Bad Luck, Gators!

gatorsBy S Peter Davis.

Once upon a time, there was a magical forest. Many animals lived in this forest, and for the most part, they lived in relative harmony. Some animals didn’t get along so well with others, and sometimes there were fights, but mostly, the animals all agreed to live together without eating one another (though it did sometimes happen!)
However, some animals were treated a little differently by the others – the ladybugs. Most animals didn’t dislike ladybugs. In fact, most of them quite liked ladybugs, especially the very beautiful ones. Most of the animals liked to watch the ladybugs and liked it very much when ladybugs paid attention to them. In fact, sometimes, the other animals would get quite upset if the ladybugs did not pay attention to them. In any case, most animals were quite happy for ladybugs to live with them in the forest, and thought that they treated ladybugs very well.
But many animals did not feel very good when ladybugs did the things that the other animals did. It was thought that every animal had their own place, and ladybugs were there to be very beautiful, a job that many of them did very well. The other animals thought that it was not right for ladybugs to do the work of owls, or mice, or elephants, and that they should be happy simply being very beautiful.

Now, one of the things that the animals liked to do very much was to put on plays for the other animals to enjoy. They had a stage built of branches and vines set up in the middle of the forest, and occasionally, they would put on a show. Most of these plays were very exciting, full of gnashing teeth and gleaming claws. There was a time, quite a while ago, when plays were only enjoyed by a few animals, and others thought that they were silly. But, over time, most animals came to agree that the plays were quite good entertainment indeed.
Not all of the animals were happy that others were enjoying the plays, though. Least of all, the gators. They always felt that the plays were made specifically for gators and should only be about things that gators enjoyed.
“How dare they enjoy our plays?” the gators would ask, “They used to think that they were silly! Every animal has their place, and plays are for gators. Other animals should do their own thing, and leave the plays for us!”
After plays became more popular, there were a lot more plays being made, and some of them were quite different to the ones that gators were used to enjoying. Of course, there were still plenty of very exciting plays full of gnashing teeth and gleaming claws, so the gators were still fairly happy.
But then, one day, the unthinkable happened – a group of ladybugs decided to put on a play.
Lots of ladybugs very much enjoyed the exciting plays that the gators liked, but some of them also thought that there were lots of different plays that they could make about lots of different things, not just gnashing teeth and gleaming claws. If they used their imagination, they might even be able to come up with something that nobody else had seen before!
So the ladybugs used their imaginations and put on a play that most animals agreed was very unique indeed. Not everyone enjoyed it, but many did, and some of the animals reviewed it very well.
The gators, however, were very, very angry.
“That was not a very good play at all!” one insisted.
“Where were the gnashing teeth?” another demanded.
“Where were the gleaming claws?” asked another.
“How could anybody give that play a good review?” asked a fourth, “Plays are for gators, and that was not the kind of play that gators enjoy at all. That was a very bad play. Nobody should have enjoyed that!”

As the days went on, things only got worse for the poor gators. Some animals even began to ask whether plays should really be made just for gators to enjoy. Maybe plays should be for everybody, not just gators. That way, everybody could enjoy them, gators included.
Unfortunately, the gators only saw this as a threat.
“But plays are for gators!” they insisted, “They used to call our plays silly. They always hated plays and now they want to stop us from enjoying them too.”
The gators agreed that something must be done to stop the other animals from changing the way that they made and enjoyed plays. After all, every animal has their place. They should all go off and do their own thing and leave the plays to gators. “Most of all, those ladybugs. They do not make very good plays at all.”
They built a clubhouse in the forest where all the gators went every day to decide what was to be done about this new problem.

One day, a visitor came to the gators’ clubhouse. He was a snake. The gators were wary about listening to someone who was not a gator, but they paid attention and found that the snake had some things to say that they found very, very interesting indeed.
“I know sssecretsss,” the snake hissed, “There is a conssssspiracy.”
According to the snake, the gators were right. Nobody could possibly enjoy a ladybug play, so it was very suspicious indeed that many animals had thought highly of it. The snake told them that he knew the ladybug who had written the horrid play, and he thought that she was not a very nice ladybug at all. It was a fact that many animals enjoyed getting attention from pretty ladybugs. What if the ladybugs had paid extra special attention to animals who agreed to review their play very well?
“This is a conspiracy!” the gators cried, “Those ladybugs have always complained about not being treated fairly, even though we think they are very beautiful! Every animal has their job to do, and a ladybug’s job is to be very beautiful and pay us attention. Our job is to make and enjoy plays. Not only do they not pay enough attention to us, but now they also want to take away our plays!”
As this conversation was happening, however, they were unaware that a suspicious gazelle was eavesdropping nearby. He approached the gators’ clubhouse now, even though gators were extra specially wary of gazelles.
“Wait just one moment,” the gazelle said, “Is it not true, Mr Snake, that you have run afoul of forest law? If I remember correctly, you have been very mean to ladybugs and the law has ruled that you’re not supposed to talk about them anymore.”
“Jussst another victim of the conssssspiracy,” the snake hissed, narrowing his eyes. “The ladybugsss know that I know their sssecretsss. They want to sssilence me. That is why I cannot tell you any ssspecificsss. But if I have the law reversssed, then I can tell you everything you need to know to ssstop the ladybugsss from taking away your playsss. In order to do that, however, I will need lotsss and lotsss of acornsss.”
(Acorns were what they used in the forest instead of money).
“Good. Shut up, gazelle,” the gators replied, “You probably want to take away our plays too. Mr Snake, we will give you all the acorns you need so that you can help us fight the ladybugs. This is a culture war! We will put every animal back in their place so that we can enjoy our plays in peace. Especially ladybugs.”
“Exsssselent,” the snake grinned, and slithered away back into the forest.

