Starbucks Christmas Cups and Other Fake Buzzfeed Stories

Abstarbucksout a year ago, the world was thrown into chaos when a ridiculous story about coffee cups made the headlines. According to Buzzfeed and websites of similar reputations, some nutty Christians were furious that Starbucks decided to change its annual Christmas cups into secular “holiday” cups with an ugly red gradient. IT’S A WAR ON CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!

I had no idea that people cared so much about cups. I never heard about anybody looking forward to Starbucks’ annual Christmas tradition. Probably because they fucking didn’t. You see, this story was cobbled together by digging hard to find the tiny handful of angry tweets that existed and blowing them up into seeming like there was a big movement going on. There was literally one or two accounts that were used as a basis for this story in the beginning, one of which had an egg avatar. Completely inconsequential.

However, for sites like Buzzfeed, the truth doesn’t matter. What matters is manufacturing enough controversy to get people to click and share. These writers make all of their money from ad revenue, so it’s in their best interest to write the stories that will best generate engagement, even if they have little justification.

Sure enough, the Starbucks Christmas Cup story reared its head once again in 2016. This time, the problem is with green cups. Buzzfeed News now had a few more tweets to choose from. Hilariously, the top tweet that they chose to showcase was one from a Twitter user by the name of @JazzHandd that was actually sarcastically poking fun at last year’s fracas. Hopefully, she manages to stave off the inevitable harassment campaign from people who are too invested in being outraged to see that they are being conned.

Another example of this is the #BoycottStarWarsVII “movement.” I placed the word “movement” in quotation marks because once again, this hash tag can be credited to a tiny handful of cherry-picked tweets that most likely came from troll accounts. Of course, the clickbait junk peddlers ran with the story because racist drama is big money nowadays.

There was also the case of white Twitter “exploding” over Bomani Jones’ Caucasians jersey, a cute stab at the controversy over the Cleveland Indians’ logo. It’s a pretty interesting story on its own, but to really bring in the clicks, hack writers had to use Twitter accounts with 15 followers to invent an angle about white outrage.

Writers for Buzzfeed and its ilk need to be held accountable for constantly inventing something out of nothing. They are actively profiting from making the world a worse, more hateful place.


PS: If this topic interests you, you might like Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday.


Elon Musk: Twitter Sexist!?

photoElon Musk, the noted engineer and businessman behind such ventures as PayPal, Space X and Tesla has come under fire for his Twitter habits. Or should I say, his Twitter non-habits. On October 4th, Motherboard, the technology-oriented part of Vice, published a piece condemning Elon Musk for not following any women on Twitter. Not even his own mother.

At first, you might be convinced that this article is satire of feminist outrage culture gone wild. Unfortunately, however, it is deadly serious. Musk took it seriously enough that he defended himself on Twitter by explaining that while he mostly uses the social media site for news, he follows just as many women as men on Instagram. This was unsatisfactory to many, already intoxicated by their outrage. “So women are okay to look at, huh?”

This is a man who is one of the world’s leaders when it comes to developments with the potential to ensure the future of humanity. His endeavors push forth worthy causes such as clean energy and space colonization in ways that actually make them viable. Yet, here he is, having his time wasted by people with a ridiculous agenda who will never contribute a damn thing to the survival of our species.

Don’t try to win these battles, man. You can’t win. Just keep trying to save the world.

Elon Musk: Twitter Sexist!? “He Follows ZERO Women!” – WHANG!

Original Vice Motherboard Article

Is Pepe the Frog a Hate Symbol?

tumblr_inline_ntgslfkwcu1sysrze_540The Anti-Defamation League recently declared that Pepe the Frog is a hate symbol.

Although the ADL wasn’t the first to make this claim, since Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has an entire page dedicated to Pepe memes, it was the first major organization to officially declare the meme a hate symbol. Pepe now joins the ADL’s Hate on Display database alongside symbols such as the nazi swastika and the confederate flag.

Pepe started off as a character in Matt Furie’s Boy’s Club comic. He later gained notoriety as a meme on 4chan when people started to post an image of Pepe saying “Feels Good Man.” This picture came from a comic in which Pepe pissed with his pants all the way down and responded to a character who confronted him about it.

The “feels good man” meme died down for a bit, but Pepe once again gained more mainstream popularity as a reaction image. Sad Pepes, smug Pepes and all different kinds of Pepes spread all over the Internet. Yet somehow, because some people made racist memes using him, we’re to believe that Pepe is now a hate symbol.

By the ADL’s own admission, Pepe is not exclusively used in this context.

“The majority of uses of Pepe the Frog have been, and continue to be, non-bigoted.  However, it was inevitable that, as the meme proliferated in on-line venues such as 4chan, 8chan, and Reddit, which have many users who delight in creating racist memes and imagery, a subset of Pepe memes would come into existence that centered on racist, anti-Semitic or other bigoted themes.”

This logic can be applied to just about anything in the world. So what if someone made Pepe memes that included nazi or racist imagery? Does throwing a swastika on something permanently taint every future instance of that thing as a “hate symbol”?

When you throw around the concept of racism so flippantly, you take away its meaning and further empower people to engage in truly racist acts.

-Justin Whang

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See also: Is Pepe the Frog a Hate Symbol? The Anti-Defamation League Declares War on Memes – Whang!