Category Archives: News

Airbnb eyes expansion with affiliate program for sites with 1M+ users, new API

While Expedia and Priceline roll out ways to encroach on Airbnb’s space with their own private home listings for travellers, the $31 billion venture-backed Airbnb is also looking at new ways to boost its own traffic and bookings. Airbnb is now rolling out a new call for affiliate partners, where high-traffic sites with over 1 million visitors can embed Airbnb property listings and make commissions when they are booked. Alongside this, Airbnb has now turned on an API for app developers to link in the backend to and offer an easier way to manage listings via other apps.

The two steps underscore how the company is looking for ways to open its platform for the next stage of growth, and come amid a spate of other partnership expansions.

A couple of weeks ago, co-working space WeWork announced it would team up with Airbnb to offer a co-working and accommodation double service to business travellers. And in Florida, Airbnb has been collaborating with a developer to build an Airbnb-branded apartment complex — one way that the company might get around some of the trickier rules regarding Airbnb rentals in private buildings, which are potentially hindering the company’s growth.

Neither the API or the affiliate program have been officially announced, but both were spotted by Matteo Gamba, a product designer who blogs about Airbnb on the side.

Airbnb had an affiliate scheme in place in the past, but it was terminated December 2015. Since then, the company has been partnering with a very limited number of companies on a case-by-case basis (such as a deal to embed listings with two popular travel sites in Japan), which appears to be the basis of the new affiliate program.

“Airbnb has always maintained affiliate relationships with partners around the world,” a spokesperson for the company told TechCrunch in a statement. “In 2015 we ended some inactive partners, but have maintained others. The new landing page serves as simple, single place for potential partners to find the information they need to become an Airbnb affiliate and is available in all countries that Airbnb operates.”

The API — which is available by application only — is also an interesting twist. Up to now, the company has not offered a widely-usable API for third parties to integrate its listings. What you can see if you look around is that developers and others have come up with alternative ways, such as using a man in the middle proxy or scraping the site, to get API-like information. (Using a technique like scraping is a violation of Airbnb’s Terms of Service.)

The API is aimed not at bringing listings posted on Airbnb out of its walled garden to other sites (as the affiliate deals will enable), but about letting developers, specifically of apps that let hosts manage their properties, link up with Airbnb in the backend so that they can manage properties on the site more easily.

“The API allows development teams to securely Oauth into new and existing Airbnb accounts,” Airbnb notes. “Your application users will have the ability to push updates to content, rates, and availability. As Airbnb guests book your listings, we’ll pass back messaging and reservation details, allowing applications to build custom workflows and create amazing experiences for our shared guests.”

Refocusing on building out a network of affiliate partners, and the launch of the API, both show how Airbnb is looking to work much closer with the established travel industry. Affiliate marketing, for example, is one of the biggest ways that sites in the travel sector generate revenue — by aggregating inventory and listings from a host of other sites and then getting a small cut of any sale that is generated through those referrals. It’s also one of the most common ways that people eventually end up booking things.

The affiliate site does not currently list any specific partners, nor does the it give details on the business model behind it, but the idea here appears to be to present Airbnb listings on non-Airbnb sites where where people are already going to purchase travel and related services.

“Earn commissions and provide more choices to your users,” Airbnb writes, with one affiliate option aimed at attracting guests, and other aimed at attracting hosts (in other words, those who would list properties or other services on Airbnb) — the two parts of Airbnb’s two-sided marketplace.

To give you an idea of what kind of site Airbnb might consider as an affiliate partner, according to a source, Airbnb has discussed an affiliate partnership with Groupon.

(This would make a lot of sense: Groupon itself has been working on expanding its travel and local experiences business as part of its effort to diversify beyond daily deals from local retailers. Recent moves involve a partnership with Viator to boost its inventory of local activities, and acquiring LivingSocial, which had also reoriented itself to focus on that sector after its own daily deals business took a nosedive.)

To me, taken together and considering the latest partnerships, these moves mark Airbnb’s latest phase of growth. The earliest concept of the site was around people offering spare beds and rooms in their homes as an alternative to staying in more pricey, impersonal or too touristy hotels. Then it progressed to people offering their whole (regular, not vacation) homes when they were not in them.

