Colton Underwood Is Writing A Book & You Already Know The Title | Betches

Ernest Hemingway. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Virginia Woolf. All influential authors who you probably studied in high school. And now, you can add a new name to this list of greats: Colton Underwood. That’s right, everyone’s second favorite virgin Bachelor is writing a book coming out March 31. And before you have to ask, yes, the title is of course a reference to his virginity. Imagine being a professional athlete, the lead on a hit reality TV show, and still having your defining characteristic to the American public be reduced to your sexuality? *Looks in the mirror to confirm I am still, in fact, a woman* hahahah right, I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be judged solely on who I choose to have sex with or not!

Congrats to Colton for going the way of book-writing, rather than simply relying on sponsored Instagrams to keep him afloat. A more noble endeavor, for sure. Colton Underwood’s book is going to be titled The First Time, and yes, upon learning that my eyes rolled all the way back into my head, where they are temporarily stuck. Mostly I just hate how determined anyone connected to The Bachelor franchise is to taking the one defining characteristic that ABC predetermines for them and then bludgeoning the public over the head with it for the next 3-5 years. Like, you know that after this, Peter is going to come out with a book called like, Gone With The Windmill. Damn, that’s actually good. I should sell that to Peter. Brb.

Anyway, according to Gallery Books, in The First Time, “Underwood tells his compelling life story, which is at times unpredictable, humorous, and inspiring. As the Bachelor of the hit show’s 23rd season, Underwood reveals the highs and lows that have made him who he is today: growing up in Indiana, struggling with self-image and bullying, two time all American and three years in the NFL, and of course, his journey to find love.” Which is all well and good, but how is that any different from the numerous montages and scenes we got about Colton’s life and upbringing as a contestant on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, and finally, the lead on The Bachelor? If this is just a rehashing of the sh*t I’ve already seen, I’m going to be upset and demand my money back. (Who am I kidding, I’m not spending money on this.)

Gallery also insists, “behind the spectacle is a human being, one who will candidly share the memories of his quest for the love of his life– and the aftermath of making it work.” I think I speak for all of us when I say that if Colton doesn’t give us the details on his relationship with Cassie and how that’s going, and explicitly spell out in plain English (no euphemisms) if he is a virgin or not, I don’t want this book. No? I’m the only one who still cares about his virginity? You’re lying. We’ve all been classically conditioned like slightly perverted Pavlovian dogs to be overly concerned with this. I just want it all to end. As I’m sure Colton does as well, so he can move on with his life. Someone, please, release us from this prison!

For all of my mostly exaggerated outrage, who even f*cking cares. I would be surprised if Colton actually put fingers to keyboard and wrote this whole book himself and didn’t just have a ghostwriter, so like, whatever. I’m sure the book will be fine. Don’t get me wrong, Colton seems like a cool guy and he has his moments of humor on Twitter and stuff, but that’s a far cry from writing a whole-ass book. Just ask my mom, who still doesn’t grasp the concept that just because I write some dumb thoughts on social media, it doesn’t make me a novelist. But, I’m hopeful that Colton will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Andi Dorfman and actually reveal some sh*t about what went down behind the scenes on The Bachelor. I expect no less than one whole chapter on the fence, and an entire section about Tia. (I actually totally forgot about Colton’s relationship with Tia until this very sentence and had a That’s So Raven-esque flashback to how miserable that narrative made everybody. Okay, you’re right, ABC, I’ll take the virginity one instead. I won’t complain anymore!)

If nothing else, if you preorder The First Time now, Colton will buy you a coffee.

Does this mean I can say I went on a coffee date with The Bachelor? Probably not, I’m going to say it anyway.

Read more: https://betches.com/?p=76803

Crazy Wedding Story Of The Week: Do My Entire Wedding For Free | Betches

Whether you hate the wedding-industrial complex, are a bride planning a wedding and want to feel better about your own demands, or just need something to read, we’re doing a new series where we share the craziest, most out-of-touch wedding story we found on the internet that week. Submit your own crazy wedding stories to [email protected] with the subject line Crazy Wedding Story, and we just might feature yours. And make sure to follow @BetchesBrides on Instagram and subscribe to our podcast, Betches Brides.

You guys know how livid I get when people suggest you do something for “exposure”. You know why? It’s never the legit companies and brands that will actually give you good exposure that pull this sh*t. They understand the value of work and talent. It’s always no-name brands that will offer to “expose” you to their 12 followers. Take it from someone who’s been there—any job worth the exposure would actually pay you. This upcoming story, though, is somehow even worse than your regular, run-of-the-mill, cheap-ass unknown brand looking for free work. Because it’s a cheap-ass unknown person who thinks YOU should pay for literally everything in her entire wedding. I know what you’re thinking, and no, she’s not even an influencer!!

