolm McDowell, Peter O’Toole, Helen Mirren, John Gielgud—was tempered by Brass casting his own bohemian friends as Roman elites, and Guccione throwing numerous Penthouse Pets into the sex scenes.
The result was worse than cheesy pornography—it’s confusing, pretentious, cheesy pornography—a $17.5 million Penthouse magazine-funded boondoggle, and an absolute camp classic that everyone should see… once.
This is why Protest, a 1981 mini-documentary on Canadian decency activists is such a charming relic. On the one hand, it’s always unpleasant to see any impulse to curtail free speech. On the other hand, these dowdy conservative Canucks seem so darn sweet and reasonable compared to their American counterparts. If this protest was in middle America, it would have been a spectacle of hellfire sermons and open hostility! The only altercation you even see is a light slap coming from an irate secularist!The rest is just hilariously polite Canadians campaignin’ for decency.
Why can’t our bluenose Christian pearl-clutchers be this considerate? I know it’s a stereotype, but they really do seem nicer up north!
Much to my conservative, very Lutheran parents’ chagrin I’m sure, the image above hung prominently over the headboard of my bed when I was 16 years old. It was a grainy copy that my friend and I made secretly in my high school graphic arts class. I liked it for its shock value and because I was just starting to learn about radical groups like the Yippies and the Weather Underground thanks to another friend’s cool older brother who played in a grind-core band called Hell Nation and who collected tons of weird-ass countercultural stuff. That was around 1990. There was obviously no draft going on, further confusing my parents and making me feel pretty edgy and weird. I was far too naïve to think too deeply about the backstory of the cool piece of radical ephemera with the image of the guy burning his ticket to the Viet Nam War.
Recently though, I came across the image again while doing research for another DM piece and decided to try to learn a little more about origins of the iconic image of 60’s radicalism. It turns out that the poster has a cool pedigree, and the piece’s creator, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, born in a Japanese American internment camp in 1943 in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, was a prominent underground civil rights figure and gay rights activist. Kuromiya worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr. in the mid-sixties and tending to King’s children in the aftermath of his assassination. He was a founder of Gay Liberation Front –Philadelphia, worked with the Black Panther Party to advocate for gay rights, co-authored a book on a utopian future through technology with Buckminster Fuller, and was a leading pioneer in the fight to promote AIDS awareness after his own diagnosis later in life.
Kuromiya made a name for himself in radical protest circles at the University of Pennsylvania where he went to school to study architecture by pulling stunts like this bait-and-switch, anti-napalm demonstration in 1968 which he discusses in a great, hugely comprehensive 1997 interview:
A notice showed up, a leaflet showed up, signed by the “Americong” that, in protest of the horrors of using napalm on humans, there was going to be a demonstration in front of the library at Penn. An innocent dog would be burned with napalm, showing what an awful thing napalm was, O.K.? So, of course, the mayor, the police chief, everybody said whoever was perpetrating this would spend a long time in jail, etcetera. The day showed up and at noontime there were four ambulances from four different veterinary schools there. People, as a lark, brought their pet dogs. There were a lot of dogs. There were 2000 people. It was the largest antiwar demonstration in the history of the University of Pennsylvania. I had four friends of mine. I had a printing press in my basement and I was a publisher at the time. So out of the crowd, leaflets showed up. And I handed out these leaflets, Americong, you know, was a fiction. There was no group. But the leaflets showed up at this big rally and it said, “Congratulations, you’ve saved the life of an innocent dog. How about the hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese that have been burned alive? What are you going to do about it?”
Later in the same interview Kuromiya talks about the Fuck the Draft poster. Along with placing the image in an ad (and act that he claims got him arrested by federal marshals) he handed several copies of it out during the chaos of the riots surrounding 1968 Democratic Convention:
And then a couple years later, I published, under the name Dirty Linen Corporation, these Fuck the Draft posters with a guy burning a draft card and it said in huge letters, “Fuck the draft.” The guy was someone from Detroit who was doing prison time for burning his draft card. I was arrested at home by federal marshals and the Secret Service for using U.S. mails for a crime of inciting with lewd and indecent materials. I had run an ad that said, “Buy five and we’ll send a sixth one to the mother of your choice.” And I listed a number of places, including the White House. So I was kept at the FBI headquarters here. They couldn’t hold people overnight so they took me in chains down Chestnut Street with four guys watching me, down to the Round House and I was held there. Anyway, I took these posters to the Democratic Convention in Chicago. And everybody was told to stay away. This was going to be very dangerous. But I went anyway. I rented a car to haul these posters around. And I had a coat and tie on so I could move easily in and out of the hotels and the various delegations and caucus meetings at the convention. So I was the only one in Yippie Park, Lincoln Park, in a coat and tie. But I handed out the posters, 2000 of them, at the amphitheater just minutes before the riot where someone tried to lower the American flag.