That quickly moved to vacation properties and places that were not normally occupied by the owner, and then agents appeared to were managing several of properties at once. While Airbnb still very much has a lot of properties and hosts who fall into the first three groups, it needs to turbo charge its growth to really fill out its $31 billion valuation, which in theory puts it between Hilton and Marriott in terms of market cap. And this is one of the ways it hopes to get there: by making it much easier to list and manage properties, bring more eyeballs to its inventory, and quickly convert interested browsers into bookings.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/16/airbnb-eyes-expansion-with-affiliate-program-for-sites-with-1m-users-new-api/

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Here’s how you can bring in the big bucks with Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have captured the public’s imagination. But how do you penetrate this confusing world if you don’t know anything about blockchains or nonces? The Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency Mining teaches you everything you need to know.

This course gives you access to 13 lectures about cryptocurrency mining so you can hit the ground running and become a money-making machine. You’ll learn a mining system that has low startup costs and requires no affiliate marketing or graphics card. So you can easily find public bitcoins and mine them. By the time you’re finished, you could be earning up to $1,000 each month and have a nice supplemental income.

The Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency Mining normally costs $180, but you can get it today for just $15.

Buy it here

MORE BAZAAR DEALS:

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/bazaar/cryptocurrency-beginners-guide/

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Twitchs new extensions let streamers customize their channel, make money from Amazon sales

Twitch today is introducing a suite of tools called Twitch Extensions that will allow its streamers to customize their channel pages with interactive features, including polls, leaderboards, tickers, schedules, overlays and even virtual pets, among other things. Beyond simply personalizing their channel to make it more engaging to fans, the extensions in some cases will help streamers generate additional revenue.

In particular, one extension called “Gear on Amazon” allows Twitch creators to show off their favorite Amazon products. If a viewer clicks through to purchase, the creator will earn a commission through the Amazon Associates program.

This extension will be available to both Twitch Partners and Affiliates, and is the first time that Twitch’s streamers have been invited to join the program, even though Amazon owns Twitch. To create their list of suggested products, streamers will be able to sign up as an Amazon Affiliate, then browse the Amazon catalog and pick their favorite products, right from their Twitch dashboard, the company says.

This follows another recent move from Amazon to help video creators make money by promoting Amazon products, as it turns out. Last week, Amazon opened up its social media “Influencers” program to YouTube stars, allowing video creators to build their own curated shop, with its own short and memorable URL. It only makes sense that Amazon would enable something similar for its Twitch streamers, as well.

“When it comes to helping creators monetize through product recommendations, it’s important
to make these features easy to discover and intuitive to use,” said Piers Heaton-Armstrong, VP
for Affiliate Marketing at Amazon, in a statement. “Gear on Amazon achieves that by simplifying both the process for signing up to be an Amazon Associate and by making it so creators can showcase the actual products they are using and wanting to promote,” he said.

However, the Amazon extension is only one of many that will be available at launch. There are currently over 20 extensions available, including some game-specific ones like OP.gg for
League of Legends by OP.gg, Innkeeper: Interactive Hearth Overlay by Curse, and
MasterOverwatch by Master Network.

Others are designed for more general use, like Streamlabs’ Loyalty, Music, Polls & Games, or Muxy’s Overlay and Leaderboard, for example.

A full list of the new extensions is available on the Twitch blog here. A sample showcase is below.

  1. Smartclicks2

  2. TRN Battlegrounds Live Tracker by Tracker Network

  3. WhatsPlaying

  4. Layer One_ScheduleExtension1

  5. Streamlabs5

  6. Streamlabs2

  7. Streamlabs3

  8. Streamlabs1

  9. Layer One_ScheduleExtension2

  10. TRN Destiny Live Tracker by Tracker Network

  11. TRN Rocket League Live Tracker by Tracker Network

  12. Hearthstone_DeckTrack_CopyDeck

  13. HearthstoneDeckTrack_ViewCard

  14. Isaac Tracker by Pretzel Tech

  15. SmartClick

  16. schedule

  17. Polling

Twitch is also opening up the extension platform broadly to third-party developers, via its Developer Portal, dev.twtich.tv. Developers will receive free asset hosting and fanout messaging to make it easier to get started, the company says. Completed extensions are then shown to creators in a new Extension Manager.

At launch, extensions will be free, but Twitch tells us that monetization details are soon to come. More information about this will be announced at Twitch’s developer conference, TwitchCon’s Developer Day next month.

Twitch had planned to make the extensions available to streamers tonight, but that’s been pushed back at the last minute. Instead, the company now says the extensions will be “coming soon.”

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/31/twitchs-new-extensions-let-streamers-customize-their-channel-make-money-from-amazon-sales/

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Learn how to mine cryptocurrency and make money at home (without ever leaving the house)

If youre as confused about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies youre not alone.
Image: Pixabay

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

In essence, cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital currencies that can be sent to anyone through the internet. They aren’t affiliated with any particular country so there’s no central bank that verifies these transactions. Instead, cryptocurrency miners use special software that creates a public record of each transaction and gives the miner a payment in return.

