#3. Inmate Hides a Pig in Police Cruiser Logo
You run a correctional facility, and you plan to give your inmates a bunch of menial jobs to pass the time and raise some money. Quick: Security jobs and weapon manufacturing notwithstanding, what's the absolute last task that should be trusted to them?
If you answered "decorating police cars," you've got more sense than the people running Vermont's Northwest State Correctional Facility.
"After that, you'll be cleaning their guns."
To be fair, they did take precautions: The tasks, ranging from stamping license plates to making stationery, were only offered to inmates with a history of good behavior. Unfortunately, even the most mild-mannered con tends to harbor animosity toward the police, what with the whole "getting arrested" thing. So when the prison print shop got the task of producing a bunch of 16-inch logo decals for the doors of 30 Vermont State police cruisers, one inmate just couldn't resist. He sneaked to the computer housing the logo file and made certain alterations to the original design. He didn't bother being too subtle, because surely the decal wouldn't be in place for long -- the cops would probably spot the difference right away.
Fast forward a year. You're a Vermont State police officer, scrubbing a stubborn stain on the side of your patrol car, when suddenly, you notice this:
We're sure spotting it comforted many a ne'er-do-well.
The police had been driving around for an entire year with a very distinct image of a pig plastered on the sides of their patrol cars. (If you're unfamiliar with criminal slang, "pig" is a common derogatory term for "police.")
And that was just the beginning of their troubles. All of the cars were in active use, so they couldn't just pull them off the street for redecoration. The removal and replacement process took four months. Four months during which both the cops and the public knew the pig was there.
#2. Group Delivers Ironic Justice to Threatening Callers
Chip Somodevilla / Getty
Todd Stave was an ordinary landlord from Massachusetts, save for one thing: His tenant happened to be an abortion clinic. This meant that his building's facade usually featured a piquant picket fence of pro-life protesters. While his own stance in the abortion debate was pretty self-evident, he made a point in being fair toward the opposition: Not only did he acknowledge their right to protest, but he openly admitted that right outside the clinic is probably the most appropriate place to express their views.
The Washington Post / Getty
Mr. Stave is pictured here, with his butt chin.
While the majority of protesters responded in kind, one small splinter group called Defend Life proved ironically unwilling to accept Stave's "live and let live" attitude. Instead, they turned their attention from the clinic to him ... and his family.
That's why one day, five members of Defend Life staged a protest near Stave's 11-year-old daughter's school, carrying signs featuring his picture and personal information. They were also carrying a graphic pictorial of aborted fetuses, because when you're traumatizing children, you might as well go the whole nine yards.
If you're gonna douche, douche hard.
Both sides of the debate, along with Stave, were appalled and furious at Defend Life's antics. The group, however, was just getting started. Their next move was a phone terror campaign, calling the Stave household at all hours and hurling colorful threats at Stave and his family.
Were this a Hollywood movie, at this point Stave would've grabbed a 2-by-4 and beaten the ever-loving crap out of his terrorists while being played by the Rock. But this was real life, and Stave had no inclination for such crude tactics. He had something better up his sleeve: a little organization of his own. He formed Voice of Choice, a volunteer group that would simply call back the people who were threatening the family.
"Hi! Someone halfway around the country thinks you're a dick. Just a heads up!"
Voice of Choice callers would never threaten, or even be impolite -- they just calmly thanked the harasser for their (often nonexistent) prayers and well wishes and reminded them that pro-choice people have a right to their stance, too. That's it. No follow-ups, no counterattacks. Just a phone call. But here's the kicker: The culprit wouldn't receive just one call. Each and every available member of Voice of Choice would call them, with the exact same polite litany.
The movement grew and grew until it got to the point that the poor soul who chose to harass the Staves would be on the receiving end of around 5,000 calls in return from Voice of Choice volunteers. Per call.
#1. George Lucas Unleashes the Real World on Whiny Rich Neighbors
For people and comedy websites that are fueled by pop culture, the mere mention of George Lucas offers endless amounts of ammunition, most of which is targeted toward George Lucas. But regardless of what anyone thinks of the man and his place in the pantheon of awesome, in his civilian life, Lucas is perfectly capable of producing moments of greatness.
Alberto Pizzoli / Getty
This is what it looks like when a man trades his neck to the devil for fame.
Until recently, Lucas spent a lot of time, money and effort trying to build a huge digital media production studio on his property in Marin County, California. The project was going to create around 600 high-paying jobs and bring loads of revenue to local businesses. Too bad a good chunk of his neighbors reveled in riches themselves, and as such didn't give a crap about business or, for that matter, jobs. They vehemently opposed the project, claiming that it would bring too much traffic and noise, not to mention so much light pollution that their "dark starry skies would be destroyed."
That's an actual quote, by the way.
Araya Diaz / Getty
Clearly a neighborhood on the verge of overpopulation.
For a whopping 25 years, Lucas tried to build the property. Although he did secure small victories here and there, he was constantly swimming against a current of "not in our backyard" arguments.
Then, in the spring of 2012, Lucas officially stated that he would give up, sell his property and take his business elsewhere. However, his opponents' cheers died in their throats when he announced the second half of his plan: He had sold his land to a nonprofit organization called Marin Community Foundation. According to their deal, the foundation would build the area full of something the county was in dire need of, but had for some reason been struggling to find space for: low-income residential housing. As in, the projects.
If you're imagining Pruitt-Igoe on Tatooine ... well, so are we.
The foundation praised Lucas, but the rich residents were less thrilled. Their initial reactions were absurd shrieks of nonsense that showed the entire world how far removed from reality they were: Lucas' action was "class warfare." The housing project would throw the whole area into a state of "sheer terror." They even, we kid you not, compared the situation to the conflict in Syria. You know, because everyone worse off than you is just waiting to storm your home with a rocket launcher.
Alas, after the initial shit-flinging had died down, there seemed to be precisely jack shit the jackass neighbors could do about the project besides choking quietly on their bile.
New York Times
Today, this entire valley is crack dealers.
And that, friends, is how a famous pop culture icon defeated a wealthy, villainous clique while helping a bunch of poor people. Wait, holy shit. That's the plot of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, isn't it?