Friday, April 30, 2004

Four Months And Counting

So, we're four months into the grand experiment that is You Are Dumb Dot Net, and I've got to say, I'm pretty happy with it. Fifty three articles, a pretty wide array of topics, some new words coined, some obscure ones pulled out of mothballs, one defenestration chart, and a nifty T-Shirt that I'm the only owner of.
So, in honor of four solid months of insulting idiocy, and because it seems like this won't be the IMMEDIATE victim of my hyperattenuated, teen-of-the-80's, video game generation mayfly attention span, I am declaring May 1 to be the official Tell Someone About You Are Dumb Day.
It's easy to celebrate. Tomorrow, tell someone about You Are Dumb. Ideally, this someone will be someone who did not previously know about You Are Dumb. Ideally, this would be someone who would appreciate You Are Dumb. I mean, you COULD shoot an e-mail to Pat Robertson or David Strom, but they probably wouldn't visit.
And since this column will sit for the whole weekend while the people you tell stop by, I'll throw up some quick links to some of my personal favorite days for them to visit when they get here: Johnny HartAtkinsSuper Bowl Ad WhoresTerri CarlinSurprised PeopleDay 1 of the first and only THEME WEEKEntirely Hypothetical PeopleThe CloudThe SouthAltovis, and A Change Of Pace. You may notice some formatting issues with the Index and shorter articles; this is actually something we're working on.
And lest you think this is merely a cheap device to pimp the site and increase readership and get out of writing a Friday column, allow me to prove you wrong. Nothing is MERELY a cheap device at YAD. It's always a cheap device AND something more. So here's your something more.
Memo to Vincent Pastore: YOU ARE DUMB.
And you're a boor. A big, beefy boor. Fuck you, and fuck your agent, and fuck the producers of Iron Chef America for picking you as a judge, when you don't even have the cojones to eat a little raw fish.
You're on IRON CHEF, goddammit. Even if it is a slightly neutered American version. Even if Bobby Flay gets to be an Iron Chef. The whole point of the show is to create new and exciting dishes. You're being served a five course meal by a master chef on national television. Try to act like it. You are an actor, right? The Sopranos has won awards and stuff. So at least act like you want to be there.
You got shown up by PAIGE FUCKING DAVIS, for crissakes. There are primordial things clinging to the undersides of rocks that think Paige Davis is stupid and annoying, and you made her look like Julia Child had died and possessed her. If I were the Chairman, I'd have taken you around back after the show and direct-to-video-kickboxed the shit out of you. *
Let's hope the Iron Chef America producers have learned their lesson, and if it becomes a series, screen their judges better. What's next, Paul McCartney judging "Live Cow Slaughter Battle"? Maybe you could get three Christian Scientists on the panel for "Battle Bread Mold". Get Prince up there to help you judge your big holiday special. That sounds like a plan.
Or just, you know, make sure the celebrities you get to give your show some Hollywood cache know that they may have to eat organs they've never heard of out of animals they've never heard of prepared in ways they've never heard of, and if they have a problem with that, they can stay the fuck home.
* Notice - three full paragraphs on Vincent Pastore without making a single "Big Pussy" joke. This, for new readers, is part and parcel of the ever-changing, poorly defined You Are Dumb Dot Net Pledge Of Quality.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Fanboy Nerds

Well, people still appear to be pouring in from the John Haley column at 411, so the bit on Eugene you're looking for ran two days ago. If you like what you see, stick around, there'll be more of it. I have so much hate to share, and there's enough for everybody.
Like nerds. Fanboy nerds. Oh, the hate I have for fanboy nerds. I can hate them more because I understand them. I think we can all identify with a time in our lives when we were slavishly devoted to something unworthy; a TV show, a game, an actor, a series of movies... something that, while good, was not perfect, and really didn't deserve the kind of unconditional love and rabid defense against imagined threats that we would strive to provide.
But we get over it. We realize that while, say, "The Empire Strikes Back" may be a wonderful movie, Lucasfilm does not actually need me to do unpaid, undirected volunteer advocacy for them in order to keep George Lucas' supply of hookers and lobster going strong. And then we realize that the last 2.3 Star Wars movies were shit. And we realize that this doesn't mean we can't still love Empire in a filthy and unclean manner. The two states can coexist.
WE realize this, because WE are not emotionally stunted obsessives with a completely fucked set of priorities. WE are not fanboy nerds. THEY are, however, and they're some scary motherfuckers. Especially the Green Lantern ones.
Here's your official You Are Dumb backgrounder. Green Lantern. Superhero. Ordinary guy with magic ring. Ordinary guy was Alan Scott at first, then was Hal Jordan for a very very long time. Somewhere in that very very long time, the ordinary guy was also Guy Gardner and John Stewart *, but that's not important. Ten years ago, in some comic books, Hal Jordan went crazy, called himself Parallax, killed all the other ordinary blobs on all the other planets who had magic rings, and got knocked off himself. And then the ordinary guy was Kyle Rayner.
That's fine. I mean, it's dumb, but as THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE learned from the Eugene article, it's not particularly dumb within its own context, which is DC making money by retelling about half a dozen stories for about half a dozen decades. Until the fanboy nerds got involved. And when I say involved, I mean deeply, personally, pathologically involved. They formed HEAT.
"Hal's Emerald Advancement Team", as it's now known, is a group of fanboy nerds who have spent the past ten years very, very upset that DC took their favoritest fake person ever and made him turn naughty and kill people. I say "now known", because the original name was "Hal's Emerald Attack Team". They changed it in an attempt to improve their image. Their image had to be improved, you see, because the writer and editor of the new Green Lantern were receiving death threats.
Pause, for a moment, to absorb that.
Of course, that was ten years ago. So much can change about a person in ten years. We've rolled the odometer over into a new millennium. We're living in the future. We've learned from our mistakes. There's really no need for DC to make the ordinary guy "Hal Jordan" again, and if they decided to anyway, there can't be more than a couple of the original HEAT members who would even notice, right?
Well, we all know what happens when I ask a leading question like that, don't we? The news just broke that Hal Jordan was gonna be the dude with the ring again. Which is fine. What is NOT fine, is that on the talk-back message board at Newsarama where the story broke, people were talking about this so much that there would be two new pages of messages posted in the time it took me to read one page this morning. And I'm a REALLY FAST READER.
Hold on. Let me check my watch. I believe it's half-past ACTUAL QUOTE TIME! - "Daredevil Father comes out tomorrow, and I find out Hal's back today. There is a God." - "Now I can read Green Lantern Again!!!!!"." - "Halleluiah! praise the lord! our prayers have been answered!" - AND THE TOPPER - "This, probabaly, is the most single best news EVER!!!!!!! Finally, after all these years of suffering with that GL wannabe placeholder, we are getting the REAL GL back!!!! Excellent excellent news and here's a tissue for all you Kyle whiners who have to eat crow now. Onwards and upwards!"
These people have been nursing a grudge for a DECADE. How is it that, for ten years, someone can care so much about a guy in green underwear that they treat his return with religious fervor? Oh, right. They're fanboy nerds. Their inexplicable passions defy space, time, and enlightenment in much the same way that their clothes defy Tide, Clorox, and Febreze. Because they are DUMB.
* That's the guy on the Justice League cartoon, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

