Student Subcultures: “Shoulders of Firey Vengeance”


One of the many cover photos used in the past year for “Shoulders”

To the Adams student body, seniors Cameron Johnson and Brian Savage appear to be typical Adams intellectuals.  They are both involved in Robotics, editors of The Kilt, and very intelligent, but when they talk about “Shoulders of Firey [SIC] Vengeance,” their acquaintances are left rather confused.

When seniors Jazmine Mui and Claire Sullivan heard about “Shoulders,” both girls were perplexed.

“Wait, what?  What’s that?” said Sullivan.

“I don’t know what that is,” said Mui.

Unknown to the common population at Adams, Johnson and Savage have created a phenomenon, a “mesopotamia” for fans of geekdom and pop-culture on Facebook: “Shoulders of Firey Vengeance.”

From Humble Beginnings

Cameron and Brian were friends as middle-schoolers, and during their freshman year, “Shoulders of Firey Vengeance” was born.

Brian’s older sister allegedly came up with the band name “Shoulders of Fiery Vengeance” while the siblings were playing Rock Band 2 together.  Cameron and Brian later named their Facebook group “Shoulders of Firey Vengeance,” now abbreviated as simply “Shoulders.” Why, one might ask, is “fiery” spelled incorrectly?

“I couldn’t spell ‘fiery’ correctly in 9th grade,” said Johnson.

“Shoulders” was initially a Facebook group for Cameron, Brian and their circle of friends,  a “more secretive place for my friends and I to post amusing content,” said Johnson. However, “Shoulders” is now comprised of 94 members, the majority of them Adams students.

“Shoulders” has transformed into a high school haven for the dorky, the questionable, and the provocative.  A place where internet “trolling” is encouraged, memes and vines are shared, and puns are generated.

“The content on ‘Shoulders’ is a potpourri of pop culture references ranging from the mundane to the bizarre,” said Savage.

As Cameron states in the group’s bio, “You can pretty much do whatever you want here as long as you don’t turn it into a nest for bronies or LoL. There are separate groups for those.”

The term “Bronies” refers to the male followers of the franchise My Little Pony and “LoL” is an abbreviation for the popular computer game League of Legends.

Although certain fandoms are monitored, other fandoms, including anime, Spongebob, and Johnson’s favorite, Shrek, seem to be popular on “Shoulders.”

“Shrek is love; Shrek is life,” said Johnson (multiple times).

The Reckoning, Notifications, and Braun

On a typical day, “Shoulders” members post and make comments on the group’s wall, but other events have occurred throughout the history of “Shoulders.”  Last summer, members spammed senior Joe Bolewitz’ wall with notifications by liking all of his Facebook posts. Members dubbed this event “The Reckoning,”

While people might equate “The Reckoning” to cyber-bullying, this is certainly not the case on Shoulders.”  The content and happenings of the group are only meant in good-humor.  In that spirit, the incessant notifications on Facebook hardly fazed Bolewitz.

“It was fun to go onto Facebook at the end of the day and see all of the notifications,” said Bolewitz.   Bolewitz said that he had around “200” in one day due to “The Reckoning.”

While Bolewitz’ amount of notifications was a separate situation entirely, the number of notifications on Shoulders is high, sometimes ranging from 10 to 20 a day.  Because of this, some members have turned their notifications off for the group.  Other people, like senior Eric Wang, have left the group.

“They might seem like a very ‘cultured’ group to many, and maybe they are, but to someone that cannot comprehend their depth like myself, all they do is spam my notifications on Facebook,” said Wang.

If one views the wall of Shoulders, it is not uncommon to see many photoshopped pictures of senior Austin Braun.

Johnson and Savage note that the reason for Austin’s popularity on “Shoulders” is due to his likeable and charismatic personality.

“I don’t really mind it and actually find it to be quite entertaining, especially since there is a lot of…creativity.  I’m not exactly sure how it started, but i think it may be just because I’m a fairly likable person,” said Braun.

Johnson also said that Braun’s name is “easily pun-able,” which consequently fuels the Braun banter on “Shoulders” even further. Braunmower, Braun with the Wind, Obi-Braun Kenobi… the “Braun” puns are endless.

The Future of Shoulders

Notifications aside,  “Shoulders” membership has and is continuing to grow.  Even though members emphasize Braun, every member offers a unique perspective to add to the pop-culture conversations that cover the wall of “Shoulders.”  The group is also a comfortable place for people to be themselves.

“Everyone can be open and honest,” said senior Mike Hartwick.

Junior Fabiana Adgate also shared a “Shoulders” testimonial.

“I had never been exposed to such a large group of fun people with similar interests and such a high amount of sheer awesomeness,” said Adgate. “Being invited to the group was a social turning point for a lonely freshman.  Thanks to ‘Shoulders,’ I’ve made some great friends.”

With Johnson and Savage, as well as many of the other seniors who make up the group, leaving for college in the next year, the future of “Shoulders” is unknown. However, “Shoulders” members seem optimistic and idealistic about what lies ahead.

“It would be pretty neat to see how it would grow [in college],” said senior Mia Swanton.

“We can organize a “Shoulders” reunion in 50 years,” said Johnson.