Everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes
February 4, 2013 5:30 PM   Subscribe

The Most Insane News Story You'll See Today
posted by Sailormom (194 comments total) 83 users marked this as a favorite

 
what.
posted by JimBennett at 5:36 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


So, we're laughing at this guy, or this is some (not) clever performance piece, or...?
posted by JHarris at 5:37 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Every swear filled breathless account of violence should indeed be prefaced by a benediction for universal love and respect.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:38 PM on February 4, 2013 [88 favorites]


The ending is pretty sad.
posted by codacorolla at 5:39 PM on February 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


You lasted that long?
posted by JHarris at 5:42 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Spoiler alert - For people who don't want to click or watch all the way though -

This is a 5+ minute local news video of a young surfer dude who is recounting his brush with some psycho dude who he stopped from further injuring some people. There is no punch line, the guy does not break character, there's no person in a gorilla suit or anything. It's just this guy talking.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:43 PM on February 4, 2013 [19 favorites]


The Carrie Nation we need, not the one we want.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is not the form I pictured Christ taking when he returned to us, but whaddyagonna do?
posted by dry white toast at 5:47 PM on February 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


If Antoine Dodson was a hatchet wielding, hitchhiking surfer.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:52 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am not laughing at Kai. I just want to put that out there to head off any derails.

What an amazing story. And the way Kai tells it, it's like you are right there with him.

So No I'm not laughing
posted by Sailormom at 5:56 PM on February 4, 2013 [21 favorites]


Mesmerizing. He speaks like how a Beckett novel reads, just with some surferisms thrown in. Ending is about as bleak as Beckett, too. Someone get that guy a wet suit and a hug if it's real, which I doubt. Still mesmerizing either way.
posted by milarepa at 5:56 PM on February 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


It is real, and very bizzare. I suspect this isn't the last we'll be seeing of ol' Kai.

(P.S. They've got some weird problems with their video at that news site, but something really happened here)
posted by Red Loop at 5:59 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Doing some digging, it turns out that the *reporter* is fake (not from Fox), but Kai and the story itself are both the real deal.
posted by FatherDagon at 6:00 PM on February 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


Thanks for the links.
posted by Sailormom at 6:04 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, I can smell Kai from here. I'm not surprised he's the real deal. He's an amalgam of guys I adored in high school, and although I am comfortably far away from such boyfriends now, I am glad that his mania is employed in the service of Chaotic Good.

FatherDagon: that link, additionally, introduced me to the insult "jabroni", which is itself worthwhile.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:05 PM on February 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


Metafilter: Every swear filled breathless account of violence should indeed be prefaced by a benediction for universal love and respect.
posted by The otter lady at 6:07 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


DJrock3k to universe: send more Kais. This what a Knight Errant looks like these days.

You're wrong Kai, we all are your family, as evidenced by your behaviour.

And yeah, get this man a wetsuit, pronto!
posted by djrock3k at 6:07 PM on February 4, 2013 [19 favorites]


The ending is pretty sad. The whole thing is pretty sad, sorta. He's very affected, and gives every hint of having a moneyed background. But who knows. As far as I could tell he did something good.
posted by Miko at 6:08 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seeing Kai chasing that guy with a hatchet must have been like seeing the ICP logo come to life.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:08 PM on February 4, 2013 [42 favorites]


Hahah we're vetting stuff with links to Barstool now?

Not judging you FatherDagon, I saw this on Barstool this morning.

It's Always Sunny invented jabroni, no?
posted by nathancaswell at 6:09 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fuller report from the reporter; shorter than the video in the post but includes the accounts of other people at the scene, corroborating Kai's story. Shows Kai walking away at the end of the afternoon with what looks like maybe a takeout food container someone got him?
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:09 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Doing some digging, it turns out that the *reporter* is fake (not from Fox), but Kai and the story itself are both the real deal.

There's so much sadness in this story. Even the "reporter" is himself an icon of tragedy. I think the real lead's been buried. I want to see a write up on this fake reporter. Is this a thing now?

...and two watches, really?!?
posted by coolxcool=rad at 6:12 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the two-watch-wearing fake reporter angle is the one I want to see followed.
posted by item at 6:14 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think all angles need to be explored fully. What about the 400-pound racist Jesus?
posted by Red Loop at 6:16 PM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


It is real, and very bizzare. I suspect this isn't the last we'll be seeing of ol' Kai.

I just clicked that link and watched a cameraman zoom in on a studio host's hairplugs while he drank orange juice for about a minute. This is all very bizarre.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:18 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's a write-up on your fake reporter
posted by headless at 6:19 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Text version of the news report of the actual incident. Sounds like this happened Friday Feb. 1, and racist Jesus was Jett Simmons McBride, 54, of Tacoma, Wash., and he was arrested and charged with attempted murder.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:22 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


What about the 400-pound racist Jesus?

Racist Jesus is canon, surely?
posted by pompomtom at 6:22 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


where did the hatchet come from?
posted by mannequito at 6:25 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why is no one asking about the hatchet? That was his choice of self-defense/vital camping tool? I'm assuming that he hit the driver with the non-sharp end?

The lesson I take from this is that we are all going about our lives, organizing our days as best we can, trying to maintain some margin of safety in case of misfortune, but that our reality can devolve into COMPLETE CHAOS in a moment. Good on Kai that he could operate for good in the absence of that margin.
posted by Morrigan at 6:26 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


where did the hatchet come from?

Presumably his camping pack.
posted by fifthrider at 6:27 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kai saying, "Well, if you're Christ then I guess I'll be the antichrist" is a moment on par with Huck Finn saying, "All right, I'll go to hell." Beautiful.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:30 PM on February 4, 2013 [92 favorites]


My takeaway is that people like Kai are out there among us, slipping through the cracks of society. Decent people who aren't recorded in any census or credit score, and only become known when they do something extraordinary.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:31 PM on February 4, 2013 [28 favorites]


At least he's famous for helping someone out and not for being a reality tv star.
posted by arcticseal at 6:31 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re: the "reporter," I was going to say... Anyone who could keep a completely straight face and continue with that interview as if nothing happens has to be on something, too.
posted by Madamina at 6:31 PM on February 4, 2013


You're worthwhile and no one can ever take that away from you.
posted by NoMich at 6:33 PM on February 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm assuming that he hit the driver with the non-sharp end?

I doubt it. I thought I heard him say the driver died.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 6:33 PM on February 4, 2013


So glimmers a murky deed in an opaque world.
posted by The White Hat at 6:34 PM on February 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wait - why are people saying the reporter's fake? I don't get it. Here's his YouTube channel, with clips of him at work.
posted by sutt at 6:34 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, that news article indicates that the driver is not dead.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 6:35 PM on February 4, 2013


where did the hatchet come from?

In his front pocket, next to exactly 3 sucking stones.
posted by milarepa at 6:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:48 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've always been a fan of Kai's power tools. Didn't know a hatchet was one of 'em. Gnarly, dude.
posted by brianstorms at 6:50 PM on February 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


Does this guy have a reality show deal with Bravo yet?
posted by nightwood at 6:51 PM on February 4, 2013


Like a scene straight out of Tony Samolis' Frezno (nsfw)
posted by photoslob at 6:58 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm super torn here.

