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Planning Your Indie Wedding: A Modern-Day Cautionary Fable

Blend Etsy impulses and well-to-do lefties with pressure-cooker marriage culture, and you just might end up with hobo-themed wedding.

Two progressive, creative, laid-back, quirky, relatively moneyed people get engaged. The idea of a pre-packaged banquet wedding makes them sick. They want their love bash to be uniquely them, and they want to buck some of the traditions that don't fit with their values. A virginal white dress, schmaltzy speeches, a bouquet tossed in a sea of screaming women just itching to be the next at the altar? Yuck. Jill wants to scrap the ivory gown and trade it in for an authentic 1920s flapper dress; Jack wants a Bloody Mary bar instead of a champagne toast. Jill's a little crafty and gets the idea to make her own garter, wedding cake topper, and place settings. They want a wedding that is revelrous yet sustainable. Most of all, they want to make it the best party they've ever attended.


Problem is, all their friends are progressive, creative, laid-back, quirky and relatively moneyed, too, and Jack and Jill want their wedding to stand out from the other Etsy-fied ceremonies they've attended over the last five years. It turns out Jill's best friend already had the homemade garter idea, and Jack's eclectic metal playlist eerily resembles his brother-in-law's. So they (mostly Jill) comb the indie wedding blogosphere. Every idea they see is supercute, original, and definitely not overly sentimental. But if they took those ideas, wouldn't their wedding suddenly become just like all the others? Pretty soon Jill is spending hours each day looking at these sites, racking her brain for original tweaks while mentally adding up the exorbitant costs of said tweaks. (Non-nauseating flower arrangements: $2,341. Off-the-beaten-path arboretum: $7,000/day. Translucent rice paper to print vows: $98. And so on.)

It doesn't take long for Jack and Jill to get wind of themed weddings. Mad Men-themed weddings. Prison-themed weddings. Artichoke and asparagus-themed weddings. They like it! And since they're socially conscious (and also daunted by the price of a single customized coat hanger) they get the brilliant idea to make their special day a nod to the Great Recession. Before they know it, they've planned a hobo-themed wedding, down to the last detail of exchanging a single bean instead of rings and encouraging the guests to "wear their shabbiest." Jill has long ago realized that even though the dress need not be a frilly monstrosity, it is still a Big Fucking Deal. So she makes sure that her ruffled cotton voile frock is 100 percent Depression-Era authentic. She ransacks secondhand shops and online boutiques for the perfect vintage millinery crown and delicate cutout oxfords.

The big day comes. They take Hipstamatic photos and feel proud that they only spent $15,000—far less than the cost of the average American nuptials. (They try not to imagine how much cheaper a trip to Vegas would have been.) At the wedding itself, things go surprisingly well. People compliment them on their adorable clown-hobo invitations and brown bags full of popcorn. Jill breathes a sigh of relief, glad to be rid of her nightmares about vicious, idea-stealing other brides.

A few months after their Memorial Day wedding, when the dust has settled and the trashcan fire has been put out, Jack and Jill post some photos of their hobo wedding on Etsy. To their horror, Jack and Jill instantaneously see their meticulously planned, one-of-a-kind ceremony mercilessly trashed on Regretsy.com. Apparently, their hobo wedding was offensive. Apparently, spending $15,000 to look poor rubbed some bloggers the wrong way. 'What is the big deal?' they think. 'It's not like we had a colonial-themed wedding.'

Jill spends two days staring at the computer screen, debating whether to take the Etsy photos down or defiantly leave them up. She wishes someone had said something in the eight months she spent planning. Come to think of it, she did vaguely recall her out-of-work hairdresser friend's horrified expression when she announced she was going to "Party Like It's 1929." Other than that, Jill can't clearly remember a single non-wedding conversation since she had gotten her engagement ring piercing.

When all is said and done, Jack and Jill decide to leave the photos up, despite the Internet shitstorm. They had sacrificed one year, five figures, three panic attacks, 14 bushels of firewood, and 436 hours of sleep for their one-of-a-kind-wedding—there was no way they were going to join the banquet-hall mainstream now.

photo courtesy of Brian and Sarah on Etsy

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Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

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In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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