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Interview with the Jew hating Elmo.
June 28, 2012 9:30 AM   Subscribe

Central Park Elmo is not a fan of the Jews, to the extent that he was carried away for psychiatric assessment yesterday. Today the NYT has an interview with Adam Sandler, the man behind anti-Semitic Elmo.
posted by Cosine (142 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, he sounds like a real prize.
posted by elizardbits at 9:33 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yet still has more artistic merit than "Jack and Jill".
posted by hincandenza at 9:34 AM on June 28, 2012 [23 favorites]


Obligatory denouncement of shitty smartphone portrait mode. Rotate that stupid thing to landscape mode when you're capturing something that might just trend on the internet so it doesn't look like we're peeking through your closet door.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on June 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


I saw this guy in the Financial District once - or, at the very least, I saw another renegade Elmo. I have blurry, Bigfoot-esque photos of him that I snapped as I hurried my way to the DMV. Never thought he'd make the news.

Also - uh, nice Cambodian rape porn site, buddy. Eep.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:37 AM on June 28, 2012


OK, for clarity's sake, this Adam Sandler is a different Adam Sandler from the one you're probably thinking about.

I honestly thought this post was about some PR stunt for a new shitty comedy.
posted by kmz at 9:37 AM on June 28, 2012 [39 favorites]


And maybe I'm a horrible person, because he sounds like a tragic figure (and uh... yeah... the camp rape thing? For the thread's sake, let's just pretend we all didn't read that...) but I cannot stop laughing at that video.
posted by hincandenza at 9:38 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


...so it doesn't look like we're peeking through your closet door.

I take all my media as if I'm spying on Isabella Rosellini, thank you very much.
posted by griphus at 9:38 AM on June 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


OK, for clarity's sake, this Adam Sandler is a different Adam Sandler from the one you're probably thinking about.

This "Adam Sandler" changed his name to Adam Sandler, not the best representation of good mental health.
posted by Cosine at 9:39 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


But... Isbella Rossellini... in a headless elmo suit?
posted by elizardbits at 9:39 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


RED PORNO
posted by griphus at 9:41 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


He moved to Central Park when he felt Times Square was too saturated with Elmos.

I ... what? Are they part of a gang or something?
posted by cmonkey at 9:42 AM on June 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


too saturated with Elmos

I may start using this phrase in place of "ennui".
posted by elizardbits at 9:43 AM on June 28, 2012 [56 favorites]


What a letdown. The framing of this FPP led me to believe I was about to learn that Adam Sandler has been commissioning the mentally ill to dress up as Sesame Street characters and harass small children in Central Park with anti-semitic conspiracy theories.

For a brief moment, I thought this was his most interesting career move since Punch Drunk Love.
posted by R. Schlock at 9:44 AM on June 28, 2012 [32 favorites]


He moved to Central Park when he felt Times Square was too saturated with Elmos.
I ... what? Are they part of a gang or something?

Yes. No doubt a response to the roving gangs of babies and grannies.
posted by smirkette at 9:46 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


He moved to Central Park when he felt Times Square was too saturated with Elmos.

I ... what? Are they part of a gang or something?


Believe it or not, he's not wrong. There are costumed characters every block in Times Square. Dingy looking monsters everywhere you look. Minnie, Mickey, and Elmo seem especially popular.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:46 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


But... Isbella Rossellini... in a headless elmo suit?

thats...hawt!!!
posted by Confess, Fletch at 9:47 AM on June 28, 2012


And that weird off-model Blue Elmo.

Meanwhile, this week's New Yorker sketchbook drawing is an abjectly terrified family of tourists being chased around Times Square by Elmos and SpongeBobs and so on.
posted by griphus at 9:48 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Okay, we're all having fun, and I'm certainly not suggesting we stop. But read the article. This guy is sick - and he gets to touch little kids every day.
posted by Partario at 9:48 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Isbella Rossellini... in a headless elmo suit?

Imagine "He put his disease in Elmo!" in Elmo voice...
posted by nathancaswell at 9:48 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dingy looking monsters everywhere you look.

It makes sense. Oscar the Grouch was basically an angry homeless man. So there's no reason the rest of the Sesame Street crew shouldn't be out on the streets in a down economy. Maybe Stevie Wonder can organize a benefit.
posted by R. Schlock at 9:48 AM on June 28, 2012


Here he is in Times Square. Kind of depressing and really anti-semitic.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:49 AM on June 28, 2012


It is unclear from the article whether he wore the Elmo suit in any of the pron videos.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:50 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


> There are costumed characters every block in Times Square.