The Set-Up

Today’s story comes from Reddit’s /choosingbeggars subreddit, where a total douche-monkey of a human posted the most asinine Facebook post ever. WHO is friends with this trash anyway to see this post, I ask you? It starts off like this:

Ah yes, a brutal reminder of why I hate the South. “Hi y’all!”—it’s like she’s already gearing up to pyramid scheme all of us. Why do I already want to punch this chick in the face? “I can lol I deserve it”! All I can think of is this:

Also what the f*ck is with all the typos? “Afe getribg”? Girl, with that kind of proofreading, you should be writing for BuzzFeed (ba-dum ching). All I can do with this so far is feel really badly for Mr. David. But of course we’re just getting started.

Mrs. David goes on to tell us that she got a free historic wedding venue because Mr. David’s godmother owns it. Cool, good for you, Glen Coco. She even says, “This means my wedding will be historical! Lol!” Oh yes, I’m so sure that one day children will study the dream wedding of Mrs. David in their history books. Lol.

The Entitlement

So because the estate is far away and they’re having their honeymoon in Dubai, Mrs. David reasons that she shouldn’t have to pay for a damn thing in her own wedding. Sure, sure. She already has a free venue but why should she pay for travel costs?

Or a photographer?

Or a caterer?

Or a dress?

Or music? Flowers? Seating? And BTW, it must be an orchestra, because “this will be classy”.

But don’t worry everyone! Because, and I kid you not, Mrs. David is starting AN INSTAGRAM SOON! So you will be, and again, I quote, “begging [them] for the opportunity” to work for exposure! Because obviously, Mrs. David will be an instant Instagram hit, making millions and paying you back for feeding probably 200 people in exposure!

I honestly wish I was kidding:

I’m not actually convinced this isn’t satire.

My favorite part is how Mrs. David demands that everyone be a professional (“not a hobby but getting PAID AS A JOB”) even though she isn’t willing to pay them at all. Does she not see the irony? Let me tell you, if anyone is willing to work for free for absolutely no reason, it means they can’t charge for their work. Meaning they aren’t paid for the work. Meaning they are not a professional, which by definition means being paid for said work.

Also, here’s what I don’t understand. They can afford a honeymoon in Dubai, but didn’t plan even a minor budget for a wedding? Don’t get me wrong, I can get behind the idea—I’d much rather go to Dubai then have a wedding—but then just… don’t have the wedding? They’re not even paying for a venue, or a dress, like I don’t understand how Mrs. David thought she’d have an entire wedding for free? Paid for by whom? Like, all of these people would have to pay out of their own pockets for these services, so that Mrs. David and her seven followers will give them exposure? I cannot comprehend this at all.

The Closing

Mrs. David then wraps it up:

Yeah, I’m sure everyone is just gonna jump right on that. While I’m so grateful to the Redditor who posted this, I’m a little salty that they included no comments. Like, the comments have to be absolutely amazing, right? What do you even say to something like this? I’ve got to acknowledge that this story seems fake, like that other viral wedding story that turned out to be a marketing ploy, but it’s more fun for me to act as if it’s real. I mean, people do suck, so you really never know.

All I can say is good luck to Mrs. David and her free dream wedding, and to Mr. David, I only have three words: Witness Protection Program.

Images: Fernanda Prado / Unsplash; Reddit; Tenor

Read more: https://betches.com/crazy-wedding-story-of-the-week-do-my-entire-wedding-for-free/

How Global Sporting Events Run On Bribes & Help Dictators

Soccer: it’s the sport the rest of the world calls “football”, despite how loud America yells otherwise. It’s also the global obsession that peaks every 4 years with a World Cup. This year’s Cup is about to start in Russia. 2026’s Cup is about to get awarded to the United States and Canada and Mexico, maybe. And everyone is abuzz about which of the perennial contenders (minus Italy, minus the Netherlands) will win it all. That passion for the game means big crowds, big glory, and big money. But did you know it also created the world’s most brazen white collar criminal organization? And helps past and present autocrats keep their stranglehold on power?

On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by Dr. Natalie Koch (Maxwell School at Syracuse University) and by DeMorge Brown (Harmontown, Channel 101) for a deep dive into how soccer’s governing body became a secret Swiss crime family without most fans noticing. They’ll find insanely bold corruption in the sport everywhere from Qatar to Trump Tower. And you’ll discover how soccer, the Olympics, cycling, falconry, and more global sports take our planet’s politics in a weirdly dark direction while also bringing joy to our planet’s people.

