Sunday, January 20, 2019

Royal Rumble saves

WWE just uploaded this video of Kofi Kingston's Royal Rumble "saves":


After watching the video, I have a few hot takes to share...

Hot take #1:

Kofi Kingston's all-time greatest "save" did not take place at the Royal Rumble.  It took place at WrestleMania 30 during the AndrĂ© the Giant Memorial Battle Royal:


The dude got launched out of the ring, over the ring post, and managed to keep his feet on the ring steps.  God damn.

Hot take #2:

The greatest Royal Rumble save of all time was not performed by Kofi Kingston.  It was performed by John Morrison at the 2011 Royal Rumble. 


Morrison's save is great because it starts off like a normal elimination, but then he simply decides to break away from the standard physics of professional wrestling.  I don't remember ever seeing a wrestler hang off the barricade until Morrison did it.   

Saturday, January 19, 2019

"Suplex City, Bitch!"

I don't think this video ever aired on WWE television, and that thought makes me sad:


Thursday, January 17, 2019

A quick dive into Chuck Johnson's comments on the Holocaust

On January 16, 2019, the Daily Beast published an article titled: "GOP Congressmen Meet With Holocaust-Denying Troll Chuck Johnson."  The article says:
Johnson, a former Breitbart reporter, has denied the magnitude of the Holocaust, expressing doubt that gas chambers were real and questioning whether six million Jews were really killed—a figure that has been well-documented by scholars and historians.
This was the first time that I'd ever heard Chuck Johnson was a Holocaust denier, so I wanted to follow the sourcing and see his original comments.  The Daily Beast article links to a Mother Jones article from September 13, 2018, titled: "Two Republican Congressmen Hobnob With an Alleged Holocaust Denier. Again."  The article says:
During an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit’s alt-right section, Johnson had been queried, “what are your thoughts on the Holocaust, WW2, and the JQ in general?” (“JQ” is neo-Nazi shorthand for the Jewish Question.) Johnson replied, “I do not and never have believed the six million figure. I think the Red Cross numbers of 250,000 dead in the camps from typhus are more realistic. I think the Allied bombing of Germany was a ware [sic] crime. I agree…about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real.”
At this point, I was still looking for the original source of the comments.

The Mother Jones article links to a post on Little Green Footballs from January 27, 2017, titled: "Chuck C. Johnson Says He’s Advising the Trump Administration on Nominees - and He’s a Holocaust Denier."  The post says:
The reason why I’m writing about this loathsome character again: yesterday he did an “Ask Me Anything” in Reddit’s “altright” (read: neo-Nazi) section — and came all the way out as a Holocaust denier. Here’s the exchange. (The term “JQ” is a neo-Nazi abbreviation for “Jewish Question.”)
justacolyte:
what are your thoughts on the Holocaust, WW2, and the JQ in general?
ChuckCJohnson:
I do not and never have believed the six million figure. I think the Red Cross numbers of 250,000 dead in the camps from typhus are more realistic. I think the Allied bombing of Germany was a ware crime. I agree with David Cole about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real. I read the German War (highly recommend), Bloodlands, Mein Kampf, and all of David Irving. I’m more or less of the view that the war was an outgrowth of the efforts of communism to spread itself throughout the world. I also believe that the fears of German extermination were not misplaced, especially in light of the Ukrainian famine. But I support Israel as a Jewish state and Zionism as a concept. I’m pro-ethno state, generally. I understand why and how Hitler rose to power but think too much of our focus on World War II is spent trying to understand Hitler and not enough is spent trying to understand Weimar. Mecius Moldbug, aka Curtis Yarvin, is right. America is a communist country.
The words "Here's the exchange" link to an AMA that Johnson held on the /r/AltRight subreddit on January 27, 2017.  However, Reddit has banned the /r/AltRight subreddit, and so when you click the link you see this message:



Fortunately, somebody saved the AMA using Archive.is.  Here's the specific Archive.is link for Chuck Johnson's "250,000" comment:  http://archive.is/Rrawk.  And here's the Archive.is link for the whole AMA:  http://archive.is/y9zKy.

What's interesting is that you can see Chuck Johnson went back and edited his comment.  Based on the timestamps, it would appear Chuck Johnson edited his comment several hours after the Little Green Footballs post was published.  Here is what the edited comment says:
ChuckCJohnson[S] 29 points 19 hours ago*  
I do not and never have believed the six million figure which I think is still up for some historical debate. There were a number of sources that disputed the six million figure and I find myself in that camp reluctantly. Of course you can't really discuss any of this stuff without being called a Holocaust denier which I am not. I think Jews were killed in the war, particularly in the Eastern occupied provinces. I think the Red Cross numbers of 250,000 dead in the camps from typhus are more realistic but I confess to having complicated views on the subject. I think the Allied bombings of Germany were a war crime. I agree with David Cole about Auschwitz and the gas chambers not being real. Why were their swimming pools there if it was a death camp? I support decriminalizing Holocaust inquiry. I read the German War (highly recommend), Bloodlands, Mein Kampf, and all of David Irving. I'm more or less of the view that the war was an outgrowth of the efforts of communism to spread itself throughout the world. I also believe that the fears of German extermination were not misplaced, especially in light of the Ukrainian famine. But I support Israel as a Jewish state and Zionism as a concept. I'm pro-ethno state, generally. I understand why and how Hitler rose to power but think too much of our focus on World War II is spent trying to understand Hitler and not enough is spent trying to understand Weimar. Mecius Moldbug, aka Curtis Yarvin, is right. America is a communist country.
So Chuck Johnson went back and made sure to emphasize that he was not, in fact, a Holocaust denier. 

