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Any excuse to have something weird as my profile picture is a good excuse.
December 5, 2010 1:28 AM   Subscribe

Have you noticed the cartoon characters overtaking Facebook? Well, you're not alone because the national media sure has. This new Facebook meme is supposedly all about raising awareness for child abuse. But is this meme really accomplishing anything? Maybe not. And for good measure, some links for those who would REALLY like to help.
posted by SkylitDrawl (201 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ah, I screwed up some of my links. Shoot.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:30 AM on December 5, 2010


You know, I'm not ashamed to admit it: I use Facebook. I use it to communicate with friends. I use it to find fun stuff to do in my city. I use it to quietly stalk a few people whose lifes are of interest to me.

I somehow fail to notice this kind of shit, though. Maybe the television helping to raise me as a kid has something to do with it - I learned how to tune out what I don't want/need/care for at a young age.

Maybe I'm special. Maybe everyone else is special. Maybe I'm just full of shit.
posted by item at 1:37 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


And, like with the celebrity doppelganger trend, this is almost certainly a violation of Facebook's Terms of Service.
posted by knile at 1:39 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember when twitter overthrew the regime in Iran?
posted by munchingzombie at 1:41 AM on December 5, 2010 [24 favorites]


Good god it doesn't accomplish anything. For fuck's sake, I almost beat my kid (n.b. I do not have a kid) until I saw that some idiot I barely know has a cartoon avatar. USA! The only thing it accomplished is that I realized that I hate about 50% of my Facebook friends for being a bunch of groupthink, slacktivist imbecles. And I was good and ready to post this exact same comment on my wall about an hour ago, but then they would have gone and unfriended me and then I'm the weird asshole that doesn't know when the party starts. Why I am I even on Facebook. Jesus Fuck. Donate money to some foundation if you even give a shit. HEY I'M SPACEGHOST, DON'T SLAP JIMMY!
posted by greasy_skillet at 1:42 AM on December 5, 2010 [122 favorites]


CNN covers the story.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:42 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is taking the attention away from breast cancer so I'm here to remind everyone about breast cancer. It's still around. Don't forget.
posted by amethysts at 1:45 AM on December 5, 2010 [22 favorites]


This is taking the attention away from breast cancer so I'm here to remind everyone about breast cancer. It's still around. Don't forget.

Better change your profile picture to a hot rod or a motorcyle, then.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:47 AM on December 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Those things are awesome, they make everyone FEEL like they are doing something. You get to be part of the in crowd and you do not have to spend money, think about real problems, or help in any meaningful way. Way to go!
posted by Felex at 1:49 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


This sort of thing just needs to stop. Immediately.
posted by naju at 1:53 AM on December 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


@naju - oh wow.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:55 AM on December 5, 2010


But seriously these gamey meme things would be just good old fun togetherness without the fake maudlin bullshit attached. And they always start out as fun random games to until someone tacks that on there. It's like a personality disease shared by the populace.
posted by amethysts at 1:58 AM on December 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


Don't knock it. That day in middle school we all wore our pants inside out it completely ended world hunger. Or was it racism, I forget, but I clearly recall it worked.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:05 AM on December 5, 2010 [23 favorites]


It's really cool how all those smug assholes who mock the 'friends' on FB who post status changes to raise awareness for....whatever...have already donated to, or already know all about, or have started discussions with other friends about....

Aw, fuck.

Nah, this is all about how much you rock, and how FB sucks, and how ignorant all the people you've added as friends are, and how rather than responding to the post in a manner that encourages conversation* you'd rather just click on the 'FB needs a dislike button now!' 'like' button.

*or, god forbid, donate to a charity mentioned on the click-through

Add to the conversation or defriend, or take them out of your feed. But this smug, superior bullshit just makes you look sad.
posted by merelyglib at 2:17 AM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


When I changed my pic to a rectum to raise awareness of prostate cancar everyone just complained :(
posted by Silentgoldfish at 2:19 AM on December 5, 2010 [46 favorites]


It has raised awareness though, hasn't it? I mean there's this post, with links to actual donation sites, and I've seen similar elsewhere. So technically it's working.
posted by kyp at 2:22 AM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


I have a "friend" on facebook (the wife of a former co-worker) who has, quite possibly, ruined the entire CONCEPT of breast cancer awareness for me. Every other status update (yes, every other one or so) is an urgent plea to REPOST THIS IF YOU ARE BRAVE ENOUGH TO FIGHT BREAST CANCER, a reminder that all of her "true friends" will pledge for her upcoming 5k walk/run, and thinly veiled threats that friends who continually refuse to pledge or repeat wall posts will be cut off from her gracious presence. I'm continually amazed at how much damage a well meaning person can do to a worthy cause.

I should really take the plunge and just de-friend everyone on my FB who isn't an actual friend in the traditional sense of that word. I probably won't do that because then the world would see that I have like 2 friends and one of them is my sister.
posted by Avenger at 2:28 AM on December 5, 2010 [50 favorites]


Metafilter: prostate cancar
posted by Avenger at 2:29 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is all about people feeling good about themselves. Call me a cynic, but it seems to replace activism or actually doing anything about this.
posted by quarsan at 2:30 AM on December 5, 2010 [14 favorites]


This meme was here in germany too, and I changed my avatar to Nils Holgerson...
But none of the status updates I saw said anything at all about child abuse. Just: change your avatars to your childhood heroes. For fun.
I think it must have been added when it went over the pond and the american userbase needed some cause to link to it.
posted by ts;dr at 2:33 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


So is this the secular equivalent of a prayer-day?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:37 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


greasy_skillet's just mad nobody else picked Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:40 AM on December 5, 2010


Metafilter: prostate cancar

Typing with an ipad keyboard ruins more jokes...
posted by Silentgoldfish at 2:47 AM on December 5, 2010


But I know how he feels... those philistines also passed over the quiet genius of Yo Yogi! It's got Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss, and they solve mysteries in a mall while riding skateboards. What's not to love?
posted by Rhaomi at 2:51 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


But, but, but... my avatar is ALREADY a cartoon. Does that mean that a child is being abused somewhere because of my inaction?!?

Lordy, I hate this meme crap.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:52 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing facebook has made me realize: I'm pretty boring, a lot of my friends are boring, and I'm jealous of those few who aren't boring.
posted by maxwelton at 2:56 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


So this form of slacktivism is ripped apart on the blue while Purple Shirt Day was over-eagerly defended. Hum.

Anyway, if it helps, it's also good to note that December is apparently National Make-Your-Profile-Picture-Pokemon Month (see here) which occurs in simple celebration of a much cherished childhood memory without the embedded 'moral pretentiousness' that seems to be the issue here.
posted by dubusadus at 2:58 AM on December 5, 2010


I'm in Belgium. Awareness of child abuse is pretty much at the 100% level already...
posted by quarsan at 3:02 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I fucking hate memes.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:05 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does Pedobear qualify?
posted by iamck at 3:09 AM on December 5, 2010 [29 favorites]


The most interesting\funny\sad\weird part of this for me was seeing people pick Pedobear for their cartoon picture.
posted by zephyr_words at 3:13 AM on December 5, 2010


FWIW, I've just signed into FB and said, "Sorry, but this is a sore point with me. At the risk of offending people that I care about... have you actively donated money to a child-abuse-prevention-organisation before/during/after changing your avatar? Do you think changing your avatar willl convince a paedophile to not touch that child inappropriately? I don't do meme's. I donate cash to those who can actually make a difference. I beg you to do the same."

I expect to be ignored by a few "friends" from now on. And I feel good about that.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:29 AM on December 5, 2010 [14 favorites]


Remember when twitter overthrew the regime in Iran?

I just finished reading an LRB article about just that and some of what was said suggests this isn't true.

the global solidarity it bought for their cause might well have distracted them from the real work of reaching out to their fellow citizens.

It was more useful for the global media. ‘Twitter functioned mainly as a huge echo chamber of solidarity messages from global voices, that simply slowed the general speed of traffic,’ the authors of Blogistan conclude.


[...]

Some of what was sent around on Twitter – the news, for example, that Mousavi had been arrested – simply wasn’t true, so the movement’s high-profile foreign supporters were often retweeting rumour and disinformation from the comfort of their desktops. ‘Here, there is lots of buzz,’ the owner of a US-based activist site told the Washington Post. ‘But once you look … you see most of it is Americans tweeting among themselves.’

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n23/james-harkin/cyber-con

posted by deticxe at 3:38 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


or, god forbid, donate to a charity mentioned on the click-through

That would be great, merelyglib if any of these brain farts mentioned a charity. No one is even sure where this started - most definitely not with any charity.
posted by smoke at 3:39 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So this form of slacktivism is ripped apart on the blue while Purple Shirt Day was over-eagerly defended.

