Rapid Transit Fisticuffs? February 17, 2010 3:29 PM   Subscribe

What happened to the thread about the fight on the Oakland bus Monday?

I thought it was an interesting discussion about the rapid proliferation of online media, social responsibility, misinterpretation and misrepresentation. Was there something too actionable or objectionable about it? I did not view it as merely prurient.
posted by gallois to Etiquette/Policy at 3:29 PM (80 comments total)

It's here. The deletion reason: "Man, this is really ugly and the /b/ stamp of approval really doesn't help anything."
posted by Pronoiac at 3:31 PM on February 17, 2010


It certainly wasn't any more unreasonable than usual. *snicker*

And while we're on the subject:

I think the reason that people are reacting badly against the white man is that he responded to what was apparently a light cuff with disproportionate force. One punch was enough to stop the other man, but he kept hitting him and he was the one who drew blood. Defending yourself does not give you the right to beat someone up, if they stop hitting you before that.


Remarkably naive! What you do is PUMMEL on your attacker with all your might until he goes go DOWN. To do as the poster above suggests gets you killed. Epic Beard Guy did exactly what he was supposed to do.
posted by Scoo at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2010


Come and see the violence inherent in the system!
posted by finite at 3:41 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


Help! Help! I'm being repressed!
posted by nevercalm at 3:45 PM on February 17, 2010


yeah, I guess the discussion never really rose above speculative arguments for various "sides".
posted by gallois at 3:51 PM on February 17, 2010


I read that thread with 77 comments and I agree it was ugly. People complained there were links to offsite discussion boards (I did not click on them) which were very close to Ku Klux Klan mentality.
posted by bukvich at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2010


"...interesting discussion about the rapid proliferation of online media, social responsibility, misinterpretation and misrepresentation."

Maybe now or tomorrow but I for one get seriously agitated watching videos of violence. It's best for me to not comment for a few hours after watching shit like that. (As I didn't.)
posted by vapidave at 3:53 PM on February 17, 2010


Shine your shoes
Light the fuse
Can you use
The Oaktown Blues?

What, Garcia was an Epic Beard Guy, too!
posted by fixedgear at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I regret even dropping my lame one-off into that thread and agree that it needed to be axed. The whole vibe around this meme is really ugly and the less Metafilter has to do with it the better.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


There was the possibility of an interesting discussion about Internet mob mentality, but the response from the target of the /b/-mob seemed a bit of an afterthought. Which was a bit sad, if you watched her try to defend herself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:02 PM on February 17, 2010


It seemed like the thread was a recipe for a whole lot of ugly without much interesting merit to it; honestly it takes a pretty compelling context to justify a post that leads with video of a fistfight, and the rest of the content from there, while sort of darkly fascinating, didn't really make it look like any better of an idea for a Metafilter post.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:22 PM on February 17, 2010


I thought it was an interesting discussion about the rapid proliferation of online media, social responsibility, misinterpretation and misrepresentation. Was there something too actionable or objectionable about it? I did not view it as merely prurient.

Actuallt it's not. Can we keep this nonsense to 4-chan. Thanks.
posted by panboi at 4:23 PM on February 17, 2010


I was kind of looking forward to MF's take on this (as the rest of the iPlanet is apparently frenzied beyond rationality at the situation), but the thread devolved pretty fast. Maybe we can try again in a few days?
posted by Aquaman at 4:58 PM on February 17, 2010


Sorta the reason I joined is because MeFi seemed immune to the disease of 4chan memes. This was bouncing around a lot of the sites I visit, so having one place where it didn't exist was calming.

So yeah, I can do without any of it.
posted by hellojed at 5:08 PM on February 17, 2010


Maybe we can try again in a few days?

Or not.
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:17 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaTalk: PUMMEL on your attacker with all your might until he goes go DOWN
posted by dhammond at 5:21 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Man, I'm going to have to rethink my idea about starting up a Mefite Fight Club.
posted by Justinian at 5:29 PM on February 17, 2010


That video was the ugliest thing I've seen in a while. I don't have any problem with it being on mefi though.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 5:32 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, I'm going to have to rethink my idea about starting up a Mefite Fight Club.

