CULTURE

In Memoriam of the Reddit Man Who Blew Up His Engagement Over a Wish Wedding Dress

Hell hath no fury like a dude with no power of introspection.

The internet may be full of actively ignorant know-it-alls who claim authority over topics they know nothing about, but perhaps none more unfortunate than the Reddit man who blew up his whole engagement over a wedding dress on Wish.

The self-fulfilling tragicomedy of Reddit user u/josh8449, henceforth known as "Josh," began like many an assh*le's journey to almost-self-awareness––with a post on r/AmITheAssh*le.

am i the asshl*e r/AmItheAssh*le / WIRED

For those out of the loop, "Am I the assh*le?" is a subreddit where posters present a situation wherein they might have been an assh*le, and the community judges whether or not they actually were. The most important rule for posters who pose questions is that, while they can answer queries for clarifying information, they must accept their judgment without argument. Of course, for many an assh*le, that's easier said than done.

Enter Josh, a 38-year-old man who wanted to know if he was the assh*le for telling his 27-year-old fiance, Emma, that "her wedding dress choice is way too extravagant and suggesting alternatives?"

Across a long wall of rambling, error-ridden text, Josh laid out his side of the story. The details went as follows:

-Josh and Emma were set to get married in July. The venue was booked.

-Both Josh and Emma had put aside $10,000 each from their own money to pay for the wedding.

-Emma found a dress she loved that cost $950 plus a $120 veil, for a total wedding outfit cost of $1070.

-Josh thought $1070 for a wedding dress was "insane" and, therefore, told Emma no.

-Josh did his own "quick google around at dresses online" and discovered "so many [dresses] just like the one emma wants for like $50 to $100" on a "reccomended [sic] app called Wish."

-Emma did not want to wear a $50 dress from Wish for her wedding. She clarified that she would be paying for the dress with her own money. Josh continued to insist that her money was also his money because "we ate [sic] about to marry and our finances will be joined." At this point, Emma's parents offered to pay for the dress, but Josh really wanted a hill to die on.

-"She is very slender but apparantly [sic] wants it specially fitted?"

-Emma finally decided that if Josh was going to try to assert this ridiculous level of control over her wedding dress choice that she was paying for with her own money, then she needed to consider whether they were actually a good match for marriage. Josh responded by yelling at her: "I told her she's like a toddler throwing a tantrum over a sparkly toy she can't have." This led Emma to go stay at her parents' house.

Man ruins marriage over wedding dress

Josh posted all of this online, wondering whether or not he was the assh*le...And, yes, Josh was deemed the assh*le––an overwhelming, whopping, unanimous conclusion.

Commenters flooded the thread, tearing Josh's dumb ideas apart piece-by-piece. Many of the responses primarily focused on Josh's fundamental ignorance about wedding fashion. Users ranging from former brides to actual wedding professionals attempted to inform Josh that the average wedding dress costs around $1,600––meaning that Emma's dress choice was actually a very reasonable price––but more importantly, that Wish is in no way a valid option for an actual wedding dress.

Wish, much like AliExpress, is a major Chinese e-commerce company that specializes in ridiculously cheap, low-quality, almost exclusively bootleg products that are oftentimes advertised using quality pictures of the authentic products they're imitating. Wish wedding dresses have actually taken on a memetic status amongst fashion and wedding-oriented communities due to their extreme variance from the displayed images, with YouTubers jumping on the bandwagon. "It is really funny when expectations are so far from reality," said fashion YouTuber Tina Yong to Insider.

Thousands of people relayed this information to Josh with overwhelming unity, hardly a dissenter amongst them. But Josh, hard-headed fool that he was, could not handle the possibility that he might actually be *gasp* wrong. And so he broke the cardinal rule of "Am I the Assh*le?" and argued with the consensus. For whatever inane reason, no matter how much anyone tried to help him to understand, Josh simply would not accept that Wish was not a quality option for wedding dresses.

josh8449

While Josh proceeded to rack up thousands of downvotes with his rebuttals, commenters started to press on the bigger issues. For instance, should Emma really stay in a relationship with a man who is 11 years older than she is and continually insists that he was right to control her, yell at her, and call her names? Was this a one-off due to the stress of wedding planning, or was Emma trapped in an abusive relationship? As the commenters sounded off, Josh grew increasingly unhinged. [Sic] in advance: "It's not even a big age gap! i am not preying on her, you can't say or see if someone is abusive or controlling over a freaking dress ."

josh8449

Then Emma found the thread. We know this because Josh, as he continued to argue with commenters, essentially live-posted himself getting drunk, fighting with Emma's parents over the phone, and eventually blaming other people in the thread (and also "sjw") for ruining his relationship. It was around this time that Josh finally got banned.

