Aspiring Politician Giving Head
August 8, 2004 5:38 AM   Subscribe

A San Francisco man (an "aspiring" politician) fakes his own decapitation video.
posted by bluedaniel (20 comments total)

 
You know, I get bored on Sunday sometimes too, but I don't think I'd fake my own beheading. Maybe that's just me though.
posted by humuhumu at 6:39 AM on August 8, 2004


I love San Francisco.

Ben's got a net presence. Here's a relevant Google search, wherein we learn he likes video game arcades. The most tantalizing hit is that he had a website at http://www.recordlabelrecords.com-us.net/ben, aka http://www.recordlabelrecords.org. Alas it's all offline now and the Wayback Machine doesn't have much. The Google cache reveals a hit counter at 15137 hits. It was supposedly good:
has great web site and hell of a sense of humor. Fine young writer. A future in politics if he’s serious and could shock everyone if his web site catches on.
posted by Nelson at 7:03 AM on August 8, 2004


more detail here at the observer.
posted by triv at 7:07 AM on August 8, 2004


The photo at the top of this page says everything there is to say about Ben.

The guy's a nitwit, "Hey, AP is on the way over to take my picture. How about I take my clothes off, drink a few sodas and sit here on the floor of the garage."
posted by cedar at 7:14 AM on August 8, 2004


Oh, I should have thought of this earlier; he used to post to Usenet. At least, I think it's the same guy, his posts fit the profile. Lots of lucid dreaming and psychedelics stuff.

His old email address bvanderford2@home.com reveals his ambitious video game project Good vs Bad 2 (alternate link), which apparently was released under GPL.
posted by Nelson at 7:16 AM on August 8, 2004


Calling him a Man is a little misleading, he's still just a boy with big dreams and bad ideas on how to get there.

My hope is that little Benny is made a big stupid example of what not to do. You know, like when they have to make an example of the one moron in the security check line at the airport who takes the opportunity to joke about a bomb? Yeah.

And he shouldn't let people take pictures of him without a shirt on.
posted by fenriq at 7:18 AM on August 8, 2004


It's a silly stunt and a really bad way to make a point about... well, whatever it is he was trying make a point about. Kinda like Charlie Rangel's demands to re-instate the draft to make people "realize better the true sacrifice in war." Good message, bad delivery.

As for the stunt, yeah, it's tacky, but since I think at least half of the anonymous BlogSpot "I'm a free Iraqi and everything is great now!" blogs are fake, I understand how frustrating the media's desire to report first, decide later can be when you're practically screaming at the television "and you know all this shit... how?"

Insensitive, yes. But amidst what I'm sure will be a pecking party pile-on of massive mob proportions is the slight catch of him being completely right. Three months after Nick Berg was murdered we're practically stating as fact it was Zarqawi that did it, despite no evidence except the "suggestion" from someone that has carried on.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:27 AM on August 8, 2004


Sad how easy it can be to hoax the media - this guy has no future as a politiican but maybe he can aspire to be anothr Joey Skaggs.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:38 AM on August 8, 2004


Sad how easy it can be to hoax the media - this guy has no future as a politician

Hrmmm...seems that being a politician is all about lying^H^H^H^H^H^Hhoaxing the media.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:48 AM on August 8, 2004


I'm with you, XQUZYPHYR. Clearly this guy's a nutjob, but it's a good point he raises regarding how easily all this stuff is faked. The fact of the matter is that his video ran on major news outlets under the assumption that it was real. Who was out there questioning its authenticity before Vanderford admitted it was a hoax?
posted by mkultra at 8:18 AM on August 8, 2004


I don't see what the big deal is. We have a first amendment in this country. If he wasn't slandering anyone or making money through fraud, he's perfectly entitled to make all of the 'art' he wishes without disclosing anything to anyone. I didn't see the video, but I think he's brilliant for doing it. Misrepresentation is not a crime unless you're defrauding someone. Misrepresentation is one facet of art. Even if it was a stupid frathouse prank, I think its pretty funny that he did it and fooled people. I also don't know anything about the guy, but I don't know how this makes him a nutjob.
posted by PigAlien at 8:55 AM on August 8, 2004


I note that bluedaniel reiterated the trope, widespread in media coverage of this, of foregrounding the fact that Vanderford is from San Francisco, and that Nelson immediately picked up on and echoed the message implicit in all those headlines: Oh, those crazy San Franciscans.

Of course, a creature like Vanderford could never have come out of, say, Brooklyn or Kansas. Right?
posted by digaman at 9:01 AM on August 8, 2004


"It's a very unusual situation," [FBI Spokesperson] said. "It may come down to freedom of speech, and we'll defer to the U.S. attorney's office here on that. The question is: At what point does he step from freedom of expression into something that makes a mockery out of the pain suffered by families that have had beheadings of loved ones?"

Wow. I had no idea that the US Attorney needed to determine when one crosses the line between freedom of expression and insensitivity. Silly me, I always thought freedom of expression included the freedom to be insensitive and even protected my right to be an asshole. I'll go stand in the corner right now just to be safe.
posted by donovan at 9:01 AM on August 8, 2004


The stupidest part of this whole affair, stupidest, is that the Department of Justice is expending valuable resources trying to make a federal case against the guy.

Apparently they have nothing better to do.
posted by mischief at 9:03 AM on August 8, 2004


"At what point does he step from freedom of expression into something that makes a mockery out of the pain suffered by..." This guy has never seen the Internet???
posted by arse_hat at 9:19 AM on August 8, 2004


"I note that bluedaniel reiterated the trope, widespread in media coverage of this, of foregrounding the fact that Vanderford is from San Francisco, and that Nelson immediately picked up on and echoed the message implicit in all those headlines: Oh, those crazy San Franciscans.

Of course, a creature like Vanderford could never have come out of, say, Brooklyn or Kansas. Right?"


Or better... Jersey.
posted by bluedaniel at 9:39 AM on August 8, 2004


In hindsight, I should have mentioned how much of this reminds me of old Blair days.
posted by bluedaniel at 9:43 AM on August 8, 2004


He was on the local news here last night. In his underwear. Wearing a gold medallion. Looking very much like he had not been to bed yet, or at least not for very long.
posted by emptyage at 12:32 PM on August 8, 2004


I spent several minutes wondering what delectables one might find in an Islamic Minibar until I realized the URL was islamic-minbar.com
posted by m@ at 6:45 AM on August 9, 2004


If the minbar link has been hijacked to a forum. No video link.

Speaking hoax blogspot (XQUZYPHYR's comment above) of Iraqies posting on how great it is to be free of Hussein, just last week I got my first Islamic spam. It was written in script so I could'nt read it. An advertisement for vacation trip. The ad used crappy stock photos so it was clearly bullshit. I expect to see more.
posted by xtian at 11:32 AM on August 9, 2004


« Older I've been having a great time exploring the maze t...  |  BBC Radio Interviews From Hell... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments