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June 7, 2008

The Mall Ninja made visible
Posted by Teresa at 08:46 PM *

I know I’ve linked to it before: LonelyMachines’ Shrine of the Mall Ninja, which preserves a string of messages posted to the GlockTalk forum by someone calling himself Gecko45. Have you ever wanted to save something because it so perfectly encapsulates a particular style of stupidity? That’s why Gecko45’s messages got saved. As it’s explained at LonelyMachines:

This is a collection of the wisdom posted on the internet by a guy calling himself Gecko45. It all started back at the end of the halcyon summer of 2001, and his posts have created a certain urban legend that many refer to as the Mall Ninja. Hang out at any gun shop, gun show or shooting match and you’ll see one of these guys; you might even see a group of them since they are known to associate in the wild.

The Mall Ninja is easily distinguished by an abundance of “tactical” gear, such as fatigues, a thigh holster (with, of course, a Glock), combat boots, bandolier and other accouterments that you’d usually only see on a SWAT operative. Median age is usually 19-25, and they tend to boast about their various exploits with certain Special Forces units, all of which they’re too young and idiotic to have joined (real Special Forces types don’t brag). They typically have opinions on everything, regardless of expertise, they are uniformly poor shots, and they tend to exhibit a frightening lack of safety training.

The shadowy and shrill figure known as Gecko45 is the holy Dalai Lama of these dolts, but trust me, there are more. Many, many more.

Boy, is he right.

I recommend the saga of the Mall Ninja, if you didn’t catch it the first time around. However, the reason I’m re-posting it is that when I was idly browsing this morning, I came across a photo I instantly recognized as Gecko45 or one of his many brothers in arms. FailBlog has it labeled “Militia Fail,” but I know better. That there is a Mall Ninja.

Additional terrifying updates:

Clifton Royston has unearthed the thread on Something Awful that’s the source of that photo. Our Mall Ninja is the fellow posting as Aperture Science. His icon causes trauma.

Marilee points out that there are further photos linked from the comment thread on FailBlog:

Did you see the other picture linked in the comments? He’s on his bed, with a guitar, guns, ammo, and he’s aiming a gun at his testicles. I bet he didn’t realize that was how it would look when he set it up.
I’m sorry, Marilee, but I didn’t have time to wonder how he thought it would look when he set it up. I was too busy trying to go back to a point in time before I noticed the darker, damp-looking circle on the front of his posing thong which forms a sort of halo around the muzzle of the handgun he appears to be using to, er, nudge himself.
Comments on The Mall Ninja made visible:
#1 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:18 PM:

"The goggles! They do nothing!"

#2 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:20 PM:


The goggles! They do nothing!


#3 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:22 PM:

Um, PNH, what's the protocol here? "Jinx, I owe you a soda?" or something else?

#4 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:26 PM:


That's the scariest thing I've seen all day. By a large margin. Doesn't help that my brain insists on adding a lobster to his forehead, turning him into a Klingon.

Please pass the brain bleach? Thanks.

#5 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:40 PM:

Oh my GOD that guy looks more like a Klingon than anybody not cosplaying ever ever should.

#6 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:43 PM:

Aaaand, never mind, lightning already said it.

#7 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Ur Doing It Rong!!!

(my gawd... pass the brane lathe when you're done with it...)

#8 ::: Dave Trowbridge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:05 PM:

My eyes, my eyes!

#9 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:11 PM:

That there is the embodiment of the phrase "The Loneliness of the Mall Ninja".

::bleaches brain::

#10 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:19 PM:

The mind boggles at the thought of a shopping mall requiring special weapons and tactics, unboggles, reboggles, and then decides that this has to be a special form of madness confined to those parts of the United States south of the Mason-Dixon line. Since I live south of said line, I tremble.

It is now legal in Georgia to carry concealed weapons in restaurants. Presumably this is to defend against attack from the dangerous, terroristic busboys. Or perhaps, from the evil mariachis at Frontera Grill.

#11 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:21 PM:

Teresa, now that I've seen that photograph I'm sending my bill for therapy.

#12 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:21 PM:

Once upon a time, when I was young and foolish, I dated a Mall Ninja type.

In 1978.


Makes you wonder what the prehistoric version looked like.

#13 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:22 PM:

A 'you' is missing from my last post. If anyone finds it, please send it to Ms. Teresa Nielsen Hayden with my compliments.

#14 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:23 PM:

I kept saying "this has to be a hoax. Has to be. It's too FUNNY not to be a hoax." I think, for example, that

those mindless teenyboppers who go to the Hickory Farms store, and then take double samples of fruitcake and cheeselog, you warn them that they will be charged with a felony(grand theft), and that if they attempt to fight and run, they will be, unfortunately, first tazered, and if they continue to resist violently with intent to maim, then wounded.
reads suspiciously like a "for God's sake, of course we're not serious!"

#15 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:39 PM:

Oh, holy hell. Here's the Something Awful thread that pic came from.

There is ever so much more.

#16 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 10:46 PM:

Did you see the other picture linked in the comments? He's on his bed, with a guitar, guns, ammo, and he's aiming a gun at his testicles. I bet he didn't realize that was how it would look when he set it up.

#17 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:04 PM:

When I first made the tactical error of clicking through on that link, I thought the whackjob was wearing a corset.

. . .

And I have to try to sleep now.

. . .


#18 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:29 PM:

This thread has me ROFLMAO. Someone pass me a rib belt, please, because mine now hurt. Also the brain bleach, because no self-respecting Klingon would do that.

#19 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:48 PM:

The Something Awful thread starts getting relevant at page 2. Having read pages 2-6, I feel like the guy was kind of knowingly taking the piss in those photos. Someone asked him for a shot with poor trigger discipline, and he went all out, thanks to the SA crazy gross culture and the way his life is not probably what he wanted.

I feel some sympathy for his situation, but on the whole, he does hang out with the wretches of SA.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:49 PM:

Fragano @ 10... the evil mariachis at Frontera Grill

Directed by Robert Rodriguez.
From a script by Quentin Tarantino.

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2008, 11:56 PM:

Madeline F @ 19... Someone asked him for a shot with poor trigger discipline

"Should premature ejaculation occur, the Joy of Sex album comes equipped with 'Big' Jim Slade."