Check out the new piece in the New Yorker!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:50 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Obligatory denouncement of shitty smartphone portrait mode. Rotate that stupid thing to landscape mode when you're capturing something that might just trend on the internet so it doesn't look like we're peeking through your closet door.

In this case, I think it is particularly effective.

There's something so incredibly sad in that picture.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:50 AM on June 28, 2012


To desaturate Elmos, try increasing the Elmo hue and Elmo luminance.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:51 AM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


A friend of mine who works at Rockefeller Center hates Christmas not only because of the Tree and its associated traffic-blind hordes, but also because it attracts an aggressive gang of filthy Elmos and disheveled Spider-Men.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:51 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, I forgot about Sponge-Bob and Spiderman. They're popular ones, too. And, like all the others, filthy and disheveled.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:53 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it Spider-Men, Spiders-Man, or Spider-Mans, though?
posted by elizardbits at 9:53 AM on June 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's kind of a weird article to go viral on the internet - the article is really meant to be a warning perhaps to New York area parents who pose their children for photos with panhandlers/buskers wearing Elmo or other character costumes. Of course, we all like to laugh at the incongruity of a muppet spouting racist gibberish.

I haven't seen people dressed up as muppets on streetcorners in the community where I live.

On the other hand, the scholarly article inspired by Elmo guy's "sex scandal" in Cambodia is available online, and is an interesting read:

Welcome to the Rape Camp’: Sexual Exploitation and the Internet in Cambodia,” by Donna M. Hughes

Donna Hughes appears to a really interesting list of publications about sex trafficking that may be worth reading.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:53 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


Anti-semitism make me giggle like an idiot too.

Oh, no wait. No it doesn't.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is this Sandler? He keeps saying "Viacom is bullshit" ... what's the Jewish connection there? I suppose I shouldn't link ...

Drunk Guy dressed as Elmo goes crazy at Central Park Zoo
posted by mrgrimm at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2012


Spiders-Man
posted by griphus at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


> In this case, I think it is particularly effective.

That's a still photo, though, and it's totally fine. There are reasons to use portrait mode for video, such as tall buildings and what not, but when it's something moving around then no, bad idea.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


we all like to laugh at the incongruity of a muppet spouting racist gibberish

It's ironic. Elmo would never say that!
posted by mrgrimm at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, for clarity's sake, this Adam Sandler is a different Adam Sandler from the one you're probably thinking about.

Kudos to whoever turns this into a trailer for a new Adam Sandler film....
posted by iamck at 9:55 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hate Elmo, but my daughter really likes him. If this guy was working somewhere close to me, I'd take my kid to visit and see if she couldn't see things my way.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:56 AM on June 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


So he went from running a Cambodian rape-themed porn site, to working for Girl Scouts of America, to anti-Semitic ranting in an Elmo costume and sleeping on park benches. Looks like the recession is hitting everyone pretty hard these days.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:56 AM on June 28, 2012


I actually waffled between Spiders-Man and Spider-Men, and went with the more grammatically-congruous version instead of the poetic one to avoid a derail. Oops.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:56 AM on June 28, 2012


And, like all the others, filthy and disheveled.

Man I saw the saddest Captain America in Times Square recently. It was like Steve Rodgers if he went on a bender for 30 years. The symbolism was too strong.
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 AM on June 28, 2012 [22 favorites]


Chuck Palahniuk is writing this guy's life, apparently.
posted by griphus at 9:57 AM on June 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


To desaturate Elmos, try increasing the Elmo hue and Elmo luminance.

You can also just cut a hole in the middle of the Elmo. (Hurm. Methinks I have discovered the flaw in this metaphor.)
posted by smirkette at 9:57 AM on June 28, 2012


So wait I have a question. All the dingy, terrible looking costume people in Time Square - what are they for? Like what do they do? Are they hired? Do they get tips?
posted by The Whelk at 9:58 AM on June 28, 2012


And that weird off-model Blue Elmo.

HIS NAME IS GROVER.
posted by Edison Carter at 9:58 AM on June 28, 2012 [58 favorites]


His "real" (previous) name is Dan Sandler.

And check out KokuRyu's link.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:59 AM on June 28, 2012


Edison, I watched Grover, I knew Grover, Grover was a friend of mine. Edison, that's no Grover.
posted by griphus at 9:59 AM on June 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


So wait I have a question. All the dingy, terrible looking costume people in Time Square - what are they for? Like what do they do? Are they hired? Do they get tips?

