Fool me twice, shame on…

As some of you have now guessed, we were NOT in fact taken over by the junk peddlers of “Happy Hippie.” Our url is still very much our own. We want to take this opportunity to first thank the dozens who sent us emails of sympathy and offers of help to defend against the scurrilous cyber-squatters who chose the day before April 1st to attack us. Former SM guestblogger Cicatrix wrote to us immediately:

Who the f*ck are those squatters? They’re clearly not out to sell anything, but they’ve put in a lot of thought/effort (to mock either desis or hippies, I can’t tell) for random some web-hostage-takers. It’s like they deliberately hated sepiamutiny or something. I wonder if that idiot sepiahokum person is behind this. good luck, sepia crew. tell us if there’s anything we can do.

Former guestblogger PG wrote to us later in the day:

Hey’all,
Sorry to see you’ve gotten squatted. The “products” — they’re all fake and there are no working links to buy them — are insult to injury. A friend pointed out that according to register.com, you still should have the domain name until August 4, 2006. Could you give me more info on how this happened? I’d like to help if I can. Good luck,

PG

Half the Sins of Mankind & De Novo

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p>In addition, parts of the blogosphere were in shock (and some a bit happy) to see what had become of us (see here, here, here, here, and here).

Also, a special shot-out to the dark one for being such a good sport:

I was going to post something here about how sepiamutiny got hijacked, but i’ve realized i’ve probably once again been caught by their april fool’s joke.
f*ckers :)
p.s.–it is quite amusing when you read the entries for “happy hippie” :)

Let’s not forget to mention the signed petition either.

But…there were also heroes out there today. A diligent few could not be fooled by so simple and pathetic a hoax. One in particular, Kaps of DesiPundit and Sambhar Mafia, took it upon himself to figure out which bloggers had been fooled and then left a comment on each of their websites informing them of the elaborate deception. Folks, I want to humbly submit his name for special recognition during next year’s world-renowned Indibloggies. That kind of devotion to truth and justice in the blogosphere simply MUST be recognized by his peers. It was, dare I say, delightful. :) Actually, things got kind of crazy for a bit over at Desipundit. Someone even left a comment pretending to be me! Then the real me stepped forward to set the record straight.

Finally, I must address the villains that surfaced today on our “back-up site“. All the ghosts of the ignorant, who we have banned from Sepia Mutiny for leaving bigoted/racist/intolerant comments, were giddy with excitement over the fact that we had suffered a downfall, which would enable them, once again, to leave bigoted/racist/intolerant comments on our new site (on which they hadn’t yet been banned). It is really quite sad that they have nothing better to do with their lives, but who am I to judge? To these sad individuals I say “have an Endurance Bar,” and find the strength to do something more productive with your lives.

heartofhanu.jpg

Thanks everyone! We hope you had fun. Each mutineer contributed to the product designs (can you guess who was the main force behind each design?) and Manish put the website together. We PROMISE not to continue this tradition next year.

Oh…I almost forgot. “Dhoomketu,” from the bottom of our hearts we apologize for the blasphemy.

94 thoughts on “Fool me twice, shame on…

  1. It was a little too obvious, you know?

    Why on earth would a company that stole your name have the mercy to link you on their front page?

    Followed the link and knew right away what was going on when I saw that comments had been disabled on the “temp blog”.

    Try harder next year, ok?

  2. Good lord, you’re probably right. If I had money, I’d buy stock. Scary.

    Ha. My inspiration for the bar idea was the Hanuman in your cartoons. :)

  3. I move that we create a North Dakota-based conglomerate entitled “Monkey Bars,” selling “Heart of Hanuman” nutritional products and ghee-based beauty products. Nina, you’re on advertising, Abhi is CEO, and we certainly have enough brown power to handle web-based marketing. We can be sponsors of Badmash events.

    Wow.

  4. wow, i am very impressed. i was crushed when i thought the mutnineers had been ousted and my hub for desi hipness was no more, now i’m just giddy to find out you are all highly skilled wacky funsters. yes, you got me. no, i’m not afraid to admit it.