#22 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:03 AM:

Marilee, #16: I just want to know what pin-up calendar that shot was taken for! Not that I actually want to LOOK at said calendar, but I'm curious about who might.

#23 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:11 AM:

Attention PNH and TNH, my secret username is EYE OF ARGON and I am your S2. My authorization code is Whisky Tango Foxtrot. Your posting this here is tactically silly and compromises our overall mission. Cease and desist all activity on this board. Our “enemies” are daft at computer hacking and may not trace you back to our primary locale. You have forced me to compromise my situation to protect your vulnerable flank. This issue will be addressed later.

#24 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:32 AM:

You know, over on the mighty BoingBoing, they have a long tradition of a "unicorn chaser" after a horrifying post.

Could I humbly suggest that She Who Is The Great Moderator start that tradition here, post-haste?

I'll be joining the line for the brain-bleach. Yech...

#25 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:46 AM:

Right now I've got a cap of Benedryl and a big mug of coffee fighting it out in my brain. If it weren't for that I'd be making a Fright Check. (Yes, I currently have GURPS on the brain.)

#26 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:52 AM:

Wirelizard @#24: It would have to be something other than a unicorn, something particularly beloved of fluorospherians. Hmmm...

Here is a Haggis chaser.

Here is a Knitting chaser.

Here is a Line-editing chaser.

I'm sure others here can think of better types of chasers...

#27 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:56 AM:

I managed to read long enough to learn that his codpiece is made of Kevlar.

#28 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:06 AM:

Whatever you all do, do NOT go to page 3 of the Something Awful thread. There are sights that humanity was not meant to see.

#29 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:19 AM:

Well, I ended up reading to the end of the thread and came away kind of impressed with the guy.

He's kinda ugly and weird-looking, he has goofy hobbies, and he knows it and is willing to make himself look totally ridiculous; the more places on the Internet picked up the photos and did weird stuff with them, the funnier he thought the whole thing was. Also, reading on, he turns out to be proud as hell of his kids, and is not merely on good terms with his ex-wife but managing to share the house and raise their kids together even after she's moved someone else in with her. That seems kind of like a mensch to me.

It's not the Mall Ninja mindset, however much he enjoys looking like one.

#30 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 02:54 AM:

... and that, my esteemed colleagues, is why we need the NSFA tag. As in Anywhere.

Pass the bleach. And a stiff wire brush.

#31 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 03:18 AM:

Fragano @ 10

Clearly intended to counter the possibility of the lobsters escaping from the tank and pinching the customers. An upmarket restaurant might have enough lobsters of a Friday night to cause serious damage, not to say terror.

#32 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 03:41 AM:

Oh, Great Ghu, I looked at page 3! I'm just going to stick my head in the dishwasher and turn it on "Pots and Pans".

#33 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:09 AM:

Fragano, no shopping mall security guard needs that kind of armament. That's what tipped off GlockTalk in the first place. Mall Ninja's basic turnout would be appropriate if malls were regularly invaded by trolls and tyrannosauri.

#34 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:29 AM:

I find it odd that it hasn't been brought up yet, but my first reaction to that photo was "Oh, he's like that guy in Raising Arizona who exploded after the protagonist pulled a pin off him."

Wold this be an example of the Mall Ninja in cinema?

#35 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:59 AM:

Daniel: No. The Leonard Smalls character knew what he was doing.

Joyce Reynolds-Ward, help me with this. I've dated them too. How do you explain them?

Here's one item: if a mall ninja is carrying concealed weapons, he'll tell you about them within fifteen minutes of meeting you.

Yog? I know you haven't dated them, but can you describe the species?

#36 ::: gaygeek ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 07:28 AM:

Well I haven't really 'dated' the type; just some sleazy (and yet rather pathetic) encounters where the mall ninja stated he was just to 'experimenting' (whcih most gays takes as code for 'closet case') but when it came to actually doing anything, it was the most unsastifying sex in my life. At least it was safe. And quick. Really quick.

#37 ::: Mickey Phoenix ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 08:05 AM:

I have to say--I read the entire Something Awful thread. I started laughing on page 2, and literally didn't stop until the end.

My hat is truly off to this guy. He knows what he's doing, and he knows how ridiculous he looks, and he *simply doesn't care*...because he doesn't need our approval to have a good life, and he loves the thought of all those people out in internet-land laughing themselves sick, for *whatever reason*.

I have to admire the heck out of that.

(I also really like that he's comfortable living with his ex-wife and her new lover, and raising the kids together, rather than making everyone go through the pain and loss of a divorce. Then again, I'm poly myself, so this probably makes more intuitive sense to me than it would to most people. But I think it's a heck of a lot better than the alternatives.)

#38 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 08:36 AM:

I'm pretty sure Klingons would not hang out with this guy (or his ilk), no matter how much he might like to hang out with them. Those photos might even induce a few of them to switch to pinstriped suits and wingtips.

#39 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:12 AM:

Just for myself, I think this might be the greatest ML thread evah. For the first time in my life, I can look back at all the Debaters that I dated in HS and know that they TOTALLY ROCKED (in comparison). Kinda makes me feel better for my younger self. I can't wait for Oleander to wake up so I can show him.

You might want to slap a bladder retention warning label on this one. I'm an old lady, fer cri**akes.

#40 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:43 AM:

Serge #20: With additional dialogue by William Shakespeare.

#41 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:46 AM:

Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) #31: Since lobsters are armoured it would require armour-piercing ammunition to put them down, of course.

#42 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:54 AM:

He posts a close up to show that the "wet spot" is actually a shadow. I won't repost it to save on bleach, but he's right.

I read the thread to and I agree with Mickey Phoenix and Fragano - hats off to the guy for having a sense of humour and running with it.

#43 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:00 AM:

Teresa #33: Georgia has just legalized concealed carry in restaurants and bars, and permitted people to have guns in their cars at work, because, apparently, school shootings could be prevented if the teachers were armed, or something. There are idiots who want the state legislature to permit concealed carry on college campuses as best way to prevent another Virginia Tech type massacre. I see this as the best way to empower more Rambo-in-their-own-movie clowns.

The thought of giving the average security guard anything more powerful than a .38 makes me worry.

#44 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:08 AM:

For what it's worth, I spent some minutes trying to figure out if the guy in the picture is someone I know -- definitely the right build and hair, and the face is pretty close. (I haven't seen him in that state of dress, for which I'm glad.) But my acquaintance's personality defects don't include a passion for weapons (hoplophilia?) and the comments in that SA thread make it clear that "Aperture Science" is better-grounded and less messed up.