Free-range Muppets. Like pigeons. Old people sit on park benches and feed them, now they're everywhere. Stupid old people.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:00 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'll bet his version of the Hannukah song is very different.
posted by PlusDistance at 10:00 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Like what do they do? Are they hired? Do they get tips?

They probably either do it to get a leg up on the pity-based panhandlers or they get off on it. Or they are mentally unbalanced.

Or all 3, like this guy. I like to think, there but for the grace go I, but ...

An American man, Dan Sandler, created a pornographic website featuring bound and gagged Cambodian women for people who are "sick of demanding American bitches who don't know their place" (Schwartz 2007). Sandler also gives his advice on dealing with Cambodian prostitutes' such as, "[do not] be bashful about sending her back if she doesn't do as advertised or if there is some major attitude shift" (Schwartz 2007).
posted by mrgrimm at 10:01 AM on June 28, 2012


> All the dingy, terrible looking costume people in Time Square - what are they for?

I'm pretty sure that's what happens to anyone who uses the restroom in the Disney Store there. They can't take off the mask to eat, so they usually die in week or so.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:01 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'll bet his version of the Hannukah song is very different.

Put on your yalmulka, here comes hanukkah
Its so much fun-akkah to follow Satan-ukkahhhh....
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:03 AM on June 28, 2012


To desaturate Elmos, try increasing the Elmo hue and Elmo luminance.

Elmoluminescence! New scientific phenomenon! Alert the media!
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:03 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


St. Elmo's Fire is a well-known phenomenon, come on now. It's just his canonization that's debated.
posted by griphus at 10:04 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it Spider-Men, Spiders-Man, or Spider-Mans, though?

I like to think it is Spiders-Man, like attorneys-general or courts-martial.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:05 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


ELMO HAS 4 CORNER SIMULTANEOUS 4-DAY TIME CUBE
posted by mediated self at 10:06 AM on June 28, 2012


OK, for clarity's sake, this Adam Sandler is a different Adam Sandler from the one you're probably thinking about.

Not the Adam Sandler you know. Also not the Elmo you know.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:06 AM on June 28, 2012


St. Elmo's Fire is a well-known phenomenon, come on now. It's just his canonization that's debated.

You want a miracle? I'll give you a miracle. It's a miracle this is the first time Elmo's been arrested. There's your miracle.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:07 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I hate to be a downer, but the story here is far more soul-destroying and loathsome than just a crazy guy, down on his luck, panhandling in an Elmo suit. Nothing remotely funny about it, really, especially if you are the parent of young children.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:08 AM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


St. Elmo's Fire is a well-known phenomenon, come on now. It's just his canonization that's debated.

...which really just boils down to a split between the Parr and Eno theologies.
posted by mykescipark at 10:10 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it Spider-Men, Spiders-Man, or Spider-Mans, though?

Arachno-Americans.
posted by jedicus at 10:15 AM on June 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


All the dingy, terrible looking costume people in Time Square - what are they for? Like what do they do?

Pose for pictures with tourists. And yes, they expect tips.

It's like those "living statue" people who dress up in a costume and pose frozen for an hour, with a hat down in front of where they're standing. Only the novelty is "look I'm dressed as a whimsical children's character."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Only the novelty is "look I'm dressed as a whimsical children's character....

...who has recently wet himself."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:17 AM on June 28, 2012


Is it Spider-Men, Spiders-Man, or Spider-Mans, though?

Well, we know at least that it's not Phil Spiderman.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:17 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Note the lack of Disney characters stalking midtown, yelling anti-Semitic obscenities at crying, confused tourists. I guess the Disney legal army is of some benefit to the world, after all.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:18 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here in Hollywood, we have trouble with our Elmos too.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:19 AM on June 28, 2012


Only the novelty is "look I'm dressed as a third-hand description of a whimsical children's character."
posted by griphus at 10:20 AM on June 28, 2012


Nothing remotely funny about it, really, especially if you are the parent of young children.

With all due respect, I'm the parent of a young child and there are funny elements to it. It's a hateful man with a vile past coopting a beloved children's character known for his optimism and innocence.

Honestly, if I were presented with this scene while with my kid, I would tell my daughter "That's not Elmo (she knows this. I think most kids over two do). The man in the costume is sick. You're with me, you're safe." And she'd be scared (but then again she's scared of the perfectly friendly, Kevin Garnett-sized Elmo who greets patrons on weekends at the local garden store), but if I don't act like something dire or terrifying is going on it passes immediately. And she's not going to say "hey! that guy in the Elmo costume is onto something about the Jews."

