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Dzhokhar does the robot
April 25, 2013 4:07 PM   Subscribe

Up until last week, "One Direction Infection," a Tumblr blog created and maintained by an eighth grader we'll call Claire, looked like any other 14-year-old's Tumblr. But over the weekend Claire's subject matter took a sharp turn. In place of candid shots of Harry Styles and Zayn Malik, there are now photos of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; instead of inspirational image macros, there are annotated crime scene photos. Gawker's Max Read on where social media fandoms meet conspiracy theories.
posted by Rory Marinich (99 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh internets. Why are you so full of the stupids.
posted by elizardbits at 4:19 PM on April 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


Oh internets. Why are you so full of the stupids.

Because: People.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:21 PM on April 25, 2013 [16 favorites]


As soon as I saw the second picture of cascading curls, I said this would happen. (It takes more than one good picture to inspire such madness, I think.) I guess I shouldn't be proud of that prediction, but there you go.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 4:21 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


We can't discount that there are probably a fair number of trolls and ironic comedians among the fans. In fact, what is /b/ saying about this?
posted by Therapeutic Amputations at 4:22 PM on April 25, 2013


OK, this is kind of hilarious. I feel weird thinking it's as funny as I do, though, because in light of the tone of the rest of that site I really have no idea what the person who posted it was thinking
posted by item at 4:23 PM on April 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


That's enough Internet for the day. I'm going for a walk.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 4:27 PM on April 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


It confuses me why people can't make the objective statement that someone is physically attractive without having to justify their attraction by handwaving away the legitimately bad things that the person has done. It is okay to think terrible people look good, ffs. Exhibit A: google image search of "hot young stalin".

Also honestly I can't tell if this is a step up or a step down from being a One Direction blog.
posted by elizardbits at 4:27 PM on April 25, 2013 [41 favorites]


I don't get who has the time or the energy.
posted by GuyZero at 4:28 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even Charlie Manson counts Guns n' Roses amongst his fans. And Trutv/CourtTV exists because there is a demographic that follows murderers and professes their innocence. This seems a cultural phenomenon broader and older than the Internet, maybe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:28 PM on April 25, 2013


Today I learned that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is terrible at the robot.
posted by ckape at 4:30 PM on April 25, 2013 [19 favorites]


I don't get who has the time or the energy.

14-year-olds.
posted by drezdn at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know who else was terrible at the robot? That's right: Will Smith.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:32 PM on April 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Naturally it's an article on Gawker, where the writers spend most of their time reading the tumbler blogs of 14 year old girls.
posted by Catblack at 4:34 PM on April 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


(It's hard not to notice how many of the sympathizers run their own One Direction fan blogs.)

Interesting. Keith Calder, a film producer I follow on Twitter, recently found himself in the middle of a supposed conspiracy theory involving One Direction. Apparently there are One Direction "shippers" (as in "relationshippers") who believe that two of the guys in the group are actually gay lovers and that this fact is being covered up by the group's management/label.

A bunch of these shippers have become convinced that Calder is the brother of the girlfriend of one of the boys (supposedly hired by the label). Calder denies there's any relationship. I may be getting some of this wrong as I only know about these people from his Twitter feed, but it's been kind of hilarious to follow.

This Claire mentions Sandy Hook as being her gateway into conspiracy theories, but I wonder if One Direction fandom is serving that role for some people.
posted by brundlefly at 4:36 PM on April 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


Even Charlie Manson counts Guns n' Roses amongst his fans.

And he inspired one of the most explosive, full-on, balls-to-the-wall rock vocal performances in history!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:39 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds of when an acquaintance of mine, in his mid thirties, said he wished he could have a girlfriend like Karla Homolka. It was a pretty clear signal that I needed to un-acquaint myself. Teen girls don't have the market cornered on creepy-crazy by any stretch.
posted by srboisvert at 4:43 PM on April 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


he wished he could have a girlfriend like Karla Homolka.

Uh, curious what in particular he found appealing about her. Morbidly curious.
posted by GuyZero at 4:48 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


this needs some more points.
posted by nadawi at 4:52 PM on April 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


At least it's better than demonizing him and turning him into the terrorist Other. If we take this above attitude into the court of law then we're prepared to understand why the Tamerlan brothers carried out the act of the terror and what kind of motivation would create such a persistent body of extremists. Instead the media tells us they're Chechen immigrants (ie not really Americans), they were under the FBI watchlist (ie gov't verified other), Tamerlan was likely a Muslim, and that the only true Americans were the people who died (except for that Chinese grad student but China's cool now guys).