Debbie @ 38: Those photos might even induce a few of them to switch to pinstriped suits and wingtips.

In Room 32, directly above Kirk's, Captain Kaden vestai-Oparai was struggling with the knot of his bow tie. Tuk'zedo was a bizarre form of dress, he thought for at least the fortieth time, abandoned the tie for a moment and adjusted the braces. He supposed that they were a survival of weapon bandoliers. Was the cummerbund originally a knife-holder, or a piece of body armor, or a sash of office in the Klingon fashion? The Direidi had provided Kaden with a gold lamé one. [...] The necktie (once a defense against strangling-wires and knives, Kaden supposed) resolved itself.

-- Mike Ford's How Much For Just The Planet

#45 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:35 AM:

I've dated them too. How do you explain them?

To Patrick?

#46 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:54 AM:

Thanks for this, Teresa -- it's now close to First Place in my "It Takes All Kinds" file.

(Mind you, I'm having second thoughts about going to the local Mall for lunch tomorrow, after spending the morning at the Community Gardens plot.)

#47 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:57 AM:

I never thought I'd see TNH link SA.

And then I thought, "She should really have a chapter on how those forums are managed in her upcoming codex on Community Management."

Because she should at least have a look-see at how that screaming pit of madness is run: The marvel is not the signal, it is that the Signal:Noise is greater than zero.

#48 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:32 AM:

I am in a high-risk job. It is not the Mall of America, but Ill tell you what its no podunk mall either.I am a responsible citizen who has made the choice to carry at all times. I defend others. If something happens at the Mall then I would be the hero, not those of you who are making fun of me for no reason. Yes Im not a Green Beret but guess what neither are you and unlike you I have to face unruly shoppers every day.My REAL problem is that, like any LEO, I have enemies because of my job. They may \have access to high-powered rifles. My job starts and ends at the same time every day. Although I use four rotating routes to drive to and from work, I am still vulnerable during the walk to and from my car... If you want to laugh at somebody, try laughing at the sheep out there who go to the mall unarmed trusting in me to stand guiard over their lives like a God.

LEO = law enforcement officer? Is this guy really packing to defend himself from vengeful cheese log bandits?

#49 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:34 AM:

Among the myriad other offenses against utility, common decency, etc...

The guitar in the bed photo has no strings on it.

#50 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:26 PM:

Here's the definitive guide to the sub-species. In case it's not immediately clear from the title, the book is satire. I didn't actually wet myself from laughing when I read it, but it was close.

There's also a web site.

#51 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 12:55 PM:

Holy crap.

There's a line in a Hemingway story somewhere that my brain is trying to recall. The character is trying to explain how uncomfortable he feels, and says something about it being similar to opening a door in a church at the wrong time, seeing something he wished he hadn't seen, and then closing the door, unable to say anything. I assumed he was talking about walking in on a pedophilic priest with an alter boy or something.

Can't recall the exact line, google isn't helping. Anyway, that's the sensation I'm feeling right now.

#52 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Joel Polowin @44 -- Cool.

#53 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Michael @49: IIRC, not daring to go refresh my memory (nor expecting that I'd recognize what I was looking at) -- isn't it one of the game controllers for "Guitar Hero", or something like that?

#54 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:05 PM:

Speaking as one who actually WAS a security guard at the Mall of America during its early days, I can only say that there is plenty that Gecko45 didn't tell you...

Like that the reason the Snoopy mascot suit was 7ft tall was that it was a really a Mobile Infantry-inspired, powered Bipedal Pseudo-Canine Defense Unit (BiP-CanDU). While the suit was mainly filled with the usual 16 year old local cheerleader, there was a cigar-chomping, Sgt. Rock-type midget SITTING ON HER SHOULDERS, who had a portable Hellfire missile launcher on HIS shoulder and Browning Semi-Automatic 40mm grenade gun slung across his back...

The indoor fireworks at Camp Snoopy? That was really the cover story put out by the Knotts family to cover the night we Snoopy Troopers battled a local bunch of Crips who assumed that any bunch of guys as heavily armed and good looking as us MUST have been cleverly disguised Bloods...

Or... perhaps the truth is that even after we DID have a gang-related shooting at Camp Snoopy, the closest we ever got to having Mall Ninjas was getting two off-duty Bloomington cops patrolling the main MOA corridors. But they did have a golf cart...

We, OTOH, weren't even allowed to carry big metal flashlights.

#55 ::: Tamara ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Urg. I want my innocence back.

#56 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 02:14 PM:

Sylvia, actually that was Mickey Phoenix and me, I think. I bet he'd be very entertaining to talk to, if one could just keep ones mind Off Those Pictures.

#57 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 02:21 PM:

Brain bleach? Maybe. EYE bleach? Definitely. Sense of humor and rational ex-and-kids situation notwithstanding, that was some seriously ouchy visual stimuli.

#58 ::: Garrett ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 02:49 PM:

Brooks Moses @53:

Yeah, he has a Guitar Hero guitar and a Rock Band guitar on the bed. Both of them are rhythm game controllers (and the Rock Band one is better).

Oddly enough, that was the first thing I noticed in that photo.

#59 ::: embee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 03:15 PM:

Oh oh oh, tummy hurts and cats thoroughly freaked, all due to long minutes of belly-laughing. Thank you, Teresa!

I'm with Clifton and Mickey Phoenix - as I read deeper into the thread I developed a respect for the guy, especially his willingess to create and distribute sublime personal goofiness out there for the amusement, or something, of all.

Oh, and wrt your last terrifying update: it's a shadow from the gun barrel, not a damp spot, or so the guy insists. Yes, I read that far into the thread, snorting all the way.

#60 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 04:45 PM:

1) My brain hurts.

2) The Wired link in the sidelights appears to be borked; leads back here.

#61 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 05:47 PM:

Dammit, Teresa, I was eating.

Not that any power in the 'Verse, even the fearsome power of the Mall Ninja, could have prevented me from finishing, given how hungry I was, but that really needed a warning tag or three.