Disclaimer: my perspective might be skewed by the fact that we live in the shadow of a major city and have already had to have cursory discussions about homelessness and mental illness. But I don't how you visit Manhattan and avoid the issue entirely.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:20 AM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


He should have changed his name to Mel Gibson.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:22 AM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


It is possible that he's not mentally ill, but just antisemitic.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:23 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Note the lack of Disney characters stalking midtown, yelling anti-Semitic obscenities at crying, confused tourists.

The Disney characters have all been rounded up and forced to yell anti-Semitic obscenities at crying, confused tourists in special debtors prisons in California and Florida.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:23 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Is it Spider-Men, Spiders-Man, or Spider-Mans, though?

Spidermanim.

(And Elmot)
posted by R. Schlock at 10:23 AM on June 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


It is possible that he's not mentally ill, but just antisemitic.

Dude is in an Elmo costume. Come on.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:26 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


He should have changed his name to Mel Gibson.

Melmo Gibson?
posted by hmo at 10:27 AM on June 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


The Disney characters have all been rounded up and forced to yell anti-Semitic obscenities at crying, confused tourists in special debtors prisons in California and Florida.

You know who else cut in line at Space Mountain?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:28 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dude is in an Elmo costume. Come on.

So is Kevin Clash's arm. QED.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:28 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude is in an Elmo costume. Come on.

He made $200 in one day for wearing that outfit. If he was dressed as Napoleon, I might take it as evidence of madness.

Or do crazy people not dress like Napoleon anymore? That's how they were always represented when I was a boy, but, now that I think about it, I haven't seen that cartoon shorthand in many years.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:29 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


They need new historical figures to pretend to be! I'm not crazy, I'm Franklin Delano Roosevelt!
posted by The Whelk at 10:30 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait now it's just turning into Franklin Sherman.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:32 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you take a look at Ward B, you can see our resident Luigis Galvani.
posted by griphus at 10:32 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ward C is like, 80% Stalins.
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


...and one graduate student doing an homage.
posted by griphus at 10:34 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sigh...It's 'spider-people' you sexists
posted by sexyrobot at 10:34 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dressing like a Napoleon isn't a clear sign of illness, per se. But demonstrating your creamy filling is usually good for a bit off a lockup. Or so I've heard.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:34 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Arachnid-Americans.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:35 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or do crazy people not dress like Napoleon anymore?

Maybe in cartoons, but in real life they might think they are on the Truman Show, in the Matrix or a star of their own reality TV program. I spent several months thinking I was in some kind of vulcan mindmeld with Robin Williams. Really.
posted by Lorin at 10:35 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not to say that I object to jokes about crazy people, if anything it makes them more funny!
posted by Lorin at 10:37 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So do we call this one "Rape Camp Elmo" now or is he still "Schizophrenic Nazi Elmo"?
posted by w0mbat at 10:37 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


So wait I have a question. All the dingy, terrible looking costume people in Time Square - what are they for? Like what do they do? Are they hired? Do they get tips?

Hollywood Boulevard has similar people in costumes, and they are... well, interesting.

I got to know a few of them when I was last living in LA.

They work for tips, generally in return for posed photographs. Most of them seemed to be either homeless or close to homeless. I met one character in particular and he said a lot of the characters end up shacking up together in either daily cheap motels, SROs, studios or other cheap lodgings. They'll pool their money and whoever can pay the most gets the bed, the rest get the floors.

Most of them have mental health issues or substance abuse problems or are otherwise marginalized. You have to be pretty desperate, broke and/or a bit crazy to want to put on a dingy old Spiderman costume and spend all day posing on the street for pocket change and tips - but just proud or principled enough to not resort to petty crime or thuggery.

One character in particular I got to hang out with was someone with dwarfism. His character was Chucky, from the movie of the same name. So I'm basically chilling with a really short guy running around in broad daylight in kids overalls with a Chucky mask and a big plastic Halloween chef's knife complete with fake blood.

It was a bit surreal.

He had Hollywood Blvd wired. If you wanted to know something about the street scene there he would be the one to ask, and he had a lot of stories.

One day when I was having coffee there, there was a fight between one particularly dingy Spiderman and another super hero... it may have even been another Spiderman character, because there were several. One of the Spidermen was arrested and it made the rounds on weird news channels, complete with photos.