This wasn't the last time Chuck Johnson would deny being a Holcaust denier.  In a post on GotNews, dated February 4, 2018, Johnson addressed the comments he'd made during the AMA:
Some of my friends are rightly asking me what I was doing when I posted on Reddit last year some comments that could fairly be characterized as Holocaust denial. A now archived and deleted post does reflect statements I made, but it does not reflect my views on the Holocaust. I am not now nor have I ever been a Holocaust denier.
I unambiguously believe the Holocaust happened, that 6 million Jews died, that some of those Jews who died in labor camps, gas chambers, ovens, and in all manner of dehumanizing ways.
Johnson also explained that his comments about the Holocaust were done for the sake of trolling:
So why did I post these remarks? What could I possibly have been after? 
Over the last few years, I have financed a project studying the various tech companies and their commitments to free speech against fake hate speech. I began this process several years ago when I joined a group of like-minded individuals committed to getting Ellen Pao fired from Reddit over her reluctance to embrace free speech. In that instance as in this one anti-Semitic language trended to the top of Reddit and led ultimately to her firing. This is how trolling works. 
That paragraph is awfully confusing.  The first time I read it, I thought Chuck Johnson was saying he made his Holocaust comments in order to get Ellen Pao fired.  Of course, that wouldn't make sense, because Ellen Pao resigned from Reddit back in 2015, long before the AMA took place.  All I can deduce is that Johnson was (supposedly) testing Reddit's commitment to free speech.    

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Users on /r/Politics hate CounterPunch

Lately I've been posting CounterPunch articles on /r/Politics.  I do it mainly to see people's responses.


Last year, the Washington Post published an article revealing that a freelance journalist named "Alice Donovan" was, in fact, a Russian troll.  "Alice" had submitted politically divisive articles to publications like CounterPunch.org, VeteransToday.com, and WeAreChange.org.  As a result, whenever I share a CounterPunch article on /r/Politics, there are people in the comments section deriding the website as Russian propaganda.  Here are some typical responses:
"Russian propogandist site. Don't click."
"MoscowPunch.  Downvote." 
"Garbage propaganda." 
"This is a Kremlin crony source. Don't trust it." 
"Just like /r/politics to upvote literal Kremlin disinfo rags."
"Russian Troll Factory.  Downvote" 
"KremlinPunch, that's a downvote." 
"I would not trust this article, whatsoever. Propaganda and misinformation."  
Some commenters would copy-and-paste the section about "Alice Donovan" from CounterPunch's Wikipedia page.  Other commenters would copy-and-paste the opening section from the aforementioned Washington Post article, which mentions "Alice Donovan" and CounterPunch.

The oddest response I received was from a commenter named /u/LumpyUnderpass, who said:
What is this source, why is it being inorganically upvoted, and why is it whitelisted?
When /u/LumpyUnderpass wrote that comment, the thread was sitting at zero upvotes.  So, if anything, it was being inorganically downvoted.  Also, when a commenter on /r/Politics says: 'Why is this site whitelisted?' it's usually in response to some right-wing publication like Breitbart or  DailyCaller.  It's the type of question you ask after you've already formed an opinion about a website.  So it doesn't make sense that /u/LumpyUnderpass would ask "Why is it whitelisted" and, in the same breath, ask "What is this source?"  It's like he took three possible default responses and combined them into one Frankenstein comment.   

None of the commenters directly accused the editors of CounterPunchJeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frankof being Russian propagandists.  Nor did the commenters call out any of the authors whose bylines appeared on the articles.  (Heck, one of the articles that I submitted was written by Jesse Jackson, so it would've been a bold strategy to accuse him of being a Russian stooge!)  Instead, most of the rhetoric focused on the publication itself.

In total, I submitted ten CounterPunch articles over the course of ten days.  I'll have to cut back on that frequency, because by the end of the streak some commenters were suggesting I was a Russian troll.  User /u/TwilitSky wrote this comment, which got 17 upvotes:
For anyone wondering, the time in St. Petersburg Russia is 9:04 AM which just happens to be 4 minutes after this compromised shitsource was posted.
There's a thin line between doing something to see the reaction, and doing something to get a reaction.  I don't participate much in the comments on /r/Politics, and so people might wonder why I was making these threads.  If I share another CounterPunch link in /r/Politics, I'll have to choose an article that I'm willing to defend in the comments section.  Maybe that will affect the dynamic.   

