Wednesday, September 15, 2004

My Guardian Angel Will Kick You In The Nuts

Memo to positive thinkers: YOU ARE DUMB.
Allow me to clarify. I don't have anything against positive thoughts as such, even if they really aren't my stock in trade. But people can't have ordinary positive thoughts anymore. The middle ground between enlightened, bitter cynicism and that which would make a My Little Pony vomit pink, chunky foam has been obliterated, demolished by a flood of guardian angels, sparkles, and general ugliness.
Case in point and primary example,, a website I stumbled across in my travels. It carries within its virtual walls a degree of horrifying kitsch that would make a Cracker Barrel decorator go goth. It takes taste, subtlety, and design, cuts their throats, mutilates their corpses, and has sex with their pets, before filling the air with rainbows and sparkles made from the bones of its victims.
It's pretty fuckin' awful. Take my word for it. Don't go see for yourselves. You don't want to know. Allow me to explain, instead.
The site allows you to download a free "Angel Bar", an IE toolbar that lets you send sites to your friends! And I'm sure, like all free toolbars available on the Internet, it's attractive, functional, easily uninstalled if you don't like it, and contains no malicious code of any kind. Plus, you know. Angels.
Angels are big in the modern, fluffy, Positive Thoughts crowd. Angels are always saving children from horrible car crashies that leave them orphans, or helping people find their keys, or other acts of dubious theological provenance. On the website in question, they also animate and play little violins and waggle their little wings. If I were an angel, which I know is a huge fucking stretch, but bear with me. If I were an angel, and had, over the course of two centuries, gone from being portrayed in great works of sculpture and paint by the world's artistic masters all the way down to showing up super-deformed in animated GIF files, I would check the stockroom to see just how lax the security on the flaming swords was. Some fuckers would need to burn, is all I'm saying.
The site features cards, stories, and something called "FunPages", around the themes of friendship, Christianity, and Inspirational. We will not, in deference to our religious brethren, openly mock the dogmatically iffy "Christian" section today, except to mention that the item marked "Repetition of Sin" is CLEARLY mislabeled, as it involves neither repetition, nor sin. It should more accurately be titled "Iterations of Crappy Metaphor", but that would require a level of honest evaluation that is completely at odds with THINKING POSITIVELY.
In the other sections, we have such poorly-formatted gems as "Recipe from Heaven", which allows you to call your friend a joy-glazed hug-cookie that's received generous loving. On a background composed of thousands of red, purple, and pink hearts. You may think I am joking or exaggerating, but I implore you to take these words at their face value.
Then there's the disappointingly-titled "Know Yourself" Flash animation, in which a picture of a river moves up the screen, leaving faded afterimages of itself in the background. Overlaid on these faded afterimages are two Lao Tzu quotes in white text that vanishes on the background. I don't know why it's a Flash animation at all, because all that moves is the picture, and all it does is move up a bit, but there you go. Know yourself.
If you truly hate yourself, and have done something heartless and cruel, and wish to atone, you may visit the site yourself and select the "Tater People" page. It's too long to sum up effectively here, but be warned. I'm not talking about atoning for forgetting to take out the trash here. I'm talking "If you feel bad about annexing Poland that one time" kind of guilt. Tater People will flagellate you appropriately.
And then there's "Guardian Angels", which, like many items, appears to violate the strict separation between the "Christian", "Friendship", and "Inspirational" sections. On this page, we are informed that the guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high* as to be beyond our sight**, but they are always looking down upon us. What do they mean, "sometimes"? "Sometimes" implies occasionally. Less than half the time. Semantically, it's the opposite of "most of the time". Are most of the guardian angels flying around at street level in plain view? Am I the guy that's always looking the wrong way when one swoops past to save a fundie from dropping her ice cream on the sidewalk? And will my guardian angel really help me win a PS2 as indicated by the flashing box below the aphorism?
It's obvious that when they say "Positive Thoughts", there's a distinct emphasis on the positive at the expense of the thought.
At which point we are interrupted with a picture of either a floating halo or a cock ring. I'm not sure which would be worse. I mean, a cock ring is just a cock ring, but a disembodied halo implies that your guardian angel got sucked through the engine of a 747.
** At which point we are interrupted with a horrific, 3D-shaded picture of what I assume is an angel bobbing up and down, but it's difficult to tell. It could also be a man in a bowler hat and a dress giving a blowjob to a swan. I cannot stress strongly enough to the purveyors of religious clip art the importance of clarity in your design.