Here in Seattle there are similar street performers, but as far as I've seen they're all original and not known pop culture characters. There's the golden robot guy who goes around with a cart full of gold-painted futuristic toy weapons, and makes a lot of robot noises that fit his movements with one of those cheap toy siren whistles. As an adult - he looks really kind of tacky and kitschy, but the kids obviously love him, and he gets a ton of business.

There are a few human statues who put on elaborate metallic looking dresses or clothes and body paint. There are a few regular bucket drummers.

I was watching one of the better and more regular bucket drummers, and we ended up talking a bit.

He said he just needed rent and/or beer money, so in a fit of desperation he went out to try drumming and busking. He said he was surprised at how much he made the first day, and the next thing he knew he was making enough to pay his rent. (This part is unusual, though, and part of his success is detailed below.)

But he says what really kept him coming back was the kids, which is why he keeps spare drum sticks, cowbells, maracas and other percussion instruments. Part of his act is letting kids jam on his bucket drum kit or play along on something,

And that is actually pretty amazing to watch. Kids just freak out and are so happy at being allowed to play music with an adult on their own terms, without the pressure of formal lessons or structure. Considering the current state of the Arts in public schools, I'd imagine kids today are pretty hungry for that kind of interaction and culture. And it's really entertaining watching some cute little 3-4 yo figuring out how to work a cowbell and keep time with the bucket drummer guy while her parents hover around a little apprehensively.

Oh, and for all of you galactic hitchhikers out there? If you're traveling or a stranger to a new place and you're looking for particular herbs and spices that aren't readily available over the counter at established markets - a costumed character may be the person to ask. They generally know the streets that they work on very, very well.
posted by loquacious at 10:42 AM on June 28, 2012 [35 favorites]


Wait wait, he stands around on the street being a nuisance for a living, he believes wacky conspiracy theories from the early 20th century, he's world traveled and he went to University of Oregon?

I think Occupy Wall Street has just found its mascot.
posted by falameufilho at 10:46 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


One character in particular I got to hang out with was someone with dwarfism. His character was Chucky, from the movie of the same name. So I'm basically chilling with a really short guy running around in broad daylight in kids overalls with a Chucky mask and a big plastic Halloween chef's knife complete with fake blood.

He's still here, if it's the same guy. Now he dresses as Mr. T, which is honestly pretty spectacular.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:46 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


That would be a lower-case t, though.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:55 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like to think it is Spiders-Man, like attorneys-general or courts-martial

That was my first thought, mainly because I like saying "attorneys-general", but actually I think it depends on how we treat Spider Man, taxonomically speaking.

Attorney General, Court Martial, and Surgeon General all use an unusual for English word order where the modifier comes after what it modifies. They are respectively special kinds of attorney, court, and surgeon (or doctor). When we pluralise them we pluralise the root word, so courts martial is really martial courts which is the same pattern that English plurals usually follow.

The question then becomes: is Spider-man a manly spider or a spidery man? If it's the former then the plural is Spider-Men, if it's the latter then Spiders-Man.
posted by atrazine at 10:56 AM on June 28, 2012 [7 favorites]


That would be a lower-case t, though.

I'm pretty sure he does call himself Little T.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:58 AM on June 28, 2012


Well depending on who's writing him he's either a whining wisecracker or a wisecracking whiner
posted by The Whelk at 10:58 AM on June 28, 2012


He's still here, if it's the same guy. Now he dresses as Mr. T, which is honestly pretty spectacular.

The "Chucky" I knew is white, so I really hope he's not running around in blackface. That would be really awkward.

But I support the idea of a mini Mr. T, if only because it's a lot less disturbing than a life-sized version of Chucky, which was really creepy.

One of the things I gathered from costume people is that there often isn't a rhyme or reason to their costume choices. Sometimes it just happens to be whatever was on sale when they had enough money to buy it, because a good mask or costume can be expensive.

The Spiderman costume is probably pretty popular because it's simple and relatively affordable costume, and easily recognized. It can be put on over street clothes in a coffee house bathroom. It covers the face, so no makeup or expensive latex masks are needed. You don't need any props other than a lamp pole or wall to pretend to climb.
posted by loquacious at 10:59 AM on June 28, 2012


It is possible that he's not mentally ill, but just antisemitic.