American Idolators

For those of you who clicked over from John Haley at 411Wrestling looking for the article on Eugene, it's yesterday's. You can even browse the archives if you like. I'll be nice and not make fun of them for getting the link to the site completely wrong.
For the rest of you, my loyal readers, who have been somewhat concerned that Wednesday would become a DUMBless void, fear not, because the goddamn American Idol thing has now grown to the size that it needs mentioning.
For the three of you that remain blissfully unaware, there is some controversy surrounding the fact that the (allegedly) most talented, and darker people on this season of American Idol are receiving fewer votes than the untalented, lighter-skinned hacks who are dominating the voting, and thus the whole American Idol process is corrupt.
Let's run by this again. There is CONTROVERSY over the fact that American Idol may not be rewarding pure talent because the American public is doing the voting. And there's even some talk that the American public might be racist, because of the six contestants, the three who got the low number of votes were minorities, and two of the top three were not minorities, and apparently some people don't think the minority in the top three is actually a minority. Other than being the only non-white in a group of three, which technically would make her a minority on a purely statistical basis.
Sure, I can understand people getting upset about someone losing on American Idol. I mean, for one thing, everything else is absolutely perfect in the world. Plus, as Clay Aiken has taught us, people who lose on American Idol with a correspondingly huge amount of press coverage will never realize their dreams of undeserved success and will end up living in a cardboard box holding a "Will Sing 'Unchained Melody' For Food" sign.
And now Elton John's gotta get in on the action, calling the results "incredibly racist". Elton was a guest celebrity judge on the show, which strikes me as odd. Not that you would want to have Elton John judging talent. That would be the obvious joke. No, my question is, why does a show whose results are determined by phone-in vote have JUDGES IN THE FIRST PLACE?! Maybe Elton's just feeling impotent.
ACTUAL QUOTE TIME! - "America, remember, you have to vote for the talent. You cannott let talent like this slip through the cracks." - Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol. Because if the American people lose faith in the validity of phone-in voting for reality shows, the very fabric of our democracy is at stake. And while we're here, does anyone have a copy of Ryan Seacrest's resume? A C.V.? Something scrawled on a napkin, perhaps? Really, I'm looking for anything that might describe in what way Ryan Seacrest is qualified to do... anything. 'Cause I can't seem to figure it out on my own.
You wanna know how stupid this whole thing is? It's so stupid, it's forcing me to REUSE A POPULAR FEATURE to adequately describe it. Yes, it's time for the Dumbness Defenestration Punishment Chart! Remember, the way this works is, you find which category you belong to. Then, follow the arrow to a floor of a five story building. The category you are in will complete the sentence: "You are so fucking dumb, you need to hurl yourself from a BLANKth story window to atone for your stupidity. Get cracking."

If anyone knows where you can get a used pneumatic cannon for under $1,000, please notify Mr. John through his management.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004


I had hoped this wouldn't be necessary.
We need to start today by discussing the relationship of context to DUMB. Context is important. Things and people are dumb or not dumb based upon their setting, and the expectations of that setting. Politics is a context, for example.
The context of politics is that of leading a nation of nearly 300 million people in a society divided by race, class, and ideology. Within that context, the inability to testify without your Dick at your right hand qualifies you as a Major Dipshit Moron, while in the everyday context of general life, this would only mark you as odd, or mentally incompetent, or just get you yelled at by the judge.
So context is important. And just as there are contexts that raise the bar, there are contexts that lower the bar. Contexts where the dumb is the norm, and something has to be very dumb indeed to qualify as DUMB within that context. Like pro wrestling.
Editor's Note: Since this web site is entitled You Are Dumb, and not Bryan Justifies His Tastes To A Nation Of Ungrateful Bastards, there will be no explanation whatsoever of how or why any of the knowledge about to be expounded upon was acquired. So can it.
Which brings us, in a somewhat roundabout way, to Eugene, and why I am forced to issue a memo to the individuals involved in the creation of Eugene informing them that even in their own Special Olympics, they're coming in dead last, and may not deserve a hug at the finish line.
Eugene is a wrestler. Well, technically, Nick Dinsmore is a wrestler. By all accounts, a hard-working wrestler who's spent more time in the minor leagues waiting to be called up than anybody. Nick finally got the call, the call to fame, fortune, and national TV.
There's just one catch. He'd have to play a character. Specifically, "Eugene Dinsmore", mentally handicapped nephew of the evil general manager. The evil GM has been forced through his family connections to sign his nephew to a contract even though Eugene has to take the short bus to the arenas. And the Evil GM has pawned Eugene off on William Regal, the snooty upper-class Brit, who gets to be Eugene's manager.
For those unfamiliar with wrestling, the above scenario is roughly equivalent to: "Congratulations! You won the lottery! The only bad news is, yesterday, they started making dollars out of PIG SHIT. Where should the dump truck park?"
In the three weeks since his debut, Eugene has not wrestled. He has, however, run around, stuck his hands in his mouth, yelled his name, licked an announcer, put headphones on his head incorrectly, stolen a T-Shirt Gun *, shot his Brit manager and a referee in the crotch with T-shirts, and accidentally set off fireworks.
This story has two parts. The above part is the "depressing" kind of DUMB. The shake your head, cover your eyes with your hand, weep for the death of the spirit and the soul kind of DUMB. The rest of the story is the more traditional twitchy foamy hating kind.
ACTUAL QUOTE TIME! - WWE intends to portray the character of Eugene as a hero, as are the many people with disabilities around the world (many of whom are WWE fans) who must everyday face challenges to live the type of life many of us take for granted. Eugene, despite his disability, will get a chance to achieve his dream of becoming a professional wrestler. We hope that Eugene's story will encourage other people with disabilities to strive to achieve their dreams, whatever they may be. - This is what they told people who complained.
Now, I've been to a couple of live wrestling shows. I've seen the fans. The racist, homophobic, smelly, greasy, singing-along-with-Creed fans. And you know what? The three toothless guys in the third row, the ones that think it's still "real"? Even they're not dumb enough to fall for that bullshit. I've cringed, fast-forwarded, and waited for three weeks for something, ANYTHING, to happen with the Eugene character that wasn't completely reprehensible, and I haven't seen it yet. So to the creative staff of WWE, know that you have achieved your dream. You've done something so dumb that even by the standards of pro wrestling, YOU ARE DUMB. 
* I don't follow real sports, so I have no idea if I need to explain a pneumatic cannon that launches free promotional T-shirts to a ravenous, laundry-deprived crowd or not. I'm explaining it just in case.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Memo to half of you: YOU ARE DUMB.
If you're not dumb, look to your left. Look to your right. If the new Harris poll is to be believed, one or both of those people is a fucking moron, and you need to slap them upside the head.
According to the poll, 51% of all Americans still believe there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq at the start of the latest war. Still. They asked back in February, and the numbers came out about the same. So I'd like to take this moment to address half of the nation.
You do know they haven't found them, right? Well, three fifths of you seem to. I don't even know where to begin with the 19% who actually think they've found evidence of WMD. I suppose it's possible one out of every five people in this country have a mental disorder where they remember, forever, the first five seconds of anything they hear, and forget everything else on that topic from that point forward, for the rest of their lives. It would explain the frequent discrepancy between What I Order and What I Get at fast food joints.
If that's not the case (and if it were, I'd think there'd be a doctor itching to name the malady), then I simply don't understand you people. I mean, even Bill O'Reilly had to choke back a big pile of crow of mass destruction. Did you not get the memo? Has nobody ever explained to you that when a person goes from saying "we know for a fact he has weapons" one year, and "we think he has weapons-related program activities" the next year (after actually looking for the things), that he was probably full of shit?
HALF. Just maddening. At least the 19% who are completely delusional have an excuse. The 32% who believe there were weapons, but don't believe we've found evidence after over a year... you people are just hopeless. You can take small comfort in the fact that there are more gullible people than you on the planet. Sure, they're all sending their life savings to Nigeria EVEN AS I TYPE THIS, but they exist.
It's just depressing to think that, of the two big lies of the Iraq War, "Saddam's Got WMD", and "Saddam's Working With Al Qaeda", one of them is still believed by half the country. It sure is a good thing that people have figured out that Al Qaeda thing, or I'd be really cranky.
Hm? What's that? The Harris Poll also found that 49% of Americans believe that we've found evidence for Saddam's support of Al Qaeda. Wow. Neat. Isn't polling grand? The way they can use statistical analysis and samples to paint a general picture of a broader population....
Just a second. I have to see if WebMD has an entry for "black, acidic bile fountaining from the nose, mouth, and eye sockets". Ah, yes. It does. They suggest I think happy thoughts, and if that doesn't work, lay down some tarps and buckets.
Polls like this never ask the followup questions I want them to ask. In this case, for example: "And what IS that evidence?" In fact, that question should be asked repeatedly. Getting louder each time. As you shake the subject's neck harder and harder. Until they either give you an answer, or admit that they have no idea what they're talking about. THAT'S polling for you.
And then, when 48 of those 49 percents admit they don't know what the evidence was, because THERE ISN'T ANY, we can ask the first question again, and maybe we wouldn't come up with numbers that make people's heads explode. Oh, sure, half of America would still be DUMB, but at least we'd be deluding ourselves about it for a change.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Desperation Dinners

