Tag Archives: humor

Wit Contra Sarcasm (Contra Douchebaggery)

Wit is hard to get.  Just as you think you get wit, they’ll come around and change what wit is.  Suddenly, what you thought was wit, is no longer it, and what is wit, will sound to you like a pile of shit!

Fortunately, wit has an easier to attain co-traveler in the world of rhetoric named sarcasm, which is much, much easier to pull off.  Much like pineapple on one’s pizza, people either love sarcasm or they don’t.  And for those who love it, they really freaking love it.  I find it to be especially true of women, as you are setting out in the initial courting process, because the women who appreciate a good sarcastic banter will respond very favorable to any guy able to keep up with their own sarcastic quips, while the women who are turned off by sarcastic jokes will very quickly show you how they are not amused by your highbrow wit-lite ramblings.

Let me say from the onset that I’m not bashing sarcasm here—sarcasm is great people in my book (I can attest that some of my best friends are practically verbally drenched in nothing but sarcasm…also desperation and self-loathing, but sarcasm is a large ingredient in their person-stew, too).  My main problem with it is that a lot of people seem to think that simply saying something in a sarcastic tone ought to be treated on par with making a witty comment, seemingly unaware that it is not the sarcasm that makes a comment witty; it’s how clever and salient said comment is to the situation it is speaking on.

I’m sure we all know at least one person who has unwittingly fallen into this trapping, but for a notoriously bad offender think no farther than Dennis Miller’s stand-up routines in the 90s, where in addition to pointlessly disjointed similes, a la “Man this whole impeachment issue is becoming a sticker mess for Bill Clinton than Rutherford B. Hayes’ sauna sessions, daddio!  Amirite folks? Har har har” [note: not real Dennis Miller quote, but can you honestly tell the difference?], he often relied on simply saying something in a sarcastic tone to give the implication that a witty comment had been made, hoping it could carry the point home for him.  It hadn’t, and it couldn’t.  As is the case for all things sarcasm-sans-wit related (and all things Dennis Miller related, for that matter), it’s essentially where the desperate nugget of any relevant point goes to die.

On a related note, think about all the times you have been in a situation where you made a suggestion regarding a course of action, only to get a response of, “Oh yeah, that’ll work reeeeeeal great, I’m sure of it.”  Accompanied with an eye-roll, and a few air-quotes thrown in to truly carry the point home.  While we all can recognize this as being far from anything resembling wit, I would even hesitate to deem it worthy enough of being called mere sarcasm.  It much closer to what I would refer to as “Douchebag Cynicism”.  Which is academically defined as, any and every action or comment made to identify and amplify one’s irredeemable douchebaggery poorly masquerading for cleverness.  It’s a noun.

Really, my only point in this whole rant of a post is that if you feel the urge to be sarcastic, put a bit more thought into it besides just adding a mocking inflection to your voice—try to actually have something noteworthy and clever to contribute to the conversation.  Also, always strive not to be a douchebag cynic.  Though that last bit is wisdom that can probably apply to most areas of one’s life.

Modern Dating in a Nutshell…

We meet before seeing each other.

We talk before speaking a word.

We keep it casual, lest we look desperate.

We get desperate, signaling the end.

We value communication, but mind what we say.

To call is too forward, best not try it too soon.

Can’t text too often; don’t text too seldom.

Experience matters, but don’t shame aloud.

We complain about all the rules, but we judge if they’re not followed.

We lose interest and blame the other, before blaming ourselves.

We complain some more, lamenting our follies.

We go repeat the steps, knowing it will be different every time.

 

Lies We Tell Teenagers…and Ourselves

I spend a lot of time with teenagers.  Wait, that sounds possibly incriminating.  What I mean is, I spent a lot of time watching teenagers…Damn it!  That sounds much worse.  Okay, my time spent volunteering as a tutor with struggling middle school students places me in a position from wherein I can observe the day-to-day behavior of a large group of teenagers better than most adults.  (Yeah, that sounds sufficiently neutral and creepy-free).

And in my time with the up-and-coming minds of tomorrow, I have noticed that a lot of teens easily buy into a lot of fabrications we adults tell them to ease their pubescent angst; with some lies being more innocent than others.

Lie:  Acne clears up on its own with time.

  • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!…No, just no.  Now, if you have like one or two zits on your face all throughout your adolescents, then sure, it’ll probably clear up.  But if you have a face with a noticeable amount of acne, getting some Neutrogena products now would be a wise investment for the future.

Lie:  Bullies will get what’s coming to them once they enter the real world.

  • Although it would make us all feel great to know how the asshole who used to tease us relentlessly in gym class is doomed to spent a lifetime performing degrading tasks in low-paying jobs, the truth is that in a lot of situations today’s bullies end up being tomorrow’s corporate leaders.  The reason being that the job sector often equates aggressive personalities with competence, so there is a reasonable chance that the sort of guy who used to bully you, will be the sort of guy who will be your boss one day (which goes to explain why so many of our employers come across as such douchebags all the time).