We already exist as a gaming group. You're gonna have to find a different name.
posted by Chan at 5:32 PM on February 17, 2010


AT LAST! I've been hovering here on metatalk for the last 5 hours waiting, just waiting for this to show up. Sometimes things are predictable.
posted by Think_Long at 5:40 PM on February 17, 2010


I bet the dudes in my Fisticuffs club could beat up the dudes in your video game club, so we'll see who gets the name!
posted by Justinian at 5:40 PM on February 17, 2010


All I have to say is that the metafilter mods should thank gog every day that they are not youtube comment moderators. I was watching the comments on the last video go by in real time and wishing there was a way to flag offensive/sexism/racism on almost every comment!

My options? Thumbs up, down, or spam.

For a while it was like a train wreck, or bad cliche, and I couldn't look away.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:45 PM on February 17, 2010


Justinian: I bet the dudes in my Fisticuffs club could beat up the dudes in your video game club, so we'll see who gets the name!

We have cortex.
posted by flatluigi at 6:07 PM on February 17, 2010


I bet the dudes in my Fisticuffs club could beat up the dudes in your video game club, so we'll see who gets the name!

I'm not sure that's a good idea. Starvos fights dirty.
posted by JimmyJames at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2010


The /b/ stamp of approval is one of the things that makes this MetaFilter worthy, makes it worthy of discussion by the MetaFilter crowd, even if it makes the mods uncomfortable. It's certainly much, much closer to "the best of the web" than a post about a particularly strong beer, or math-related hallucinations, or, yes, even barbeque. Those are all interesting subjects, yes, but they're not particularly internet related. The fight video, and the resulting responses, however offensive, racist, and mobbish, are directly relevant to the founding principles of MetaFilter, even if the mods don't like it.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2010 [8 favorites]


Two guys act immature and macho. One of them is possibly mentally ill. And the meme of EBG beating down the "thug" is all over the place. The whole fucking thing is sad and the popularity of EBG points to something really ugly about the gestalt white consciousness in America. People love that this man beat down a black "thug." People are ecstatic that this man put this "thug" in his place. People are positively orgasmic that they can now rant about the racism of the black people making racial remarks. Its just fucking sad.
posted by anansi at 7:19 PM on February 17, 2010 [10 favorites]


Perhaps the post just needs to be reframed around Bored Hipster Girl.
posted by mpbx at 7:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's something to be said for ending on a shot of the "Keep our city clean & safe" bench.
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:26 PM on February 17, 2010


And yeah, the idea that you stop punching someone when they stop punching you is silly. You stop punching someone when they are no longer able to punch you anymore.
posted by mpbx at 7:28 PM on February 17, 2010


I'd argue /b/'s involvement makes it more interesting, as it involves the new phenomena of internet mobs.

However, that thread was going nowhere good, and I don't know if it's possible to frame the scenario in a way that could lead to constructive argument. Both sides seem to pick a side or play to the middle and not really offer up much compelling evidence, when really both people are at fault for acting unreasonably. The white guy shouldn't have said that racist stuff and expected nothing to happen, and the black guy should have used his words. Adults shouldn't do those things.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:53 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can I just say, apropos of the "NSFW" discussions we've been having around these parts, that it's sorta lame for hermitosis to come out in the thread and tell the poster that he should not have used NSFW markers on the post? I mean, it's one thing to argue that NSFW tags should not be required, but it's another to go around second-guessing people who voluntarily use the NSFW tag.

I suspect that this is totally arcane and nobody else cares, but I feel better.

Also, I can't tell what the hell is happening in any of those videos.
posted by Mid at 8:00 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I posted the FPP. To me, the act of violence itself was almost beside the point. I didn't want to over editorialize the post but here it is for posterity.

The initial video is so captivating to me because the players seem so stereotypical, like they are forced into acting out their roles by the knowledge that they are being watched. The grizzled Viet Nam vet, the cackling teenagers yelling "beat his white ass", the bored indie girl above it all, the "I AM A MOTHERFUCKER" t-shirt, and yes the ending shot of the "Keep our city clean & safe" bench; it seems like a poorly written scene from a community theater production during "Race Awareness Week".

Additionally, we get a lot more context for the actions of the initial video than we usually do in these cases, with the "internet" finding additional related videos of the older man, and the camerawoman reappearing to state her case on both Youtube and the local news outlet.

The following shit-storm of racist commentary, hero worship, and internet mob mentality made this, if not the best of the web, perhaps the a good jumping off point for unwrapping this very dense video.