Apropos of bad trigger discipline, I once sat in on a trial where the defendant was accused of stealing a bag full of guns from a friend during a drunken party. Among the evidence presented was a photo of the accuser and sole witness to the crime, a Mall Ninja-type, drunk off his ass at the party in question, holding an AK-47 in one hand, pointed up in the air, and a Glock in the other, loaded and with the safety off, pointed at his own head. As the clerk of court put it to me during a recess, "one twitch and this is an entirely different case." Needless to say, the defendant was found not guilty.

I have a hard time understanding what would posess someone to behave that recklessly.

#62 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 06:06 PM:

Ooops, apologies to Clifton. Trying to keep the photo out of my brain whilst talking about his personality clearly put me under undue strain!

#63 ::: embee ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 07:09 PM:

oops, didn't see that Sylvia had already mentioned the shadow thing.

Oh lawsy. Now he's thinking about taking it to video. Nekkid video.

Somehow it feels like the Mall Ninja phenomenon is linked to Mall Security Guard Terrorist Prevention Storytelling as described in the previous ML post (and not just because it seems that Aperture Science actually put in several years as a mall security guard). Something about the posture plus appliances/appurtenances: what story is he telling?

#64 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 08:05 PM:

Kevin @61
I have learned thru many damaged keyboards to turn my face away from the screen, eat or drink, swallow, and then, only then, turn back to reading the screen. It has saved many subsequent keyboards from loss, and many screens from a sudden need to be cleaned.

#65 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:32 PM:

Bruce @ 32: Oh, Great Ghu, I looked at page 3! I'm just going to stick my head in the dishwasher and turn it on "Pots and Pans".

I tried that, and it didn't do a damn thing. I think I'm going to have to buy a new grill brush and put it to work.

#66 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 09:47 PM:

Teresa @ 35--

I'm not quite sure how to explain the phenomenon, especially since the one I dated came from a reasonably secure middle-class family. Though, come to think of it, the father worked for some oil company and was always gone.

I did go deer hunting with the guy, and he did at least know how to handle the rifle, so he wasn't all hat and no horse (although my Quarter Horse mare at the time disliked him).

He seemed to me to be a big wannabe of some sort or another. Wanted to be important. Wanted to have some sort of power over something, whatever it was, wanted to be famous and big and all that. He was in the State Police Explorers as well.

I don't know. I think Ann Rule has a decent tag on some aspects of it--I'm not sure if she's written about those wannabes who do nothing but fantasize, but I've heard her talk about the ones who end up becoming killers. The profile runs pretty close, except I think that not all of that ilk go that far. Some are like the guy I dated, just looking to be important somehow, somewhere, and finding a way to settle for something less than real nastiness. Others lack that restraint.
Still others end up getting used by cynical types that exploit that desire to be important (makes me wonder how many Arab Mall Ninja wannabes end up as suicide bombers).

#67 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:15 PM:
The Mall Ninja's got his problems too

And if he could, he'd take them out on you

In drives the village idiot, his golf cart all aglow

He's been up all night listening to right-wing radio

#68 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 10:25 PM:

I knew, but did not date, a guy who was sort of a Mall Ninja, except without owning any actual weapons (so far as I know).

He was a complete pathological liar. But a harmless one. He spun wild, fanciful tales of having escaped from Soviet Russia at the age of 6 hidden in his father's luggage (in truth he grew up in a white-bread middle-class family, by reports of people who grew up with him). Having trained in ninjutsu for six years in Japan, and turning down the U.S. government's offer to hire him to assassinate Saddam, because they couldn't meet his price. Having an Army vet friend who had mined the entire lower floor of his house so that you had to walk only where he did. And so forth. The hell of it was, he remembered everything he'd ever said, and wove it all together seamlessly with new stuff.

Upon seeing a plane fly over campus, he launched into a speech about how that was clearly a so-and-so jet, and they weren't allowed to fly that low in civilian airspace, and I need to use your cellphone to call Colonel So-and-So and tell him about it. (The friend who was with him handed over her cellphone, just to see what he would do. He did an excellent job of acting out a phone call.)

I can't remember the weapons he claimed to be proficient with, mainly because I don't know anything about guns. He lived in my college dorm, where no guns were allowed. He was a bicycle escort on campus -- the kind where if you are walking alone late at night, you can call someone to bike over and walk with you. He was quite good at this job.

He was an incredibly nice fellow when you came to meet and spend time with him. He never lied in such a way to hurt anyone -- when it came to interpersonal relationships, I never heard of him being anything but honest. One of my friends did date him, and from everything I ever heard, she very much enjoyed dating him. He was apparently a loving and thoughtful boyfriend. In the end things didn't work out, but to my knowledge it had little or nothing to do with his power fantasies.

I've always kind of figured the Mall Ninja to be like that. Someone who leads a dead normal life, and has a deep need to fantasize themselves into a much more powerful, thrilling, dramatic narrative. For some reason they don't do what most people do in that situation -- play videogames, write Mary Sue/Gary Stu fanfiction, etc. -- but try to literally sell themselves and others a Gary Stu version of their life.

(I wonder whatever happened to this fellow when he graduated from college -- whether he was able to cope with making an honest resume and talking about himself in a job interview without going off the deep end -- or whether he was able to snow the interviewer. If you only heard him tell one of his less off-the-wall stories, you tended to believe him.)

#69 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:15 PM:


Mall Ninjas will figure in an upcoming TV cop show.

#70 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:16 PM:

The guitar in the bed photo has no strings on it.

That's because the "guitars" in the photo are Rock Band/Guitar Hero controllers, not guitars. Which makes me wonder about the "guns."

#71 ::: Stephen Granade ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:22 PM:

I'm now hoping I THINK I HERD SOMETHING becomes a widespread catchphrase.

#72 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 08, 2008, 11:30 PM:

Erik Olson: Which makes me wonder about the "guns."

Well, the thread makes it clear the big-menacing looking pistol with the banana clip is a .22, and it really is only good for plinking targets for fun. So, not entirely unlike.

Now I'm picturing marketing a plastic controller for a game called 'Uzi Hero'. Oh, the outraged outcries there would be! No, what am I thinking? It could only be called 'Mall Ninja'.

#73 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:14 AM:

... she should at least have a look-see at how that screaming pit of madness is run: The marvel is not the signal, it is that the Signal:Noise is greater than zero.