Purple Shirt Day took its symbolism out into the physical world, lending it slightly more weight than an avatar change, IMO. I work as an aide at a college, and on Purple Shirt Day I had a class with four people who were clearly participating. One was already involved with our Queer/Straight Alliance, two were kind of blue-collar-appearing guys that I wouldn't have expected to participate, and the fourth was a guy wearing a t-shirt with an explicitly anti-gay message on it. The resulting vibe was...interesting. It was cool to see support from people outside of the explicitly "activist" group, but it was disheartening that even this supposedly trivial act of symbolism was seen as threatening and answered with vitriol.
posted by brookedel at 3:42 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


In other completely surprising news, it turns out Facebook is a good place to look for lazy peope who subsitute token electronic gestures for actual interaction with the world around them.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:44 AM on December 5, 2010 [14 favorites]


In other completely surprising news, it turns out Facebook is a good place to look for lazy peope who subsitute token electronic gestures for actual interaction with the world around them.

Metafilter:
posted by maxwelton at 3:47 AM on December 5, 2010 [23 favorites]


What's facebook?
posted by HuronBob at 3:53 AM on December 5, 2010


it's weird. the meme also happened a week or so before thanksgiving; but then, it was just for "fun". i thought, hah, yeah, it could be fun. changed my picture for a couple days. a few other friends did the same. it was fun, to see what cartoons they picked. but it stayed really low-key and not many people did it.

now all of a sudden it's back - with this weird, kinda inappropriate child-abuse awareness purpose attached. i'm just not into it this time. i, too questioned - how exaclty is this gonna help?

i do have one friend who put upa pic of pedobear. she made me laugh.
posted by lapolla at 3:55 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lame. I changed my profile pic to He-Man today because I'd heard it was cartoon week. I wasn't aware we were trying to 'raise awareness' about child abuse, that makes it way less fun. Can't we just do fun things without some fucking cause behind them?
posted by Jawn at 3:59 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, I have an ulterior motive for mine.

Once a year there's a fundraising walk that sponsored by SCTnow. I participated this last year (the first year in my area.) So....when fundraising time for that rolls around again I am gonna hit up every single one of my cartoony posting friends for a big fat donation.

(My church also fundraises all year long for organizations that stop child trafficing.)

Yeah, the cartoon itself does absolutely bupkis. But yeah, as stated above, awareness of ways to help that go with it don't hurt. Besides it's an excuse to post Chiyo Chan as my avatar for a couple of days.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:24 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think you guys are wrong. This is every bit is as helpful as yellow, "Support our troops!" car magnets.
posted by rain at 4:28 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think I need an awareness meme for my lousy proofreading skills.
posted by rain at 4:31 AM on December 5, 2010


I think you guys are wrong. This is every bit is as helpful as yellow, "Support our troops!" car magnets.

Mine says 'Support The Magnetic Ribbon Industry.'
posted by fixedgear at 4:39 AM on December 5, 2010 [20 favorites]


This thing is totally shit. They should do something that really liberates the oppressed -- like CAPS LOCK DAY liberates those of us who are oppressed by lower case...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:58 AM on December 5, 2010


I'm of two minds. I think changing your profile pic to a cartoon character is sort of dumb and certainly ineffective, but complaining about people changing their profile pic is sanctimonious and annoying. Oh, you figured out that people changing their Facebook profile isn't going to change anything? That is Nobel-level shit right there, man. You posted a link to a foundation where donations are accepted? Fuck, I hope you bill for the thirty seconds it took you to Google that and I hope for your sake nobody finds out that you never actually donated a dime because calling out other people and then shepherding them to a place to donate but not actually donating yourself is the height of douchedom and the sad thing is you already know that but you posted it anyway because you wanted to make a passive aggressive point to your conservative aunt in Kansas. Well good for you.

If you do feeling like joining in the fun and changing your profile pic, I suppose an argument could be made to change your avatar to a cartoon Pedobear, as has been mentioned before. Those who don't know Pedobear will think you're just being a good Facebook sport, and those who do know Pedobear will find your irony strangely principled and courageous. HARK, Facebookians! This is the one time in your life and the one time only you may be able to post Pedobear to your Facebook profile and get away with it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:02 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


One of my Facebook friends recently joined a group called something to the effect of "Keep the red nose off your profile pic and donate to your favorite charity instead." Liked.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 AM on December 5, 2010


For anyone confused about how something this stupid took off, allow me to direct your attention to a blog which explains this phenomenon far more elegantly than I ever could:

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/23/18-awareness/

Although the blog is white-centric (and tongue in cheek), I assure you that the love of awareness falls much more firmly into the category of "stuff affluent people like", as my facebook feed has proven that this kind of self congratulatory nonsense crosses all racial boundaries.
posted by FuzzyLumpkins at 5:04 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I HATE these things.

a) isn't it a given that most people are against child abuse/paedos/cancer?
b) if you have suffered or are suffering any of these causes the last thing you sometimes want is to be reminded of them. (See also: the cancer charity mugger who shouted abuse at me when I wouldn't stop because it was three months after my dad died of the stuff and I didn't want to be reminded, thanks.)
c) I was beaten often by one of my parents as a teenager. Things like this suggest all child abuse happens to wee tots - which obviously it often does, but it isn't just the small that are defenceless, and it isn't just the physical that hurts. It took me years to realise that what I experienced could well be classed as abuse and not just something I was too embarrassed to talk about.
d) the meme where girls had to post the colour of their bras - call me Millie Tant but I don't feel that telling all people on my Facebook page about my underwear accomplishes anything but a few awkward boners.
e) some causes get a lot more publicity than others, and while there isn't a sliding scale of Awful Cancers or Awful Child Crimes, things like this mean that many other good causes get neglected. And not participating often leads to one being made to feel guilty about it, when it may be that people prefer to be quiet about these things.
f) as others said, this is seen as a way of Doing Something About The Bad Stuff without, y'know, actually doing something.
posted by mippy at 5:19 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Turning fun things into a cause is the North American middle brow disease.
posted by Space Coyote at 5:20 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can't find it, but there used to be a Facebook group like "If I press like for your cause then my social conscience is clear and I can go back to stalking my exes."

I liked that group.
posted by dzaz at 5:24 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


No, see, the important part is to post a picture of a cartoon from days gone by. Go watch ten minutes of present-day kids' entertainment, and you'll come back wanting to save the children too.
posted by unregistered_animagus at 5:32 AM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


For USians, there's a civic group called Exchange Club whose primary mission is prevention of child abuse.

I am president of our local club, and I encourage all USian MeFites to check out Exchange Clubs in their area.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:32 AM on December 5, 2010


I've been known to participate in the occasional FaceBook meme, and did have a cartoon avatar a couple of weeks ago when it was "Hey it's childhood nostalgia week change your pic to one of your favorite cartoons." Because... why not? I love wallowing in childhood nostalgia along with the rest of my gen-x friends.

I don't get child abuse thing, though, and really can't stand posts along the lines of "xxxx are the best people in the world! If you're a xxxx or know an awesome xxxx set this as your facebook status to show them you care!!!" This is what chain letters look like in the 21st century.
posted by usonian at 5:44 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It may not end world hunger, war or child abuse, but it is fun. Lighten-up folks.
posted by caddis at 5:46 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


A JustGiving page, set up on Friday and based on this meme, has raised nearly £2,500 for the NSPCC so far.
posted by ceiriog at 5:46 AM on December 5, 2010


Word of the day: "Slacktivism". (I had never heard it before.)
posted by WalkingAround at 5:52 AM on December 5, 2010


Narcotizing dysfunction.
posted by starman at 5:53 AM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


It may not end world hunger, war or child abuse, but it is fun. Lighten-up folks.

Ah, but you see, for many it's not fun anymore. It's similar to when a hobby or diversion becomes a job. In this case, it was fun when it was just about cartoon characters and nostalgia, but now it's been linked with serious undertones of social issues, as well as real or imagined pressures of moral obligation (ie: "Oh crud, now I have to do this or else people might think I don't care about child abuse").

/ there's a reason why "edutainment" is almost always a miserable failure.
posted by PsychoKick at 5:55 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, I never participate in these stupid facebook memes. I did, however change my profile pic to a funshine-bear because I loved carebears when I was little, and found it really interesting to see which characters my friends identified with most. However, I did not paste the blurb about "raising awareness of child abuse" on my status, because I don't really believe it accomplishes anything. I'm pretty sure most people are aware of child abuse, but this isn't going to stop the prick down the street from beating his kid when no one's looking (as usual), is it?

That said, I think people need to simmer down with their "this does nothing" outrage and lighten up. If nothing else, this is an exercise in nostalgia and remembering what it's like to be a kid again. Stop taking it so seriously, will ya?
posted by sunshinesky at 6:02 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I went off on a kind of rant with the "post the color of your bra to raise awareness of breast cancer" meme. Because -- I felt that that whole little "don't tell the boys tee-hee" treatment only encourages the whole weird hinky secretive way some women feel about their own health problems -- and that keeps some women from just talking to their doctors about them.