Memo to Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross: YOU ARE DUMB.
Or you think we are. Or you know we are. Or your editor at United Features Syndicate is. Or some combination of all four. Maybe we could just have everyone involved in any way with the article I'm about to describe congregate in a meeting room of some kind. Or, even better, a small, secluded cabin in the woods. A nice, peaceful retreat. That explodes or collapses or something once everyone's inside.
Apparently, Mills and Ross are the masterminds behind "Desperation Dinners", some kind of regular column. And website. It provides "helpful" "tips" for "time-strapped" "families" who want to "eat" "together" in "healthy" and "flavorful" "ways" on a "budget". And their tips get syndicated, and get sent to newspapers, and get put up on newspapers' web pages, where I read them. And that's when my walls get peppered with brain meats and skull shrapnel.
Because I just read an entire thirteen-paragraph article explaining how families can have the convenience of convenience foods without the price. By making their own convenience foods at home. Which in and of itself is problematic, because if you're spending time and energy and dirtying dishes in order to make convenience foods, that pretty much eliminates the convenience and turns them into FOODS.
But then the article gets weird. I mean, I've been writing stuff, for pay and for free, for a long time. I learned how to pad and bullshit early in my academic career, and it's served me well ever since. Hell, the first three paragraphs of yesterday's YAD were, in some ways, the culmination of over two decades of practice in the fine art of Padding With Bullshit.
But not even in my most jaded moments would I have had the gall to produce something as vapid and space-filling as this convenience food article. In the padding world, I am a concrete floor, and this article is the forty stacked mattresses a princess sleeps on. SANS PEA.
The article provides DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS on how to create home versions of: pre-shredded cheese, baby carrots, pre-cut celery sticks, pre-separated broccoli florets, pre-sliced bell pepper strips, pre-chopped onions, pre-chopped ginger, and pre-sliced mushrooms. You may begin to see where this is going.
For every single one of these items, the instructions are to perform the action that turns them from an inconvenience food into a convenience food, then put the result into a plastic bag, then put that plastic bag into your refrigerator or freezer. ALL EIGHT. The only thing that isn't 100% obvious in the entire article is that baby carrots can be simulated by taking large carrots and cutting them until they are small. That's only 98% obvious.
This is worse than the ranch powder thing. Who is the target audience for these? How many people are out there thinking that elves use shrink-rays and magical slicing powers to take vegetables, separate them into their component parts, and place those parts in plastic bags picked from the magical petroleum tree? If you need to be told by the newspaper that to create bagged celery sticks, you first cut celery into sticks, then place the sticks in the bag, then you CANNOT BE HELPED, because you are probably using the newspaper to shit on.
These people have put out TWO COOKBOOKS. Probably with big fonts and wide margins to up the page count. I know that's what I did in high school when I didn't have jack shit to say. But then, my history class was somewhat different than the Desperation Dinners website. I could not get away, as they have, with an entire article that boils down to "SPICE BLENDS ARE DIFFERENT SPICES BLENDED TOGETHER. WOW!", or "SALAD COMES IN A BAG NOW, WOW, WE LIVE IN THE FUTURE!".
They have to be evil. They have to know. Because in my mind, the kind of person who could write "Grilling out? Check out the myriad of new rubs and other seasonings for steaks and chops. They usually contain black pepper with various other spices thrown in for good measure." with a straight face, yet NOT be a conscience-free, money-grubbing loafer out to scam the entire world, would try to eat the keyboard halfway through the third word.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


Memo to the Stanek-whiners: YOU ARE DUMB.
But first, some housekeeping. I skipped a day yesterday. Depending on how long you have been reading YAD, you may have found this strange or abnormal, but it's simply one of the side effects of the You Are Dumb Dot Net Pledge Of Internet Anger Quality, by which you, the reader, deserve a minimum standard of a half-assed column.
Unlike many Internet content providers, I understand the complex balancing act that comes from both wanting content that doesn't suck too, too badly, and the desire to read something, ANYTHING, you haven't read before instead of working. And that's why I promise you, my loyal readers, who stopped by multiple times yesterday to see if I'd managed to pull something out of my butt yet, that if I can't even half-ass 500 words of anger, profanity, and neologisms, then it's best for everyone that I just let it be. You deserve better. You deserve at least the bare minimum of motivation and effort that I can scrape up. I can only bitch about game reviews so many times before you all turn on me and set me on fire, after all.
And anyway, I skipped a Wednesday. Wednesday is New Onion Day. So it's not like you didn't have options.
With that out of the way, we turn to the delicate issue of the Stanek-whiners. Which, for non-Minnesotans and locals who don't follow the news, requires a bit of an explanation.
Rich Stanek was Gov. Pawlenty's choice to become Commissioner of Public Safety. Gov. Pawlenty, for those who may not know, is an asshole. Seriously. You all made fun of us for picking Jesse Ventura, but at least he was the kind of asshole you could respect. Pawlenty's just a classic "fuck all y'all" Modern Republican cronyist fuckwad. Jesse did a lot of stuff I didn't like, but there's no way in hell he'd be running around scraping up money for stadiums, attacking gay marriage, screwing over the poor... as much, and appointing racist cops.
Rich Stanek was a racist cop, you see. Twelve years ago, in a police brutality suit which alleged that Stanek beat the living hell out of a melatonin-rich individual who hit his car, Stanek gave a deposition. And in that deposition, he admitted to telling racist jokes and throwing the n-word around like it was confetti at the Macy's parade. Oh, and this was the second time he'd been sued for beating up someone he'd stopped for DWB.
So this came out. Again. And all the people who should have cared each of the FIVE TIMES he won elections to the state House and this came up finally got their act together, and it got some play in the media, and he resigned. And then the fucking whiners came out of the woodwork.
Biggest whiner of all, of course, was Pawlenty, who started off talking about how concerned he was, and how problematic this was, and the public trust, and how he just found out about this horrible thing when it hit big. A few days later, seeing the whining take hold, he changed his tone. He didn't accept the resignation of his racist cop because he was a racist cop, you see. It's just that people get so upset by racist cops that it would have been difficult for him to get confirmed by the legislature.
"He's changed." "That was 12 years ago." "Watch what you say!" "Political correctness ruining people's lives!" "Partisan warfare!" WHINERS. Stick a plunger in it. Stanek is not some kind of horrible victim here. He gets his old job back (although people are making a bit of a stink about that now, too, so who knows?) A guy who fails to secure a high-paid, high-profile government job merely he beat up a couple of black people and called them names in the 90's is not a CAUSE. This is a bit of karmic payback. You think the $55,000 needed to settle the two brutality suits came out of HIS pocket? No, it came out of the department budget. Which means it came out of OUR POCKETS. And then, for a decade, he got to help make the laws of the state.
Do you hear that? I believe it's an iPod Mini, taken to the lab from Fantastic Voyage, and shrunk down to the size of a red blood cell. And through the tiny, tiny headphones plugged into it, you can hear a low-bitrate MP3 file in which they recorded the world's smallest violin playing the saddest song in the universe. Poor Rich Stanek.
"He's changed." "That was a long time ago." "What about redemption?" Fuck that noise. Even if he's a completely changed man, he was a RACIST COP. On the big list of things that keep us from glorious Utopia, racist cops are easily in the top ten. Racist cops ruin lives permanently. It's taken TWELVE YEARS for this to catch up with Stanek, for him to finally start seeing some consequences, and you whining bastards think he should get a pass now, too? YOU ARE DUMB.