Footnotes:

NatalieKoch.com

Critical Geographies of Sport: Space, Power and Sport in Global Perspective (edited by Dr. Natalie Koch)

FIFA Announces Russia, Qatar as World Cup Hosts for 2018, 2022 (Full Presentation)

Soccer’s Culture of Corruption (New York Review Of Books)

Opinion: Did Russia Steal the World Cup? (The New York Times)

FIFA releases report detailing alleged corruption in World Cup bids of Russia and Qatar (Los Angeles Times)

Fifa official took bribes to back Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid, court hears (The Guardian)

Plot to buy the World Cup: Huge email cache reveals secrets of Qatar’s shock victory (Times of London)

What happened to the Qatar World Cup’s cooling technology? (BBC News)

Revealed: Qatar’s World Cup ‘slaves’ (The Guardian)

Stadium deals, corruption and bribery: the questions at the heart of Brazil’s Olympic and World Cup ‘miracle’ (The Guardian)

How Uruguay broke Brazilian hearts in the 1950 World Cup (BBC News)

Fifa corruption claims: South Africa ‘agreed $10m deal’ (BBC News)

FIFA Took Bribes Over Germany’s 2006 World Cup Bid, Report Says (TIME)

How The 2002 World Cup Became The Most Controversial Tournament in Recent Memory (Vice Sports)

Ex-FIFA official had $6,000-a-month Trump Tower apartment for unruly cats (The Washington Post)

The Economist explains: Vladimir Putin’s macho stunts

Chairman Mao Swims in the Yangtze (TIME 100 Photos)

“Gulf Nationalism and the Geopolitics of Constructing Falconry as a ‘Heritage Sport'” by Dr. Natalie Koch (Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism)

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (TripAdvisor)

Benito Mussolini skiing & sledding without a shirt on

World Cup stunning moments: Mussolini’s blackshirts’ 1938 win (The Guardian)

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/podcast/how-global-sporting-events-run-bribes-help-dictators

8 Original Boy Scout Badges Modern Adults Couldn’t Earn

I was a Boy Scout, and though I could never muster the energy to get involved in my community enough to make Eagle rank, I definitely remember the Merit Badges. The best scouts had a sash full of ’em. The more you had, the more likely your Dad was the Scoutmaster. It was a cool idea, but some of them were too easy to get. For example, the one for Engineering asks you to list ten electrical appliances in your house. It’s not much of a challenge when one of the requirements is literally “write down the contents of your kitchen.”

In 1911, though, things were a little different. I accidentally stumbled upon the original Boy Scout handbook, and the requirements for some of the William Taft-era merit badges vary from mundane insanity to the regular kind of insanity. We’ve already discussed how badass the Scouts used to be, but after reading this list, I understand that you had to be a major badass to simply survive getting your merit badges. Badges like..

8

Agriculture – Grow A Fucking Acre Of Corn

A common staple among 1911 badges is bullshit requirements, asking you to “be able” to do something without actually proving you can do it. The first Merit Badge for Agriculture is a good example:

3. Be able to identify and describe common weeds of the community and tell how best to eliminate them.

4. Be able to identify the common insects and tell how best to handle them.

5. Have a practical knowledge of plowing, cultivating, drilling, hedging, and draining.

6. Have a working knowledge of farm machinery, haymaking, reaping, loading, and stacking.

It asks Scouts to know some basics about crop husbandry, and that’s about it. There’s not even any quantitative guides given. I’m sure I could name a handful of insects and weeds and the ways to handle them (mosquitoes, ants, daffodils; BURN THEM ALL!). I don’t know dick about haymaking and reaping, which, at first glance, sound less like farming terms and more like the Mass Effect: Andromeda quests that I always ignore.

Oops, I skipped steps 1 and 2. Let’s me just scroll up and see-

1. State different tests with grains.

2. Grow at least an acre of corn which produces 25 per cent. better than the general average.

Holy shit. The first Boy Scouts had to grow a fucking acre of corn to get this badge? I’m not even a hundred percent sure how much that is, but unless you already own a working farm, that’s like … impossible right? I just looked it up. An acre is 16 tennis courts. 16 tennis courts of corn. And if your Dad was a farmer, everyone would know you just cheated. I mean, how would you grow any cornfield bigger than a garden without that infrastructure already in place? “At least an acre.” That’s the bare minimum, boys. Sorry about any other activities that you wanted to take part in this year.