People like my paternal grandmother, who died of breast cancer when I was only four. She was uncomfortable talking to her doctor about it, and just thought her breasts were hurting because she'd been out in the cold in a bathrobe and pajamas and without a bra to get the mail or take in the laundry a couple times. She was too far gone by the time they discovered her cancer, and so because of this "oooh I don't want to talk about it in a way that takes it seriously" thinking, the only memory I have about Grandma Loretta was the day my father came home to tell us she'd died.

I think I concluded that rant by saying that I'd be posting on behalf of Grandma Loretta -- so that color was "funeral shroud."

(Yeah, I really don't like those kind of "slacktivism" things. Or the "giggle tee-hee don't tell the men" things.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:07 AM on December 5, 2010 [20 favorites]


HEY I'M SPACEGHOST, DON'T SLAP JIMMY!

I'm sorely tempted to post this as my FaceBook status.
(props to greasy_skillet for making me laugh out loud with that line)
posted by spoobnooble at 6:16 AM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


sunshinesky: If nothing else, this is an exercise in nostalgia and remembering what it's like to be a kid again.

yeah, because nothing says nostalgia like remembering those beating you took as an abused child.
posted by msconduct at 6:16 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


yeah, because nothing says nostalgia like remembering those beating you took as an abused child.

Oh for christ's sake.
posted by sunshinesky at 6:25 AM on December 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Having changed my profile pic yesterday as I was quite enjoying seeing what characters my friends have been choosing for themselves. Amusing, fun and surprisingly appropriate.

However, I now learn that we are all a bunch of lazy, child-hating, sheeple.

Normal folks having fun – what the tedious nerd section of the internet (and MeFi) love to hate.

So some people decided it cold be fun to do a thing, some other people thought it would be good to link it to a cause and some other people thought it would be good to actually do something. Seems like the second group of people motivated the third so it kinda worked really.

I'm still amazed at how badly some people seem to manage their FB use. If you're going to rack up as many 'friends' as possible for whatever reason you deserve to be deluged with all sorts of crap.

I keep my profile locked down and only friend actual friends and people I want to hang out with. I've refused more requests than I've accepted this year and am quite happy to explain why if I ever come into contact with those people I've refused ('You really don't want to know what I get up to and I want to be able to share certain things without having to worry too much about what I should be sharing.')

Blocking crappy game / quiz notifications also clears the decks nicely too.
posted by i_cola at 6:27 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the majority of moral indignation over this awareness-raising campaign of a serious issue through FB.

The argument that most of these people are just doing it for fun and not "really serious" about the issue is missing the point of awareness campaigns. Just having people talk about the issue, even in non-comittal manner, is a step forward because at least the issue has entered the public conscious, even if only briefly. Sure, perhaps a vast majority of the people will do little else for child abuse other than change their picture on FB, but more than likely there will be a few people who do want to do more, either through donating or committing themselves further to the cause in another way. If only 10 people out of 1000 on FB do so, it still is 10 people more than before.

Getting all sanctimonious about it is just going to turn people off. Do you get pissed at cars with yellow/pink ribbons on them or marathon runners and think that these people aren't doing enough for their causes or are somehow "cheapening" the issue?

Take a deep breath, relax, and get over it.
posted by Schwartz_User at 6:29 AM on December 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Whilst dissing slacktivism, be aware that Fred Clark at Slacktivist is actually the opposite of that. I can't find the actual blog entry, but I remember reading that he chose that term semi-ironically as part of his involvement in progressive Christian activism.

If you don't read anything else of his, his Left Behind dissections are masterful; start here.
posted by emjaybee at 6:44 AM on December 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Do you get pissed at cars with yellow/pink ribbons on them or marathon runners and think that these people aren't doing enough for their causes or are somehow "cheapening" the issue?

Yes. yes, I do. Because these same people also, frequently, get sanctimonous with ME for not "joining in spreading awareness", without even bothering to ask whether I might be doing something else that is effective rather than just being visible.

I participated in a SIXTY MILE walkathon to fight breast cancer once, raising a couple grand for a program that funds early detection education programs around the country. I continue to dontate money to similar programs. But to these people, because I am not wearing a little three-inch piece of pink grosgrain and because I do not advertise my bra color on Facebook, I "don't care." fuck that.

And let's not get me started on the "pink ribbon campaign" so many companies do, where they pledge a nickle to Susan G. Komen for every box top you send in or whatever -- that's just a matter of, "Hey, I know how to push the product, let's just paint it pink!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on December 5, 2010 [34 favorites]


The meme(s) may be moderately annoying but this seems more than anything just another occasion for mefites to grumble and bitch about Facebook, which is sort of like shaking your fist at the rain for being wet. If you don't like it, don't be on Facebook. That's what the Zuckster would tell ya, anyway!
posted by blucevalo at 6:49 AM on December 5, 2010


I just changed my time zone to one my favorite cartoon characters!
posted by nomadicink at 6:50 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Like the bra-color thing, this seems to have become for a cause once it reached english speaking countries (or the US). It is as if some people need a cause attached to their whimsy.
posted by dabitch at 6:52 AM on December 5, 2010


EmpressCallipygos: Er, getting all sanctimonious about people getting sanctimonious is kinda continuing the problem I feel.
posted by i_cola at 6:58 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't care.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:00 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


getting all sanctimonious about people getting sanctimonious is kinda continuing the problem I feel

Because calling people "tedious nerds" is really making inroads to solving it.
posted by fight or flight at 7:00 AM on December 5, 2010


A sanctimonious circle jerk just in time for the holidays.
posted by Sailormom at 7:02 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Like the bra-color thing

Go on...
posted by nomadicink at 7:06 AM on December 5, 2010


Fuck yeah, Nils Holgerson. That is all.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:09 AM on December 5, 2010


Yes. yes, I do. Because these same people also, frequently, get sanctimonous with ME for not "joining in spreading awareness"
Really?

I've never had a ribbon on my car or anything like that, and in fact I actively try to hide the causes I donate to and such (not because I'm ashamed of them, but because I don't want to be seen as hubristic with respect to it). I have never once in my life had someone take me to task -- to any degree -- for not having a ribbon or whatever.

In case it's not clear, I'm not contradicting you; I'm just surprised. Especially by it happening "frequently".
posted by Flunkie at 7:11 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


fof: Like EC, I don't care. I don't see it as a problem. (Apart from the tedious nerd moaning and I prefer to mock that Sheldon.)

EC: Your Having A Leg To Stand On licence might have just been revoked ;-)
posted by i_cola at 7:12 AM on December 5, 2010


From the ABC article: Another recent viral campaign asked women to post suggestive status updates, such as "I like it on the floor" and "I like it on the kitchen counter." The messages referred to where women like to leave their purses and were intended to raise awareness about breast cancer.

What the hell?

EVERYBDY PARTICIPATE IN MY FESTIVAL OF NON SEQUITURS THIS WILL SOMEHOW RAISE AWARENESS OF SOMETHING FOR SOME REASON
posted by ook at 7:14 AM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


The only thing it accomplished is that I realized that I hate about 50% of my Facebook friends for being a bunch of groupthink, slacktivist imbecles.

I changed mine when it was a "childhood character you identify with" for fun about a week ago. Sorry there's been a hijacking of it, but on the other hand, I have no real issue with awareness campaigns. The same thing has been going on in conversation since time immemorial, and I have a feeling if there were FaceBook in 1836 there would be people saying "Sure, go ahead and embroider an anti-abolition sampler, you self-involved lazy dilettantes! It's a hell of a lot easier than actually doing something about slavery!" And yet, the battle for social change goes nowhere without the gradual wearing down of hearts and minds, which awareness campaigns do help with. If well organized, they are one among many tools, including of course direct action and legislation and fundraising and private conversations with friends and relatives, to make change.

If done poorly, they just run the risk of numbing people out and engendering mild backlash. Most of the ones on FB are done poorly, but there's plenty of other idiotic stuff on FaceBook, and I've become as good at ignoring the dumb-ass stuff as I am at sorting out the "Won't You Please Help This Baby Gorilla?" direct mail from mailbox. No big woop.
posted by Miko at 7:21 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I was no facebook (not any more... I was the living embodiment of the Greater Internet Dickwad Theory. Of course, a lot of people I respected turned out to like Sarah Palin.) my avatar was the cover of MAD #166.

I didn't do it to raise awareness. I did it because I didn't have a picture of myself handy at work, where I set up the profile, and because really, I only got on FB to help plan a gradeschool reunion.

Somehow, everyone knew it was me.
posted by notsnot at 7:23 AM on December 5, 2010


The only thing it accomplished is that I realized that I hate about 50% of my Facebook friends for being a bunch of groupthink, slacktivist imbecles.

I guess that makes you a special snowflake then.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:30 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


EC: Your Having A Leg To Stand On licence might have just been revoked.