If you know what you’re doing, you can make a lot of money mining this digital currency. But how does it work and what’s the best way to do it? You can learn all of this from the Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency Mining.

This course gives you access to 13 lectures so you can hit the ground running and make real money fast. You’ll learn a mining system that has low startup costs and requires no affiliate marketing or graphics card. You’ll also learn all the technical details about blockchains, general ledgers, hashes, and nonces that make up each successful transaction. 

By the time you’ve finished with this course, you could be earning up to $1,000 per month from the comforts of your own home. The Beginner’s Guide to Cryptocurrency Mining normally costs $180, but you can get it for just $15 today. Plus, over Labor Day weekend you can save 15 percent by using the code BYESUMMER.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/02/how-to-earn-money-by-mining-cryptocurrency/

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A hyperlapse video of DC.

Want to visit DC but don’t have the money in your budget right now?

Read more: http://www.wimp.com/a-hyperlapse-video-of-dc/

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If You Thought Game Of Thrones Felt Off, You’re Not Wrong

Game Of Thrones just finished its seventh season and lots of people didn’t like it and it’s still basically the best thing on the television, so …. Huh. I guess, pick up the pace lesser television shows? Maybe make time for some frigging dragons or at least a eunuch, NCIS.

If you follow The Internet, you’ll know that people had a few issues with this most recent season of GOT, most notably the sudden introduction of hyperspace travel to what had previously been a gritty, realistic world. Characters would lunge back and forth across the continent within the span of an episode or two, and while the producers were careful to avoid discussing the length of time that passed between scenes, meaning it was all maybe technically possible, it didn’t feel great. In fact, the pacing of the entire season felt like it had accelerated way too much.

I suspect this was caused by the increasing gap in progress between the show and the books. While the first five seasons were based on the books and the sixth was based on what were probably fairly detailed notes from George R.R. Martin on the book currently in progress, everything past that (i.e. this season) seems to have been based on a fairly loose outline Martin has for the overarching plot of the show. And instead of filling that in with more politics or delightful weddings or fucking Dorne, the producers have evidently just shot from high point to high point. An increase in the pacing was probably necessary and welcome (fuck Dorne), but this past season it felt like they took things a little too far. We live in a world where The Hobbit was turned into a nine-hour movie. They probably had some time to show a few more conversations on boats.

But there’s a deeper problem at work here, something which is causing a disquieting sensation that the show seems broken now. No, not just the latest incest plot, that’s fine, fuck your aunts all you want, Cracked’s position on that has always been clear. No, what’s really happening is we are seeing a collision between two immutable laws of fiction which have lived side by side within the show for years. Recent events have forced these two laws into conflict with each other, and it’s the fallout from this collision which is making everything feel so weird now.

The laws are:

Realistic Stories Have To Kill Off Major Characters

What was the first major plot point of Game Of Thrones that made you realize something special was going on? The prostitutes? It was the prostitutes for you? Ok, sure. You do you.

Because for most other people it was the death of Ned Stark. For the first several episodes of Game Of Thrones, Ned Stark was clearly established as the primary protagonist. He was brave and honorable and had nice kids and a cool wife and he did what he thought was right. And about midway through the season, when he was taken prisoner by the villainous Lannisters, everyone familiar with fiction began quietly, even subconsciously, wondering how Ned Stark was going to get out of this one.

And then he got his head chopped off.

Holy shit! Clearly this was a different type of show entirely, and Martin would return to this blood-filled well again and again, brutally killing off major characters at weddings across the continent.

The reason this worked was that, as surprising as it was, it was still realistic and believable. Political machinations and assassinations and open warfare result in people dying, so we can’t be too surprised when it happens to major players. Large portions of Game Of Thrones are inspired by real history, which — spoiler — has a fatality rate of around 100 percent. Look at the War Of The Roses (which several elements of Game Of Thrones are based on.) That little conflict saw dozens of Edwards and Richards die each year, major players each one. A plausible depiction of that kind of conflict has to have major characters die. It’d look ridiculous without it.

And now one question. Answer it as quickly as you can. On Game Of Thrones, who was the last major protagonist to die?

The uh … hmmm. Is it Hodor? It’s Hodor, isn’t it? Is that major enough? He was certainly a big character. Not really major though, and it was quite a while ago.

Let’s talk about the second immutable rule of fiction at work here.

