open thread

Open Thread for Non-Personal Stuff, July 2016 Rabbit Squad Edition

This can't be good.
This can’t be good.

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An Open Thread for Non-Personal stuff! No MRAs. no trolls, etc. (The Open Thread for Personal Stuff is here.)

You can continue posting uplifting stuff in the GROUP HUG thread, if you want. Or here. You can also post depressing political stuff here. Or anything, really.

69 replies on “Open Thread for Non-Personal Stuff, July 2016 Rabbit Squad Edition”


About 90% of being a software engineer is knowing what to Google.

Bah! Kids today, grumble grumble. I was a programmer/sysadmin before there were search engines, and I sometimes worry that my problem solving skills have atrophied since then.

On a positive note, there were two planned protests last Saturday in my hometown. One by a white supremacist group against refugees, the other a counter-protest group in support of diversity and tolerance.

400 people showed up to the pro-diversity march. The fascists didn’t even make an appearance. Although on the local newstation’s Facebook post someone in the comments posted a picture of the group at the train station – looks like there were no more than 15 of them. My guess is that they saw the counter-protest crowd and went: “Nope!”

Mind you, bullies are cowards aren’t they. 🙂


That picture gives a whole new meaning to “Chicken breasts.”


That picture gives a whole new meaning to “Chicken breasts.”

IKR? Look at that slut on the left, with the low-cut top. You can tell she’s on the cock carousel.

Can I tell an interesting story? At least I find it quite interesting. It’s a little bit of a read, but I think it’s worth it. It will seem as if it’s about sports, but don’t worry, it’s actually about something completely different.

In 1994, the football (soccer) World Cup was held in the USA. For the group stage, the Swedish team was drawn in Group B, together with Brazil, Russia, and Cameroon. The opening game of the group, between Cameroon and Sweden, took place on 19 June 1994, at the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, CA, with a live audience of more than 90 000 people. The game was broadcast in Sweden by public service television, and the legendary broadcaster Arne Hegerfors did the commentary. This guy:

During the game, Hegerfors said something that made people all over the country react. At one point, when Sweden had scored a crucial goal, the camera switched to a shot of the Cameroon bench, where the mood among the players understandably wasn’t very cheerful. At this moment, Hegerfors uttered the words: ”Det ser mörkt ut på Kameruns avbytarbänk.” The literal translation of this sentence is: ”Things look dark on the Cameroon bench.” This is a common expression, meaning simply that the spirits are low and nobody’s happy. However, when coupled with the image of the Cameroon substitutes, who were all black, there was another, unintended, interpretation of what Hegerfors had said. Viewers picked up on the inadvertently racist comment and treated it as a funny ”oops”-moment in live television.

The success of the Swedish team, finishing 3rd after losing only to Brazil in the semifinals, dominated the sports pages of all newspapers for the last few weeks, and the unfortunate Hegerfors quote was quickly forgotten.

In the 1990s, a journalist called Lasse Anrell had a popular weekly page to himself in the sports section of the largest Swedish daily newspaper, Aftonbladet. This guy:

He would write a column, make comments on the events of the past week, present celebrity look-alikes, among other things. His most popular feature at this time was something called ”Floskeltoppen”, which was a collection of funny, stupid, ridiculous, ironic or incomprehensible quotes from various sports profiles. In the latter half of the 90s, this concept became so popular that Anrell had a series of books published, containing the best of these quotes from his weekly lists. The first book came out in 1996, and it contained the Arne Hegerfors quote from the Sweden vs Cameroon game two years before. It said ”Det ser mörkt ut på Kameruns avbytarbänk.”, attributed to Arne Hegerfors from the 1994 broadcast.

