Cards Against Humanity's Trolling Of Trump's Border Wall Shows How The Internet Has Removed Gatekeepers

from the trump-card dept

I suppose because too many of my fellow citizens in America have devolved into hyper-partisan rage-beacons, I have to issue the following stupid caveat that I shouldn't have to issue at all: this post is not a commentary on Trump's border wall policy. Great. I'm sure that will keep our comments free and clear of anyone insisting otherwise. With that being said, a common topic we discuss here is how one of the chief benefits of the internet is how it has removed gatekeepers that have long stood in the way of new businesses, or have governed how established businesses do their business. Typically, we have focused on the former, detailing how the internet has allowed for new players in everything from the entertainment industry to products that would have previously existed solely at the pleasure of brick and mortar retail stores.

But this post is about the latter. You may have heard about the viral video making the rounds from the folks behind the hit card game Cards Against Humanity. If you haven't, here it is.


I have to admit, the video is really well done. If nothing else, it serves to remind us that content is advertising and advertising is content.

But it's also true that a campaign that essentially trolls the sitting American President by buying a piece of land where his proposed border wall is going to go and then vowing to defend that land legally for as long as possible is controversial to say the least. Some not inconsequential percentage of Americans -- and, likely, our readers -- think that the border wall is good policy. Some other percentage do not. Whatever you might think, it should be clear that this campaign is likely to piss off some decent chunk of the company's potential customer base. Why the company wants to do this is a valid question, but I'd like to point out why they can do this.

Given the nature of the game, the company has no problem being a bit brash, and because they are self-owned, and don't rely on big box stores to push their product, the company can get away with a bit more.

That's putting it mildly. It's nearly impossible to envision the company taking so staunch a political stance as this were it forced to rely on traditional retail stores, which would likewise feel backlash from supporters of the border wall. You likely have already imagined how many calls there would be on retailers to drop the product if this happened, except it's more likely that the folks behind Cards Against Humanity never would have done this in the first place, save for their ability to sell directly to consumers via the internet.

Political stances are also not a new habit for the company. It's even addressed on the company's FAQ page on its website.

On its FAQ page for the new expansion, one question asks: I don't like that you're getting political. Why don't you just stick to card games?

Their answer? "Why don’t you stick to seeing how many Hot Wheels cars you can fit up your asshole?"

My kind of people, obviously. Again, whatever your political leanings, it's worth recognizing how any company is now more free to engage in controversial behavior like this simply because the gatekeepers are gone and the internet reigns.


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  • icon
    rw (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 1:22pm

    Walls

    Isn't there a quote about those who don't remember history...? Let's look at how well the Great Wall of China worked out.

    Sorry, couldn't resist. Your point on gatekeepers is well put.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 17 Nov 2017 @ 9:54am

      Re: Walls

      At one point, there was a story going around about how someone in the Trump administration (or maybe the Trump campaign) was standing next to a section of the Berlin Wall, going on about how great that wall was... completely oblivious to the fact that the wall is gone! She's literally standing in a front of a section of the wall in a unified Berlin in unified Germany. I just wish the reporters covering her would have pushed her to explain what she meant.

      Though I think Trump is playing a long-game: he builds a wall now, then in 50 years, the wall comes down and the US and Mexico are unified to become simply "North America". Then there are no more Mexicans immigrants stealing jobs because there's no more US or Mexican citizenship- everyone is a North American citizen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 18 Nov 2017 @ 12:01pm

      Re: Walls

      Actually, the great wall of China worked exactly as it was intended to -- it was never meant to keep invaders out, after all.

      What it was for was to deter raids by making it difficult for the raiders to escape while loaded down with loot.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:02pm

    Too bad there are still businesses that are run by people that need a gatekeeper to keep themselves from abusing customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bshock, 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:09pm

    Just to be clear...

    I am not enraged by Donald Trump -- I am terrified by him.

    There is a sociopathic madman in the White House with his finger on the nuclear button. As far as I'm concerned, ejecting Trump from the presidency is not a matter of politics, but rather one of survival.