Part of me wants the media, the reality TV, the Daniel Fucking Tosh, to stay the fuck away from Kai. Mostly because I get the vibe that that's the way the guy would want it and some good deeds should go unpunished.

Alternatively, if getting some notice gets him some help he might need and want that would be great. Can't remember the last time fame got anybody help they want or need though.....
posted by sendai sleep master at 7:03 PM on February 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


Facebook fan page. They are raising money for a wetsuit.
posted by unliteral at 7:04 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I hope there's also one to buy the Pacific G & E guy a new pair of boots.
posted by Flashman at 7:11 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is just begging for an AutoTune.
posted by daHIFI at 7:14 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hope there's also one to buy the Pacific G & E guy a new pair of boots.

Or maybe pay for the inevitably large healthcare bill?
posted by sendai sleep master at 7:14 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can I favorite and flag a post?
posted by cjorgensen at 7:14 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


That local news episode is surprisingly eventful. Chem lab fire, hanta virus, a deranged pedophile attack... must have been a rough week.
posted by eurypteris at 7:22 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't believe no one has said this yet, considering the circumstances (maybe I'm the only John from Cincinnati watcher?) but:

See God, Kai.
posted by nuala at 7:25 PM on February 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Hey, the dude that was hit is fuckin' righteous, too.l

"It's not his belief that anyone should be angry with the driver," Boyles said. "He just hopes the man gets the help he needs."

The PG&E worker who was hurt will need six to eight weeks to recover. But, Boyles said, his main concern Saturday "was getting a new pair of boots because his were cut off" by paramedics.



I bet ol' Kai would give him the boots right off his feet.

Be well, Kai! If you ever get to Idaho, I'll give you breakfast and a hug.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:26 PM on February 4, 2013


"It's a good thing I was hitchhiking. People say 'Don't hitchhike, well, here's what happens.' Yeah, well at least I was here."

Which is sort of saying "Hitchhiking's not so bad. It gave me the chance to save someone's life". Most of us would say all the wonderful experiences hitchhiking has given us, but he's saying that it allowed him to help someone else. I liked that.

And Hulk would be proud of him too: "Smash, smash, SU-MASH!"
posted by eye of newt at 7:28 PM on February 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Racist Jesus is canon, surely?
Yup.
posted by Flunkie at 7:30 PM on February 4, 2013


The way he says "sherrifs wegon" is unusual. West Virginia?
posted by stbalbach at 7:31 PM on February 4, 2013


This is just begging for an AutoTune.

Teh internets got you covered. Well, not autotuned, but still.

The reporter is giving it props in one of the top comments.
posted by sutt at 7:37 PM on February 4, 2013


At least he's famous for helping someone out and not for being a reality tv star.

only a matter of time, I fear
posted by philip-random at 7:46 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fuckin'

Fuckin'

Fuckin'

Dude.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:47 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. I came up with guys just like this. It was oddly refreshing/disturbing. I hadn't thought about being young in a long while now...
posted by elwoodwiles at 7:47 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Kai's accent is legit... my wife is from the area, and try as you might, you cannot hide West (by Gawd!) Virginia. Some really decent and fearless folk come from those mountains.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:03 PM on February 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Kudos to Kai. Yes, get that man a wetsuit!
posted by Bartonius at 8:07 PM on February 4, 2013


That's Kai for you, he's straight outa dogtown.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:12 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oops! On the fan site they just [accidently?] outed his actual Facebook page when they said earlier that they were going to keep it confidential.
posted by unliteral at 8:12 PM on February 4, 2013


The ending is pretty sad. The whole thing is pretty sad, sorta. He's very affected, and gives every hint of having a moneyed background. But who knows. As far as I could tell he did something good.

No. I take care of a lot of gutter punks and homeless hippies for the past 20 years (I work at a free clinic on the edge of a college neighborhood) and this guy's the real deal. I'm guessing abusive stepfather, poverty, the whole bit. No doubt embellished (hatchet to the back of the head??) but through his eyes absolutely true. A reality TV show about these people has the potential to be amazing, but I am doubtful a camera crew could really get in there and document the lives of these people as they really are. The next best thing: The Hold Steady has an album called "Separation Sunday" which should be listened to in its entirety a few times to get the gist.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:15 PM on February 4, 2013 [22 favorites]


Oops! On the fan site they just [accidently?] outed his actual Facebook page when they said earlier that they were going to keep it confidential.

Stupid internet
posted by Sailormom at 8:15 PM on February 4, 2013


I'm sleeping in a hay field across I99 from the chevron/days inn in Lathrope CA
do any, uh, new friends feel like sharing couchspace?
=D

posted by unliteral at 8:16 PM on February 4, 2013


Rhode Island: Awwww, Jesus Christ, heah it comes. Brace yous guys!
West Virginia: Awwww, thar'tiz, Praise Jesus! Less go geddit!

We both fought on the same side in the Civil War.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:16 PM on February 4, 2013


From the reporter bio linked above: Jessob grew up in Irvine, and attended Arizona State University so he's experienced 110 degree heat, and is very happy to be back so close to home. The two questions he hears the most are where'd your name come from, and why do you wear two watches? So here's the answers: His parents got his name from a phonebook. They changed someone's last name from ‘Jessup' to Jessob. And he wears two watches just for looks. Being different is important.
posted by Bwithh at 8:17 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still doesn't beat...German throws puppy at Hells Angels bikers then flees on bulldozer
posted by Damienmce at 8:19 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still doesn't beat...German throws puppy at Hells Angels bikers then flees on bulldozer
posted by Damienmce at 10:19 PM


You forgot the part about the pants
posted by Sailormom at 8:27 PM on February 4, 2013


Good man, Kai. I'd buy him a wetsuit if I could.
posted by h00py at 8:48 PM on February 4, 2013


Regarding his Facebook page, he (Caleb Kai Lawrence Yodhehwawheh) is engaging in postings with others there (including Christian Worzalla who launched the Kai of Dogtown fanpage and inadvertently revealed Kai's Facebook page at the gofundme page which Christian started in hopes of raising money for Kai).
posted by ericb at 8:53 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kai has also 'liked' another Facebook page: Kai The Homefree Hitchhiker.

A recent post:
We want to let you know Kai The Homefree Hitchhiker is such a great guy, he is not looking to capitalize off this tragic event. He would rather use this to bring awareness to real world events. He would like to help raise money for Haiti to payback debts to France for one.
posted by ericb at 9:00 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't tell if this guy is from the future or the past.

It's like the next installment of the Beaver Trilogy.
posted by lowest east side at 9:05 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to meet people like this all the time in Eureka (where his Facebook page says he spends his time). I had my car broken into and the home free street people swore they'd catch the folks who did it. My favorite was a guy named cowboy who would sit by the fountain in old town and watch the pigeons. He was harmless and just wanted to help anyway he could.
posted by ghostpony at 9:10 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


The way he says "sherrifs wegon" is unusual. West Virginia?

Maybe up toward Ohio, but I'm not hearing it.