Over the next few weeks, the gators began to take action. They held protests to raise awareness of the ladybug conspiracy. But they insisted that this was not only about gators, although gators were treated very unfairly indeed. They wanted to warn other animals, too, that the ladybugs were way out of line. It was, after all, a fact that most other animals liked it very much when ladybugs paid attention to them, especially the very beautiful ones. If ladybugs started wanting something in return for their attention, then they might start ruining the things that other animals enjoyed, too!
Some of the other animals agreed with the gators. There were also some who disagreed very strongly. Many did not listen to the gators’ protests at all, thinking that gators and their plays were not very important issues in the forest.
In fact, there were even some ladybugs who agreed with the gators. One ladybug named Christina agreed with them very much indeed, and the gators often placed her at the front of their protests, because they thought that people would be more willing to listen to a ladybug.
“Gators enjoy exciting plays full of gnashing teeth and gleaming claws,” Christina announced, “That is what gators are like. Why should gators act against their nature? Every animal has its place. A ladybug’s job is to be very beautiful and to pay other animals attention, so that other animals can be happier doing their own jobs! Ladybugs who do not to their job properly are not very happy at all. They must hate other animals very much!”
“Christina is a very good ladybug,” the gators said, “She believes in true equality among all animals, because she understands that every animal has their place and every animal’s job is equally important. A ladybug’s job is to be very beautiful and pay us attention. That is an important job too! If ladybugs want to make and enjoy plays as well, then they must want to be even more important than any other animal!”
The gators appreciated Christina’s help so much that they paid her many acorns to speak on their behalf and praise their cause.

The gators’ protests began to grow, with many other animals showing up to give them support. Many of these animals did not care very much about plays at all, in fact more than a few thought that plays were silly, but they had their own complaints about ladybugs. The gators decided that making their group larger to stop the ladybugs was more important, and besides, by accepting many different animals, nobody could argue that the gators were not being inclusive.
But one day, the gators noticed that there was one animal showing up at their protests who some of them were not too happy to see. He was a rat, who went by the name Ratsh V, and he was not a very nice creature at all.
When he added his own voice, Ratsh V suggested that they should only allow the very most beautiful ladybugs to live in the forest, and all the rest should be driven away. Not just that, but the other animals should take all of the acorns away from the ladybugs and force them to do their job and give other animals attention. Furthermore, there should be no law against doing harm to a ladybug, because ladybugs were all liars and criminals.
Many gators were uncomfortable with Ratsh V speaking at their protests, as they felt that his ideas were far too extreme. But other gators disagreed.
“That is what a gazelle would say,” they said, “We may not agree with everything that he says, but the important thing is that he agrees with us that ladybugs should not be allowed to mess with our plays. Besides, every animal has their place. He is a rat, and being a vile rodent is his job, and he does his job very well. And he has many rat friends who can help us spread the word!”
So the gators allowed Ratsh V to join their cause, and some even began to agree with him and pay him acorns to help spread the word about ladybugs and their conspiracy.

One day, the gators had another visitor to their clubhouse. He was a weasel, wearing a nice suit and carrying a camera around his neck. He introduced himself as a journalist, and said that he was very interested in their cause.
“I have always suspected that those ladybugs were up to something!” he exclaimed, “I agree that every animal has their place, and it is time that those ladybugs go back to doing what they’re supposed to do. In fact, I suspect that some of those ladybugs weren’t even born ladybugs! They merely painted themselves up with spots! I will expose these liars and help spread the word in my newspaper. You will have to pay me many acorns, of course.”
But that suspicious gazelle was listening again. He knew that he had seen this weasel somewhere before.
“Excuse me, Mr Weasel,” the gazelle said, “Is it not true that you have printed many articles in your newspaper about how you think that gators are losers and that plays are silly?”
“I cannot deny that,” the weasel replied, “But once I saw that they were paying acor- I mean, once I saw that the gators were being victimized by those wretched ladybugs, I realized that gators are not so bad after all! And I actually came to like their plays very much. In fact, you can say that I am now a big fan of plays.”
“Yes, shut up, gazelle,” the gators said, “Mr Weasel, most of the media is already part of the ladybug conspiracy and they want to take away our plays. We need your help! We will pay you many acorns.”
“Great!” the weasel replied, “In fact, I believe I will write a book about this! I trust that you will all buy a copy!” With that, he skipped merrily back into the forest.

