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Articles on this Page
- 11/27/12--06:33: _These parents actua...
- 11/27/12--07:00: _Uncovering the Mad ...
- 11/27/12--07:01: _Facebook, "hotbed o...
- 11/27/12--08:05: _Facebook apologizes...
- 11/27/12--09:57: _@TahrirBodyguard wa...
- 11/27/12--12:28: _#1ReasonWhy: Twitte...
- 11/27/12--12:55: _Help warm homeless ...
- 11/27/12--13:18: _Half-naked daughter...
- 11/27/12--14:21: _Man proposes to his...
- 11/28/12--04:00: _Willy Wonka respond...
- 11/28/12--06:00: _Scout's honor: Usin...
- 11/28/12--07:00: _Are you smarter tha...
- 11/28/12--07:04: _French Jewish stude...
- 11/28/12--08:36: _7 sentenced to deat...
- 11/28/12--09:17: _$500 million Powerb...
- 11/29/12--05:00: _A close shave with ...
- 11/29/12--05:55: _"Bohemian Rhapsody"...
- 11/29/12--07:19: _Redditors save stol...
- 11/29/12--07:40: _Indian police detai...
- 11/29/12--10:16: _"Ladygate" is about...
- 11/27/12--06:33: These parents actually named their daughter "Hashtag"
- 11/27/12--07:00: Uncovering the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run
- 11/27/12--07:01: Facebook, "hotbed of slander," banned in Tajikistan
- 11/27/12--08:05: Facebook apologizes for mistaking elbows for breasts
- 11/27/12--09:57: @TahrirBodyguard wants to protect Egypt’s protestors
- 11/27/12--12:28: #1ReasonWhy: Twitter speaks out against gaming sexism
- 11/27/12--12:55: Help warm homeless by "pranking" your rival college
- 11/27/12--13:18: Half-naked daughter helps Dad sell 1977 Datsun on eBay
- 11/27/12--14:21: Man proposes to his girlfriend with stunning light display
- 11/28/12--04:00: Willy Wonka responds to the Condescending Wonka meme
- 11/28/12--06:00: Scout's honor: Using badges to decry discrimination
- 11/28/12--07:00: Are you smarter than a criminal? The Daily Dot quiz
- Another report of an abducted/missing prostitute in the same area who was seen getting into, guess what, a dark truck;
- Another report of the same man being stopped (and released) by police, while holding one of the murder victims in his truck;
- Another report from two years prior of the same man being questioned (and released) by police for choking a prostitute within the target area;
- The fifth and final apprehension (and release) of the same man for propositioning an undercover cop disguised as a prostitute.
- 11/28/12--08:36: 7 sentenced to death over anti-Islam YouTube video
- 11/28/12--09:17: $500 million Powerball madness grips the Internet
- Don't tell a single person except for step 2. No spouses, children, parents, or friends.
- Set up a blind trust and claim the winnings through a trust attorney.
- Take an annuity rather than a lump sum (if possible).
- Set up a second cell phone plan and number and don't give the number to anyone. In case your ID does get out, your original phone will ring off the hook. Screen your calls and only call back people you care about from the second line.
- Hold on to the money for as long as possible without telling anyone, just take some alone time on this and get used to having a sudden, massive amount of wealth.
- Quietly pay off your debts.
- Don't spend any on anything big and obvious for 6 months or a year.
- Spread the money around across different banks and accounts that pay a decent interest rate.
- Live off your interest.
- 11/29/12--05:00: A close shave with Reddit's grooming enthusiasts
- 11/29/12--05:55: "Bohemian Rhapsody" cop-car singer goes to court—in a Viking hat
- 11/29/12--07:19: Redditors save stolen iPhone, help arrest airport thief
- 11/29/12--07:40: Indian police detain another young Facebook user
- 11/29/12--10:16: "Ladygate" is about more than Korean women's bad behavior
But if you're going to give your daughter a weird name, at least roll with something that doesn't imply you spent the entire pregnancy cycle staring at your iPhone.
Hashtag Jameson popped into this world on Saturday evening at around 10 o'clock, a precious little bird weighing eight pounds and possessing at least seven fingers—the full extent of what the only identifying picture shows.
This is not the first time that parents have taken to the social media dictionary to outfit their child’s birth certificate. Last February, a man in Egypt named his son Facebook in an effort to honor the role the website played in igniting the country’s January 25 revolution.
Right now, Hashtag looks good in blue, but the jury's still out deliberating on how that'll go when the hair finally starts growing in. Her mother, whose first name is not currently known (it's probably not Hashtag!) "luv[s] her so much" that she thought it appropriate to add six exclamation points.
Hashtag will likely grow up to be a happy, healthy, beautiful adult woman, but we can't help but think she's going to face a great deal of scrutiny and teasing on the grade-school playgrounds.
While many people know Crime Library as the Internet’s 15-year-old repository of crime, its founder Marilyn Bardsley has a very different understanding of the stories it houses. Many of them she investigated personally, including the very first story ever published on the website—the 1938 Cleveland Torso Murders, committed by a horrific serial killer who would later be dubbed “the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.”
Bardsley, who describes herself as having been an “armchair historian” when she began the website in 1998, sent the Daily Dot an extraordinary set of emails detailing the “unvarnished truth” of her own real-life murder investigations.
Bardsley’s amateur sleuthing led her to stumble upon a wasp’s nest: a half-century of political scandal and coverup over the murders involving the legendary Eliot Ness. Bardsley was able to discover the criminal and bring the case to Crime Library, and the Internet, two decades later—though not without several very sinister encounters, including veiled threats, surveillance, and mysterious break-ins along the way.
We present her tale in its entirety.
It's important to understand that I was an telecom/Internet executive for much of my career, and I really didn't know anything about crime, with the exception of the very unusual experience in the early 1970s of personally investigating the "unsolved" Kingsbury Run Murders and exposing—at some real personal peril from the nephew of the killer who was running for a major office in northern Ohio—the actual serial killer who Eliot Ness put in a veterans hospital in August of 1938. His solution to the case never went to court, but did stop the murders and was a very closely held secret among a very small group of elderly secret-holders who were dying off.
In 1970, my ex-husband and I wrote an entire screenplay on a rainy Labor Day weekend called The Future Tense. It was about the violent overthrow of a country like the U.S. by a revolutionary group modeled after groups like The Weather Underground or the SDS. Barry Diller then was head of ABC's Movie of the Week and one of his producers really liked our work, but it was too violent for TV. He asked us to submit one-page pitches for future ideas. All I could think of was the Kingsbury Run case, which was far too violent for TV and, consequently, my husband wasn't interested. I had already found out from Dr. Royal Grossman, the court psychiatrist in the 1930s in Cleveland, that Eliot Ness had actually solved the case, but he wouldn't give me the name of the killer.