It wouldn't be wehghan, more like waygun.
posted by winna at 9:11 PM on February 4, 2013


Next step ellen!
posted by unliteral at 9:20 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


And this freshly minted Facebook page gets taken to task for using 'homeless' instead of homefree:
Please, if you're going to bother capitalizing on this AT LEAST refer to me as homefree, not "homeless". that pisses me off, cowardly fucking businessmen referring to REAL men as "homeless". have they ever actually SUNG the national anthem? shit.
posted by unliteral at 9:33 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


My takeaway is that people like Kai are out there among us, slipping through the cracks of society. Decent people who aren't recorded in any census or credit score, and only become known when they do something extraordinary.

There are people like this everywhere (or at least everywhere I've been) and they're all 'weird' in the same way. I like the way he talks, though. He's better than Ras Trent.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 10:05 PM on February 4, 2013


Go Kai.

Perfectly lucid narrative. Straight from the heart.

Grabs his ruck, and books.
posted by mule98J at 10:08 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


where did the hatchet come from?

In his front pocket, next to exactly 3 sucking stones.


Ah, but front left pocket or front right pocket?
posted by stargell at 10:21 PM on February 4, 2013


Long long ago, and far far away, there go I, just like Kai.

"Homefree", I kind of like it. It is absolutely true that my main experience was of freedom, at least in those times when I wasn't hungry or missing too much sleep. I had thought that teenage homefreeness had become a thing of the past. Most of the teens I ever see seem far too, um, delicate, to handle that much freedom.
posted by Goofyy at 10:44 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know Butchie instead.
posted by dobbs at 10:54 PM on February 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


The way he says "sherrifs wegon" is unusual. West Virginia?

Yep. On his Facebook page he says he is from Sophia, WV.
posted by ericb at 10:55 PM on February 4, 2013


There are good people in the world. Thanks for this. I loved Kai's message about everyone being worthwhile.

He is a stand-up guy. I hope he knows that about himself.
posted by k8lin at 11:10 PM on February 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of my best friends was apparently quite like this guy before I met him. Dropped out of high school at 15 and spent 6 years hitchhiking back and forth across Canada. He's got some crazy stories, nothing like this though. The one I remember the most was of him being on a rural highway in Northern Alberta when they came across a grizzly bear that had been hit by a semi and was rolling around in the road very mangled. Him and the guy he was riding with played rock paper scissors to decide who would crush its skull in with a rock to put it out of its misery; he lost.

Anyways, I'm glad my friend got his shit together and has a wife & kid now, but I also don't think he regrets his time outside of society. He's a pretty solid, stand-up dude. I think living that way either kills your morals or builds them up to a height they'd never have reached otherwise.
posted by mannequito at 11:11 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't tell if this guy is from the future or the past.

True, it's not every day modern man brains someone with an axe. It depends on your vision of the future if he belongs there, but he belongs to some medieval version of the past. Being a southern-leaning type, he probably would fit in well with the Normans.
posted by stbalbach at 11:12 PM on February 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


there's no person in a gorilla suit or anything

But did you notice the Corolla drive past in the background? Totally dude.
posted by dhartung at 11:16 PM on February 4, 2013


Surfing Jesus doesn't need no fucken' wetsuit.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:31 PM on February 4, 2013


This guy needs a song. The ballad of Kai. MeFi musicians could probably work something out. They like challenges I hear.
posted by Sailormom at 2:54 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think this guy was my housemate in like 1992.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 4:33 AM on February 5, 2013


This is not what I expected when I clicked. wow.
posted by nile_red at 4:37 AM on February 5, 2013


Anyone care to speculate about why Kai repeatedly makes a distinction between the Sheriff and the Police? Something similar to 'freeman on the land' stuff?
posted by knapah at 4:42 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was reading through his Facebook posts and came upon this, dated 12/1/2012:
So last night I went to the 24 hour fitness spa to do my weekly pedicure/yoga sesh (there's some hella fine womyn there)( And I left my bag behind this half-pipe at the skateshop across the street. I walked downtown after with my bag, got halfway, and realized I was missing half my belt buckle for my pack. I went back to the half-pipe and this scrubby fuck is camped out underneath and is all psyched until I say, "I come in peace" then he whips out his knife and yells out "DID LYNN SEND YOU? I'LL STAB YOU MOTHERFUCKER YOU BETTER RUN", so I ran halfway across the parking lot, dropped my sack, whipped out my knife, and yelled back "YOU WANNA FUCK WITH ME? I'LL MAKE YOU A BODY YOU PUNK ASS BITCH. STEP UP MOTHER FUCKER I'M A STICK YOU" And he yelled something obsolete so I told him I know where he sleeps and he's nothing but a body. He got scared and decided to stop following me. Anyways, I walk downtown and I'm spangin' up a storm (people kept saying "sorry", it felt kinda good) when this fly homie named "David", kicks around a handful of skrilla and invites me to drink with him at the bar. And I mean drink. He was buying me full water glasses of Jack Daniels. Like whoa, y'all oinklets in Arcata enjoy that bottle ya hear? Fulla respect, aintcha. -_^ back to whats happening, I shwilled about this much JD and I kept getting smoked up. I went from the bar after a grip and this brah, he hands me a twenty dollar bill and says "I hope you had a great time, I really enjoyed your company. Best of luck on your adventures." And he wasn't no lonely dude either, he knew EVERYONE in the bar (including the manager and owner). I took that twenty to the liquor store and bought 3 40s of Mickeys and a deck. I started drinking with everyone at the Taco Bell Patio And Got Shmammered. It was fun times. I walked over to Walgreens and this guy was lyin all sprawled out on the ground so I stopped to help him out (I have paramedic training, he was just getdrunkfalldown (GDFD) and one of the two guys standing by him was all like "Get the fuck out of here you loser with a backpack", So I went a little ways and dropped my pack, then went back and got all up in his face and was like "What the fuck makes you think you can talk back to me like that, you punk ass bitch? you just fucked up." and he was cowering like he wasn't as big as he was, then another came along and got between us, so this cowardly bitch starts haranguing me across his shoulder. I'm all up for scrapping this fool but I couldn't get him separated from the others so I took a couple shots to the head trying to lure him out. He hits like an ostrich, but without as much force. So I got jumped by 4 guys but made it out on my feet, AND I stood up to them like motherfuckin cisco kid. I felt like a million bucks wasn't anywhere near my infinite worth. then I went and smoked some kine herbs and went to bed in a shed well fed. I'm lovin this life, locationally here in Santa Cruz and otherwise. Thanks people. What an adventure.
...and it made me reflect upon the fact that I've spent all my free time for the last two weeks playing Skyrim. Shit, Kai gets up to more in real life than my Skyrim character gets up to in Skyrim.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:53 AM on February 5, 2013 [33 favorites]


This guy needs a song. The ballad of Kai. MeFi musicians could probably work something out. They like challenges I hear.

Don't worry, I had the same thought.
posted by unSane at 4:57 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's very affected, and gives every hint of having a moneyed background. But who knows.

Do some people just assume that the only people capable of putting words together well are people with money? Or that the only people who've ever pursued a hobby passionately are those who get enough vacation days at their job or summat?

Nothing about this guy suggests affect or money. Sometimes people who sound different from you are actually different. No two people are the same, after all.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:03 AM on February 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


I really hope this is not auto-tuned or made into a song. He's not a "15-minutes of fame" internet celebrity unless that pantheon starts to include actual coherent heroes that save lives. Which I doubt.
posted by Napierzaza at 6:22 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Uhhhh...