Lie:  To achieve, you just need to believe.

  • Believe what, exactly?  That you have the talent to make it in your chosen interests?  Sure, I can see that as an important factor, but it’s hardly ever the definitive ingredient to get you to your goal.  More than believing in yourself, you will need to know people.  Without proper connections you won’t go far in what ever it is you’re aiming to do.  But with the need to acquire connections, also comes the need to flatter said important connections.  In short, you have to be a bit of a kiss-ass politician, ready to adjust your views and positions to endear your possible contributors to your side.  Which also refutes another popular fib claiming that a person “must always stay true to her/himself”, with the missing qualifier being: except if you want to climb as high as possible on that social ladder).

Lie:  Wisdom comes with age.

  • Absolutely.  But so does senility, dementia, and an over-hyped feeling of self-righteousness.  Yes, I know a great deal of elderly people who are brilliant, knowledgeable, and insightful.  But by all accounts I have been given, they appear to have possessed all of those positive qualities as much in their 30s, as they do in their 60s, and 70s.  On the flip side, I have also known (as I’m sure all of you reading have, too) quite a lot of elderly people who were racist, ignorant, and hysterically paranoid about the world.  And, yes, I imagine they were all these things in their youths as well, but age hasn’t made them any wiser, it just seems to have amplified all of their bad personality quirks.  The simple truth is that organs decay with time; your brain being an organ, will eventually start decaying, taking your mind with it.  Age, by definition, is not a remedy to this dilemma.

I’m sure there are plenty of more examples of lies we tell teenagers out there (and if you have any good ones I would be more that happy to read them), but I think that I made my point.  And to any teenagers reading this, let me just say–in the spirit of honestly–that we adults lie to ourselves when we say that the reason we deceive you is to ease the social pressures you’re going through.  The greater reason is that we lie as a means of getting you to shut up about your problems (because shit if we know how you’re supposed to solve any of them).  But to make it up to you, hear is a picture of a cute koala bear.

Sober Without a Cause: The Perils of Remaining Social, Sans Booze

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Are you enjoying the party?”

“Oh, yes.  Thanks for inviting me.”

“Sure.  I can see your glass is almost empty, do you want me to refill it for you?”

“Yeah, sure.  Thanks.”

“Cool.  What would you like?  Beer?  Wine?  Maybe some gin, if you’re feeling spirited?”

“[Laughs] No thanks.  Just some more ginger ale would be fine.”

“Ginger ale?  Are you sure?  We’ve got plenty of great wine to go around.”

“Well, the thing is, I don’t drink.”

“Really?”

“Yup.”

“Wow, don’t drink, huh?  To be honest, I’ve never been in this situation before.”

“Well, it’s not much of a situation.  It’s no big deal, really.”

“Is it like a religious thing?  Are you a Mormon, or something?”

“Um…I actually don’t…”

“Not that there is anything wrong with being Mormon, of course.”

“No, of course not.  But…”

“I’m completely respectful of all people, from all backgrounds, and I want you to feel welcome in my home to express yourself and your beliefs.”

“No, I’m sure you are.  I feel very welcome to express myself, but I’m not…”

“Great.  Now, I’ll go get your ginger ale, while you mingle with the other guest.  And don’t you let them banter you for your beliefs.”

“Yeah, that shouldn’t be a problem.”

 

“Hi there, haven’t met you yet.  How you doing?  Great party, right?”

“Yeah, absolutely.”

“I see you don’t have a drink.  What happened?  The other guest clear the bar already?  [Laughs]”

“Funny, but actually, I don’t drink.”

“Ah, I see, say no more.  I myself have been down that road, the important thing is that you are taking the steps to recovery, and that’s something to be proud of.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“Look, I know being a recovering alcoholic is hard.  But it’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

“No, don’t you worry a thing about it.  In fact, you’re better of for it.  You have tasted the highs and lows that come along with booze, and now that you’ve had your fill, you can happily move on to a life of sobriety.  And, hey, at least you’re not like one of those freaks who has never enjoyed the nectar of a good brandy, right?  Can you imagine how boring those guys end up?”

“I think I have a pretty good idea.”

“My friend, what we got is experience in the real world.  Tell me, what good do you think a life is free of feeling oneself hitting rock bottom, several times over.  It’s like never knowing what it’s like falling off your bike.  Or being picked on by the other kids.  Or…”

“Getting repeatedly drawn into awkward conversations.”

“Yeah, exactly.”

“Where people, who don’t know you, keep making unfounded generalizations about you, based on the one trivial piece of information that you passingly mentioned.  All because it might be something irrelevantly dissimilar to what they have come to expect.  I mean, why bother asking for clarification when you can just fill in the blanks on a whim.  Heck, let’s forgo conversation entirely, because what anybody really wants is a sounding board to echo back all of their preconceived notions about people.  Right?”

“Yeah, I guess.  To be honest, I’m kind of buzzed here.”

 

“There you are.  I got your ginger ale for you.”