To say that I was becoming obsessed with this case is an understatement. I was at that time the editor of several business reference publications, which was not exactly exciting. At that time, my ex-husband was the administrator of an after-school program at Cuyahoga Community College. Unbeknown to my ex-husband, I put a personals classified ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that read "Wanted, Evidence to convict Kingsbury Run Killer" and put my ex-husband's office telephone number. He played it cool that whole day the ad had run in the morning paper. That evening he told that the only call was a reporter and that we were going to be interviewed the next morning. We had a very large article with photos and we stated that we knew from good authority that Ness had quietly solved the case. The article brought two phone calls from friends of Ness who told me that I was right about Ness solving the case (which I later further confirmed by a telephone call to Ness' third wife and widow) but [the source] had been sworn to secrecy about the name of the killer, and a former burglar who said he knew who the killer was and agreed to meet with us later in the week.
A few nights later, my girlfriend and I went out for drinks at a nice Shaker Heights restaurant with a bar. An older man came in shortly afterwards and sat opposite us across the bar. He stared at us constantly and creeped us out. We decided to go across town to Mayfield Heights to a place [with] a live band.
When we got to the bar, it was empty since the band wasn't go to begin for over an hour. We sat at the bar alone and talked. The telephone at the bar rang and the bartender answered and turned around to look at us. When he hung up, he brought each of us two free drinks. Well, I can't drink like that, so I gave my two freebies to my girlfriend who was an experienced drinker. Some 15 or so minutes later, a man in a suit came in the bar and sat right next to me. At that point, I wished that we'd sat at a table instead. The first thing out of his mouth is, "You look familiar. Weren't you in the paper a few days ago?"
I told him I was, and when he asked me why I was writing about this old case from the 1930s, I told him we were trying to sell what we learned either as a book or movie. Then he asked if the Republicans had put us up to this. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he quietly threatened me with words to this effect: “You don't fool around with Bob Sweeney and get away with it. My advice to you is to drop it before you're sorry.”
I didn't know Bob Sweeney from Adam, but at least now I had a name to go back to Dr. Grossman and Ness's two friends. All three confirmed that the killer was Dr. Francis Edward Sweeney, whose nephew Bob Sweeney was running for Cuyahoga County Commissioner. Bob Sweeney was the lawyer son of powerful Congressman Martin L. Sweeney who was an antagonist of Eliot Ness and the Republican administration of Mayor Harold Burton in the 1930s.
There were many threats directed towards me—phone calls, putting a former lawyer in my office as a supposedly free translator of German newspapers, and even breaking into our typist's home and stealing the first few chapters of our manuscript. Finally, we called the Cleveland Heights Police and they recommended that my ex-husband go on TV (he was a cameraman for the 11 o'clock news at that time) and give out the name Sweeney as the "Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run," which was what the Sweeney campaign was trying to suppress. It worked. While they tried to dispute a relationship to the good doctor, too many people knew it was a lie. Sweeney dropped out of the campaign, although I don't know if our revelation had anything to do with it, and we were never threatened again.
I had collected so much information on Sweeney, most of which is in my Crime Library story. The rest I gave copies to my high school and college friend, James Jessen Badal, who wrote at least one book on the story. Jim has a fascination with grim photos, so if you want chapter and verse, you can find it on Amazon.
Illustration by Fernando Alfonso
The government of Tajikistan has blocked access to Facebook across the country.
As of Monday, the country’s six Internet service providers and six mobile-phone carriers have banned the service following an official order from Tajikistan’s Office of Telecommunications.
“I received many calls from citizens of Tajikistan, asking me to shut down this Facebook as a hotbed of slander. Unknown people there insult the leaders of the state. They are apparently being paid well for that,” said Beg Zukhurov, head of the state-run communications service, according to RIA Novosti, a Russian news agency.
The reason for the country-wide ban is to quell opposition to President Imomali Rakhmon, who has been implicated in corruption by secret cables released by Wikileaks in 2010. Rakhmon has been in power since 1992.
"The best representatives of the public—among them academics, doctors, and important cultural figures—are tired of the stream of mud and slander that flows from the website called Facebook," Zukhurov told Reuters Tuesday. "With this public support, a decision was taken to block this site, where some people are receiving $5,000 to $10,000 for every critical comment that they post."
Tajikistan has a population of 7.7 million, most of which are Sunni Muslim. Only about 55 percent of its population and 5.87 percent of all local Internet users use Facebook, The Next Web reported. That translates to about 41,000 users.
Over the last three years, about 150 people have been arrested on “charges of extremism and attempting to subvert the constitution,” Reuters reported.
Photo by Salvatore.Freni/Flickr
Facebook has come to its senses, apologizing for its banning of an indecent image that was hardly indecent at all.
The image, as we reported yesterday, is of a girl sitting sideways in a tub. Her left elbow drapes over the side, and that elbow's what got it into trouble.
As the folks at Web magazine Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things (TOTDUOT) learned, that elbow—with its pinkish pigmentation—looks a little too much like a breast for Facebook's moderators' liking.
They took the photo off TOTDUOT's Facebook page almost immediately, writing to the proprietors that it "violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities."
TOTDUOT made a big fuss of the yanking, posting all sorts of press clippings and supportive notes on its Facebook page for its 60,000 fans to see.
That support may have actually played a hand in Facebook's reinstatement of the photo. Last night, TOTDUOT posted a note to its fan page detailing the turnaround.
"We have never received any letters such as this one here," TOTDUOT wrote. "It's nice to know that tons of media exposure can actually make FB a little more sensible, or maybe a little more worried.
"One mission is accomplished then, though the more important issue, which is this pathetic fear of the human body and human sexuality, is far from being resolved. So no real tits and asses for you. Not even in a renaissance or in an abstract painting.
"Try to enjoy those Hair-removal and breast implants ads, though."
Will do, TOTDUOT. And good on you, Facebook. Glad you two made up.
Here's the original. See?
Photo via Theories of the Deep Understanding of Things/Facebook
As thousands of Egyptians protest President Mohamed Morsi, an initiative to help protect women is gaining steam.
The @TahrirBodyguard Twitter account, started Tuesday morning, aims to recruit volunteers to help those who need protection in Tahrir Square, the focal point for protests in Cairo.