I didn’t even mention that apparently this child would have to produce a yield 25 percent better than the general average. So what if little Jimmy produces corn at 24 percent better than the general average? Guess what, you just wasted 60 to 100 days planting and harvesting 40 bushels of corn. Fuck you, Jimmy. No merit badge for you. Try again next crop.

7

Angling – Catch 10 Fish With Homemade Rods

Now, I have some country in me. I’ve been to Maine. I’ve fished before. But my fishing rods had cartoon sharks on them. I have no idea how to do any of this.

To obtain a merit badge for Angling a scout must

1. Catch and name ten different species of fish: salmon or trout to be taken with flies; bass, pickerel, or pike to be caught with rod or reel, muskallonge to be caught by trolling.

2. Make a bait rod of three joints, straight and sound, 14 oz. or less in weight, 10 feet or less in length, to stand a strain of 1-1/2 lbs. at the tip, 13 lbs. at the grip.

3. Make a jointed fly-rod 8-10 feet long, 4-8 ozs. in weight, capable of casting a fly sixty feet.

Look, at it’s most basic a fishing rod is just a spooled line attached to a stick, but it seems like you need some pretty specific materials to make rods to these specifications. At least when we had to build Pinewood Derby cars, the Boy Scouts conveniently had building kits (rectangular blocks of wood and some plastic wheels) ready-to-buy. Can’t give these kids a stack of prepared wood to work from, or, well, anything, for that matter?

Oh, and you need to go catch ten different fish, and only in certain ways. God help you if you catch a trout with a reel, or a muskallonge without posting Internet comments.

4. Name and describe twenty-five different species of fish found in North American waters and give a complete list of the fishes ascertained by himself to inhabit a given body of water.

Next time you are near a body of water, please peer down into the depths and give me a complete list of every fish hiding in there. Don’t cheat, or we’ll knock you back down to Cub level.

6

Archery – Recreate The “Blot Out The Sun” Scene From 300

Archery has always been a staple of Boy Scout camps and the most boring portions of the Olympics. Today, there is a surprising amount of technology involved, much more than there was in 1911. So it’s puzzling that one of the steps to get this badge back then (after making your own bow, of course!) was to practically recreate that scene from 300 where the Persians blot out the sun with their arrows.

To obtain a merit badge for Archery a scout must

1. Make a bow and arrow which will shoot a distance of one hundred feet with fair precision.

2. Make a total score of 350 with 60 shots in one or {25} two meets, using standard four-foot target at forty yards or three-foot target at thirty yards.

3. Make a total score of 300 with 72 arrows, using standard target at a distance of fifty yards.

4. Shoot so far and fast as to have six arrows in the air at once.

Here’s Lars Andersen, a master archer from Denmark claiming to break the world record for having the most arrows in the air at once before one comes down. He gets 11 up there before the first one hits the grass, in about seven seconds. That’s with a modern bow and arrow from what I assume is at least a mid-grade bow and arrow store. The Boy Scout Manual wants these kids to get to half of the world record from 100 years in the future with a goddamn homemade bow. The first time traveler will be a Boy Scout from the early 1900s, desperate to meet the ludicrous standards of a mad book that is trying to kill him.

5

Architecture – Design A House To The Standards Of A Contractor

Scouting requires a lot of hands-on training. You’ll learn how to tie knots, whittle sticks, and … design a two-story house, apparently.

To obtain a merit badge for Architecture a scout must

1. Present a satisfactory free-hand drawing.

2. Write an essay on the history of Architecture and describe the five orders.

3. Submit an original design for a two-story house and tell what material is necessary for its construction, giving detailed specifications.

1911 wasn’t exactly devoid of two-story houses, so good luck creating an original design that isn’t some kind of Frank Lloyd Wright monstrosity. What kinda house would an eleven-year-old boy build anyway? The staircases would be made out of roller coasters. It wouldn’t be “right.” But don’t forget to detail every single material that you plan on using, even if it’s fucking Gingerbread.

While you have all those building materials handy, you can probably grab Pioneering while you’re at it, which only requires you to construct a whatever-the-fuck three-person shack next to your two story house and then build a modern bridge between ’em.

4. Build a modern bridge or derrick.

5. Make a camp kitchen.

6. Build a shack of one kind or another suitable for three occupants.

Or a derrick if that’s too hard. Do you guys know what a derrick is? It’s this thing:

Egeswender/Wiki Commons

At this point, I’m pretty sure the Eiffel Tower was knocked out by a boy scout over the weekened, so he could get started on his “discover perpetual motion” badge.