You can have empathy for the victims and you can also have empathy for the brothers. It's not as disgusting at you'd think. That there are people in Dzokhar's life who would ruin their reputation to exonerate him is more telling than this Gawker article that's just looking to push buttons.
posted by dubusadus at 4:53 PM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


And he inspired one of the most explosive, full-on, balls-to-the-wall rock vocal performances in history!

Uh... Charles Manson named his Helter Skelter "scenario" after the Beatles lyric, not the other way around. Unless there is some implication I'm missing in your comment.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 4:53 PM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


A bunch of these shippers have become convinced that Calder is the brother of the girlfriend of one of the boys (supposedly hired by the label). Calder denies there's any relationship. I may be getting some of this wrong as I only know about these people from his Twitter feed, but it's been kind of hilarious to follow.

Yes! Although I could never quite tell whether the "shippers" went after Calder, or he had started elaborately trolling them, or both.
posted by eugenen at 4:53 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh man the 1D shipper thing has some scary parts - harassing the girlfriends, etc. of course, selena gomez got a steady stream of death threats while she was dating justin bieber (and then a new stream when she was blamed for his pot smoking, gas mask wearing, petulant acting ways).
posted by nadawi at 4:57 PM on April 25, 2013


Charles Manson named his Helter Skelter "scenario" after the Beatles lyric, not the other way around.

I knew it was one way or the other.

I gambled at Mefi... and lost.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:00 PM on April 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


You can salvage your reputation by claiming that you were referring to Marilyn Manson.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:01 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Balls-to-the-wall is a strange turn of phrase, when you think about it. I mean, wouldn't that just refer to a guy leaning face-first against a wall? Why is that considered intense for the viewer? Seems kind of shy, actually.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:08 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


elizardbits: "Exhibit A: google image search of "hot young stalin". "

TIL Young Stalin had amazing hair.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:09 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


flapjax at midnite: I knew it was one way or the other.

I gambled at Mefi... and lost.


Could have been worse. You could have had the timeline the right way round and linked to the godawful U2 cover (a possibility I considered, then dismissed as soon as I saw it was your name under the post).
posted by Len at 5:10 PM on April 25, 2013


...and that's when the factives came for me.
posted by emmtee at 5:10 PM on April 25, 2013


"Balls to the wall" probably came from pilot slang, and doesn't actually refer to testicles. But don't tell these guys.
posted by vibrotronica at 5:17 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dzhokhar is shaping up as the Paul McCartney of mass-murder.
posted by bendybendy at 5:19 PM on April 25, 2013


That Max Read profile picture is sort of unsettling
posted by Greener Backyards at 5:21 PM on April 25, 2013


MetaFilter: google image search of "hot young stalin".
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:28 PM on April 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Keith Calder, a film producer I follow on Twitter ..."


I think you mean MetaFilter's own Keith Calder.
posted by komara at 5:33 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This seems a cultural phenomenon broader and older than the Internet, maybe.

Definitely - I grew up in (and still live in) Milwaukee, and I was 16 when the Jeffrey Dahmer story broke. There were more than a few classmates who thought he was dreamy. I don't remember anyone saying that they thought he was framed, more that he was misunderstood (?!) or something.
posted by desjardins at 5:33 PM on April 25, 2013


Ha! I didn't know that, komara!
posted by brundlefly at 5:39 PM on April 25, 2013


I feel vindicated for my strange liking of the crazy foulmouthed sorority sister.

Or maybe not.
posted by TrolleyOffTheTracks at 5:40 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


flapjax at midnight: I knew it was one way or the other.

That's Blondie.
posted by Runes at 5:43 PM on April 25, 2013 [25 favorites]


I would like to be amused by this, but I'm just physically ill.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:52 PM on April 25, 2013


Wackos gonna wack, but the ones that really set my teeth on edge are those clearly just played for laughs (a few are in the main Gawker link).
posted by threeants at 6:03 PM on April 25, 2013


That gay shipper phenomenon with the crazy fangirls isn't new, either. The Lord of the Rings movie fandom had a secret gay relationship conspiracy contingent that mirrors this One Direction thing. I think there's another group that does that with the Supernatural tv series. Fandom Wank has spent many years documenting the antics of these groups.
posted by feste at 6:07 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's really freaking weird to see a Community .gif being used in this context.