On Thursday, Morsi gave himself increased power and banned courts from challenging his decisions. The move led to many dubbing him the country’s new pharaoh.
Since then, thousands of Egyptians have protested in the streets, with some setting fire to the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood—Morsi's affiliation—in cities throughout the country. Egypt’s highest judges' body is among those against Morsi’s apparent power grab.
On Tuesday, a mass protest against Morsi’s decree began in Cairo. Around 20,000 people flocked to Tahrir.
Sexual assault and harassment is a major concern for many women wishing to protest. In one incident on Sunday, a mob of men ripped the clothes from three women.
The @TahrirBodyguard account, which had 863 followers as of noon EST Tuesday, hopes that bringing in volunteers to help look after those women will help them make their voices heard more safely and securely.
Declaring that they can’t “stand back and watch another woman being sexually assaulted in Tahrir,” a group of women running the account sought support from high-profile Egyptians such as Wael Ghonim, an activist who played a key role in the Arab Spring revolution.
The women, who did not return a request for comment, specifically started the account after “a woman was too scared to go to Tahrir and fight for what she believes in.” They urged women headed to Tahrir to stay in large groups and avoid wearing tight or flashy clothing.
The group is currently organizing itself and hopes to be fully operational by Friday. It plans to set up a tent and equipment to help protesters identify volunteers. It's also recruiting and screening volunteers, and in the meantime, it hopes to bring assistance and aid to those who are being assaulted. They claim to be in it for the long haul, aiming to establish a system to help those who need assistance in future protests as well as this one.
The ultimate goal is to bring an end to sexual assaults and harassment so that women can protest in peace. With volunteers helping to protect them, women may feel at least a little safer.
Photo by @ghoshworld/Instagram
First, the creators of Halo 4 announced a zero-tolerance policy for sexism and other offensive language and behavior on their servers. Then, a loving dad gender-swapped Zelda and Link so his 4-year-old daughter could be the hero, and he shared the code with the Internet.
And yesterday, when a clueless Luke Crane took to Twitter to ask, “why are there so few lady game creators?” Twitter responded, first with, “seriously?” and then with a list of reasons that turned into a literal overnight phenomenon—and led to the creation of a mentorship project.
Photo via Torley/Flickr
A man in Massachusetts wants to help out the hobos by sending them your rival college's jackets in an effort to keep warm. And he swears it's not as bad as it sounds.
Jin Pan, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student researching within the school's Synthetic Biology Group, is the man behind HoboJacket, "a competitive platform where you can donate your rival college's jackets and shirts to the unfortunate because it's terribly unfortunate that people actually went to that other college."
The whole operation is brilliantly simple. You log on to the site, pick the school you went to (or proceed anonymously), scroll around until you find your rival's school, and then fill in a dollar amount that you'd like to donate.
Pan then takes that donation and repurposes it towards each school's respective online shop, where he picks up jackets at an assumed cost of $10 a piece.
The site, which has already facilitated the donation of more than 660 jackets to the homeless and needy, has hailed itself as "the politically incorrect but right thing to do" and drawn the ire of more than a few critics—enough so that Pan was driven to draft his own HoboJacket manifesto.
"This idea originated as a prank," Pan wrote Monday.
"I would joke with friends that if I ever got rich, I would donate tons of Caltech jackets to the unfortunate because it'll show the true value of a Caltech degree … On a particular telling of this joke, I began thinking, what if I didn't have to put my own money into these charitable donations? what if we could just crowd source the whole thing?"
Next thing he knew, he was showing up late to a midterm test because he'd lost track of time drawing database schemes for what would eventually become HoboJacket.
"I'm very new to web development, so a ton of my initial schema designs were horrible, horrible, horrible," he wrote.
Pan took the site live and started posting it "onto online communities where I didn't know 99.9 percent of the folks on there." In doing so, he found that the responses were much more serious than he'd imagine they'd be. Most notably, he saw that people had accused him of objectifying the homeless for his own entertainment.
"Which I am guilty as charged," he admitted. "Possibly because my Asian parents would incessently (sic) threaten me in my childhood that I would become a hobo, especially each time I got a B+ in elementary school. Possibly because I'm a horrible person and, to quote /r/circlejerk, ‘literally hitler’. Possibly because we don't have free choice and our consciousnesses are just artifacts arising from a world of strings dancing to the beat of physics."
Possibly, but there's another way to look at it: The man's doing work to warm the homeless.
Pan said that he's not sure how long the site will remain online and in action.
"Perhaps I'll keep it up for shits and giggles but take away the PayPal link," he wrote. "Perhaps we'll say in the fine print that the specified donations matter only for the leaderboard and end up donating generic jackets. Essentially, I have no idea what the long term plan is because I didn't envision people actually contributing on this scale."
Politically incorrect as it may be, let's at least hope that Pan decides to keep HoboJacket open through the cold months of winter.
Photo via Nick Kleckner/Twitter
There's a father in Oregon who believed the best way to sell his old Datsun is to post pictures of the hot yellow two-door perched next to his half-naked daughter.
Kim Ridley is the Eugene, Ore., man who raised $7,500 through an eBay sale of his 1977 Nissan Datsun, a slick Z-Series coupe with black leather interior, air conditioning, and a six-cylinder engine.
It's a price he reached by advertising himself as a licensed and bonded Oregon dealer, touting the car as a two-owner vehicle with only 49,000 miles, and, well, soliciting his daughter Lexxa Ridley, 20, to pose suggestively alongside the whip—playing on an old strategy that car companies have long used to push their products.
Kinda weird, right? Ridley told Adweek on Monday that he didn't see anything strange about the tactic at all.
"If I felt bad about it, I wouldn't do it," he said, adding that he regularly uses photos of his daughter and her friends to sell cars.
"Girls and dogs attract people's attention."
Even Daddy's little girl.
One of Reddit’s most popular sections, r/pics, is slowly turning into the new wedding announcement page.
Redditor thekidd142 is the latest of many to post photos of a wedding proposal on the subreddit. But instead of stumbling upon another couple’sproposal, he gave redditors a glimpse into his own in a post titled “Last week I proposed to my girlfriend of 3 years, and this is how I did it. I had to wait for her to stop crying before I could even ask her to marry me” on Monday.