1968 Fuck the Draft poster ad from the Berkley Barb
As Kuromiya mentions, you could send five dollars to get five “Fuck the Draft” posters for yourself and sixth would be sent to the “mother” of your choice. You could take your pick amongst Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson, Mrs. Shirley Temple Black, Lieutenant General Lewis B. Hershey, General William Westmoreland, Madame Ngo Dinh Nhu, Mr. J. Edgar Hoover, Mrs. Richard Hughes, or “other.” One presumes that the “mother” in some of these cases was of the “fucker” variety.
Here’s an image of the full page on which the ad appeared:
In the 1997 interview mentioned above, Kuromiya discusses his political activism at length. He was a prominent early gay rights advocate working in and around Philadelphia to bravely advance the cause at time when the issue was still somewhat taboo, even among many in the anti-war community. In 1970, Kuromiya and the Gay Liberation Front of Philadelphia published the Gay Dealer, only one issue of which was ever released. After being denied funding by a Philadelphia community organization, the Gay Liberation Front got the money they needed for the issue by selling MMDA capsules according to Kuromiya.
Cover of The Gay Dealer, October 1970
Kuromiya and an unidentified friend from Gay Dealer, 1970
In 1977, during a long recovery from metastatic lung cancer, Kuromiya became enamored of the works of Buckminster Fuller. He began working with the futurist legend of geodesic design and Kuromiya is credited as “adjuvant” on Fuller’s book, Critical Path. From Kuromyia’s New York Times obituary:
In 1981, he assisted R. Buckminster Fuller, the architect and thinker, in writing Critical Path (St. Martin’s Press). The book sketched a vision of a bountiful future created by technological advances. In what James Traub in The New York Times Book Review called ‘‘a bizarre and often revelatory volume,’’ the authors suggested that the blossoming of technology had the potential to end war.
Buckminster Fuller and Kiyoshi Kuromiya with a copy of Critical Path
Kuromiya was diagnosed with AIDS in the late 1980’s and, according to the LGBT archives of Philadelphia:
In 1988/1989 he founded the Critical Path AIDS Project, which applied ideas and strategies from Buckminster Fuller’s 1981 book to the AIDS crisis. The project began as a newsletter about AIDS treatment that Kuromiya researched, wrote, edited, and distributed himself. The Critical Path AIDS Project grew to offer a 24-hour AIDS treatment hotline, a web hosting service for AIDS-related websites and listservs, and computer access for individuals in the Philadelphia area.
Kuromiya’s activism seems to have known no bounds. He was a founding member of ACT UP/Philadelphia, he was a participant an early successful lawsuit against Internet censorship surrounding the Communications Decency Act and was the leading plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, Kuromiya vs. The United States of America, calling for the legalization of medical marijuana.
Kuromiya died of AIDS related complications in 2000.
The video below features footage of William Burroughs, Jean Genet, Ed Sanders, Allen Ginsberg and Dick Gregory at the 1968 Democratic Convention protest where Kuromiya handed out 2000 Fuck the Draft posters. At around 6:38 you can see the crowd in front of the “band shell” in Grant Park and the moment that someone pulls down the American flag causing all hell to break loose. Kuromiya says that he was handing out “Fuck the Draft” posters in the crowd right around this location just minutes before the incident.
How can we stop racism? By better education? By enforcing laws? By outing racists on the Internet and then campaigning to have them fired from their jobs? This is how one group of activists have gone about the problem with their Tumblr site Getting Racists Fired.
Getting Racists Fired is where oeople can out racists by submitting their toxic and dumbass Facebook posts, tweets, comments and images to the site, where they are shared in a bid to shame the individual. The site then urges its followers to write and phone the individual’s employer to have them fired for clowning themselves in public with their racist social media pollution…
To this end, they have posted details of what to say when phoning a company about a racist employee:
Here’s a script of what you can say while calling employers
“Hello can I speak to a manager on duty? I have a complaint to make about one of your employees”
“Yes hello, my name is ______ and I’ve been seeing some very disturbing and disgusting racist comments coming from one of your works. Their name is ____”
” I know that your business is not one that would condone such behaviour. Considering that this person has your company listed as their workplace, they represent it and the ideals your company was built on. I would like to think that your company isn’t one that supports these vile comments and actions, and that’s the purpose of my call today”
“I was also wondering if there is an email address I can send the proof of these comments too, just to solidify these claims, if you find it necessary”
IF THEY SAY THEIR “Hands are tied” say this: “Well if you are not willing to take care of this issue at your level I will be forced to take it to your supervisor and go from there” that usually gets them. And if not ask for their supervisor’s number and call them.
It is absolutely vital that you CALL BACK to check on the status of the issue. Make sure you hold them to their word and that something is being done. Stay calm and cordial. Channel your inner slightly annoyed PTA soccer mom and you’ll be fine.
As a response to the tragic events in Ferguson the site also posted a template for “messaging/emailing businesses about their racist employees.”
___(place of business)___,
In light of recent events in Ferguson, MO, and the resulting protests that have spread out across the country and beyond (of which I’m sure management is aware), just as many people have come to light with violent words as there have those been with support.
