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5 True Stories Behind the Most Badass Photographs Ever Taken

#2. Come at Me, Bear

Malcolm Kirk

This is not Steampunk Pinhead. This is not the formal tux of Ron Maiden, lead singer of Iron Maiden. This is a Russian Bear-Hunting Suit. Or at least that's what it says whenever this picture pops up: "Russian Bear-Hunting Armor," "Siberian Bear-Hunting Suit," "18th Century Bear Armor." Whatever, it's generally agreed that this is insane and Eastern European, and has something to do with bears. Which, to be fair, is true of pretty much all of Russian history. Dig a little deeper into the comments, though, and you'll usually find some controversy: This isn't real, they say. It's actually part of an exhibit in the Menil Collection called Wunderkammer.

Menil.org

Wunderkammer is a surrealist "room of wonders" where objects that have inspired various surrealist artists are displayed. Buzzkill Internet assholes (like myself) love to point out that this suit is just an art piece and not likely to have been used to wade through an ocean of furious, impotent ursine opponents. However, those buzzkilling bastards are missing some vital information: The plaque beneath this suit reads "'Wildman' costume, 18th or 19th century, Germany or Switzerland. Two-piece leather hunting suit with wood spikes and iron chain." See, Subsonic the Hedgehog up there is not a surrealist art piece at all -- it's just a piece that inspired a surrealist artist. This bear suit was, at some point, earnestly built for use by hunters. So back in the 18th century, a bunch of Swiss got together and pondered the question of what could be done about the gargantuan slavering predators that kept hugging them to death.

The answer, obviously, was "hug those bitches back."

#1. The Crying Guardsman

Greek Turkish Forum

Wait, what is a sobbing man in goofy headgear doing on a list of badass images? He looks like a preteen girl watching The Notebook -- or any man on Earth watching a dog die in an action movie. What's his deal?

This is an Evzone, an elite Greek presidential guard, and this photograph was taken during a riot. So, what, he's crying to see what's become of his country? Nope! The Evzones are, in part, responsible for maintaining vigil over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Their duties are largely ceremonial, much like the famous Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace. In short, they are not to react to external stimuli unless it threatens the tomb, and they are not to be moved from their post under any circumstance. Even under penalty of chemical attack. That's important, see, because this particular Evzone is standing, absolutely immobile, inside a giant cloud of tear gas.

Reuters

The photo of the crying guardsman was taken during a protest for the Parnitha forest held in Syntagma Square, which also just happens to house the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Riot police deployed tear gas on the protesters when they got out of hand (or more likely, just because they were bored), and the Evzone, caught in the crossfire, just stood there and took it without so much as a twitch. This feat is especially impressive when you consider two things: The Evzones dress like somebody making fun of a Keebler elf, and they are proud members of the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Brastite

Also, this isn't any old riot: It's a Greek riot. And nobody riots like the Greeks. Look up "the Greek riots" in a Google Image search and it not only shows you a page of photos that looks like somebody made a scrapbook out of Michael Bay's soul, but also asks you to be more specific.

And up there is an Evzone hanging out in the middle of a Greek riot, looking like a racist Christmas ornament and moving like a Monty Python sketch, just baaarely misting up after being blinded by tear gas. Man, if you didn't already feel like a pussy for crying at the end of The Iron Giant, you sure as hell do now.

Buy Robert's stunning, transcendental, orgasmic science fiction novel, Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, right here. Or buy Robert's other (pretty OK) book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead. Follow him on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook.

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