Now the gators believed that their cause was doing very well indeed. And they continued to get many new visitors to their clubhouse, many of whom had some very useful and interesting skills to offer. Although, they did begin to notice that their supply of acorns was starting to get smaller. But they knew that the fight against the ladybugs would not come cheap!
One day, a gorilla even showed up at their door. He was a very intimidating fellow indeed! But he introduced himself as a lawyer, and said that he agreed with their campaign against ladybugs and could offer them good advice from his gorilla mindset.
“First of all, if you want to stand up against ladybugs, you need to be big and strong, like me!” the gorilla boasted. “You may have gnashing teeth and gleaming claws, but you spend too much time watching plays and not enough time working out! The reason ladybugs want to take your plays away is because you are too scrawny. Ladybugs always do what I say and pay me lots of attention, because I am a big, strong, alpha male silverback. If you pay me lots of acorns, I will teach you how to be strong, too!”
“Great!” the gators said, “And it is good to have a lawyer on our side! In fact, we met a snake who needs a lawyer so that he can tell us more about the ladybug conspiracy! We have paid him many acorns, maybe if you find him, you can get some acorns too!”
“That’s great!” the gorilla exclaimed, and he strutted back into the forest, flexing his gorilla arms.

The next day, a turkey pecked on the door of the gators’ clubhouse. He told them that he was a big fan of gators’ plays and that he, too, was sick of ladybugs trying to ruin everything in the forest and replace it with stupid ladybug stuff.
The turkey had a big idea, though. He would write and perform a spectacular documentary play that would expose the ladybug conspiracy once and for all! All of the animals in the forest would see it! The ladybugs would be finished! The only problem was that this project would cost thousands of acorns a month. But he assured the gators that he could dig up enough dirt on the ladybugs to shut down their plans.
“Well, we’re starting to run a little low on acorns,” the gators admitted, “But you sound like a trustworthy fellow! We will give you all the acorns you need to make your wonderful play!”
“That is excellent news!” the turkey replied, “Also, you should meet my partner!”
The turkey introduced his partner, a white rhino with a tiny goatee beard, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and carrying a glass of scotch and a small, plastic skull.
“I have many opinions that you would like to hear!” he said.
“Hooray!” the gators exclaimed.

Soon after that, a group of honey badgers appeared at the gators’ clubhouse.
“We have a clubhouse of our own!” they said, “And we have known about the ladybug conspiracy for much longer than you have. Those darn ladybugs have had everyone fooled for years. Just because they are very beautiful, they think that they should rule the forest, and they want all the other animals to worship them, even when they’re not doing their job! Every animal has their place, and we should not be ruled by ladybugs!”
The gators decided that the honey badgers were right. This was much bigger than just being about gators and their plays. They must stop the ladybugs from taking over the whole forest! If that happened, then ladybugs would never need to do their job of being very beautiful and giving attention to other animals. In fact, the other animals would have to do their jobs even harder, while only ladybugs would be allowed to put on plays, and all the plays would be about stupid ladybug stuff that nobody cared about. The horror!
“We tried to infiltrate the ladybugs’ clubhouse,” the honey badgers confided, “We painted ourselves all up in spots. But when we tried to speak out against the ladybug conspiracy, they threw us out for bullying! We only care about equality for all animals, and that means making sure every animal knows that they have their place, especially ladybugs. We know you agree with us, so we have come to ask for help. We need many acorns so that we can hire a lawyer to fight the ladybug menace!”
“Well, we know a lawyer,” the gators replied, “But he is probably busy helping our snake friend. So, even though our acorn pile is getting very small, we will give you acorns to fight this good fight!”
“Thank you very much!” the honey badgers replied, and they took their acorns back into the forest.

Now, some very terrible things were happening in the magical forest by now. Ever since the gators’ campaign started, things had become dangerous for the ladybugs. For you see, a pack of wolves had emerged from the forest, and they were attacking ladybugs wherever they found them. Many ladybugs decided that it was best to hide so that they didn’t get swallowed up, and many of the other animals grew angry with the gators.
When the gators heard the news, they were offended that so many animals would think that gators had anything to do with wolf attacks!
“We do not agree with wolf attacks!” the gators cried, “In fact, it is well known that wolves hate gators too. But then, if ladybugs do not want to get attacked by wolves, maybe they should go back to doing what they are supposed to do and stop raising a fuss. Every animal has its place, and wolves are just doing what wolves do. You should stay out of their way. If ladybugs want to be treated equal with other animals, maybe they should learn to fight wolves. We suspect that most ladybugs are just lying about wolf attacks for sympathy, anyway.”
Many animals were not satisfied by this, and they decided to hunt down the wolves. What they found out was quite surprising – the leader of the wolf pack was a single toad!
Sadly, the toad was very sick, and had never been able to hop. Because of this, he had never been able to work and could not earn acorns on his own. But he was quite wily, this toad, and he figured out that he could earn many acorns by loaning his home to wolves.
These wolves did very, very terrible things. Not only did they enjoy attacking ladybugs for fun, but they also enjoyed sharing some very bad pictures of some very wrong things, and many of those pictures were of very young cubs. But when this became known, the wily toad knew how to reply.
“I might not agree with what these wolves do in my home, but it is the only way that I can earn acorns to survive. Every animal has their place, and terrible things are just what wolves do. We should let them be wolves, and stay out of their way. Besides, if you know that wolves are sharing these very bad pictures, then you must have been looking for them, and that means that you must like them too!”
The gators were very pleased with this. “How can ladybugs be so nasty as to try to take acorns away from a poor toad who cannot even hop? This just shows how evil and wrong the ladybugs are!”
The gators decided that anyone who did not agree with gators must agree with wolves, and must also enjoy looking at very bad pictures of very wrong things. The toad received many acorns for understanding every animal has a right to do what they do, and for giving wolves the freedom to do their job.
Many animals were still uneasy, but the gorilla lawyer was very keen to represent the toad, and received many acorns for doing so.