He and his fiancée, redditor KnitNotPurl, had talked about getting married before and even started planning before he actually proposed. However, for the proposal itself he decided to get creative.
thekidd142 took more than 100 LED candles and jars, and spent 4-5 hours cutting wire and attaching them to the jars with the help of a few of his friends. On the the actual day, he spent more than five hours turning the on LED candles and hanging up the jars on her favorite tree to turn it into a stunning display that would fit right in with Tangled.
“We had to turn them on as we hung them so I was a little worried that the tree would burn down or that they would be out of battery by the time my girlfriend and I drove back out,” thekidd142 wrote. “But things as they were, we got there after sunset and it was more beautiful than I had ever expected it to be.”
KnitNotPurl said yes, and fellow redditors offered the couple their congratulations. Some complained that thekidd142 set the bar too high for when they eventually proposed to their girlfriends and others couldn’t resist imagining a fear of thekidd142’s: that the tree would burn down.
“And then suddenly it was the only thing I worried about,” he noted about the fear. “I didn’t want to join her family by burning down a small portion of their land.”
KnitNotPurl knew about the proposal, but the tree display was a complete surprise for her.
“To be honest he’s not really a romantic guy...or I thought he wasn’t,” she wrote. “He has obviously proven he can be very romantic. All the more reason to say yes!”
The couple has decided to set their wedding for June 28, 2014 and quickly set up a Honeyfund page in order to travel to Europe for their honeymoon for people to donate to instead of a wedding registry.
Photos via thekidd142/Reddit
My dear friends,
The internet is a marvelous place. How perfectly astounding it is to learn the secrets of the deepest jungles and most obscure Kardashians, all at the touch of a button! However, the “Condescending Wonka” meme has got me all wrong, and I’d like to set the record straight.
My protege, Charlie Bucket, insists that there is no such thing as bad publicity, and the Oompa-Loompas have warned me: “What do you get when you go to the press? / Reporters who question your business success.” But I simply cannot bear the idea that I would condescend to children, when in fact, I hold them to quite rigorous standards.
Take, for example, the golden-ticket-holders who didn’t make it to the end of my tour. I allowed them to be nearly killed by my terrifying factory machinery when they made the wrong moral choices. If that’s not giving them credit for their decision-making skills, I don’t know what is! I mean, the parents are a whole different ballgame, but they’re monstrous.
And, to be fair, when that picture was taken of me, I was offering to show the group my tremendous Everlasting Gobstoppers. Look, I admit, I do enjoy being a fascinating enigma, and these candies are possibly my greatest invention. Think about it. I basically solved world hunger. Can you blame me for having a bit of a twinkle in my eye? I’m a delightful elfin trickster, it comes with the territory.
On the chocolate river of life, there’s no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going, and I understand the need to take some control by commenting on society with a splashy image and some text. I realize that not everyone has a multi-billion-dollar business run by an insular group of loyal immigrants with which to isolate themselves from civilization, and the internet is a splendid place.
But play in this world of pure imagination carefully. My mysterious aura of kindly megalomania has been carefully cultivated, and I will not allow it to be besmirched by your greed for pageviews. You never know when I might be testing you, and if you don’t pass you get nothing! You lose!
Good day, sir!
For Boy Scouts, earning Eagle Scout status is a prestigious accomplishment, the end result of earning a minimum of 21 merit badges for first aid and citizenship in the community, among other notable contributions. It’s a title that commands respect and is held for life.
"Once an Eagle, always an Eagle," goes the popular refrain.
But for a growing number of Scouts, the status has come to symbolize something else entirely: frustration and discrimination.
In July, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) reaffirmed its anti-gay stance. Following a two-year evaluation of its rules and regulations, BSA concluded that that its policy“reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA’s members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth.”
In response, some Eagle Scouts are recanting from BSA, an act that’s being documented on the aptly titled Tumblr, Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges.
The blog was created by Burke Stansbury, formerly of Troop 15, who has been collecting letters and posting them to the Tumblr from angered scouts. “This site was created to display those letters and encourage more Eagle Scouts to join the movement against BSA bigotry and discrimination,” Stansbury states on the blog.
I am not proud to be affiliated with an organization that excludes people based on their sexuality," Stansbury added in his personal post on the site, dated July 30. "Many of my closest friends are gay, lesbian or transgender and it pains me to think that I invested time in an organization that prohibits their membership."
Photo via Eagle Scouts Returning Out Badges
Letters directed to the BSA’s board tally 204, as of Nov. 18. Submissions run the gamut—all ages and with varying backgrounds. Some are gay, others are straight. Some are conflicted on their decisions, while others found the decision to be easy.
However, thorough parsing through the submissions, the letters contain similar messages of disappointment in the organization. And the Tumblr appears to be providing a cathartic outlet during their time of rebuke.
“Rather than making scouts an organization that embraces diversity of all types and teaches tolerance and understanding to future leaders and world citizens, your decision makes scouts look more like Hitler Youths (and not just the uniforms),” reasoned Karl Korfmacher, who returned his Eagle Scout honor but has apparently decided to maintain his post as an assistant scoutmaster.
“I have decided to continue in my role, believing that the best way to fight for change in a discriminatory group is to work from within.”.
Kenneth Hammer said he’s returning his Eagle Scout badge because the BSA’s policy goes against his values—the same ones he learned through his experience in the organization.
“Despite my positive feelings towards Scouting, the policy barring homosexuals from participating has bothered me for years because its treatment of gays goes against the values I learned within the program,” Hammer wrote.
“We were taught not to judge others by things beyond their control. Homosexuality falls into that category. It is neither immoral nor sexually deviant, and those who are gay should have the same right to be as true to themselves and others as heterosexuals are.”
Photo via Eagle Scouts Returning Out Badges
Based on the posts, BSA’s ruling appears to have affected its gay members more personally. In returning his medal, James Kleven called his decision an “awful combination of sadness and conviction.” He praised the values and memories the BSA has instilled him, writing “it made me proud to be the person I was becoming.” Kleven left the scouts when he was 16 years old because of the conflict between BSA’s rules and his personal feelings.
“Though I regret that I was not brave enough then to be honest about my reasons for leaving, I realize now that no young man should be forced to make that awful decision,” Kleven wrote. “You are helping to form young men of conviction and strong character and then excluding them from your ranks for being true to their conscience or honest about their sexuality. … If you cannot find a way to rectify this injustice, on behalf of these young men and loyal Scouts, I demand that you resign your posts of leadership and responsibility.”
That’s a tall order. It takes true courage and conviction to recant ones status. It’s an act of valor epitomized by the former Eagle Scouts on Tumblr.
