If it’s still Wednesday and you’re reading this, then tomorrow (Thursday) is Talk Like A Pirate Day. If it’s Thursday morning, then it’s not too late to pretend you swallowed a bug or had a stroke and start celebrating post-haste.
The Guys have a long history with TLAPD. In fact, one of us may secretly even be a ghost pirate! (It’s Chugs. The ghost pirate guy is Chugs.)
It’s because of this intimacy with what may very well be our favorite holiday — yes, even more so than Slutoween — that gives us pause this year. What if TLAPD happens, and nobody talks like a pirate?
Consider the scenario: you walk into work, make a beeline for the coffee pot and see that guy from Contracts who told you his name once, like, a year ago, but you forgot it. Do you say to him in Buccanese, “If ye took the last cup o’ bilge, ye better be makin’ another pot?” Or do you wait for him to growl first?
But, what if he’s waiting for your cue? And what if you both decide — because you both failed — that TLAPD just isn’t a thing anymore, even though you really wanted to?
And what if everyone does that tomorrow? All it takes is just one missed chance in the morning for everyone in your social and professional circles to decide, “You know what? I’ll just talk like an ordinary jerk off today instead of having a good time.”
It’s not enough to “talk” like a pirate online. That’s just typing. I’m typing right now. (Well, I was.) It’s not that big a deal. And it’s not Talk Like A Pirate Day if you don’t talk.
That’s why it’s up to you (yes, you, the one reading this) to make it not weird. Take the first step. Be a communicator. I’m not advocating jumping out from behind stationary objects to yell “YARRRRRGH!” in people’s faces, but if that’s how your Jolly Roger hangs, then so be it.
Do it in the name of pirates who didn’t just rob people, but also explored, really got out there, met new people and then robbed them. Be a hero like Francis Drake who, sure, only circumnavigated the world to elude the Spanish Armada while hitting up all their colonies, but still circumnavigated the whole freaking world.
Who knows? Maybe it’ll get you some booty. Or, better yet, some sweet ass loot that people had lying around, waiting for some stranger to call them “matey.”
People just can’t get enough of the new pope. Not since Pope Benedict the XVI retired and the Vatican rebooted the papacy with Francis, the first originally named pope since — I shit you not — Pope Lando in 913 A.D. (John Paul I doesn’t count because his name was just combined his two direct predecessors.’)
But they didn’t just give him a fancy unnumbered title and lens flare. With each news story, Francis acts a little more how each of us, Catholic and non, would like to see a pope act, which is usually not like any pope we’ve known in our lifetimes.
In fact, he’s so un-pope-like that … well, what if he’s being pope ironically? I’m not confident enough in my afterlife to outright call the holy see a hipster, but here’s evidence that, were it anyone else, would cause even the juicer at Whole Foods to throw their douche flag. (It’s dry quinoa wrapped in a keffiyeh, bound with old timey packaging twine.)
Judge for yourself … y’know, unless ye be judged first or whatever.
Going back to the beginning, the first headlines were about how he refuses to wear the designer red shoes that traditionally come with his office. Instead, he wears simple black dress shoes — basically the kind you look for at Payless before that big court date or second wedding.
When it comes to humility, this guy has it all the way down to his sole, amiright? (I have just been told that I am right, but also an ass.)
Or … did he spend hours picking out the exact shoes that say, “I’m the kind of guy who looks like he doesn’t care about what he wears on his feet?”
And then there’s his car.
First, he refused to ride around in the bulletproof Popemobile while visiting Brazil. Is it that he doesn’t believe in putting up barriers between people and their spiritual leaders … or, did he worry that looking at Rio through bulletproof glass wouldn’t be “authentic” enough?
Then, back in July, he gave priests grief for driving “latest model cars.” Could it be that he wants priests to adopt a more humble lifestyle …
Or, is he just jelly because he drives a 1983 Chevy Renault? Either way, he comes up smelling like roses, except when he smells like gasoline, but who knows if that’s from working on his car or dabbing some behind his ears so that he smells like a tinkerer?