Fine. Forgive me for being upset about people taking the disease that killed my grandmother lightly. I suppose I should just suck that up too?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:32 AM on December 5, 2010


Nearly as many men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year as women are with breast cancer. Nearly as many men die each year from prostate cancer as women die of breast cancer. Yet there is some fundraising or awareness for breast cancer going on everywhere I turn, and I hear not a peep about prostate cancer. Both are equally serious, yet only one gets any attention.

I attribute most of that discrepancy to marketing. The pink ribbon is everywhere. Pink itself has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness. I have seen female attorneys come in to court with a lock of their hair dyed pink. I find it somewhat appalling that prostate cancer is ignored because of silly marketing reasons. Prostate cancer needs its own catchy marketing symbol.

That is why I have begun to put a brown stripe down the back of my pants. I had already been doing it with my underwear for years, so there was very little effort to put the stripe on the back of my pants, too.

Instead of a ribbon, it will be a mark. I call it the Stop Kancer In Daddies Mark, or SKID Mark (SCID would be a confusing acronym to pronounce). I am hoping to patent this idea.
posted by flarbuse at 7:32 AM on December 5, 2010 [43 favorites]


Like the bra-color thing, this seems to have become for a cause once it reached english speaking countries (or the US). It is as if some people need a cause attached to their whimsy.

Lots of people still feel guilty about having fun and being silly. There's that old puritan saw about how "idle hands are the devil's tools" and all that.
posted by PsychoKick at 7:33 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't object to people putting cartoons in their avatars at all. It's cute. What I do object to, in this meme as in others, is the outright guilt-tripping included, often in the original forwarded text itself. "Do this if you care about child abuse/breast cancer/your mother." The implication is usually "if you don't do this, you're an asshole who hates children and kicks puppies." I get really stubborn when people try to browbeat me into things this way, because I find it to be manipulative and somewhat dishonest.

Maybe it's just the way many of these appeals are phrased. Like someone said above, they are the modern chain letter, in some ways. They make me think of email forwards that try to guilt you into not deleting: "If you care about children at all, FORWARD THIS ON! What kind of person are you if you can't take 10 seconds out of your day to forward an email?"

But I don't generally say anything to people who do it. I just ignore it. I might change my avatar or status if I really feel like it would be fun that day, but usually I don't bother. I may care about the cause quite a bit, but changing an avatar or status rarely seems to have much connection with it.

This week a friend of mine on FB complained mildly that the meme doesn't really do anything. I posted a reply to his wall post, saying basically what I said in my first paragraph here.

So later in the day, what do I see? I was tagged in a post by another friend who said "This is for all my childless, and frankly asshat, friends" and went on to chastise us for not changing our avatars, and we were told that we were selfish, etc. My wall comment (on a third party's wall post, someone who doesn't even know this guy) was offensive to him.

Sigh. Seriously, what difference does it make? Does not having a cartoon avatar really mean that I support child abuse or something? Why don't we just assume the best of people -- that if they don't change their avatar, they still care and just show it in different ways?
posted by litlnemo at 7:33 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


* Make that "pro-abolition sampler."
posted by Miko at 7:35 AM on December 5, 2010


The implication is usually "if you don't do this, you're an asshole who hates children and kicks puppies."

Yeah, I've pretty much decided to de-friend the next person who posts one of those, "97% of people won't post this as their FB status--are you brave enough?" ones.
posted by not that girl at 7:35 AM on December 5, 2010


I participated in a SIXTY MILE walkathon to fight breast cancer once,

You realize walking doesn't actually do anything to fight breast cancer, right? It's all the same - raising awareness, asking people to donate, making a case for the importance of something - all of these actions are indirect.

You can give money yourself, or you can be a researcher yourself. Otherwise, you are in the same boat. Which is a perfectly good boat, in my opinion, but I'm just saying, it's a bit contradictory to do walkathons and then get annoyed at people wearing ribbons. Both are secondary methods of trying to get other people aware & invested.

The facebook thing is certainly not causing any harm, and may, here or there, remind someone of a cause they want to donate to. Seems like a net positive, if not the most impressive event ever. But then, it took very little effort to organize, so, hey, why not... I don't really see the down side.
posted by mdn at 7:39 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mostly posted this thread because I was upset that this meme was screwing up Pokemon Profile Picture December.

Am I terrible person or what?
posted by SkylitDrawl at 7:39 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I should probably clarify that I don't think that most people who post these things are trying to be manipulative about it. They are just nice people who think "hey, I'll do something fun or nice for a cause I care about." I think they probably just don't realize how these things come across sometimes.
posted by litlnemo at 7:39 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Someone upthread said these are the modern-day version of chain letters, and they are. It's no surprise that people who don't like chain letters and didn't like chain emails don't like these either. I also don't care for the "do this or you're a bad person for not publicly showing off your virtue" aspect, nor the "tee hee let's not tell the boys" aspect for the ones working that.

I don't think my friends are asshats for posting this stuff, but it's not productive (at least the guy who's a 24x7 telethon for ocean-related causes is posting links to donate) and it raises as much annoyance as awareness as far as I can tell from my wall. Some of my friends--and it's about who I'd expect--have annoying habits, film at 11. If they think I'm a bad person for not playing along, which I never do, they can unfriend me.
posted by immlass at 7:45 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


> I don't understand the majority of moral indignation

Yes, you do.

> Getting all sanctimonious about it is just going to turn people off.

Good. Maybe they'll quit being the kind of morons who respond to fucking chain letters.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 7:46 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't really see the down side.

The downside, to me, is that it cheapens a serious issue, and makes people feel like they "contributed" to the cause (by changing their avatar or status update) without actually, you know, contributing. At least the people doing those walkathons are actually raising real money and putting genuine effort into the process.

So yeah, I think there's actually a downside to this kind of faux-awareness, though compared to things that are actually bad (say, child abuse) this isn't worth an ounce of outrage. I treat it like a lot of other dumb internet things -- I don't get angry or upset, but I do tend to think less of the people who get all excited about it and try to push it on me.
posted by Forktine at 7:53 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yet there is some fundraising or awareness for breast cancer going on everywhere I turn, and I hear not a peep about prostate cancer....I attribute most of that discrepancy to marketing.

Your impression is entirely correct. Even the pink ribbon itself didn't make it long before being co-opted. Even with direct fundraising, one has to be careful. For many medical "cause" events, when the funds raised go to an organization that funds nonpsecific "research," some of that research money ends up being sort of a pass-through to drug manufacturing companies who are seeking treatments for a condition - treatments that will eventually be proprietary. (Lest I run the risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, that is not true of Susan G. Komen, which gives grants only to universities and teaching hospitals and other research centers.)
posted by Miko at 7:55 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


You can give money yourself, or you can be a researcher yourself. Otherwise, you are in the same boat. Which is a perfectly good boat, in my opinion, but I'm just saying, it's a bit contradictory to do walkathons and then get annoyed at people wearing ribbons.

To be fair, there is a bit of a difference. Walking raises money - for most of us, a lot more money than we can manage to donate on our own. You get sponsors for your walks, people who agree to donate a certain amount per mile or a flat amount for the whole thing, and you can get as many as you'd like. People will often give for a walk because you are demonstrating a committment to the cause that's going to cost you time and energy, where they wouldn't give if you just walked up to their desk and said "Hey, I'm donating to MS research, can you give me $5 to throw in?" The walk does more than raise awareness - it's a stunt that leverages higher donations than a single person can donate alone, and gets inactive people to be active by drawing on their activist friend's social capital.
posted by Miko at 7:58 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


When I was about thirteen, after I shaved lines in the side of my hair, I tied a piece of green fabric around my left boot. I had this David Lee Roth meets Beyond Thunderdome thing in my mind. And when, instead of saying "COOL MAN!", people asked what the hell that was all about I stuttered for a moment and then said that a friend of mine was trying to start a Green Party in the US (I guess I had read something about the German Greens? This was the late 80's) and he had asked all his friends to wear a green armband or bootband (?) and I was helping establishing a beachhead and hey, shut the fuck up.
posted by dirtdirt at 7:59 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I don't fault anyone who gets upset about these awareness campaigns because it does inevitable spawns sanctimonious pricks who feel the need to get up all in your face about how "You're not committed enough" or "You're an asshole for not caring." It would piss me off as well. But not everyone is like that, and getting all worked up over those who do is besides the point.

Empress, you say that businesses have less-than-altruistic reasons for supporting these causes. So what? Even if the Kelloggs or the Microsofts or the Walmarts of the world don't really give a shit about the issues and just looking to push product, they are still giving something towards the issue, which is better than nothing. Businesses, like people, will do the right things for the wrong reasons.

I agree wholeheartedly with nemo about the browbeating of issues and how alienating it can be. But once again, it's beside the point.