    If you disagree, I don't think you're wrong. You're just suicidal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 4:07pm

      Re: Just to be clear...

      YOLO

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:35pm

      Re: Just to be clear...

      Two generations have grown up now, knowing that there were multiple sociopathic madmen with nuclear triggers. And once every .17 seconds or so, a new spermatozoan awakens and realizes what world it's in. Some of them manage not to post in internet forums, because ... well, all the other spermatozoa already know, right?

      Anyway, welcome to the blastula stage. Live long and prosper!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 18 Nov 2017 @ 12:03pm

      Re: Just to be clear...

      Sociopath loses a lot of its impact as an epithet when you realize that you have to go back to before nuclear weapons were invented to find a President that would not have qualified as a sociopath with a nuclear trigger to someone, somewhere in the country.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:15pm

    Pff when was that game not political? Weird how politics is all fine and dandy until a handful of elected Federal positions are in question. Or maybe it is just the angle of the politics which is the problem - fine when it is going the other way. But most of all, i thought the popularity of the game was for it's utterly offensive components.

    But I don't know. Is that actually a frequently asked question, or did they just add it to a FAQ? (FAQs frequently don't seem to bear any relation to actual questions that are asked a lot. They seem to have gone the way of "white papers".)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:17pm

    Your big point is a nasty turn of phrase? Sheesh.

    Your kind of people, obviously.

    I'm sure you think this noble but it's stupid on every point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:27pm

      Re: Your big point is a nasty turn of phrase? Sheesh.

      "I'm sure you think this noble but it's stupid on every point."

      Care to point out why, or should I just ship you a bunch of Hot Wheels?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:06pm

      Re: Your big point is a nasty turn of phrase? Sheesh.

      Why? This is brilliant and absolutely hilarious while also being perfectly legal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:14pm

      Re: Your big point is a nasty turn of phrase? Sheesh.

      Yeah but what does common law have to say about their land purchase?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:01pm

      Re: Your big point is a nasty turn of phrase? Sheesh.

      Said the troll who admits not reading the articles just to underscore a petulant point.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:33pm

    Eminent domain

    The federal government could simply use eminent domain to acquire the grounds it needs to build the wall

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:36pm

      Re: Eminent domain

      Right, but then Cards Against Humanity would then have standing to challenge it in court.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Pickle Monger (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:38pm

      Re: Eminent domain

      Which is why, along with buying the land, they have retained a law firm specialising in the eminent domain legal actions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        NeghVar (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:02pm

        Re: Re: Eminent domain

        A law firm specializing in eminent domain guarantees nothing. A border wall is public use. Plus, if it does go to court, I doubt the sole purpose of the purchase of the land to obstruct building the wall would go over very well compared to utilizing the land in some way.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: Eminent domain

          I bet CAH will use that land as their new donation target... you know, like the fundraiser they did for digging a completely pointless hole in the ground?

          Now they've got somewhere else to do that. Or maybe they'll build a wall on it -- pointing north-south.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Eminent domain

            Heh... I just got a better idea for what they can do with the land... they need to get mining rights on it and build a north-south tunnel.

            The government is then free to use eminent domain to aquire the surface land... but the tunnel will still belong to CAH under geological rights unless they apply eminent domain to that as well.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 4:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: Eminent domain

          They will use the land as a place to care for baby animals, orphans, and the elderly of course.

          ;P

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          AWW, 16 Nov 2017 @ 6:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Eminent domain

          Actually they could say it would be used as an environmental corridor for land based migratory animals. Let Pruitt defend against that. Mexican grey wolves baby.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 8:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Eminent domain

          A law firm specializing in eminent domain guarantees nothing.

          Except to make a bunch of money for some lawyers. What a noble cause. /s

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 17 Nov 2017 @ 9:57am

      Re: Eminent domain

      I was just about to say this.
      And if the government tries to do this, is their plan to fight them in court?