Yeah, I mean. We all have a tendency towards assigning diagnoses of mental illness towards people holding views we find reprehensible despite our lack of medical degrees. It is possible that in many of these cases, the people we're discussing are really just horrible human beings with disgusting opinions. It doesn't diminish the importance of giving homeless mentally ill people the social welfare services they need.

okay now back to the lols.
posted by elizardbits at 11:00 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


(too many towardses there i think)
posted by elizardbits at 11:01 AM on June 28, 2012


Sociopathy isn't mental illness?
posted by MetalFingerz at 11:02 AM on June 28, 2012


The "Chucky" I knew is white, so I really hope he's not running around in blackface.

Yikes! Nope.

I'm not surprised there was more than one Chucky. There are, like, 18 Johnny Depps on Hollywood and Highland right now.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:03 AM on June 28, 2012


Sorry, Dr. MetalFingerz, I defer to your august professional diagnosis.
posted by elizardbits at 11:06 AM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight....

A guy who ran a Cambodian "Welcome to Rape Camp" porn website and allegedly admitted to paying for sex with young girls (which isn't a crime of course, but you gotta ask, how young? like underage young?) subsequently worked for the Girl Scouts of America and now dresses up as a beloved Sesame Street character (the one that is like crack for toddlers, seriously, they completely lose their little minds for Elmo) and wanders around Central Park spouting antisemitic screeds from Henry Ford?

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.
posted by zarq at 11:12 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


wow, the article in the Journal of Sexual Aggression is worth a read.
If his sexual bondage show caused violence against women in the United States--the community of the target audience--that was acceptable, even desirable. “It might promote violence against women in the United States, but I say, ‘Good.’ I hate those bitches. They’re out of line and that’s one of the reasons I want to do this … I’m going through a divorce right now. … I hate American women”
posted by rcdc at 11:20 AM on June 28, 2012


There's a doc about the people in costume in front of the Chinese theater: Confessions of a Superhero. The main guy the filmmakers recorded claimed to be Sandy Dennis' son (he isn't).

I wonder why none of the companies who own the rights to the characters have called for a cease and desist.
posted by brujita at 11:20 AM on June 28, 2012


Man, there was a cartoon showing legions of dingy costumed muppets and the like in Time Square posted to Reddit a few days ago, but I can't seem to find it now.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:22 AM on June 28, 2012


I wonder why none of the companies who own the rights to the characters have called for a cease and desist.

Just build it into the EULA for the Elmo costume. No racism or rape promotion of any kind.

But seriously, because there's not a lot of money in suing panhandlers?
posted by Behemoth at 11:23 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a doc about the people in costume in front of the Chinese theater: Confessions of a Superhero. The main guy the filmmakers recorded claimed to be Sandy Dennis' son (he isn't).

There's a parallel documentary that was filmed at the exact same moment about many of the same people called The Reenactors. It's not as nicely filmed or as tightly edited, but its a rawer look at the story.

I see Chris Dennis almost every say and, as a result of those two documentaries, he skeeves me right the fuck out. And it seems like he's almost singlehandedly responsible for the explosions of costumed transients who haunt Hollywood, which, I feel sure, is the source of the New York phenomenon, as panhandling tricks tend to migrated back and forth across the coast.

Both documentaries are available on Netflix instant, and, if you want to spend an afternoon feeling a mixture of pity and loathing, there's your ticker.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:28 AM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Guy in dingy costume to which he doesn't hold the rights who poses in pictures with tourists for money turns out to be a creepy mentally-unbalanced homeless dude with a sketchy history of international porn production? Color me surprised!
posted by zachlipton at 11:29 AM on June 28, 2012


> there was a cartoon showing legions of dingy costumed muppets and the like in Time Square

Whoops, that was the picture for that same New Yorker article I mentioned.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:40 AM on June 28, 2012


There are, like, 18 Johnny Depps on Hollywood and Highland right now.

And Skeet Ulrich is one of 'em.
posted by Edison Carter at 11:40 AM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


LOLmentally ill people? Not great FPP.
posted by Melismata at 11:43 AM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


LOLmentally ill people? Not great FPP.

Who said it was here for LOLZ? That certainly isn't what I was going for.
posted by Cosine at 11:53 AM on June 28, 2012


What were you going for?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:57 AM on June 28, 2012


1) It is unclear whether his rants are illegal? Of course they're legal.

2) What a tragic and deplorable person.

3) I bet 5 bucks this guy is himself Jewish.

4) And this photo is amazing.
posted by latkes at 11:59 AM on June 28, 2012


the article is really meant to be a warning perhaps to New York area parents who pose their children for photos with panhandlers/buskers wearing Elmo or other character costumes

Unfortunately New York area parents are probably not the ones who most need such a warning.
posted by naoko at 12:00 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


LOLmentally ill people? Not great FPP.