I think it's a little unfair to characterise SA as a whole as a screaming pit of madness. There are a lot of sub-forums at SA and several of them are screaming pits of madness - some engineered as such for quarantine purposes, some (like the firearms discussion area this all came from) more because of taste mismatches. I'm sure the gun nuts of the Firing Range forum think those of us who only want to shoot things with cameras are screamingly mad.

Yes, I said "us". I am a goon, a paid up SA member since 2002. I went there for the Photoshoppery. They were more talented than Fark and funnier than Worth 1000 and I learned a lot by trying to keep up with their best. In the Creative Convention forum, I hang out with the photographers and have both learned and taught a lot about photographic hardware, technique and art. There is little madness there and some scarily talented people. The same goes for the cookery subforum and (its spinoff cooking wiki). No crazy (except the odd person who insists parsnips are edible) and a lot of very good cooks.

SA works in part because there is an idiot tax ($10 membership, not refundable if you get banned for breaking the rules), moderators who don't take shit from anyone, and carefully maintained areas for screaming madness partitioned from the areas where people want to be more sensible. Of course, the reputation of SA outside of SA is based entirely on the extremes of screaming madness. This unshaved ape and his guns will be seen all over the innertubes as a poster boy for the A in SA and the good things that happen there will go unnoticed. SA is a very large community (117,826 registered users at last refresh) full of lots of smaller communities. If you're careful, you don't have to step in the crazy. If you want to, you can wallow in it. Whichever you choose, there will be many more people there to share that choice with.

#74 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:46 AM:

I am at Cp. Roberts; where a whole lot of people are spending a whole lot of time with weapons, from the meagre 9mm to stuff it takes more than one person to manage.

It's also life in a room with a whole lot of guys, so the photo isn't horrfying, just wierd as all get out.

I can't imagine, personally, needing that many handguns (I can see, maybe, wanting three, with one being for concealed carry, one for cheap pracice and one to haul around to the odd firefight in a combat zone: I don't expect to be going back to the sorts of places where the latter is needful, but I am familiar with that sort of thing, and the familiar is comfortable).

As a point of information a Glock with the "safety off" is sort of like a live mammal with a beating heart. Glocks don't have anything which can be, properly, called a safety.

I really wish I could get the SA thread to load (and who thought that was something they would ever say here?), because I'd like to get more context.

The guns (I have the photo open as I write this) are real. It's just possible they are airsoft, in which case he was willing to spend a lot of money on ammo (nb, he might have been able to get a lot of empty boxes from ammo; and the wit/wisdom to make them match the pistols), just for verisimiltude.

I see a couple of .22s, a pair of .38 revolvers (they don't look heavy-bodied enough to be .357, about which more in a moment) and what looks to be a .22 revolver in addtion to a Glock, and some version of a 1911 Colt .45.

The hammer on the Colt is down, which removes a lot of the poor trigger discipline, as does the finger being outside the trigger guard. For all that it looks bad, it's not worse than things I have seen a lot of people who are really familar with pistols, and have an overly comfortable relationship with them as a result.

Lord knows I have done some silly things when sleeping with an M-16 in the field.

The number of clips... a little strange. I see two for the Colt, and what looks to be seven for the Glock (and at about $60 apiece, that's an investment. The color coding leads me to think he has several different ammunition types, and is keeping them in separate clips.

But the lack of .357 makes me think him a little less mall ninja, becase they tend more to overkill (the $5,000 sniping rifle with the $2,500 scope).

And yes, he reminds me of someone and it just came to me... Ron Howard's younger brother. Remove everything else, and just look at the face.

#75 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:57 AM:

"Ron Howard's younger brother"

Otherwise know as "the tranya kid."

#76 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:12 AM:

Caroline, #68: Maybe someone read him "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" at an impressionable age?

Paul, #73: Interesting. Thank you for going into some detail about the inner workings of SA; I think I learned something.

All: I'd like to note that I'm increasingly uncomfortable with what seems to be a lot of appearance-bashing on this guy. If the pictures were exactly the same except for being a woman of his size and build, I don't think that would be happening. If I'm reading it wrong, I apologize for misinterpreting.

#77 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:58 AM:

The knitting chaser is just adorable. :D

I, too, am finding myself reluctantly respectful of this guy, for not be threatened by people making fun of him (whether his friends on the original thread, or elsewhere on the Internet) and for what seems to be a good relationship with his ex and her current boyfriend.

Which is not to say that his icon/avatar at SA is anything less than brain-scarring. :D *passes out the bleeprin*

#78 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:01 AM:

Lee #76: Yeah, I'm feeling a bit that way, too.

I actually think it's kind of cool how much he looks like a Klingon, too.

#79 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:12 AM:

I vaguely recall a few Mall Ninja tyopes at Scottish conventions in the mid-Eighties. I suppose it could be called Cos-Play today, people attired as well-known sci-fi mercenaries, in the bar with guns.

Then Hungerford happened. Governments and Police forces decided something must be done, and Convention Committees set new rules before the Boys in Blue wrecked things for fandom.

I did get dragged into a rather foolish scheme for a masquerade, one Easter, at about that time. It did involve a cute blonde, but I knew she was married. (The last time I saw her, the cute was still lurking.)

So I think I have an idea of what motive the guy in the photo might have, but I'd just like to have some really solid walls between his bedroom and mine. At least twelve inches of brick, and I'd want somebody else's plaster to be doing the spalling.

#80 ::: Ian Seckington ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:13 AM:

Dear sweet Jesus.

That's the kind of shock I'd expect from following a link at Warren Ellis' place.

I'm going to go scour my eyeballs now. And hope my sleep tonight is dreamless.

#81 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:20 AM:

Erik @ #70, Garrett @ #58, Brooks @ #53:

Hmm, I recognized the Guitar Hero controller, but I thought the other one was a conventional Fender Stratocaster-- except it was missing its strings and bridge. Do I have to go look at it again (shudder)?

#82 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:40 AM:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @33 Mall Ninja's basic turnout would be appropriate if malls were regularly invaded by trolls and tyrannosauri.

Throw in some sodomy and I think I have the outline for a short story. The working title is I THINK I HERD SOMETHING.

