Justice is Worth Starving For, Especially if You’re Thick: An Interview with Jonathon Butler

Butler University Mascot JK

(Before you read this interview, be sure to check out this clusterfuck of a timeline published at the ironically named “official independent student news source” of University of Missouri , and please note that two white females wrote it!)

Jonathon Butler was in pain, but he’s recently had a couple of Big Macs, so we’re all good now.

The 25-year old University of Missouri graduate student, who recently made headlines after he threatened university curators with a slow, ugly suicide or else, gave an interview shortly before he pwned the top brass at his school about just what motivated him and what he hoped to accomplish with his fast.

This Q&A has been edited for length and parody.

Tell us more about you personally. Where are you from, and what are you studying?

Butler: I’m 25 years old. I hail from Omaha, Nebraska, which you may not know is also called “The Big O.” I did my undergraduate in business administration with an emphasis in marketing at the University of Missouri. Now I’m pursuing my master’s degree in educational leadership and policy. I enjoy school, a good steak. You know, I enjoy life. But I really felt like I could lose a few pounds after putting on the Senior Sixty.

And how did you end up in activism? What happened that led you to find yourself one week into a hunger strike?

Butler: I really look to the example of my grandfather and my mother, especially my mother. I’ve always been kind of a mama’s boy. She did a lot of community engagement in the church. And my dad, he has a law background, and by law background, I mean that he is executive vice president for marketing and sales of a large railroad company.

But when you talk about most recently on campus, that really came from my experience organizing during Ferguson. Because the University of Missouri is only two hours away from Ferguson, and being able to have that experience, I had never seen that many black people. I’m from the south-side of Omaha, and it’s pretty white there. I’m actually whiter than Ben Carson in terms of life experience. I’m not quite as white as Barack Obama or Shaun King, tho.

So what are you fighting for through this hunger strike?

Butler: For me, I’m fighting for justice. It’s really plain and simple. And also, to lose a few pounds.

When you localize it to the hunger strike it really is about the environment that is on campus. We’ve had a lot of professors talking to us about abortion and Planned Parenthood during all that video stuff earlier this fall. Then somebody put a swastika made from human feces on the wall of a res hall, which I knew in New York City would be considered art, but I also knew that in Missouri, it could be the KKK. Also, somebody, probably J’mon Moore, called Payton Head the N-word on campus. Payton just did not know how to handle it, so he turned to Facebook. That went viral real quick.

And I had spent all last fall and half of winter in Ferguson protesting. After returning to campus, I learned they wanted to cut my graduate student healthcare, and I was like, DUH! Obamacare. I can’t afford that. So a bunch of us got together to talk about it, and we learned that the university was going to offer health insurance to foreign students, and we just thought that was whack. So we started organizing. And I had been to Ferguson, so I knew how.

It’s been a week since you ate. How are you feeling? Are you planning on stopping?

Butler: No one really understands what my body is going through. There really haven’t ever been any studies on what goes on in the body when you starve it. But I can tell you, my body is literally shutting down. There is just a lot that my body is going through right now. But I don’t really try to focus on that, I’m trying to focus on the fact that there are a lot of white allies that are coming on board. And also, we got the football team to support us.

Oh yeah? How did you do that? Was that expected?

Butler: I had no clue this was going to happen. I mean, I did give the cornerback my Micky Dees money because he asked nicely, but I didn’t think the whole team would support us or anything. But you know, they have a white quarterback. To quote The Last King of Scotland, “They’ll believe [him] because [he’s] white.” Also, a cool million dollars didn’t hurt the cause.

Do you see your activism as part of the Black Lives Matter movement?

Butler: It is, but it’s not. I mean, I’m a black man from an upper middle class family in Omaha, NE. And I protested in Ferguson for a semester, so really, it’s the same thing. And if you think about it, I’ve lost almost as much weight this week as a poor black man would weigh, so you could technically think of it as another black man put down by the power structure. So, it is part of the Black Lives Matter movement, but not necessarily in the cookie cutter way.



A lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t pay attention to this type of protest now are because of the solidarity you received from the football team. For those who are just tuning into this story, what do you want them to know?

Butler: The campus climate here at the University of Missouri is an ugly one. There’s a lot of pain and there’s a lot of hurt. We wanted to show solidarity with our brothers and sisters on other campuses who are feeling the pain and hurt because administrators and college presidents show resistance to total capitulation. Because that’s how we win. And getting people fired is better entertainment than Mizzou football anyway. We really need to dig deep and be real with ourselves about the world we live in. But we’re not going to do that. That’s why we decided to go to college in the first place. Because justice is worth starving for, especially if you’re thick like I was.

About Lola-in-a-Basket

Bitch, please.
This entry was posted in Black Lives Matter and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

81 Responses to Justice is Worth Starving For, Especially if You’re Thick: An Interview with Jonathon Butler

  1. lildoggy4u says:

    Spent a semester in Ferguson? How much college credit hours did he earn for that I wonder? Those student loans are amazing what they will cover.