From the article: Doctors examined him, and he appears to be a garden variety slightly paranoid asshole, and not mentally ill.
posted by thanotopsis at 12:01 PM on June 28, 2012


Note the lack of Disney characters stalking midtown, yelling anti-Semitic obscenities at crying, confused tourists.

I'm pretty sure that's exactly how Giuliani shut down the porn palaces in Times Square.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 12:21 PM on June 28, 2012


So wait, first he starts a rape porn site, and then he gets hired by the GIRL SCOUTS?!?!? I... gahhhhh...
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 12:23 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I read "Spiders-Man" as an insane person dressed in a Spider-Man costume ranting about being covered in "Spiders, Man!" a la Shaggy. So, uh, that's how you earned THAT favorite.
posted by davejay at 12:38 PM on June 28, 2012


Yeah, not mentally ill, just a creepy asswipe. The "rape camp" website he used to run is enough to make that diagnosis clear, all without the anti-semitic Elmo diatribe going on. Livin' the dream, he is.
posted by but no cigar at 12:47 PM on June 28, 2012


It is possible that he's not mentally ill, but just antisemitic.

Possible, but in the zoo video (and I'd say that is the same guy, based on the bag and the kneepads), he can be heard yelling "Fuck Dora the Explorer! Dora the Explorer is a bitch!" among other things. So, not just anti-semitic.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2012


a. HOLY FUCK THE DUDE IS FROM MY WEE HOME TOWN
b. I get the funniness of Elmo being full of hate, but dude is crazy. Not 'danger to himself or others ' crazy, but crazy nonetheless. Here's the quote from the article: He said the doctors at Metropolitan told him he was “a little paranoid.” It was obvious from talking to him that he is troubled. So, it's his word about what the doctors said about him, and that kind fucks with the unfunny "this guy is almost certainly mentally ill" take.
c. Without the Elmo costume, it would be about as funny as about the handful of mentally ill (but not meeting the standard for commitment) one sees in NYC every day.
So, no offense, but I'm flagging the thread and moving on.
posted by angrycat at 1:24 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I, for one, don't actually see anything funny about a muppet spouting racist gibberish. I like muppets and I don't like racism, so to me it's less hilarious and more like ruining something that was perfectly nice. I feel like I'm one of the few people that prefers humour that's not vulgar or offensive. Seriously, is the world populated by nothing but 14-year-old boys? Why does appealing to the lowest aspects of the human mind get so much approval?
posted by windykites at 1:28 PM on June 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, I don't think it's funny as in "what a great idea, I love this"; I'm Jewish myself and a parent, so Elmo spouting anti-Semitism is not awesome, but it is so bizzaro-town that the only response I can think of is to laugh.

The other day I was sitting in my car with my girlfriend, and a guy got out of the car next to us and exclaimed, "It's raining! That's so gay!" My gay girlfriend and I (also gay) both immediately broke out laughing. I mean, what the hell!? Rain is gay? Such a stupid offensive comment it can only be funny.
posted by latkes at 1:36 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why does appealing to the lowest aspects of the human mind get so much approval?

Who in this thread is approving? Most people seem horrified, sad, or disgusted, if they've expressed anything at all about their feelings.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:47 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Horrified/sad/disgusted and aware of the dramatic irony of someone donning an Elmo suit to spew indiscriminate hatred, seeing as Elmo is all about indiscriminate love and wonder. This is some Kafkaesque stuff here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:02 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: Is it Spider-Men, Spiders-Man, or Spider-Mans, though?

According to Marvel, it's Spider-Men.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:12 PM on June 28, 2012


Possible, but in the zoo video (and I'd say that is the same guy, based on the bag and the kneepads), he can be heard yelling "Fuck Dora the Explorer! Dora the Explorer is a bitch!" among other things

I was wondering if that might not be somebody else in costume.

I do think the growing phenomenon of costumed characters congregating in public places to panhandle is an interesting thing. It's a weird bit of street business that really seems to have become more popular lately, especially with the downturn of the economy, and street business is always sort of interesting and sort of terrifying.