The turkey and the white rhino continued to receive many acorns every month, and they felt that their grand play was going very well. They interviewed the honey badgers, the toad, the weasel and the snake, and they all very satisfactorily declared that they did not like ladybugs very much at all. In fact, they even managed to interview a vulture, who thought that plays were extremely stupid and tried to have them banned from the forest, but the vulture also disliked ladybugs. Surely, if the vulture disliked ladybugs, this proved that ladybugs were even worse than the vulture!
But things began to go wrong. Other animals decided that they wanted to see what their acorns were paying for, and so the turkey and the white rhino began to show sneak previews of their upcoming play. It was a disaster! The turkey showed up on stage with his feathers all mussed up and read all his lines from a sheet of paper, and the white rhino tried to push his way into every scene so that everyone could see how nice his turtleneck was. There didn’t seem to be any reason for all those skulls at all!
The animals who had paid thousands of acorns for this fabulous play became uneasy, and the turkey grew angry. Why should anyone care about proper lighting and production value when they were revealing the truth about the ladybug conspiracy?
As their grand play progressed, the turkey became even more uncomfortable as his partner, the white rhino, started to bring his friends into the project: The white tiger, the white cockatoo, and the great white shark.
Of course, the white rhino was just as opposed to ladybugs as the turkey was, so his other politics should not matter. But the last straw was when the white rhino introduced the turkey to their new partner – none other than Ratsh V!
“I am excited to join this project to help us finally enslave all those nasty ladybugs!” the rat said.
“Now look here,” said the turkey, “I do not agree with this! You are driving this project astray, white rhino. I only want to stop the ladybugs from taking over the forest, not enslave them! And we are running out of acorns already! You wasted so many acorns buying a car! Why do you even need a car in the forest?”
“Oh, turkey,” the white rhino chuckled, “You sound like a gazelle! Are you taking the ladybugs’ side? I think you’re just upset that ladybugs don’t pay any attention to you, not even the not-so-beautiful ones. Ladybugs always pay attention to me, because I am a mighty rhino, and more importantly, white! It is probably better that I take all of the acorns and finish this play on my own!”
The turkey did not want to miss out on acorns, and it was more important to fight the ladybugs anyway, so he agreed to do whatever the white rhino said from then on. And so they finished their grand play and presented it in front of a small audience.
It was a very bad play.

And things were beginning to look quite dire within the gators’ clubhouse. The gators observed that, not only had the ladybugs not yet surrendered, but it seemed like even more animals were turning against the gators! The ladybugs were putting on more plays, and animals were enjoying them and reviewing them well, even though the gators knew that no ladybug could ever make a play that anyone could enjoy.
They knew they needed to protest even harder to get the other animals to agree with them, and that it would take even more acorns.
But when the gators turned to their acorn pile… there were no acorns to be seen!
The ladybugs must have stolen all of the acorns!