This Week In Video

Memo to Future Blockbuster Patrons: YOU ARE DUMB.
But that's OK. Because I'm here to help you. Yes, it's time for Yet Another New Feature. It's Tuesday, and that means a whole slew of new movies come out on DVD. The Anglophiles, Oscar-whores, and cineastes are already in line at Best Buy for their copies of The Office Season 2, Master And Commander, and the Ingmar Bergman collection, so they're set, but what about the masses? How will they know which of this week's asinine releases is best for them to rent this weekend? Ideally, they will turn to me, because I alone can help them.
For example. Say you've been living under a rock for the past ten years, and happened to be watching Access Hollywood, when you heard that John Travolta, who you thought did a lovely job in that Punisher movie you went to see this weekend, is a big fan of Dianetics. Now, you've never heard of Dianetics before, but you are feeling like you could lose a few pounds. Dianetics: A Visual Guidebook is for you! Just make sure you hurry, because if you don't, a strange man with a vacant stare and a copy of Battlefield Earth under his arm will buy all three copies from your Suncoast and you'll have to wait until next week to start your low-thetan routine.
Dilemma #2. You haven't had a date in three years. Your last four online conversations have mentioned that "women don't like nice guys". You desperately need to masturbate, but a storm has knocked out your broadband and you don't have the wherewithal or fortitude to rent real porn. HAVE NO FEAR. Wild Things (Unrated Edition) and the direct to video sequel, Wild Things 2 are now available! And nobody need ever know how long you pause on the Kevin Bacon full-frontal.
Many people cannot get enough of Tom Hanks. Many people long for a simpler time, when movies were about people hitting balls with bats, not people hitting each other in the balls with bats. And even though it's got that whore Madonna and that big lesbo Rosie O'Donnell in it, they're all modest and purtied up and like boys like they're supposed to in A League Of Their Own: Special Edition. Pop it into your Clearplay DVD player, sit back with some microwave popcorn, and for somewhere between 112 and 128 minutes depending on content filter settings, you can sit back and pretend that life has not passed you by.
For years, the entertainment industry has ignored the vital needs of masochistic narcoleptics in basement apartments without cable. But no longer! Now you can experience the same mediocrity the rest of us get to see two to three times a day in local strip syndication, thanks to The King Of Queens: Season One. Now you can free yourself from the tyranny of broadcast TV and enjoy moderately successful second-rate lesser-network sitcom stylings whenever you want. Ain't technology grand?
Has it been thirteen years since you've heard someone say the "F-word"? Think it's about time you heard it again? Then let me recommend Dice Rules!, the concert film that lets you relive those whimsical, care-free early 90's when filthy nursery rhymes got you on the cover of People magazine, along with four to six question marks.
And finally, what week wouldn't be complete without a lovely family film for people who aren't racist at all, yet still clutch their purses tightly and check their wallets whenever they're on an elevator with someone browner than they are. The Haunted Mansion is from Disney, after all, and now that Eddie Murphy has stopped wearing leather and picking up transsexual hookers and doing comedy routines about how his people wouldn't stay in a haunted house for more than about 20 seconds, you can watch him be scared of ghosts in a haunted house for 5,920 seconds longer. And he's funny, and he's on the TV, and he's not threatening at all. You may want to reserve a copy in advance!

Monday, April 19, 2004


Memo to Wired and music critics: YOU ARE DUMB.
I spent a lot of time last week poking fundies with a stick. Not too much time, of course, because I don't think there's such a thing as poking fundies with a stick too much. But a lot. So I'll try to lay off them this week, just for the sake of variety.
My task is made easier when people who should know better spout something so pretentious, so wanky, and simultaneously so clueless that it make my eyeballs boil with rage. And Wired came through in the clutch. Remember Wired? They've always been pretentious, but they used to at least be ahead of the curve. I distinctly remember reading in their pages about this new technique that would allow you to substitute words for domain names. This Universal Resource Locator, aka URL, aka the web addresses we've been using for years, got a short paragraph in one issue of Wired long before they became ubiquitous.
Now, Wired is a shadow of its former self, and their web version, Wired News, posted an article about a revolution, a revelation, a renaissance in the way people listen to music now. That innovation? SHUFFLE PLAY.
Yes, all of a sudden, music cognoscenti and critics are realizing that because of the shuffle play feature, when you play all the songs in your iPod or on your hard drive, you have NO IDEA what song is going to play next! Astonishing! I believe, even as I speak, that Arthur Conan Doyle is rising from his grave and, pen gripped in decaying hand, is penning a new story in which a legendary detective walks up to these people and utters the classic line of dialogue: "No shit, ME."
ACTUAL QUOTE TIME! ""I have seen the future, and it is called Shuffle." - Alex Ross, the guy who writes about music for the New Yorker, not the guy who dresses up his neighbors in superhero costumes, paints them, and wins awards. If that's "seeing the future", then I'm Nostradamus on steroids, 'cause I figured this shit out before I knew what a clitoris was.
"There is something thrilling about setting the player on Shuffle and letting it decide what to play next. The little machine often goes crashing through barriers of style in ways that change how I listen." - Ross again. What the FUCK?! I can only assume that, unable to find a new music writer, the New Yorker was forced, through occult science and necromancy, to imbue one of its old line-drawn cartoons, COMPLETE WITH OLD-TIMEY TOP HAT, to life. Who calls an iPod a "little machine"? Is Ross secretly channeling Thurston Howell III?
"Their music collection becomes a treasure trove full of hidden delights which the magic of the machine throws up at them. Some users feel that the machine intuitively understands them by giving them just the type of music they want to listen to when they want it." - the appropriately named Michael Bull, who lectures on media and culture at the U of Sussex. Since Bull fails to deride these people as superstitious morons, I can only assume that he's full of himself in at least two separate and distinct ways. Possibly three.
"This is a radically different way of encountering music and one I don't need to tell you is not possible in any other format." - Steve Bowbrick, columnist for the UK newspaper The Guardian, and a man I want to hit over and over again with a stick until he retracts this sentence.
And if that wasn't bad enough, Wired even managed to find an opposing viewpoint that was EVEN MORE PRETENTIOUS AND IDIOTIC. And they found it coming out of the cakehole of a marketing professor. Quelle surprise. "Personally, and I believe I speak for many old farts here, I appreciate listening to music, be it an opera or a pop album, in the sequence in which the artist decided to present it. Temporal order is an important element of how a work unfolds dynamically over time, an important factor underlying the aesthetic effect. Random shuffle pretty much flushes that down the toilet." - James Kellaris, University of Cincinnati. Kellaris then went on to explain the coherent, natural flow between "Who's Got My Back?" and "Signs", tracks three and four of Creed's 2001 album, "Weathered". That last bit may have just happened in my head. I'm not entirely sure.
When Rip Van Winkle* is telling you to wake up and get with the times, you are deeply out of touch and DUMB.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This joke would also work using "Robert Van Winkle".