He’s also big into the internet, granting some of his more participatory followers shorter times in purgatory, making retweeting the official new “Hail Mary.”
He’s also really big into some liberal issues. Well, big for a Catholic leader, anyway. And he’s not just liberal, he’s indifferent. Gay? Pfft, not for him to judge. Atheist? Meh, you’ll probably still get into heaven, but you’ll have to stand in line behind the Protestants. He cares and yet doesn’t at the same time!
But there are two liberal issues that he’s willing to dispense with irony for: poor people and being anti-war. Coupled with his modest apartment in Vatican City, and it’s clear that Pope Frank’s Occupying Apostolic Palace.
OK, so maybe I’m grasping at straws here. After all, hipsters pretty much subverted genuineness by putting a silly fedora on it and making it walk backwards because that’s the opposite of what people expect.
In one case, he called a divorced woman whose married boyfriend got her pregnant and tried to pressure her into an abortion. (The boyfriend, not the pope, obvs.) When she said she was worried about “running afoul of the Church,” Pope Francis said he would personally baptize her child when he or she is born.
In another, he called an Argentinian woman who had been raped by police, asking her to try to have faith in the justice system.
He even called a guy whose brother had been killed in a gas station robbery, just to tell him that his letter had made him cry.
That’s right: the pope uses his phone for talking. Isn’t that so retro?!
Parents. According to conventional wisdom, they know best. But, as you move out — be it for school, work or marriage — ask yourself this: do you know where they are and what they’re doing right now?
Maybe they’re knitting. Or gardening. Or doing it to DVDs full of people with pubic hair. Or — as it’s turning out to be the case — marijuana.
And if you think it’s not your parents, think again. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), illicit drug use among 50- to 64-year-olds has doubled since 2002.
So, what are you going to do to make sure your parents don’t turn on, tune in and drop out … again?
Learn the signs
The first step to pointing out others’ problems is knowing that they have one and then admitting it to them. People aged 50 and above won’t make this easy for you.
Called the Baby Boomers, this set of precocious young elderly people have devised their own lingo for the drugs we take for granted today. They might use strange terms like “grass,” “weed” or “doobies.” Or even refer to it in archaic measurements like “dimes” from a time when people used solid metal coins for currency.
If you think monitoring them online will help you keep tabs on their activities, forget about it. While Boomers may set up Facebook or Twitter accounts, many of them eat meals — or mushrooms — without posting a single picture online. No, not even on Snapchat.
Instead, you’ll have to watch what they do in a space called “offline.” Keep a watch for strange smells emanating from the garage and Frank Zappa music. Or long, aimless car trips when they “just need to drive.” And if they mention that they’re thinking about trying a “B&B,” that is code for “blunts and Beelzebub,” which is when they smoke marijuana and worship lesser Satanic demons.
What to do
The important thing is to remain calm. Loud emotional outbursts — like sob-yelling, “Hypocrites!” — is exactly the kind of thing that triggers the giggles if they’ve just “baked.”
Wait until your parents have suitably mellowed out, and then calmly explain that you know what they’ve been doing and that, when you were your age, you tried marijuana and other drugs, too.
While you can’t outright forbid your parents from taking drugs, you can make sure they know how to do them safely. Ask to meet their dealer, or if medical marijuana is legal in your state, take them to a medical dispensary so that they can learn the safest ways to obtain and use it.
And then, once that’s over, go visit your grandparents and talk to them about chlamydia.
Last week heralded the return of football. Unfortunately, it’s preseason, which looks a lot like college ball: a parade of players in the final stage of their tryouts, while guaranteed performers are kept on the back burner to prevent injuries. (Or, as Dan Snyder calls them: “unapproved Paid Time Off.”)
Preseason football is the handjob you endure for now because you know there will be sex in a couple of weeks. You just have to put your time in first, get to really know your team, first string and last. And then, POW! Bangin’ all the way until February, when you f**k things up by dropping the ball on Valentine’s. (And after that division championship she got you for Steak and a Blowjob Day? For shame.)
