Epic Beard Man: Another Day in Oakland

A few days ago there was a fight on an Oakland bus between a 50 year old black man and a 67 year old white man who was wearing a T-shirt that read "I AM A MOTHERFUCKER." The fight is embedded above and available on YouTube here, where it has been watched more than two million times.

Know Your Meme has an exhaustive analysis of this internet phenomenon including this summary:

The older white man in the video has been identified as Thomas Bruso, AKA Tom Slick, AKA Vietnam Tom; infamous in Oakland for his reputation of belligerence. Prior to the discovery of his identity, Anonymous had already dubbed him Epic Beard Man.

After the black man’s nose is broken, he says “bring an ambulance” which has been misheard as both “bring M&M’s” and “bring Amber Lamps” due to a combination of his dialect and facial injury. Amber Lamps has also come to be used as a pseudonym for the girl sitting next to the black man in the video.

Here is one man's video response to the fight. Here's a post-fight interview with EBM via the always-reliable KRON-4 news in which he at times he is crying and other times is bragging about knocking out the black dude for "twenty two and a half minutes" with a Mohammad Ali strike. (Totally false.) Here is Epic Beard Man getting tased by police at an Oakland A's game.

Besides the hilarity of it all — except the ugly racial slurs that have accompanied many of the internet postings — it is a case study in how quickly a internet meme can catch on. Thanks to the indefatigable Steve Dodson for the pointer.

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