The Cameroon game itself had been watched by about 2 million people in Sweden, or about a quarter of the entire population, despite being aired in the middle of the night between Sunday and Monday. The fact that 2 million people had personally heard Hegerfors say these words on live TV, along with the immense popularity of Anrell’s book, which was a bestseller, made it so that almost every Swede knew the quote, and it became a national classic. Hegerfors himself appeared on TV many times in the following years, explaining that he of course didn’t say it with any malice, and that he now found it flattering that something he said would likely be remembered forever. When Anrell retired from Aftonbladet, he ranked the Hegerfors quote first place on his list of ”all-time Floskeltoppen”.

Fast forward to 29 November, 2015. A few minutes before midnight, a thread was created on the popular message board Flashback. A user with the screen name ”ArneHegerfors” made a modest request for a video clip, for example a youtube link, of the well known quote. The user linked to a later clip, in which Hegerfors talks about the quote, saying it came from the 1990 FIFA World Cup, whereas it had otherwise been generally accepted that the quote originated in 1994. Because of this discrepancy, the user wanted to find the clip so they could once and for all know the proper source.

Before I go on, I should give a short introduction to the Flashback message board. Flashback is one of the most heavily frequented Swedish websites, with something like 1 million registered users and 2 million unique visitors/week. Somewhere around 15 000 – 20 000 posts appear on the various boards every day. Flashback has historically been very protective of the identities of its users, promising never to log any sensitive information about members, including their IP numbers. While you do need to create a user in order to participate in discussions, the boards are considered highly anonymous and users almost never give out any personal information. These conditions have turned Flashback into a quite 4chanesque space, in which bigots yell about ”PC culture”, ”cultural marxism”, ”radical feminism”, ”rapefugees”, etc. While there are many Flashback sub-boards that simply function as friendly spaces to discuss hobbies, the most popular topics (celebrity gossip, politics, criminal investigations) are generally flooded with the regular ”alt-right” white noise.

However, as a user-driven collaborative monster, Flashback can sometimes accomplish amazing things. The message board’s anonymous users have been nominated for a prestigious journalism award for digging up info and shedding light on a situation in which a young rape victim had been ruthlessly victim blamed and ostracized in her small town. The story led to a necessary national conversation about the protection of victims, and the problem of victim blaming. Anonymous users have also won another journalism award, for discovering that a successful Norwegian photographer had manipulated hundreds of photos over many years, and had been stealing material from other photographers. Sadly, the anonymous and often hateful nature of the website almost always led to ethical issues such as stalking, harassment, doxxing and all kinds of misogynistic and racist abuse. The tendency to dig for information regarding ongoing criminal investigations is more often than not fueled by a hope to discover that the perpetrator is a refugee/immigrant, preferably a Muslim from the Middle East or Africa.

Getting back to the story, the thread about Arne Hegerfors and his classic quote immediately sparked discussion. The first reply was from a user who said they’ve seen the clip many times, and that it’s probably on youtube, but also hinted that ”the media” had made efforts to erase the clip from the internet, presumably due to embarrassment. Another user claimed the idea that the quote came from the 1994 game was a common misconception, and that the actual origin was the dramatic quarter-final between England and Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup. A third user confirmed that the quote came from 1990, and it could probably be heard in the World Cup summary program aired by the TV network the same year. However, the OP replied with a youtube link to the program, proving that the quote was nowhere to be found. OP then went on to float the idea that maybe the quote was a myth. Maybe it was made up by Lasse Anrell for nefarious purposes, or maybe one of Anrell’s readers made it up, sent it in, and Anrell never bothered to fact check.

Now things started to heat up. Many commenters were 100% certain that they’d heard the quote during the 1994 Sweden vs Cameroon game, while others were 100% certain that they’d heard the quote during the 1990 England vs Cameroon game. Others floated the possibility that it actually came from the 1994 game between Russia and Cameroon, in which Russia won 6-1. This was quickly contested by OP, who claimed that in fact Cameroon’s games against Russia and Sweden had both featured commentary, not by Hegerfors, but by Bo Hansson, this guy:

At this point, some users were very confused. New commenters swarmed the thread just to post about how certain they were that the quote was uttered during this or that game. Some guesses were wilder than others. A few users claimed that the clip used to be on youtube, but now it seemed to have been removed. Others discussed the clips in which Hegerfors talked about the quote, years later, suggesting that Hegerfors didn’t seem to actually remember when he said it, or indeed if he had ever said it at all. Now fairly certain that the quote could not be from the 1994 game, some users had shifted from a mythicist perspective to entertaining the more likely explanation that it did in fact come from the 1990 quarter final.