Traditional Stories Can’t Kill Off Major Characters

The whole point of a story is to read about interesting people doing interesting things. It’s more satisfying if we know something about the people doing amazing things — we don’t want to hear that some chump elf dropped the One Ring in Mt. Doom, because his army fought its way there and he was just the closest one to the precipice. We want to read about Sam and Frodo doing it, because we’d followed those characters and their discussions about potatoes for a long time. If we’d followed the chump elf for a thousand pages, that might be different. He’d be our hero, and we’d know a lot more about him, and we’d delight in seeing how he had finally become the chump he was always destined to become.

One big side-effect of this law is that if we follow a character for hundreds of pages, they will fairly predictably go on to do interesting things. It’s essentially a corollary to Chekhov’s Gun; if a character is introduced in the first act, they’ll have to do something by the third act. Readers pick up on this too; we know when characters are important and can often even predict what they’ll do long before they do it. The coward will become brave, the hero and romantic interest will kiss, the guy with a chainsaw for an arm will be killed with his own chainsaw. And when that hasn’t happened yet, no matter what dire situations our heroes find themselves in, we don’t feel like they’re in real peril. It’s called plot armor, and it’s the reason people found it so surprising when Ned Stark died. He was our hero! He had to do … something. Right?

This is probably why we haven’t had any major characters on the show die in a while now. They all have a role to play in the final season of the show.

Ok, so what? What’s the problem? You want Bran to die or something? Well, yes, but there’s more.

Game Of Thrones Combines Both These Type Of Stories

In Game Of Thrones, everything south of the wall can be airily summed up as “humans fucking each other over.” It’s a realistic political story, which generally follows the first law discussed above. Using examples from history, Martin was able to create beloved characters and hated villains and kill them off more or less whenever he wanted, because that’s what happens in a “humans fucking each other over” story.

North of the wall, we have a very different kind of story, something a lot closer to a traditional fantasy epic, in this case the “humans fighting ice-zombies” trope that lies at the core of 90 percent of the stories you’ve ever been told. It’s no coincidence that this story never blended in too much with the story south of the wall. Characters from each side didn’t cross back and forth or interact much with each other at all. Every now and then someone might send a raven to the other story, and the other story would read it and laugh and throw the raven in the garbage. (Is that how the ravens worked? I don’t think we’ve ever seen the details.) And this story north of the wall is following those rules of fiction which apply to traditional stories. Characters can die, but not the main ones; we need those around to deliver the ultimate blow at the end of the story to make that ultimate blow actually feel meaningful.

Now the two stories are merging, and suddenly it’s clear that all the vulnerable people in the gritty political back-stabaganza we had come to love and fear for, are actually heroes in an epic fantasy, immune to death until the very last pages. Think of all the improbable nonsense we’ve had to sit through this season. Jaime getting tackled off a horse instead of incinerated. Theon escaping death for the twentieth goddamned time. Arya and Sansa overcoming Littlefinger’s schemes with hilarious ease. And most damningly, seven named characters marching into the wilderness on the dumbest mission ever conceived, running into impossible, overwhelming danger, and six of them walking out. This is not the same show we started watching; Ned Stark would have died a dozen times over on that mission, and lost several thousand sons in the process.

You can argue that maybe this would all be better if Martin had written the details himself, that’d he’d gloss over or write around the improbabilities we’d seen this season. But the fundamental conflict between these two stories would still be there. We have important, previously very vulnerable characters who now for narrative reasons cannot die. No matter how well it’s done, everything about that type of story is going to feel at least a bit weird.

I’ll still watch the last season, though. So will you. What other socially acceptable venue do we have for watching aunt sex?


Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and plans to die in the first act of whatever story he’s in. As the author of the amazing novels, Freeze/Thaw and Severance he thinks you should definitely go buy both of those now. Join him on Facebook or Twitter.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/2-major-laws-fiction-that-are-screwing-game-thrones/

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German firefighters rescue man that got his penis stuck in a barbell

There’s nothing quite like cozying up to a nice cold chunk of metal. 

Firefighters in Worms, Germany, shared a fun story to its Facebook page on Friday in an attempt at showing how delicate the team of first responders can be during a sensitive rescue mission. 

“The professional fire brigade was called to the hospital in Worms,” a translated version of the Facebook post reads. “One person had a very sensitive body part in the hole of a 2.5 kg dumbbell disc.”

That’s right, a desperate man decided to put his penis inside a cold barbell, and had a little trouble removing it on his own.

The firefighters spent THREE HOURS trying to remove the dick from the disc, using a cutting grinder, a vibrating saw, and what they called “a hydraulic rescue device.” We’re not exactly sure what that is, but there is no way that was comfortable for this poor man.

