Cody R Wilson, the star of our new documentary about 3D printed guns, is doing a reddit AMA right now.
A Weird Hotel in Houston Is Freaking Reddit Out
Last week, Reddit’s internet detectives swarmed on a subreddit for Houston, Texas after a user called Joelikesmusic posted a mysterious thread asking insiders what the deal was with a bizarre room at the localHotel ZaZa. As you can see in the picture above, the decor in room 322 errs more on the deeply unsettling, Jodorowsky side of a “comfortable, welcoming hotel experience,” with sinister paintings hanging above a concrete floor, what looks like a two-way mirror next to a bed that’s chained to the wall, and a portrait of Stanford Financial Group president Jay Comeaux overlooking the whole distressing tableau.
The room was accidentally booked for Joelikesmusic’s work colleague, who was then supposedly told that room 322 wasn’t meant to be booked at all. And it’s not difficult to see why—it looks like a snuff movie location. But despite the room being an absolute creep-fest, Kyra Coots, the Houston ZaZa’s head of e-marketing, told the Houseton Chronicle that—like the other themed rooms ZaZa prides itself on—the “Hard Times” room is just a “kooky” take on yet another theme: jail.
Being the internet, people have started to throw around entirely unfounded conclusions about room 322, based on wild speculations they’ve made about things they can ascertain from the photographs.
THE THEORIES ABOUT THE PICTURES ON THE WALL
Some think they’ve linked Stanford’s Jay Comeaux to ZaZa President Benji Homsey, suggesting they could’ve been in the same or related fraternity chapters at university. Comeaux went to Louisiana State University, home of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity and the secretive frat, “the Friars.”
The goal of the Friars is apparently to resurrect DKE’s “Zeta Zeta” chapter—could the name ZaZa itself be a reference to this? Is Benji Homsey the “Benny H.” whose signature is on another of the room’s portraits?
THE THEORIES ABOUT THE ROOM NUMBERS
Others have connected Comeaux and the Friars to the elite Yale Skull and Bones Society, which counts ex-presidents George Bush Jr. and his dad as members. The number 322 is supposedly relevant to the group, as well as the skulls and bones littering the room.
There are websites that claim the Skull and Bones Society dates back to 1832, when it “paid obeisance to Eulogia, the goddess of eloquence, who took her place in the pantheon upon the death of the orator Demosthenes in 322 BC.” The number 322 is also thought to reference the club’s founding in America after originally being established in Germany, it being the second chapter—1832 - 2. Writer on the occult Nick Farrell told me the numbers refer to “Hebrew geomatria—each letter is a number so you can add up numbers to make words; 322 means any of these. It depends on the context, but ‘lamb’ would be a common one and ‘man’ another, but it could also be the number of a demon.”
The guy who’s been injecting himself with snake venom for 20 years (and stars in our recent doc Venom Superman) is doing a reddit AMA. Go ask him a question.
Robert King, VICE’s Syria correspondent, is currently doing a Reddit AMA. Ask him a question.
OUR SYRIA CORRESPONDENT IS DOING AN AMA TOMORROW
VICE Syria correspondent and veteran conflict photographer Robert King will be on Reddit tomorrow at 10:30 AM to answer your questions about what he’s witnessed in his coverage of Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Gaza, Mexico, Iraq, and now the year-long bloody civil war in Syria.
Robert has been embedded with the Free Syrian Army so long that they’ve given him the nickname ‘Haji Memphis,’ after his hometown. He has documented the devastation of the Al-Quasyr Hospital, themassacre at Taftanaz, the burning of the ancient souk in Aleppo’s Old City, and the courageous doctors at the Dar al-Shifa field hospital in Aleppo, which was rocketed into rubble just days ago.
Robert, or the Bulletproof Ghost as we call him, was also the subject of the 2008 feature-length documentary, Shooting Robert King.
You can join VICE and Robert on Reddit tomorrow at 10:30 AM EST with your questions. Check VICE’s Twitter feed or this post tomorrow for the link.
You’re a Pussy if You Think There’s a War on Men
For some men, women—especially feminists—are terrifying. Not in the normal oh-my-God-I-can’t-ask-her-out-what-if-she-says-no way that middle schoolers and characters on Friends experience, but “afraid” in the sense that women will take their money, try to get pregnant on purpose, invent false rape claims, and use feminism to generally abuse men. In this narrative, men are either an oppressed minority (or about to become one), or have to “fight back” against feminists to preserve their rights.
If you want to see what this kind of thinking looks like, take a dip into the river of the Men’s Rights section of Reddit, where a bunch of dudes go to complain about getting raped by women and talk gibberish about how their “clans” are getting attacked by “Statism and Feminism.” Currently, some of the most popular posts on the subreddit include a complaint about how if you owe more than $2,500 in child support payments you can’t get a passport (in the Men’s Rights universe, deadbeat dads are often victims of a misandrist court system); adiscussion, inspired by a Walking Dead plot point, about how getting beaten up is worse than being threatened with rape; an account of some guy squabbling with an obscure feminist blogger (these guys are always getting into internet beef with feminist bloggers, and vice-versa); and a screenshot of some gobbledygook about patriarchy that probably sounded smart to the high-schooler who wrote it. Like a lot of Reddit, the Men’s Rights forum is a way for predominantly white, predominantly rich young men to pat themselves on the back for how smart they are. It gives them something to do, I guess, and it gives the Shit Reddit Says subreddit something to react against.
