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Warning: Story contains graphic sexual content. Also freedom. Sexy, sexy freedom.
There’s something about the ongoing armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, that lends itself to literary comparison.
Is the siege by an Oregon militia of an empty bird sanctuary visitor center, and subsequent call for snacks, like the existentialist drama of Sartre’s No Exit? Or is it like an absurdist Eugene Ionesco play that ends with everyone turning into a rhinoceros as a metaphor for creeping extremism? Or is it the rare comedy-of-errors Carl Hiaasen caper not set in South Florida?
In retrospect, the answer is obvious: It’s a song by the Decemberists. Oregon’s own hyper-literate indie rock heroes are known for penning prog-folk odes to romanticized obscura like an early 1900s Montana mining disaster, an ancient Irish wartime folktale, and an obsessive quest for nautical vengeance that ends with gruesome torture inside the belly of a whale. Let’s be honest, what’s more romantically obscure than a bunch of jamokes barricading themselves in an empty building in the middle of nowhere in protest of the federal government’s land use policies?
When Decemberists lead singer Colin Meloy started tweeting about the standoff, it made a lot of sense. It made even more sense when he made it sexy.
Just like with the massive, outdoor music festivals the Decemberists have spent years headlining, the Internet tends to follow a very specific set of unofficial rules. Rule 34 states that if a thing exists on the Internet, there is also a pornographic version of that thing.
Following Meloy’s lead, a bunch of other Twitter users got in on the act.
Satisfied with his verse of call-and-response with the audience, Meloy retired for the evening, his head filled with dreams of Pitchfork bestowing his effort with the honor of “Best New Hashtag.”
Nice work tonight, guys.
— colin meloy (@colinmeloy) January 6, 2016
Photo via EncMstr/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY SA 3.0)
Aaron Sankin is a former Senior Staff Writer at the Daily Dot who covered the intersection of politics, technology, online privacy, Twitter bots, and the role of dank memes in popular culture. He lives in Seattle, Washington. He joined the Center for Investigative Reporting in 2016.