While this dude clearly made a terrible mistake we can bet he will never make again, please take this as a lesson and remember there are plenty of safe male sex toys out there for purchase. Never use a piece of metal. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/09/18/man-penis-stuck-in-barbell-gemrany/

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Report: Jared Kushner used a private email server for White House work

President Donald J. Trump’s son-in-law and official White House adviser, Jared Kushner, used a private email server — set up after the election — to conduct White House business, according to a new report in Politico.

Kushner used the private account in tandem with his official White House email account to correspond with current and former senior White House officials, outside advisers and others, about subjects ranging from media coverage to event planning.

Politico said it has verified at least two dozen emails coming from the private account.

A lawyer for Kushner, Abbe Lowell, who was recently added to Kushner’s legal team, issued the following statement in response to the Politico report. We’ve reached out to Lowell’s office for comment.

“Mr. Kushner uses his White House email address to conduct White House business. Fewer than 100 emails from January through August were either sent to or returned by Mr. Kushner to colleagues in the White House from his personal email account. These usually forwarded news articles or political commentary and most often occurred when someone initiated the exchange by sending an email to his personal rather than his White House address.”

Current and former aides who sent emails to Kushner on his private account since the President took office include former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, top economic adviser Gary Cohn, and spokesman Josh Raffel, according to the Politico report.

The decision to use private accounts in office is at odds with the repeated criticism that Donald Trump and his surrogates heaped upon his opponent, Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton, during the Presidential campaign.

Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State was one of the central criticisms Trump used in his run for office — and was, in fact, the subject of an FBI investigation. 

The use of private email is common among members of the Trump administration, Politico reported. And members of the President’s staff have used encrypted messaging services like Signal and Confide, which delete messages after they are read, prompting a rebuke by the then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer that messaging using those services likely violated the Presidential Records Act.

Whether the use of the private server for emails is illegal or not, the correspondence will likely be of interest to the ongoing investigations into the last election.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/24/report-jared-kushner-used-a-private-email-server-for-white-house-work/

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6 Reasons Good People Turn Into Monsters

I want this phrase added to the American flag:

Hating a bad thing does not make you good.

Put it in place of some of the stars or something. It’s important. It’s one of those things everyone knows, right up until it’s convenient to not know it. Hell, hating bad people doesn’t even necessarily get you closer to being a better person. The Klan hates ISIS, but we don’t count that as a point in their favor. Yet I’m pretty sure that most of what we consider being good in this culture is just having disdain for the right things.

What does this have to do with police shootings, Nazis, immigration, and most of the headlines you’ll see this year? And how does it tie into the best Keanu Reeves action franchise? Well, it comes down to how …

6

We Hate Giving People Second Chances

This subject will be about five outrages old by the time this article goes up, but as I type this, the Trump administration just ended a government program for children whose parents entered America illegally. “DACA” basically allowed these young people to get jobs, pay taxes, go to school, and get driver licenses despite not being citizens. Ending the program means destroying the lives of about 800,000 people for a crime their parents committed. As one Republican congressman put it, “justice” means these people deserve to “live in the shadows.” After all, he said, they entered the country illegally. Not even years of productive, law-abiding living absolves them of that original sin.

Experts call it “John Wick morality” (or at least they should), named after the film series in which Keanu Reeves’ dog is killed by Russian mobsters, and in response he shoots 738 of them in the head. You wouldn’t think any real person considers that a reasonable moral code to live their life by, until you look at the comments under any article about a police shooting and see …

… or see entire comment sections full of people rooting for a guy who shot a car thief to death. The logic almost makes sense if you squint — if the victim hadn’t resisted (or suddenly moved their hands, or smoked weed, or failed to signal, or illegally crossed the border), they’d still be alive, therefore they have no one to blame but themselves.

That “no one to blame” phrasing is key. It implies that once someone breaks a rule, you can do whatever you want to them and you cannot be blamed. Listen for it, and you’ll hear somebody using this reasoning once a day, even if it’s just over stupid shit. Do you have some poor bastard in your social circle who’s gotten stuck with a demeaning nickname based on something they did when they were 13? If you want a famous example, try to find a single discussion about Richard Gere, anywhere, that doesn’t bring up the urban legend about him shoving a gerbil up his ass (a rumor that got started during the freaking Reagan administration).

We need that one mortal sin which will let us revoke a person’s status as a human worthy of dignity, respect, empathy or anything else. It’s the proverbial John Wick’s Dog, the moral trump card. We cannot be accused of prejudice or pettiness as long as we’ve got a bloody JWD carcass to jiggle in response to critics.