Have they watched the show? Do they know that Chang is fucking crazy? How does Chang feel about Bieber? I think he'd be a fan.
posted by maryr at 6:08 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is an aside: I'm glad Gawker was smart enough to put a fake name for the girl. She's young and making a mistake, but it's not something she should have to live with forever.
posted by spiderskull at 6:11 PM on April 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


Serial killer fanclubs and convict groupies are a pretty old phenomenon, so I'm not sure why this iteration would surprise anyone. Isn't there a whole creepy "Chris Brown can beat me anytime" contingent?
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:19 PM on April 25, 2013


At least it's better than demonizing him and turning him into the terrorist Other.

Yep, those are the only two choices.


If we take this above attitude into the court of law then we're prepared to understand why the Tamerlan brothers carried out the act of the terror

Hunh? You mean the attitude on the 1D blog? I think it shows the power of charisma, but I have no idea how that explains the actions they took. Am I misunderstanding you?
posted by benito.strauss at 6:20 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


As others have mentioned, this is nothing new. I mean, Richard Ramirez got married in 1996 (in prison) to some woman who saw him on TV.

Kathy Griffin has been doing ironic standup about how the Menendez brothers are dreamy for 20 years now.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:24 PM on April 25, 2013


It's a classic case of Hybristophilia, exhibited mostly by women worshiping killers and or rapists, like Ted Bundy or the Columbine two.

It's the dark side of sexual attraction.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 6:25 PM on April 25, 2013 [6 favorites]


My favorite part of the conspiracy theory is that it doesn't take into account that they were definitely at the Marathon, but then didn't tell anybody about it afterward. You'd think "Holy shit yeah I was there and almost died," would be the first thing out of their mouths but instead it was, "Yeah damn smh that was crazy, huh?"

Anyway, I find it interesting that with the internet and video evidence and surveillance footage and just, in general, so much more available information, conspiracy theories seem to be gaining, not losing traction.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:32 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is anything on Gawker really worth an FPP here on the blue? It's such unrelenting crap like one small step up from BATBOY type garbage...
posted by Skygazer at 6:39 PM on April 25, 2013


Batboy is a thousand times better than Gawker. He even has a musical!
posted by feste at 6:42 PM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Skygazer, are you saying that after having read the post, or are you just dropping a deuce? Because Gawker's capable of good journalism and good writing, and recently it feels like it's been making a concerted push towards producing quality content.

I actually messaged the mods asking about this post before I made it, because I posted a Gawker link yesterday too (to yet another surprisingly good article of theirs), and they said it was okay. If you think this post was somehow fluff or devoid of content, I'd be curious to know why you're dismissing it, but if you just saw the word Gawker and decided to complain, rest assured that other minds are contemplating these difficult and trying questions too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:45 PM on April 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


Derail aside: I find it interesting how people react to things done by kids of various ages. The fact that this story was about a middle school girl doing this made me find this far more adorable-stupid than offensive. But I feel that if it was about, say, a high school junior doing the same thing, I'd be a bit more outraged.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:47 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Agreeing with Rory.

This is a subject that makes many uncomfortable, so they try to dismiss it in various ways, rather tham facing up to this phenomenon in human psychology.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 6:53 PM on April 25, 2013


Actually, I'd be glad if I had a 14 year old daughter who demonized him and turned him into The Other. She might not have to call the cops when he slaps some girl around. It's one thing to have a crush on a movie bad boy, ala James Dean. It's quite another to have a crush on a boy who does bad things, like blow up a little kid and tear the limbs off other little kids.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:56 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]



It's a classic case of Hybristophilia, exhibited mostly by women worshiping killers and or rapists, like Ted Bundy or the Columbine two.

It's the dark side of sexual attraction.


Wasn't there an interesting Metafilter post about this once? I think of this as an interesting offshoot/twist of normal sexual expression, although still something that maybe shouldn't be actively encouraged as it's not the healthiest thing. But not an evil anomaly or something sick. And I think it's because of that post.
posted by sweetkid at 6:59 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: are you dropping a deuce?
posted by P.o.B. at 7:00 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re: the #FreeJahar conspiracy theories, a friend of mine on FB recently posted this message in regards to the news that Dzhokhar wasn't carrying a gun:

It's pretty fucking nuts when you consider the unfolding drama police gave media about them battling their way to him as he fought them from the boat. All not true, it turns out. He was sitting there with nothing. And they're still refusing to say how he got the throat wound. And have put the "shoot out" down to "accidental fire" (?!) from one of the officers that started a false fire "back".