But the idea that feminism is harmful to men, and women have declared war on people with penises, isn’t confined to Reddit’s nether regions anymore. It’s now mainstream enough for Fox News’s website, which published an awful, troll-baiting op-ed about “The War on Men” written by Suzzanne Venker. Her thesis is that while women want to marry men, men don’t want to marry them because, “Women aren’t women anymore.” She goes on:
“Women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.
Now the men have nowhere to go.”
What she’s describing is a pretty standard anti-feminist narrative: The evil feminists “convinced” women to want things like the same careers and pay and power that men had (they didn’t really want these things, see, but they were persuaded otherwise), thereby causing them to lose the status they were too short-sighted to have valued.
TRACING KODY MAXSON, THE ONLINE BLACKMAILER ALLEGED TO HAVE TORMENTED AMANDA TODD
In the days that have passed since my initial report about Amanda Todd’s suicide, the story has become even more convoluted and concerning. That piece focused on the misrepresentation of Amanda’s story by the mainstream media, who wrongfully painted it as a case of traditional schoolyard bullying that just happened to transpire over the internet. It also detailed the vigilante efforts of a small New Jersey-based sect of the hacktivist group Anonymous whose deep-diving web research linked her allegations of being stalked and tormented to a man named Kody Maxson. At this point no one can definitively link him to Amanda’s suicide; however, it has become very apparent that Kody’s internet habits and moral character are unilaterally disgusting and mostly revolve around online sexual extortion.
Shortly after Monday’s article was published, I was contacted by an IT security expert who agreed to give me information on background but wishes to remain unnamed. He had taken it upon himself to look into one of the email accounts Anonymous had pointed to in last Friday’s leak of Kody’s personal information—namely—firstname.lastname@example.org—and discovered it was unregistered. After proving his claim by sending me an email from the account, he told me its inbox was full of death threats and media inquiries. He also posited that perhaps the address had never existed in the first place; however we both agreed that it was entirely possible that Kody Maxson could have disabled it shortly before the Anonymous leak to avoid attention.
That said, after the IT consultant raised the possibility that Kody Maxson could be a completely fictitious individual created to throw the authorities and other interested parties off the trail of the actual perpetrator, a central component of a large-scale trolling, or completely unconnected to Amanda Todd’s suicide, I decided to thoroughly vet Anonymous’s background research on Kody myself.
In an email correspondence that I had with a member of the New Jersey sect of Anonymous who provided the initial leak, this individual told me, “I’m pretty certain that Kody was involved with Amanda’s death. He’s a known pedophile with charges against him. He has blackmailed other girls over webcam in the same manner and he has admitted to being friends with her online. I know it’s not hard evidence, but he looks guilty to me.” This is all conjecture, of course, but it makes it very apparent why Anonymous decided to acquire and leak his information in the first place.
Taking this research into my own hands, I googled “Kody Maxson” using a filter to exclude “Amanda Todd” so that my search results would only produce webpages that included Kody’s name before Anonymous or the media had publicly connected him to Amanda.
The above “like” and comment is from Kody Maxson on a video of the 2011 riots in Vancouver that erupted after the Canucks lost in the Stanley Cup playoffs, which he described as a “fun night.” It also led me straight to Kody Maxson’s Facebook profile. I discovered that the Facebook profile my search results provided a link to had been renamed from “Kody Maxson” to “John Doee;” however, as you can see above, the very same profile was still showing up in Google’s cache as “Kody Maxson.” Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of websites and social networking knows that renaming a Facebook profile does very little to mask one’s true identity, and, more importantly, that the internet never forgets anything. Even more tellingly, the profile was registered under the URL facebook.com/kody604 (which, of course, has since been deactivated—but not before I took some screenshots!), with the “604” presumably selected because it is Vancouver’s area code. (To be clear, all of the Facebook information I have discovered was posted as public information available through a simple Google search.)
At the time of my discovery, the Facebook profile for John Doee/Kody Maxson’s stated that he lived Havana, Cuba. By digging a bit into his timeline, I found a personal “25 Questions” quiz in which he listed Semiahmoo Secondary and Earl Mariott Secondary as the “best” schools besides Hogwarts. While the fictional magic academy is not located in Surrey, British Columbia, both of the other schools listed are.
So it’s clear that there is—or at least was—a Kody Maxson living in Surrey, British Columbia, and based on my research I believe that he either purposefully created an account including as little personal information as possible or at one point he scrubbed his profile of this information. Either way, he did a pretty sloppy job.
Additional searches for information on Kody led to a website called Websites R’ Us, that Kody seemed to have establish in an attempt to drum up potential business as a website designer. The grammar and design of the site was atrocious, so I imagine that career resulted in a dead-end for him. The site was active when I discovered it early Tuesday morning, but it has since been taken offline. On the site, Kody wrote that the Websites R’ Us office was based out of Delta, British Columbia. Delta borders Surrey. The website also listed email@example.com as his contact address—the same address that the IT security expert who replied to my aforementioned email had re-registered last Friday.
“What I realized during our brief encounter was that pick up artists ask you shitloads of questions purely because they know that if they stop talking you might mistake them for an ugly coat rack. Here’s a tip for everyone everywhere: forcing people to have stilted and awkward conversations with you is annoying, not sexy.