Culture Feature

K-Pop Stans and TikTok Teens Trolled a Trump Rally—What Could They Do Next?

K-pop fans and Tare quite powerful and should not be underestimated.

The incredible, sometimes supernatural power of K-pop fans and TikTok teens is on display once again.

One week ago, President Trump's campaign boasted that huge crowds were supposed to attend his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The president originally scheduled the rally for June 19th, which is Juneteenth, a day that Black people have long marked as a celebration of freedom. This year, Juneteenth saw protests around the world, sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Trump ended up moving his rally to June 20th, one day after Juneteenth. His choice of date and venue—Tulsa, Oklahoma—also hit a nerve partly due to Tulsa's violent history: It was the site of a brutal massacre that saw at least 300 Black people killed by white nationalists in 1921.

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TV Reviews

Joe Exotic, "Tiger King," and the Terrifying Truth About Cat People

The new Netflix documentary is so much crazier than you can imagine

In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, John Oliver introduced the world to an eccentric write-in candidate who went by the professional alias Joe Exotic.

Joe ran a "private zoo for tigers" in Oklahoma and went through a rundown of his qualifications in clips that Oliver aired on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight: "I refuse to wear a suit … I am gay. I've had two boyfriends most of my life … I'm broke as sh*t, I have a judgment against me from some b*tch down there in Florida." With a pistol on his hip and fringe on his sleeves, Joe strutted around a tiger enclosure in a knee brace, wielding the cane he would later use to fend off a tiger attack. At the time Joe seemed like a quintessentially American character—deeply strange, but largely harmless. He was a folk hero of sorts—the kind of person who has made it his life's work to fully embrace who he is and expects the rest of the world to do the same.

Third Parties: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) www.youtube.com

The fact that he was the subject of a would-be reality show—Joe Exotic: Tiger King—made perfect sense. The fact that he was later arrested and convicted on a murder-for-hire charge betrayed the fact that he was not as harmless as he seemed. The new Netflix documentary, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness, dives deep into the dark side of Joe Exotic and of big cat collectors in general—introducing viewers to a world that is far stranger than even Joe's campaign videos suggest. Through a series of alarming twists and revelations, it leaves the viewers with a lot of questions and uncertainties but one irresistible conclusion: Exotic animal collectors—and big cat specialists in particular—are frightening people. Spoilers ahead.

There are five prominent collectors who participated in interviews for the documentary, detailing their histories with exotic animals and with the people they exploit to run their "zoos." One of these collectors, Mario Tabraue, is thought to be an inspiration for Al Pacino's Tony Montana in Scarface and was involved in the murder and dismemberment of a federal agent. His drug smuggling operation in the 1970s and '80s used exotic animal smuggling (also illegal, but less harshly punished) as a cover, and it even involved cutting snakes open to stuff them with bags of coc*ine. After serving 12 years of a 100-year sentence—and allegedly cooperating with authorities in other investigations—Tabraue was released and opened the Zoological Wildlife Foundation, which is now one of Florida's premiere private zoos. Tabraue's story is perhaps the least upsetting of the five.

Mario Tabraue with his wife Maria, a tiger cub, and a dog

The other four collectors are as follows: Jeff Lowe, the circus heir and "legitimate businessman," a walking midlife crisis who would smuggle baby tigers into Las Vegas hotels inside of suitcases as bait to lure young women to his hotel room; "Doctor" Bhagavan Antle, the spiritual guru, Hollywood animal wrangler, and possible cult leader with three wives/girlfriends, who houses his overworked staff of young, attractive female interns in roach-infested horse stalls and convinces them to change their names and get plastic surgery; Carole Baskin, the woman who started out as a big cat breeder who provided animal encounters but pivoted to advocating against those practices and operating the Big Cat Rescue sanctuary—with a massive team of overworked volunteers—after the sudden disappearance of her wealthy, philandering husband; and finally, of course, Joe Exotic himself.