“Thank you.”

“I wasn’t sure if there is any sort of special way, or ritual, you need your drink prepared.”

“Well, aren’t you considerate of other people’s thoughts.”

“Thanks.  Now, you’re also welcome to say a prayer if you like.  I promise not to judge.”

“Thanks, and thanks for the ale, but how about you just go fuck yourself now.  Bye.”

Four Movies That Bored Me to Tears, But Almost Everyone Else Thinks are Awesome

Three years ago, I finally got around to seeing a movie called Prometheus, because I was tired of every-freaking-person I know constantly telling how, “This movie will blow your mind, man.  If you don’t see it, and you don’t like, you’re officially too stupid to function.”  Well, I saw it, and I guess I’m “officially too stupid to function.”  I found the movie to be visually appealing, and the acting was much better than I expected it would be.  But, overall, I didn’t think much of it.  Yes, I got all the “nuanced” intricacies about the frailty of human existence and the endless search to find meaning in life, etc., etc., etc (so please spare me the 2000 word email, philosophizing to me about how I must not have truly “gotten” the plot because I don’t love the movie as much as you do).  When I saw the movie everyone from my old college roommate to my own mother bombarded me with why I’m wrong not to appreciate the stupendous beauty of it all.  All of this is strange to me because when it comes to movies I’m a firm believer that brilliance is in the eyes of the individual viewer.  You and I can watch the same movie, and leave the theater with completely different perceptions about what we just saw; neither one of us is wrong and neither one of us is right about whether or not we personally connect with a film–it either hits us intellectually and/or emotionally, or it doesn’t.  Thus, I’m more than willing to agree to disagree with anyone whose opinion differs with mine on this Prometheus movie, or any other movie I may have enjoyed/disliked in the past.  However, I’ve noticed that a lot of people simply cannot let it go if someone doesn’t enjoy their favorite film as much as they do; therefore, they must convince you about how awesome their favorites are, or shun/ridicule you for your inability to appreciate the “great nuances” of the mindful plot they are so keen on.

This post isn’t going to be a review on Prometheus.  Instead I want to briefly list and discuss four movies that most people I have met are willing to get in fistfights about if I so much as dare to share my lack of enthusiasm for them.  If you are a semi-regular movie watcher you have probably heard of these films, and if I say something that offends you, remember that this is just my take on the matter, and not meant to be an absolute verdict on anything.  Ready?  Okay, let’s start in reverse:

4. Napoleon Dynamite (2004):  The fan following this movie developed early on in its release amazing me to no end.  It was quoted everywhere, by everyone.  People had “Vote for Pedro” shirts within weeks of its first showing; not to mention, the dance scene was reenacted by more random people in my acquaintance than I’m willing to admit.  Personally, the movie bored me.  I know it was meant to be quirky, and kind of dopey, and I can definitely understand how this adds to the charm for those who enjoyed it.  But it bored me.  In the end, I left the theater convinced that Napoleon wasn’t socially ostracized by his peers because he was nerdy, but because he was kind of an asshole.  And I find it hard to sympathize with a protagonist whose well-being I don’t give a shit about.

No matter how devilishly fashionable the particular jerk happens to be.
No matter how devilishly fashionable the particular jerk happens to be.

3. From Duck Till Dawn (1996):  Oh. My. Gawd!–People love this movie.  At least, people who have lived/interacted somewhere within my general vicinity.  I don’t know if it’s because Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney are in it, or because Robert Rodriquez has somewhat of a cult following amongst movie fans, but everyone has been preaching to me about the brilliance of this movie since the 7th grade.  Like I said before, I get it.  It’s witty in many places, and the action scenes are original for its time (especially the scene with the crotch-gun).  Also, the fact that it’s supposed to be a bit corny didn’t elude me either.  Yet, there is a point at which corny because silly, which in turn because stupid.  Three-quarters of the time the human survivors were stuck in that bar (after the initial vampire attack/brawl), I found myself thinking, “WTF is the point of this scene right here?”  [Like the part where, after being attacked by a horde of vampires, and finding themselves having to fight an entourage of newly made vampires, and being possibly surrounded by another innumerable horde of vampires outside, the character Frost starts reciting an overly dramatic war story from the Vietnam War that the other characters just can’t help but calmly listen to, becoming oblivious to the dangers of their surroundings.  If I was there I would have slapped that guy’s face in the middle of his story and stated, “There are fucking vampires around us.  I don’t give a shit about what you did in motherfucking Vietnam.  Now, grab something sturdy and help me board up the windows & doors, jerk.”  But that’s just me.]

The crotch-gun was still pretty awesome though
The crotch-gun was still pretty awesome though.