Photo viaEagle Scouts Returning Our Badges/Tumblr
One of the largest archives of true crime on the Internet, Crime Library has nearly 15 years’ worth of research, photos, and articles on criminals throughout history. But can its wealth of knowledge make criminals smarter? Or the cops who try to catch them? Let’s find out!
Founded in 1998 by Crimescape Editor Marilyn Bardsley, Crime Library was immediately popular for its well-researched articles—written by professional crime writers including expert forensic psychologist Dr. Katherine Ramsland—and the nonclinical tone with which it described gruesome and shocking real-life crime throughout history.
Although the site’s scope is broad-reaching, tales of bloody murder will always reign supreme at Crime Library. The abundance of harrowing tales of the capture or escape of various killers throughout history prompted us to put together a little test to find out: Are you smarter than the average cold-blooded killer? What about the people responsible for catching them? Test your wits with real-life scenarios from Crime Library in the 13-question quiz below.
Quiz: Criminal intelligence
1) You're a cop policing an area where a known serial killer has been picking up prostitutes, trussing them up with duct tape, taking them out to the lake, shooting them in the head, and dumping the body.
One night, you pull a guy over for hanging out by a brothel. He's carrying a fully loaded handgun, and his truck is suspiciously, spotlessly clean—all except for the rolls of duct tape in the back seat. Do you:
A) Apologize for the confusion, since he's clearly not the serial killer you're looking for, and tell him to have a nice day.
B) Arrest him for a concealed weapon but then release him.
C) Do a background check for any suspicious activity.
Answer: B) Arrest him for a concealed weapon but then release him. You release him without investigation, or doing anything like, oh, noting "BTW MIGHT BE SERIAL KILLER" in his file.
2)Congratulations! You've just killed someone for lots of money! You come home and, naturally, tell your wife that you did it. This confession is:
A) Enough to send you to jail for the rest of your life.
B) In no way a dampener on your relationship.
C) Completely inadmissible in court.
D) Irrelevant, since your wife knows better than to squeal.
Answer: C) Completely inadmissible in court. In several states, including the one you live in, the law states that confessions made between married couples are private for life and can in no way be used against you later. And they say marriage doesn't come with privilege!
3) You're at home watching TV when you see your own picture on a local Unsolved Crimes report. Do you:
A) Change your hairstyle / hair color / physical appearance as much as possible so no one will recognize you after seeing the photo.
B) Phone in an anonymous tip identifying the individual in the photograph to be a random citizen with no connection to you or the case.
C) Call the police to ask them why they're showing your photo on TV.
D) Cry and turn yourself in.
Answer: C)Call the police to ask them why they're showing your photo on TV. Unfortunately, the police arrest you.
4) You and various members of your family are watching TV when an episode of Unsolved Mysteries comes on. The voice on the recording of their main suspect sounds very, suspiciously, like your relative’s ex-husband. Awkward. Do you:
A) Gossip about it with all your other relatives.
B) Immediately call the police.
C) Squirm uncomfortably, wait a while, and then phone in an anonymous tip to the Unsolved Mysteries hotline.
D) Freak out and never date anyone else again.
Answer: A) Gossip about it with all your other relatives! Although relatives were known to have recognized the voice, it's not clear that any of them contacted police at all.
5) You're trying to prosecute a gaggle of unsavory kids for murder. You have an expert witness who'll claim that the boys were all involved in a satanic cult. But as you're going to trial, the defense points out that he isn't an expert of anything—he got his doctorate from a mail-order scam school. Do you:
A) Withdraw his testimony.
B) Let him testify about possible occult connections to the case but keep him from speculating whether or not the teenagers themselves were involved in anything satanic.
C) Let him testify about teenage involvement in the occult but keep him from speculating about direct occult connections to the case.
D) Present him as an expert anyway, let him testify that the murders were satanic in nature because they happened on the night of a full moon and also testify that the teens on trial were involved in satanic ritual because they did things like wear black and listen to loud music.
Answer: D). Just one of many factors which eventually led to the freeing of the West Memphis Three.
6) The owner of the home you're trying to rob thwarts you! You escape but realize you've left your backpack, which contains your identifying info, there at his place. Do you:
A) Go back and attempt to steal the backpack before it gets turned into the police.
B) Leave town.
C) Lie low and get fake IDs for yourself.
D) Go back to the house you robbed and explain to the owner that you left your backpack, and could he please give it back? You kinda need it to protect your identity from the police he's almost certainly contacted.
Answer: D). Do we even need to say it?
7) Six months pass after the events in question 1. You get a call about a fight between a prostitute and a guy whom she says wants to take her up to the lake and handcuff her. Do you:
A) Tell the prostitute and the guy who wants to handcuff her not to go up to the lake because they've been finding dead prostitutes up there, geez.
B) Remind them to take along mosquito spray.
C) Bring them both in for questioning.
Answer: A) Tell the prostitute and the guy who wants to handcuff her not to go up to the lake because they've been finding dead prostitutes up there, geez.
Specifically: "Geez...don't do that. We're finding girls up there dead."
8) So you're going to kill your girlfriend's husband for fun and profit. Do you:
A) Buy everything you need for the murder at the same store, at the same time.
B) Tell the gun salesman you need a silencer for a 9mm because you're "making a movie."
C) Use your best friend as an alibi for the weapon you own, but fail to tell him which weapon he needs to say he was using.
d) All of the above.
Answer: D) All of the above! One too many hits with the football.
9) You're a cult leader, and you're very busy and important, so when you hear that police are planning to raid your cult compound on suspicion of your harboring weapons, you're displeased! Do you:
A) Quickly arrange to ditch the explosives before the cops find them. Along with the chemicals... and the lethal gases... and the biological weapons... and all the LSD... and the $4 million in gold... and the black-market helicopter you stole from Russia... and the people you're holding captive in secret lairs...
B) Release all the Sarin gas you've had stored up in the middle of a busy subway station, in the hopes that it distracts the police so completely they'll forget about raiding your compound.
C) Cooperate fully with investigators, because as a religious leader you don't believe in violence and you're sure they'll understand that you just have all those strains of Ebola for reasons of defense.
D) Gather your followers for a nice dose of cult-related suicide, because clearly it's all downhill from here.
Answer: B). We have no idea how murdering 13 people is supposed to be a good way to take the cops' minds off you, but in any case it doesn't work, because instead of forgetting about your many chemical-storage facilities, the police just go ahead and raid all of them.
10) You've been looking for someone to off your stupid dad so you can get your hands on his inheritance. You've decided the best place to look is in your group of RPG nerds. As you plan your murder, which of the following things should you NOT do?