My friend Abbie did this in front of the Chinese Theater for a while and it was a little nutty for her -- we interviewed her about it on our podcast (and she tells another Elmo story). But it's definitely something that attracts really strange and sketchy people, so I don't know that it is going to be impossible to avoid the mental illness angle. I will say, in my experience, a lot of them may not be mentally ill, but just have incredibly fucked up personalities.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 2:22 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


See also:
Confessions of a Superhero
Being Elmo
posted by mudpuppie at 2:26 PM on June 28, 2012


I feel really sorry for him. He seems unhappy; he's probably sick; and there is absolutely no way he's going to get any help. Not from the Jewish medical conspiracy, anyway.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:07 PM on June 28, 2012


This dude's thoughts on 9/11 must be fascinating.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:15 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


They should do a nice talking Central Park Elmo doll that says "Elmo hates Jews" and "Welcome to rape camp"
posted by knoyers at 4:54 PM on June 28, 2012


Johnnies Depp.
posted by Divine_Wino at 5:22 PM on June 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


This guy is sick - and he gets to touch little kids every day.

He's mentally ill, so he MUST be a pedophile!
posted by kenko at 5:24 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


THAT TICKLES
posted by tetracycline at 5:35 PM on June 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


I saw a Spiderman in Times Square sans mask a few weeks ago.

He was a middle aged Asian man. If I had to guess, going by his haircut and general demeanor, I'd say he was a Chinese immigrant, the same sort of person who might otherwise be selling designer knockoffs on Canal Street or delivering takeout. Which makes me wonder if there aren't networks or fixers or people who otherwise organize these folks -- buy the costumes, rent them out for an exorbitant fee to new immigrants with no language skills, figure out the turf issues, etc.

Then again, clearly there are folks like Nutbag Elmo who freelance.

I used to know a guy from the Congo who had this whole African Tribesman drummer thing going down in one of the more rustic parts of Central Park. I think he had his shit together a lot more, though.
posted by Sara C. at 5:37 PM on June 28, 2012


>This guy is sick - and he gets to touch little kids every day.

He's mentally ill, so he MUST be a pedophile!


He ran a rape camp in Cambodia. I think it's a fair comment to call the guy sick, and feel slightly unsettled that he gets to touch kids all day.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:43 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also this from 6-23-2012 New York Times.
posted by barrett caulk at 6:06 PM on June 28, 2012


I actually do think he's a threat to others. I don't think he is as harmless as some think he is. Read the background on this guy and the laughs are harder to find.
posted by batmonkey at 6:31 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm also fascinated by the fact that this Elmo seems a lot better costumed than the characters I see in Times Square (I work nearby and see these folks regularly).

The vast majority of them are ersatz Muppet-esque Children's Novelty Charactoonz. A few are recognizable as Elmo or Spiderman, but their costumes are really substandard. The Elmo costume is usually a red polarfleece jumpsuit with a mall quality Halloween mask. Spiderman is typically dressed in the same sort of polyester outfit that you could pick up at those popup costume shops that sell Slutoween outfits.

From the photos, Sandler's rig looks to be pretty close to what the legit theme park characters wear. Which makes the whole thing somehow creepier. The dudes in the cheap costumes are sad. He seems ominous.
posted by Sara C. at 6:42 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


The blue kneepads are the worst.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:59 PM on June 28, 2012


He's mentally ill, so he MUST be a pedophile!

No. He hates women, really really really hates women (go read the article which has, without exaggeration, direct quotations from him encouraging would-be sex tourists to stalk, beat and rape women and giving them directions to places to do so.) There is plenty of evidence he is a torturer of women, a rapist and a pimp. Doesn't matter if he did it for profit or for hate - although my money's on hate.

He might not be a pedophile (although given the value of virgins in sex tourism in Cambodia, it's a possibility), but he's definitely not someone who should be anywhere near children. Pedophilia is not the only good reason to keep someone away from kids.
posted by gingerest at 12:49 AM on June 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


A quote from the "Welcome to the Rape Camp" article.
"He dismissed the contention that his “Rape Camp” web site would increase violence against women in Cambodia. “I have nothing against women here.” He explained, “It’s not being marketed to this community” and since few Cambodians had Internet access they weren’t likely to see it. If his sexual bondage show caused violence against women in the United States -- the community of the target audience -- that was acceptable, even desirable. “It might promote violence against women in the United States, but I say, ‘Good.’ I hate those bitches. They’re out of line and that’s one of the reasons I want to do this … I’m going through a divorce right now. … I hate American women” "
I don't know if he is a pedophile, but he definitely strikes me as someone who would take full advantage of any opportunity to inflict some damage. Would not want him near me or anyone I know or love.
posted by echolalia67 at 12:16 PM on June 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


hate the game, not the player.
posted by camdan at 3:12 PM on June 29, 2012


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