That said, the mods are right and this is an ugly video; perhaps too ugly for this venue to discuss based on some of the commentary in the thread. I support their decision to remove the post, my regret being that I failed to frame the FPP to make it less objectionable.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:08 PM on February 17, 2010 [14 favorites]


That said, the mods are right and this is an ugly video; perhaps too ugly for this venue to discuss based on some of the commentary in the thread. I support their decision to remove the post, my regret being that I failed to frame the FPP to make it less objectionable.

I absolutely promise to buy you the drink of your choice if we ever end up at the same meetup. Bravo.
posted by mintcake! at 8:12 PM on February 17, 2010


(or brava, I dunno.)
posted by mintcake! at 8:13 PM on February 17, 2010


2bucksplus: You're right on about it being a set piece — it's like Crash (2004) in the real world.
posted by blasdelf at 9:26 PM on February 17, 2010


The thing that I found interesting about the original FPP was not the actual event of the altercation, but that it touches on what I think will be the future of media, i.e. when an event happens in public there will be so many media recorders (phones, iPods, etc.) that people will be able to witness an event from many different perspectives and make their own conclusions without the spin of a network or local newsroom packaging. The videographers themselves will become the editors and producers and people will be able to draw on a virtual hive-library of video and images. Here in L.A. you constantly see entreaties from local news for people to send in footage of news events that they've captured on phones, etc. This indicates that the news people already know what they're up against and are trying to stay in the loop. But one can imagine a time when multiple video sources of an event will be available online without having to watch local news for interpretation (or misinterpretation as is often the case.)

There are deep implications here for a shift in the way we consume media without the need for corporate packaging and what's interesting, as was shown in the comments to the original post, is that people are free to see in it what they want and spin it to fit their own particular agenda. There's no replacement for good news writing, but there's so little of it now that it's only a matter of time before the massive proliferation of technology fills the gap.
posted by gallois at 9:37 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps we would have done better to frame it as the latest instance of series of mob-viral episodes based on fights on public transportation around the world, such as Bus Uncle, Dog Shit Girl and Densha Otoko. The Densha Otoko phenomenon even started on 2channel, which (along with Futaba), is almost the exact Japanese equivalent of 4chan.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 11:30 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: He's leaking.
posted by fixedgear at 4:44 AM on February 18, 2010


I like to imagine 4chan's Anonymous and AskMe's Anonymous walking into a bar, and the wacky hijinx that would ensue.

One's an internet tough guy with no emotions! The other's severely depressed, has just been fired, and has bizarre relationship issues!

I should really pitch this concept to Fox.
posted by mccarty.tim at 5:33 AM on February 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


Perhaps the post just needs to be reframed around Bored Hipster Girl.

i got caught up in that because weekend, while on a chairlift, i was in the middle of an altercation between the other occupants. it didn't go to fisticuffs, but i think some inpolite language was exchanged. i was wearing sound cancelling earbuds for my mp3 player and missed most of it.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 7:13 AM on February 18, 2010


Forgive my innocence, but what is /b/?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:50 AM on February 18, 2010


Treasure your innocence.

Or start here, I guess.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:53 AM on February 18, 2010


It was weird that no one mentioned the idea of fighting words.
posted by klangklangston at 8:22 AM on February 18, 2010


/b/ is...
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:24 AM on February 18, 2010


I bet the dudes in my Fisticuffs club could beat up the dudes in your video game club, so we'll see who gets the name!

Video game club?

*dons ghillie suit, goes waaaay out to the tall grass, waits very patiently*

The preferred term is "murder simulator club" thankyouverymuch.

*aims, releases safety, exhales, begins to squeeze...*
posted by quin at 8:38 AM on February 18, 2010


/b/ is...
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:24 AM on February 18 [+] [!]


The linked site is a malware-laden pit.
posted by Phlogiston at 9:28 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Oakland bus post is one of three recently deleted posts which focus on examples of a family of strange pustules we're seeing all over the place on the body metapolitic right now, symptomatic of a truly bizarre outbreak of mass hysteria-- completely isomorphic to the penis panics and genital retraction syndromes of Africa and Asia-- among middle aged white guys (MAWGs) in the US.

The other two are The Misandry Bubble on MetaFilter, and Jeepers Freepers on AskMe.