  2. elliesmom says:

    So he’s getting a graduate degree in educational leadership. I’m imagining him as the principal of a school. Why not? I’ll be back when I stop laughing.

  3. DeniseVB says:

    LOL, lola, your parody makes more sense than the media (CNN, WaPo links). The comments at the WaPo link are pretty sharp calling bullsh*t on the whole situation, this one was my favorite…

    Here are some additional questions Wesley could have asked.
    1. How does it feel for a gay black man to be elected as president of an 83% white, from a largely rural background, student body?
    2. Were you proud of Michael Sam when he praised the University and the athletic department for the support they gave him on the way to becoming the first gay man to be drafted in the NFL?
    3. As a fellow gay black graduate student, what advise would you give Michael Sam ?You do know Michael chose to return to Mizzou for graduate work don’t you?
    4. I understand someone called you a Ni$$er. How often are occurrences like the one you experienced reported to University officials? Was the person a student at, or employee of the University? What responsibility do you think the University has for these incidents?
    5. What should the President of the University have said/done about Ferguson? How should he have changed his comments/actions when the whole ” hands up don’t shoot” and “gentle giant” narrative turned out to be a lie?

  4. leslie says:

    I’m leaving for babysitting in a second but I wanted to say THANK YOU, Lola!
    This took time and effort to put together and has helped me to understand the grievances and the all too sad plight of the students at #Mizzou. Imho, we ought to give them the safe space they desire, sans food so they can each lose another poor black man’s body weight, and draw attention to their misery. In addition, I think a roll of duct tape for the mouths of anyone who would use racial slurs against those poor children who are struggling in the world of privilege they despise. Finally, I think they should be given their degrees without completion of their course work and thesis/dissertation so they can then enter the world we live in where opinions are worthwhile only if they garner more $$ to their employers or where their feelings are subsumed to protect their livelihoods. Where home mortgages are based on ability to hold down a job and pay bills and where independence is based not on their parents’ basement dwelling space, but on ones ability to provide for themselves (and even for their loved ones.).

    Everyone, Have a good Tuesday. ..

  5. elliesmom says:

    I suppose the really bad news for the Missouri football team is now they have to get their asses kicked by BYU this weekend. Missouri 4-5, BYU 7-2. Missouri has lost its last four games. BYU has won its last five. Do you suppose they’ll protest the Mormon church’s stance on same sex marriage to get out of the game? You know, to show their solidarity with Michael Sam?

  6. DeniseVB says:

    THIS IS the problem:

  7. DeniseVB says:


  8. DeniseVB says:

    Whatever happened to the pandering to all races and colors in political ads? Ya know, unity?

  9. votermom says:

    As Ace likes to say : What a stupid time to be alive!

    Great parody, Lola.

  10. helenk3 says:

    Is it just me, what I see with a lot of this is that these kids are building their own cells? Safe space = do not express an idea or a thought that is different than mine. Keep me from thinking or learning anything new. Cults do that . When I lived in Hemet, I saw the biggest Sciencetolgy building in the country. it was creepy. no windows, looked like a prison, rarely saw any people. Just driving by it was unnerving.
    They certainly will be easy to control and orchestrate when needed

  11. helenk3 says:


    it is yale too. how much does it cost go to these institutions on non learning?

  12. DeniseVB says:

    Heh. But good idea, hope security thought of this before they cleaned the wall.

  13. Myiq2xu says:

  14. Myiq2xu says:


    Obama’s 2016 role: Brutal attack comic

    He’s hitting the road, working on new material, coming soon to a city near you.

    He’s Barack Obama, stand-up president. Politics, particularly Republican presidential politics, has gotten ridiculous, he thinks. These people aren’t serious enough to be president in Obama’s mind, and he’s got the platform to lay into them, and the natural sarcastic sense of humor to fit the role.

    “You’ve got to spend a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they’re on a reality TV show,” Obama told Kanye West in a mock warning about his announced plans to run for president, after the rapper appeared ahead of him at a San Francisco fundraiser in October.

    “If you went to 100 doctors, and 99 of them said you are really sick, you’ve got, let’s say, high cholesterol — what would you do? Would you say those 99 doctors are crazy and part of a wild-eyed socialist plot to prevent you from eating cheese?” he said a few weeks later at another event, in the latest version of a line he’d workshopped a few times to knock the Republican presidential candidates’ responses on climate change. “Or would you say, ‘You know what, I’ll bet those doctors know what they’re talking about; I’ve got to modify my diet a little bit.’ ”

    He’s quoting Chris Rock, twisting his mouth into an exaggerated pout for a POTUS-style Grumpy Cat to mock the “gloomy” Republicans, and cracking himself up in the bit that got the attention this week about the Republicans saying they can handle Putin when they’re not tough enough for CNBC debate moderators.

    “I mean, let me tell you, if you can’t handle those guys,” Obama said, “you know, then I don’t think the Chinese and the Russians are going to be too worried about you.”