Flarbuse, your post made my day ^_^.
posted by Schwartz_User at 7:59 AM on December 5, 2010


So where does Captain Simian draw the line on family-preservation vs right-of-the-child? I seem to remember a CAPTA episode of Road Rovers, which one was that?
posted by fuq at 8:00 AM on December 5, 2010


Foe once, I am not joining the hate. I thought it was interesting to see what childhood cartoon characters my friends chose, and it told me something about them. As for this having any effect on child abuse, I just filled out my CFC donation form, so I'm immune to snark.
posted by acrasis at 8:01 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


You realize walking doesn't actually do anything to fight breast cancer, right? It's all the same - raising awareness, asking people to donate, making a case for the importance of something - all of these actions are indirect.

I know. And that's exactly why, when I was asking for donations, I didn't say "let's see how many of you really care about breast cancer!" Or "97% of you are going to see this request and won't care enough to do anything."

And that's also why I wasn't just "raising awareness," I was proposing an actionable activity that people could do to help: "I will be walking X number of miles to support this cause. You can help by pledging a certain amount of money per mile." I wasn't just saying "I'm walking X number of miles to remind people that breast cancer happens." That's also what I don't understand about most "raising awareness" campaigns: Okay, my "awareness" is raised. You've reminded me about something that happens, but you're not suggesting ways I can help. So...what, you just wanted me to feel bad? Thanks a lot. ....And the things that people are "raising awareness" about are all things we're already all "aware" happens:

"Hey, child abuse is a problem in this country!"
"Uh...yeah, I knew that. Any ideas what I should do about it?"
"...No, just be aware it happens!"
"....Uh...okay, got it. Thanks."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:08 AM on December 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


munchingzombie: "Remember when twitter overthrew the regime in Iran"

I have the cartoon icon, because, I wanted an excuse to post a cartoon for an icon. One of my friends bitched to me about it and I said "Don't fuck w/my excuse to have a cartoon icon" The funny thing about it is she was the one doing the whole green twitter icons, and posting all about Nadia and all that shit, and I'm like, Yeah, that did soooooooooo well. But I'm biting my lip, because I agree with her that this shit is just some ego-stroking thing, I just think it's hypocritical of her to get all indignant about it, but she's the first to jump on with some sort of trend.

(yes, yes, GMOFB)

*sigh*
posted by symbioid at 8:09 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I saw my FB friends do that and I didn't know why. I thought it was for fun.
posted by anniecat at 8:11 AM on December 5, 2010


All you haters can fuck off. If even just one person donates to a cause as a result of a huge corny campaign like this, then it can be considered a success. I somehow doubt that the people who actually work at child abuse/domestic violence prevention organizations are nearly as annoyed by this campaign as a bunch of contrarian shitheads on the internet who think they're smugly calling out their shallow facebook friends.

See shit like this? That's called proof that campaigns like this can work - it clearly motivated him to donate, even if just to self-righteously one-up his peers on facebook.
posted by windbox at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


When people go on and on about raising awareness, I believe that the awareness they are talking about is of them and how much more awesome they'd like you to think they are.

It's just masturbation.
posted by gjc at 8:13 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't know if it's at all effective, but I do enjoy some mild, harmless mass subversion of corporate policy.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:17 AM on December 5, 2010


Regardless of whether awareness always directly and immediately leads to action, it's the first and most necessary step in there eventually being an action. In the world of development, they use a pyramid structure to plan fundraising. Awareness works like that. At the base of the pyramid are people who have at the very least heard of your cause and are interested in it to some small degree. At the next level is a smaller number of people who are willing to give or do something to get into closer relationship with your cause. And so on upward and upward until you get 'angel' donors. The aim is always to improve your 'conversion' rate, or the percentage of people you can move up the pyramid at least one level. Awareness campaigns move people from the 'universe of the totally unaware' to the 'universe of prospective donors', and then there needs to be some kind of coordinated ask in order to get them involved financially, or maybe as volunteers. A lot of campaigns that are awareness only fail in not providing a clear channel where you're supposed to go and donate, and not making an overt ask.

But whether or not they do, they don't fail in introducing that there is an issue, or keeping an issue of top-of-mind. A lot of people wore red AIDS ribbons in the late 80s. In the early 2000s, there are viable treatments for AIDS and a myriad of AIDS programs. They're not directly connected in most cases, but without early stages of awareness that established AIDS as an issue which people cared about enough to talk about and demonstrate support for, there would be no starting point from which to progress that awareness.
posted by Miko at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it an awareness campaign if most here weren't aware of it? And if people who have experience of child abuse, or domestic violence, or cancer wish it would go and fuck off?

I don't have Facebook friends who go in for this stuff, so I don't care about being smug. I just don't see why people think being merely angry about bad things happening omn a website is enough to change them.
posted by mippy at 8:20 AM on December 5, 2010


Also: my sister refuses to donate to AIDS campaigns because she thinks it's a self-inflicted illness. Sigh.
posted by mippy at 8:21 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. I changed my icon when a friend posted about it as a fun thing, without the child abuse addendum. I thought it was fun to see which characters friends chose.

When people go on and on about raising awareness, I believe that the awareness they are talking about is of them and how much more awesome they'd like you to think they are.


See also: People posting on Metafilter about how they're above that kind of plebeian shit.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:22 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


People have a way of taking something that's supposed to be fun and benign, snapping its neck, throwing it on the ground, and taking a piss on it. And then broadcasting it to the internet at large to show off how much more wise and detached and altruistic and world-aware and prioritized they are than all the silly sheeple beneath them.

It's really not as big a deal as you think it is. Your disapproval and disdain have been duly noted. You can let it go now.

Not directed at anyone in particular. This is just the umpteenth post I've seen around the internet on this. We get it, the people doing it are horrible and stupid and clearly Don't Care About Child Abuse, Not Like Me, No. The thing ends monday, just wait it out. Then you can smile again.
posted by kryptondog at 8:23 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


So I was wondering about the people who apparently think it's shameful not to participate in these memes, because it seemed like none of my friends were that crazy... and then I see it. One of my friends just posted, "For those of you who haven't changed your avatar, FOR SHAME". It sort of made me want to change my avatar back, but instead I just asked him if he was serious. Perhaps he'll see that even though I changed my avatar, it's absolutely ridiculous to guilt your friends into participating.
posted by sunshinesky at 8:24 AM on December 5, 2010


All you haters can fuck off. If even just one person donates to a cause as a result of a huge corny campaign like this, then it can be considered a success.

Not that I've pored over the entirety of status updates everywhere, but it seems to me that if all the haters had fucked off, no one would have donated a dime. It seems that the meme started out as "Hey, change your avatar to a cartoon!", then changed to "Hey change your avatar to a cartoon for child abuse awareness!" and then to "Hey, change your avatar to a cartoon if you want, but donate to [link] if you want to cause real change".

It seems to me that without haters, the meme would've stuck on "Hey, change your avatar to a cartoon for child abuse awareness!" and no one would've minded that money was or wasn't being donated.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:30 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Even the pink ribbon itself didn't make it long before being co-opted.

Who doesn't wear the ribbon?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:33 AM on December 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


All you haters can fuck off. If even just one person donates to a cause as a result of a huge corny campaign like this, then it can be considered a success.

If one person donates, but thousands are made less likely to donate because they're turned off by the corniness of the campaign, can it still be considered a success?

If one person donates, but thousands of others are made less likely to donate because by participating in a meaningless and effortless "awareness raising" exercise they feel like they've already done their part, can it still be considered a success?

If one person donates, and then uses it as an excuse to sanctimoniously tell everyone else to fuck off, can it still be considered a success? (Or did you skip the first step and go straight to the sanctimony?)
posted by ook at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't understand the contempt. But, then, I don't go ripping the ribbons off people's shirts and scream at them ARE YOU ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING ABOUT AIDS BESIDES WEARING THE RIBBON. Neither do I tear down people's flags, nor the crosses from their walls, nor the posters for political campaigns, nor any of the myriad decorations people choose to demonstrate awareness for or support of something. Why should I care what somebody's avatar is?

And, personally, I can't help but wonder how many of the people who are saying HAVE THEY GIVEN TO A CHARITY TODAY have likewise not given. So they decorate the web with a cartoon character, and you decorate it with contempt. If it really bothers you, unfollow the idiots, but complaining about their avatar is a bit like complaining about the decorations. Sure, maybe it's tacky, but it's theirs decorate, and changing an avatar to support a cause is by far one of the least obscene decorations that the Web has produced. It's so far below sparkly unicorns as to not even register.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:34 AM on December 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


s a bit like complaining about the decorations in their house, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:36 AM on December 5, 2010


It seems to me that without haters, the meme would've stuck on "Hey, change your avatar to a cartoon for child abuse awareness!" and no one would've minded that money was or wasn't being donated.
You're assuming that the only people who donate are people who push that fact in your face.
posted by Flunkie at 8:36 AM on December 5, 2010


could those inclined just express your contempt for other people outright, rather than so painstakingly seeking justification for it? and maybe stop pretending that every opportunity to do it is a digital trail of tears as opposed to a fount of life- and ego-affirming joy?
posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:41 AM on December 5, 2010


The cartoon meme troubles me because it confuses awareness for action. However, I'm not going to post anything snarky to Facebook because it wouldn't be useful.