This seems to me that this is kind of verging onto conspiracy nuttiness, along with the ironic "quotation" marks, though I'm not really sure I should argue with him about this. It's probably not worth it.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 7:07 PM on April 25, 2013


wow, I feel like if I posted something like that on FB I'd get a firestorm of crap about it...rightfully probably.

Then again I just hid the post of a guy still talking about "how is the Saudi National involved hmm"
posted by sweetkid at 7:10 PM on April 25, 2013


Eh. I sort of see this as another of Gawker's patented "let's find a handful of examples of egregious behavior on social media and blow it way out of proportion" stories.

Deadspin runs a "some sports fans are racist on Twitter!" article seemingly every other month, while Jezebel does the same with sexist comments.

There's a potentially interesting story here, but it sticks too closely to the already tired script.
posted by graphnerd at 7:11 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


This makes me miss the watchful-entity tumblr.

There was a lot of empathy displayed for the Boston bombing brothers in the threads about them on Metafilter, but nobody parlayed that into conspiracy theories about their innocence. I think there's quite a few steps between 'they're still humans' and 'he's too cute'. And as the article clearly shows, this isn't the first killer this has happened around. Or yes, women who are part of 'Team Breezy' who think Rihanna deserved it and are completely on Chris Brown's side.

But then, I remember reading a long list of posts by women fantasising about the Joker after 'The Dark Knight' came out, how they'd be the one to understand him and get him to love them and only them. The cliche is that women are attracted to bad boys, it just turns out some of those boys are really, really bad.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:12 PM on April 25, 2013


Rose and Valerie screaming from the gallery
Say he must go free


It's an old song with a new verse.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:15 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rory,

It's all well and good that you reached out to the mods to run this FFP by them, but I'm curious as to why you didn't link directly to this girls Tumblr, and use the Gawker article as more of a supportive link, perhaps with callouts and excerpts "inside" so anyone who, like me considers the whole of Gawker one gigantic pile of deuciness, to use your term, to avoid having to actually give them a clickthrough to get a handle on this FPP.

BlueMarble72: This is a subject that makes many uncomfortable, so they try to dismiss it in various ways, rather than facing up to this phenomenon in human psychology.

Hmm....let me think about that one....so your saying, right...I see...uncomfortable..and need to dismiss this "phenomenon in human psychology".

Negatory, my patronizing friend(s): I've faced up to and thought through more uncomfortable phenoms in human psychology than most people have had hot dinners, pal...
posted by Skygazer at 7:26 PM on April 25, 2013


I don't think it's particularly useful to generalize this as something done only by young women. Most of the serial killer fan blogs I've seen have been courtesy of teenage boys.
posted by elizardbits at 7:28 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's a classic case of Hybristophilia, exhibited mostly by women worshiping killers and or rapists, like Ted Bundy or the Columbine two.

It's the dark side of sexual attraction.


Except that these teenage girls seem to sincerely believe that he's innocent. Honestly, I don't find these particularly disturbing. Definitely not in the way that the Holmes fans, or other fan followings of "hot" killers, are disturbing. At least in the Gawker article, nothing seems to indicate that what attracted these girls is a belief that Dzhokhar actually committed any violence. It's an appealing story they've woven out of the conspiracy theories floating around - the young handsome martyr, wrongfully accused and facing an inevitable doom...and only they can save him.

When you're only 14, you're a lot more gullible. Imagine being a tween girl and seeing this handsome, kind of sweet-looking guy barely out of his teens (19) who could very well be a slightly older classmate, being flashed on tv and proclaimed a terrorist murderer...and then you go online and see all these conspiracy theories claiming that he was framed. You don't have the critical skills and experience yet to assess these kinds of truth claims, so they'd sound rather plausible at that young age. You see that most of the evidence about Dzhokar's private life makes him come across as just a pretty normal guy...so in the end, I don't really see this as being a particularly sinister phenomenon. It just seems like a handful of naive pre-teens who seem to have translated "cute, normal-seeming" to "must be innocent victim of conspiracy plot". It's the real conspiracy theorists that I think we need to watch out for.
posted by adso at 7:34 PM on April 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


You guys, Jahar (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) is innocent. Because a doctor at the hospital that Jahar is at said to someone (a nurse maybe?) who reported to the news station that I don't even trust (because, "news" rite? lulz) that he (the doctor) didn't even see bullet wounds!! Instead what he just saw a bunch of club marks/abrasions/bruises because the cops were clubbing him after they got him out of the boat to keep Jahar silent so they could frame him! zomg!!! And my Mom's baby cousin's older sister works at the hospital as a nurse, and she strolled by his room and saw that he was mostly fine from the get go! They are just trying to keep the wraps on this so they can piece together a bullshit story. But I won't believe it! Because "bullshit" right?!

