The Big Mad: Pizza Pandemonium, Blunt's No-Show and the Bitter Taste of Bad Apples

Jun 2, 2021 at 6:04 am
Welcome back to the Big Mad, the RFT’s weekly roundup of righteous rage! Because we know your time is short and your anger is white-hot:

Police Protocol: So ex-cop William Olsten walks again. Thanks to a technical error, he’d already slipped an assault charge filed after he and fellow officers got into a shootout in the parking lot of a bar where they were hanging out late one night. And last week, Judge Thomas Clark II bought the story that Olsten feared for his safety in 2017 when he maced a crowd of people outside of Busch Stadium. Like any frightened man, Olsten challenged a protester to a fight, blitzed everyone in sight with a chemical irritant and then calmly strolled around as they choked. In a video taken by independent journalist Heather DeMian, who was sprayed, John Hayden is seen in his pre-chief days walking around as well, with his phone up. We’re not tactical experts here, so forgive us if it looked like any danger to police was minimal and Olsten was simply pissed when he unloaded on nonviolent protesters. Clark wrote that two previous “assaults” on police officers, resulting in two arrests, “unlocked the unrest” of the crowd and Olsten and his colleagues were in danger of being overrun. Witnesses in the crowd, including pastors, say there were assaults, but it was cops doing the dirty work. Officers slammed the Rev. Darryl Gray to the ground for questioning their manhandling of a female pastor and then they tased Calvin “Cap” Kennedy when he came to Gray's aid, witnesses say. So here’s another take on what happened: Police needlessly roughed up and arrested two people, and when people in the crowd got angry, Olsten got angry and maced everyone. But, hey, Clark was just following the unofficial, but hugely influential legal principle of, “He’s a cop, and you aren’t.”

Madness, Squared: On May 26, Imo’s Pizza went too far. It would be one thing if the beloved local pizza chain had used its Twitter account to share customer photos and weekend deals, but, on that dark day, Imo’s asked its followers, “Which squares go first? The outside or the inside?” As if that wasn’t enough, the post included a cursed photo of the famously square pizza wherein only the middle pieces were removed — an abandonment of crust and corner pieces which, under the Geneva Pizza and Stromboli Conventions of 1905, is a war crime. “I have called the police,” one Twitter user commented, while another wondered “why did Imo’s choose violence today?” — but there is no answer. Of course an Imo’s pizza is eaten from the outside in. We know this. Children know this. It should go without saying — you don’t see Ford tweeting a picture of an engine and asking, “Which piece goes first?” because whoever is running Ford's social media hasn't lost their entire mind. Instead, Imo’s has turned Twitter into a horror show: They’ve taken something beautiful and turned it into a square beyond comprehension, an Eldritch creation, a hollowed-out ghost of what a pizza is supposed to look like. Not even Chicago would do this. Imo’s, you owe everyone an apology.

Drive-Thru Trash: There are already too many examples of terrible customer behavior toward fast-food workers, but the situation that’s ensnared a Popeye’s in Lake Saint Louis goes beyond run-of-the-mill “customer is always right” shittitude and breaches the rare atmosphere reserved for only the tremendously dumb and intentionally cruel: On May 26, someone duct-taped a sign to the store’s drive-thru menu, warning that, “Effective 6-1-21 this restaurant is under new management and will reserve the right to refuse service to white people. We apologize for any inconvenience.” But the Popeye’s was not behind the sign, and no such policy was being enforced, say local police, who add they are investigating “a trespassing and possibly a related vandalism case” and searching for the perpetrators behind the fabricated discrimination. While the police attempted to shut down the rumor mill, it didn’t stop thousands online from sharing the pics and calling for boycotts or other harassment of the store. It proves once again that a lie is much faster than truth — though, hopefully, the truth catches up with the jerks behind this one.

A Coward to the End: Any notion that Roy Blunt might find his spine on his way out the door was decisively dashed this week when Missouri's outgoing senior senator responded to a vote on whether to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capital by opting to just.... not show up. It’s consistent with his established pattern of behavior in the Trump era — release a fence-straddling statement suggesting what happened is Bad, then do literally nothing at all — but the sheer cowardice of it all is beyond tiring. If he’s not willing to do the sensible thing, couldn’t he at least do the absurd one? Some ideological consistency would be nice, is all.
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