undone (the sweater post)

Several years ago, I participated in a fund and awareness raiser in San Francisco for the Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s chillingeffects.org, where I made a speech, and participated in a celebrity boxing grudge match with Barney the Dinosaur.

The whole thing was about fair use and parody rights, and it was the awesome. It was held at DNA Lounge, with an after party that I was criticized for leaving early (read: after three hours, rather than when the sun rose) by morally outraged and holier-than-wil participants who couldn’t be bothered to find out: 1) how many totally spun people got up in my shit and completely freaked me out, (the answer is one, but that was enough) and 2) how many hours I’d already been awake by the time I left a few minutes short of complete exhaustion (the answer is close to twenty, including six hours of "I’m-Entertaining-People" time, which is like eight hours of regular time.)

Before I so rudely left the party, I got to hang out with lots of awesome NorCal folks (thanks for the water, you guys — I’m running some out into the street right now, just for you), one of whom brought this rather . . . unique . . . sweater, which I was asked to wear.

I’ve been in the public eye long enough to know that doing things like wearing an incredibly ugly sweater and posing for a photograph while wearing said sweater is bound to result in something Not Good, but the sweater was hilarious, and in the spirit of the evening (not, I might add, in the spirit of lots of Guinness. I was too tired to avail myself of the DNA’s fantastic bar that night), I went ahead and posed for the picture you are now trying so hard to get out of your brains.

About once a year, this photo (which was taken by my friend loren, who never gets credit for it, you bastards) surfaces, and makes a brief run around The Internets, where it is the subject of much speculation by random people are are just positive they know what they are talking about, like "Well no wonder his career bombed." Oh! Burn! I am so nailed by your clever insight! Someday, I hope to achieve whatever it is you’ve achieved, Anonymous Internet Genius! Allow me to retort, in a vernacular you may understand. "Your leik so right! I am a such a looser!"

If anyone is still reading, and is interested in knowing exactly what the ugliest sweater in the world (sorry, Mr. Cosby, but it’s true, and you lost) is all about, take a look at the Clown Sweater Project’s page at Internet Archive, where we learn that

"I found this sweater at the Salvation Army thrift store on Valencia Street in San Francisco a few years ago. It cost me $3.75. It has proved to be a good investment."

There is also a page featuring photos of all the hapless souls who have had their careers ruined by the Curse of the Clown Sweater in one place, which takes about a year to load on my cable modem, or fifteen years if you’re on dial-up. If you’d like to find out what happened to that once-promising co-worker of yours, but you don’t have one to fifteen years to invest, try this page which breaks up the collection into slightly more managable chunks. Unfortunately, archive.org stops at the first page, so if you’re manic about looking at all the pictures, you’ll have to go to the page with all the photos. See you in ten to fifteen years. (If I may offer a bit of advice: spending one to fifteen years waiting for photos to load on The Internets may cause your career to bomb almost as fast as posing for one picture while wearing an ugly sweater. But do whatever you want, man. I’m not the boss of you.)

Whenever something like this hits a new unique online community (in this case, people who like to knit), a bunch of new readers will show up to see what all the fuss is about, with their preconceptions of me locked-and-loaded. If you’re one of those people, I’d like to welcome you to my bit of madness on the intarweb, and encourage you to read some archives before you send me e-mail about what a huge idiot I am for [your reason, which you’ve formulated in the span of fifteen seconds based on a quick skimming of one or two pages of my blog goes here]. Now, before you decide that I hate knitters, I should point out that my wife does Stitch-n-Bitch from time to time, making totally awesome hats for cancer patients, which totally rules. I do, however, really hate the Oakland Raiders, Toronto Maple Leafs, people who lie, dishonorable people, milk, neo-cons, paying too much for parking anywhere, and this pain in my right hip that just won’t go away.

Welcome to WIL WHEATON dot NET: in Exile. Enjoy your stay, and look out for the snark. It runs wild around here.