Authority figures... haha, what do THEY know???

Also, did you know that Glenn Beck raped and killed a young girl in 1990?!
posted by mrzer0 at 7:37 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Skygazer, your website hang-ups are your concern. This was a well-researched, well-written, and thoughtful piece, and I think it deserved a link. A single link to a middle girl's Tumblr would be OutrageFilter as far as I'm concerned.

I don't think there's anything further worth discussing here. MeMail me if you feel otherwise, but I'd really rather you wouldn't.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:38 PM on April 25, 2013 [11 favorites]


God, I'm gonna be on a fucking watchlist because the free-jahar.tumblr.com has fun pop in the background. COME 4 TERROR/STAY FOR MUSIC
posted by klangklangston at 8:04 PM on April 25, 2013 [9 favorites]


If there isn't Tamerlan/Dzokhar incest fan fiction, I'll be disappointed. Here, I'll start:

"But... but Islam forbids it!", Tamerlan gasped, not quite convincing himself. "Tamerlan," Dzokhar cooed, "we are not in Kyrgyzstan anymore. Things are different here. Here the forbidden is..." - he trailed off as his hand slipped over Tamerlan's now formidable bulge - "...desirable." Dzokhar smiled his roguish smile as he dropped to his knees before Tamerlan. It was as if a bomb went off... in Tamerlan's balls.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2013 [38 favorites]


OMG OMG I'm so sorry I clicked on Recent Activity
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 PM on April 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


"Then again I just hid the post of a guy still talking about "how is the Saudi National involved hmm""

Question needs asking: How is Handsomest Emirati involved hmm?
posted by klangklangston at 8:09 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


feste: "Batboy is a thousand times better than Gawker"

Yeah, the Weekly World News was never meant to be taken seriously. In its day, it was one of the finest subversive parodies, sitting right next to the tabloid publications it was lampooning in the checkout aisle in the grocery store. Even the advice column was ridiculously over the top. The fact that so many people mistook it for just another tabloid is a testament to its success - all it really took was buying a copy and reading it to discover what was really going on, but they committed to the style 100% and took it to outrageous levels, like the best work National Lampoon did. I often imagined that would be just about the perfect comedy writing gig for someone getting started. Maybe those jobs were coveted, not sure ... I think it would have been a blast.

Gawker is not as bad as its reputation would imply. However, it's in a whole different universe than the Weekly World News.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:17 PM on April 25, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm sure there's a Livejournal community out there for you, DecemberBoy.
posted by feste at 8:19 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why we should forgive him. The sentiment is more reasonable than Max Read would have it.
posted by bukharin at 8:27 PM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought it had to exist on Tumblr, but I couldn't find any. There is Eric Harris/Dylan Klebold gay fan fiction on Tumblr, and I'm not joking. I'm probably not looking in the right places, don't really want to either.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:35 PM on April 25, 2013


It's not just teenagers: Amanda Palmer - a poem for dzhokhar
posted by 445supermag at 8:43 PM on April 25, 2013


Wasn't there an interesting Metafilter post about this once?

Yes. The Killer Crush: From Columbiners To Beliebers, MeFi post: "I WANT TO CUDDLE HIM UNTIL HE SUFFOCATES"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:45 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll say it again - people are fascinating.
posted by davebush at 9:01 PM on April 25, 2013


God, I'm gonna be on a fucking watchlist

Look at the bright side: you'll still be allowed to buy guns.
posted by homunculus at 9:01 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


In vaguely related/parallel news, Canada's PM Stephen Harper warns against "commit[ing] sociology" (this part is actually related to the Boston Marathon bombings). This is part of the Conservatives' attack on new Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who has his own fandom (although most people, Harper excepted perhaps, would not consider this nearly as creepy as that described in the FPP).

Yep, my facebook feed is always interesting.
posted by eviemath at 9:06 PM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a classic case of Hybristophilia, exhibited mostly by women worshiping killers and or rapists, like Ted Bundy or the Columbine two.

Is it, though? I mean, the tweens aren't all a-swoon because he blew people up; they're in complete denial about that.

