Who was that masked pineapple?

By the way, that whole pineapple thing? Mayhew’s witty “Pineapple go home!” on Facebook, Vacula’s witty repetition of “Pineapple go home!” farther down the thread on Facebook, “Pineapple go home!” as the title of the first episode of Vacula & Porter’s new podcast, Mayhew’s witty cartoon of “Pineapple go home!”?

I take it they have no clue what the pineapple is about. It’s about something. I didn’t make my profile picture a pineapple just because I wanted a piece of fruit as my profile picture. No. No, I made my profile picture a pineapple in solidarity with the Reading University Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society. There was a little incident last October, which I blogged about several times. I first blogged about it on October 5.

I will just repost the whole thing here, because it’s mine, and I can do that.

Either the pineapple goes, or you do       


And on the same day, in another part of the forest…

…another busy representative of another university Student Union meddled with another Atheist, Humanist, and Secularist Society. Reading University this time, and RUSU and RAHS. This time not a Jesus and Mo toon on a Facebook page, but a pineapple named Mohammed.

The NSS quotes a statement by Tim Rouse of the Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society:

Among the material displayed on our stall was a pineapple. We labelled this pineapple “Mohammed”, to encourage discussion about blasphemy, religion, and liberty, as well as to celebrate the fact that we live in a country in which free speech is protected, and where it is lawful to call a pineapple by whatever name one chooses.

Towards the end of the afternoon, we were informed by a member of RUSU staff that there had been complaints about the pineapple, despite the fact that no complaints had been made at any point to anybody on the stall. Our commitment to freedom of expression meant that we refused to remove the pineapple from our stall. After a few minutes, we were told by another member of RUSU staff that “Either the pineapple goes, or you do”, whereupon they seized the pineapple and tried to leave. However, the pineapple was swiftly returned, and shortly was displayed again, with the name Mohammed changed to that of Jesus.

Shortly afterwards, the second RUSU staff member returned and ordered RAHS to leave the Freshers’ Fayre. At this point, a group of around five students, some of whom self-identified as Muslim, approached the stall and began to criticise us, asking and telling us to remove the pineapple. Though these students mainly engaged in discussion, one removed the label from the pineapple without our permission.

And on it went, wrangle wrangle, until they felt forced to leave, although they continued to hand out leaflets outside the event.

One fire is put out while another is set ablaze.


Back in the present now.

So you see the pineapple has a meaning – one that even Justin Vacula and Sara Mayhew might appreciate. But they’ve been too busy making videos and podcasts to jeer at us, or cartoons of angry pineapples to jeer at us, to pay attention to things like the above incident. So they jeered at the poor loyal pineapple. Sad, isn’t it.


  1. jenniferphillips says

    Pathetically predictable. The similarity between phrases ‘Either the pineapple goes, or you do” and ‘Go home, pineapple’ isn’t lost on me, either.

  2. says

    The phrase “go home!” has an extra and unnecessary level of bossiness and aggression. I tell people to go away (from here or from me on Twitter) all the time; I sometimes tell people to fuck off; but I never tell people to go home. It’s none of my business where they go. I get to tell people to go away or off, but not home. Mayhew is a weirdly bossy person.

  3. Your Name's not Bruce? says

    Yes, but now you’ve shamelessly appropriated the pineapple and by doing so changed its meaning, thereby hijacking this fruit to use it for your own narrow, divisive, ideological goals, so its now fair game for them to do anything they see fit to punish you. Your causing Deep Banana Splits! And to point out this ignorance of the pineapple’s deeper significance is to engage in McCarthyistic/feminazi/Stalinist/witch-hunts, burnings and purges.

    First they came for the kiwifruit…..

    /sarcasm off/

  4. Eristae says

    Either the pineapple goes, or you do

    That . . . actually makes the “Go home, Pineapple” picture incredibly ironic.

    The mind boggles. I mean, some of this stuff seems so incredibly contrived that if it were in a piece of fiction, I’d be all “Pssh, like those would happen together! Too convenient.”

    But then reality intrudes and schools me.

  5. Martha says

    But this is your home, right? At least, virtually speaking?

    Somehow, coming here isn’t what I think they want from you, poor obsessed fools. Works for me, though!

  6. hoary puccoon says

    Pineapples used to have an entirely different meaning in early America. When a sea captain returned from a voyage to the Caribbean, he would put a pineapple from the islands at his front gate, the signal the for the neighbors to come in and welcome him home. So pineapples became a symbol of hospitality. Carved ones are still often seen on gate posts.

    So, I thought a pineapple as profile picture made a lovely, welcoming gesture.

  7. says

    Hey Ophelia. Just thought you’d like to know that someone out here (i.e. at least me) did get the allusion all along. And the irony of the pitters echoing some other people trying to muzzle other people’s free speech was not lost on me either.

  8. great1american1satan says

    I like the bridge burning handle. Here’s one bridge I’m burning – I’m not paying a dime to see Richard Dawkins speak until he acknowledges sexism exists in the movement and convincingly rebukes it.

  9. says

    Hey, I remembered where the pineapple came from too. (Generally, at least.) At first I assumed everyone was aware.

    One more reason I’m fine with those rifts getting wider. The pineapple bit was solidarity on a clear issue of atheism and free speech. The sort of thing we’re all supposed to be agreeing on. The sort of thing the ‘pitters and the offended fence-sitters complain should be our (the whole movement/community) main focus. And still they just use it as one more thing to attack about rather than giving any credit to the efforts on the topics they’re so interested in.

    So…what, exactly, are they doing for the atheism/skepticism movement beyond attacking atheist/skeptic feminists?

  10. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    John-Henry Beck wrote:

    So…what, exactly, are they doing for the atheism/skepticism movement beyond attacking atheist/skeptic feminists?

    But that’s the greatest thing a #bravehero can do – keeping the movement safe for (primarily) wealthy, educated white guys, and those hangers-on who are allowed to sit near the table to catch the occasional scrap of recognition. If feminists have their way, they might lose their position as the arbiters of content, and be forced to suffer the heinous torture of listening to people talk about things that don’t interest them.

    And that’s terrible.

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