Joe is the working-class version of the same big cat insanity the others represent, complete with a (lip-synced) country music career. In interviews, Joe speaks of his admiration for the domineering mystic figure of "Doc" Antle, who has been accused of killing his cats when they are no longer profitable and may or may not believe that his genitals can confer enlightenment—particularly upon virgins. Joe, on the other hand, had no interest in women or in mysticism. He loved men and tigers and guns and partying, and he devoted himself with passion to all four. When he felt that life and his park was at risk of being taken away, Joe once assured a TV reporter that it would result in "a mini Waco," referring to the deadly standoff between federal agents and the Branch Davidian religious sect in 1993.

Doc Antle with three tigers, his son Kody, and two of his wives

Joe's business relied largely on drug addicts, felons, and misfits whom Joe provided with a pittance, some expired meat, and what can loosely be referred to as housing in exchange for their work. If someone in the area of Wynnewood, Oklahoma was at the end of their rope, Joe would be there to offer them a fresh start...and some drugs. While many of his employees were undoubtedly saved from worse fates by Joe's intervention, Joe was never really interested in a "clean" lifestyle for himself or his staff. And when one of those desperate people whom he saved happened to be an attractive young man, Joe could provide for that young man's habits in exchange for sharing Joe's bed—regardless of their sexuality.

In Tiger King Joe openly acknowledges that he "fell in love with straight guys" and cites Wynnewood's demographics as his excuse. When one of Joe's two "husbands" (plural marriage is not legal in the US) John Finlay left him for the woman who worked at the animal park's front desk, he did so with noticeably fewer teeth than when their relationship started. Their "marriage" seems to have been largely based on smoking m*th together. Joe's other husband wasn't lucky enough to get out. Travis Maldonado was with Joe from the ages of 19 to 23 and, by all accounts, did little in that time other than get high, shoot guns, and sleep with the women at the park. He was in the offices of Joe's zoo when he accidentally shot himself in the head in 2017, playing with a gun that he believed to be unloaded. Joe was 54 at the time.

But the true insanity of Joe's story comes from his years-long feud with Carole Baskin—the woman he described in his campaign video as "some b*tch down there in Florida." In response to her many efforts to outlaw and stigmatize the practices at his and similar big cat parks—in particular the breeding and selling of big cats for up-close entertainment—Joe engaged in a campaign of harassment that generally focused on accusations of murder, hypocrisy, envy, and the sadistic slaughter of rabbits.

Carole Baskin posing with a lion at her Florida sanctuary

In daily internet broadcasts, Joe regularly insulted Carole Baskin and "the animal rights people," read from her diary, and depicted various kinds of violence against mannequins and sex dolls standing in for her. He made an entire song and accompanying music video claiming that she murdered her husband Don Lewis in 1997 (an accusation that Lewis' family finds eminently credible). But the step that wound up costing him everything was when he stole her Big Cat Rescue trademark for his own business.

The lawsuit that ensued would eventually result in a million dollar finding in favor of Baskin—a sum that Joe would never be able to pay. No doubt his eventual murder-for-hire plot was both an effort to get out from that financial burden and to enact some vengeance against Baskin—who made the continued operation of his park impossible and life much worse for the big cats that were living there. Along the way he had drained his elderly mother of her savings in order to keep on top of his legal fees.

Joe Exotic Country Music "Here Kitty Kitty" www.youtube.com

It was around that time that Joe became concerned that his contract with Rick Kirkham—the man attempting to make a reality show out of Joe's life—offered little opportunity for Joe to profit, while opening him up to numerous legal liabilities regarding the dubious practices in his park. In March of 2015, the studio where Joe shot his Internet show was burned down in an act of arson that destroyed all of Kirkham's reality show footage along with a reptile house where seven alligator's and a crocodile were "boiled alive in a towering inferno."

Joe and the people in his life have attempted to direct suspicions toward Kirkham and toward Carole Baskin—whom they accuse of hiring Kirkham for the job. As for Joe, his defense is that he was out of town at the time and that he loves his animals too much to be involved. But those points are made suspect by his now-proven willingness to commit violent crimes by proxy and by the way he workshopped and dramatized that "towering inferno" line for a fundraising video.