Meanwhile, there was a great disturbance in the forest. For many years, a cult of cockroaches had lived in their very own clubhouse, and the clubhouse had become very large. The cockroaches did not get along very well with other animals, but what they hated more than anything else were very large animals. Cockroaches were quite small creatures, and large animals filled them with rage. Especially large ladybugs! Because they knew that every animal had their place, and ladybugs were supposed to be very small and dainty.
Most animals were fine with the cockroaches, as long as they stayed in their clubhouse. But this was not enough for the cockroaches! Their favorite pastime was to rush out of their clubhouse at night, swarm over any animal larger than themselves, and poop all over them. They were a menace! The animals decided one day that the cockroaches should not be allowed to have their own clubhouse, and so they burned it to the ground.
The cockroaches were insane with anger! Where would they go? It wasn’t long before they discovered that there was still room in the gators’ clubhouse, and so thousands of cockroaches showed up at the gators’ door and asked to be let in.
The gators were astonished at their new arrivals, but they were also wary, for many gators were quite large, themselves. But the gators knew that every animal had their place, and pooping all over large animals is just what cockroaches do. So they welcomed thousands of new members to their anti-ladybug club. Surely all these cockroaches had plenty of new acorns to add to their pile – maybe this was the miracle they had been waiting for!
So the gators, most excited, threw a party to welcome all of their newest members and to celebrate the downfall of those dastardly ladybugs. But as the revelry increased, the gators slowly began to realize that they had a new problem.
Whenever a gator wanted to talk about how to defeat the ladybugs, the cockroaches would talk over them and insist that a much worse problem in the forest was that there were so many very large animals!
The gators had insisted that anyone who wanted to join their clubhouse was welcome, as long as they did not agree with ladybugs taking over the forest. But as the gators looked over their very diverse club, they were downhearted to see that there were very few gators to be found. They could only see honey badgers, weasels, toads, snakes, gorillas, turkeys, rats, wolves, vultures, thousands of cockroaches, and one very loud ladybug who kept on insisting that the time of the ladybugs was at an end. Every animal had their place.
That very same day, ladybugs put on another play, and it was quite well enjoyed by most animals. There were still plenty of plays to be seen, and most of them were very exciting, with lots of gnashing teeth and gleaming claws, but the gators couldn’t enjoy them so much as they used to. Gators weren’t sure that they liked plays very much anymore.

Helter Skelter in Ferguson, Missouri

helterskelterIt’s been a shitty couple of weeks for race relations in America. A grand jury decided not to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown. People got mad. Things burned down. Those are the facts, no matter which side of the debate you fall on. Now, what probably isn’t a fact is the assertion that the Ferguson riots are actually “false flag” operations by the government, as this video insists.

The video claims to show smoking gun evidence that police or some paramilitary group is starting fires in Ferguson. Before presenting this evidence, the narrator talks you through what you’re about to see – paramilitary guys are surrounding a car in Ferguson. One of them throws something inside the car. There’s a flash of light, and the car goes up in flames. Pretty cut-and-dry, right? Then it cuts to the video:

ferg1

Yes, those are pretty clearly cops or military, and they are standing around a car. The footage is shot from a distance, so the resolution is what some on the internet would call “potato quality,” but you can make this out clearly enough. Then this happens:

ferg2…and the camera immediately cuts away from the scene. This few seconds of footage is all we have in terms of “smoking gun evidence” that cops are burning things down in Ferguson.

Now, I don’t know about you, but those look like flashlights to me. If you disagree, then I’m not sure what kind of white-hot flaming object you think they’re all casually carrying around. If you saw the above picture without context, you’d probably see what I see – some people shining flashlights into a car. But if a guy just told you that what you’re about to see is someone setting fire to a car – supposedly with a flame thrower or something – then you might think that instead. Especially if that’s what you want to believe it is. It’s the power of suggestion at work.

The camera pans away quickly at this point, so the idea that the car then went up in flames is something you have to take the narrator’s word for. And that’s a problem, because he wasn’t there either – he’s extrapolating from footage someone else took, and suggesting someone the original camera-holder did not claim.

So, the Ferguson riots apparently aren’t happening at all, they’re a false flag operation by the government to make us think people are setting fires. But then, there are the people who claim the original shooting never happened anyway. That Michael Brown was an actor, and that the entire thing was staged. It’s the same thing the conspiracy community believes about the Boston Bombing, Sandy Hook, Elliot Rodger, the Aurora shooting, Virginia Tech, and indeed every high profile event in human history.

But does that make any sense? Why would the government launch a false flag to deliberately rile up the black community, and then launch another false flag to deliberately rile the white community against them?

According to Alex Jones, among others, the answer is of course “race war.” The government wants to engineer a war between whites and blacks so that in the ensuing chaos they can take over. (Even though they’re already in charge because they’re the government, but I mean, like, super take over, like with weather machines and moon lasers and shit).

In this theory, the supposed conspirators and indeed the conspiracy theorists who push it have an unlikely ally:

mansonYou may think of the Manson Family as death cultists rather than conspiracy theorists – in reality, they were both. The idea that a race war is inevitable in our near future, and that people in power know about it and are pushing to engineer it, was their conspiracy of choice. Now, Manson was and is completely nuts (he knew the race war, which he called “Helter Skelter,” was coming because the Beatles told him in code through their song of the same name. Incidentally, that song is about playing on a slippery slide). But the Helter Skelter idea, if not referred to by that title, is a very real fear among white, mostly conservative Americans. When right-wing pundits report of escalating mob violence in black communities spreading into white communities, such as in Ferguson, they are often explicitly or implicitly warning of the coming race war.

The idea that a race war is possible or likely in America, let’s face it, comes from some pretty racist assumptions. Just as anti-semites fear Jews because of stereotypes they apply to Jews (eg. Sneaky, money-hungry, infiltrators, corruptors), the fear of a race war emerges due to assumptions that blacks are inherently more violent, stronger, and less rational or diplomatic. The “black thug” stereotype.