  5. heh heh. good one!

    and i spent all that time trying to buy ..ahrm ahrm, a few of the products as well…

    very tricksie doing it days earlier.

    =)

  6. I move that we create a North Dakota-based conglomerate entitled “Monkey Bars,” selling “Heart of Hanuman” nutritional products and ghee-based beauty products.

    How about an ashram to Capitalism? It’s a proven marketing concept. I see the Heart of Hanuman (TM) brand expanding into energy water like this ashram sells. Sri Swami Vinod and the other CEOs could bless the products themselves and cut out the middlemen, adding to profits generated by selling hair “donated” by interns and guest bloggers.

  7. Fine, Anna, I’m sorry I called you guys jerks. On the other hand, one of your friends and co-bloggers did ask for my help (I’m the person PG referenced), because she thought you might need it. I have exams–nothing “billable” there–coming up, and I really don’t have a lot of free time. Now I find out that I was late to meet my seminar group yesterday because you wanted a laugh.

    You’re quite correct: I’m not in the habit of checking to see if someone’s lying when they ask for help, or if they’ve been duped when they ask for help on behalf of a friend. Thank you for proving that should be part of my Good Samaritan checklist.

  8. Nina, I’m totally sold. I’m even working on a jingle (we can licence Gershwin tunes, I bet – or they may even be public domain soon) that has something to do with this: “Swami, Swami, how I love ya how I love ya, my dear old Swami. . .” Or maybe based on “agua de beber.” Fantastic!

  9. hehehhehe

    by the time I realized it I had already pulled out my Visa & suitcase for the package tour!!

  10. Ppffffttt….. How totally embarrassing, yaar.

    Never thought I’d cringe to see my name featured prominently on a post until now..

    the burning shame!!

    In my defense, it was some strange in-between hour as twilight turned to dawn, I was tired, and I never know what day it is anyway. The last fact is confirmed by the many (no less than five) concerned friends who’ve already called me today about daylight savings time, telling me how exactly I should be setting my clocks..

    Yes, have no doubt that I’ll fall for this again next year. But now you know why I never remember your birthdays.

    goes back to lurking….spring forward, fall back, spring forward, fall back, spri..

  11. *goes back to lurking….spring forward, fall back, spring forward, fall back, spri..*

    Last I checked, that’s called the Foxtrot. Oh well, you might as well dance.

  12. you know what had me laughing? reading the comments lashing out at the “cybersquatters.”

    i love april fool’s day… people are SOOOOOO gullible.

    nice job guys.

  13. D’oh.

    Nice one. I was completely fooled. However, I was enthused about the prospect of hammering down in a domain name dispute. It would have been a fun one.

  14. i really hope that was Vinod with the Desi Progressive Democracts….that one kind of hurt!

    Yeah, the lack of reading material led me to read the mutineers’ personal blogs, and I was going to email Abhi to tell him the joke was too obvious and he has good taste in hip hop, but I stopped myself because I wasn’t sure if it was he or someone else behind the book idea. I was able to identify the SM discussion that was the basis of each product except for that one. Although I hate liberals and democrats, I kinda suspected the inspiration for the book came partly from my posts in The tao of Steve, where I mentioned that I was an organizer. I’m probably wrong in my suspicion, but I didn’t want to say the joke was too obvious and then not even recognize that one of the products was making fun of me–wouldn’t that be embarrassing?! …Especially followed by a compliment on music taste, a most prestigous recognition if it’s coming from me ;)

  15. Abhi and the rest…you got me too. Good one! You guys were definitely more clever then google. Doing this a day before april 1st got me good!