      Or like other posters can suggested, could Cards Against Humanity bring in a naturalist and declare their land to be the nesting place of an endangered species? Then the government agency trying to take the land has to argue with the other government agency trying to protect endangered species.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:41pm

    It is highly unlikely that the typical Trump supporter is a Cards Against Humanity fan. Or has even heard of Cards Against Humanity, at least not until this campaign was mentioned on "Fox & Friends" or Hannity (it has, hasn't it?). The fake-christian, right-wing hypocrites are too busy trying to elect pedophiles and rapists to turn their narrow minds to a marketing campaign they would never be able to comprehend anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:51pm

      Re:

      Given the blatantly “anti-PC” nature of the game - this is a card game practically designed to offend people - Cards Against Humanity seems like the perfect kind of game for “fuck PC culture” conservatives. And given how Trump has lowered the standards of decorum and civility in politics within just the past two years alone, the average winning hand in a game of C.A.H. could probably fit into one of his speeches without anyone even noticing. Just about the only kind of Trump supporter that would not enjoy C.A.H. is the Christian conservative, but even then, I have my doubts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2017 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      One of the answers in the game is "Rush Limbaugh's soft, shitty body". It's never been a very pro-republican game.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Avatar28 (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:57pm

    >Whatever you might think, it should be clear that this campaign is likely to piss off some decent chunk of the company's potential customer base. Why the company wants to do this is a valid question, but I'd like to point out why they can do this.

    The type of people who are fans of CAH are far more likely to be on the liberal side of things. I don't think that this is going to hurt their sales significantly at all and may even improve them. Also CAH are known to be trolls. Trolling the Trump administration is par for the course.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2017 @ 10:03am

      Re:

      The type of people who are fans of CAH are far more likely to be on the liberal side of things.

      I don't know that that's true. I lean to the right but have no love for extremists and I enjoy the game, even the anti-conservative jabs. There's no place in a world of sense and logic for far-right or far-left political views. Those who vote down the party line are the worst of the worst.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 2:59pm

    I'm not going to support lawfare. By their own admission, they're just trying to stall the government. The attorneys had better be very careful if they want to avoid sanctions.

    Buying up one plot of land, even assuming the wall *must* go through it and not around it, isn't going to be very effective in delaying the wall overall. Even if they buy 2 miles of land, that's only 0.1% of the border. It's not like the government can't start construction on the other 99.9% of the wall while they litigate that plot (they're not going to simultaneously start construction on every mile of the wall on the same day, after all.) They'll just save that part for last.

    And frankly I doubt the ability of lawyers to stall for very long; the government unquestionably has the right to do eminent domain for a project like this. Hiring lawyers specializing in eminent domain doesn't change this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      Except that eminent domain walks a very dangerous line against the 4th Amendment. I think they could drag this out quite a while.

      Also, (AFAIK, IANAL) there is no law against trying to "stall the government" from taking someone's legally owned private property. The reasons for their purchase of the land are irrelevant unless they are doing something actively criminal. Which in this case, they aren't. They bought it and are just sitting on it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 8:55pm

        Re: Re:

        If you're going to try to argue that eminent domain is an "unreasonable seizure" in violation of the Fourth Amendment, you're going to lose that argument in court, and it won't be a close call. The Fifth Amendment *specifically* contemplates eminent domain, so long as there is "just compensation", and it's not like there's no case law. If you want to drag it out, you must at least pose a novel question interesting enough that the appeals courts will want to address it. "Can the government seize land to build something" is not that question.

        There's no law specifically saying you can't stall the government. But when you're on record as saying your purpose is delay and obstruction, you can expect to not get any benefit of the doubt. If it's in the judge's discretion to grant you a continuance, he'll be less likely to do so, and he'll be more likely to think your arguments are frivolous.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 16 Nov 2017 @ 4:05pm

      Re: Even if they buy 2 miles of land, that's only 0.1% of the border.

      You know the old saying: any security system is only as strong as its weakest point.

      In other words, a wall blocking 99.9% of the border isn’t much better than a wall blocking 0.1% of the border.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2017 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re: Even if they buy 2 miles of land, that's only 0.1% of the border.

