#2. Juggalos Love Swearing, Environmental Beautification
Even those of us who happily put up with bikers and bronies are probably less tolerant of Juggalos. If you don't know much about Juggalos -- members of the subculture that's arisen among fans of Detroit hip-hop band Insane Clown Posse -- a description probably isn't going to do them justice. So here's a picture instead:
Via Village Voice Yeah, that's them.
Widely mocked since they emerged in the 1990s, Juggalos have recently seen their reputation go downhill quicker than the career trajectory of someone with an ICP face tattoo. Ridicule increased after this adorably optimistic 2010 ICP video went viral, and in 2014 Juggalos were classified as a gang by the FBI. Society's animosity is not completely groundless: The yearly Juggalo music festival is a drug use free-for-all, and in 2010 fans injured a performer on stage by throwing rocks and urine-filled bottles at her. But for most people, Juggalo hate is less about righteous anger and more about making fun of adult men with bad teeth who wear clown makeup.
How They're Being Awesome
My point here isn't that Juggalos do charity: They do, but so do a lot of fans. The point is that when Juggalos do it, they do it awesomely. Take this Juggalo group in Florida, which picks up litter from local forests and highways in honor of a fellow fan named Stephanie who died from diabetes. (In true Juggalo fashion, they named themselves the Dead Stephanie Memorial Cleanup.) Or the Juggalo toy drive video, in which the band and various acolytes told us about the real meaning of Christmas:
Juggalo charities, like Juggalos, don't try to hide who they are or where they come from. The same pride and lack of self-awareness that prompts people to dress up in clown makeup in public also means that they see no need to stop swearing during promotional ads for children's charities. We need to support this movement, if only so we can see what other names Juggalos come up with for their philanthropic works. A fund to support cancer research could be named "Fucking Cancer, How Does It Work?" A charity that works to prevent childhood hunger could be called "The Kids Need Faygo and Corn Dogs and Shit." Get on this stuff, guys.
#1. Social Media Sites Keep Helping the Hell Out of People
Social media, smartphones, and the Internet in general are erasing the longstanding bonds that connect humanity. Even when people are next to each other in today's society, we're all too consumed with our personal Facebook and Twitter feeds to take the time to discuss politics with the homeless guy next to us on the bus. Oh, for the days when people used to actually talk to each other on public transport!
Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision/Getty Images
It's not just the social isolation that's bad, either: The Internet also seems to bring out the worst in humanity. One of the most notorious cesspools of Internet inhumanity is Reddit, which, with its great swaths of unpoliced subreddits, is a bit like the Internet equivalent of those lawless libertarian paradises that are always popping up in cyberpunk science fiction. Except at least in cyberpunk fiction the bad guys are usually doing cool stuff with sword-guns and virtual reality and shit, whereas the dregs of Reddit tend to involve people sitting around making generally gross comments.
How It's Being Awesome
Social media was pretty good to Ibrahim, a man in Saudi Arabia who was paralyzed and hospital-bound after a car accident. Ibrahim was bedridden and unable to afford expensive surgery overseas, and his family had long since stopped visiting, perhaps because making conversation about which chips in the hospital wall paint look the most like turtles gets old after the first couple of months.
Eventually, Ibrahim sent out a tweet to his small number of Twitter followers, asking for someone to come visit him. You might expect that he'd get a few awkward "favorites" and maybe an apologetic text message. Instead, Ibrahim's plea for companionship became the most retweeted message ever in Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of people turned up at the guy's hospital room, bringing him flowers and food, and eventually donating enough money for him to get treatment in Germany.
"Sir, we need you to change into this for surgery."
Then there's the story of Hazel Hammersley, a 2-year-old girl with neuroblastoma residing in a children's hospital in Los Angeles. Bored, and presumably sick of that gross hospital Jell-O, Hazel's family stuck a sign in the window asking people to send pizza to the room. Someone posted a picture of the sign on Reddit, and users responded. In fact, they donated so much pizza that the hospital started distributing it to other kids and the staff, and eventually had to ask Redditors to stop sending pizzas before someone died in a pizza-drowning incident.
Note that this wasn't a case of Reddit users latching onto a general cause that everyone else was already supporting: The sign was up in the window of the children's hospital for days, and none of the people walking by in the outside world did anything. It took selfish Internet dwellers to respond, and it wasn't the only time. Reddit users are big on piling on people in need and showering them with metaphorical kittens. Like the terminally ill guy who they spontaneously raised $30,000 for so that he could take a trip around the world. Or when they donated $80,000 to hire security for an orphanage in Kenya that was being attacked by thieves. Shit, it's almost like there's a whole lot of good people out there. Maybe we can hold off on deliberately summoning Cthulhu for another year.