Friday, April 16, 2004


If you've been on the Internet for any length of time, you've heard of Capalert. Capalert is a "Christian" site that reviews movies, past and present, entirely on their "moral" content. They're fun to laugh at, because of their quaint ways of referring to profanity ("fuck" is always called "the foulest of words", for example), and their patent overreactions to tame movies and utter horror at things like Kill Bill are always good for a chuckle. makes the Capalert folks look like Roger Ebert.
I found out about them because they've just released a very dubious "study" which basically says that none of the movies they hated made any money, so everyone must agree with them. Movies they hate are ones they consider "homosexual", "anti-capitalist", "feminist", "atheist", "humanist", and the usual list of things fundies get all cranky about.
Movieguide's a whole cottage industry. They've got a magazine and a book and a website and studies and everything. If Capalert looked at movies through a pair of blinders with tiny holes poked in them, MovieGuide seems to watch films with a Bible duct-taped to their faces and an iPod full of hymns blaring through their headphones.
Take the following description of the content for Hellboy: RoRo, OO, CC, Ab, B, ACAC, LL, VV, A, D, M. That means it's DOUBLY Romantic, which doesn't actually mean "full of love" but actually means some kind of horrible worldview in which people are good. It's doubly occult, which is fair. It's doubly Christian, 'cause it's got rosaries and holy water in it, but it's singly anti-Biblical, because the part about cigar-smoking demons fighting Nazis was left out of Luke. 
The fighting of Nazis does earn it a double-Anti-Communism rating, though, because the Nazis were "National Socialists", and as we all know, Socialists are just Communists with tenure. Two out of three L's for language, which is fair. Two out of three V's for violence, which is probably also fair. Alcohol abuse for the presence of a six-pack. Drug/substance abuse for.... I honestly don't know, unless they're counting the cigar, which would be really funny. And finally, an "M" for miscellaneous, which I figure they must have put on every movie except maybe The Passion, which probably deserves it for the freaky demon baby thing I've heard people talk about.
Luckily for Hellboy, it didn't include any anti-capitalism, anti-patriotism, communism, environmentalism, evolution, feminism, false religions, humanism, homosexuality, internationalism, nudity, paganism, political correctness, revisionist history, "adultery, promiscuity, or sexual immorality", or socialism. If it had, it might have been upgraded from EXTREME CAUTION to ABHORRENT, a mere two stages higher, bypassing EXCESSIVE entirely.
To be ABHORRENT, "Hellboy" would have had to be as immoral as "The Girl Next Door", whose review blames Bill Clinton for the increase in oral sex, Madonna and Britney Spears for the increase in lesbian kissing, and warns good Christians, "Don't be surprised, therefore, if you find your sons and daughters making secret porn movies at their schools in the wake of this new movie."
It's always fun when people who can't enjoy anything ever look at entertainment. I can't even imagine what it must be like to review a movie for them. Taking up three seats in a theater, with penlights, four notepads, a half-dozen reference charts. Although constant note-taking would explain why they thought the Resurrection Hound in Hellboy was "spider-like". But so would them being DUMB.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Mark Dayton

Memo to Mark Dayton: YOU ARE DUMB.
You are a United States Senator. You are one of one hundred people who form the upper house of the federal government's legislative branch. There is a war on. So maybe you have better things to do in your spare time than fuck around trying to get baseball games on TV.
I mean, far be it from me to question a senator's priorities. Wait. Actually, VERY CLOSE be it to me. It's right here, next to the Vanilla Coke. Question a senator's priorities when he's spending time pandering to whiny fantards and business interests over goddamn baseball.
It's bad enough that your local ilk have to run around every single year trying to get the public to pay for shiny new stadiums. After all, if we don't have shiny stadiums, the teams will leave, and then, in the unlikely event that any of them win a national championship, some OTHER city will have to deal with rioting fans setting overturned cars on fire. These are OUR TEAMS, dammit. And if we don't spend tax money on tripling the capacity of luxury skyboxes, our cars will remain vertical and flame-free.
A city without flaming upside down cars simply isn't worth living in, after all. It provides variety. Interest. Flickering light effects. We live in the midwest, for fuck's sake. We can't afford to be any MORE boring, or we'll all fall asleep and crash our cars, flipping them over and setting them on fire. Obviously, stadium opponents would rather spend money on the poor and let OCCUPIED cars burn, instead of spending money on stadiums and letting PARKED cars burn.
Of course, if we do end up with a new baseball stadium, nobody's gonna fucking go and buy tickets. Not if Mark Dayton has his way. Because right now, you can't see the games on TV for free. The team took all the games and is trying to start a fledgling cable network to air them on. Victory Sports Network. Since it's Minnesota, it really should have been called Victory Between Forty And Eighty Percent Of The Time On Average Network, but they couldn't make that work as a logo. Anyway, these are the owners of sports teams, and as such, are completely unsympathetic individuals, so fuck them.
The cable and satellite companies don't want to shell out for it, though. This is because they are huge multinational corporations who do not have the time or the energy to make piddly little deals that only involve a single, non-New-York major metropolitan area. Because they are cable and satellite companies they are, as such, completely unsympathetic individuals, so fuck them too.
In an ideal, free-market world, these two behemoths would fight it out amongst themselves until it worked out or it didn't. But this is America, where the free market only counts if you want to pump mercury into the rivers or don't want people to eat while they're between jobs. The free market can't possibly be used to manage something as vital to the national interest as televised baseball games. Those of you outside Minneapolis may be laughing, but you haven't heard the news coverage. People are DISTRAUGHT that they can't watch the home team play. It's a travesty, a tragedy, and three to four other words that start with TRA and end in Y.
And what bigger voting bloc is there than people with multicolored caps and fucked-up priorities? I can't think of one. And neither can Senator Dayton, who has set up closed-door non-negotiation negotiation sessions (because they are somehow legally barred from negotiating). He's doing this "on behalf of those thousands of Minnesota Twins fans", and because he "want(s) the Twins on television, soon."
Well, good for you. While you're at it, I'd love to see more Angel, Firefly, and Home Movies. You're my senator. I voted for your sorry ass. So get cracking. And while you're at it, get The Swan canceled. Let me know if I need to wear a cap before you listen to me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Wascally Wabbit