How does this apply to you, a good person fighting the good fight? I’m getting to that.

5

We Use “Justice” As Cover For All Manner Of Awfulness

“Hold on,” says the hypothetical skeptical reader who’s been following me from article to article for the last ten years, “you’re using immigration hardliners and police shootings as an example of this shit in action? Those are just the result of racism, dude.”

I don’t think that’s the complete truth. I think the reason so many racists could pass an “Are you a racist?” polygraph test is that they don’t think minorities are inhuman due to their color, but rather their supposed criminality. The officer who shot Philando Castille as he sat in a car with his girlfriend and four-year-old daughter said that he thought he smelled marijuana. In his mind, this single hint of a single minor crime meant absolutely anything done in response was justified.

That he would not have done this if the driver were a whimsical white stoner dude never occurs to him — prejudice almost always hides behind a supposed zeal for justice. Internet hate mobs never flood a woman’s inbox with death threats without a JWD to justify it. (“She wouldn’t be getting these calls in the middle of the night if she hadn’t made fun of us on Twitter!”) And where a crime doesn’t exist, we’ll extrapolate one. “Of course I thought my family was in mortal danger when that Mexican man approached the car! After all, if a guy will cross the border illegally, he’ll rape a woman. He’s already proven he doesn’t care about the law!”

It’s an utterly insane double standard, of course — our own mistakes are singular instances and in no way should affect others’ overall opinion of us. (“Just because I lied doesn’t make me a liar!”) Yet it’s so seductive that virtually every hateful asshole you’ve met in your life has built their fetid nightmare of a personality upon this very foundation. They all think their daily cruelty is in response to some extreme provocation.

But this article isn’t just about piling scorn on those people; virtually everyone reading this already thinks of them as monsters. My point is that none of them were born monsters, so we should be having the same conversation people do in the second act of every zombie movie. “How do we stop them and, more importantly, how do we keep ourselves from getting turned?” If cruelty wears justice as a disguise, then anyone who believes in justice is at risk. In fact, the more strongly you believe in justice, the more at risk you are.

Once, as a well-meaning child, I asked my Sunday School teacher how it was okay for God to send people to Hell for eternity based on fairly minor infractions, while if an earthly ruler punished rulebreakers with indefinite torture, they’d be considered cruel despots. The answer made sense to me at the time, and went like this:

Because God is infinitely righteous, He has infinite loathing for unrighteousness. His very purity is what makes any tolerance of impurity impossible.

Therefore, our modern pansy-ass attitude toward lawbreakers (insisting on reform and humane treatment) is actually evidence of our corruption. If we were more righteous, we would be more cruel toward the unrighteous. Therefore, not only is that cruelty justified, but it is in fact a key barometer of our own goodness. Petty meanness toward atheists and homosexuals is exactly what God wants. If you’re reading this and sure that this kind of medieval thinking only applies to Christians … well, keep reading.

4

We Start Hating People For All The Wrong Reasons

A critic of any female politician/pundit/activist can’t resist pointing out how ugly/fat she is (if she’s pretty, then the insult is that she’s a slut or that she only got her position based on looks). Racists will start with high crime rates and unemployment, but will quickly move on to how rap music is shitty, how ghetto women wear trashy clothes, how blacks can’t speak proper English. Never mind that it’s impossible to justify music, fashion, and dialect as examples of moral failure. For some reason, it’s not enough for their enemies to be merely wrong; they have to be disgusting on a visceral level.

It’s crazy how those racists do that, isn’t it? Those dirty, toothless, inbred hillbillies. They’re almost as bad as the gamergaters. You know, those fat virgin neckbeards in their mothers’ basements? They all probably voted for Trump — that guy with the gross weird hair and fake tan and tiny hands. Disgusting, right?

“Well, but that’s different! In those cases, the targets deserve it!” Oh, I get it. It feels great to poke our enemies in their sensitive spots. We know Trump is insecure about his hair, that Chris Christie is probably sensitive about being fat, that social outcasts are so ashamed of their virginity that some of them will blow their brains out rather than live with it. So why not use those weapons? This is total war, after all — everything about the enemy is fair game. And remember, the more cruel we are to bad guys, the better we are as people. God himself said it.

But what about all of the good people out there with weird hair, those insecure guys shyly trying to hide bald spots? Or your allies who are unattractive, nervous, and unsuccessful at sex? How are they not supposed to take home the message that personal appearance apparently matters just as much as their moral choices, and that sexual failure is something to be deeply ashamed of? That it doesn’t matter if you’re one of the good guys if you also have poor grooming and social skills?