How does a home free dude interface with his Facebook account? Public library, or what?

Hope all the attention doesn't harsh his mellow.
posted by bert2368 at 6:55 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Public library, or what?

When I go to my local library it's filled with homeless (looking) people surfing the internet all day. They ride the bus and hang out in the library. It's warm.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:13 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's Always Sunny invented jabroni, no?

Clearly you can't smell what The Rock has been cookin'.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:24 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm still kind of stuck on lionizing someone with such enjoyment of violence.
posted by Miko at 7:40 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, it seems to me that Kai is a serial seeker of physical confrontation.
posted by Mister_A at 7:52 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Awesome.
posted by ph00dz at 7:55 AM on February 5, 2013


I'm still kind of stuck on lionizing someone with such enjoyment of violence.

Adrenaline is my guess, can be confused with enjoyment but let's consider the timeline.
posted by Sailormom at 7:56 AM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


This made me miss Boulder. Is that weird? Yeah, that's pretty weird.
posted by koeselitz at 8:03 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I'm all up for scrapping this fool"

Caine he is not.
posted by surplus at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm seeing adrenaline and a bit of bravado. He's a kid. And I worry for what happens next. Hope he handles it as well as Antoine Dodson.
posted by readery at 8:15 AM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Supposedly he has a wetsuit and is 24 years old.
http://www.couchsurfing.org/profile.html?id=11NQDXHU

I would think something more useful like better survival gear would be better than a wetsuit.
posted by stormpooper at 8:53 AM on February 5, 2013


I would think something more useful like better survival gear would be better than a wetsuit.

Maybe someone can donate him some Bitcoins. He seems to like those.
posted by hanoixan at 9:05 AM on February 5, 2013


Maybe it got stolen? Or has a hole in it?

When you're on the road, stuff gets lost or stolen all the time.
posted by RedEmma at 9:05 AM on February 5, 2013


I really hope this is not auto-tuned or made into a song.

Couldn't agree more. Not absolutely everything has to be made into a Clever Internet Thing.
I think it would be awesome if people left the guy alone now but I'm sure about 30 different riffs on that video will end up in my Twitter feed within the next day or two.
posted by chococat at 9:43 AM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Having spent plenty of time "home free" and on the fringes of modern society I can tell you that being comfortable with violence (or at least the threat of violence) is a prerequisite. I don't believe for a minute that Kai is a taker or a user, but the world he inhabits is full of them.
posted by karst at 10:01 AM on February 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Post deserves better framing:

""No matter what you've done, you deserve respect. Even if you make mistakes, you're loveable. And it doesn't matter your looks, skills, or age, or size, or anything, you're worthwhile. No one can ever take that away from you." - Hatchet-wielding hitchhiker saves woman from bear-hug Jesus attack (SLYT - NFSW language).

I'm sure about 30 different riffs on that video will end up in my Twitter feed within the next day or two

I think the champion meme will end up as: FREIGHT TRAIN RIDERS KNOW THIS (preferably sung by the ghost of Nate Dogg). SMASH SMASH SMASH will be #2.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:51 AM on February 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


He's not a "15-minutes of fame" internet celebrity unless that pantheon starts to include actual coherent heroes that save lives. Which I doubt.

What ever happened to Sully Sullivan? Last time I heard of him was in a throwaway Curb Your Enthusiasm joke (the one with Rosie.) ...
posted by mrgrimm at 10:52 AM on February 5, 2013


Please, please, post links to all riffs on this right here. I don't want to miss a thing.

I want to give Kai a nice home-cooked meal and listen to him tell me stories of home-free life.

And I don't see the sadness in this story, or if there is sadness, it is far outweighed by the marvel that is KAI. Made my otherwise sucky day, he did.
posted by caryatid at 1:57 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I met folks like Kai a lot when I was homefree...
<3
posted by schyler523 at 2:02 PM on February 5, 2013


Loved the smash smash suh-mash.
posted by klangklangston at 2:13 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's always nice to see a traveller kid portrayed nicely. I see so much hate directed their way, I assume because outside of punk rock circles, the most visible traveller kids (crusties, hobos, etc. whatever) are able-bodied panhandlers with dogs (which hit on all sorts of people's personal triggers).

Question I'm having as a lifelong Midwesterner: is "Surfer" a subculture or just a sport/hobby/activity? It reminds me of skaters and cyclists, who definitely have their own slang and fashions and whatnot, but never struck me as their own cultures.
posted by elr at 2:30 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, if Kevin Smith is gonna keep delaying his retirement, which I really wish he wouldn't, he should get Kai to fill in for Jason Mewes, who's looking a little long in the tooth.
posted by elr at 2:33 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


is "Surfer" a subculture

their own slang and fashions and whatnot, but never struck me as their own cultures.

How are you defining (sub)culture? According to Wikipedia, "... members of a subculture often signal their membership through a distinctive and symbolic use of style, which includes fashions, mannerisms, and argot."

My experience may be slightly out of date, but having lived in two of the best surf towns in the US (Encinitas and Santa Cruz) I would say yes. Definitely.
posted by caryatid at 3:04 PM on February 5, 2013


This kid has mountains of dignity. He's compelling because his soul and path are carved from an effortless, hard-won purity. I know folks from West Virginia, it's a land of a different make and it leaves an impression. We should all be so lucky to encounter a human of such grace in our lives. Bless him and keep him safe.
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 3:58 PM on February 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Goes to show, don't pick up hitchikers. You might get axed.
posted by Chuffy at 4:00 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


This does go to show that instead of the NRA's plan to have armed guards with guns in schools, we can pretty much just hand out hatchets.
posted by klangklangston at 4:10 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps I'm being a killjoy, but it appears at the moment this interview was conducted Kai seemed awfully pleased with the fact that he believed that had just killed someone.

That, coupled with his story of bashing out a man's teeth and the knife incident referenced above, makes me a little wary of celebrating this case of vigilante justice.
posted by smithsmith at 4:16 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


at the moment this interview was conducted Kai seemed awfully pleased with the fact that he believed that had just killed someone.

Someone who claimed to have raped a 14-year-old girl, then pinned a man with his car, and attacked another woman.

smithsmith, as others have noted, adrenaline is a hell of a drug. this guy is flying on it during this interview (while also being hailed as a hero).

he sounds pretty peaceful to me, albeit, of course, a bit fried.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:29 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


More here?
posted by Chuffy at 4:38 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kai and his homefree surfer lifestyle is another excellent argument for universal healthcare in the US.
posted by Bwithh at 5:12 PM on February 5, 2013


"Surfer" a subculture or just a sport/hobby/activity? It reminds me of skaters and cyclists, who definitely have their own slang and fashions and whatnot, but never struck me as their own cultures.

Definitely a subculture. Read Susan Casey's book The Wave to get a flavor of Hawaiian surf subculture -- you'll get the origins of "Eddie Would Go" -- and then watch John From Cincinnati to get the argot and aesthetic that's all over San Clemente, CA.

I grew up adjacent to Virginia Beach (not epic waves, but still fun) and live up the road from Half Moon Bay (home to Mavericks) and hell yeah, every surf enclave's got its own culture.
posted by sobell at 5:14 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I'm being a killjoy, but it appears at the moment this interview was conducted Kai seemed awfully pleased with the fact that he believed that had just killed someone.