2.  Scarface (1983):  Arguably one of Al Pacino’s most memorable roles, the criticism this movie usually gets stems from its excessive depiction of violence, drugs, and profane language (which is, ironically, also the primary reason why so many people enjoy the film).  I couldn’t care less about any of that, and would personally never discount a movie just because it made use of some colorful material.  My problems with the movie is the pacing, the sloppy editing, and the beyond belief feats performed by the characters in what is supposed to be an otherwise reality-based movie (I mean, come on, how much cocaine can Tony Montana snort without passing out?  How many bullets can he take without at least tipping over?).  Nevertheless, I found myself in an awkward spot when this movie comes up in casual company, because I do see value in it.  I enjoy watching Al Pacino be Al Pacino, but with a Cuban accent.  But I have to be honest that it isn’t as great to me as it probably is to you.  A simple statement that’s usually more than enough to arouse the content of any suburban gangsta within earshot.

scarf

1.  Deliverance (1972):  This movie is ranked as one of the top achievements in American cinema.  In 2008, it was even selected for preservation by the American Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”  My indifference to this movie has been suggested as the ultimate proof of my ineptitude in casting any opinion on movies whatsoever (possibly a worthwhile thing for the readers of this post to consider when evaluating my opinion here).  Let me first start off by saying, no, I am not offended by this movie because of its depiction of Southerners.  I am unimpressed by this movie because it nearly bored me to death when everybody promised it would be, “the most horrifically thrilling film in existence.”  I wasn’t.  In fact, I found it to be pretty tame–allow me to explain, before you condemn my philistine judgment.  When I first saw this movie I was about nine years old, and I fell asleep before the character Drew died on the canoe (belated spoiler alert).  Years later, I decided to give it another shot, convinced that my initial apathy was caused by my prepubescent brain being unable to fully appreciate all the subtle “nuances” (there is that word again.  I just hate that word so much) of the plot.  Yeah, well, I was left bored again.  Only this time I couldn’t blame youth or anything else.  Although I could appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the setting, I’m someone who cannot be swayed into liking a movie because it has pretty trees or a mesmerizing lake in the scenery; the plot and the characters matter to me.  The problem here is that for this movie, they didn’t.  The movie was slow, but not in a way that focused my attention further into the details of the plot.  The dialogue didn’t make me ponder anything deep, despite the annoyingly constant attempt by the script to throw armchair philosophy at me ad nauseum.  The characters weren’t as engaging as I would have liked.  Moreover, nothing [absolutely nothing] in the movie caused even the slightest bit of terror or unease or disturbance within me.  And yes, I’m aware there is a suggested male-male rape scene; no, it didn’t even cause me to flinch in horror for a second (by than I guess I was too comatose from boredom to care).  For 109 minutes, I was just bored.  I’m willing to accept that the problem is with me, and not the film, but I cannot pretend to have liked something I didn’t.  If you disagree, then we disagree.

One thing we can all agree on is that this kid didn’t get nearly enough screen time to warrant his popular association with this film.
One thing we can all agree on is that this kid didn’t get nearly enough screen time to warrant his popular association with this film.

 

I should mention that the above movies are not, in my opinion, the worst movies ever made.  They are simply a list of movies I didn’t like and appreciate as much as most people I’ve met in my life have.  Trust me, if I was to make a list of movies I genuinely hated, these four wouldn’t even crack the top 10 (except maybe for From Dusk Till Dawn, that scene with the Vietnam Vet really pissed me off).

Taking a Plunge into the Male Mind

If you’re a woman, there is a decent chance that you have at least one completely platonic male friend, whom you use to probe as much information out off about the inner workings of the masculine psyche.  If you’re a guy, chances are that at least one of your platonic female friends has tried to probe you for information on how men think, or how men react to different things concerning their interactions with women.  For socially outgoing people, with a wide network of friends, the development of this dynamic is almost unavoidable.  So much so, that even for us men who are essentially borderline asocial hermits, we will (by some unexplainable means or another) know at least one woman in our small group of contacts who fits the description above.

I, too, have one such female friend.  We don’t actually talk much, but every once in a while I will receive an email, linking me to an article or story (usually authored by some perplexed young/youngish woman), trying to piece together the various factors that make up the heterosexual male mind.  And she always does this with the addendum of wanting my “honest thoughts” on the matter.  What I’ve learned from these exchanges is that there is apparently an entire market niche of educated, financially stable women, writing magazine articles and books trying to dissect how we men think as a gender (always in relation to our interactions with women), usually with the conclusion reached being (IMO) something between “too obvious to need be stated” and “there is no fucking way that any guy would react that way, ever. ” [I’m sure there must also be a market niche of books and magazines for men to better understand the female mind, but being an insensitive, unemotional male, I simply couldn’t be bothered to look into it, goddammit!]

Anyway, so my friend sends me an email titled “Things That Turn Men Off,” eager to hear my thoughts on the listed items.  I figure why keep such important information private, and that women are really reading these things to better understand the male mind, maybe they’d prefer to hear an unfiltered version of what an average guy has to say on the topic (Yes, in this scenario I qualify as the average guy, so I don’t want to hear any lip ’bout it).