I am writing to respectfully request that you do firm checks into the racist behaviors and words of your employees, who post their hate publicly on social media accounts that are tied with your place of business. For both moral and business reputation reasons, other businesses have begun to terminate and/or warn employees who exhibit racist behavior online.
Your employee, ___________, is seen to have posted racial slurs and racially charged discriminatory claims on their facebook wall. I’ve attached a screenshot that contains the posts in question. Warnings for racial slurs and racist language
Now some may think this all sounds like bullying, but when queried about this, and why they were seemingly “not even going after racists,” but “going after people who make so called ‘racist’ jokes or comments,” the moderators replied:
Unfortunately, this blog or the actions of its users, which amount to sharing their opinions about whether or not a racist or bigot should continue to be employed, don’t account to ‘ruining lives’. The majority of these individuals will resume employment without much to impede them since they’re white.
The thing about white sociopathy is that only a racist would find such statements to be ‘funny’ or amount to jokes. So your excuse that these are just innocuous comments or jokes are simply not the case, especially since these same individuals are ones that hold jobs and positions with which they can wield institutional power.
You deeply misunderstand the purpose of this blog. By holding individuals accountable to their actions in public, we force change and remove dangerous individuals from positions of power from which they could do harm. The nature of this blog makes it so that as moderators we exist solely in anonymity, such that it is impossible for us to be motivated by personal satisfaction. This is about how People of Color, together, are indeed powerful.
Spoiler alert: the vast majority of the world is not white. It is the tens of thousands of users here, following this blog, that are reading your inane message with varying mixtures of disgust, humor, and pity. Anyway, I’m going to go back to hopefully getting your ass fired.
There have also been questions raised over privacy and possible “stalking” one moderator replied:
First off what a submitter does is not stalking. Stalking is a very serious issue and shouldn’t be equated to this or thrown around lightly. Checking a couple public sources to get information freely given to report racist public behavior to an employer is nowhere near the sort of criminal behavior of stalking. Demanding accountability for racist actions and words is not stalking.
In the US people may have freedom of speech, but so do we and employers have every right to terminate an employee based on what they choose to say publicly. This isn’t “gettingracistsarrested” it’s “racistsgettingfired”
Getting Racists Fired does have one caveat:
Do not message, contact, threaten, harangue, or harass the individual, their family, friends, or acquaintances; only contact their place of work or study.
And one moderator has further clarified the intention of the blog:
We do not condone sending messages to the accounts of racist people submitted to this blog and suggesting to send messages to a family member was completely uncalled for. Neither me nor Mod N would ever want anyone to harass a family member or to harass or threaten the people in these submissions.
If you are looking for people to message and threaten then this is the wrong place to look. Harassing and threatening a person to the point of them deleting their page is not the intent of this blog and can very well be illegal. It also breaks links to public posts that are sent to employers and schools which is completely counterproductive to the intent of this blog.
We are looking for public accountability not for people to delete and remake their social networking pages.
Three hours after setting up the blog, Getting Racists Fired had 4,000 followers. Now they have more than 40,000.
Racism is a learned behavior. It can be unlearned too.
Below: some examples from the site of the kind of racism they are outing
I am not up on what is supposedly cool or uncool these days in regards to acceptable Americana, but I have always held a deep and totally unironic love for Tom Petty. In addition to his later work, which I think does amazing stuff with folk, jangle, country and rock sounds, I’d argue he’s the only artist that really successfully integrated twang into proto-punk. As far as I’m concerned, “Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll” has all the great elements of a good Dictators or New York Dolls song—but with this lovely Southern flair. Tom Petty is cool.
Like almost every artist though, I cannot defend his entire canon. “Peace in L.A.” was Petty’s 1992 comment on the events that unfolded after the Rodney King verdict, a weird miss for a relatively socially conscious guy known for lambasting record companies and playing Farm Aid. Part of it is that the song is just really bad (the dated production is even forgivable), but it’s also that this particular incident simply did not require Tom Petty’s musical commentary.
Cringe-along with the lyrics:
We need peace in L.A., what happened was wrong
We all feel betrayed, but we got to be strong
If the powers that be let evil go free
You must understand, don’t play into their hand
We need peace in L.A., peace in L.A.
Don’t need beating and shouting, don’t need burning and looting
Tonight we all pray, that our children are safe
There’s hurt and frustration, there’s a hard realization
But how can we help if we steal from ourselves?
We need peace in L.A., peace in L.A.
We need peace in L.A., peace in L.A.
Stay cool, don’t be a fool
Stay cool, don’t be a fool
The song was apparently written and recorded in one day, and then rush-released to radio stations the very next day. Its effect on the rioters has never been quantified (for some reason!). Oh Tom, I still love you, but I’m so glad you didn’t try and write a song about Ferguson! Take a listen below, if you dare—it gets really bad around the bridge… I mean spoken-word bad.