Uncle Charlie’s cult ran genuine false flag operations. The murder of Sharon Tate was intended to be framed as a racial attack in order to spark the uprising. Manson believed that the blacks would win the race war through brute strength, but they would be unable to run a country because they lack the ability to form societies, so they would turn to Manson and his family (who would have been hiding in bunkers) as their new leaders out of desperation. In its own strange way, Manson’s plan was a world domination plot.

On the other hand, those who fear and condemn black uprisings are presumably trying to prevent a race war – they are opposed to the government’s Helter Skelter plot – so it may seem unfair to group them in with what Manson believed. But it doesn’t really matter whether you’re for Helter Skelter or against it – if you think it’s a thing at all, either to be desired or feared, then you’re coming from the exact same place of ignorance and conspiracy theory that Manson was.

You don’t have to believe conspiracy theories about cops lighting things on fire and inciting violence in order to believe that there is racism and corruption in the police force. It’s not an either-or issue. Personally I think it’s safer to assume that the cops really want this to go away as quickly as possible. Inciting more violence is kind of against their best interests.

GamerGate: The Game!

A fantasy card game about ethics in games journalism for 2-3 players.

You’ve followed the hit hashtag, and now GAMERGATE has a game of its own! When you crack open this deck at your next party, it’ll cause a scandal! You can call it GamerGate GameGate!

Which hero of GamerGate will reign supreme? Meet the characters!


BASED MOM

Christina Hoff Sommers

Class: Fallacy Wizard

The gentle, maternal face of GamerGate uses her mysterious, hypnotic powers to present anti-feminist ideas as feminism. A feminist who is exclusively concerned with men’s rights issues. Kinda like a socialist who believes in small government and minimal social security.

basedmom_card

Attacks:

FALSE EQUIVALENCE: Confuse your opponent with a bombardment of fallacious arguments and ad hominims, then declare yourself the victor before they respond. “There is no misogyny problem in gaming because these reports show games don’t cause violence!” Opponent misses one turn.

FIRST WAVE: Invent a new form of feminism and declare yourself the only real feminist and everyone else in your field is wrong. Recover 20 HP.

DEFLECT CRITICISM: Ignore criticism of your position. Simply find a higher platform and repeat the same argument more loudly. You are immune to damage for one turn.


BASED LAWYER

Mike Cernovich

Class: Character Assassin

Bodybuilder, entrepreneur, lawyer, genius. Cernovich knows that what cannot be won in court can be won with fists. He has the ability to harness the powers of the mighty gorilla, mastering the gorilla’s unique ability to get girls and win lawsuits. He will punch the ethics back into games journalism with manly fury.

basedlawyer_card

Attacks:

LITIGATE: Bombard your opponent with frivolous lawsuits. Attack is ineffective against Eron Gjoni. Opponent misses 2 turns.

STALK: Hire a private detective to harass your opponent. Opponent loses 10 HP per turn for three turns.

GORILLA MINDSET: Mike cured his mental illness with the power of juice. Take your health to the next level. Recover 20 HP.


BASED REPORTER

Milo Yiannopoulos

Class: Hack Knight

The exceedingly based mouthpiece of GamerGate in the mainstream media. Milo is honest, unbiased and objective, and only seeks to report the truth. If it looks like he has an extreme right-wing bias, it’s only because radical conservatism is objectively correct. As GamerGate’s “man on the inside,” he knows how to sniff out corruption in journalism, of which none exists at the fair and balanced news site Breitbart.

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Attacks:

BACKPEDAL: Renounce your formerly held opinion that gamers are pathetic losers responsible for all the violence in the world. Become suddenly passionate about fixing the problems in games journalism for reasons that have nothing to do with feminism and everything to do with your new love of gaming. Recover 20 HP.

SMEAR: Talk smack about your interviewee on other news shows in the name of fair and balanced journalism. Opponent loses 30 HP.

GAY DEFENSE: You are a gay man, which makes you immune to accusations of misogyny or transphobia. You are immune to damage for one turn.


DOUBLE-O SATAN

Davis Aurini

Class: Ego Demon

Suave and sophisticated, dark and mysterious. Davis Aurini is Anton LaVey in a Bond villain suit, and with a flick of his zippo lighter and an ice cube in his scotch, he has some things to tell you about women and black people. It may be about ethics in games journalism, but it’s also all about him. But are we laughing with him, or are we laughing at him?

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Attacks:

DARK ENLIGHTENMENT: Demolish democracy and establish a new feudal monarchy with yourself as philosopher king. Women are no longer having gangbangs every weekend and are now all having sex with you instead. Recover 30 HP.

FALSE PRETENSE: Coin a phrase you think sounds literary and intellectual like “the most decadent sluts since the fall of the Roman Empire,” but which is actually so trite and hackish that your opponent takes damage out of embarrassment for you. Opponent loses 20 HP.

SOCK PUPPET: Unleash your demonic pet Jordan Owen to assault your opponent when you get too drunk to think properly. Opponent loses 10 HP and you gain an extra turn.