The “turn offs” listed below are supposedly collected statements from men about what turned them off most about women (I should note that only the first two are listed in their respective order as they appear in the original list, the rest are my rankings by hilarity).

1.  “A women should always keep the bathroom door closed when she’s on the toilet.  I think it’s really disgusting to watch a woman on the toilet.  And don’t leave feminine pads and stuff around for the guy to look at, either.”

I’m already confused.  Is there some sort of trend or epidemic happening amongst women that compels them to take a crap with the bathroom door open?  I assume so, otherwise why on earth is this listed as the number one turn off?  That issue aside, the second part of the statement is just plain silly.  Look dude, pads and tampons aren’t going to kill you.  Yes, they’ve been in her vagina.  But so have you.  They haven’t touched anything you haven’t, is my point here.  And since your first-hand encounter wasn’t enough to turn you off, I don’t see how inanimate items could, especially if they still haven’t even been taken out of the packaging yet.  Stop being such a wuss about the whole thing, is what I’m essentially trying to say.

2.  “Jealousy is always a major turn off.  One time, my girl and I were out for a walk, then a long-haired blond walked past us.  She immediately accused me of staring at the blond.  Even though it turned out to be a guy.”

Yes, but were you staring or not?  (You’re avoiding the question, sir.)  Jealousy is annoying when it starts to feel like you’re being constantly put on trial over trivial things.  However, seeing our girlfriends get a bit jealous every once in a while (because we’re such hot studs that other girls can’t help but check us out), can also be a huge ego-boost.  [I assume plenty of women feel similarly about seeing their partners get just a bit jealous every now and then over their desirability to other men.]  So, I guess, the only part I would take issue with here is the absolutist usage of “always,” when there are obvious exceptions to be raised.

3. “I don’t like women who don’t have a job.  Or bad credit.  Or a crazy ex-boyfriend.  I like a women who is responsible.”

In what way does this stream of non sequiturs constitute one solid turn-off?  As to the points raised, let me ask you this Mr. Responsibility: what if the women can’t find a job on account of the poor economic trends that have been prevalent for the last decade, and as a means of increasing her employability she took out student loans in order to afford college, which incidentally put her in dept and hurt her credit score to the point that she was forced to remain in a bad relationship in lieu of her dire financial situation–and she is now picking up the pieces of her life and trying to move forward only to be slighted at every turn by people who dismiss her worth as a human being due to her past life grievances?  Why, in that context, you just look like an judgmentally shallow prick, don’t you?  I’m sorry, but I cannot accept the notion that most men (or people, in general) wouldn’t exercise a bit more nuanced thinking in this situation.

4. “I don’t like being humiliated in public.  If I said something wrong, you should tell me in private.”

But then how will you learn not to say stupid shit in public?  For instance, if you said something absurdly ridiculous, you’re not just embarrassing yourself, you are potentially embarrassing everybody who associates with you–especially the person that’s sleeping with you.  Don’t say stupid things, and you won’t get called out on it.  Or make a habit of reserving your intellectual gaffes to private conversations.  [That goes for you too, ladiesDon’t demand a guy to go along with a bullshit position you’ve taken if it’s demonstratively silly.  Accept the ridicule and move on.]

5. “My fear is that after marriage a women will cut off all her hair, gain weight, and stop putting out.”

That’s not a turn-off, it’s a preemptive marriage-phobia, easily cured through a dedication to lifelong bachelorhood.  People age, things change (physically and by order of priorities); you will age, you will change (physically and by order of priorities).  The only way to avoid having to go through this while being legally bound to another person, is to simply refuse to take the matrimonial plunge altogether.  It’s the 21st Century, no one will question your manhood for it (well, no one but your parents…and all your married friends.  But they’re all just jealous of the fact that you still get to be a free gazelle, lazily grazing on the fields as much as your heart desires.  Yup, that’s what it is).

6. “I don’t like it when the furniture keeps getting rearranged…”

I don’t even need to read the rest of it, because I finally found something I’m 100% in agreement with.  If it’s my shit, located in my home (which we don’t share), then please be so kind as to not mess with it.  I don’t care what it is, it ain’t yours to move in any way, shape, or form.  You want to give home decorating tips for my house, start paying my bills and we’ll talk; until then, mind your own damn business about my property.  [Are my past experiences leaking through on this one too much?]

There were more turn-offs listed (a total of 15!), but since many of them seem to be bringing up the same points over and over, I might as well end on a statement I actually agreed with. I did get something out of this list though.  We men are petty, we fear change, and sometimes have commitment issues; I get that.  But that’s no need to beat us over the head with it by compiling a whole list showcasing it.  In fact, doing that is kind of a turn off.

Job Interviews: Plainly Simple, or Just Plain Stupid

Is it just me, or does anyone who has ever been to a job interview think that the person doing the interviewing asks the stupidest questions imaginable.  By far the dumbest thing that comes up in every job interview (in my experience) is the question, “Why do you want to work here?”

When this happens most of us will smile and mumble on about how much we respect the company/business/field/whatever and how much potential we see in the employer, and how we wish to contribute even a small part to the blah, blah, blah.