Tiger King makes it clear that Joe Exotic is never above using the drama of a situation to his advantage as a performer. In episode five viewers are treated to Joe's eulogy at Travis Maldonado's funeral, which Joe turned into a stand-up performance before breaking out in (lip-synced) song.

Jeff Lowe with a liger

In 2018 Joe was convicted of two counts of murder-for-hire and of several crimes involving the treatment and sale of his cats. His beloved park now belongs to Jeff Lowe—who is in the process of re-branding and relocating. In January, Joe was finally sentenced to 22 years in prison. The story of how he got there features so many surprises and dark revelations that it would be impossible to do Tiger King justice here, but the resounding message is delivered in the first moments of episode one: "Animal people are nuts" one voice offers; and another chimes in, "The monkey people are a little bit different ... they're kind of strange. But the big cat people are backstabbing pieces of sh*t."

Whatever else you can glean from the five hours of insanity that is Tiger King, it's clear that—if you don't want to be mauled, sued, slandered, murdered, exploited, or brain-washed—you should never get involved with big cats or the kind of people who collect them. In other words: don't f*ck with cat people.

Kids these days are up to a lot of things.

Saving the planet, running businesses, starting social movements... It's fair that we'd all be concerned for their well-being. Fortunately, the Internet has come through with a handful of codes and cheat sheets that you can use to decipher what your child is really getting up to online.


Astrology

BTS

(Timothée) Chalamet

Decolonization

(Edgar Allan) Poe

Financial Crisis (2008)

Guinea Pigs

Hamlet

Intersectional Feminism

Julio-Claudians

Kingdom Hearts

Love, Simon

Molecular Biology

Naruto

Oklahoma

Pop-Punk

The Q'uran

Radical Liberalism

Stew

Tide Pods

Unions

(Two Gentlemen of) Verona

Writing

X Factor Auditions


(The New York) Yankees

Z


The truth is that these memes are more about Boomers and Gen X'ers than they do about kids these days. We all know that older generations spend more time than anyone leaving angry comments on Facebook pages, and they're the ones who worry relentlessly about the Internet when maybe they should have been worrying about climate change or gun violence. But hey, as long as your kid isn't texting about communism, everything's going to be just fine.

Now, please, let's all get off the Internet.

TV

The Best Moments from the 2019 Tonys

James Corden celebrated the Tony Awards winners of 2019, from newcomers like "Hadestown" to revived classics like "Oklahoma!"

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

A female director finally won.

New York City (the superior city) beat out Hollywood last night—proving theater is superior entertainment. Rachel Chavkin, the only female director on Broadway right now, won Best Direction for Hadestown and made sure no one will forget it. She proclaimed that the lack of diversity in the industry is "not a pipeline issue. It is a failure of imagination by a field whose job is to imagine the way the world could be. So let's do it." Brava.

Rachel Chavkin Wins Best Direction Of A Musical At The 2019 Tony Awards www.youtube.com

Hadestown Awareness

Speaking of Hadestown, the show's 14 nominations resulted in 5 wins and exposure for those who had yet to hear about the phenomenal show. The performance of "Wait for Me" piqued the interest of many who had never seen something like it before. Let's just say ticket sales are now booming.

The Cast Of Hadestown Performs "Wait For Me" At The 2019 Tony Awards www.youtube.com

A Taylor Mac Appearance

His outfit alone was delightful enough to be a marvelous moment, but Mac outdid himself. Mac introduced his play, Gary, A Sequel to Titus Andronicus, lighting up the room with a smile while explaining the horrifying premise.

Playwright Taylor Mac Shines As He Describes Gary: A Sequel To Titus Andronicus At The 2019 Tony … www.youtube.com

Billy Porter Owns Every Red Carpet

best moments tonys 2019 billy porter

Enough said.

Elaine May is Marvelous

The six decade career-actress spoke humbly, noting, "I've never won a nomination for acting before." The 87-year-old not only gave away her character's ending in The Waverly Gallery, but cracked a few jokes along the way. The short and sweet speech was a perfect moment for the icon. Bless her.

