Saturday, September 23, 2006

Still here, fortunately or not

I'm almost certain that I'm writing this to myself, but on the off chance that there is some poor soul out there reading this, I would like you to know that I haven't died. I'm still here, wandering around the interwebs. And I haven't forgotten that I have a blog, or that I enjoy writing, or any of that. I'm still writing things, just not blog-type things, or anything that would be appropriate for the web at all.

But cheer up! Soon, there will be a new website for you to visit. That's right, I will have my very own, brand-spanking new home on the web for you to enjoy. It will be up and ready in the not-so-distant or maybe the distant future. I haven't decided which yet. But stayed tuned, because it's coming.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

How to Remain Entertained When Nobody Is Around and You Have Nothing to Do

1. Start a new religion. You’ll need to select a god, or gods, and you’ll also need to come up with some sort of theology. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to find some followers. Create a website, print up some brochures, and consider putting up a billboard. Go someplace where there are a lot of people (a university, a shopping mall, Wal-Mart) and pass out your brochures to passersby. Be sure to tell them all the terrible things that will happen to them if they don’t join your religion. Once you get enough followers, build a huge warehouse, call it a church, and spend all the money you get from your followers on building improvements.

2. Do some political canvassing. It’s an election year, and canvassing is a great way to meet new people. Most canvassers work in the evening, when people are eating dinner, which means that most people are home and ready to talk to anybody who comes to the door. First, find a candidate you think you can support. After that, learn as much as you can about your candidate’s opponent so you know what bad things to say about that person. Then, start knocking on doors! Tell people why they shouldn’t vote for your candidate’s opponent. Remember to point out that the other guy took bribes from Jack Abramoff. Don’t say anything about your candidate, because he doesn’t really have anything going for him.

3. Go on a road trip. Some people are convinced that we’re running out of oil, so you better take a good, long road trip while you still can. Use as much gas as possible, because there might not be as much next year. Maybe rent a Hummer. Hop on I-80 and drive from New York to San Francisco. By taking the interstate, you’ll avoid all the small towns and trees and mountains and weird people along the smaller highways. You don’t want that.

4. Get addicted to the internet. Find a forum or a blog where you can talk to people and just start typing. You’ll be addicted in no time, and you won’t need to find anything else to do. You won’t even need friends anymore, because all of your friends will be online. Sure, they’ll just be words on a screen, and you’ll never know for sure if you’re talking to a 50-year old man or a 19-year old woman, but that’s just part of the internet’s charm.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The reality we can all agree on

On The Colbert Report the other night, during a segment called The Wørd, Stephen Colbert gave a wonderfully insightful and hilarious monologue about “Wikiality,” the “reality that we can all agree on.” He spoke about how as long as a majority of people think something is true, it is true. What people believe to be true is more important than what actually is true, and those people who stick to the facts are branded as crazy.

During The Wørd, Colbert asked his audience members to go to the entry about elephants in Wikipedia and write that the elephant population had tripled in the last six months, thus demonstrating that Wikipedia allows for a democracy of knowledge in which anybody can determine what is and isn’t true. In response, a huge number of people rushed to Wikipedia and made the change to several different articles about elephants, thus causing the Wikipedians to put protections on the articles and ban certain people from editing them.

On forums such as the Colbert Nation message board, one can see how the fans felt about these Wikinazis (as Colbert might call them). A number of Colbert Nation members are calling on one another to vandalize Wikipedia articles, adding false bits of information that have been mentioned on The Colbert Report. Others asked that Colbert put Wikipedia “On Notice,” as Colbert does with seemingly random things that upset him in some way.

I noticed very few, if any, comments about the actual meaning behind Colbert’s monologue. Colbert's actual subject matter wasn't Wikipedia: it was the society in which we live. The fans were in awe of Colbert’s power to disrupt a popular website, but they completely missed his point: that people in our society actually are just coming to a consensus about what is true without paying close attention to facts. Colbert mentioned (truthfully) that the percentage of people who believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction had gone from 36 percent to 50 percent in 18 months, despite the fact that this has never been shown to be true.

Euphemisms, deceptions, and truthiness have turned truth into an enemy, and Colbert is acutely aware of that. As he stated on the first episode of The Colbert Report, “we are divided between those who think with their head and those who know with their heart.” He’s trying, in his brilliantly satirical way, to get the truth out, but it seems that large numbers of people are missing his point. The day after the Wikiality incident, the big news was that Colbert had a huge impact on Wikipedia. It was one of Colbert’s best Wørds to date, and the story should have been how painfully true it was and how dangerous that truth is for our society.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Obese Americans eat healthy diets

A recent survey has shown that most obese people in America claim that they have healthy diets and that they exercise vigorously on a regular basis.

In related news, a recent study has shown that most obese people in America think that Twinkies are healthy and that getting up to change the TV station is vigorous exercise.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Poor people are bad for America

The city of Las Vegas, Nevada has passed a law making it illegal to give homeless people food in city parks. According to the New York Times, the city is “hoping to discourage homeless people from congregating and, in the view of officials, ruining efforts to beautify downtowns and neighborhoods.”

Homeless people are ruining America. By being out in the open where everyone can see them, they’re upsetting the public and undermining the government. President Bush has made it clear that he wants to cut money for welfare programs. But, if homeless people keep making themselves known, that’s going to be difficult to do.

In cutting money for welfare programs, the government is merely trying to nudge homeless people in the right direction. And Las Vegas, in passing this new ordinance, is only trying to help the federal government. If poor people can’t get food from welfare programs or good Samaritans in public places, they’re more likely to seek employment and become productive members of society.

So, homeless people, do what you’re supposed to do and stay out of sight. As long as nobody knows you exist, Americans can continue to live their lives as they’ve been doing for so long.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tips for Discussing Israel and Hezbollah

I've been spending a lot of time on the internets lately reading and participating in discussions about the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah. I've come to the conclusion that there are a few points that everyone must know if they are going to discuss this issue. I have outlined them here:

1. Remember that the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah is the most important thing happening right now. Until this gets resolved, focus your attention on this issue. You can just ignore everything else that's going on in the world.

2. If someone says that he does not support the Israeli government, that person is an anti-Semite. This person is clearly unreasonable, because he is prejudiced against Jews. Only anti-Semites do not support Israel. Also, this person is a terrorist because he clearly supports Hezbollah.

3. Lebanon should be blamed for the existence of Hezbollah. The Lebanese government should have gotten its act together and gotten rid of Hezbollah. But it didn’t, so the Lebanese probably deserve what they’re getting.

4. We are now in the beginning stages of World War III. As long as we continue to say it, it must be true.

Now, you are ready to begin your discussion! It shouldn't take long for you to find a place to talk about Israel and Hezbollah. Go to any blog or message board, start typing, and you will find plenty of people willing to engage you in debate.*

*When discussing Israel and Hezbollah, debate = argument

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hunger, housing, and healthcare no longer problems for poor people

Poor education and poverty are no longer problems in America, so the federal government is now using your tax money to promote marriage. The high divorce rate is now America's biggest problem, and it must be fixed.

This is an especially big problem among lower income Americans, but researcher David Fein says that poorer Americans "actually marry at the same rate as more affluent people. The problem is, subsequently, their marriages are much more fragile."

According to Fein, these marriages are so fragile because "the poor don’t have the same ability as wealthier Americans to get help when their marriage needs it."

Poor Americans were unavailable to comment, because they were too busy trying to find ways to pay for food, housing, and healthcare.