A) Give the RPG villain the same nickname as the one you've given your dad, then urge various members of the RPG to practice killing him.
B) Leave details of the murder plot lying around your dorm room and stashed on your computer in easily decipherable code.
C) Write all your accomplices a nice note after the deed to thank them for a job well done.
D) Leave that lying around your dorm room.
E) Frequently tell your friends that you need to find someone to kill your dad.
F) All of the above.
G) None of the above.
Answer: F) All of the above. Kids today, sheesh.
11) You've been under the gun all your life, arrested for petty larceny, swindling, and theft. You’ve been issued restraining orders and constantly appear in court battles over family members—leaving a criminal trail from New York to California. Luckily, the whole bit where you tie women up, rape them, and knock them out? That's flown well under the radar.
So has the serial killing.
Still, given all that exposure to the law you've had, it's never a bad idea to be extra-careful. With that in mind, which of the following would be it be a good idea NOT to do?
A) Keep a diary of your murders.
B) Photograph the unconscious bodies of your rape and murder victims.
C) Make a list of the names of all the women you've killed and/or want to kill—also jot down the locations the bodies were found in for record-keeping.
D) Keep A), B), and C) in a safe deposit box in your house, which is currently under supervision by your parole officer.
Answer: D). With clues like these, it’s amazing it took police over 20 years to apprehend the alleged serial killer behind the Alphabet Murders.
12) You and your friends have just killed someone in a bizarre killing in which it’s possible you believed you were a vampire. Since you casually drove up into the front yard of the victim's house, in broad daylight, the victim's neighbors have all seen you. They've also seen your truck get stuck in the mud as you're trying to leave the crime scene. Do you:
A) Call a tow truck and give them your real names.
B) Call some trustworthy friends to pull you out of the mud ASAP.
C) Remove the license plate and any other identifying markers from the truck and hoof it to the nearest exit as fast as you can.
D) Ask the neighbors for help, since they've already spotted you. Might as well, right?
Answer: A). Call a tow truck and give them your real names.
13) Your entire police force has been mobilized to try to catch a serial killer in one of the biggest special investigations since Ted Bundy. In the middle of all this hubbub, a young girl among the killer's target demographic goes missing after getting into a dark truck. Her boyfriend gets worried and follows the truck for several miles until the truck finally loses him.
His girlfriend is never seen again.
Undaunted, the boyfriend and his dad start keeping an eye on the place where she was last seen. They spot the truck and follow it back to the owner's house. Armed with reasonable suspicion and an address, they call the police. You're the police sent to check up on the call. When you get to the house, the owner of the truck claims never to have heard of the girl in question. Do you:
A) Do a thorough background investigation to look for possible connections to the serial killer.
B) Thank him for his time and leave without pursuing the incident in any way.
C) Bring him in for questioning but release him.
D) Leave but arrange to put a surveillance team on his location.
Answer: B). You do absolutely nothing! By failing to investigate this incident, you fail to connect this report to:
All of these things allowed the owner of the truck, Gary Ridgway, to continue killing at least 40 more victims (and by some estimates as many as 70) before eventually being caught.
So how’d you do? Should you read up on your criminal activities, or do we need to avoid you in dark alleys at night?
Illustration by Jason Reed
The Jewish Student Union of France (UEJF) has gone to the courts in a bid to discover the identities of people behind tweets targeting Jews.
The UEJF took to the courts Tuesday in an effort to find out who posted the inflammatory messages, with the aim of bringing criminal charges under France’s anti-hate-speech laws. A court date was set for Jan. 8 in Paris.
The tweets at the heart of the case were apparently sent from roughly 60 different computers.
The UEJF's president, Jonathon Hayoun, criticized Twitter for failing to take “the necessary measures against racism and anti-Semitism when the situation in France has never been so serious.”
There were a number of violent anti-Semitic incidents in France this year. In March, a man killed three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse. Then-president Nicolas Sarkozy called it an "obvious" anti-Semitic attack.
Meanwhile, police started a criminal probe into the #unbonjuif tweets. The investigation, still in the preliminary stages, will focus on one particular tweet, with potential charges carrying a one-year prison sentence.
Photo via UEJF UEJF/YouTube
An Egyptian court sentenced seven people to death over their roles in an anti-Islam film that was released online and caused violent protests in Muslim nations.
The seven Egyptian Christians were tried in absentia and convicted of insulting Islam and the Prophet Mohammad in The Innocence of Muslims, according to Reuters.
Two 13-minute trailers for the film, which was made in California, were released on YouTube this summer. They led to violent widespread riots and protests, including at the London offices of YouTube’s parent company Google.
The clips were also connected to the riots that resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other consulate staff in Benghazi in September.
Among those handed the death penalty by the Cairo court was Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the alleged creator and distributor of the film, who is serving a one-year sentence in the U.S. for violating probation due to his participation in the film.
One cast member has filed suit against Nakoula, accusing him of fraud. Cindy Lee Garcia claimed she was inaccurately portrayed, arguing that she believed the film to be an adventure drama called Desert Warrior. She claimed there was no mention of the Prophet Muhammad and claimed Nakoula dubbed over her lines with anti-Islamic sentiment.
Photo via sam bacile/YouTube
Internet users want their millions.
On Nov. 28, the estimated annuity value of the Powerball lottery’s jackpot climbed to $500 million, the largest ever for the multi-state game (a March 2012 Mega Millions jackpot holds the record for the biggest jackpot in history, an estimated $656 million dollar annuity prize). Its cash payout option is worth roughly $327 million.
Because these financial windfalls can be claimed with one lucky $2 ticket purchased in any of the 44 states that host Powerball, many are dreaming big as the drawing approaches.
On Twitter, the hashtag #powerball is trending in the United States. According to Topsy, the term has been tweeted over 78,000 times in the past week.
“If I win Powerball, yall already know I'm hittin the gangnam style dance on the CEO of Sallie Mae's desk,” January Louise tweeted.
“If I win powerball I'm gonna buy everyone that lives in this shitty town a house elsewhere and live here by myself,” Mike Apotria tweeted.
Some Twitter users are even feeling generous.
“LISTEN UP: IF I WIN, Anyone who retweets this #powerball will receive a portion!” YA BOY BILL NYE tweeted, adding a photo of his ticket for effect. So far, his claim has been retweeted over 1,100 times.
On Reddit, a Nov. 26 thread asked redditors what they would do if they won the historic jackpot. The thread has received over 8,000 comments.