That, coupled with his story of bashing out a man's teeth and the knife incident referenced above, makes me a little wary of celebrating this case of vigilante justice.
posted by smithsmith


No, it;s ok to kill all the joy you want to. This is MetaFilter. We will hash it out.
posted by Sailormom at 5:39 PM on February 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh, this was just on Colbert. I'm still kind of suspicious, but I guess the story holds up. To think the linked YouTube video had 303 views when the thread started, and now it's up to 150K.
posted by JHarris at 8:50 PM on February 5, 2013


I wondered about that, but it had been copied from another Youtube account. I think it was originally put up by the reporter, and then he took it down for some reason when it started getting a lot of views - but others had already copied it. His shorter version (the version that was aired, and which was also on his Youtube channel) had something like 20K hits (just on Youtube, not counting the news station website) when the video linked in this thread had 303, and there were already a bunch of other copies of this longer video on Youtube each accumulating hits separately.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:01 PM on February 5, 2013


To think the linked YouTube video had 303 views when the thread started, and now it's up to 150K.

That's just a quirk of Youtube's analytics system. It did not actually have 303 views when the thread started, even though that's what the page said. The reported view count does not reflect the actual view count. 301 is the threshold for when anti-fraud heuristics kick in, which requires more analysis and hence causes a time delay. A video that goes viral very quickly will hit 301 (or a number close to it, due to a race condition) and seem to pause there for hours, even though it's racking up thousands/millions of views. If you see a video with close to 301 views but thousands of likes and comments, then sadly you are not on the ground floor of a phenomenon.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:02 PM on February 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


I live in Austin, we see some people like Kai, free spirits, maybe lost or maybe not, maybe even they don't know, right? But lots of them are not lost, they're doing what they want to be doing; I think Kai likes what he's up to. You (I anyways) can sortof differentiate between these people and those who are just users, mean street people.

My younger brother lives in Ocean Beach -- drive as far west as you can on Interstate 8 and you're in OB, a beach community of San Diego -- there are TONS of people like Kai, some surfers, some dead-heads (yep, there are still dead-heads, and lots of them are in OB), lots of pot-heads, and lots of all of those mixed in. They pass guitars around big fires on the beach at night, full moon parties, etc and etc. Tie-dyed clothing, dreads, sandals. Mostly they're like Kai, lots of smiles.

Then again, I have seen the pot in OB -- I want to marry it, even though I haven't smoked in decades -- and that could easy be why they're smiling. Jesus christ. You should see that stuff.

I like Kai. I wouldn't want to hang with him, other than hello at the coffee shop or whatever, but I like him. Seems a good guy. I'd give him a few bucks if he looked hungry. I'd bet he wouldn't ask for it though, and would receive it gracefully, if at all. As someone else upthread, I've had good luck with people from West Virginia, a good strain runs through them it seems. Or maybe I've just gotten lucky, no telling; what I can tell is I like this Kai. He's definitely outside the pale, yet still he's a solid citizen, in his way. I hope he's having a great time with his fifteen minutes.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:33 PM on February 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and the guy who was going nuts -- that's what it sounds to me was happening. He'd looped the loop.

But in this whole thread -- in a community of plenty caring people with views toward helping those that are in a bad way -- in this whole thread I've not seen anything written about this man being ill, but rather going on about his criminal actions.

I hope he's getting psychiatric care -- I know that it's The American Way to lock up the mentally ill, that there are way more psych beds inside the prison system than outside of it. And he definitely needs to be off the streets until he's sorted out. If he can be sorted out.

So no, I don't want him on the streets, not tonight, and hey, maybe he does this sort of thing every day, for fun, and absolutely needs to be kept out of circulation. Fair enough. But if not, if this is an aberration brought about due to mental illness, then he needs help, and I hope he gets it.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:51 PM on February 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's very affected, and gives every hint of having a moneyed background.

Yeah, he's from the east coast, but if you hang out with folks, you pick up their speech patterns. He sounds like half the northwest and even more of Hawaii. Not sure where you're getting the moneyed background part either. I guess he looks healthy? But he's a surfer. The ones I know take care of themselves okay- they don't take stuff that interferes with their surfing and they're in good enough shape that they don't get beat up so much as some folks who live outside.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:58 PM on February 5, 2013


Definitely a subculture. Read Susan Casey's book The Wave to get a flavor of Hawaiian surf subculture -- you'll get the origins of "Eddie Would Go" -- and then watch John From Cincinnati to get the argot and aesthetic that's all over San Clemente, CA.

Yep, there are lots of guys like Kai here in San Clemente. Town's full of them. I bet he'd love it here, especially after he found Lower Trestles.
posted by nuala at 11:54 PM on February 5, 2013


Rhomboid, that is very interesting information on YouTube's view counter. Thanks very much!
posted by JHarris at 12:42 AM on February 6, 2013


Not sure where you're getting the moneyed background part either

I could be making it up. He's more than from the East Coast - he's definitely from the Mid-Atlantic (to the extent that WV can be called that, but accent wise it mostly is) but he has picked up other speech patterns (not just surfer) which is where I get the 'affected.' If he's really from "Dogtown" that means Charleston (WV's biggest city, though that's not saying a ton).The moneyed thing has to do with the general appearance of having had good health care (great teeth), the high quality of his gear, and my past encounters with other young people from privileged but dysfunctional homes. I could easily be wrong, though; what do I know? Slarty Bartfast's instincts go the other way and the 'abusive stepfather' sort of scenario makes sense (though I don't think that's inconsistent with an exurban, McMansion type background either). Nobody has any information about his childhood, so it's all pure speculation.

I just can't arrive at either liking or not liking him based on a short video that may or may not be presenting him in a normal emotional state. The tendency toward seeking "confrontation,"is not my favorite quality even in white hats. I guess I can't view this as anything other than one more of the thousands of fucked-up things that happen across the US every day, only a camera was there. But it's kind of impossible to interfere with folk hero formation, and people identify with certain visible or assumable qualities, and project others, and there you are.
posted by Miko at 6:17 AM on February 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think Dogtown may be a reference to a surf spot in California. The movies Dogtown and Z-Boys and Lords of Dogtown are based on the story of early skateboarders who had gotten together through surfing at a local spot called Dogtown in Santa Monica - "The place that the team spent most of their time surfing was at Pacific Ocean Park, a once thriving amusement park atop a pier. Now abandoned and run down and nicknamed by the locals as 'Dogtown'."
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:35 AM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or, wow, many others - there are apparently a dozen or so Dogtowns in California alone.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:42 AM on February 6, 2013


Dogtown is a really, really common placename in the US. There are Dogtowns -proper names or just area names - in every state.

I misunderstood, though. When he says "straight outta Dogtown" the first time, he seems to be referring to a nearby location where he was "skating, surfing." Later (2:22) when the reporter asks his name, he says "Straight outta Dogtown, K-A-I," and then when asked where he is from originally, he says "Sophia, West Virginia." So he's not talking about Dogtown in Charleston, my mistake. He's referring to another Dogtown. His town looks a lot smaller and broke-r than Charleston.
posted by Miko at 10:58 AM on February 6, 2013


I think Dogtown may be a reference to a surf spot in California. The movies Dogtown and Z-Boys and Lords of Dogtown are based on the story of early skateboarders who had gotten together through surfing at a local spot called Dogtown in Santa Monica ...