What most of us really want to say to the question, Why do you want to work here?, is much simpler:  “Money.  I want money.  I want you to give me a paycheck on a regular basis so that I can afford to pay my bills, and feed myself, and otherwise survive in modern society.  I couldn’t care less about this place, or its success, as long as it in no way impedes on my ability to earn a leaving, this entire industry can just be scrapping by for the next 50 years with no prospect for growth.  What I want is to get paid, and I’ll do the job for it because I have to.  Think of me as a sexless prostitute, if you will.  But you know that already.  You must know that!  You spend all day, every day interviewing people who give you the exact same insincere, pre-prepared response they found while searching Google for ‘interviewing tips’ the night before.  Heck, you were in the same place, for every job you’ve ever had in the past, so cut the crap and stop wasting my time with this nonsense.  You have my freaking resume, you have my freaking credentials.  You have all you need to know to make an informed opinion about whether or not I qualify for this job.  If I do, great, give it to me and I’ll start earning my salary.  If I don’t, thanks for your time and let me be on my way.  And what is with this whole second and third interview shit?  I said all I have to say in the first interview.  My answers to your vague, overly simplistic questions will not change the second or third time.  There are only so many ways we can say the same thing over and over again before we run out of words.  Believe it or not, there actually is a limit to the amount of bullshit the English language can be spun into over the course of a 30 minute conversation.  You’re smothering me, man, you’re smothering me!  The main goal of any job is to earn money, otherwise we’re just slave labor.  And I’d rather be a prostitute for the job market, than a slave.  Got it?  Good, now let’s talk benefits, shall we?”

I will pillage, conquer, and surrender a kingdom* to any person out there who is willing to say give this response to a really annoying job interview question.

All right then.  /Rant over.

 

*Timeline to claim pillaged, conquered, and surrendered kingdom falls to the discretion of the pillaging, conquering, and surrendering party.  Terms and conditions are amendable at said party’s whim and interest.  No refunds or evidence of the existence or plausibility of a kingdom’s pillaging, conquering, surrendering will be issued prior to melodramatic outburst.  All rights reserved.

Treatise on Profanity

I like profanity.  I like how it adapts to whichever situation the speaker wants to thrust it in.  I like how it effortlessly fluctuates from endearment to abuse.  And I love how, once spoken, the reaction reveals more about the listener than the speaker.

Like any mode of expression, profanity is codependent on the speaker and the listener to add context to its message.  If worn-out ad nauseum, the profanity becomes stale, bland, and too normalized for heterodox consumption.  However, if used with tact, distributed with a precise attention to detail, it can have the impact of elevating even the dullest of conversation to a respectable level of fringe rebelliousness.  But here too, one must proceed cautiously.

The most beautiful part of profanity is its apparent authenticity.  If it comes across too calculated, too forced, the effect is ruined, and worse still, the disgust will come to be associated with profanity itself rather than the failure of the speaker to profane properly.  Essentially, profanity must be mindful, but not overly so.  It must resonate with the audience–good or bad–without drowning them in a sea of senseless rabble.

When it comes to the listeners (or maybe I should say responders) to the profanity being spoken, often the reaction is one of self-righteous disgust at the words.  In this circumstance, no effort is given to understand the context in which the words are spoken, let alone to appreciate the emotive experience it produces.

Are you offended by profanity?  That’s good.  Now, aim to dig deeper and understand the power the words have over you.  If you are offended or made uncomfortable by a profane word (or profanity in general), resist the urge to either apologize for your initial feelings (they are involuntary after all) or to demand an apology from the speaker to sooth your offense.  Instead, try to appreciate the great depth of emotions these so-called vulgarities have forced you to confront.  That power alone is why profanity deserves better than to be dismissed as too lowbrow for intellectual discourse.  Why it deserves an honored place in literary/cultural discussion.  If anything, to ignore that which challenges our most base values and senses, evokes so much heated passion from us, would be all that much worse for intellectual discourse.

Fucking A!

Valentine’s Day Letter to the Sweetest of All Things

Dear Chocolate,

Once again the day of the year has come on which you above all things will be bestowed all the attention and devotion you could possibly crave, as love-laden valentines seek you out in hope that your delicate texture and rich aroma will make them more carnally appealing to their significant others.  A wise move on their part, for what tooth could resist your toothsome sweetness, and what ninny would nay-say your nectarous nourishment; so redolent in your luscious tastiness, that there surely exists no buckle, undergarment, or chastity belt on earth, heaven, or the ether whose bindings could not be loosened by your candy-coated goodness.  All this I know and understand.

