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The Guy From Blues Traveler Lied About Me In His Book

John Popper wrote about a Twitter fight we had in his new book, and it's wildly inaccurate.

Posted on April 6, 2016, at 6:53 p.m. ET

Hello, I'm Katie, mild-mannered writer and fan of early '90s pop music.

This is John Popper, singer and harmonica player of the band Blues Traveler, known for their '90s hits "Run-Around" and "Hook".

Let's go back 2 years to May 2014...

Popper used to be overweight (he's since lost a ton of weight – good for him, no shade!), and in an episode of Behind the Music about the band, there was a particular anecdote about him that stuck out in my memory. It was like the Zeppelin shark incident of harmonica music, the juiciest and most salacious detail by far. The story was that because of his weight, he would get winded when he masturbated, and would have to stop. What a crazy story!

I can't remember why I was thinking about the John Popper masturbation story, but when I tried to Google it and came up mostly empty handed, I tweeted about it.

Surprisingly little information on the internet regarding the legend that John Popper was too obese to masturbate.

[Note that I did not "@" John Popper or Blues Traveler – the only way he saw this tweet was by obsessively name-searching himself. Or maybe he uses something like Tweetdeck with a column dedicated to any mentions of his own name.]

John Popper replied! It's always very exciting if a celebrity, especially one you admired as a teen, replies to you. At first things were going ok...

But at some point, some other people jumped into the "canoe" (when a bunch of people are all in a Twitter conversation), and that's where all hell broke loose.

At this point, I stopped interacting because as a certified Twitter genius, I could tell the way the wind was blowing on this one: straight toward the crapper. Besides, Popper had now revealed himself to be a nasty troll, saying outrageous things that any reasonable person would think are terrible.

Fighting on Twitter is sometimes worthwhile and justified, but usually it's best avoided.

Here are the rules for fighting on Twitter. Learn them. Memorize them. Live them.

1) Don't ever get into a fight you don't know you can win. In this case, I knew I could "win" – Twitter fights are determined solely by the court of public opinion, and Popper was saying such terrible stuff that there was no way anyone would side with him. But there was still reason to avoid engaging in this particular fight.

2) Beware of falling into a fight where you end up saying something stupid. You'd be suprised how easy it is to start off debating Kayne West's latest album, and 5 tweets later find yourself going, "sure, Hitler had some good ideas...." Especially if you tweet under your real name, avoid getting dragged into some dumb fight and say something you regret. This is a classic trolling technique: goad someone into saying something you can hold up against them to say "look at this monster!" That's basically exactly what the other trolls were doing to Popper – riling him up until he embarrassed himself. Listen to my wisdom. Don't be like John Popper.

3) Follow the classic rule: don't ever wrestle with a pig – you get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.
Some people just LOVE arguing on the internet; it's fun for them and they don't care if they lose. This includes most garden variety egg account trolls, who just have fun saying dumb shit to piss you off. Popper had a reputation for getting into fights with anyone who said the words "John Popper" – he clearly loves arguing on the internet. The pig (so to speak) likes it. Don't give the pig the pleasure.

So I stayed out of the fight, but it raged on in my mentions for basically an entire day. It was hell.

However, it was pretty funny that this all involved the singer from Blues Traveler, so I wrote a post about the whole saga for BuzzFeed:

Now let's get back to 2016. Last week, John Popper released a book, Suck & Blow. (Like the way you play a harmonica, get it?)

Da Capo Press / Via

In that book, there's a paragraph describing the Twitter kerfluffle:

Um, hello, he is clearly talking about MOI here.

Even though I'm not mentioned by name, if you Googled "BuzzFeed + John Popper", my article would be the top result and you'd know the story is about yours truly.

This is worse than his crime of convincing millions of teens via the video for "Run-Around" that licking someone's handstamp could allows you to transfer it to another hand. This is worse than a thousand fedoras being tipped at once. This is worse than the smell of the portapotties by the burrito stand at the H.O.R.D.E. Tour.

But the thing is, he got it all wrong. I never said the phrase "you can't even rape your hand." (See rule #2 about not getting into fights where you say regrettable things.) Someone else said that:

.@blues_traveler @smoothasbutter @katienotopoulos @mynameisaverb tak about a cyclical argument: you can't even rape your hand, dude

I don't know Karen personally, but I know her a little online (hi Karen!). She's definitely someone who loves to fight and talk shit on Twitter, and she's tough. Here we have two pigs (as the saying goes) rolling around in the mud and having a blast.

Popper isn't just bad at Twitter because he says awful things and fights with anyone who mentions his name, which is an undignified act for a celebrity.

He's also bad at Twitter because he literally doesn't understand who he is talking to! He doesn't understand the difference between me (the person who started a normal conversation) and the dozen other people who jumped in and started fighting with him.

And the headline of my story said nothing about him being a "rape apologist."

Nor do I ever use the phrase "rape apologist" in my story at all. This is just a wildly inaccurate description of the whole event.

So did John Popper defame me in his book here? Idk, defamation is something with a precise legal definition, and I'm no Alicia Florrick.

But did he besmirch me? You bet he did. I'm besmirched as hell over here. John Popper took my good name and gave it the "Run-Around" through the mud, and I'm mad as hell.

I demand an apology from John Popper. I demand he concede I'm better at Twitter than he is. This is it. I await my apology Mr. Popper.

Until I get my redemption, please enjoy this adorable video Emma Stone lipsyncing "Hook" on Jimmy Fallon.

View this video on YouTube
  • Picture of Katie Notopoulos

    Katie Notopoulos is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Notopoulos writes about tech and internet culture and is cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.

    Contact Katie Notopoulos at

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