As there were now several theories, none of which had been backed up by any form of evidence, various users started to investigate the matter. One commenter searched through all of the published newspapers from 1990 for the keywords ”England” and ”Kamerun”, finding no mention of the quote in question. When searching for the quote itself, the earliest mention found was from 17 December 1995, in a column by none other than Lasse Anrell. Other commenters went searching for VHS recordings of the games in question. Meanwhile, new theories kept coming in. A new commenter claimed that the quote originated from a pre-World Cup friendly between Sweden and Nigeria in 1994, and that it was Bo Hansson who said it.

It was possible to find videos of the games on youtube, but these were from British or Spanish or Italian television. The difficulty of finding clips with Swedish commentary made the search frustrating. On the assumption that the visual feed was the same across different countries, users went through the footage to find shots of the Cameroon bench during which the Swedish commentator could have reasonably said the quote. Particularly one such moment was found in the
England vs Cameroon game, after England had scored the game winning 3-2 goal.

Another user mentioned that Hegerfors had previously, in 1982, described the Cameroon World Cup team as ”colorful – in more than one sense”. It was suggested that this quote had been conflated with some other quote somehow. Others were starting to question the idea that a random clip from a Swedish football broadcast should be available on youtube, while yet others pointed out that it’s possible to find classic Swedish commentary of football games from the 1930s on youtube, but apparently 1990 or 1994 footage had been lost forever? This seemed unreasonable, to say the least.

One by one, these theories were shot down by various investigators, while the tone of the discussion turned more and more aggressive as pet theories were proven false, and people had to question some of their most rock solid memories. Some games that had been suggested as the origin for the quote turned out to never have been broadcast in Sweden at all. Others had different commentators and were dismissed for that reason. Yet others were already widely available, and nobody could find the quote anywhere.

After a week of discussion the thread had reached more than 1000 comments, and the story was picked up by Aftonbladet itself, actually using Flashback as a named source. In a short article, it was noted that the authenticity of the classic Arne Hegerfors quote had been questioned, and that no actual video or audio clip could be found to support the story. Hegerfors himself had commented that he didn’t really remember saying it, but he’s pretty sure he did say it. Why would millions of people remember him saying it, if he never said it?

Eventually it was discovered that the Swedish Media Database might have stored the original broadcasts of certain games of interest. The SMDB is a collection of almost all audio/video that has been published in Sweden since 1979, as well as a lot of older material. Virtually every minute of every public service (and TV4) broadcast from the last 37 years has been digitally stored, along with a near complete collection of every musical recording ever officially released in the country since the late 1800s. In total, the database is said to contain something like 10 million hours of material. The physical location of the SMDB is somewhere deep in the ground, below the National Royal Library, located in the park Humlegården in central Stockholm.

In order to gain access to the database, you need to show evidence that you’re working on some kind of research project which would require using the SMDB. One Flashback user volunteered to make up some story about a research project and get permission from his university to seek access to the SMDB. The user promised to set aside an afternoon for the excursion, and the other commenters waited impatiently for his return. Afterwards, the user recounted his trip to the library in detail, saying he watched the entire England vs Cameroon game and did not hear the quote. He was not allowed to take pictures inside the library, but he did manage to sneak a picture of the computer screen anyway, as proof that he was actually there and watched the game. Other users later volunteered to go back to the SMDB to access other games during which the quote could’ve possibly been uttered.