THE CONSPIRACIST

Internet Aristocrat

Class: Basement Goblin

Armed only with Google and a microphone, the Aristocrat stumbled upon the vagina conspiracy that secretly rules the gaming world – every woman with a notable position or platform in gaming used sexual favors to enter the industry and puppeteer the men into destroying the games industry from the inside. He continues to dutifully investigate elements of this conspiracy to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes. But who is really behind it all? Could it be DARPA?

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Attacks:

JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS: Make assumptions about collusion between indie game developers and journalists, then make assumptions based on those assumptions. When the initial assumptions are proven false, do not return to the drawing board, you’re on too much of a roll here. Get 2 free turns.

ECHO CHAMBER: Ramble ineffectually about the state of everything in podcasts with like-minded individuals. Their reinforcement gives strength to your position. Recover 20 HP.

YELL: When faced with opposition, get louder and angrier. The more passionate you are about your opinions, the truer they are. You are immune to damage for one turn.


THE DARK HORSE

Roosh V

Class: Sexual Renegade

Roosh is a controversial figure in GamerGate. His open and proud hatred of both women and gamers makes many wonder if he is an ally or an enemy. Though his personal axe to grind against feminists makes him toxic to the image that actually this is about ethics in games journalism, his dirty tactics may prove useful if kept on the down-low. The only question is, how do they keep the monster from biting his masters?

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Attacks:

RED PILL: While infiltrating the hive of beta males that is GamerGate, subtly indoctrinate them into the manosphere. While the movement as a whole may lose credibility, you alone become stronger. Recover 30 HP.

MAN GOING HIS OWN WAY: When GamerGaters implore you to stop openly connecting yourself to the movement, agree to their terms but then keep doing it anyway. What are these neckbearded betas going to do about it? Get 2 free turns.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Your pet Matt Forney knows how to beat women and get away with it. Unleash the beast and just straight slap the feminism out of your opponent with an open backhand. Opponent loses 40 HP.


PATIENT ZERO

Eron Gjoni

Class: Emotional vampire

In a case that will be studied by psychology theorists for decades, Eron Gjoni responded to fairly run-of-the-mill relationship problems by inciting an entire subculture to publically destroy his ex-girlfriend in a domestic spat disguised as a wide-scale consumer revolt. Just kidding – actually, this is about ethics in games journalism.

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Attacks:

OBSESS: If your personality cult starts to divide its focus, use your influence to steer it back to attacking your opponent until they are literally run out of the country, and then keep attacking. Your opponent loses 10 HP per turn for 3 turns. Also, you recover 10 HP because after all you are the victim here.

CONTEMPT: Ignore court orders attempting to put a stop to your harassment, because after all you are the victim here. Get 2 free turns. This also cancels the LITIGATE attack.

DOUBLE STANDARD: Use GamerGate to crowdfund for your legal fees, while questioning the ethics of your opponent doing the same. You recover 20 HP.


THE TROLL

Suck My Dick

Class: Bottom Feeder

“He’s an asshole… but he’s our asshole.”

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Attacks:

DOXX: Publically reveal the personal information of your opponent to leave them open to attacks by others. The next attack on your opponent deals double damage.

DEATH THREAT: Inform your opponent that you are going to murder them and rape their entire family. Continue until they are run out of their home and afraid to appear in public. Opponent misses 2 turns.

TORRENT OF ABUSE: Spam sexist and racial slurs on 8chan until the troll army is whipped into a frenzy of hatred. Get 2 free turns.

Emma Watson Nude!!! (Why Everything You Read is a Hoax Now)

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Note: WordPress has advised me that for every Facebook share this post receives, they will kindly donate $1 to the AIDS Foundation. So get clicking!

Back before email, we had this concept of a “chain letter.” Basically, you’d mail a letter to someone that instructed them to photocopy it X number of times, put the copies in envelopes, and mail them to your friends. Sometimes they would give some fake reason (you’ll have bad luck otherwise, or something) but the entire point was that for some reason, a lot of people get an innate thrill out of the very act of having something they created seen by a lot of other people. It doesn’t matter whether anyone knows the identity of the person who created it, or if what they created has any value whatsoever. The thing itself was quickly forgotten – it only ever mattered to the person who wrote it and the little thrill it gave them.

Today, that mentality survives. It’s never been so important to be skeptical of viral news stories. In an age when anything outrageous, infuriating or ridiculous spreads like wildfire over social media, people starved of attention are constantly wracking their brains to come up with some fake news they can release into the wild to see if it procreates or incites drama. Out of two of the biggest viral news stories of the past couple of weeks, both have turned out to be hoaxes, and perhaps unsurprisingly, both involved boobs in some way – in one case, a woman who had three, and in the other, a woman who only had two but also happened to be Hermione Granger, which the internet figured was the practical equivalent of six thousand boobs.