4

Civics – Harder Than The U.S. Citizenship Test

When it comes to local politics, the most advanced information you have to know for your modern Citizenship badges is who your Congressmen are. And depending on how much Fox News your Dad watches, you probably already know their nicknames. Back in the day though? You better be able to rattle off every elected official that represents you and draw a map to all their offices, probably so you could find them and apologize for your sudden, rampant corn planting and for decimating the local fish population.

6. Know how the governor, lieutenant-governor, senators, representatives, or assemblymen of his state are elected, and their terms of office.

7. Know whether the judges of the principal courts in his state are appointed or elected, and the length of their terms.

8. Know how the principal officers in his town or city are elected and for what terms.

9. Know the duties of the various city departments, such as fire, police, board of health, etc.

10. Draw a map of the town or city in which he lives, giving location of the principal public buildings and points of special interest.

I could probably stumble through step 6 with some hints, but then you’ve lost me. If I’ve ever voted for a judge in my life, it was by accident. I’m pretty sure my town is run by a board of selectmen, but I have no idea what that even means and wouldn’t recognize them if I hit one with my car. Unless you are insanely politically active (you know the ones by their Facebook feeds) there is simply no way the average American adult would know this stuff. The only reason I know where the town hall is is because of my yearly dog license fee.

To obtain a merit badge for Civics a scout must

1. State the principal citizenship requirements of an elector in his state.

2. Know the principal features of the naturalization laws of the United States.

3. Know how President, Vice-President, senators, and congressmen of the United States are elected and their terms of office.

4. Know the number of judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, how appointed, and their term of office.

5. Know the various administrative departments of government, as represented in the President’s Cabinet.

Even the top-level info is pretty tricky. Who are the electors? Are they elected or chosen? (Am … am I an elector??). Don’t get me wrong, all of this stuff is actually really important to know, and the fact that little boys were expected to know this 100 years ago explains a lot about our current predicament. But it’s hard to condemn our citizens’ ignorance when I’m not convinced our own President knows the various administrative departments of government.

3

First Aid – Treat Actual Horrific Injuries

This can’t be too bad. You make a sling, and you go home, right …

2. Carry a person down a ladder.

Hold on. This doesn’t say “demonstrate” or “explain how to.” You actually have to do it. A preteen boy has to carry a person (things that typically weigh as much as an average person) down a freakin’ ladder? The Hell does that even have to do with First Aid? I feel like just this is enough to warrant its own “Break Your Own Spine” merit badge.

3. Bandage head and ankle.

4. Demonstrate treatment of wound of the neck with severe arterial hemorrhage.

5. Treat mangling injury of the leg without severe hemorrhage.

6. Demonstrate treatment for rupture of varicose veins of the leg with severe hemorrhage.

What the … are they are all like this? Unless they add “10. Call 911, before passing out at the sight of blood” right now, I am not going to be able to check off a single one of these.

2

Ornithology – Find Every Goddamn Bird In Your Neighborhood

It’s birdwatching. How fucking hard could that be?

To obtain a merit badge for Ornithology a scout must

1. Have a list of one hundred different kinds of birds personally observed on exploration in the field.

2. Have identified beyond question, by appearance or by note, forty-five different kinds of birds in one day.

Oh OK. You just have to sit around waiting for every species of bird in your neighborhood to come strolling on by like it’s Pokemon Snap. There aren’t 100 different birds at the zoo, let alone in my damn backyard. The badges for Forestry, Mining, and Stalking require an equally ridiculous observation of trees, minerals, and shrubs, respectively. You know, just in case the meandering obsession of Birdwatching wasn’t enough and you’re in the market for more bullshit counting.

And don’t even think about mis-characterizing a white-throated sparrow as a tufted titmouse. This shit needs to be beyond question, folks. Forty-five birds in one day. 100 percent accuracy. The rest of this list comes off like it’s a script that eventually reveals the Scoutmaster to be the bad guy .

3. Have made a good clear photograph of some wild bird, the bird image to be over one half inch in length on the negative.

“What?! You found 45 birds? FINE! Try taking a perfect picture of one!”

4. Have secured at least two tenants in bird boxes-

“Damn! Oh ya? Good luck capturing … TWO birds in boxes! AHAHA!”

4. Have secured at least two tenants in bird boxes erected by himself.

“-AND BUILD THE BOXES YOURSELF!”

5. Have daily notes on the nesting of a pair of wild birds from the time the first egg is laid until the young have left the nest.