But hell hath no fury like a dude with no power of introspection, and so Josh decided to start sending angry private messages to posters whom he believed were responsible for his deteriorating relationship. Again, [sic] in advance: "f*ck this f*ck . it . all and f*ck emma for believing strangers on the internet over her fiancee of 2 f*cking years."

YIKES.

josh8449 pm

Except the story doesn't end there. In a later, since removed post on r/relationships, a user named u/throwawaywedding22 suggested she was Emma from Josh's post and provided further context for the situation. Amongst the new details, Emma revealed that Josh lied about their ages. She is only 23. He is 43. There is a 20 year age gap. Moreover, Emma is the primary breadwinner. Josh makes just above minimum wage and did not, in fact, contribute $10,000 of his own money to the wedding. Rather, Josh threw in $5,000 and Emma covered the rest.

Emma clarified that the wedding hasn't been called off just yet, but one has to hope that Josh's post was a major wake-up call. When asked for a comment via Reddit, Emma replied, "Listen to your parents, listen when people tell you the age gap is too big and stay calm, im humiliated and still trying to navigate all of this without breaking down." If any good comes out of the whole situation, it is most certainly the fact that Emma gets a chance to dodge a bullet before she's legally tied to one.

And for any folks out there who may be empathizing with Josh, let this be a lesson: When you don't know what you're talking about and someone with more information corrects you, maybe, just maybe, try to listen. Just remember: It's not about a dress, buddy. It's about you.

*u/josh8849 has been contacted for comment, but has not responded as of the time of publication.

CULTURE

Chris R from Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" Is Running for Congress

Chris R may have lost to Johnny and Mark in The Room, but he can still win big in Texas.

While Tommy Wiseau's The Room, often considered the best bad movie of all time, might be technically terrible in almost every aspect, one actor's performance stood out from the rest as...almost maybe good?

In a scene so random that it feels baffling even within an already baffling movie, actor Dan Janjigian plays a drug dealer named Chris R who tries to shake down another bit character named Denny (or Danny?) for owed money. Chris R is only in that single scene, and Danny's drug addiction is never brought up again, but that doesn't stop Janjigian from making a meal out of his role. Janjigian's crazed intensity and the seriousness with which he seemed to approach a nothing role in a no-name movie was compelling enough that Zac Efron portrayed him in The Disaster Artist.

WORST acting ever [MUST WATCH!] The Room www.youtube.com

Now, over 15 years after The Room, Dan Janjigian has taken on a new role, perhaps his biggest one yet: running for Congress. As it turns out, Janjigian is a man of many talents. On top of his iconic role as Chris R, Janjigian was also a Microsoft employee and an Olympic bobsledder. More recently, however, Janjigian has spent over a decade working in healthcare and raising a family in Texas.

Danjan congress https://www.danjanforcongress.com/

According to Janjigian's official campaign website, his experience as a healthcare professional and his family's history escaping the Armenian Genocide solidified his political beliefs. Currently running as a Democrat to represent Texas's 31st congressional district against Republican incumbent John Carter, Janjigian's platform revolves around enacting public healthcare (while allowing private options for those who choose it), streamlining legal immigration, and promoting clean energy solutions to battle climate change.

Best of all, Janjigian is running a grassroots campaign "PAID FOR BY A WHOLE LOT OF TEXANS SUPPORTING DANJAN," meaning that he's not beholden to big money or corporate interests, and possibly even that Danny finally paid him back.

MUSIC

Premiere: No Vacation Blend Dream Pop with Romantic Compositions on New Single “Estrangers”

"Estrangers" is a groovy slice of dream-pop that unfurls in wonderfully unexpected ways.

Patience is a powerful tool wielded by Brooklyn dream-pop outfit No Vacation.

Over the last few years the band has been working on a collection of songs comprising their forthcoming EP, Phasing. During that time they've discovered new ways of rounding out their once jangly, surf-tinged sound. This evolution is no better showcased than in their new single, "Estrangers" which weaves together elements of bossa-nova rhythms, Romantic-era strings arrangements, and ethereal guitar work. Today, No Vacation are sharing Phasing's first cut, "Estrangers," which Popdust has the pleasure of premiering.

No Vacation is made up of Sab Mai, Nat Lee, and Harrison Spencer. Since disbanding and then coming back together under a new name in 2017 and relocating from San Francisco to Brooklyn, No Vacation has undergone several transformations but have maintained their same lineup––and you can certainly hear this close bond in their new music. Their upcoming EP is the culmination of moving, learning, growing, and ultimately phasing into a new sound. No longer beholden to a single genre, No Vacation is leaning into the creative experimentations hinted at on previous releases such as 2017's Intermission EP. "Estrangers"—in all of its nostalgic, emotionally-cutting glory—has the band delivering on their most instrumentally dynamic, genre-bending potential yet.