All these theories were eventually disproven. A fairly stable consensus was slowly reached, that the quote was in fact a myth. It never happened. Millions of people had been deceived by their own brains. Others still wouldn’t give up, and kept suggesting more and more obscure and farfetched games to investigate, as well as speculating that the quote could’ve been said during a half time break somewhere. Someone even tried to go through old usenet archives from the 90s in order to prove that they hadn’t misremembered it all.

As the quote now seemed to have originated with Lasse Anrell himself, and no first hand source could be found, several people now strongly suspected Anrell of having fabricated the quote for personal gain. One Flashback user managed to find Anrell’s personal phone number, and gave him a call to discuss the matter. The user claimed that Anrell, in this phone call, had freely admitted that he originally picked up the quote from an Aftonbladet reader, who sent it to Anrell as a contender for ”Floskeltoppen”.

The Flashback thread caught the attention of journalist Jack Werner, this guy:

Werner had made a name for himself through examining the veracity of viral internet stories, videos, memes, etc. He brought widespread attention to the story in a Facebook post, basically summarizing the contents of the now quite long Flashback thread. When Anrell was contacted to make a comment, he acted weirdly defensive and made dismissive remarks of ”internet trolls”. In a column, Anrell finally concluded that the quote definitely happened, whether Flashback believed it or not.

At this point, though, one would have to be fairly naive to still believe it. Every game which could possibly have been the origin of the quote has been dismissed. There’s still no first hand evidence that the quote was ever uttered.

Obviously, this is a fascinating example of how unreliable the human memory is. It probably won’t come as a surprise to most mammotheers that humans often misremember, exaggerate, and twist their memories until they no longer remotely resemble what actually happened. For me personally, this story is the most amazing example of this kind of complete self-delusion on a massive scale that I’ve ever come across. I was one of those 2 million people who stayed up that night, although I was only 9 at the time. I remember hearing Arne Hegerfors say the words. I remember seeing the Cameroon bench. I remember my parents laughing. I remember discussing it the next day. I remember my brother trying to explain the significance of what the commentator had said. I remember picking up the Anrell book a few years later. Every person I ever knew when growing up had heard this quote in its original form. We all knew it so well. We could all remember the exact sound of his voice. We could all say it with that exact intonation. We could all independently describe the exact look of the Cameroon players in that moment.

I now reluctantly accept that the quote was never uttered. None of this ever happened. In the 6 months since this was discovered, guess what has happened? Not a thing. Almost nobody’s aware that the quote is faked. Everybody can still remember watching the game, hearing the words. I was already aware of the unreliability of human memories and eye-witness accounts, but this whole thing has given me such a powerful practical demonstration of how strongly people want to believe what they want to believe. Personal experience almost always trumps evidence. This is now abundantly clear to me.

TL; DR sports

That reminds me of the famous Daisy ad that the Lyndon B Johnson campaign ran. The one with the little girl picking daisies in a field and then suddenly a nuke goes off. In this case it really happened but it only aired once. A lot of people remember seeing it air but they didn’t. They remember seeing a news report about it later on.

We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

But yeah, suggestion is a powerful thing and I really learned not to trust my own memory when asked once whether they ever show the character Harvey st the end of the movie. I won’t say the answer to that here in case anyone else wants to test their own memory, but my memory lied to me on that one.

I have found a splendid word. It is called mumpsimus, and it refers to adherence to a belief or set of actions coming from a flawed or demonstrably untrue source.

I am still finding its fit in my brain, but shall try using it in a sentence: “The dress code they have us adhere to in order to ‘prevent rape’ is mumpsimus in its purest form: bared shins cause rape like airplanes cause auto accidents.”

A black man, Alton Sterling, was killed by Baton Rouge police officers responding to a call that a man selling CDs outside a food mart pointed a gun at someone, telling them to leave the property.