Monday, January 14, 2019

Michael Avenatti BTFO?

I was just thinking about this tweet Michael Avenatti made back in October:


Avenatti said Donald Trump Jr. would be indicted before the end of the year.  Well...It's January 14th, and I don't think Donald Trump Jr. has been indicted yet.  I Googled "Has Donald Trump Jr. been indicted?" but I didn't see anything conclusive in the results.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The hardest Idiotest question ever

Idiotest was a show that aired on the Game Show Network from 2014 to 2017.  Two teams would compete to answer a series of brain puzzles presented on a touch screen, and the winning team played a final round for a chance at $10,000.

Most of the challenges on Idiotest were based on wordplay or visual cues.  For example, here's a puzzle that asks you to spot what doesn't belong in a bowl of Alphabet Soup.  The answer is the "4."


During the first few episodes of Idiotest, the final round had a difficult format.  The winning pair were given a total of 60 seconds to answer five questions.  If, at any point, they touched the wrong answer on their touch screen, they received a 5-second penalty.

Here's a question from the final round of episode 2:


That is, without a doubt, the toughest puzzles I ever saw on Idiotest.  The contestants were asked to "touch the total number of hearts" but what you probably wouldn't notice is there are two hearts camouflaged as spades in the top-left corner.  Who the fuck would ever notice those two hearts?  And this was just the second question!  Thomas and Kente wound up amassing too many 5-second penalties, and they ran out of time.  When the host, Ben Glieb, explained why the correct answer was 17, it took me a while to figure what the heck he referring to with regards to the two extra hearts.

I haven't seen black men given a question this tricky since those Literacy Tests in the 1960s!


Actually, that would be a pretty good idea for a game show:  LiteracyTest!  And the questions are always rigged against the black contestants.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

/u/PKCockSuck has been suspended

Earlier this week, Vice debunked a fake photo of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that was floating around the internet.  The image had gained attention on the /r/Drama subreddit, where it received over 200 upvotes.  As I read the Vice article, I couldn't help but notice that they didn't identify the Redditor who shared the image.  They simply said:
On Sunday, someone posted a photo of a woman’s legs and feet in a bathtub on one of Reddit’s most popular forums, r/Drama.
I wanted to know who that "someone" was.  Were they a right-wing provocateur?  A conspiracy theorist?  A troll?  Or were they just an idiot?  I went to the /r/Drama thread in question and saw the OP's name was:  /u/PKCockSuck.  When I clicked his profile, I learned /u/PKCockSuck had been suspended by the Reddit admins!

Alas, poor PKCockSuck
I then visited RedditSearch.io and looked up PKCockSuck's posting history.  In total, PKCockSuck made four posts on Reddit:

1.  A post in /r/Drama, titled: "A mayo gives his unpopular opinion on da joos."

2.  A post in /r/Drama, titled:  "'chapo users are pedophiles' It's over for Chapocells."

3.  A post in /r/Drama, titled: "MOMMY'S TITTIES ON THE FAUCET."

4.  A post in /r/Drama, titled: "It’s OVER for centristcells."

Three of PKCockSuck's posts consisted of links to other discussions on Reddit.  The fourth post, of course, was the hoax image.  PKCockSuck also wrote 19 comments on Reddit.  I'm just going to copy-and-paste them below in chronological order: 

1.  "You're confusing me with Oingo Boingo"

2.  "It's horrible spyware"

3.  "Holy fuck, am I famous yet?"

4.  "One of my favorite parts about this is they said "someone posted" instead of my username because they don't want to run the username /u/PKCockSuck"

5.  "The issue is when the mandatory curriculum requires things that are impractical in anything but very specialized fields. "

6.  "Can't believe the news cycle is covering someone debunking a shitpost I made"

7.  "Based"

8. "  'posted to /r/gamerghazi'  Hmmmm"

9.  "I have never had to use anything I learned in precalc. All practical trig I learned in geometry"

10.  ""I posted the fake nude as a shitpost. I like OAC and her dancing. Mommy material"

11. "You're welcome"

12. "Fuck off chapocell"

13. "Imagine wanting to live a peaceful life in your island nation when a bunch of fruit merchants start getting saucy"

14. "You mean Max Stirner"

15. "Kingdom come deliverance actually got into hot water over this, but there's no proof of people of African descent living in Bohemia during the reign of Charles IV"

16. "Wasn't an attack. I love her"

17. "Hype for people to paint me as an incel who wants to smear AOC when I was just admiring our mommy"

18. "Why is incest porn so popular now"

19. "You implying conspiracy?"

Overall, I don't think the posting history is too revealing.  PKCockSuck mainly just sounded proud of having his "shitpost" go viral.