Sometimes I come up with a good headline joke, and it doesn’t seem like writing the full story would improve on the headline alone. So, here you go.
6. Glenn Beck – I’m becoming increasingly convinced that Glenn Beck is Stephen Colbert without the winking nod, an Andy Kaufman for our time. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to pretend that he believes what he says, and is either out to make money off of dupes or is the greatest IRL troll of our generation.
For the time being, I’m going to go along with the notion that he’s serious. His inclusion on the list represents not only him, but other talk radio and Fox News personalities, like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter – The Axis of Idiocy.
A problem arises because it’s difficult to put these people into the same category. For example, I think Sean Hannity truly believes what he says. He has had brain surgery to turn off the part of his brain that stops your mouth from moving when you know you’re saying something that makes no sense. Ann Coulter, however, says whatever she feels will cause the most controversy and make her the most money. The level of idiocy is comparable, but the intent is different. But, even with all this competition, Glenn Beck has emerged as the group’s Cryer-in-Chief.
7. Balloon Boy – This story had everything I hate about our society. Parents who give their children ridiculous names (Did you name your kid after a Midwest state? You might as well install a pole in her bedroom so she can get some practice for her future career), the twenty-four hour news cycle that values exclusive “information” over verified facts, and reality television, which will appear in future installments of this list.
Of course, it’s not every day that you get to watch a bag of Jiffy Pop soar majestically through the air like some kind of large bird like an eagle or something. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. Oh yeah, Falcon. That was my first clue that the kid wasn’t really in the balloon. Well, that and the use of my eyes to visually acquire information about the size and shape of the balloon, which then sent the information to my brain to process and send a signal to my mouth to say “WTFuck?! You’re seriously trying to tell me there’s a kid riding in that? Where? Does he have Saddam’s WMDs with him? Is he riding on an invisible unicorn under the balloon?”
I was shocked to learn that parents who name their kid Falcon exploited him for supposed fame and fortune. I guess being known as the douche in the balloon kinda qualifies as fame, I mean, you can’t spell “infamous” without “famous.” The strange thing is that the kid would have had a better chance at a well-adjusted life if his parents had named him Falco.
The only part of this story I liked was when the kid threw up on national television.
9. The Snuggie - On the one hand, I have to hand it to the person who invented the Snuggie. Not since the Pet Rock has someone made so much money selling something so ridiculous.
It Looks Ridiculous – There’s a reason that people hadn’t made wearable blankets before. It’s one of those ideas that sounds great in theory, but looks ridiculous in actuality. “Wouldn’t it be great if I could experience the warmth of a blanket, without having to worry about it falling off when I move about?” Yeah, I guess it would. I also wish I could experience that level of warmth throughout daily life, but it would look ludicrous for me to drive around with a blanket on. It looks no less ridiculous walking around your house.
I have no way to prove this, but I believe that the only men who have ever worn a Snuggie of their own free will are the men in the advertisements and on the packaging. According to the commercial, it’s perfectly acceptable to wear The Snuggie to sporting events. If I was a high school athlete, I would buy Snuggies for the parents of all the opposing team’s players. It would be easy to win the game with the other team dying of embarassment that their parents are wearing a Snuggie in public. The only place I can see this outfit fitting in is a religious service in the woods where there is a large bowl of Kool-Aid served as the culminating activity.
8. Jennifer Aniston – This one is tough. I want to like Jennifer Aniston. I liked her in Friends. She seems like a likeable person. Yet, there’s a problem. She’s on at least one magazine cover every time I go to the supermarket. But, it’s not just that. It’s always a variation of “Jen: True Love, Finally!” and “Jen: Heartbroken After xxxxxx Dumps Her!” This repeats anew every so often, typically when she has a movie coming out. This leads me to believe that I have successfully mapped the Jennifer Aniston dating cycle.
1. Jennifer Aniston meets a guy and he decides to go out on a date with her, which is completely natural, because she is, after all, very attractive and seems to be a nice person.
2. They go out on one date. The guy has a very nice time and plans to see her again.
3. Her publicist calls every magazine and tells them all about the date, providing exclusive information to each magazine.
4. Every magazine prints some variation of “Jen and xxxxx: True Love!” or “Finally, Jen Hears Wedding Bells!” or “Jen and xxxxxx Moving In Together?”
At years end, everyone and their brother (and their sister in non-Islamic countries) write some kind of top ten list. To maintain that tradition, I decided to write a year-end top ten list. Rather than counting down my top ten movies or top ten varieties of cheese, here is my list of ten things that really sucked this year.