    So, ahem, do you know where I can get the ‘Lingam’ printed thong? Umm, for a friend you see. LOL

  16. I wasn’t sure if it was he or someone else behind the book idea

    It was the lone Libertarian’s doing. :)

  17. Fine, Anna, I’m sorry I called you guys jerks.

    apology accepted, my good man. very kind of you to commence your comment thusly, before getting all lawyerly…

    I have exams–nothing “billable” there–coming up, and I really don’t have a lot of free time. Now I find out that I was late to meet my seminar group yesterday because you wanted a laugh.

    when a plane is crashing, your duty is to affix your own oxygen mask even before attending to the gasps of your own child. handle your own shit before you save another, my saintly father always said (verbatim). i’m sure you were fully aware that you were late to meet your group once you arrived tardily, that you didn’t find that unfortunate fact out…after the fact. i think what you meant was, you later found that your reason for not being punctual was less than worthy of your sacrifice. also, coughpersonalresponsibilitycough. no one here is accountable for you being late, your angelic intentions notwithstanding.

    You’re quite correct: I’m not in the habit of checking to see if someone’s lying when they ask for help,

    i never instructed you to do so, but that’s a fascinating fact. what am i correct about again?

    or if they’ve been duped when they ask for help on behalf of a friend.

    i’m slightly incredulous about this, considering the painfully obvious timing of this event. since we’re sharing (squee!) i’ll let you in on a fact about me. whenever my pure-hearted best friend or well-meaning s-i-l emails me about some almost-kidnapped child or soon-to-be-slaughtered puppies, i immediately head to snopes. does this mean that i love them less? that i am a meanypants who sucks? that i think they are gullible?

    no, yes, maybe. look, all i’m typing is, it’s amazing to me that an ivy-league law school student would make himself late to something important AND waste precious minutes of pre-exam time without considering exactly what he was choosing to do (and if it was even necessary or possible). i’m struck by how devoted you are to your friends, not that my opinion or admiration means two shits to you.

    Thank you for proving that should be part of my Good Samaritan checklist.

    you are welcome? you can still be a good samaritan while retaining the capacity to think critically and creatively. but hey, my ancestors were converted by st. thomas, a.k.a. mr. “show-me-the-holes!”. perhaps i doubt too readily as a very apposite result.

  18. Awwww – let the poor guy be. We’re sorry, man, that our prank caused you inconvenience. Good luck with your exams.

    As for you Cicatrix, you’re never going to live this one down. Evah!

    For the rest of you at home, yes, Abhi did the exercise bars, and Vinod the book, and Fofatlal didn’t get his in on time. So of the remaining 4 products, which ones did you think were done by whom?

  19. Yup – Sajit did the music and coined “Samosa-tronic” (which is good enough to use for real). [As I said earlyer, Abhi did the exercise bar, and Vinod did the Progressive IDIOTS boook]

    As for the rest? Manish did the Kama Sutra dolls. I subbed for Anna, and so wrote both the Passage to India travel agency and the Thong, although Manish did add key touches to both. My entries were supposed to be so over the top and so full of insider references that you had to know they were fakes, but they were based on real things.

  20. You got me too, though when I checked WhoIs, I saw that your domain name has been registered through August 2006, and at that point I saw some black in the lentils.

    Anyway, it made me realize how much I’d miss this site if it vanished. Keep the good stuff coming.

  21. Yeah, the lack of reading material led me to read the mutineers’ personal blogs, and I was going to email Abhi to tell him the joke was too obvious and he has good taste in hip hop, but I stopped myself because I wasn’t sure if it was he or someone else behind the book idea

    where was the hip hop reference in the IDIOTS write-up? Public Enemy?

    anyway….Progressive IDIOTS….ouch harsh

  22. I thought exotic dancing with water buffaloes should go on a t-shirt. Can’t you please preserve that page somewhere??

  23. The moment I read “Cows walking up and down the aisle of the plane…”, I knew that it had Manish written all over it.

    M. Nam

  24. where was the hip hop reference in the IDIOTS write-up? Public Enemy? anyway….Progressive IDIOTS….ouch harsh

    It wasn’t in the “IDIOTS write-up.” I was talking about the hip hop on Abhi’s page. He likes Blackalicious, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, The Roots, etc.