"Estrangers" opens bright and wavy, with a bittersweet sense of nostalgia lingering just below the surface. A warm guitar groove drifts effortlessly over Sab Mai's calm lilt before a cello portion unfolds in the song's final third, transcending the subdued, dreamlike quality of the composition. It's an instrumentally dynamic track that never loses its composure; reminiscent of the sounds of Stereolab. Hearkening back to the shoegaze-y influences that marked the band's earlier work while leaning into new experimentations, "Estrangers" is a groovy slice of dream-pop that unfurls in wonderfully unexpected ways. Listen below.

Phasing is due out October 18th via Topshelf Records. You can pre-save here.

CULTURE

Charles Manson Could Never: Five Cults That Put a Spell On Hollywood

These cults had some of Hollywood's brightest stars in their shadowy grips.

Celebrities are not known for their ordinary lifestyles.

In fact, sometimes it can seem like they're a different species of human, living elite existences of wealth and opulence that none of us average Joes can imagine, let alone attain. Maybe that's why people are so obsessed with the idea that our favorite celebrities are actually members of ancient, mysterious cults.

Actually, it seems that real-life cults are typically comprised of people who want to be in this celebrity culture, or who are otherwise seeking escape or meaning in their lives. On the 50th anniversary of the Manson murders, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood brought a leader of one such cult—Charles Manson—back to the public's consciousness (if he ever left).

Manson was a wannabe folk singer as well as a psychopath, and the specter of Hollywood held power over him in the same way he held power over the women he led.

That said, here are five of the most notorious cults with connections to Hollywood and celebrities. As for the first two, whether they're actually real (or just manifestations of the public's dreams of tapping into whatever mysterious powers celebrities possess) is up to you to decide.

Image via The Wrap

Illuminati

The Illuminati is by far the most famous celebrity cult. Its members apparently include Beyoncé, Madonna, and Katy Perry, as well as a multitude of world leaders and very rich people. Conspiracy theorists believe that the illuminati is seeking world domination and wants to establish a totalitarian "New World Order."

The Illuminati was real at one point. In 18th century Bavaria, Adam Weishaupt created a society called the Order of Illuminati in order to escape the confines of the Christian church. His society was stamped out by a government crackdown on cults, but many believe it still exists today, forming a subterranean, diamond-lined web that controls the motions of our ordinary lives.

The modern-day perception of the Illuminati originated in the 1960s, with the help of LSD, counter-culture, and a book called the Principia Discordia that preached civil disobedience through jokes, hoaxes, and misinformation. In this spirit, a man named Robert Anton Wilson wrote letters to Playboy claiming to be speaking on behalf of a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati, and the idea caught fire, gaining more traction with the rise of the Internet age. Today, everyone from the Founding Fathers to Rihanna has been accused of being a part of this peculiar organization. (Rihanna, for her part, has embraced her Illuminati membership, even calling herself 'Princess of the Illuminati').

Lizard People

The Illuminati theory is closely tied to an even stranger one—the idea that famous people are secretly intelligent lizards from the moon who are masquerading around Earth disguised as humans. If that sounds insane, it's true, and people do believe it—around 12 million Americans, according to some (admittedly questionable) polls.

The lizard people idea originated with New Age philosopher and TV presenter David Icke, who claims that world leaders like George W. Bush and Barack Obama are secretly all scaly aliens. Other purportedly reptilian people include Bob Hope, Angelina Jolie, Katy Perry, and Queen Elizabeth (or, should we say, Elizardbeth?)

Like the Illuminati, lizard people want world domination. According to the theory, these lizard people have been on Earth since ancient times, and they've been breeding with people for centuries—so in all likelihood, you too may have a few drops of lizard blood flowing through your veins.

Image via punkee.com

Scientology

There is nothing that tabloids love more than Tom Cruise and his belief in scientology. Unlike the Illuminati and the lizard people cult, scientology is very real and very present in Hollywood. So what is this strange form of worship?

Scientology was actually founded by science fiction writer Ron L. Hubbard, and among other things, it proposes that man is an immortal being with a divine purpose that can be attained through enlightenment. It's also been called a malicious commercial enterprise and a cult by critics, so there's a bit of a contradiction there. Celebrity scientologists include John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis, Elizabeth Moss, Laura Prepon, and more, and the cult is still going strong in the Hollywood hills.

Self-Realization Fellowship

This group is very much still alive and well. It was founded in the 1920s by the guru Paramahansa Yogananda, who eventually gained followers in luminaries such as Elvis Presley and George Harrison. Before joining the Manson family, Leslie van Houten also spent time in Yogananda's Mount Washington ashram.