But while the internet believed the three-boobs lady despite the fact that they should have known better, the rumour that the website 4chan was about to release images of Emma Watson naked was believable because, hell, it completely stood to reason. Internet assholes on rancid yet popular communities like 4chan and Reddit have been engaged in a full-on war against the female gender for a while now. I’m not sure whether it properly began with feminist critic Anita Sarkeesian’s analysis of video game culture, or whether maybe it goes as far back as Elliot Rodger, but in any case, once content with allowing women to spout off out of earshot on university campuses and tumblr, angry internet teenagers have decided it’s time to go on the attack. In ridiculous campaigns like “Gamergate” and “the Fappening,” kids with nothing better to do are going after high profile women in an effort to destroy them for only pretend reasons. 4chan already stole and released hundreds of nude images of women for the crime of keeping their tits to themselves, so it was completely believable that they had some fleshy images of Emma Watson that they were threatening to release if she didn’t shut her mouth about feminism.

But then, as time went on, people started to suspect that this was a prank. After all, it was 4chan, who are known to play pranks on celebrities for no reason but shits and giggles, and it was kind of weird that if they had got a hold of Watson’s nude images, they would sit on them instead of dumping them on the internet with all the rest of them. Apart from some kids on Reddit creepily rubbing their hands and salivating over the prospect of getting to see Hermione’s womanly assets, a lot of people started chalking it up to an empty threat.

And they were right. This week it was revealed that the Watson nudes threat was a hoax perpetrated by a company called Rantic Marketing, who claimed responsibility and that they been hired by celebrity publicists to bring attention to 4chan’s criminality and lobby the government to have them shut down.

But that’s not the end of the story. It turns out that Rantic Marketing is also fake. And that’s where things get really weird.

People who looked into this company discovered that it didn’t even exist until recently, and that it’s actually run by some kind of fake news blog called FoxWeekly (no connection to the Fox company) which is in turn run by some group going by the moniker of SocialVevo. That’s about the extent that anyone can figure out what the hell is going on here.

Most viral pranks either have some kind of point to make, or exist solely for the purpose of trying to make something go viral, almost as a social experiment. Ostensibly, the Watson nudes hoax is the former – an effort to incite public disgust with 4chan – but the fact that this is itself a disingenuous hoax just leaves everyone scratching their heads.

If this is intended as an anti-4chan, pro-feminism hoax, then it’s a terribly executed one that surely has Watson thinking “thanks but no fucking thanks.” Like someone calling in a bomb threat to the White House as an endorsement of the president. I don’t know if it’s ever crossed Watson’s mind to snap some private erotica with her phone, and as always that’s her own business. If she hasn’t, then she would have known this is a hoax from the beginning, but if she has, then it’s likely she’s spent the past week rallying her lawyers together, adjusting her schedule, and preparing for intense emotional and professional fallout. That’s not a nice thing to do to someone even if you say you’re on their side.

But given that this explanation is also a smokescreen, people have begun to wonder whether this is a real “false flag” hoax that’s connected to 4chan after all, some kind of effort to create false “social justice warrior” enemies to incite even more rage against women in the media.

Personally, I suspect that’s thinking too deeply into it – this isn’t the first hoax SocialVevo has been behind, but nobody can figure out what any of their other hoaxes have been about either. Maybe it is as simple as just trying to get in the news. Maybe it’s just a private joke that only they understand. Being that they run a news site that (probably deliberately) sounds like it’s connected to Fox but only runs stories copied and pasted from other sites, they probably just get off on Facebook shares. That’s probably all this comes down to – chain letters, refined for an age when threatening people with bad luck for not passing it on just doesn’t cut it anymore. Now you have to threaten them with their own boobs.

Sorry, the Three Boob Lady Only Has Two Boobs

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If there’s one thing the internet media loves, it’s a sensational story about someone’s weird plastic surgery. Like that Barbie doll lady from a while back. Or this chick who got surgery to give her an extra boob that everyone’s going crazy about right now. But if there’s another thing the media loves, it’s not checking facts, and running stories that turn out to be dumb hoaxes. Like that chick who got surgery to give her an extra boob.

Every media outlet on the web is racing to social media to mock “Jasmine Tridevil,” a Tampa, Florida woman who reportedly told interviewers on a radio show that, in an effort to be less attractive to men, she found a dodgy surgeon who was willing to put an extra tit on her chest on condition that he signed a convenient non-disclosure agreement and agreed never to be identified. Amidst an avalanche of “Total Recall” jokes, now she’s turning up in various selfies and promotional photos.

715595-499ec8b2-421a-11e4-aebd-241de91fbb64Of course, if any media outlet in the world was willing to do the five minutes of research that Snopes bothered to do, they would have discovered that Jasmine’s real name is Alisha Hessler. Alisha is a professional prankster. We know that because only a few months ago she pranked the media again with another unlikely News of the Weird style story about getting beaten up and, in exchange for not pressing charges, making the guy stand by the road in a dunce cap.

There’s also the fact that Alisha runs a massage business in Tampa, with this disclaimer printed on its website:

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So there’s that.

It turns out we are still a few years away from that much anticipated tri-boob technology, and much as it might pain us, we’re still stuck with two per torso. And that’s okay, because there’s not much point to it unless we also start giving people three hands. There’s always Total Recall.