Facebook has allowed people to reconnect with people with whom they have lost contact over the years. In some cases, it only takes a day or two to remember why we lost contact with them. While Facebook is a social networking tool with great potential, it also has a tremendous capacity to annoy. Here are some Facebook behaviors that your friends find annoying, even if they won’t tell you. If you do these things, you’re likely not a bad person, but you are unnecessarily annoying people.
It’s Facebook, not YourKidBook. We realize that being a parent is something new and exciting for everyone. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being happy and proud of your children, in fact, it’s great that you care so much about them. However, remember that you feel that way because they’re your children. Do you find yourself thinking, “If only my friends would tell me all about their kids in every Facebook status” or “I wish I got daily pictures of other people’s kids?” No. There’s a reason you don’t think that. Also, you’re not the first person to be pregnant. All that stuff you complain about? It’s happened to every pregnant person ever.
After Gov. Palin’s rambling, incoherent resignation speech, I began to wonder what it would have been like if she had given famous speeches throughout history. Here’s Part One: Gettysburg.
Hi Gettysburg. About eighty some odd years ago in the past, those brave forefathers of ours gave a precious gift to US. They gave (to us!) this amazing country of ours that we live and reside in, founded in God’s LIBERTY!! And also, it’s dedicated to the fact that all of us are created by God, who is so amazing, to be the same.
Right now, even as I stand here before you to speak, this great country of ours is wrapped up in a battle for Real Americans against people led by those chattering class intellectual elites who sit in their ivory towers and plan to try to destroy me.
Right here on this war zone, I stand READY to take those people on! I do this in the memory of our brave soldiers who fight and die to protect our freedoms, like the First Amendment, that guarantees me the ability to speak what I believe in my heart to be true without those in the press conducting a witch hunt of me and my financial transactions. And here at this site where brave men like my son Track fought and died for those hard-fought liberties that I and my children, who are here with me: Bristol, Willow, and Piper – say “Hi” kids!, enjoy so much since they live in this great country of ours.
While most people know George Carlin as the guy from the “7 words” bit, I believe that he was much more than that. I see him as an Orwell-like defender of language, and for that we should be eternally grateful. Very near the top of my list of Orwell’s important works is his essay “Politics and the English Language,” which, among other topics, discusses the abundance of euphemistic language, and its damaging effect on writing.
Carlin’s bit, “Euphemisms,” addresses the same issue, and even more clearly shows the effect of euphemistic language on discourse, and, even more importantly, thought. Since language is the concrete instrument by which we convey abstract ideas, the language we use has a monumental impact on thought. In the bit, Carlin traced the history of the concept initially labeled “shell shock” to its present day incarnation of “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Most important is the end, where he says “I’ll bet you if we’d of still been calling it Shell Shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I’ll betcha. I’ll betcha.”
Carlin points out, as Orwell did repeatedly, that the language we use affects the way in which we think, which affects the actions we take, individually and as a society. While politics is the most obvious forum for euphemistic language, it has contaminated our language’s water supply, impacting every aspect of our lives.
Both Carlin and Orwell believe that we use euphemistic language to avoid dealing with the harsh realities of life. It’s become progressively worse over time. It hurts when a loved one dies, so we say that they “passed away,” which may make it sound better in the short term, but at some point we have to deal with the certainty that we will never see that person again on Earth (or never if you do not believe in an afterlife). They are gone, and it sucks. You can deep fry an anchovy repeatedly, but once you bite through the layers of delicious dough and powdered sugar, it still tastes horrible inside.
Shortly after the premiere of their sitcom “My Name is Earl,” NBC introduced a marketing campaign so annoying that I had to change the radio station any time that it came across the airwaves. The premise of the advertisements was that we were supposed to be listening in on a normal conversation that several co-workers were having on their lunch break. I can’t recall the exact wording, but it went something like this:
“Have you guys seen that new show on NBC with Jason Lee?”
“You mean that guy from the movies? I love him!”
“Yeah, he’s so funny in this show! Let me tell you what the show is about…”
As you can see, this “conversation” is about as believable as the questions in Parade magazine. “I just love that Dennis Quaid! Can you tell me what he’s up to?” “I loved Baby Geniuses Two, is it too much to hope that number three is in the works?”
Unfortunately, this advertising technique has spread to television. The first example that comes to mind is the television spot for the birth control pill Yaz. For those lucky few that haven’t seen it, this ad takes the viewer inside a perfectly natural conversation among a group of friends who are discussing this new birth control pill that one of them heard about.