#83 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 07:10 AM:

On top of the very interesting gun nuttery of the Mall Ninja, I spotted something else that I know from personal experience. Me and a similarly geeky friend of mine used to call it a Broken Social Module. Essentially, the guy doesn't really seem to know how to behave among, well, humans. To wit: presenting himself in that unspeakable form of underwear and then going back and forth in the thread between trying to make it sound like he was just kidding and implying that he's proud of this sort of picture, appreciates the positive comments he imagined he heard etc.

I had a friend just like that. Well, not a friend. An acquaintance. His thing was bondage. He was also into Medieval reenactment, and he carried his obnoxious sword around with him practically everywhere, but the bondage thing was worse. He would divulge intimate information at the drop of a hat, even if said hat was entirely in his imagination. That is to say, he'd supply the entire table with anatomical detail of his sex-life when we were discussing, say, footwear. Not that we manly men ever discussed that, but you know what I mean. At first I thought that was his thing, a borderline offensive sense of humour that he pushes on everyone. Then he and I found ourselves at the same festival one time and one morning I saw him reversing out of his tent wearing only a leopard-print thong. He was as hairy as Mister Aperture Science. When I reacted vocally to this display, he asked me to feel the material.

So yeah, people with broken social module. Funny, from a distance. Like Penn said: the awesome thing about the internet is that you can enter the private world of nutjobs without having to smell them.

#84 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 09:28 AM:

I'm gonna have to say, I'm kind of with Lee here. I'm not really sure I like where this thread is going. We randomly pick up a picture of a guy doing crazy stuff on the internet, and begin bashing on him?
Is that really ok?
Especially when, taken in context, he was clearly doing it as a joke, and that he clearly doesn't take himself too seriously.
Also, I always thought the Mall Ninja thing was a great stunt. It just kept getting crazier and crazier, and people kept saying "Nuh Uhhh! That's not true!" But it was clear no one got the joke. I mean, come on--at the end they basically said it was a joke with the whole "SPECOPS AND GECKO45 my secret username is CIDDECEP and I am your S2. My authorization code is Six Wun Quebec Oscar Fife." And the whole shootout with the "Those Asians Gangs love Mortal Combat" stuff and "could still see relatively well due to the full moon, shining through the building’s skylights, and years in a dark secret Russian prison center had honed my natural night vision to that of a tomcat.A perp popped up from behind the Orange Julius counter with a full auto Kalashnikov with a 75rd drum" stuff...priceless!!! No one, not even the craziest pathological liar could tell all of that and expect it to fly. "My belief is that they were planning to hijack the coveted Mortal Combat game unit." I mean, come ON. That's a joke, y'all, and it's a brilliant one because so many bought it.
Makes me jealous, a bit.
Of course, there are true gun-nuts out there (my brother is one) and liars and asshats--but I think we're barking up the wrong tree with these guys.

#85 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 09:37 AM:

They are two separate things. We are clear on that.

#86 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 10:02 AM:

I take the point about bashing people, and I really don't want to do that. However, Lee's remark got me thinking. There are people who clearly put themselves on display and who are looking for some sort of reaction. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say they're sending a message.

What's that message? Do I get it? Agree with it? Am I perceiving something different? Those are all things that could be discussed without getting personal, as it were. And there are some people whose appearance does in fact evoke a strong (negative) reaction for me. Zvpunry Wnpxfba, for example. Or "Little Miss" contestants. Examining my reaction tells me things about myself, too, I suppose.

#87 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 11:50 AM:

@#83 I think that's some very dodgy ground there.

I'm not saying your friend didn't have some interesting boundaries. But couldn't he equally accuse you of having a Broken Social Module for being a prude?

#88 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:04 PM:

The guy's icon says "ask me about my weapon".

Is his weapon uzi?

#89 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:25 PM:

*** DO NOT WANT!!! ***

(Goes here to recover.)

#90 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:30 PM:

I did that, too. And the top one at the time was the ninja squirrel.

#91 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 12:57 PM:

Lee 76: I was getting uncomfortable with that. If he were a handsome, buff guy, would his making clothing out of guns be less laughable? No, but people wouldn't laugh at him as much. Certainly they wouldn't talk about the "mental scarring" from seeing his picture.

That said, if you put a picture on the web, there's an implicit assumption that people might want to look at it. And people did. We did. What makes a fat, hairy mall ninja more laughable than a slim, buff one? We think he's out of shape and that makes him sillier. (But Babe Ruth was a very good base runner, so we don't actually know for sure.)

But that doesn't mean that fat hairy people should have to stay under wraps all the time to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of people on the web who are themselves, of course, in perfect flawless shape OR decent enough never to put up pictures of themselves.

I am moderately hairy and much fatter than I'd like. At my most buff I was a scantily-clad waiter at a Hugo Losers party; I would not do that today. If I did it now it would be as a joke (not that it wasn't then), and I would expect people to laugh. But not to make exaggerated claims about bleach.

Confused much, Xopher? I guess I don't quite know what to think. I don't like looking at guys who look like Aperture Science...but I know guys who would find him extremely sexy. I dated one.

JimR 84: Yeah, I have my doubts about the original Mall Ninjas' seriousness too. My favorite was the description of threatening to taze the teenagers for taking double samples of cheese log!

Teresa 85: Yeah, there was Gecko45, and then there's this totally separate guy on SA (Aperture Science) who is posing for fun, and acting and looking just like you imagine Gecko45 must act and look for real (or in his daydreams). Gecko45 may have been a hoax or a seriously deluded guy or a flaming liar, but Aperture Science is making fun of himself and of Gecko45 and his ilk, with good humor for others' jibes at him.

#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Debbie 90: You mean this? I thought that was particularly appropriate. I did note, however, that they misspelled 'skilz'.

#93 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 01:02 PM:

Meh. Stupid. The link, it does nothing.

#94 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 01:54 PM:

Ninja Squirrel link could be this one — sorry, dis wun. It haz misspelt 'skilz'.

BTW, has anyone got a "This might not be nice" message at Flickr? If you say "Yes, want" there's a button once you get there marked, approximately, "Do not want! Show me Kittehs!", that actually takes you to the result of a "kitten" search.

#95 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 02:54 PM:

@Daniel Klein #83:

On top of the very interesting gun nuttery of the Mall Ninja, I spotted something else that I know from personal experience. Me and a similarly geeky friend of mine used to call it a Broken Social Module. Essentially, the guy doesn't really seem to know how to behave among, well, humans.