Memo to the Easter Bunny: YOU HAD IT COMING.
I mean, I understand why some people may choose to follow the deviant lifestyle of a pagan fertility symbol. I don't APPROVE of it, but I don't appreciate you calling me lupophobic. I love all the animals equally, even the sick freaks who "hide their eggs", "hop down the bunny trail", and engage in other perverted activities behind closed doors.
But if you keep flaunting it in the faces of good, kind, normal people who just want to celebrate the torture and murder of a 2,000 year old guy with a beard, well, don't think there aren't going to be repercussions. I mean, I'm not saying I condone the horrific act of violence that occurred in Pennsylvania. I'm just saying I understand how it could have happened.
Sure, it may have seemed, on the surface, to be a friendly little Easter play in the friendly little Glassport, PA's friendly little memorial stadium. But then it turned ugly, as the Easter Bunny was flogged, eggs were broken, and children were traumatized by a church who simply wanted to get across the vitally important theological message that a man suffered horribly for days just so you could get jellybeans and plastic grass.
They whipped the Easter Bunny. In front of four-year-old kids. That kills me. So do the various headlines: "Easter Bunny's torture scenes upset children." Gee, can't imagine why. "Easter play makes point, but upsets kids." That's a surprisingly kind headline for a play that also featured a drunken man and self-mutilating woman. Still, it's entirely possible that this play wasn't meant to be offensive.
And in fact, Patty Bickerton, the youth minister in the bunny suit who does not in any way shape or form get sexually excited by dressing up in a bunny suit, being whipped, and having eggs broken over her head, told the AP that in fact, the play wasn't meant to be offensive.
Glad that's cleared up.
Once again, by the way, I'm confronted with the kind of thing we atheists simply would not pull. This is partly because we don't have an excuse to meet every week and plan stuff out, but even if we did get together to watch Nova or something, I can guarantee we wouldn't hatch diabolical plans. You won't find atheists sitting on a street corner around Hanukkah, under a giant FREE DREIDLES sign, setting tiny yarmulkes on fire and explaining the combustion properties of oil. For one thing, that's mean. And for another, it's frickin' cold in December.
I'm also a bit confused about how you can have an Assembly of God in the first place, since supposedly there's only one of him, and he's everywhere, and he knows everything, and he doesn't need to be instructed on proper hallway behavior between classes, which is what I always thought assemblies were for.
All I know is, there's no way in hell I'm going anywhere near the Bunny Pride Parade next year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Today, in the grand You Are Dumb Dot Net tradition of features you'll never see again, or renaming features you've seen before (but only once), we bring you HATELETS. Little tiny packets of hate that can course through your bloodstream and form a callous scab of cynicism over your soul.
For example, our first Hatelet has Yahoo's name stamped on it. You know why? Because nobody knows what a "Life Engine" is, nobody needs a "Life Engine" even if they could figure out what it is, and going around calling yourself a "Life Engine" when you're the second-place search engine is just asinine. People do not use Yahoo to live things, they use it to find stuff. Yahoo is just bitter because Google got to be the verb. Get the fuck over it. Lots of sites wanted to be PORTALS a few years ago, it didn't work out, move on.
A mini-Hatelet goes out to STOP, also known as "Simply Truths Our Priority", but only a small one, because they've already made giant asses of themselves, and we should all point and laugh at them. These people oughta become the official You Are Dumb Dot Net poster children, because first, they're anti-gay, second, they're overly concerned with protecting the children, and third, they believed the Internet when it lied to them. But it's better than that. They believed THE ONION.
STOP is trying to, well, stop, the expansion of a "safe schools" program. Presumably, the program would now try to teach kids that beating the living hell out of the gay kids would be a bad thing, which, of course, is promoting the filthy gay lifestyle in our schools. So STOP spent seven weeks, "researched in-depth", and put out a pamphlet and a 300-page computer document that featured a photo from the Onion showing a "gay recruitment drive" in a classroom. If only they were from Tennessee. They're from London, Ontario, Canada, which just goes to show you that the South doesn't have a monopoly on idiots, they're just the leaders in market share.
Ten million Hatelets, one to each one of you soulless fuckers who watched The Swan. And then another ten million extra Hatelets to Lisa Wright, morning DJ at WXPT, The Mix. Every week, like a champ, Wright pimps American Idol. Whether it's out of corporate mandate or just due to being mediocre, I don't know. But lately, she's started to pimp The Swan, which led to an astonishing exchange this morning. Wright started talking about the show, playing the clip where that week's winner sees herself for the first time. Her compatriot, Kevin McLaughlin, who's a fairly conservative asshole, admitted that the show creeped him out and sent an awful message to society. Wright's response: "Yeah, an awful message to society... still, other than American Idol, Fox really doesn't have any hits, and The Swan is a BIG HIT!" Again, someone has said something so obscenely wrong that I have to invent a new term to describe it. How about... coprolalic inverecrania. Talking shit with your head rammed up your own ass.
"Hey, I've got a great idea! Let's go see 'The Passion' on Good Friday!" "I've got an even better idea! Let's go see it on Easter, too!" "Brilliant! Now if we can only figure out when to watch 'Halloween' and 'The Santa Clause 2', we'll have our whole moviegoing year planned out!" Another 17 million and another #1 spot for the Jesus, and all because you people think you're CLEVER. At least when I went to see Hellboy on Easter, it was just because the schedules worked out that way. It doesn't make me some kind of MASTER OF IRONY. I've got Hatelet stigmata on my palms, and I'm itching to slap you with them. And curse you out. In Aramaic.
Hatelets. Bite-size hate for a world that bites. Yet another quality product from You Are Dumb Enterprises.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Da Prez

Memo to President Bush: YOU ARE DUMB.
The big boy finally headlines. What did it finally take for the big cheese, the top banana, the Rancher-in-Chief, to get top billing in You Are Dumb after three and a half months of columns?
Well, let's see. 70 coalition troops dead in April, or about seven per day. A couple of cities in rebel hands. A shaky cease-fire with hundreds of militants in Fallujah. And the whole thing most likely sparked by US troops shooting protestors and shutting down a newspaper. At difficult times like these, we turn to our leader for answers, for guidance, and for direction. Surely, the man whose administrators assured ut we would be cheered as liberators would have something profound to say about the recent violence.
"It was a tough week last week... I just know this, that we're plenty tough and we'll remain tough." 
Ah. Right. You know, Dick Cheney's had to fly to Japan, because the taking of three Japanese hostages has put quite a bi of pressure on the government there. You know, one of the "Coalition of the Willing"? So, yeah, the Vice President, the guy who you need by your side to help with your private testimony to the 9/11 commission had to head over real quick to make sure the Japanese stay "willing" if they know what's good for 'em.
>"It was a tough week last week... I just know this, that we're plenty tough and we'll remain tough." 
Interestingly, we just celebrated the one year anniversary of the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in that Baghdad square. Sure, there are some who say it was a carefully stage-managed event, but there's no denying that it was a strong (and VERY frequently used) image of Iraqi liberation. Also interestingly, a year later, Iraqi citizens aren't allowed to visit that square. Huh.
>"It was a tough week last week... I just know this, that we're plenty tough and we'll remain tough." 
Some fun numbers have been circulating, prompted by Bush taking the majority of the past week as vacation time on his ranch in Texas. Seems Bush has spent 233 days, accounting for 40% of his entire presidential term, on vacation. During a war, no less. Of course, the White House is quick to mention that he works on those vacations. Oh, how he works. He barely has any time to have people take pictures of him clearing brush or petting cows or inviting the NRA to enjoy his little slice of Texas nature. But still, 40% seems like a bit much...
>"It was a tough week last week... I just know this, that we're plenty tough and we'll remain tough." 
I dunno. It just seems to me that if you're going to use the hell out of one particular adjective, maybe you don't want to overuse "tough". A White House spokesman suggested that Americans would understand Bush wanting to spend Easter weekend with his family. I understand that part. Hey, I'm an atheist, and I spent Easter with my family. I even fed the cats of a friend who spent Easter weekend with HER family. Of course, I didn't take any days off work to do it. She only took three. Seems to me a guy with Air Force One at his beck and call does not need to take seven days off work. He's the PRESIDENT. He does not need a Sunday stayover to qualify for DISCOUNT FARES.
It just seems to me that if the country you've occupied under false pretenses for a year now suddenly explodes in violence, you might wanna look at your schedule and see if perhaps flying down Saturday morning isn't an option, what with everything going to shit and all. On the other hand, it was a tough week last week, and he just knows this, that we're plenty tough and we'll remain tough.
Did I say "tough"? I meant DUMB.