When it comes to charity-type things, I prefer the ninja approach. I don't talk about how much I give or to whom. I just do it and quietly bask in my heightened sense of self-worth.
posted by workerant at 8:42 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


According to Ross Simmonds and Mashable, these campaigns can actually lead to increased awareness of issues and increases in donations.

It doesn't strike me that this is an issue of whether this sort of thing does any good -- few facts have been raised her, just a series of presumptions that people change their icons and do nothing else, and unsupported claims that this somehow turns people off from giving, or that people do this instead of giving.

But it seems to me that it's an issue of taste. People find it tacky that others change their avatars for some do-gooder fad. Fine. Don't participate. You have a right to your taste. And you have a right to think people who wear Uggs have bad taste. Maybe they do. But let's frame the debate as one of taste, because if we're going to discuss whether these campaigns do any good, I'm going to want it backed up with some real data. Otherwise it isn't a discussion, it's a series of assumptions tossed off at each other, and if I find anything tacky, I find arguing from ignorance to be tacky.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:46 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have a "friend" on facebook (the wife of a former co-worker) who has, quite possibly, ruined the entire CONCEPT of breast cancer awareness for me

yeah, breast cancer awareness used to be such a blast when only the cool people were aware of it.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 8:46 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Walking raises money - for most of us, a lot more money than we can manage to donate on our own. You get sponsors for your walks

I've done walkathons myself (one for AIDS through a school thing, and then one after my mom was diagnosed with MS), but they are kind of irrational. I've never understood why someone should "pay" me to walk, and why it even matters if I walk or don't... I sort of get the day of bonding aspect, but that doesn't matter much to the sponsors. I dunno, that's neither here nor there, just something that always sort of confused me as a kid.
posted by mdn at 8:48 AM on December 5, 2010


Good call PsychoKick, the puritan angle is a good explanation as to why these memes become causes specifically when they arrive in the US. Like the bra-color thing, another example of a meme that became a awareness thing somewhere along the line.

also, October is breast cancer and Movember is for prostate (and other) mens health issues (everyone I know who participate donate specifically to prostate cancer), I guess all those hairy men failed to raise awareness then aye flarbuse? There is plenty of big brand marketing tie-ins to Movember, here's an example, around the world, so it is gaining momentum. Perhaps next year it'll be complete with TV galas and whatnot.
posted by dabitch at 8:48 AM on December 5, 2010


I just wanted an excuse, any excuse, to raise awareness of Ralph Bighead.

I love whoever upthread mentioned not wanting to ever discuss what causes they donate their time and money to, not because they're ashamed but it just seems like hubris. Right on.

As for all those "97% won't be brave enough to post this" and other FB-type junk, hey, that's just eye-rolling BS straight up, no need to even say so it's so obvious. The chain letter and forward crap people mentioned is apt. Stupid crap is just part of the internet and offices and family relations and yeah. Whatev.
posted by ifjuly at 8:52 AM on December 5, 2010


I just filled out my CFC donation form, so I'm immune to snark.

In a wild coincidence, I just filled out my CFC donation form. I'm donating an amount equal to my next two year's raises.
posted by fixedgear at 9:01 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pink Ribbon Blues. The late Sheldon Brown on thons.
posted by fixedgear at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2010


If one person donates, but thousands are made less likely to donate because they're turned off by the corniness of the campaign, can it still be considered a success?

Seriously? People were going to donate to the cause but due to the corniness of the campaign decided to keep their money instead?
posted by Sailormom at 9:06 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I changed my profile pic to a childhood cartoon the other day just because a friend had suggested it and I thought it was a fun idea. This post is the first I've heard of it having anything to do with child abuse or any cause beyond 'oh, I remember [insert childhood cartoon figure], ha ha'.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:10 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously? People were going to donate to the cause but due to the corniness of the campaign decided to keep their money instead?

No, you're right, probably not. I do feel that at a certain saturation point these feel-good campaigns become counterproductive, but I admit of the three things I listed the one you pointed out was pretty weak; I should've left that out.
posted by ook at 9:14 AM on December 5, 2010


Seen on my FB wall, and summing up a lot of my feelings about these campaigns:
Guys, how exactly is this cartoon character thing supposed to work against child abuse? (And please don't say "it shows that we're against it," because everyone's against it except the few people who commit it.)
My sense about the child abuse version of this meme is that donating isn't even the most productive/best thing you could do; the most productive/best thing would be to watch out for kids you know to be sure there are no signs of abuse and to do something for them if they are abused. But you won't get useful advice for how to detect child abuse or protect an abused child or report abuse in the length of a FB status.
posted by immlass at 9:21 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It seems to me that without haters, the meme would've stuck on "Hey, change your avatar to a cartoon for child abuse awareness!" and no one would've minded that money was or wasn't being donated.

You're assuming that the only people who donate are people who push that fact in your face.

No, I wasn't assuming that at all, I was just being hyperbolic. To be more clear, I don't think that without haters NO ONE would've donated money. I think without haters, a lot lot lot lot lot LOT less money would've been donated.
posted by 23skidoo at 9:23 AM on December 5, 2010


I won't do it solely because I have a policy that my FB profile picture is actually one of MY face. Being a lady with a different last name than the one I started off with back in elementary school, I figure if someone is actually looking to make contact with me (for whatever reasons people have for doing this), it would be helpful if they could see my stupid mug and go "Oh yes, looks familiar." This would be impossible were I to post Count Duckula as my profile picture.

(Also: people who post pictures of their children as their profile pictures drive me bats for this reason. "I think I remember you, but that picture is of a small child and clearly is not of YOU and could you toss me a freaking bone here?")

Slacktivism, schmacktivism. I just prefer knowing who these people in my feed actually are. I'm funny that way.
posted by sonika at 9:25 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


It wasn't that long ago that Mefites almost unanimously sneered at the idea of even having a Facebook account.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:38 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is historical precedent for this. In 1889, there was a campaign urging telegraphers to use their opposite hand to raise awareness for dropsy.
posted by dr_dank at 9:44 AM on December 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm watching my grandkids today and it so happens that the macaroni and cheese box I opened was decorated with breast cancer pink ribbons,etc.

Because heaven knows when I see macaroni and cheese the first thing I need to think about is my boobs.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:48 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I did this a few weeks ago when the "child abuse awareness" thing was not part of it. I used this picture.

The new branch that I'm seeing adds this: "If you are aware of child abuse that is occurring, call 1-800-4-A-CHILD to mother F**K the abusers and put a boot up their ass."
posted by Lucinda at 9:48 AM on December 5, 2010


It seems to me that without haters, the meme would've stuck on "Hey, change your avatar to a cartoon for child abuse awareness!" and no one would've minded that money was or wasn't being donated.
You're assuming that the only people who donate are people who push that fact in your face.
No, I wasn't assuming that at all, I was just being hyperbolic. To be more clear, I don't think that without haters NO ONE would've donated money. I think without haters, a lot lot lot lot lot LOT less money would've been donated.
I actually doubt that you're correct. But in any case, do you have any evidence for this claim?
posted by Flunkie at 9:52 AM on December 5, 2010


139 comments already? I'm off to change my facebook profile picture to a picture of a plate of beans.
posted by penguin pie at 9:54 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


139 comments already? I'm off to change my facebook profile picture to a picture of a plate of beans.

I think some of us here would rather you make yourself a real plate of beans.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:58 AM on December 5, 2010


all this awareness spreading... we are likely to become the most informed but least active population in history.

"Yeah, I got me the whole set, yellow ribbon, green twitter avatar, pink ribbon, and cartoon FB photo, I am AWARE! Just try and pry me out from behind my keyboard to get to a Vet Hospital, or on the street, or even do the minimum of trowing a few bucks the way of the local food shelf/safe harbor..."

If it was the 60's what would have happened to the Civil Rights movement?
posted by edgeways at 9:59 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


we are likely to become the most informed but least active population in history.

"Only three days after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that destroyed much of Haiti and killed untold thousands of people, more than $8 million dollars has been raised by the Red Cross via text messages for charity through being popularized on social network sites like Facebook."

I think the Civil Rights movement would have done very well as a result of social media.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:06 AM on December 5, 2010


Being a lady with a different last name than the one I started off with back in elementary school, I figure if someone is actually looking to make contact with me (for whatever reasons people have for doing this), it would be helpful if they could see my stupid mug and go "Oh yes, looks familiar."

You can make it so people can find you under another name: Account Settings > Name > Alternate Name.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:10 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's funny, all these people here saying they changed their profile for some other reason. "But it didn't really mean anything! See? And I'm saying this because, for some reason, I need Metafilter assholes to sign off on my internet existence!"
posted by Brocktoon at 10:15 AM on December 5, 2010


I liked the celebrity doppelganger one. It made me track down every Indian guy in American popular culture. Go dude from 'Heroes'!
posted by jcruelty at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2010


I changed my profile picture to Pete's Dragon.