My wife’s lackluster handjob was Tim Tebow because she’s one of those people who thinks the city of Boston walks on water.
But, that’s not to say you can’t enjoy preseason football. It is, after all, not college football, which sucks, no matter what people from Alabama try to tell you.*
For example: last week, I had to endure three quarters of Rex Grossman, a player that even the Bears got tired of. And that was a team that, before Grossman, hadn’t been to a Super Bowl since 1985 and hasn’t been back since.
However, what happened that fourth quarter — just when I was about to cue up Star Trek — made it all worthwhile: watching Pat White, the fourth stringer, earn Grossman’s third string spot the way Brian Griese had taken it from Sexy Rexy in 2007 and Kyle Orton after him.
Also, watching fans take a preseason win as a sign of this being “their year.” The 2008 Detroit Lions, who won all four of their preseason games before embarking on what would be the first imperfect NFL season since Baltimore’s first football team, would laugh at your hubris if it didn’t bring back so many sad, painful memories.
So, while, yes, preseason football is mostly a fight between second and third stringers, at least you know that your team will be alright should the bus accident from Beetlejuice happen. (Something similar happened to Lynyrd Skynyrd, which means that fans don’t ever have to put up with hearing “one from our new album.”)
Or, at the very least, a glorious start to what could very well turn out to be a mediocre year.
*Yes, yes: some college players transition naturally into the pros their rookie year. Strangely enough, though, the top 3 rookie performers last year — Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and RG III — were not from the SEC, indicating that even college football rankings (just like your degree) don’t matter in the real world. (The 4th, Casey Hayward, came from Vanderbilt. Let me reiterate: Vanderbilt.)
As SeriouslyGuys reported earlier today, you can grow teeth from your urine. OK, so technically, they’re grown from the stem cells found in your urine. But, still. If every debate about stem cells has proven anything, it’s that we’re a lot more concerned with where stem cells come from (looking your way, readers who exist solely because of botched abortions) than what they can actually do.
But, an article from National Geographic lists four other uses for that liquid gold we mistakenly flush or deposit on bar exteriors, including as fuel, medication, compost and a source of potable water. So, that’s one way to use what PBR made in your car and three other ways to get into your mouth, directly or indirectly.
But, those are just the uses that science has approved. Here’s what those researchers missed, just like the guy who managed to whiz all over the toilet seat.
Marking your stuff
If you’re a pet owner — and, no, fish don’t count because that’s just an underwater ant farm — then you’ve already witnessed the precedent for marking things that don’t really belong to you.
Dogs do it to trees on public ground because they don’t understand how taxes and our park system work. Cats do it to everything you own because they’re all secretly reincarnated ex-wives. Jack Nicholson did it once in a movie because he was becoming a werewolf, but that was probably ad-libbed because he really wanted James Spader’s shoes.
So, if you’re tired of being pissed on, trying pissing everyone else off … by pissing on their stuff. I just took back two comforters, a hat and — just to really prove who’s boss — a litter box from my cats.
Winning an Oscar
It’s basically assumed that if you’re a male actor and cry convincingly on-screen, then you’re practically guaranteed an Oscar nomination. And if Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t cry that year, then there’s a solid chance you’ll win. (And Peter O’Toole will go back home winless, yet again.)
But, what if there’s a sneakier way to win with another liquid? Despite their best efforts, Day-Lewis and Nicholson can’t win every year. That’s the niche Tom Hanks carved out for himself like peeing the icicles off an outhouse seat, garnering five nominations for either best lead or supporting actor (and winning twice), several of which were for movies where he peed on-screen. (Seriously, Jack O’Brien broke this down already on Cracked.)
He won Best Actor in Forrest Gump, a film where he tells JFK that he has to pee after drinking too many Dr. Peppers, followed by a less necessary shot where he’s looking at pictures in the Oval Office bathroom while peeing.