Daniel, IMHO "Underdeveloped" or "Not yet fully developed" or just plain "Different" would be more useful/general than "Broken", at least if one thinks/hopes that the described person either has a chance of integrating better or genuinely has no issues with their current level of integration. For varying levels/interpretations of "integration" of course.

@Sylvia #87:

@#83 I think that's some very dodgy ground there.

I'm not saying your friend didn't have some interesting boundaries. But couldn't he equally accuse you of having a Broken Social Module for being a prude?

Sylvia, you caught a bit of what I was thinking too. I'd dearly love it if U.S. society was less prudish in its more open places.

@general thread:

For me, the question of what it means to be "broken" in a social context hinges on how one defines "normal" in that same context.

What is "normal"? I know the textbook bit, "adhering to the norms" etc., but what does that mean in practice? Struggling to fit in and be normal is usually stressful, sometimes debilitating, and sometimes even deadly. (Grist for a different thread, perhaps...)

@Xopher #91:
But that doesn't mean that fat hairy people should have to stay under wraps all the time to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of people on the web who are themselves, of course, in perfect flawless shape OR decent enough never to put up pictures of themselves.

And Xopher nails it (at least for body image and wrt Mall Ninja's photos). Why people are not allowed to be comfortable in the body they have is something I can't fully understand. While I didn't read past Page 2 or so (and I'm not going back to it while at work, even if SA may not be blocked by The Filter) other comments here suggest the guy seems to get along great in life - and is dealing with a failed marriage in what appears to be a very healthy way. (I know a couple who had to share house for a while during a divorce that went messy - the guy in that case did NOT deal with it in a healthy way...)

Further on the "large == scary" meme: just today I ran across A Large Fella On A Bike. It's a good story highlighting the major challenge facing some people, and the level of commitment - of both personal willpower and time - it takes to effect significant change. The subject of the story got a very effective wake-up call: a prognosis of 6 months of life without stomach-reduction surgery combined with only a 50/50 chance of surviving said surgery. That he managed to grab hold of that and do something about it is flat out amazing. That is not "just willpower". I'd say it was a miracle but a) I don't really believe in miracles and b) miracles aren't generally presented as requiring 2+ years of work and a lifetime maintenance commitment.

I wish there was a way to jam something into the supply/demand capitalist system that caused worker health to be valued highly enough that businesses and city layouts would be re-planned to encourage more walking/biking, enough that most fitness centers would go out of business because most people could get all the exercise they need to stay healthy and fit just by going about their daily lives...

But, I'm well off the track, so I'll close here.


#96 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:00 PM:

cajunfj40 @ 95... I'd dearly love it if U.S. society was less prudish in its more open places

Somehow that sounds funny.

#97 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:17 PM:

Xopher, #91: I agree that the reaction would be different if it were a handsome, buff guy with all the guns. However, what actually prompted my comment was the realization that the reaction would also be very different if it were a scantily-clad fat woman with all the guns. As a group, we tend to be very fat-accepting where women are concerned; you wouldn't be likely to hear that kind of "Ew, fat and ugly, how gross, get the brain bleach!" comment applied to a picture of a woman, and that's a good thing. But I think the same courtesy should be extended to fat men as well.

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:25 PM:

Lee 97: Yes, I was agreeing and expanding on what you said.

#99 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 03:28 PM:

In re Paul Duncanson, #73, observations on the Something Awful communities:

One of my vices is an internet spaceship game (massively multiplayer) called EVE Online, unique in several ways, one of which has to do with the folks from Something Awful.

EVE features complex in-game economics and politics, plus a "nowhere is completely safe" combat system that still manages to let most people protect themselves from unwanted combat, most of the time. The result is a game environment where you can never quite afford to forget that malevolent human intelligences are out to get you, and will get you if you make a mistake.

The Something Awful connection is that there's a bunch of SA gamers (they call themselves "Goons") who crash into online games in a group and (from some perspectives) act as griefers. In EVE, where there's really no such thing as griefers, this comes across as a huge gang (they have large numbers) of malevolent alien intelligences. They feel "alien" because their motivations are not the usual gamer motivations, which makes them hard to predict, and thus even more dangerous than they would otherwise be.

I realize this is trending off topic, but the science-fictional feel of playing a computer game where there are enemies of human-level intelligence whose motivations are unintelligible (or, at least, very difficult to understand without context that's not readily available in-game) is extremely cool. At least some members of Goonfleet (as the Goons are called in EVE) might claim that they live to ruin the game for everybody else, but in fact, they just make it better.

#100 ::: cajunfj40 ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 04:08 PM:

@Serge #96:

cajunfj40 @ 95... "I'd dearly love it if U.S. society was less prudish in its more open places"

Somehow that sounds funny.

Now it sounds funny to me, too. Hmm. How about "I'd dearly love it if U.S. society was less prudish in its more public gathering places."?

This whole "sexuality (for anything other than procreation within a one man one woman marriage) is evil and wrong and body parts associated with it must be hidden and shamed and etc." thing just irks. This SA thread and the pics on it, IMHO, wouldn't generate nearly so many cries of "eye/brain bleach please!" if we had a less prudish society - and I take the comments about "the little spot" (that turns out to be a shadow) as pointing in that direction.

Hmm. On closer thought, I'd prefer that society be more comfortable with the human body in all its varieties and functions (and dysfunctions, for that matter) in general, not just less prudishness.


#101 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 05:51 PM:

#87, #95. I realized, shortly before posting, that I might come across rather prudish here, and that you people don't know me. It might be too late now, but for what it's worth: I'm pretty much the opposite of prude. When I had Finnish friends over at my place, we were having an extended sauna and drinking session where most people did not bother to get very much dressed up in between bouts in the sauna. The key difference here is that that situation was consensual, all around, where we agreed that this is cool for everyone involved, and no one had anything forced on them.

The thing that made that friend really stand out was that people clearly signaled they were not interested in this kind of, uhm, exposure. That is to say, we all told him Do Not Want in no uncertain terms. I really find his behaviour interesting, though. Why does being rejected spur him on even more?

Of course it's a flippant label, Broken Social Module, but we weren't trying to define him in fine socio-psychological detail.

Something else that interests me from a philosophic point of view is Xopher's post re: is it okay to laugh at someone who's ugly when in the same situation we wouldn't laugh as loudly at someone more pleasing to the eye? In the interest of full disclosure, I'm about as fat and hairy as the guy in those pictures, although I do have a full head of hair and two articulated eye brows. Is it okay to point and laugh at people who look like me and expose themselves like he did?