Y'all can go fuck yourselves.

You're all like the guy on Facebook who bitches about how people put their kids pictures' as their avatar.

Or the woman on Twitter who writes "I can't believe I saw someone wearing a fucking ____!"

Lighten up. The Internet is not serious business.

Donate money to some foundation if you even give a shit.

Nah. I don't really give a shit. That's the whole point.

I'm kinda glad how much it pisses people off. I'm gonna start some more of these viral campaigns.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:22 AM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Instead of changing my avatar to a cartoon character, I posted a link to "Awareness" on Stuff White People Like.
posted by peep at 10:24 AM on December 5, 2010


Am I white?

Was the person who I became aware of this particular awareness campaign from white?
posted by Flunkie at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2010


I posted a link to the "We Care a Lot" video by Faith No More.
posted by symbioid at 10:45 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]




I don't really care about the cartoon character meme. I think it's lamesauce and stupid, but whatever.

But I got an email from this chick I barely know about that tequila status shit a few nights ago, and, damn, did that raise my ire. The bra color thing was bad enough--because it was coy sexuality that actually excluded many breast cancer victims. This is coy sexuality that has nothing to do with breast cancer and has all these creepy implications. "I'm a touch and go woman"?! WTF?!!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:01 AM on December 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Last week I drew something pretty great, so I changed my profile pic to that. And then next week this happens, and I'm tempted to change my profile picture back to an actual photo, or I can have my friends think something I drew is an actual cartoon and not something I threw together in an afternoon.
posted by hellojed at 11:07 AM on December 5, 2010




There seems to be a lot of straw-manning going on on both sides here - people ranting about people who put up pictures and do nothing else, and people ranting about people rating about people who put up pictures and do nothing else. Whether someone is a picture-putter-upper or not, one might be giving - there's no need to make assumptions about either group.
posted by naoko at 11:08 AM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


What annoys me about all this isn't a bunch of people "raising awareness" for some cause by doing something utterly meaningless. It's that this is on ABC News and CNN. THIS. Not any of the dozens of other dire issues our nation should be thinking about.

And now on a lighter note... clowns!
posted by JHarris at 11:09 AM on December 5, 2010


It's sort of feel-good do-nothingness that doesn't compel me to change my profile picture because I know not one abused child out there is going to get anything out of it -- but the press certainly can fill up air time without actually putting any effort in their work, but somehow still get a paycheck for it, anyway -- nonetheless, someone ought to put a profile picture of jumping off a bridge just to see how many other people will do the same...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 11:18 AM on December 5, 2010


Slacktivism: It's The Least You Can Do!
posted by Lazlo at 11:21 AM on December 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's a bunch of pointless awareness-making - like someone upthread said, okay, you're aware, now what? Maybe it'll be useful in that the people with the GRAR reactions who post links to UNICEF get them a little extra business. Maybe people will talk about this and then think about it and then actually pay attention to the world around them, although I doubt Facebook pictures will do that. Mostly I don't know who the hell I am talking to on Facebook anymore, but that'll pass and in a week or two things will be back to normal.

To sum up my overwhelming meh, I put up a post that says, "Do what you're gonna, and while we're at it have a picture of a frothing bloody evil killer bunny," because it's not often I get to work Watership Down screen-captures into everyday conversation.

And that really was one of my favorite books as a kid.
posted by cmyk at 11:28 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"overwhelming meh" would make a great band name...
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:49 AM on December 5, 2010



I think the Civil Rights movement would have done very well as a result of social media.


I'm sure there would have been a lot of integrated facebook pages and supportive tweets, but I don't think many of those people would have shown up at the sit-in. The heavy lifting of the civil rights movement -- the sit-ins, the protests, the organizing, etc -- used much deeper social networks. I normally find him insufferable, but I thought Malcolm Gladwell's recent article on this subject was quite good.

And don't forget that social media can be used for any purpose -- I suspect that Wallace's "segregation forever" speech would have met with a lot of approval via modern forms of social media. (Going back further, much of the pictorial evidence that remains of early lynching episodes, for example, comes from the social media of the time, including the postcards that photographers would print and sell afterward.)
posted by Forktine at 12:15 PM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't understand the contempt. But, then, I don't go ripping the ribbons off people's shirts and scream at them ARE YOU ACTUALLY DOING ANYTHING ABOUT AIDS BESIDES WEARING THE RIBBON. Neither do I tear down people's flags, nor the crosses from their walls, nor the posters for political campaigns, nor any of the myriad decorations people choose to demonstrate awareness for or support of something.

Neither do I.

But I do snort when I see other people flaunting their ribbons. And I do grit my teeth when other people say "let's see how many people really care about halitosis by counting how many of you post Sid the Stink Cloud as your avatar!" because there are lots of other ways to "prove you care" about things, is all.

You'll not I don't say "wearing," I say "flaunting." There's a difference.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:36 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm sure there would have been a lot of integrated facebook pages and supportive tweets, but I don't think many of those people would have shown up at the sit-in.

Well, hooray for unprovable suppositions.

Let me offer a counterpoint, based in the real world. There were several rapes in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis last week, and so there was a rally in the park, pretty much exclusively organ ized by social media. Several hundred people showed up.

The first Greensboro Sit-In had four people.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:37 PM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


You'll not I don't say "wearing," I say "flaunting."

That's actually not a term I have ever heard used except as a moral dismissal, such as gay people flaunting their sexuality or rich people flaunting their money.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:39 PM on December 5, 2010


And upon review: someone summed up why it's a pet peeve very elegantly:

The cartoon meme troubles me because it confuses awareness for action.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:41 PM on December 5, 2010


That's actually not a term I have ever heard used except as a moral dismissal, such as gay people flaunting their sexuality or rich people flaunting their money.

How else would you describe "let's see how many people really care about this by seeing if you change your facebook picture"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:42 PM on December 5, 2010


It's ironic how these kind of symbolic awareness efforts meant to promote the common welfare often end up pitting the common man against each other. Nearly everyone actually supports the championed cause (the reduction of child abuse, breast cancer awareness, etc), but the methods seem to breed a lot more acrimony and general ill-will than one would expect. I'm guessing that it's due to the focus on having a quickly-identified symbol; while convenient and highly visible, using a symbol also encourages instinctual categorization and judgment based on who is and isn't marked by them. Very tribalistic. Given how often these sort of "awareness fads" run these days, I'm surprised that modern society hasn't self-destructed into a smoking crater by now.

Though we are very alienated from each other, hmm. My conspiratorial side wagers that if you want to discreetly maintain a certain level of popular unease and mutual distrust, promoting an incessant flood of these symbol-based fads is a pretty good way to go about it. Give people a symbol, and they'll quickly find some reason to be jerks about it.

/ Illuminati!
posted by PsychoKick at 12:46 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't change my profile pic to raise awareness for anything. It's just that it had never occurred to me to make Hobbes my profile pic, but now that I have, I'm never changing it again. Interestingly enough, for the entirety of my existence on FB, my profile pic was one of Mickey Mouse with dollar signs for eyeballs.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:48 PM on December 5, 2010


Awareness campaigns which at their core are about reflecting back who else is aware of and supports the cause are most effective for causes where there isn't already widespread awareness and unanimous support. So there is a difference when this approach is applied to issues such as LGBT, sexism, and even bullying in schools.

In those cases, supporters visibly seeing the support community around them is just as important as neutral people even or non-supporters seeing how many people around them may not be so willing to tolerate their bigotry or behaviour.

That said, I find it hard to understand the vitriol towards this campaign. At minimum a temporary boost in awareness will increase donations and cause some people to apply social pressure against child abuse when confronted with situations they might otherwise have passed on.
posted by stp123 at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


How else would you describe "let's see how many people really care about this by seeing if you change your facebook picture"?

I wouldn't presume to tell people their motivations and then offer a moral approbation. But I guess I figure somebody else's avatar is none of my business.

Charitably, I would describe it as the people who change their avatars do -- as an attempt to raise awareness for a social problem. I don't know if the avatar changers are doing anything else or nothing else, and it has never been my policy to demand an accounting of somebody's charitable activities.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:58 PM on December 5, 2010


I just like to flaunt. Objectless flaunting is tricky at first, but mastery brings ineffable rewards.
posted by everichon at 1:07 PM on December 5, 2010


Mrs. Everichon here.

My facebook photo is Michael Jackson, from the Jackson Five cartoon. I loved that cartoon, and still do. Will this promote child abuse awareness?? If any cartoon character would, it's this one.
posted by everichon at 1:11 PM on December 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm seeing discussions about this topic scroll through my News Feed. There's always someone saying, well, something's better than nothing. These are probably the same people who say "Better safe than sorry" when there's no virtually no risk at all. Grrrrr.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:19 PM on December 5, 2010


Well, hooray for unprovable suppositions.

Uh, you are the person who made the unprovable supposition about the civil rights movement and modern social networks:

I think the Civil Rights movement would have done very well as a result of social media.