    All this helps keep him in the center of the political conversation well past the point when by all rights he should have been lameducked, but it’s more than that: To all the Republicans who used to hit him for not being up to the job of president himself, Obama’s delivering a wry ‘well, get a load of these guys.’

    That it drives Republicans crazy — well, that’s just an added bonus.

    Lickspittle media

  15. Myiq2xu says:

    This is what oppression looks like:

  16. Somebody says:

    Completely OT…….our health insurance continues to go up, up, up and out of pocket expenses rise every year to boot. This year our coverage is going up 48%, they are cutting out prescription drug coverage for quite a number of drugs, such as acne medicine for my teen…..no retin-A coverage, none of the topicals or orals for acne, no coverage at all. They’ve never covered the expensive stuff like accutane.

    They’re narrowing the list of covered cholesterol and BP medicines, stuff like that. Fine I’ll just pay out of pocket for my cholesterol medicine, whatevs. I do feel for people that have issues and need the medicine, if it’s not on the approved list and it’s expensive they are SOL. Think about it, cholesterol and BP medicine, heart health stuff, WOW! There is a long list of medicines for a variety of conditions they will no longer cover.

    The good news is if any of us decide we want gender reassignment surgery it’s covered, WOOT! In addition to covering the surgery they’ll pay for years of therapy before and after the surgery AND pay for hormones, isn’t that just fucking peachy? Oh and they’ll also reimburse you for low dose aspirin if prescribed for heart health, WTF? Low dose aspirin is cheap. Those, plus an increase in inpatient drug addiction coverage and a more services for children under 5, are the only increases in coverage, nothing that is pertinent to us. There are, however lots of little decreases in coverage, that will impact us plus the 48% rate hike. Obamacare is just working out so well isn’t it?

    • helenk3 says:

      I had to stop taking one of my emphyma medicines. it went from $15 a month to $347 a month.
      I really do hope that backtrack gets a bad dose of coke, and nancy ods on boxtox

  17. Myiq2xu says:

    This is the long version of yesterday’s video:

  18. helenk3 says:


    what the hell is being taught at these colleges? It does not seem to be in their or the country’s best interest

  19. Dora says:

    *Ugh* Marco Rubio Doubles Down on Gang of 8 Amnesty: “I Was Trying to Make a Difference” (Video)

    Marco Rubio went on Hannity to discuss the current state of his campaign.


    • Somebody says:

      He was trying to make a difference for his financial backers. He has a bill pending to double H1B visas, you know to try and make a difference. The good news is he doesn’t show up for work these days so hopefully his bill will just wither and die. The bad news is there are plenty more bought and paid for senators ready to resurrect the bill for their paymasters.

      • Somebody says:

        I was wrong Rubio is trying to triple H-1B visas and that isn’t counting all the ones they let stay year after year that are supposed to leave. Nope this bill will triple the number than can come in every year.

  20. DeniseVB says:

    Well this looks promising, grabbed it off MOTUS…..

    Missouri School of Journalism issues statement saying it supports
    student photographer Tim Tai who ‘handled himself professionally and
    with poise’ during clashes with protesters; faculty reviewing courtesy
    appointment of Assistant Professor Melissa Click – @mojonews

  21. helenk3 says:


    sorry sir, I can not respond to that assault and robbery, i am handling a complaint one student told another student she did not like her shirt

  22. helenk3 says:


    missouri president wimped out

  23. Myiq2xu says:


  24. Myiq2xu says:

  25. helenk3 says:

    off topic because I need a break from brats

    just found the coolest gift for my youngest great grandson. Luke is 3 years old dinosaur plush finger puppets. they have 6 different ones. i am going to buy two of them. have not decided which 2 yet

    for my 7 year old great grandson who is a ham and already earned $100 in radio, a international brotherhood of magicians magic set

    for my 8 year old great grandson who just learned how to play and loves chess a laser khet 2.0 set. it is a game of war with lazers and mirrors and how you move the mirrored pieces and lazers teaches strategy and geometry

    I have a lot of fun finding gifts that I think they would have fun with

  26. swanspirit says:

    Fantastic post Lola !!
    It seems to me that Jonathan, and his fellow students, and even some faculty members, just want their feelings respected according to the Bill Of Feelings upon which this country was founded ; or according to them , The Bill of feelings upon which this country should have been founded.

  27. votermom says:

    OT. So I did not get the part time retail job I applied for – the email said “your availability can not be matched to one of our available position shifts” and “if your work availability changes, please contact us”
    I had put in all first shift hours which is up to 4:30 for them except Sat where I put in up to 2nd shift.
    So is that a brush off email or would they really hire me if I said I changed my mind- I’ll work any hour of the day or night?

  28. westcoaster says:

    OT: Obama on the cover of Out magazine, because he’s stopped saying that marriage is between a man and a woman (he said in the interview that he supported the repeal of DOMA as a senator though). http://www.buzzfeed.com/davidmack/out-obama#.vdgRByYRd

Comments are closed.