Friday, April 9, 2004


Memo to Wal-Mart and ClearPlay: YOU ARE... eh.
See, this is exactly the type of thing that SHOULD send me into a spittle-flying, rage-filled polemic on the dullards and morons who infest society. But I just can't work up the anger. The whole thing is sad, yes. It's disappointing. But at the end of the day, it's like watching people walk the wrong way on the merry go round. You know they're not going anywhere. You know they're gonna end up getting a pole in the face. But they're only fucking themselves over, and they're idiots, so who gives a damn?
Here's your obligatory backgrounder: RCA has struck a deal with ClearPlay to incorporate technology into a new DVD player, to be sold for eighty bucks at Wal-Mart. The people at ClearPlay watch movies and create a set of instructions for the DVD player. The DVD player then mutes the audio every time someone swears, and skips ahead anytime there's nudity, violence, or sexual content.
Which is, admittedly, completely and utterly obscene. An affront to art. A crazed "solution" to the perceived threat of media filth. But you know what? If people really want to go to Wal-Mart, buy their ClearPlay player, and watch their fullscreen, butchered version of Lake Placid which, according to ClearPlay's own site, has had the "Blood and Gore" reduced from EXTREME to MILD, the viloence reduced from EXTREME to MINOR, the language, including Betty White calling people "cocksucker", reduced from EXTREME to NONE, and the sex reduced from, um... MILD to MILD... well, let 'em. I'm sure it'll be a big time-saver, as they watch the stirring tale of eight people who go to a lake, and the two people who leave the lake.
I mean, it's barely even worth poking fun at the ClearPlay site, which mostly deals with the software-only version that works with your computer's DVD-playing software. I can see where this would be a big move for ClearPlay, as there's a bit of discrepancy between the markets of "people with the technical savvy to watch DVD's on their computer" and "mouth-breathing reactionaries with their heads up their ass". The Wal-Mart deal is a MUCH better fit.
The fine people at ClearPlay do warn people that "due to the story nature of some movies, and because ClearPlay only uses legal methods to control the DVD decoding, you will notice some of the ClearPlay skips and mutes. However, most subscribers quickly become accustomed to them and find them much less interruptive than the language, nudity or graphic violence that has been removed.", which I'll admit, is one of the all-time great sentences ever featured on YAD. The claim that only some movies have story elements. The implication that if only there weren't pesky legal restrictions holding them back, they could do a much nicer job of filth removal. And the knowledge that frequent jump cuts, discontinuities, and missing chunks of story are much less troubling than a boobie to their target audience...
I could even mention the blatant hypocrisy coming out of ClearPlay, which states repeatedly that its service exists to deal with "PG-13 and R-rated content", yet manages to find objectionable things to edit out of such PG-rated kids' fare as the two Harry Potter movies, Big (was there "mild blood and gore" in Big?!), The Iron Giant, the Freaky Friday and Parent Trap remakes (the latter of which has had its blood and gore reduced from Minor to Mild), and E.T. (because apparently Spielberg didn't fuck his own movie up enough).
But you know, at the end of the day, this kind of technology is actually great. Because it allows these bluenose, uptight assholes with no clue about art or entertainment to further isolate themselves from the rest of society. And it allows them to do so in the privacy of their own homes. It'll be like there's an entire nation of people who only saw the TV edit of Blazing Saddles. Eventually, the cultural gap will grow wider and wider. In time, the people with these players won't even know that "Aliens" has killing or that "Shrek" has fart jokes. And then they'll try to interact with the society they've rejected, and they'll be like an Amish elder at MacWorld, confused and frightened by all the flashing lights.
I figure it'll only be a few years beyond that when they all become like John Travolta in the plastic bubble. They'll have isolated themselves from violence, sex, and profanity so much that they'll have no natural defense against it. And on that day, "fuck" will become a KILLING WORD.
And they probably won't even understand the concept of a killing word, because their DVD player skipped over that entire section of Dune. Hoist on their own retard.

Thursday, April 8, 2004

A Change Of Pace

In the interests of those who may feel that You Are Dumb Dot Net is nothing but a non-stop negative tirade against humanity, allow me to present the tragic story of Dave Presuhn.
At first glance, he appears to have written a letter to the editor. Such letters are a time-honored tradition. People write things about the world as best they understand it, send it to the local newspaper, and the local paper prints it, verbatim. Often, people will write letters to the editor about letters to the editor. The whole process basically exists to accomplish over the course of one week what an Internet message board accomplishes in ten minutes. YAY EFFICIENCY.
This rustic and quaint delay, unfortunately, adversely affected poor Dave Presuhn. Perhaps it was sometime last week that he penned his missive to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Perhaps it sat on a table in his foyer, next to his keys, for a couple of days after that, waiting for him to remember to bring it down to the mailbox. Perhaps the US Postal Service was less than completely sprightly in bringing it to the Star Tribune mailroom.
Perhaps an overworked Star Tribune mailroom staff took several days to work through the pile of incoming mail and get it typeset. Perhaps the letter was in longhand, requiring painstaking transposition by a team of handwriting experts. And perhaps all these delays conspired, in some kind of abstract collusion, to make Mr. Presuhn look like a COMPLETE FUCKING IDIOT. Because otherwise, we'd have to be negative, and that's not today's mission.
So I therefore posit that it may not be entirely his fault that yesterday, five days into the bloodiest uprising in the entire Iraqi occupation, Mr. Presuhn's letter appeared in the Star Tribune under the heading "A Better Place Today".
It's probably not his fault either that it was AFTER the deaths of about 30 soldiers and hundreds of civilians, the cordoning off of entire cities, the mutilation and display of four American mercenaries, and the other ugly events of the past few days that his question, "At what point will the left say, 'This was actually a good idea'?" got posed.
In fact, in my graciousness, I will even go so far as to say that perhaps it was a typographical error that led him to SEEM to be saying, in his very first sentence, "I have been hearing the left's drumbeat, 'When will so-and-so realize that the war in Iraq was a bad idea?'", since that's not actually a drumbeat. I'm also sure that such a blatant strawman argument would be beneath Mr. Presuhn's strict ethical standards, and that the lengthy section of his letter which details the people he's heard asking this question and their actual political affiliations and/or leanings were edited due to space constraints.
But that is not enough. I must stretch the very boundaries of tolerance and graciousness. I must subsume my natural pessimistic tendencies in a Herculean effort. I must create a benefit of the doubt so great that oil company CEO's wish they had it in their compensation package. I do this because it is the very MANDATE of this website to find people beset by tragic circumstance and help to set the record straight, once and for all, so that they can be publically exonerated for what seems, on the surface, to be damning evidence of their fondness for paint chips. Today.
In order to do this, I must discover the true reason that, after nearly a week of intense violence in Iraq that was, by most accounts, set off by the US occupying forces SHUTTING DOWN A NEWSPAPER, that Presuhn decided to include in his letter, as one of the great things about post-invasion Iraq, that "A free press is taking shape."
After careful consideration, speculation, extrapolation, and deduction, there are only two possible answers:
1) Aliens disguised as cows disguised as Montana militiamen ambushed Dave Presuhn outside his Columbia Heights home, hit him with some kind of outer space taser to knock him unconscious, dragged him into some bushes, took his keys, broke into his home, stole his stationary, and wrote a fake letter to the Star Tribune with the sole goal of discrediting him, because he was THIS CLOSE to blowing the whole lid off the space alien cow Montana militia in his new book: "The Montana Militia: Not Actually A Militia, But A Bunch Of Disguised Aliens In Cow Costumes And Camouflage Jackets".
2) "Dave Presuhn" is actually a pseudonym, and the letter was written by Ann Coulter, who, as we are all aware, is completely bugfuck.
We at You Are Dumb Dot Net hope you have enjoyed today's edifying look at the nature of extenuating circumstances. We would love to continue this bold experiment, but we've just gotten word that Colin Powell insinuated that Ted Kennedy was a traitor for calling Iraq "Bush's Vietnam". And since the Militia Cow Aliens were busy in Columbia Heights, that means the DUMB is still out there.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