You are correct. In the 70s the 'Z-Boys' (the 'Z' stands for the Zephyr surf shop -- now designated as a City Landmark -- in Santa Monica) adopted their surfing spot among the ruins of the abandoned amusement park Pacific Ocean Park and its rundown pier. They nicknamed it 'Dogtown.'

As portrayed in the documentary and the biographical film based on it (starring Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch and Mitch Hedberg among others), the Z-Boys also adopted the term 'Dogtown' as the name for their groundbreaking style of skateboarding. The Z-Boys were credited in creating the start of the sport of skateboarding -- and professionalizing it.
Dogtown Skateboards.

History of Dogtown boards.
In addition to 'Dogtown and Z-Boys' and 'Lords of Dogtown' (mentioned above) I recommend watching the documentary 'Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator' about Mark Rogowski, aka Gator, who was one of a group of protégés of ex-Zephyr team (Z-Boys) skaters. The documentary chronicles Gator's rise and fall during the 80s when skateboarding exploded as a professional sport with 'big dollar' sponsorships. The documentary ends with chronicling his being convicted for rape and murder and sentenced to life in prison.
posted by ericb at 12:14 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Definitely a subculture. Read Susan Casey's book The Wave to get a flavor of Hawaiian surf subculture ...

Also, watch the documentary 'Riding Giants' (directed by a founding Z-Boy, Stacy Peralta).
"Through a fast-paced combination of mediums that include classic archival photography, spectacular movie footage-both current and vintage-and contemporary interviews with the sport's greatest surfers, experts and storytellers..." *
posted by ericb at 12:28 PM on February 6, 2013


And now on the Wikipedia page for Sophia, WV:

Notable natives

Robert Byrd, United States Senator
Kai, homeless hitchhiker, surfer, hatchet hero
posted by readery at 12:29 PM on February 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


New interview with Kai The HomeFree Hitchhiker of Dogtown ("Footage by Chaela Ingels Taken in Herndon, CA., Saturday 2nd, 2013 after the interview with KMPH. Hear Kai sing some Bob Marley and expand on the original interview.").
posted by ericb at 12:42 PM on February 6, 2013


KnowYourMeme: Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker.
posted by ericb at 12:44 PM on February 6, 2013


Aw, he's got the heart of a Quaker!

As far as his teeth, which to me look natural, my working class family and the people I work with have teeth that range from straight to jagged, so I wouldn't necessarily use that as a judge of his social class anyhow. If anything, he reads to me as familiar with working class surroundings, if not from his upbringing then from his schoolmates, and I think that's where he gets his fearlessness and his instinctive move to protect.

He's definitely picked up accents but that WV is under it all, though I'm still trying to parse what he says around 2:08, it sounds like he's saying "he was beyond haulei (?), like I don't even see any breath in him" - is that surfer slang? It's a very poetic way to depict someone with a demon inside.

The pattern and tone and vivid description reminds me of an interview with a boxer from NYC from the 1960s with a "toity-toid" street accent, where he describes the moment after he gets a knock to the head as "seeing everyone he knew lined up in front of him".

I'm inclined toward Slarty Bartfast's view of a difficult background and a hard-earned knowledge of how to survive in the world, combined with a deep love, adventurousness by necessity and design, and fierce protectiveness of humanity. He might need to talk to someone about issues, or not, but his head is on fine.

I know folks from good families and folks from tough families that are like this, and not just from West Virginia but New Jersey and Texas and all over. Some people just vibrate with love, and I think this guy is one of them.
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 3:55 PM on February 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a small thing, but in the US almost no affluent people will have jagged teeth. Regular dentristy from an early age plus orthodontics does a lot - it's one of the primary clas/health issues, access to dentistry. Some people are naturally gifted with great teeth, though.

he was beyond haulei

My money was on haole, which usually isn't a nice thing to call someone.

Some people just vibrate with love, and I think this guy is one of them.

This is where I find myself interested by how different my perceptions are from others. I don't get 'love' and wouldn't feel safe around this guy, given what we know of his hair trigger and apparent white-knight tendencies (based on his other stories).
posted by Miko at 4:23 PM on February 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


[M]IA crooked cops!
Free Haiti!
Free all black lands!!
Bring down the House of Wettin and share the wealth of those rothschild/bilderberg/whoever "rich" peeps with those who actually LABOR for it!


Found this on his FB page today. House of Wettin? That is old school. This young man is full of surprises.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:18 PM on February 6, 2013


I don't know if it should be surprising; he's either had a great education or he's an autodidact, or both. The thing is, it's clear he is knowingly constructing his own identity, in a Dylan-esque yet naive manner.

Interestingly, yesterday he was citing this on FB and sort of playing with the consonance between the name of his town and the ideal of wisdom.
posted by Miko at 7:24 PM on February 6, 2013


Nice roundup from Detroit Newsday.
posted by Miko at 7:38 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


"He’s really into philosophy, long-boarding, and ska-punk music."

No doubt.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:43 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hm, Daily Mail apparently, not Newsday, though not a lot of trouble was taken to be clear about the credit.

Yeah, so I've been reading around and finding out what I can find out, and I'm doubling down. He may or may not actually be from WV, and he's probably not from a happy home, but I bet dollars to doughnuts he's not from a poor one. I can't show you the math, it's a big hunch, but there's my bet.
posted by Miko at 7:57 PM on February 6, 2013


This turns up, must be him. Slim but available evidence also suggests his given name is Kyle, not Kai.
posted by Miko at 8:17 PM on February 6, 2013


Great song! I predict it will be a great new SMASH hit.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:41 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My new band name: Random Axe of Kindness.
posted by SPrintF at 8:42 PM on February 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think the champion meme will end up as: FREIGHT TRAIN RIDERS KNOW THIS (preferably sung by the ghost of Nate Dogg). SMASH SMASH SMASH will be #2.

I totally missed "I was like bro, if you are Jesus Christ, I will be the anti-Christ then"

Echoes of ...

"Dude, you have no Quran!"

his given name is Kyle, not Kai

Oh man, Eric wants you to know he's sorry for all the times he made fun of you for being a no-good stinking Jew.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:47 PM on February 6, 2013


Miko with all due respect, I just don't get it. I really don't understand the lengths you are going to to harsh young Kai's mellow, or at least the vibe in this thread. That's not to say I don't appreciate your contributions because I do, I even favorited some of the links you've added to my very thin SLYT post.

But you start out by saying that He's very affected, and gives every hint of having a moneyed background as if that mattered. As if only those with a moneyed background have the morals to act on a situation in the heat of the moment and do the right thing. You can call me naive but money and morals very seldom go hand in hand.

Your evidence of him coming from money is the appearance of his great teeth. I think you struck a nerve with me there because my teeth are rotten. And it has nothing to do with money. My teeth were fine throughout my childhood and into my young adult life neither of which really found me rich enough to partake in proper dental care. My teeth are rotten due to slipping into depression in my early thirties. And I'm not just talking about yellow stains, I have a chipped front tooth along with some rotting molars that make it hard to smile And really, I think that only got to me because last friday night I went on my first date in 12 years. And I had to remind myself not to smile to big.