“Pay off my student loans, then use the remainder to buy a burger,” user I_are_facepalm commented.
“I'd give $10 million to Wikipedia so jimmy wales will stop bugging everyone about donations for the time being,” user hamburgerdan commented.
Elsewhere on reddit, user qwertisdirty submitted a thread to r/personalfinance, asking for suggestions as to what a new jackpot winner should do upon seeing their numbers drawn. User BongoMadness replied with a series of steps:
Users who plan to take a chance on Powerball can use the Powerball Simulator to visualize the 1 in 175,000,000 odds they face. The program allows for individual number selections or the “quick pick” option and displays the frequency of different winning combinations.
For example, if you were to select 1,2,3,4, and 5 as your numbers and 6 as the Powerball, the simulator calculates that playing this set twice per week for a full year would result in a total win of $12. Selecting the “quick pick” option twice per week for the same amount of time would net double that amount.
If such odds calculators do not faze you, you can check out Zyra’s Novel and Amusing Ways of Selecting Your Lottery Numbers, including using Tea Leaves or Playing With Office Equipment at Night in Winter. Whatever you do, do NOT swing a live chicken above your head while wishing for numbers. According to the actual Powerball website, this will not work.
If you do play (or retweet YA BOY BILL NYE), good luck!
Photo via Jessica Mullen/Flickr
It’s time to get rid of that Movember ‘stache.
On Nov. 30, Movember, an annual charity event in which men grow moustaches in order to promote awareness of prostate and testicular cancer, comes to a close. When the calendar hits December, many Movember participants will tending to some much-needed grooming.
In order to assist in the process, we decided to consult the experts at r/wicked_edge, a subreddit dedicated exclusively to shaving.
Through topics like razor suggestions, technique ideas, and even “close shave” stories (which have nothing to do with near-accidents), r/wicked_edge has brought over 22,000 shaving enthusiasts to its strange corner of Reddit since September 2010. Moderator andrewsmith1986 believes grooming can indeed be an art form.
“There is a beauty to it much in the same way that a fast car or a sword or a firearm has,” he explained. “It is very much like meditation. I stop thinking about all of my other problems in my life and I take an hour out of my day every few days to just pamper myself and remove the hair on my face (warm bath, hot towel, warm lather, moisturizer, after shave, conditioner).”
The subreddit was one of many online communities that participated in Movember. Fellow moderator betelgeux joined in, posting a video of himself shaving his beard and leaving only his moustache.
Since most Movember participants may be used to removing only stubble from their faces, andrewsmith1986 had some tips for when it comes to shaving a full-fledged moustache that has been growing for the past 30 days.
“Depending on your growth and the type of blade you use, you should definitely trim it first,” he suggested. “You won't be able to get much off per stroke if you don't.”
While r/wicked_edge glorifies the use of straight, double edge, or injected blade razors, andrewsmith1986 believes that there is no one “best” razor to use.
“My razor (a 1922 Gillette tuckaway safety razor) is older than my father and I combined and has likely been used 1000+ times in the years since it was made,” he said. “It is still as solid as the day it was made and works even better than it did then due to the increases in blade technology.”
Fortunately for Movember participants, shaving one’s ‘stache is far easier than tackling beard or neck hair.
“Shaving just a moustache, you can see what you are doing pretty well,” he explained. “Shaving my neck is difficult due to the size/position of my mirror and the fact that I'm 6'4”. A moustache isn't too difficult either because the grain typically moves in one direction. My neck is a bramble of chaotic hairs.”
Sharpen those blades, folks. Christmas card photos are just around the corner.
Photo via Chris Gladis/Flickr
Let this be a lesson to all the one-hit wonders out there on the Internet: You can extend your 15 minutes of fame. All it takes is a strategically placed Viking helmet appearing on your head in a court of law.
Robert Wilkinson, who first rose to infamy after a video emerged detailing his DUI arrest and subsequent belting of Queen's iconic "Bohemian Rhapsody" from the back of the arresting Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer's cruiser, is back—albeit temporarily.
This round, the Albertan hooligan is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that the Internet's masses don't forget about him so quickly.
Appearing in court to face his charges of drunk driving, Wilkinson represented himself and wore a Viking helmet atop his head, a sure sign that he means business (even if the business ain't justice).
Naturally, Wilkinson lost—"The system works," he later wrote on his Facebook page—and was forced to pay the court $1,400 and give up his driver's license for a year. But the hustle hustles on.
"I am not convicted in my mind," he boldly proclaimed shortly after receiving word of the sentence.
To a drunk guy in a Viking hat, that may be all that matters.
Photo via Robert Wilkinson/Facebook
What do you do if your iPhone is stolen at the airport? Turn to the power of Reddit to get it back, of course.
Redditor Bitchy_Face had traveled from California to visit her father in Birmingham, Alabama. Her problems began during her trip home Nov. 24; she summarized them in an r/AskReddit titled “Got my iPhone stolen by TSA and I tracked their home address. Does reddit have any ideas?”
“I was traveling with a toddler and the agent searched my diaper bag. He took it away for a period of time to check my formula. As I was boarding, I noticed that the phone was gone. I tracked it from my iPad when on got on the plane and it was still at the terminal. When I got home, the phone was at someone's house (about 4 miles away from the airport),” she wrote.
Once Bitchy_Face updated the post to include a screenshot of the thief’s location, it was deleted and she was banned for sharing personal information.
Fortunately, prior to the deletion, the post received over 2,000 upvotes and the attention of local media outlets offering to help. That same day, Bitchy_Face resubmitted the request to r/self, a subreddit that collects discussions and questions on any given topic. The post received over 1,000 upvotes.
“This situation is going to be a lot of fun. Don't let it drop, OP. Start calling TV stations,” user nolotusnotes commented.
On Nov. 28, Bitchy_Face returned to r/self with a new post: “Thanks to Reddit I got my stolen iPhone back and an airport thief arrested!!”
“After my post, several redditors messaged me and offered to help. THANK YOU!! In particular, a former local and national TV reporter contacted me and I gave him all of the details,” she wrote in the update.
According to the post, the former journalist sent the details of Bitchy_Face’s ordeal to media outlets, law enforcement personnel, and even local government officials.
“He basically warned them that the story was about to hit the news cycle and urged them to look into the matter. Well it looks like the threat of public shaming worked because early this morning I got phone calls from a TSA criminal investigator and a local detective,” she wrote.
After reviewing surveillance video, the investigation led to the suspect’s home, where he was placed under arrest. It was also concluded that he was not a TSA agent.