“Nooo! Bet you can’t catch some bird parents in the act of giving birth and then stalk them every day until all the kids have moved out of the house!”

6. Have attracted at least three kinds of birds, exclusive of the English sparrow, to a “lunch counter” which he has supplied.

“That’s … that’s impossible … Here … take the damn badge. If … you convince three of them to have lunch with you. And NO SPARROWS OR IT’S BACK TO START!”

1

Pathfinding – Become a Walking GPS

A badge like Pathfinding is a great example of something that is both essential to what Scouting is all about and has unfortunately been made completely obsolete by today’s technology. It has since been merged into the more couch-friendly Exploration badge, but the original version asked Scouts to become a walking GPS.

To obtain a merit badge for Pathfinding a scout must

1. Know every lane, by-path, and short cut for a distance of at least two miles in every direction around the local scouts’ headquarters in the country.

2. Have a general knowledge of the district within a five mile radius of his local headquarters, so as to be able to guide people at any time, by day or night.

3. Know the general direction and population of the five principal neighboring towns and be able to give strangers correct directions how to reach them.

I’d be impressed if someone knew all of the shortcuts in Mario Kart. I’d be really impressed if someone knew the location of every Target within five miles. And I’d be fucking floored if I mused aloud in my driveway where the nearest damn Wendy’s was while fumbling with my phone, and a little boy in a uniform came out of the bushes, gave me the exact street directions complete with shortcuts, and walked away into the shadows.

In addition, this Merit Badge requires Scouts to somehow count the number of cattle and horses at all the nearby farms, know the history of every public building in his town, and then put all of the above on a map. So yeah, walking GPS, library, and local farm trespasser.

Well, there you have it. The eight hardest OG Merit Badges. I’d bet my WEBELOS neckerchief that no modern Boy Scout could get any of these. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try and finish up my Personal Health badge, the only way God intended:

4. Describe the effect of alcohol and tobacco on the growing boy.

Chris has a brand new party game that you can download for free right here. Look for it on Facebook, too!

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-badges-that-prove-original-boy-scouts-were-badasses/

5 Things To Understand About Modern Hate Groups

Here’s a popular right-wing meme that got spread around before the attack in Charlottesville:

So, here’s what I want to ask anyone sharing that (or wearing it on a t-shirt — yes, they sell them): When we replace the stick figures with actual bleeding humans, does that change how you feel about it at all? (WARNING: Graphic fucking video):

It’s not a rhetorical question. I think the answer to that will decide what happens next.

5

The Internet Could Have Been The Greatest Anti-Bigotry Tool In History

Bigotry is never about hating a real person. The target is always a perfectly hateable caricature we invent to avoid glimpsing the true enemy staring back at us from the mirror. It’s a punching bag, a shape drawn around a bull’s-eye. This is why so many racists have a real Black Friend they can hide behind — when they actually get to know one, a whole different part of their brain lights up (“I mean, he’s not even black to me! He’s just Steve!”). Do I have to point out the obvious, that their entire worldview would change if they could somehow get to know every minority the way they know their buddy? How many times have anti-immigration politicians and pundits gotten caught hiring “illegals” themselves? “Well you see, my illegals are honest and do great work. Not like the rapey stick-figures on those T-shirts.”

Lutz Bachmann/Twitter

I had secretly been hoping that the internet, social media, and smartphones would make it impossible to not put a real human face on those groups. In a connected world in which I can tell you what my cousin’s coworkers considered eating for lunch yesterday, minorities can’t remain abstractions. I was hoping that over time, smartphones would do to racism what they did to UFOs.

You remember UFOs, right? For a generation leading up to the 1990s, some fuzzy flying saucer turned up in the news every month. Now, when there are a thousand times more cameras around, the flying saucers have evaporated like smoke — belief in alien visitors plummeted by the mid-2000s. The myth became impossible to preserve in the face of evidence (or lack of it).

Racism, likewise, is based on a myth — that these people aren’t people at all, that they don’t cry or bleed or want the same things we want, that fixing our discomfort is as simple as making them … go away, somehow. Now we have the technology to see an event like Charlottesville in real-time from half a dozen angles; we can hear the screams, see first-responders desperately trying to resuscitate victims. We can get a mental image of what an ethnic cleansing would really look like — that same chaos, repeated millions of times. That’s the truth behind the edgy frog memes and red-arm bands. Take it in, assholes.

It would be a wake-up call. That was the dream, anyway.

