A ticket for the fake event.
Former Atlanta-based comedian and Internet troll extraordinaire Ben Palmer is once again ruffling feathers by creating a Facebook event, posted by his satire account City of Atlanta GA, announcing Stone Mountain will be imploded on Oct. 27.
“Join us as we watch America’s largest Confederate monument crumble to bits!” The event’s details read. “Bring a chair.”
Palmer pulled a similar stunt this past summer, posting virtually the same event from his since-deleted City of Atlanta parody page. “There were two events because I accidentally posted it twice,” he told Atlanta Loop in a Facebook chat, “Both events had thousands [of RSVPs.]”
The viral ire created by those events – with some online commenters understanding the joke, and others, not so much – drew headlines locally and even prompted a Snopes page debunking the events’ authenticity.
Palmer said nothing in particular precipitated the initial event, but his sequel, created today, was in response to a piece he read in the Guardian about whether it’s time to get rid of the monument, the largest bas-relief in the world, depicting the Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson.
Palmer said he’s unsure if this new event will get the same sort of attention the last one drew. “This particular event was created from the new City of Atlanta, GA page I made, which right now has about 4,000 likes/followers,” he wrote in an email to Atlanta Loop. “The original City of Atlanta page had over 180,000 likes/followers built up from the almost two years of posts and jokes that attracted people to the page… But we’ll see. You never know.”
The original event purposefully poked at the raw nerves exposed by nationwide efforts to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces, but Palmer doesn’t really consider himself a political humorist. “I would agree that some of my humor is political, only because there are people who disagree with it,” Palmer wrote. “I just care about human beings, and I care about human beings who get shit on, discriminated against, and oppressed. So, if getting rid of an ugly reminder of our country’s history and present-day hatred for black people and people of color is considered political, then yeah, I suppose it’s political.”
When asked about the people who took the previous event seriously, Palmer says playing off gullibility isn’t necessary for the joke to work, but it can be an added bonus. “Sometimes gullibility forces people in power to address things that they didn’t want to have to address,” he wrote. “For example, if people write the city and demand why they’re hosting an event called Stone Mountain Implosion, then the city may have to respond and address the issue and the event. It’s a fun little life hack.”
Click here to get your (fake) ticket to the Stone Mountain Implosion. The event is free and child-friendly.