N <= (1172 + X) British Citizens

Memo to upwards of 1172 Britons. YOU ARE DUMB.
Actually, we need to add in an unspecified number to that, but we'll get to that in a bit.
It's all the fault of an odd little study in Britain, which involved interviewing 2,069 people and quizzing them on various historic or fictional people and events to see which ones the interviewees thought were real and which they thought were fake. From this, we can determine that Jay Leno could have a career waiting for him as a British sociological researcher if he ever stops being the last person not to realize he isn't funny.
It's an important exercise in doofus-hunting, though, and the results were astonishing in two ways.
The first group of astonishing results were, for example, 57% of respondents believing that King Arthur was real. * Or 38% thinking that Genghis Khan was fictional. Or a situationally whopping six percent who believed the Martian invasion from War of the Worlds actually happened.
Now, some of this you can understand and excuse. The phrase "Battle of the Bulge" has been co-opted so extensively by the dieting world that it's not entirely disheartening when 52% think of that first, instead of World War II. Heck, the 63% disbelieving in "Ethelred the Unready King of England 978 to 1016" makes enough sense to me that I didn't use it for the number in the first line. 
But come on. 27% of the respondents thinking Robin Hood was real? ** They should have asked how many people also thought he was an anthropomorphic fox. 32% thinking the Cold War was fictional? Barring some peculiar political statement, that leaves over 650 Britons with their heads up their asses. Which I'd think would make all the Arsenal chants muffled, but I don't really follow the football.
Unfortunately, the precise number of British morons was not determined by the news story about the study, as it completely failed to count THE RESEARCHERS.
The following answers were stated by just one percent of respondents: Edmund Blackadder: REAL. Xena: REAL. Apes rule Earth (a la Planet of the Apes: REAL. The defeat of humanity by cyborgs in Battlestar Galactica: REAL. And two percent said the Battle of Endor was real.
What kind of crap sociologists are these? I don't have a degree in anything, but I guarantee you if you pick 2,069 people at random ANYWHERE in the First World, you're gonna hit 20 or so geeks. And geeks will fuck up surveys for comedy. There are twenty guys in Britain even as we speak who have been waiting for MONTHS for the survey results to be made public, just so they can snicker at the Blackadder thing. Does nobody else remember "putting Jedi on the census"?
Note that of the real people and events, the lowest percentage was nine percent for Winston Churchill. That's gotta all be idiocy, because I don't think you could find 187 people who'd think Fake Winston Churchill is funny if you tried to do it on purpose.
Of course, this theory does present one conundrum. The 62 people who claimed the Battle of Helm's Deep actually happened. I, for one, am torn. As "The Passion" has shown us, people will believe all kinds of stuff in movies actually happened. But at the same time, Lord of the Rings nerdage is near its cultural peak, the Geek Survey Joke Theorem could account for all 62 of them. I'd have to see the interviews themselves to be sure. I mean, if you've got people saying that "Oh, that definitely happened, except for the bit where the blond guy rode down the stairs on his shield, I suspect they threw that in for dramatic effect"... that actually wouldn't settle it either way, now that I think about it.
So, what have we learned? We've learned that British historians, having visited all the castles and read all the scrolls a couple dozen times already, are getting bored. We've learned that there actually was a dude named Ethelread the Unready. We've leraned that geeks amuse easily. And I've learned that I'd better wrap this up soon, as Imperious Leader has demanded my presence. By your command.
* Don't. I know you want to, but don't. Stop composing the e-mail in your head. You know the one I mean. Don't play innocent. The one where you compile obscure evidence from webpages and books and Discovery Channel specials to point out that King Arthur was sorta kinda based on this one dude who REALLY LIVED in the ancient times and that's the guy they're basing that new movie on, you know, the one where Kiera Knightley wears blue paint and two strategic pieces of leather. Don't do it. We'll both feel better in the morning.

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Game Reviews

Memo to GameSpot and IGN: YOU ARE DUMB.
I don't normally like the whole process of taking umbrage at reviews. It's the kind of thing that clogs letters pages of newspapers, especially arts weeklies. "Your reviewer savaged this play that I went to and loved, and thus your reviewer is an out-of-touch idiot with no joy in his heart, and should be replaced by someone who thinks more like ME." It's a complete fucking waste of everybody's time, because it's a review, and reviews are opinion, and opinions are mostly subjective, and what's worse, once someone's already seen the work, they're not the target audience for the review, are they? They are not.
So it is with a heavy heart that I am forced to inform you that Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot is an out-of-touch idiot with no joy in his heart, and should be replaced by someone who thinks more like ME. And IGN's Peer Schneider ain't much better.
Most game reviews are ass to begin with. Many people do not realize this, and mistakenly believe that all the words in a game review are important. When reading a game review, you can immediately discard every word that factually describe's a game's story and feature set. This is the kind of pointless filler that should have been covered already in the half-dozen news stories and previews that have already shown up. They're repeated in the review because, well, it's really easy to do.
You can also typically ignore the omnipresent "technical breakdowns" - things like "graphics", "sound", "presentation". If the reviewer ACTUALLY discusses, say, the graphics in a way that completely separates them from other gameplay components, then the section is meaningless; if he doesn't, it'll just be repetitive.
Once you strip all the bullshit away, you're left with about 20% of the review being things that actually matter. And in the case of Wario Ware for GameCube, these bozos didn't even get that fifth right.
Background for the non-game-inclined: Wario Ware GC is a multiplayer "party" adaptation of the smash hit portable Wario Ware game, which came out last year. In the portable game, you play 200 different five-second long "microgames" in various sequences until you lose. The home console version takes those 200 five-second games and uses them to decide the outcome of eight different larger multiplayer contests.
Note that the semantic equivalent of the above paragraph takes between 10 and 20 paragraphs in each of these reviews.
So in essence, you have a game who's whole point is to take 200 simple Game Boy Advance microgames and turn them into a multiplayer game experience. Therefore it makes PERFECT SENSE that the two biggest criticisms in both of these reviews are.... that there isn't much to do unless you're playing multiplayer, and that the 200 GBA microgames look like 200 GBA microgames?
Aren't you glad these people are out there playing games so that you don't have to?
But it's Gerstmann who takes the cake with the kind of claim that makes even the most jaded reviewer of reviews sit up, take notice, and go to town: He refers to the larger multiplayer contests as "mostly unnecessary". Which would be like saying that Pac-Man is cool, except for all the "mostly unnecessary" DOT-GOBBLING. The entire reason this game exists is these eight games. But apparently, that's not what Gerstmann feels should have been done. He spends three paragraphs waxing poetic about how much he loves the Game Boy version, and then hits us with:
While there's certainly fun to be had in the multiplayer modes of WarioWare, they all seem pretty forced. In particular, Othello with minigames is a bit of a stretch. All in all, the minigames are the real star of the show, and they're great enough to stand on their own without needing some sort of external shell or other impetus to play them. 
What Mr. Gerstmann is inexplicably overlooking is that the only way you can play the minigames in any kind of competitive sense is just to take turns and keep score by yourself. By his logic, the ideal multiplayer version of Wario Ware would consist of a Game Boy cartridge, a large room, and a NOTEPAD. And since this version of Wario Ware lacks both a notepad AND a writing utensil, it fails.
And I love the first bit there. "While there's certainly fun to be had..." Did I miss a memo? Am I behind the times? Has everyone else moved on, and I'm the only plebian left who foolishly believes that we play these games to HAVE FUN? (The reviews and sales of Deus Ex: Invisible War actually point to this being fact, but I'll leave it as sarcasm for the time being). "Certainly fun to be had" is the highest praise you can heap on a game, not some qualifier you toss off to justify your irrational rantings.
Maybe if reviewers spent more time actually dissecting games critically, and less time blue-skying across four-page articles describing some fantasy ideal of a game that makes the game they should be writing about pale in comparison, then they wouldn't seem so DUMB.