4

Yes, Cameras Do Change Minds

I’m known as a hopeful optimist, possibly having to do with being a white person who accidentally made a lot of money off of a story he originally wrote as a prank. But it’s not like I just pulled this dream out of my ass — there’s precedent for it.

The presence of cameras all but eliminated the American public’s tolerance for military casualties, for example — we’ve completely built our foreign policy around it. America lost 100,000 troops in WWI, 400,000 in WWII, and almost 60,000 in Vietnam. That last one was the turning point — a flood of full-color footage of maimed soldiers and screaming civilians turned public opinion against the war overnight. The reality of war didn’t change, but you can bet your ass that seeing it made all of the difference. We haven’t had a comparable war since; Afghanistan saw a tiny fraction of those losses (2,400) and so did Iraq (4,500). Suddenly, soldiers’ lives mattered — the myth of the consequence-free war went the way of the UFO.

“Why in the hell did you think a horde of screaming Actual Nazis would have their hearts melted by the sight of dying protesters?” you ask. “If anything, they probably get off on it. After all, Americans don’t seem to care about hundreds of thousands of bombed Iraqis.”

But I’m not talking about the raging Nazis here — it’s only the extreme fringe who’ll walk around in public doing that shit, and some of them try to sheepishly talk their way out of it later. The systemic racism that exists in the world doesn’t emanate from them, it flows from the comfortable indifference of the majority. The most incurable form of bigotry persists specifically because it doesn’t feel like heat coursing through the veins — it feels like nothing at all. I was born in Trump Country and I only met a couple of people who openly called for black genocide, but knew dozens if not hundreds who simply thought society didn’t need changing (and I agreed, at the time). We didn’t want the stick figures to die, we just didn’t think they needed help. What does a stick figure need food stamps for?

The latter are the ones I thought would be turned in this age of pervasive cameras and personal connections. It’s easy for the comfortable casual racist (who, by the way, hates Nazis) to ignore a headline or pie charts about income inequality. It’s harder to ignore a man bleeding in the driver’s seat of his car while his young daughter and her mother sit helplessly next to him, wailing in anguish. I didn’t think it would change overnight, but over the decades I thought these attitudes would be chiseled away one gut-wrenching video at a time. “Do you see? He’s not a fucking statistic. He bleeds. His family loved him just as much as your family loves you. Look.”

3

But The Sword Swings Both Ways

Hey, did I mention that after years of decline, belief in UFOs has shot back up to its previous highs? The need to believe was always there, so others looking to fill that void simply adapted to the marketplace (“If you think about it, the aliens would have cloaking technology that makes them invisible to cell phones!”).

Now consider the fact that the Confederate statues the protesters were rallying around in Charlottesville aren’t all 150-year-old relics. New ones are being built all the time (35 Confederate monuments have been added since 2000 in North Carolina alone — lots of them were built in the 1960s as backlash to the civil rights movement). They are, in other words, modern symbols erected by groups looking to change policy today. That’s why there’s a movement to take them down, and a bitter counter-movement to preserve them. It is only about preserving the past to the extent that it’s about making current law conform to it.

The point is, if racism is a dying relic, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. Oh, I’m not surprised that hate groups thrive in this era — a few charismatic sociopaths have always been able to cast a wide umbrella of influence and mass media has just amplified their reach. I mean, you’ve seen their memes. What I had hoped, though, was that society would be better at spotting them, quicker to see through their tricks. I often wonder how average German citizens would have reacted if camera phones had existed back then and somebody had leaked video from inside a concentration camp. “But lots of German citizens did know about the concentration camps!” Sure, but it’s one thing to have a vague concept of “eliminating” Jews, another to actually see a wheelbarrow full of dead children. It would be meaningless to the true zealots, but most people aren’t that.

And yet …

2

Modern Society May Have Cultivated A Population Ripe For Hate

It’s too easy to think of Nazis as a different species, like they were aliens who invaded from another planet. If you tell me we shouldn’t humanize them, I say that humanizing them actually makes them scarier: They are not only human, but they are your motherfucking neighbors. After the war, German soldiers and officers went back home and got jobs — it’s not like you blow up the mothership and the foot soldiers topple over. Likewise, your brother or uncle or daughter could join a hate group tomorrow and they would still be family. Some of the people reading this have had this exact thing happen.

Think about it: Even if the worst happens and 20 years from now we’re in an actual shooting war with a new round of Nazis, it’s not like we’ll kill them all. No war ends that way; there’ll be some kind of resolution and the combatants will take off their uniforms and the very next day they’ll be next to you on the subway. If you want to stop that future, you have to start with understanding how Nazis are made, and how regular everyday folks get sucked in. Hate is a prickly shell humans grow around fear, a defense mechanism to replace the terror of the unknown with the cold certainty of rage. You don’t have to feel sorry for them, but hate is like cancer — it’s all about knowing the warning signs and catching it early.