105 thoughts on “undone (the sweater post)”

  1. Of course you could always have taken one of the photoshops from fark.. say, Michael Dorn wearing the sweater, and say that’s the real one, and this is just some photoshop prank played on you.
    How often do you get to conventions now anyway? What are the odds that Dorn would kick yer butt? 😀
    Also a good way to play it forward. Everyone must wear the clown sweater.
    But why would people hate on you for the clown sweater? Do people really have that little of a sense of humor? That pic is priceless and just screams “photoshop me!”
    You should check out that fark thread. It only had a couple of jerks post there. 99% of the photoshops were good fun. :)

  2. Eeee!

    Now rippling through the knitting blogosphere: my internet crush Wil Wheaton wearing the most terrifying sweater of all time.
    I cant decide which detail is my favorite: the big fluffy shag shoulders (representing the hair), or the nose and…

  3. Y’know, I’ve seen that pic circulating around for as long as it probably has been out there doing its circulatory thing (as pictures are wont to do) on the Internets.
    I never saw it as, “omg, it’s Wil Wheaton, wearing a hideous sweater!” I still do the same thing everytime I see that picture: chuckle to myself and think, “Yup, if I wore that sweater, that’s the look I’d have on my face too.”

  4. Wil, I have to agree. You hate the *Leafs* because they knocked the *Kings* out of the playoffs?!? 1993 is a year that will live in infamy, in Toronto.
    Otherwise, the Leafs suck. They work on getting a team that will make it through a round or two of the playoffs, and no farther. Because they know that the die hard fans in Toronto will still sell out every single game, even if we’re playing Nashville.

  5. Wil,
    It’s not so much the sweater, as the look on your face that cracked me up. It is priceless! Glad to hear you did well in Vegas this past weekend. Looking forward to a more in depth post on it.

  6. Oh man! What a crazy crazy way for my worlds to collide.
    It’s all right, Wil – we know the blame for this bit of fug goes to the knitter, not the wearer.

  7. Awwwww, Wil!
    I was going to post that picture on my blog today of all days (saying I took it), then mention how you were so pissed you could hardly stand (Shlitz beer no less) and that this was moments before the “sex” video you did with Paris Hilton, then how afterwards you played online poker in the nude with a reefer hanging out of your mouth, but I coudn’t post that picture because of legal issues and . . .
    Now I have to spend 15 seconds thinking up something else to lie about on my blog today.
    And the Maple Laughs rule!
    Okay, so the above wasn’t funny.
    But you know you secretly want to play a poke-er with Paris – admit it.
    Kidding. ;>

  8. The look on your face is just priceless. It says many things to me, like “STFU,” “GTFO,” or my personal favorite, “RTFM!”
    *looks at pic again* lol Everytime I look at it I start giggling. It’s so funny.
    I’ll say this though; you’re a braver man than I, Wil. 😉

  9. I read WWdN on RSS, and feedburner put a nice little “Oakland Raiders NFL Products” ad at the bottom of today’s post. It was amusing.
    Love the sweater, BTW.

  10. Well Well well, I see not much has changed:) I take it you still believe Gilmour broke Sandstrom’s arm on purpose?? For the record the Toronto Maple Leafs still rule (don’t believe anything a Habs fan tells you):) The Kings still suck, although I will admit the shameless self promotion of Sean Avery is fun to watch.I look forward to Mr. Roenick cheering for Team Canada in the Olympics:)
    Btw love the sweater:)

  11. Sorry I had to add something after reading your post.
    I agree totally with the ppl who spoke highly of Tie Domi. Admit it, he is a guy who you hate on other teams but LOVE on your own. He also does do alot of charity work and really does love this city.
    Dougie Gilmour bleeds blue and white and any leaf fan will tell you that. (we over look the fact he was a Hab, Sabre, and Hawk)He has season tickets and on any given night (like yesterday) you can look right behind Eddie’s net and seated there is Dougie and family. If that isn’t loyalty I don’t know what is.

  12. Just a quick note – I believe that isn’t just any clown, but BOZO the clown!
    How about an RFB episode that has something about the “totally spun people got up in my shit and completely freaked me out” person?
    Anyone who would put that sweater on and let someone take a picture is ok in my book. And a hell of alot braver than me!

  13. There are too many comments on here as it is, but the sweater rocks! I love it. I’d love to have one and make various people around me wear it. That or some equally hideous item of clothing, like maybe one of those 70’s disco hats?

  14. Someone said something rude about you? where? I can take em. letmeatem. don’t you worry about nothing, your posse has got your back. We will never leave you…no matter what your fashion choices…

  15. Ok, I just have a couple of comments…
    1.) The sweater just flat out frightens me!
    2.) I feel that there needs to be some East Coast representation on this post.
    Here we go Steelers!!!