In Jeepers Freepers, atchafalaya opens a window on just how the thing is propagating itself:

I often meet guys in their late thirties and up who, without the slightest provocation, assume I hate Obama, or Kerry or whoever and proceed to froth to me about it.

The last time this happened, it was an older gentleman who began by telling me he was a C-130 pilot in Vietnam, and then began to give me a rundown of how John Kerry "was only hit in the ass by a grain of rice" and so on. By the end of his rant, he was practically standing on my feet. I changed the subject.

My question: What the hell is with these guys? Is it possibly a sign of a pre-Alzheimers type of syndrome? Is there any research that might indicate this?


The MAWGs are losing all sense of themselves and their social situation, as well as all contact with reality in their obsession with spreading their obsession.

I'm finding it fairly scary, because in the penis panics, after they've all gotten themselves sufficiently worked up about their missing penises, they typically mob up, go find the people who've stolen their penises, and tear them to pieces.

I wonder what the MAWGs will do when they reach that phase.
posted by jamjam at 9:29 AM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


This MAWG is truly baffled by your comment, jamjam.
posted by fixedgear at 9:46 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


jamjam, color me confused as hell.
posted by Think_Long at 9:52 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think jamjam is onto something. A lot of MAWG are beginning to realize their future is shit: no work, no pension, no healthcare, no fucking hope. They're in fear of becoming a minority, fear of becoming displaced, fear of losing their dominance in the culture.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:56 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: I did not view it as merely prurient.

I thought the post should stay.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:11 AM on February 18, 2010


That thread is one of the best threads EVER on Metafilter. In the history of the internet, even. FOR SHAME, mods.
posted by xmutex at 10:11 AM on February 18, 2010


> the idea that you stop punching someone when they stop punching you is silly. You stop punching someone when they are no longer able to punch you anymore.

Self-defense in California:
If a "reasonable person" in similar circumstances would feel threatened by an attack, that person may use all force reasonably necessary to prevent injury. An act of self-defense must ordinarily be proportional to the threat. If you believe a person is going to spit on you, depending upon the context it may be reasonable to push the person away, but it would not be reasonable to hit the person with a hammer.
As the cliche goes, better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6, but everyone should know that the "stop punching when they are no longer able to punch you anymore" strategy can end in you being the one to be tried for battery (or worse.) One of many good reasons to make sure physical conflict remains the course of last resort.
posted by Zed at 10:15 AM on February 18, 2010


An act of self-defense must ordinarily be proportional to the threat.

Peculiar. What do you do? Punch a guy once, step back, and say "I shall now wait for you to inflict further harm upon me so that my response shall be proportional!"

California, man.
posted by xmutex at 10:17 AM on February 18, 2010


strangely stunted trees - Thank you for the links. That is fascinating stuff. After reading about Densha Otoko, I'm wondering when we'll see the Dreaded Friend Zone movie.
posted by Xalf at 10:44 AM on February 18, 2010

I wonder what the MAWGs will do when they reach that phase.
Wonder no more.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:13 AM on February 18, 2010


This MAWG is truly baffled by your comment, jamjam.

I'm a MAWG too, of course.
posted by jamjam at 11:23 AM on February 18, 2010


I'm totally onboard with jamjam's MAWG theory. I mean, we are literally at the point where you cannot use words and logic to reason with *large* segments of the population anymore. MAWGs are a minority but they still have money, guns, and a voice in the media. It's really hard not to see parallels in modern history.

/trying not give into paranoia and fear, I'm sorry you were saying something about a bus?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:29 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is this MAWG thing a parody of racist othering or are you guys just assholes?
posted by mpbx at 11:43 AM on February 18, 2010


I don't know how it works on 4chan but calling someone an asshole in MeTa is akin to throwing the first punch.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:47 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I mean I assumed it was parody because it rhymed with "wog"

are a minority but they still have money...and a voice in the media.

hmm, nobody has ever strewn racial strife with those alleged characteristics!
posted by mpbx at 11:48 AM on February 18, 2010


I hope you are not calling me an asshole. I understand the words but do not understand what jamjam is trying to say. Epic Beard Guy is a MAWG? He's a 67 year old Vietnam Vet with PSTD, not really in the MAWG demographic. The crazy people in the deleted AskMe who assume because you are white you agree with their racist rants? Like I said, I am confused. I saw Falling Down though.
posted by fixedgear at 11:53 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fixedgear, you and I are on the same page. I just find this MAWG thing distasteful.
posted by mpbx at 11:55 AM on February 18, 2010