Nevertheless, amidst your annual foray in the peripherals of the smitten masses, do not forget who it is that seeks your company to sooth their weary hearts for the other 364 days of the year.  Those of us who crave you not as an ends to a fudging means, but to fill the lonesome hole in their lives through that sugary-wanting hole in our faces.  We who expect nothing of you, other than to satisfy our “meal-for-one” ordered dessert.  Sure, occasionally we might unduly snap at you, and possibly still blame you for that time we failed to impress the head cheerleader/quarterback of the football team with what should have been our amazing track running skills, but we always come back, don’t we?  Thereby, while you enjoy the attention reserved for you on this day, do not forget, dear Chocolate, that no matter what, at the end of the day, you are as you have always been, and shall always remain:  a Single’s treat.

Sweetly yours,

SS

Happy Valentine’s Day

keep-calm-and-keep-loving-chocolate

The 8 Ghastly Phases of a Philosophy Major

The Intro Phase:  First Semester

  • This is where it all begins.  Four years from now you’ll be able to argue the Rousseaus from the Hobbeses like circumspection from circumcision, but right now you are just getting your feet wet with Basics of Philosophy and Philosophical Writings.  You learn what an argument is without ever actually being asked to make one.  The professor will be a young, grad school student (read: barely employable), reciting the lecture verbatim from a notebook he made between his routine morning coffee binge and his 8:00 am seminar on “Why determinism is futile, and why we should care?” (The answer is we shouldn’t).
  • You are the only philosophy major in the class; everybody else sitting around you will be there for that easy Humanities/Elective credit.  They will spend all semester questioning your good senses for choosing philosophy as your career track, but it won’t bother you because you spent that afternoon orientation carefully reading that brochure assuring you that philosophy is, “a much admired and valued degree in various professions.”  Your future is limitless, you’ll think, in all these “various professions” (read: teacher).
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  This phase is nothing but idle tripe, nonetheless, whatever you do, do not grow a handlebar moustache.

 Ethics Phase:  Second Semester

  • The last semester of your first year as a prospective philosopher, and the topic now is Ethics.  You finally get to apply all the things you’ve learned about arguments to actually make one of your own.  The problem is that unlike last semester, here everybody is striving to get that sweet, sweet philosopher status; also they all have beards.  Following along with their construction of an argument is like listening to Aristotle, being discussed by Aristotle, in ancient Greek.  You’ll be lucky if you can make one coherent sentence all semester long.
  • The professor is a middle-aged man, enthusiastic about teaching, because he never managed to do anything else with his degree (spoiler alert).  He will bring up interesting moral topics like abortion, and the holocaust, and watch with frustration as his students completely miss the point on everything he is trying to say; being greeted only with vague buzz words like “antecedent”, and “zeitgeist”, and if enough time is available, repeated non sequitur references to “cognito”, “ergo”, and “sum”, won’t be far off.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  Through Socrates’ self-sacrifice, we have achieved the zenith of Kant’s decrepit absolutism and Schopenhauer’s dreaded pessimism.  The conclusion:  A true philosopher can namedrop like a motherfucker!

Logic Phase:  Third Semester

  • The first semester of the second year will be unlike anything you have learned in the first.  For the time being, there will be no more words, no more names, just plain arguments like you have never seen before.  Literally, the arguments will be unrecognizable to you, as they will consist mostly of simple letters and symbols à la:
    • 1. ((C v D) ∙ (~C v ~D)) ∙ ((~C v ~D) → ~(D v E))
    • 2. ((C v D) v ~(C v E)) → ((~C v ~D) → ~C)
    • 3. ((D v E) → C) ∙ (~D v (D v E))
    • 4. (~D ∙ (~C v ~D))→(~D v E)→(~D→(~C→~E)))                  /~E
    • 5.  (C v D) ∙ (~C v ~D)               Simplification (Simp.) 1
    • 6.  ~C v ~D                              Simp. 5
    • 7.  C v D                                  Simp. 5
    • 8.  (~C v ~D) → ~ (D v E)          Simp. 1
    • 9.  (C v D) v ~ (C v E)                Addition (Add.) 7
    • 10. ~ (D v E)                            Modus Ponens (M.P.) 6, 8
    • 11. (~C v ~D) → ~C                  M.P. 2, 9
    • 12. ~C                                     M.P. 6, 11
    • 13. (D v E) → C                        Simp. 3
    • 14. ~D v (D v E)                        Simp. 3
    • 15. ~D                                     Disjunction Syllogism (D.S.) 14, 10
    • 16. ~D ∙ (~C v ~D)                    Conjunction (Conj.) 15, 6
    • 17. ~(D v E)→(~D→(~C→~E))  M.P. 4, 16
    • 18. ~D → (~C → ~E)               M.P. 10, 17
    • 19.  ~C → ~E                         M.P. 15, 18
    • 20. ~E                                    M.P. 12, 19
  • You have argued well, and proved your case in a clear and mathematically logical manner, the only challenge facing you in this semester is not dozing off and/or reconsidering your major, because let’s face the facts:  The best part about having a Liberal Arts major is the limited amount of math proficiency you are expected to master.  But having to spend fourteen weeks treating letters as numbers in place of formulating a grammatical syntax, will force you to conquer a beast you swore never to awaken in the first place.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  There are truths that are recognizable best by mediocre minds because they are most congenial to them; there are truths that have charm and seductive powers only for mediocre spirits; and there are faces for which no beard can fit as flatteringly as their frat brothers insist.  If you are not among the first two, then you are undoubtedly among the hairy-faced third.