I disagreed, based on both how the civil rights movement actually did its organizing, and how modern social networks have not, by and large, turned into effective mechanisms for leveraging structural social or political change. I'm cool with us disagreeing on this; I just don't see much of a link (now or in the 1950s/1960s) between people changing their avatar images and far-reaching social change on the order of civil rights or ending child abuse.
posted by Forktine at 1:50 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uh, you are the person who made the unprovable supposition about the civil rights movement and modern social networks:

Well, I would point out examples of contemporary social rights movements organizing via social media. And compared it with an early example of Civil Rights activism. You're right, of course, that I can't prove my supposition. I can support it, however, and have.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:02 PM on December 5, 2010


The Facebook group for this effort is now drowning in wall posts from people claiming that they heard "on the news" that the whole thing is actually an effort BY pedophiles hoping that kids will see the cartoon and add them back as a friend. Despite repeated attempts to quash these rumors, they keep reappearing, with increasing insistence that "the news" said so.

Shut down the internet, there's nothing more to be done here.
posted by naoko at 2:04 PM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh noes! And Barbie has a video camera that is just the ticket for pedophiles.
posted by fixedgear at 2:59 PM on December 5, 2010


Just a note that rarely gets made in the Civil Rights/social media discussion, Gladwell's or elsewhere. The Civil Rights movement did not magically happen. A lot of organizing and scut work was involved - phone calling, phone trees, door knocking, mimeographing, folding, addressing, stamping, mailing, signing up, schedule-keeping, etc. This work is largely invisible to us today, and largely it was done by women volunteering behind the scenes. The movement would have been impossible without this. And, judging by my own volunteer activities today, social media is of IMMENSE help in getting this sort of real, organized activism together. Whether it's a catalyst for anyone is something to talk about, but in the case of a movement which does have commitment already, social media is an enormous boon that frees up tremendous amounts of volunteer time and flexibility. Just because we don't see the back-room, unpaid, and too-often ignored labor of the mostly female volunteers of the civil rights movement doesn't mean it wasn't key to the movement's success, and arguments that compare today's activism with the Civil Rights movement generally leave that aspect of it completely out.
posted by Miko at 3:16 PM on December 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


Oh, also, I'd add that I became an extremely committed Obama volunteer, putting in about 15-20 hours a week for 6 months or so, and that was a direct result of discussions about the election here and elsewhere on the osocial web. And all the donations I made were via the social platforms the campaign used. So I'd have to say, even based on direct, personal, recent experience it's a canard that social media doesn't provide a gateway into activism. As with all activism, the only relevant questions are: what strategies work well to reach and mobilize interested people? which don't?
posted by Miko at 3:21 PM on December 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just changed my Facebook profile picture to the logo of the Ontario Children's Aid Society, made a donation, and changed my FB status to "I'm making a donation to an organization that actually TAKES CONCRETE STEPS TO HELP CHILDREN." Doubt it will make anyone actually follow suit, but you never know.
posted by Shepherd at 3:23 PM on December 5, 2010


I changed my avatar image to x-dressing Bugs Bunny.
posted by Bubbles Devere at 4:14 PM on December 5, 2010


Forget Pedobear. Someone on reddit had their Facebook profile set to the bunny from the Clarissa comic Stuffed Friend -- the "sorry we couldn't play pirates" panel. It's a shame no-one who's unironically doing the meme will get the reference.
posted by mendel at 4:27 PM on December 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Response from the NSPCC:

A warm welcome to all our cartoon friends! We are incredibly grateful for your support to end cruelty to children in the UK. Although the NSPCC did not originate the childhood cartoon Facebook campaign, we welcome the attention it has brought to the work we do. If
you would like to find out more about how you can get involved,
please visit our website.


http://www.facebook.com/nspcc
posted by walrus at 4:47 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the lastest update from a friend of mine

NEWS. Apparently the group asking everyone to change their profile
picture to their favorite cartoon is actually a group of pedophiles.
They're doing it because kids will accept their friend request if they
see a cartoon. Nothing to do with supporting child violence. It was on
...that TV show that warns you about internet frauds. Its on Tonights News.
Pass this on to everyone who has a cartoon profile..


So, this whole thing is taking another stupid new turn.
posted by saffry at 4:51 PM on December 5, 2010


I got so sick of this shit I defriended everyone ( I only had 12 or so, I keep shit VIP) and quit facebook, I signed up for the diaspora beta so I can be on a network where people don't bug me about shit like this. People always ruin everything, look what they did to Wave and Twitter.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:36 PM on December 5, 2010


My first thought upon reading this was "geeze, my profile has always been a cartoon character". But I never really post to Facebook anyway.
posted by egypturnash at 6:50 PM on December 5, 2010


NEWS. Apparently the group asking everyone to change their profile
picture to their favorite cartoon is actually a group of pedophiles.


Without any evidence, I'm going to go ahead and say this is probably bullshit. Oh, hey, look! One second worth of Googling and it turns out it is.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:33 PM on December 5, 2010


But is this meme really accomplishing anything?

Uhh.. yeah, it's helping! I just need one more FB friend to change their picture to a Care Bear (Funshine Bear, please) and then they'll get together and Care Bear Stare the hell out of child beaters or molesters.. wait, what was this meme about again?
posted by Mael Oui at 8:21 PM on December 5, 2010


I confess, this whole campaign just sort of annoys me. I know child abuse is a horrible thing, I don't need to put up a picture of the Smurfs to let the world know that I know.

It is less annoying than all those "97% of people won't repost this, will you?" status updates, though. I'm one of that 97%. If that makes me a horrible person, so be it. : )
posted by SisterHavana at 9:55 PM on December 5, 2010


The first person I saw claim that "the news" had connected this to pedophiles has repeatedly told me that he doesn't trust the 'liberal media.' The exception, apparently is if he hears third-hand that they are reporting about implausible pedophile schemes, then he believes them implicitly, it seems.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:26 AM on December 6, 2010




My cousin's most recent status update summed up (for me) all that is stupid about this sort of shit:

"Instead of putting a cartoon as my default picture to help end child abuse, I am choosing to just not beat my child....."


Facebook sucks. Why do I even use that shit site. Oh yeah because I can't talk to half my damn relatives unless I use it because none of them will respond via email. Yay.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:15 AM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pretty much.

I changed my profile picture because I had missed the child abuse meme entirely and I was really enjoying seeing who others picked. When I found out, I wished I hadn't. Then, I realized that Facebook is really not serious business and stopped worrying about it either way.

I chose Stimpy.
posted by rollbiz at 8:43 AM on December 6, 2010


If facebook were still the college-classmates thing it started as, it'd be pretty easy to just shrug the whole thing off as high school harmlessness... but now that all of our families are all linked in there, it ramps the whole thing up to mega-cringe. Am I supposed to just smile and ignore the person changing their profile pic for the meme whom actually has abused their kids? Am I allowed to change my profile to "I and my baseball bat have done our part to fight against child abuse" while knowing the person that forced me to do that will actually read it?

It's like Christmas every year, but now I get to deal with the awkward even more! Yay? And do I really want to be reminded of this every time I watch old cartoons now? Ugh.
posted by Pufferish at 8:51 AM on December 6, 2010


Attention everyone! Using a cartoon character as your profile pic was a ploy instituted by a group of pedophiles in order to trap children into friending them!

In a rather intense meeting during the Annual Pedophile Symposium (held in Chigago this year--great hotel packages) pedophile delgates from all 50 states and some international territories convened on how to best do this.

After much deliberation they decided against using pictures of candy and toys (too unhealthy and materialistic) and decided on cartoons. Next year they plan on using pictures of puppies and kittens as bait.

They also recognized delegate Williams during his retirement as Pedophile Chairman and had birthday cake and punch for Delegate Andrews.
posted by sourwookie at 10:20 AM on December 6, 2010 [5 favorites]


Another battle in the war of practicality vs. good intentions.
posted by tehloki at 2:00 PM on December 6, 2010


Protip: practicality is winning
posted by tehloki at 2:00 PM on December 6, 2010


Personally, I decided to buck the trend and went with "crop out the NSFW portions from a panel of a hentai manga, and make that your profile pic". Something like this. It looks nice, wedged between a friend who is now the Pink Panther and another who is Winnie the Pooh.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:17 PM on December 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


How do you all feel about flying the flag?
December 7th is National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Honor those who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor by flying the flag at half-staff this Tuesday!
14,899 Half-Staff American Flags posted!
Like to fly the Half-Staff American Flag on your profile?

Yes
No

posted by caddis at 5:49 PM on December 6, 2010


Anyone who would like to buy a product that specifically raises money for the fight against prostate cancer should take a look at Anthony for Men (they also raise money for leukemia lymphoma).

I've known about it for years, and their products are good, too (not a shill, I don't work for them but like their shaving stuffs).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:48 PM on December 6, 2010


I suppose it would be rude to post a picture of a burning American flag.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2010


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