You then go on to point out that Kai might be using the term haole or haulei to describe 54-year-old Jett Simmons McBride who was a racist like it's out of place or something then go on to accuse Kai of being a white-knight which really, isn't the nicest thing to call someone.

And then you want to doubt where Kai may or may not be from, I'm doubling down. He may or may not actually be from WV, and he's probably not from a happy home, but I bet dollars to doughnuts he's not from a poor one. I can't show you the math, it's a big hunch, but there's my bet. again as if it really matters. Only those coming from a place of privilege can have the ability to live like KAI does now, like he must be a trustafarian.

And finally pointing out that his given name is Kyle, not Kai and I don't even want to speculate into that or again why it would matter.

tl:dr I just don't understand why you are trying so hard to find a problem with Kai and his story.
posted by Sailormom at 2:24 AM on February 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have a hunch that for Miko this is personal. Perhaps she once knew a Kai, who she trusted and cared for deeply but who let her down when it mattered most.
posted by Flashman at 5:17 AM on February 7, 2013


. I really don't understand the lengths you are going to to harsh young Kai's mellow

What lengths? Sitting on my ass Googling? It's just called curiosity. I am interested that the general popular reaction is so different from mine, and it makes me want to explore more why perceptions differ so much and what the fuller reality of this story is.

who was a racist like it's out of place

No, I think it's in place; someone in surfer culture would use that word to describe someone they think is soulless. I offered that it's not a nice thing to call someone to make clear what the intent is, not because I care (though I think the mentally ill person, had this been presented differently to us, might be the target of sympathy rather than a racist villian). I know it's not so nice to call someone a white knight, but I think that it fairly describes Kai, given his other self-reported tales of coming to the rescue of women by using physical attack.

Perhaps she once knew a Kai, who she trusted and cared for deeply but who let her down when it mattered most.

I've known lots of Kais, but no, it's not like anyone that let me down or anything. I spent a lot of time in camps and outdoor education settings and interacted with a lot of free spirits and outdoor people and 1990s hippies and such, people who share some of Kai's stated values and lifestyle. To some degree, I get it; I think I recognize him a bit. And I could be wrong there, as I noted, so my guesses about his background are just a hunch. But there is another thing I recognize which is not so benign, which is that leaping to sudden violent rage to perform a 'rescue' on more than one occasion is simply a red flag. No matter how much peace and love someone preaches, if they can go from calm to head-bludgeoning that quickly, especially more than once, there is not peace at his heart.

It absolutely doesn't matter, you're right in that much. But if folks are entitled to celebrate him for the thinnest of reasons, I'm certainly entitled to want to look deeper into the tale, if I can. It's not like it's unusual for me to do that, no matter what the story. There's an interesting window into how cultural heroes are made - and what's left and out of their story - in this contemporary folktale. Sorry it upsets you, but I can't help but see the situation as more complex than the way it has been presented in short, viral media bites.

Supposedly, Kai's going to do a follow-up interview with the reporter.
posted by Miko at 6:07 AM on February 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think anyone is upset Miko, I'm surly not. My tooth aches but that's not really figuring into what I'm reading. But you talk about Kai self reporting his tales, who else is going to tell his story anyway? And really, he's just answering questions of others when he'd probably rather be surfing.

And let's be honest here. You say And I could be wrong there, as I noted, so my guesses about his background are just a hunch. But there is another thing I recognize which is not so benign, which is that leaping to sudden violent rage to perform a 'rescue' on more than one occasion is simply a red flag. No matter how much peace and love someone preaches, if they can go from calm to head-bludgeoning that quickly, especially more than once, there is not peace at his heart. when really we can only comment on this one occasion that has been verified by outside witnesses as the truth. And that truth is 54-year-old Jett Simmons McBride ran his car into innocent workers, pinning one between two vehicles. He then let's go a racist rant and attacks a woman who was trying to help the trapped worker. This is a more than 200 pound man who according to the woman had her, against her will, in a bear hug to do who knows what.

But hey, hedge your bets if you must, I'm just hoping one of the many fine MeFi musicians is working on a song because all folk hero's deserve at least that much.
posted by Sailormom at 7:04 AM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


you talk about Kai self reporting his tales

Right, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt by saying that, since they haven't been reported on by anyone else. They are his self-representation, and may or may not be accurate, is my point.

This is a more than 200 pound man who according to the woman had her, against her will, in a bear hug to do who knows what.

Who does know? It was, no doubt, a terrible situation for all concerned. We have a very piecemeal picture of the incident. We don't have the utility worker's story, or the insane man's story, which would add to the dimension. People, sadly, get attacked every day and attacks get foiled every day. This is one of those incidences where a personality factor has made the difference in whether we hear about it or not.

all folk hero's deserve at least that much

From the folkloristic perspective, viral video/social media has sort of taken up the function once served by songs - to report and frame an event, and in that framing, to reinforce the idealization of a certain set of virtues. A big difference is that we usually have a document - like video - that accompanies the framing.
posted by Miko at 7:14 AM on February 7, 2013


Here's Kai playing more music, one of my favorite campfire songs. Maybe he'll write his own song!
posted by Miko at 7:21 AM on February 7, 2013


And here's the followup interview.
posted by Miko at 7:39 AM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


And here's the followup interview.

"And, we'll have it all for you in the days to come." -- They are portioning out segments from the interview over the coming broadcasts.

I like Kai. In this recent interview his sense of humor and his 'good heart' shines through.
posted by ericb at 11:17 AM on February 7, 2013


This is just begging for an AutoTune.

Here ya' go:
smash, Smash, SMASH! with Kai the Home-free Hitchhiker!
posted by ericb at 11:45 AM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, I actually met this guy at the Nanaimo ferry terminal; he was returning from surfing in Tofino, I was returning from playing at a concert on a gulf island. We were killing time in the car lineup playing acoustic guitars, and he joined us to pound out two Sublime covers, screaming the lyrics through the parking lot. He was really friendly, bounding around and full of guileless puppylike energy, enough to exhaust and confuse an old husk like me.
Stray observations:
- At one point he stopped a song abruptly to skateboard into a group of people playing frisbee and intercept a pass.
- We had an "argument" over who wrote the song "Country Roads", John Denver (my assertion) or Toots and the Maytalls (his).
- While aboard the ferry, he met and arranged a date with a young woman from Vancouver.

No thesis here. But if you read this, Kai, keep on keeping on!
posted by metaman livingblog at 12:40 PM on February 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why would that dude read all this weenie shit?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:48 PM on February 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think he's from BC originally (WV is a joke).
posted by Miko at 2:10 PM on February 7, 2013


[Folks, it would be nice if you could not turn your dislike for a thread subject to turn into your dislike for MetaFilter. You are welcome to go to MetaTalk and grouse there, but no one is making you be here. Please participate in the conversation with other people.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:32 PM on February 7, 2013


Miko: "I think he's from BC originally (WV is a joke)."