They like him because he's cute. And also maybe because people are being mean to him? It's like that combo triggers some kind of primal MUST DEFEND HELPLESS CUTIE-PIE response in a certain segment of society.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:30 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


That blinking author pic scared the living shit out of me.
posted by pleurodirous at 9:33 PM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Balls to the wall" probably came from pilot slang, and doesn't actually refer to testicles.

Do you have any better evidence for this? Sounds fishy - how many throttles does a plane have, and isn't the actual firewall somewhere behind the instrument panel?
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:10 PM on April 25, 2013


Why we say "balls to the wall".
posted by Orb at 10:43 PM on April 25, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why we say "balls to the wall".

I'm so glad we cleared up the mystery of balls-to-the-wall.

Now, if anyone wants to chime in with an opinion on whether or not the phrase needs hyphenation, please feel free! Derails-R-Us!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:03 PM on April 25, 2013


(And I say that as someone who knows full well that my original comment was classifiable as "derail". But any chance to link to a soloed vocal performance of that caliber, hey, I'm gonna take it.)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:04 PM on April 25, 2013


Thank you for your balls to the wall approach to etymology, Orb. I guess I was wrong, but then again early pilots must have been mature, thoughtful people - they would never adopt a slang term just for the testicular overtones.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:23 AM on April 26, 2013


As much as I hate to give Oliver Stone credit for anything, Natural Born Killers pretty much nails this.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:50 AM on April 26, 2013


I don't think that you need to give Oliver Stone credit for anything (least of all because, of course, Quentin Tarantino wrote the script); public fascination with killers was well-remarked-upon way before NBK. Stephen King has admitted to keeping a scrapbook about Charles Starkweather, for instance.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:35 AM on April 26, 2013


way before NBK

Like Bonnie and Clyde. But now I'm curious whether Starkweather can do the robot and/or resemble a then current teen heartthrob.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:56 AM on April 26, 2013


Here you go, sweetkid.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:51 AM on April 26, 2013


Aren't people innocent till proven guilty in the USA? Did I miss Dzhokhar's trial?
posted by colie at 7:08 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


In a legal sense, yes, they are presumed innocent. Only the court can sentence him. Outside of the law, people are free to weigh the evidence and form their own opinions.
posted by desjardins at 7:21 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


DecemberBoy, I have just killed the last week of my life reading a million words of Sherlock/Watson fanfic because of this AskMe, so your absolutely spot-on fan-fic parody sent me into peals of laughter. I am your biggest fan.
posted by not that girl at 7:32 AM on April 26, 2013


As much as I hate to give Oliver Stone credit for anything, Natural Born Killers pretty much nails this.

Natural Born Killers is a bloodly masterpiece. It plays much, much better in 2013 than it did in 1994. Back then, in the first days of the 24 hour news cycle, it looked grotesquely exaggerated to the point of parody—and it is a pardoy, ultimately. I think that's what pissed Tarantino off about Stone's treatment of his script, which is not a comedy. But what looked overstuffed and excessive 20 years ago looks like reality today.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:50 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


1D fan fic is a lot more interesting than, say, Martin Amis's latest. I hope the girls keep shipping.
posted by colie at 8:03 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


But now I'm curious whether Starkweather can do the robot and/or resemble a then current teen heartthrob.

Well, half of that was true:

After viewing the film Rebel Without a Cause, Starkweather developed a James Dean fixation and began to groom his hairstyle and dress himself to look like Dean. Starkweather related to Dean's rebellious screen persona, believing that he had found a kindred spirit of sorts, someone who had suffered torment similar to his own whom he could admire.

And while I earlier was sort of dismissive of this phenomenon, I could only make this connection because I've read a lot of Wikipedia pages on spree/serial killers (especially those that have had movies inspired by them). Thinking about it, I realize the 'crazy' crush-like behavior on display here is probably just a different, less-well-thought-out version of the same behavior. We just act on our fascinations in different ways.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:47 AM on April 26, 2013


He became the 'other' when he killed an 8 year-old child, among others. And I'm really fucking ok with not forgiving him for that.
posted by mattholomew at 5:51 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hannah Rosin, Slate: Why All This Maternal Sympathy for Dzhokhar?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:46 AM on April 30, 2013


a hot dog is not a sandwich
a hamburger is not a sanwich
tacos might be sandiwches
#freejahar

posted by mrgrimm at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


For bombing suspect’s nurses, angst gave way to duty: They did what they had to do, and did it well. But they worry
posted by homunculus at 1:30 PM on May 19, 2013


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