This is not the first time redditors have helped each other out with stolen phones. In 2010, user asbestospoet’s phone was stolen, discarded in a field, and ultimately found and returned by a fellow redditor.
Photo via Josh Hallett/Flickr
Indian police have taken custody of yet another young person who allegedly used Facebook to criticize a public figure.
Sunil Vishwakarma, a 20-year-old computer science student, was taken into custody Wednesday. The exact words are unclear, but police say he made two “vulgar” comments about the nephew of Bal Thackeray, a controversial and recently deceased political figure.
This comes on the heels of the Nov. 18 arrests of two young women who complained on Facebook about Thackeray’s funeral. One wrote that people “are born and die daily” and that Thackeray didn’t deserve a pompous funeral; another liked the status.
Though it’s illegal under Section 66A of India’s Information Technology act to “abuse” someone else online, there’s been substantial backlash from those women’s arrests. Their charges have since been dropped, two major police officials have been suspended, the magistrate who set their bail has been transferred, and politicians and legal scholars are petitioning to overturn that section of the law, saying it violates a constitutional right to free speech.
Police toldThe Hindu that they haven’t formally arrested Vishwakarma—who has claimed he was hacked—until they could verify that he actually posted the comments.
“We do not want to repeat the same mistakes committed a few days ago,” an officer said.
Photo of Thackeray’s nephew via Raj Thackeray/Facebook
We’ve all been there: Someone in a public space makes a nuisance of themselves. And sometimes it’s nice to see them get their comeuppance.
But what exactly constitutes rude behavior? Verbal and physicalassaults? Public nudity? Definitely. Refusal to give up your seat to an older passenger? Perhaps. What about drinking and smoking on the subway? Or eating soup? What if, once off the metro, someone refuses to pay for coffee on a date?
The answer, for an increasing number of Korean women who’ve been publicly ‘Net-shamed for their shocking public behavior in a series of events dubbed “Ladygate,” seems to be all of the above—and much, much more.
With the advancement of Internet culture in Korean society, more and more snapshots of public life are finding their way to the web, becoming part of everyday discussions on portal websites like Nate and Daum. But with increased public exposure has come an increased policing and shaming of the behavior of other Koreans—especially women.
In 2005, in an incident that made international headlines, a woman nicknamed “Dog Poop Girl” was shamed and ridiculed within Korean culture after refusing to clean up after her dog on the subway. Koreans outraged by her bad behavior revealed her real name and identifying information, and rumors suggested that the resulting harassment eventually drove her out of school.
Since then, similar incidents have only increased; this year in particular has seen a sharp uptick in the number of times Korean netizens have spoken out against women they feel are demonstrating shocking, unladylike, or otherwise unconventional behavior.
As the Korean culture and news website koreaBANG reported more and more of these incidents, they created the term “Ladygate” to describe the pattern they were seeing of women being raked over the coals after being filmed in public doing something supposedly objectionable.
Often the outrage is warranted, such as when two women were filmed attacking a third, one beating her viciously with the heel of her shoe. Occasionally public scorn turns against men who behave in offensive ways, such as one man deemed “Sexual Harassment Grandpa” after a girl photographed him attempting to proposition her and then posted the event to the Internet.
But most of the time, the indignation seems to come at the expense of women who are simply operating outside of Korea’s firmly gendered behavioral codes. Girls who protested the arrest of a prominent political podcaster by writing protest messages on their breasts received mixed reviews for taking such a “provocative” step; others simply got lambasted for eating and drinking on subways, for defying parts of the dating code, or for—alert the authorities!—sleeping with their feet up on the subway.
While the sense that such minor public incidents can turn into defining cultural moments is a bit dystopic, far more alarming is the general expectation that Korean men have the right to publicly shame women for their bad behavior in private matters.
After “Date Girl,” whose angry date took to the Internet after she refused to pick up the coffee tab, came “Adultery Girl,” who cheated on her husband while pregnant with an ex who spilled all the details—including screencaps of private conversations, as well as her identifying information—to Nate.com.
KoreaBANG’s James Pearson notes that the “Ladygate” trend comes with various sexist terms used to highlight and shame not just the individual women who come under public scrutiny, but all Korean women:
[T]hese incidents become a platform to vent against Korean women, to the extent that online slang has evolved to accommodate the trend.
"Beanpaste Girls," first popularized on the Korean Internet in the early 2000s, refers to young Korean women who live frugally on cheap food, like beanpaste stew, to save money to buy luxury brand clothes and accessories.
"Boseulachi," a term combining the Korean words for a body part and an ancient government official, is used specifically for women deemed to be acting with a degree of undeserved self-importance [who] try to rebut online misogynists. …
A newer term is "Kimchi Girls," which describes women who allegedly reject a Korean way of life in favor of a more Westernized lifestyle, yet cannot rid of the smell of kimchi.
As a culture, Korea’s astronomical economic boom over the last two decades has brought with it increased tension between men and women who are struggling to compete for jobs within the global recession. Korea scored 108th out of 135 countries on the World Economic Forum’s annual gender equality study.
The sexualization and objectification of K-pop female idol groups heavily promotes both unattainable standards of beauty and traditionalist behavior in women that has little counterpart even within more progressive parts of Korean pop culture.
Recently, after Korean presidential candidate Park Geun-hye commented that her election as a female candidate would be “innovative,” Yongsei University professor Hwang Sang-min retorted, “Park may have the genitals of a woman but has never performed her (social) role as a woman.”
Rep. Jung Sung-ho clarified what Sang-min meant: “Park has never lived the life of an ordinary woman who would worry about childbirth, childcare, education and grocery prices. Few will see her as a female presidential candidate.”
As more and more women break out of those old social roles, resentment manifests itself more and more through Ladygate.
In addition to highlighting gender inequality, Ladygate also highlights another troubling factor of Korean life: stress. Expedia recently released a survey showing that Korea ranks last out of 22 countries in awarding paid vacation and holiday time to overworked citizens. Sites like Blackout Korea have arisen in recent years purely to showcase the bizarrely high number of residents of Seoul and other areas who pass out in public places.
This alone might be enough to excuse the occasional Hyundai-bashing road rage; but it is enough to explain the increasing number of female citizens who get caught exploding into hair-ripping, punching, and slapping men who cross their paths?
Perhaps the question we should be asking is not how to curtail the Ladygate backlash, but rather, how to release the pressure valve for Korean women before Ladygate happens at all.
Photo via R. Elgin / rjkoehler.com