Elaine May Wins Best Leading Actress In A Play At The 2019 Tony Awards www.youtube.com

Being Reminded Oklahoma! Is a Great Musical

Oklahoma! is definitely benefitting from the comeback of yeehaw culture. Between Ali Stoker's heartfelt speech and the fun, catchy performance, the cast proved Oklahoma! earned its Best Revival Tony.

Ali Stroker Wins Best Featured Actress In A Musical At The 2019 Tony Awards www.youtube.com


The Cast Of Oklahoma! Performs "I Cain't Say No/ Oklahoma" At The 2019 Tony Awards www.youtube.com

police give donkey ride

In what must be the most bizarre news of the week, cops in Oklahoma gave a donkey a lift home in their patrol car after coming across it roaming free.

The police department in Norman updated their Facebook page on Tuesday with news of the unusual arrest.

Meet Estella—The Adorable Paralyzed Guinea Pig With A Custom Wheelchair

Officer Kyle Canaan responded to a call about a "donkey on the loose" from Robin Strader after she spotted the odd looking hitchhiker on her way to work.  Strader offered to keep 'Squishy' (as they nicknamed him) at her property four miles away until the owner could be tracked down, however they were then presented with the problem of how to transport the beast;

"She said, 'Well, no, it won't fit in my car,'" Canaan told KFOR-TV  "And, I was like, 'Eh, it may fit in my car.'"

Cops Search For Guy Who Pooped On Over 19 Cars In Ohio

The kind-hearted duo eventually enticed the animal into the cop car by using some food to coax him into the back set—he gave himself up quietly and did not put up a fight, so no cuffs were needed.

Doing what many before him will have wished they could do—Squishy left the cop a huge steaming memento of his journey to deal with.

Pig Gets Arrested-Shits All Over Cop Car Exclusive Interview

The image of Squishy enjoying his ride has gone viral and the thankfully the joyful owners have now come forward, delighted to be reunited with their escapee.

police give donkey ride

police give donkey ride

police give donkey ride

In 2013, Brad Lee Davis, became so enraged at his stepfather, he threw him to the ground, knocked him unconscious, then reached into his pants and violently yanked his underwear over his head.

“This was not mutual combat,” said District Attorney Richard Smothermon at last Thursday’s sentencing hearing. “This was not self-defense. It was pure aggression.”

Japanese Game Show Has Women Jerking Off Men While They Sing Karaoke

It started innocently enough—Davis invited his step father, Denver Lee St. Clair, over for drinks, but after a few beers, St. Clair began to make unkind remarks about his wife, who also happens to be Davis' mother, obviously. He called her 'worthless' and Davis saw red.

The affidavit says Davis, "grabbed St. Clair's underwear and gave him an atomic wedgie. Davis allegedly pulled the elastic waistband of St. Clair's underwear over his head and around his neck."

Mexican Singer Makes Most Of Maxi-Pad Malfunction

As a result, 58-year-old asphyxiated and died.

Rest In Peace Denver Lee St. Clair

On Thursday, the 35-year-old Oklahoma man was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Davis pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter this May.

Masturbating Woman Crashes Into Seafood Truck

According to prosecutors St. Clair’s head wounds would have killed him “if he hadn’t died from the wedgie first.”

From News OK:

When authorities questioned Davis, he said St. Clair asked him to come over for drinks. The men began arguing and Davis told officers that St. Clair “came at him,” and they began exchanging blows.

Davis told investigators that he hit St. Clair’s head, causing him to lose consciousness.

Then, Davis said, he grabbed his stepfather’s underwear and gave him an “atomic wedgie” by pulling the underwear over his stepfather’s head.

“I’d never seen this before, but when we first looked at our victim seeing the waistband of his underwear was around his neck,” Pottawatomie County Sheriff Mike Booth said.

Judge John G. Canavan Jr. said he may consider Davis’ sentence at a review hearing in 12 to 18 months.