Fact Check: The Eternal Avatar

Since it appears that CJ is going to hang on to this stern-looking, arms-crossed, monochrome image of himself indefinitely, and since the question of its age and origin pop up from time to time, the BRC decided to take a few minutes and do a little digging. So if anyone was ever curious, here you go…

First, for our visitors, here’s the image in question:


CharlesJohnson

He must really be fond of this picture (go ahead and speculate as to why), as it has graced his avi spot in his twitter, facebook, and LGF profiles for as long as most can remember. We’ll get to just how long in a moment, but we’ll start with the question of where the picture was taken, since that turned out to be kinda easy…

A clue lies in the image itself. In the brick wall background you can see text etched into it. Look closer, and you see that it appears to be a quote from Cesar Chavez. With a little Google-fu, one finds:

“Quotation Courtyard (1995) by Barbara McCarren

“Quotation Courtyard (1995) by Barbara McCarren

“Quotation Courtyard”

Description: inscribed limestone panels mounted on 4 freestanding brick walls
Location: City Hall Courtyard, 9770 Culver Boulevard, Culver City

and

Quotation Courtyard comprises four free-standing walls that are constructed from the bricks of the former City Hall that was erected on the site in 1928. Each side of the four walls contains a limestone panel etched with a quotation. The quotations represent a culturally diverse group of historical and civil rights leaders, including Cesar Chavez, Albert Einstein, Coretta Scott King, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Yep, safe to say that’s the place. Now on to the when

For that we can use a reverse image search, and when you scan through that stuff, you’ll discover a few interesting bits.

When giving a quick glance at the list, a first impression is that the image serves as CJ’s one official “head shot“, as it appears on a good variety of sites and pages over the years where he is the subject. Did he request that some of these sites use this pic specifically? Probably.

Anyway, digging into the older links (and with a little help from the Wayback Machine), the avi shows up on an old Pajamas Media “about” page the Archive cached in May 2008.

It also shows up in an old Forbes(!?) article from January 2007: The Web Celeb 25. He’s #20!

But the oldest timestamped appearance of that image goes back to November 21, 2006, when someone uploaded it to Powerbase.

Thus, the pic was taken sometime before then. Perhaps some more digging could reveal an older usage (or even the actual date), so if any of you want to try different methods, by all means give it a go. In any case, it’s pretty old (certainly by headshot standards, as it would easily fail the “That’s you?!?” test).

With that context added, I suppose we could move on to the fun of speculation, and talk about just what CJ might have been doing at Culver City Hall back then, and why he looked so, I dunno…angry?

Are there any clues on LGF? Welp, fire up The World’s Greatest Blog Search Engine™, and we do find an old comment specifically about Culver City Hall (note the timestamp):

2888776
Charles 2006-06-26 08:53:24
OK — I spoke with a friend who has extensive building experience in Culver City and he said, “No way.” But when I pointed out that the mosque is funded by Saudi Arabia, he said, “Hmm.”

Any permits would be on file at the Culver City Hall.

“Hmm” indeed.

That comment appears in LGF thread #21224:

Screenshot_2015-09-29-18-13-41-1

Ahaa!!! THAT mosque!

Could this be it? Did Johnson hop on down to city hall and start digging into building permits? While there, did he stop for a nice promo shot?

Only he knows. He looked very concerned about…something, however.

But as far as a follow up to the mosque tunnel story goes, the Freepers seemed convinced that it was there, but I couldn’t find anything on LGF. Tunnel or no tunnel?

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The Culver City Mosque & A Visit To The Memory Hole

King Fahad Mosque, Culver City California


 King Fahad Mosque, Culver City California

The Culver City Mosque is named after King Fahd (d.2005), a moderate muslim who only wanted all Jews to be exterminated, Israel wiped off the globe and all infidels to die, but because he he supported the defeat of Saddam Hussein during The Gulf War (financially and otherwise) he was a really nice guy. Read the rest of this entry »