Aesthetics Phase:  Fourth Semester

  • Having survived Symbolic Logic you’re going to be feeling pretty confident about yourself as a prospective philosopher.  So confident that you will feel the need to demonstrate your ability to people who will at best smile politely at your recitation of James Rachels, while inching further and further away from you, hoping to make it to an exit before they give in to the urge to cordially remind you how nobody present gives a flying fuck about what some guy they’ve never heard of has to say about anything.
  • You will throw yourself wholeheartedly into the course material, and make every effort to impress your gray-haired, thick-bearded professor with your advanced knowledge of argument deconstruction.  Your grade will be a B+, when you inquire as to why you did not receive an A, you will be met with inspiring advise of, “I dunno know, it was good, but it had no umpf.”  And if the writings of past thinkers are any indication, philosophy without “umpf” might as well be cat piss.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  Aesthetics…well…your verdict is as good as mine here.

Seminar Phase:  Fifth Semester

  • The Upper-division status has finally been reached, and because you have survived to year three as a philosophy major you will be rewarded with access to seminar courses.  The point of a seminar class is to expose philosophy majors to a graduate school environment of lively debate and philosophizing, but what it really does is expose male students to a shameful feeling of regret that had begun two semesters back when they realized they had joined the mother of all sausage fests, as the only three women present in class will be the two who are already dating (each other, that is), and the one who is thrilled enough by the call of philosophy to major in it herself but not confident enough to break her engagement to the pre-med senior whose career path doesn’t involve theorizing how the form of forms are not equivalent to, but indeed superior of, the form of the good.
  • Your first move will be to stand out by delivering an impressive comparison between Utilitarianism and Moral Relativism, only to be shot down by a discontent peer wearing a red/black El Che shirt.  Your attempt to counter by pointing out the objector’s hypocrisy of blending consumerism with an anti-consumerist Marxist will end in completely failure; making you an enemy for the semester who will stop at nothing to prove your arguments illogical, like a bespectacled, beret wearing Evil Spock from Philosopher’s Hades.
  • Also, you have three semesters left to go, and the patchy beard you have grown to fit in with the philosophy crowd is looking less and less appealing (not that it was ever appealing to anybody to begin with, looking like a dehydrated Chia Pet).
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  No one can tell the truly great how to live.  Now shave your face, you look like a complete tool.

Nihilist Phase:  Sixth Semester

  • The place where every philosopher ends up at one point or another, and the place which many never go passed either.  The writings of past thinkers are hereby irrelevant, the input of peers is dreadfully boring on a good day, and insufferable on a bad day (the latter being most days).  You no longer need to hear the arguments for this and that, because ultimately it’s all drivel.  Specks of wasted energy, in a universe devoid of meaning and purpose.  You will see no contradiction in proposing that you have it all figured out, while simultaneously asserting that there is nothing to figure out.  And you’ll mock the brainwashed sheep who point out the dilemma in your rationality as unenlightened fools.
  • Your professor will be some soft-spoken crank or another, or perhaps an unorthodox traditionalist; it doesn’t matter.  The important part is that he is a distraction to you.  Just another gear in the conformist automaton machine plant of standard issue relevance spouting conformist promoting ideologies bent on keeping up the noncontroversial image of society as a rose steamed garden of possibility and hope.  That’s right, in philosophy there are no stinkin’ commas.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  This is a phase for all and none.  If you have made it this far, then you go on and own that walrus styled fuzz, own it for all its worth.

Phase of Complex Diction Usage as Applicable to Thought Expression:  Seventh Semester

  • Once your cognitive processes have surpassed the volatile state of nihilistic solipsism, you will possess the mental prowess to ascend beyond self-despondency.  Such acclivity passed one’s preceding neophyte state of existence, will do fine in gradually disclosing the proper path of maneuvering against the strain of contend experienced hitherto.
  • As pertaining to the caricature one would assign towards the dispositional nature of the professorial order, the only satisfactory descriptive commentary that can be utilized is one of simplistic diction refraining itself from the temptation of convoluted jargon.  In short:  Elocution is the primary objective.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  The Grand Unifying Theory of Philosophy:  Everyone is wrong about everything, except me about this.

Epitaph Phase:  Last Semester

  • You’re last semester as a prospective philosophy undergrad will be one of great despair, as your realize that no academic field considers anything below a PhD in philosophy to be worth less than the quantifiers of monadic predicates [???].  Thus, you’ll spend the last semester left taking that final deontology class contemplating the next seven years you will be spending essentially repeating the last two years, while slowly but surely descending back to your previous stage of nihilism by graduation.  Happy teaching, Prof.  For it will be your life.
  • Semester’s Final Counsel:  Philosophy is Dead!