  16. Haha… oh man. That night is haunting you in so many ways. You left out the part about Barney Co. sending me a cease and desist letter for those pics of you boxing Barney… or maybe they just didn’t want to see you in the clown sweater coming up next to searches for Barney!

  17. On another note, I think we just found Wil’s Posse’s official uniform, and we all have to have that facial expression while wearing it. Shouldn’t be too difficult. 😉

  18. Oh My God! That jumper! If there’s anything I’m scared of in this world it’s clowns, it’s a good job I wasn’t there when you put that ‘thing’ on Wil otherwise my screams would have been heard several countries away…

  19. I started loading the photo page. It’s kickin’ in now and I think those pictures will act as a lullaby to nightmares for the rest of my life. They’ll need a crane to pull me out of the snail shell those pictures put me in. I had previously seen that sweater picture of you where you narrow your eyes like a bastard who wants to hit me, but now that I have everything I am left twisting in hopeless bleak despair til my head falls off. Reprehensible!
    Yeh Yeh. Maybe I know you’re not the boss of me. I should be allowed to think for myself. Don’t let’s start pointing fingers.
    No! I blame you. The biggest one.
    On an unrelated thing: Particle Man (because its always requested and rarely not included)

  20. Wil posted a photo

    when i saw this picture i felt bad, but then i felt good about feeling bad. and so on, but read the full story dear friednd:
    Ive been in the public eye long enough to know that doing things like wearing an incredibly ugly sweater and posing fo…

  21. /blink
    Thats a rather unique sweater, thats for damn sure. A little on the frightening side… I wont mock you for wearing it, thats brave. /grin
    So, in checking out the Sweater Project and in turn the rest of her(i’m assuming it’s lauren’s page, hence “her”)page. I see a link, which is unfortunatly broken, “mmmm butter” which made me blink yet again because i have this pic on buzz http://mynna.buzznet.com/user/?id=1177257 Maybe i’m not the only one…

  22. hi Wil, long time reader first time poster heh. Anyway, I did see this on the knitting forum, but rather than wonder why, I thought it was hi-freaking-larious. It takes a lot of balls to wear a sweater like that.
    (And why am I not surprised that your wife knits? I seriously think she’s my hero who I haven’t gotten to know…)

  23. Aahaahaaa! Can’t…breathe…stitch…in side…
    Stitch-n-Bitch rocks! Get her a subscription to BUST magazine!
    A snark? Is that related to a snipe?

  24. You hate the Toronto Maple Leafs???? WHY IN GOODNESS SAKE’S would you hate the LEAF’S??? :O
    great sweater by the way! Reminds me of one my grandma once made for me as a baby…. oh man the memories…

  25. I kinda don’t get it. I mean the sweater is bitchin’ in its own bizarre and clownful way. And it’s got stories! Stories are teh t1tz0rs!
    Personally, I’m ready to set up a shrine to anyone who both has the opportunity and the willingness to be snapped in the sweater of Clownful Goodness. But then, I’m a liberal lesbian in the heart of Ohio Amish country, so what do you want from my life?

  26. First of all, thank you, Wil for kicking Barney’s ass. The video was a definite balm to my soul. I stayed at home with my older son through his Barney years. Ten years later, the twitch has finally gone away and I only wince when I see purple now instead of screaming and running away.
    Second, the sweater rox. Feel no shame.
    Also, just read your latest Games of Our Lives – you’re at the funny farm too? Great! Come by the day room and we can play dominoes. :)

  27. Lunch 12-14-2005

    Try one of these specials with your lunch:
    The Indepundit says be on guard for the Christmas Ambush
    The Iraq War Was Wrong Blog says its all about victory
    Wil Wheatons sweater returns
    Sisu lets the Iraqi lady explain it
    Practical …

  28. Long time reader, first time poster and huge hockey fan – Doug Gilmour and Tie Domi may be considered good guys in Canada – but if we’re talking hockey they can both kiss my bum. Kings forever.
    And maybe I saw Stephen King’s “It” too many times, but that sweater is scary…

  29. As a knitter who has been here for months I must point out to my fellow knitting bloggers that we have all either inadvertently knit the equivalent of the clown sweater for someone, been gifted with the equivalent of the clown sweater or have seen a version of the clown sweater in the latest highbrow knitting magazine.

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