According to Yogananda, the fellowship's central practice—called Kriya Yoga—was originally given to Manu, the first man on Earth, according to Hindu scripture. Their temple on Sunset Boulevard is the oldest in America, and dozens of others are in operation around the world. While not known as a malicious cult, the Self-Realization Fellowship deifies Yogananada as Christ reincarnated, and its sacred lessons are kept super-secret from the public, so it's hard to know what actually goes on in there.

NXIVM

This very real, very ugly cult was only recently disbanded by law enforcement, after the founder of NXIVM was accused of sex trafficking and child abuse, and members have testified about a culture of lies, deceit, and violence.

The cult was led by Keith Raniere, with Smallville star Allison Mack as his right hand woman. According to reports, members of the cult were branded with Raniere and Mack's initials, referred to as "slaves," and subjected to corporal punishment at the hands of their leaders.

The cult found its footing in the wellness industry, which is very popular in Hollywood (and is arguably a cult in and of itself). It drew members in by promising to help them find more meaning and joy in their lives. Many of its members were very wealthy, and when money failed to satisfy them, they began turning to spirituality and wellness as ways of improving themselves.

The wellness industry and cults go hand in hand, because both often request large sums of money and promise that various levels of suffering are required in order to achieve the promised results. Still, Raniere and Mack's cult obviously spiraled way too far into darkness and corruption to continue masquerading as a healing force—and they'll face the jail time to prove it.


Image via Medium

Clearly, celebrity status and fame do not equal happiness—if they did, celebrities wouldn't be pulled into these cults so easily (and they wouldn't overdose on drugs so often, either). Still, for those of us on the outside, it's so easy to fall for the mystique of Hollywood, with its glorious parties and its brilliant stars, glorified to godlike levels by their fans and the media.

In the surrealistic circus of Los Angeles, ecstasy often blurs into suffering, and so it was, is, or may be with these cults. In this world, power breeds corruption, beauty equals pain, and metamorphoses towards greatness quickly become awful mutations. In the shadow of these truths, it's easy to understand why suspicious minds have crafted illusions like the Illuminati in order to explain why the world's elite are the way they are and to feel some semblance of power over humanity's mysterious actions. Now, is the real cult here a secret conspiracy of the rich and famous—or is it simply advanced capitalism? Well, just remember, comrades: A cult leader has no power without his followers.

MUSIC

Blink-182 Experiences a Mid-Life Crisis on "Happy Days"

The band's latest song, "Happy Days," depicts a band in crisis.

Brooklyn Vegan

Blink-182 has been an amorphous band since Tom Delonge left.

While California was easy on the ears—thanks in part to the commercial proficiency of producer John Feldman, who previously worked with bands like 5 Seconds of Summer and Panic! At The Disco—the record's fun sensibilities were overshadowed by the weight of a midlife crisis. Tracks like "Kings of the Weekend" and "Rabbit Hole" painted a picture of a band chasing their glory days. The rockers, now all in their 40's, had a clear objective with California that was set partially in motion by the departure of Tom Delonge in 2015: Remind fans that Blink-182 is the same care-free trio. But they're not the same band, and with Delonge's absence came a loss of sincerity. As flawed as Neighborhoods was—the last record Delonge would write and appear on—it carried with it a reflective maturity that California lacked. Songs like "Up All Night" and "Love Is Dangerous" portrayed Blink as a contemplative band, who in their old age were forced to learn from their impetuous years, and to perhaps grow and change in the process. Fans were disappointed by California because that authenticity and growth was nowhere to be found.

The trio's latest singles, "Happy Days," "Blame It On My Youth," and "Generational Divide," are very literal in their depictions of the band's mid-life crisis. While California showed the band chasing their youth, Blink's upcoming album seems to be in response to that: pure existential crisis. "Are we better, are we better now?" Hoppus cries out on the 50-second "Generational Divide." "I've been lost since 1999 / Blame It on my youth," the band all screams out optimistically on "Blame it On My Youth."

Now, "Happy Days" has all but ascertained that Blink-182 is running on the fumes of nostalgia. The track is formulaic and plays out like much of Blink-182's late discography. Skiba provides the harmonic cries while Barker wails on the drums, with Hoppus filling in the gaps to send a message to the "kids" supposedly listening to their music. Even the single's cover art is eerily reminiscent of the band's 2003 self-titled project. The only issue is that it's not kids listening anymore.


Blink-182's biggest moments served as a form of escapism from teenage oppression and effectively communicated the heavy-handed ridiculousness of being a young exile. But those kids are now in their mid-to-late 20's. They've all realized there is no escape. Instead, they're all looking for answers, and it's comforting to know that at least Blink-182 is on that journey with them. "Walls of isolation inside of my pain / and I don't know if I'm ready to change," Hoppus sings on the track's chorus. "Happy Days" shows that our favorite middle-aged musicians are lost in translation, unable to articulate exactly what kind of band they are anymore.