    And don’t worry Sahej… how many people like Libertarians anyway? ;)

  25. The moment I read “Cows walking up and down the aisle of the plane…”, I knew that it had Manish written all over it.

    And yet …

  26. There’s nothing funny or cool about placing a religious Icon on an undergarment such as a thong. Ennis, how about taking it down and in the future asking someone who knows/cares about their religion whether they would be offended?

    The April Folly was quite disappointing.

  27. It wasn’t in the “IDIOTS write-up.” I was talking about the hip hop on Abhi’s page. He likes Blackalicious, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, The Roots, etc.

    ah i see. i was trying to figure out and i was like….there’s no lyric in there!

  28. Pravasi,

    I’m sorry you were offended. In case you missed the theme, the prank featured the very same types of products that we’ve complained about in the past. The thong was a reference to the very real thongs that have been sold before and that we’ve reported on (1, 2). Other relevant examples include the Beer Label with Ganesh on it and the statue of Ganesh with phalluses around his neck.

    Again, we here at SepiaMutiny disapprove of all of the items in the mock ad. As we say above:

    from the bottom of our hearts we apologize for the blasphemy.

    In case you’re unfamiliar with the idea of April Fool’s day, it’s about inversion, about opposites, about turning the world upside down. In this case, our site was replaced by all the things that were anti-Sepia mutiny. And yes, even people who find these products offensive thought that our mockery of them was amusing. I’m sorry that you didn’t.

  29. Ennis:

    From #75 above, you wrote the text for the thong. Who doctored the picture?

  30. Ennis: Thanks for the reply. I’m quite familiar with April Fool’s Day, and even participate in pranks myself. However, the point, as I see it, is to make someone feel foolish, without totally demeaning them, ridiculing their faith, or upsetting them.

    Yes the “Hippie” takeover of SM was clever, and I chuckled to myself through the entire page (I’ve seen the “our domain has been hacked” wink-wink before and when done properly it is amusing) right until I scrolled down to the bottom, right image of the thong with a Shivling on it. Then I paused. I thought for a while, and felt that I should let those in charge of this site know that: dudes, now that’s just not cool. The Shivling is revered. Its perhaps one of the oldest and most sacred symbols of Hinduism, predating many of the other Deities.

    Now I doubt I’m on the fringe of this issue. I didn’t find Hanuman energy bars offensive, the Kama Sutra reference was all good, but as another SM poster said over a year ago:

    It’s very simple – if you’re dealing with symbols which are part of someone’s religion, you have to respect that and not put them on toilet seats or whatever.

    (link)

    I am glad you are apologizing and can relate, however the best and perhaps only way to demonstrate this is to remove the image and refrain from posting such things in the future.

  31. Pravasi,

    We can understand your (and others) anguish and irritation. Also, we all appreciate your level-headedness on this issue.

    However, at some point you have a give the bloggers/ writers/ painters/ actors/ artists a free-rein, otherwise we will never make any progress (or brownian motion) in human thought. Definitely, this one is not at par with Galileo’s ideas but still it the concept of free expression that has to be upheld. We should not ask them or anyone of any promises.

    Let us please do not see too much into it.

  32. @Kush Tandon

    However, at some point you have a give the bloggers/ writers/ painters/ actors/ artists a free-rein, otherwise we will never make any progress (or brownian motion) in human thought.

    This is a very valid point, and I agree fully. Do Hindus really want cartoon-protest rallies on the scale of the recent ones that took place around the Muhammad cartoons? Isn’t there a tradition within the Dharmic framework of laughing at, or making fun of, our divine images? There are (to me) disturbing signs that Hindus may be becoming more petulant and easily offended. This probably stems from a number of concerns – some valid, others paranoid – and I hope this trend does not intensify in the future.

    On the other hand, I do understand the hurt some people feel. I cringed when I saw the Hanuman ad, not because I founded it offensive, but rather because I know many good people who believe in that way–who attach significance to water or sweets blessed with the numinousness of a temple or a holy grove. But then it was all in jest, so that thought quickly passed…