Well fuck, now look what’s happened. We’ve not only justified cruelty toward our enemies based on their past sins, but justified cruelty to totally unrelated people. Just throwing out collateral damage like John Wick’s stray bullets, mowing down passing tourists with gun-fu until the whole city is brought to a panicked standstill. We certainly don’t stop to ask if the dog would even have wanted this.

3

We Wind Up Radicalizing Ourselves

One genre of angry message I’ve gotten over the years goes something like “I’ve been a daily reader since 2010 and thought you were the good guys, but after seeing [joke/article they found offensive], I’m realizing how wrong I was! Goodbye forever.” Think about that for a moment. They are claiming to have read and enjoyed literally thousands of articles and videos before encountering one single offensive idea, at which point they declared the whole enterprise a loss. That’s super weird.

Well, it’s weird until you consider what particular bubble they spend their time in. I’ve never been around an activist group that didn’t turn into an endless series of petty purity tests. I was raised in a church where everyone was looking for more and more inconsequential things to judge each other by. R-rated movies were of course forbidden, but which prime-time network TV shows were permissible? Any of them? Of course rock music was of the devil, but what about country? Aren’t those songs about faith, kind of?

The natural evolution is toward tighter and tighter criteria for what behavior gets you shunned from the group. The end result is that the central cause, the group’s JWD, can be as pure as the driven snow, and yet the tone will get more and more toxic over time, the members becoming less and less charitable with each other. Here, for example, is what my Twitter timeline looks like:

“Nazis are bad and must be opposed.”

Agree!

“People who enable or defend Nazis must also be opposed.”

Makes sense!

“Unlawful violence is perfectly acceptable when opposing Nazis and their enablers.”

Wait, I’m not sure I’m on board with that …

“Anyone who opposes the use of unlawful violence against Nazis is also a Nazi enabler.”

What? No! I’m one of the good guys!

“Also, if you think about it, all American institutions and capitalism itself help support white supremacy, therefore all are Nazi enablers and eligible for violent retribution.”

Hey, I think you just declared war on literally everyone who isn’t currently in the room with you.

You hear experts talk about how extremists get “radicalized” — how a guy went from a mild-mannered food inspector in San Bernardino to a brainwashed suicide attacker in the course of a year or so. But it really isn’t a mystery, and we all form less-murderous versions of this. All it takes is a closed like-minded social circle in which it’s considered unacceptable to disagree with the group, and then devote that group to hating something. It doesn’t even matter if the thing truly deserves hating — it still turns toxic. In fact, it works better if it does. “How can you criticize any flaw in our group’s behavior when the other side is Nazis! That’s literally saying that both sides are the same! The mere existence of pure evil on the other side mathematically means our side is pure good!”

At that point, no criticism is possible and there is nothing to moderate the rage. The rhetoric ratchets higher and higher as each member tries to top each other (to prove their own righteousness by demonstrating they hate the target most), and there is no method for reining it in. Moderate voices from outside the group are excluded completely, anyone from the inside who takes a moderate tone can be shouted down with accusations of being an enemy sympathizer. Soon, everything from objectively grotesque insults to elaborate torture fantasies are tossed around without a second thought.

2

… Until You Reach A Point Of No Return

At some point, an action will be suggested that you would normally consider immoral. It doesn’t have to involve armed mobs or building bombs. Depending on the time, place, and cause, it might be as minor as agreeing to spread a lie. (“I mean, even if they didn’t really do it, they probably did something just as bad! It’s not like they never lie about us!”) Or maybe someone will suggest digging up a member of the opposition’s address, maybe find out where they work, show them how serious we are.

In every case, some members will be nervous. There can be consequences to this kind of thing, right? But will they risk their status in the group by objecting? Will they have their commitment to the cause questioned?

airdone/iStock
“I can’t lose face in front of my fellow cyber-warriors. Wait … wasn’t this group about repairing the potholes on Main St. at some point?”

It is right about here that you realize the cause was never what was important. The group was what was important — having a bunch of like-minded people standing and fighting alongside you. After all, was it ever about the dog, or was it about what the dog symbolized? So maybe you wouldn’t sacrifice yourself for the cause — you can always get another dog — but would you sacrifice yourself for your friends, these people who you know would damned well do the same for you? Absolutely!

And now, without realizing it, you have the answer to the question you’ve been asking your whole life: “How can evil people live with themselves? How can a Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Charles Manson look themselves in the mirror every day?” Here you go. This is how. Inside every truly destructive person is the JWD, the broken and bleeding puppy driving them mindlessly forward, and outside of them is a group of people reinforcing their rage until the rage is all they are.