The interesting thing about the Oakland bus video is all in the reaction. Namely, how quickly people on both sides were able to adapt it to fit the narratives that they're telling themselves about race in America, rather than looking at it as a case of "Two guys go looking for a fight, and find one".
posted by Parasite Unseen at 12:21 PM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


This feels like the Israeli organ-harvesting episode all over again. The tension is palpable! This community knows that there are fascinating sociological phenomena that have occurred and are occurring related to these events, but our panties are so tightly bunched that we just can't quite find a way to talk about it.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:53 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good lord. Some of you people actively seek to take offence, don't you? Us middle-aged white guys can't even talk about the attitudes and concerns we see our fellow middle-aged white guys expressing, without someone going all Oh Noes!!11eleventyone! about it.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:36 PM on February 18, 2010


Now that's what I call comedy gold: the gift that just keeps on giving.
posted by breezeway at 1:42 PM on February 18, 2010


"They're in fear of becoming a minority, fear of becoming displaced, fear of losing their dominance in the culture."

What they need now is a twitchy Austrian and a beer hall.
posted by klangklangston at 6:14 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It feels like I'm back in high school and there was a fight behind the bike sheds yesterday after school and today everyone's talking about it: taking sides, arguing over what happened and who started it, girls complaining about how guys are so immature and everything.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 8:26 PM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you're actually wondering this is /b/ (nsfw, obvs)

Looks like they've moved on to venerating the IRS suicide pilot (note that 4chan pages expire pretty quickly)
If a "reasonable person" in similar circumstances would feel threatened by an attack, that person may use all force reasonably necessary to prevent injury. An act of self-defense must ordinarily be proportional to the threat. If you believe a person is going to spit on you, depending upon the context it may be reasonable to push the person away, but it would not be reasonable to hit the person with a hammer.
As the cliche goes, better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6, but everyone should know that the "stop punching when they are no longer able to punch you anymore" strategy can end in you being the one to be tried for battery (or worse.) One of many good reasons to make sure physical conflict remains the course of last resort.
In the second video, we can see the cops just let him go. But actually I was going to post on that in the thread but it got deleted while I was typing. Ah well. But yeah, the idea that what he did was completely OK under "Self defense" is absurd.
posted by delmoi at 10:36 PM on February 18, 2010


/b/ is...
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:24 AM on February 18 [+] [!]

The linked site is a malware-laden pit.


Sounds like a perfect definition to me!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:09 AM on February 19, 2010


this is a fascinating phenomenon and that thread was pretty interesting and then it got deleted because...why? it was ugly? makes so sense to me, plenty of subjects are ugly but undeleted.

serving the community is fine but i'm with MrMoonpie, sometimes the mods should ignore the flags and let a difficult subject work itself out because of the level of substance available for comment. If it was just the video, yeah, meh, but the video led to a plethora of responses, especially the one from 4chan, which affected the blogger and caused a pretty clear and rational response by her. /b/ is more than a shock site at this point...it's a philosophy and its influence is growing. Whether you support it or oppose it, pretending like the subjects it deems important are too disturbing to be addressed at all is a network TV level of childish.

ugly exists, let's do our best to talk about it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:06 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


ugly exists, let's do our best to talk about it.

Seconded. This MetaTalk thread has turned into the deleted thread anyway.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:28 PM on February 19, 2010


Maybe this thread should be closed too. Threads with lots of heat but little light just cause grar, which we don't really need here. Is this going to resolve anything, or just piss people off?
posted by Pronoiac at 12:55 PM on February 19, 2010




My wife, having no idea of this meme, says "crazy."

I figure, could be commercial. Am I too cynical? PSTD or delusional or acting or??
posted by five fresh fish at 9:57 PM on February 19, 2010


I think we can all agree that the beard was the only hero in that video. That was a heroic beard.
posted by ryanrs at 10:00 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Top wrestling site says: EBM needs to guest host WWE's Monday Night RAW
posted by jtron at 10:20 AM on February 20, 2010


"Don't fuck with senior citizens ... god bless America, and stop the war, Mr. Obama."

PSTD or delusional or acting or??

PTSD. That's not acting.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:12 AM on February 22, 2010


Epic Beard Man's PunchOut
posted by cashman at 7:33 AM on March 4, 2010


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