The story here: (Warning: Story includes the cell-phone video of the shooting — but it shouldn’t auto-play)

After tasing Sterling, the officers tackle him when he doesn’t get on the ground. Once they have him on his back, with both officers having knees on top of him, one officer can be heard yelling, “He’s got a gun! Gun!” (00:28 seconds in). The officer whose knee was on Sterling’s chest/neck area draws his weapon and has it trained on his head/upper chest (00:29). 00:30-00:31: “Hey, bro, you f**king move, I swear to God!” 00:33: “He’s going for the gun!” … and simultaneously, two shots. The person shooting the cell-phone video drops their phone; four seconds later, three more shots.

So, we have:

1) Police responded to a call involving an armed suspect. And somehow, once they have him on his back, with both their body weights on him, and patting him down, they are shocked to discover that he has a gun?

2) For roughly four seconds, Sterling has a gun trained on his face, whilst having two police officers pinning him to the ground with their body weights. It is at this point that he decides to go for his gun? Either suicide-by-cop, or murder. The store owner said that he never saw Sterling go for his gun. The video is shot from too far away to be clear, but to me, it strains belief that he would be fighting to get to his gun in that position. The “he’s going for the gun!” started to feel like a performance.

I could only watch the video so many times before I just felt sick, so I don’t know how accurate my impression is. And I suppose it is possible that it was a suicide-by-cop at the end.

But definitely don’t read the comments.

A bit of good news: The FBI’s officially told the right-wing conspiracy theorists to STFU about both BENGHAZI!!! and TEH EMAILS!!! Frankly, it shouldn’t have humoured their hate-boners with investigations in the first place, but whatever, better late than never.

Which, hopefully, means that we can get back to the scandals that are actually scandals, like Trump (allegedly) raping a 13-year-old girl. Seriously, why is nobody – not even David – talking about this?!

Took em long enough! When was the last time Republicans investigated something and found a crime? They should hafta hand in their badges at this point

why is nobody – not even David – talking about this?!

I’m not finger pointing at any specific commentators or outlets here. If I had to guess why this isn’t a bigger story in general:
1)nobody talked about Saville either
2)Republican nominee for President raping a child is not something most outlets wanna talk about. If they’re wrong (or can be made to seem wrong), their cred is all but gone. He’s already a racist, sexist, fascist, idiot with stupid hair. There’s really no need to add pederast to the list and risk him biting back somehow
3)most people just don’t wanna hear it. You play to what interests your audience. Something a little salacious but not too dower. This is just fuckin depressing
4)low key, this case is kinda fishy. There’s some stuff floating around that, if true, really puts the accusations into some doubt. I mean, I still believe it. He totally raped Ivana, his spokesguy seemed to think spousal rape wasn’t criminal, he knew Epstein and said of him (paraphrased) ‘he likes beautiful women like I do, and he likes em young’. *Blergh* If he’s entirely innocent, I’d be catatonically shocked
But. I can’t vouch for veracity on this. Any of it. That said, there’s a little weirdness. It’s the kinda thing that gives Trump some reasonable doubt. And, besides, Epstein’s already ‘served his time’, so who cares to go after him. Basically? This is messy, and messy is hard
(Apologies if you meant your question rhetorically)

Rich white men’s misdeeds, sadly, do not usually emerge until it’s safely “too late.” Actually doing something about it in time to change things might be difficult and might rock the boat, and nobody who has enough influence to do that wants to do it.

This is why nobody said anything about Saville until he died, at which point it came out instantly. This is why this week Britain is finally seeing the report on the 2003 Iraq war released, 13 years and three Prime Ministers too late. This is why imprisoning people for financial shenanigans prior to the 2007 crash is only just happening now.

By that metric, I would expect Trump’s misdeeds to start coming out in November, once he’s lost the election and what remains of his credibility. That’s when it’ll be safely “too late.” Once no rich white man has anything left to lose, the story can be broken.


This is why imprisoning people for financial shenanigans prior to the 2007 crash is only just happening now

As of April 30, 2014, Kareem Serageldin was the only Wall Street executive prosecuted as a result of the financial crisis that triggered the Great Recession. Wonder why…

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