It is a fact of human nature that living purely in opposition to something, rather than for something, hollows you out inside. To be a whole human being, you have to spend your life building something good. It’s easy to find yourself withholding time and energy from friends, family, career, and hobbies, because damn it, one of those assholes on the other side has said something outrageous and I must respond, because this is war and this is all that matters.

1

And The Whole Time, You’ll Tell Yourself It Was The Only Way

Around 70% of readers never make it to the end of an internet article, so it’ll be interesting to see how many rebut this with, “Oh, great, another article saying Antifa and Nazis are the same! As if one of them ISN’T ACTIVELY DEMANDING GENOCIDE.” It’s the same mental dodge I’ve been pointing out — as long as the other side is worse, you can’t criticize me. But I’m personally telling you, as an individual human being, that you need to ask yourself one crucial question: Are you in it for the cause, or are you in it for the fight? There’s an easy way to tell: Do you get involved with the boring parts?

Donald Trump’s entire agenda could be obliterated a little more than a year from now with a new congress, but statistically the vast majority of you won’t vote at all (and I’d say the vast majority who show up to anti-Nazi rallies also won’t cast a vote). Smacking Nazis with clubs is fun. Voting in midterms is not. Only one results in real change. Hell, in the 2016 election that supposedly determined the future of humanity “Did Not Vote” won 44 of 50 states. Why are some of you willing to put yourself in physical danger at a protest but won’t suffer the tedium of real-world policy change? Deep down inside, you know the answer.

“But voting doesn’t change anything!” Okay, the outcome of exactly one senate race just prevented Obamacare from being repealed. Twenty million people will have health insurance next year because just a small group of voters — enough to fit in a stadium — showed up instead of staying home. You think Hillary would be talking about repealing DACA? “Sometimes violence is the only way!” Are you saying that based on evidence, or because you want it to be true? For every nationalist/authoritarian movement that got turned back by war, literally thousands quietly died due to losing elections or just failing to drum up popular support. How many elections has David Duke won? Goddamnit, you’re playing their game. Don’t let the devils drag you into Hell.

Because god help you if one day you find your enemy has finally been defeated or, even worse, that your tactics only made them stronger (would an armed mob on the other side hurt or help recruitment for yours?). You are left with a personality built entirely on fighting a misguided war, a bottle of poison that didn’t kill the cockroaches and is now just collecting dust in the garage. At that point, will you give up the rage and rebuild your personality around loving something? Or will you just turn that hatred on yourself? I want you to at least think about it. Here’s a GIF of an otter having a snack.

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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.

Sadly, this John Wick toy doesn’t come with his dog 🙁 but you can relieve the stress of reigning hellfire onto your enemies with this adorable squeeze toy for humans–in the shape of a dog paw!

Check out more from David Wong in 5 Things To Understand About Modern Hate Groups and 7 Reasons We’re Quietly Letting Racists Win.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/why-every-terrible-person-thinks-theyE28099re-hero/

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Guy Converts Old Ambulance He Bought Off eBay and Starts Driving South

Late last year Ian Dow took a leap of faith and bought an old ambulance from Missouri on eBay for US$2,800. After driving it over 2,000 KM back to his home in Cali, he immediately began to convert it into what he called his, ‘adventure/travel machine and tiny home’.

After six months of salvaging, building and tinkering he was ready for adventure with his new home, nicknamed ‘El Salvador’, and his best friend and dog, ‘Dino’.

Ian recently shared a pic of his ambulance conversion on reddit, where he provided some more info on his travels and ‘El Salvador’:

– Tent on roof is for any guests
– The shower is an outdoor compartment and 30 gallon water tank on the roof. Propane heated if needed
– Ambulance runs on diesel and gets 12 miles per gallon

Why an ambulance?

“Honestly I wanted a sprinter but got burned by a Craigslist seller. After that I crashed my motorcycle, the same day I stumbled across a cheap ambulance on eBay and was in serious pain… I figured buying one would cost less than a ride in one so why not prepaid for the future. It was posted by a charity so my money went to good use. Perks of an ambo: Square -for building purposes it’s easier Strong – rated to flip and not crush with 7.3l diesel engine Electrical – already has more wires ran through it and switches than I’d ever need for repurposing. Maintenance – always maintained perfectly, as if lives depended on it.
Downside is it’s heavy, real heavy.” [source]

Dow and co. are currently in Costa Rica going up and down the coast. You can follow their adventures on Instagram at @vanlife_ian_dow_travels

Read more: http://twistedsifter.com/2017/09/guy-converts-old-ambulance-into-mobile-home/

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