        In fact, the proposed wall will block less than 99.9% of the border. There will still be official crossing points. Even if those were unofficial openings, the 99.9% wall would be much better (for Trump's definition of "better") than one blocking 0.1%: guards can easily monitor 0.1% of the border. (Assuming it's not like 2500 2-foot openings.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bamboo Harvester (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 4:14pm

      Re:

      Don't forget that US "borders" are now 99 miles thick.

      Eminent Domain hearings would take about ten minutes.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2017 @ 10:06am

      Re:

      ...and not around it...

      Now that would be something. Build the wall such that that little piece of America is on the Mexico side of the wall. Let Mexicans bring their pregnant wives to that tiny slice of America to give birth and BOOM... Instant Americans. Now what?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pineapple Topping, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:04pm

    This combination of cards came up a little while ago and the house erupted into fits of laughter - and keep in mind, this is "Cards"

    The American Dream
    A perfect breakfast
    Domino's Oreo pizza

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 3:20pm

    The bigger picture here

    is that this is a highly effective marketing campaign for Cards. Now, WAY more people know about them and are talking about them. So the internet not just allows them to sell their wares, but leverages the viral.

    See also Exploding Kittens.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Unanimous Cow Herd, 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:17pm

    Gratitude.

    "hyper-partisan rage-beacons" ..like Twitter?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:18pm

    I'll put the deed next to my deed for the plot on Hawaii 2.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:23pm

    Idiots showing off their Apple computers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:24pm

    Doesn't riseto the level of trolling

    This doesn't come close to being a troll. Certainly they realize that there are many locations where US territory is on the south side of the wall, so that it is cut off from the rest of the United States.

    The same thing is going to happen here. The USG is not going to negotiate with them to put a wall through their land. If it came to that, they would just run the wall north of their property, and then they can wave to Mexico once the wall is constructed. Perhaps they'll even put in a gate so that they can get back into the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Nov 2017 @ 5:37pm

      Wall, what wall?

      For every barrier created ever, there is, or will be a way through. This wall might change things a little (there will be economic impact from the building, but at the same time they will reduce some of the border protection as 'not needed' anymore, as if it was in any way effective now) but the ingenuity of people, those who want to get through, will find a way around. Then they will have to build that wall around the whole country.

      Wait till you hear from the beachfront property owners, or users, about that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 7:25pm

        Re: Wall, what wall?

        What you are saying is false. Walls work very well. See: Israel, Hollywood star's homes, and Berlin pre 1990s.

        We are a nation of laws. That's why people are dying to get here. Ignoring those laws, as open border fantacists would have us do, will only make the US like the hellholes people are dying to escape from.

        Only Big Business and the Democrat Party are for open borders. It lowers wages and swells Dems. rolls.

        What it doesn't ever do is decrease the number of people living in poverty in hellholes, or the population of those hellholes, or increase the prosperity of those hellholes.

        Export the rule of law, not jobs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Nov 2017 @ 12:08am

      Re: Doesn't riseto the level of trolling

      Remember this is the company who took donations, so it could dig a hole and fill it up again.

      https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/nov/28/cards-against-humanity-hole

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Nov 2017 @ 6:08pm

    Hi! I'm new here. I got e-mail from a Nigerian humanitarian saying that if I had spare uninformed political opinions, there was this internet site where I could post them. He said everyone would instantly realize that they had always been wrong and I was right, and they would make me dictator of teh world.

    Is this that website?

    thanks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 17 Nov 2017 @ 3:16am

    The irony of this is that the humor in Cards Against Humanity probably offends Trump's opponents more than it offends his allies -- racist and sexist humor are commonplace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Christopher (profile), 17 Nov 2017 @ 8:21am

    Gatekeeping, this is really interesting.

    I've never thought of it this way, but yes, being self-owned and having a logistics solution that is resistant to outside influence is definitely freeing, and marvelously so.

    I just wish this could scale down to individuals, i.e. my freedom of speech could have far less restrictions on it with respect to workplace.

    -C

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Krolis (profile), 17 Nov 2017 @ 8:22am

    Sure send us $15 so we can cost the taxpayers millions? in court cost

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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