Funny you should say that, when people were debating his accent early in the thread I held back, but to me that really sounds like so many of the West Coast Canadian surfer/skater types I know, with an intentional imitation of an American accent on top.
posted by mannequito at 6:31 PM on February 7, 2013


YEah, initially I thought it was Midatlantic (with surfer and hip-hop influences) but it doesn't seem so. Good ear.
posted by Miko at 6:35 PM on February 7, 2013


For what it's worth he introduced himself as Virginian when I met him, which was about six months ago; if it's a joke, it's been one ongoing for at least that long.

He didn't seem particularly destitute, nor particularly moneyed; he was bringing a car onto the passenger ferry, bestickered with skateboard logos and full of colourful blankets. He seemed in good health, and was returning from a few months spent working at some kind of job tangentially related to the surf industry. He appeared casually poor but young, charismatic and energetic enough to still be able to process semi-itinierant living as a series of adventures rather than as an exhausting and terrifying liability. He probably doesn't lack for couches to crash on because, for the time being, he's handsome and probably charming to the right kind of person, the kind who either has never before met -or- only hangs out with west coast hippies.

Politically, he seemed to follow a kind of charitable/mystical (i.e. not racist) reading of Alex Jones and he mentioned the Illuminati more than once. He shared various anecdotes about encounters with the authorities where he came out on top, but every young person does that as part of their getting-to-know-you dance. A lot of 18-year-old boys are buzzing with energy and need to self-actualize by shaking their fists at the power structure, and frankly it seemed to me to be really healthy, like in this new-agey Reichian "lifeforce" kind of way, when he was doing it.

Ultimately it's weird to see him lionized online since he left so mild of an impression on me after I met him; I was a little amused, kind of engaged, kind of annoyed, mostly just pleased to have someone forthcoming and undemanding to talk to and take my mind off the hours-long wait for the boat. Maybe he makes for a good meme for the same reason.
posted by metaman livingblog at 10:39 PM on February 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the "never before met" is a big part of the appeal and fascination that helped this go viral. From living on the margins of the seasonal-employment, outdoorsy, hippieish scene I have met a fair number of people who are pretty similar, so part of what's interesting is watching the world go "Whoa! how could a person be LIKE that! So free and happy and crazy!" when that persona is sort of an archetype. And yes, charisma is a big part of it. He is cute, you'd want to help him out and get into his sunshine.

I don't think every young person is fascinated with their ability to oppose the power structure - but a definite, particular subset of young people are.
posted by Miko at 8:15 AM on February 8, 2013


"Whoa! how could a person be LIKE that! So free and happy and crazy!"

That was what was so interesting to me about the popularity of this. Similarly, I knew a ton of guys like that in my twenties, dated a few, and they are definitely of a type in the same way a lot of young people are. Not in a bad way, just in an "Oh yeah I've met these folks before" way, especially in activist circles, itinerant circles and hippie type circles.

In the 60s that specific lifestyle became popular and got a lot of media attention, but there's always been a hippie/drop-out/hedonist subculture especially since then when it's had an identifiable name and loose outline. Some people make it work for them long-term (I had an uncle who was a certifiable hippie drop-out and his activist roots brought him back into doing more community-minded things after a while and he's sort of a well-known former hippie now) and a lot don't, just like many subculture lifestyles.

What was so curious to me was just how non-insane this seemed to me, an opinion that seemed to diverge from the narrative about it that seemed to be most prevalent in places other than here.
posted by jessamyn at 8:31 AM on February 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's an interview with the utility worker who was the target of the first attack.

Jessamyn, I think you might have nailed why it didn't seem so insane to me. It's easy to forget that people who embrace an alternative lifestyle aren't so visible in the mainstream most of the time.
posted by Miko at 8:48 AM on February 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


And here is an enlightening and quite sad piece about the attacker:
I got an email from his wife Donna, wanting to tell her side of the story.

She says Kai's flamboyant personality has turned the story into an autotuned joke. She says her husband has been demonized and her family is struggling to deal with his mental illness. Donna's been with McBride for 8 years, but it was only in October when he started showing signs of mental instability.

"He fell into a real deep depression after he lost his business. He started having too much time on his hands and didn't want to do anything. I watched him slowly go down that road."

She says Jett became delusional, took on multiple personalities and became a conspiracy theorist. She's tried to get him help, but couldn't.

"According to the laws here, you can't do anything. You can't make them take their medication. He just said he was not going to do it and that's it. Every mental facility I called, they couldn't do anything. You feel like your hands are tied to help someone you love. Something like this happens and now he's going to pay for this, our family is. I'm hoping and praying they will hold him long enough so he can get help."
More at the link. What a sad story all 'round.
posted by Miko at 8:54 AM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Now that he's hurt someone, they can make him take his meds.

jessamyn, I guess that I liked it because I don't often enough see anyone other than mainstream on TV. I am always stoked to see someone from a familiar tribe get some publicity.

It's weird how homogeneous TV has ended up, so when someone else comes along who seems alive and more like a regular person (to me) it's a breath of fresh air.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:17 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the "never before met" is a big part of the appeal and fascination that helped this go viral.

1. "homefree" hitchhiker who offers an inclusive ecumenical prayer before embarking on his story
2. delusional man who thinks he's jesus christ goes on berserker rage
3. hatchet (!!) attack saves female victim

#2 and #3 had as much part in making it go viral, imo. I wouldn't have ever watched if it was "look at this dude."
posted by mrgrimm at 9:23 AM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, Miko you were right about that accent - he's from BC. Here's the newest installment from the local news.
posted by readery at 4:41 PM on February 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Snif, sweet. What an interesting intersection of (North) American culture(s) this whole thing has been.
posted by Miko at 6:04 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


FatherDagon: Doing some digging, it turns out that the *reporter* is fake (not from Fox)
That actually adds to his credibility in my book.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:38 AM on February 9, 2013


Doing some digging, it turns out that the *reporter* is fake (not from Fox)

Wrong.
Jessob Reisbeck joined the KMPH FOX 26 team in March of 2009 coming from Syracuse, NY where he worked for WSTM.
posted by ericb at 6:39 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


ericb: Jessob Reisbeck joined the KMPH FOX 26 team in March of 2009 coming from Syracuse, NY where he worked for WSTM.
Dammit, he's a real Fox reporter, not a fake one. No credibility.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:46 PM on February 11, 2013


Every swear filled breathless account of violence should indeed be prefaced by a benediction for universal love and respect.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 on February 5 [85 favorites +] [!]


When I clicked this comment in Popular Favorites, I was confident it came from the Pope thread.
posted by springload at 2:24 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


He's on Jimmy Fallon tonight, apparently. Not the Pope, Kai.
posted by unSane at 2:31 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jimmy Kimmel Interviews Kai the Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker -- PART 1 | PART 2.
posted by ericb at 9:29 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh man. I love his answer to Kimmel's "magic hatchet" question about building the willow-hoop house.
posted by Miko at 9:38 AM on February 12, 2013


cringingly awkward ending though - "Thanks for being on the show, and thanks for not killing me with a hatchet!"
posted by mannequito at 12:12 PM on February 12, 2013


"Do you enjoy your life?"

I liked that part.
posted by leftcoastbob at 2:30 PM on February 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Kai reviews Zero Dark Thirty.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:30 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I came away from that interview kind of disgusted with Kimmel's "look how weird YOU are!" detachment schtick. He's not always like that, is he?
posted by small_ruminant at 7:17 PM on February 13, 2013


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