Well, at the risk of sounding contrarian for the hell of it, I think it is. Maybe we succumb to some kind of vile conditioning here that teaches us that only Pretty is Good and that Ugly should be ridiculed, but the guy presumably lives in the same sort of society we live in, and he knows these rules, and for whatever reasons he's chosen to ignore them. Now laughing at him doesn't necessarily make us sophisticated adults (especially not if we do it publicly), but pretending that it's not funny only out of a vague feeling of equality-in-all-things is the worst kind of lie: the one where you tell yourself you're a different person from who you are.

I was raised to respect all people, to see the good in them before the bad, and so on, and I respect these rules as useful and meaningful for an harmonic society, but like with all rules, I get to decide when I want to ignore them.

#102 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:20 PM:

Well, for me the only problematic part is the "nearly naked man with 'guns'". The hairiness is not an issue, perhaps because I come from a family with a more European attitude about body hair. The weight is not an issue for me, because it's just a normal human variant.

I'm just not into nearly naked men, with or without guns. Now, had that been a nearly naked woman...then again, I can't imagine any woman pretending to be a Mall Ninja.

#103 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: June 09, 2008, 06:33 PM:

Neil Willcox @ #82:

Teresa Nielsen Hayden @33 Mall Ninja's basic turnout would be appropriate if malls were regularly invaded by trolls and tyrannosauri.

Throw in some sodomy and I think I have the outline for a short story.

or just possibly the best videogame ever.

#104 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 01:40 AM:

Ginger@102 ... I think this is the point where I am required to mention that pictures of a naked fat lady (me), [mis-]using various bits of medieval weaponry, are abroad on the Internet, and occasionally (I think) in an art show near you:

#105 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 04:08 AM:

You've either got style, or you haven't.

There aree fat ladies I know who have more style in one pinkie finger than that guy has in his whole body.

OK, if you have the conventional Hollywood B-movie hawtness, you can get away with a lot without needing style.

And the photo I looked at could be badly out of context.

But, nope, I'm too inclined to laugh at him.

#106 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Ambar, having glanced through the photos, I have to say that, subjectively, naked fat lady with weapons is far more aesthetically pleasing than naked fat hairy guy with weapons.

Some of it may be the artistry of the photographer. Some of it may be facial expressions. Some of it may even be body hair -- most traditional art doesn't feature it, obligatory Ruskin reference here, etc. -- but, whatever the reason, those pictures don't make me want the eye-bleach.

And did I know you about 20 years ago at MIT?

#107 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 02:08 PM:


re: facial expressions -- true, working with James has never inspired me to imitate a Klingon. The laughter is the best part of the sessions. (See this, for example -- it's a JSD shot cut down for an LJ icon.)

re: MIT -- guilty as charged.

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 02:40 PM:

I'm suddenly feelign the urge to embarass myself by pointing to certain photos of me. Dare I? Oh, heck. Here's one, and it's not for the faint of heart.

#109 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 02:58 PM:

Lee @97, you mean "as a group" referring to Making Light and/or fannish society in general, right?

Because in the more general society (or even on the original SA thread), I think it's just the opposite -- what's been said here would be nothing to the dehumanizing, disgusting things that would be said about a fat woman.

I guess it's progress of a sort, but yeah, it's still a bit off.

#110 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Caroline, I'm pretty sure Lee meant we at Making Light, since she was expressing discomfort at the kinds of sentiments expressed in this thread.

#111 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 09:28 PM:

Ambar @104: Now there's some nice photos! ;-) No bleach needed at all. Thanks for sharing.

#112 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 10:02 PM:

Awww, baby Serge!

#113 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2008, 11:09 PM:

Caroline, #109: Yes, I meant here at ML. You're absolutely right about what would happen in a general-public context. Fannish society... it would depend a lot on where and who. Some fannish communities are very fat-accepting, others aren't.

This is another one of those "once you can see it, you can't NOT see it" things, I think.

#114 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 12:56 AM:

re the Reluctant Soldier: The story can be well done... it's the ending which matters. The first Dirty Harry movie ends with a dark dose of enigma... he's skipping his badge into the bay. To do what he felt needed doing, he seems to know he's tossed all the things he was, and the right to belong to the forces of law and order, away.

#115 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:29 AM:

Dirty Harry and Sudden Impact are movies which raise hard questions.

In the end, Sudden Impact fails. We have a hard choice set up for Harry Callahan, but there don't seem to be any consequences. He has heroic immunity. He is, somehow, apart from society.

No detail-spoilers. Both plots involve seriously unlawful actions, and set up reasons for them, and have Harry, the cop, making a choice about them.

Both are set up in a way that, in the fast, emotional, manipulation of the cinema, lets you agree with Harry's choice.

It's what happens next that matters.

#116 ::: Yoli ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 03:58 AM:

Thank you so much for breaking that picture down. Things like that I gaze into the heavens and ask, "Why?" but tonight I have my answer. Thank you.

#117 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 08:37 AM:

Naturally enough, manages to find the one place on Earth (well, Buffy-Earth) where Mall Ninjas are not only useful... they're required.

#118 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 08:51 AM:

I myself have a pretty sensitive TMI-meter, and am cringing at the notion of having to wear a blindfold when I step out of my house.

But then, I have met people who are similarly intolerant of, for example, fat people, handicapped people, breastfeeding moms, people speaking *gasp* languages other than English in public, etc. etc.

I suppose if I expect them to suck it up or stay home, I should do the same when society gets less prudish.

#119 ::: Fragano Ledgister sees Turkish spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 07:56 AM:

Probably not Turkish delight.

#120 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 08:27 AM:

Much too late I remember what this whole episode reminded me of: a Chumbawamba song. This one:

Add me


I’m a wound-up whiner with a fetish for guns
I’m almost 50 and I live with my Mum
I hope my nude picture doesn’t offend
Would you like to add me as a friend?

I really like their most recent album "The Boy Bands Have Won". Sometimes they get a little preachy, but generally I find their lyrics very pleasant to read and sometimes even witty.

#121 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2009, 05:17 AM:

Wandered over here because of the thread being mentioned in the Iran Revolution thread. Blurggh! That photo.

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