So, let’s start here: What a human needs, above all else, is to matter. And mattering in 2017 is hard as shit. There are 100 million Americans who neither have jobs nor are looking for one. Of those who do work, only 36 percent say their job has “meaning and significance” (did you know that a low-paying, unstable job is actually more stressful than unemployment?). I guess there used to be pride in building a house or a car, or growing crops — creating something tangible — but now, the machines have those jobs and we’re stuck serving coffee or moving numbers around a spreadsheet, counting down the days until the machines take those jobs, too.

Our generation has fewer close friends than previous generations and are less likely to have a sexual partner or children of our own. We trust each other less than we ever have. We need to matter, but we don’t have people in our lives reminding us of that, so we compensate. “I matter because I’m not [insert hateable stick figure here].”

And I can’t emphasize enough how much it doesn’t actually make a difference what goes in those brackets. Reddit’s Trump community The_Donald overlaps strongly with their now-banned “Fat People Hate” community and the anti-woman subreddit TheRedPill. Where you find articles railing on blacks, you’ll find articles demonizing Jews, homosexuals, trans people … hell, go to any right-wing site and notice their bitter loathing of vegans.

It’s hard for most people to grasp how hate can be both arbitrary and murderous, but that’s how the human mind works. Once you switch into that primitive Us vs. Them survival mode, the rationale becomes totally irrelevant. Remember that one of the world’s oldest and most pervasive prejudices is against left-handed people. Skilled manipulators could pull out endless examples of how inherently dishonest and filthy those lefties were, and they always found an audience. That only sounds ridiculous until you realize how great it must have been to wake up every day and congratulate yourself for using your right hand, a.k.a. the hand you automatically used anyway.

If you haven’t built anything you can be proud of — be it a house, career, family, or loving circle of friends — then you need to draw your pride from somewhere. Hate groups let you set the pride bar so low that you can swell with pride over the fact that you woke up this morning with a certain color skin and heterosexual urges, as if both were the result of diligent effort on your part. Imagine eating a delicious cheeseburger and congratulating yourself for having accomplished your noble goal of not being vegan.

1

But I Still Think The Good Guys Will Win

If you’ve come to the conclusion that the internet really didn’t change anything because people are people and set in their beliefs, the facts say you’re wrong. For instance, the internet era has been devastating for religion in the U.S.A., with the ranks of nonbelievers more than doubling just since 1990. In that same span, support for gay marriage went from 13 percent to 58 percent. Support for marijuana legalization, from 12 percent to 53 percent. I absolutely believe those abrupt changes happened because many Americans were coming in contact with their first atheists, uncloseted gay people, and admitted pot smokers and finding they weren’t monsters. You can strap somebody to a chair and make them watch a thousand hours of PSAs about how this group or that is “just like us,” but it won’t have the same impact as a single positive encounter with one of them. Dogma dies in the face of such experiences.

It’s easy to think of the internet as a cesspool of anonymous harassers but it is mostly a constellation of tight-knit communities that overlap with others, bringing them together in unexpected ways. You’ve heard a lot of talk about online “bubbles” of like-minded people getting more and more extreme in the absence of opposition, but the reason we became so much more open-minded on some issues in the first place is that online communities forced us to mingle across demographics. We may all have joined a forum based on our Babylon 5 fandom, but we quickly realized some of the cool people we were talking to were the type we’d never have run into in our real-life neighborhoods (“Wait, you’re posting from Brazil? What time is it there?!?”). When I was a kid, you’d hear about a deadly earthquake in Taiwan and briefly raise an eyebrow over your coffee. “So sad.” Today, you jump online and say, “Wait, did they say Jiji? That’s where Ironheart69 is from! Has anybody heard from her?”

What I’m hoping is that what we’re seeing now is the reaction to that, the loud rage of a racist realizing his sister is dating a damned Muslim, that his old college roommate turned out to be a trans woman, and that there are black people in horror movies who don’t die. An ideology kicking and screaming as it is dragged out the door, the equivalent of segregationists blocking black children from their schools, knowing full well that theirs was a lost cause.

Over time, lots of those segregationists realized they were wrong, that their rage and the fear at its core were based on nothing. That will happen again. I think. I hope.

David Wong is the Executive Editor at Cracked. His new book, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ, is available for preorder now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, iBooks, and Kobo.

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