Apollo 13 was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won two. It also featured Hanks as Mission Commander Jim Lovell peeing into a tube and then venting that pee into space.
Hanks was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Saving Private Ryan, which included telling his platoon about a kid back home that “used to piss V’s on everyone’s jackets.”
And in The Green Mile, Hanks plays a character who spends half the movie grimacing while attempting to pee through the galaxy’s biggest field of kidney stones outside of the asteroid belt between Hoth and the Anoat system. Don’t worry, it ends with him finally being able to do it and his look of orgasmic relief. (Oh. Um, spoiler alert.) The entire movie, peeing and all, was nominated for four Oscars, but the 15 total minutes of peeing time was a bridge too far for Academy members, actually winning none.
For some reason, people are convinced that urine can cure athlete’s foot, jellyfish stings, acne and a stale sex life. Of course it can’t. But, chances are pretty good that, if somebody you know believes in the healing powers of pee-pee, then their stupidity has probably offended you in other ways as well.
So, if they happen to stumble into foot fungus or tangle with a Portuguese man o’ war and demand your hot, steamy genital juice, let them have it. It’s not every day you get revenge and the victim thanks you for it. That’s some Salieri s**t right there.
(If you think that’s low-brow, you should read some of Mozart’s personal letters. Let’s just agree that all geniuses truck in poop jokes.)
And if the person you’re looking to secretly chastise hasn’t run either afoul of cnidocysts or enough to get athlete’s foot, then may I suggest serving them a Boilertaker.
A cocktail based on what the boilermaker took after Happy Hour.
1 to 1.5 ounces of whiskey poured in a shot glass
A tall pint glass full of your urine
Serve the two glasses to your guest, instructing them to drop the shot into what they believe is beer — but is actually Fosters — and then chug the whole thing. You will do the same, only with actual beer. Or wait. Was that the Fosters? S**t.
Just like with the printing press and television, we knew that the Internet was going to change the way the world works. And by change, we meant destroy the very fabric of society, leaving those unfortunate souls who remain shambling around alone into signposts, staring into their pamphlet/portable TV/iPhone.
And, for the most, part, yeah, that’s the way things turned out. In fact, I’m writing this very post while I’m driving. (Calm down, I’m dictating it to my secretary. I can’t write, steer and hold this wine glass. That would be irresponsible — everyone knows how easily Chateau Lafite bruises.)
But, here’s the thing: while, yes, the Internet is a distraction at best and providing a platform to the worst people at worst, it’s also changed some of the old ways we do things for the better.
So, let’s ignore that I am, in fact, one of those worst people from the previous sentence and give thanks for what the Information Superhighway (remember that shit?) has done for us lately.
Settled bets/shut up assholes
Some of you readers may not be old enough to have gone to a bar without the Internet in your pocket. If this was the case, then might I suggest queuing up Cheers on your Netflix account? I’ll wait.
OK, so you know how everyone rolls their eyes whenever John Ratzenberger opens his mouth the way we do when John Ratzenberger opens his mouth on Fox News?
That was every bar. In fact, the producers of Cheers weren’t even going to cast Ratzenberger until he suggested that the show was missing a know-it-all jackass.
The reason why he was able to turn what was probably a decent enough audition (he’s not a bad person or unfunny actor, just, c’mon, he’s not gonna beat out George Wendt for Norm) is because that guy exists, often in multiples, in every bar. And until you could pull out a newspaper, dictionary, IMDB page or Wikipedia or Snopes entry from your pocket, they could steamroll you into agreeing to disagree because they sounded authoritative enough.
That’s not to say that you’re going to convince a drunk, terminally- and chronically-factually deficient person that they were wrong. Just that you can have the satisfaction of saying, “Shut the hell up, Kevin,” and not wondering if you maybe fell asleep in civics class when they covered Reagan’s stated tax policies and what he really did.
Simplified giving away private information that no one cares about
Chances are that, if you still receive a Christmas letter, it’s from someone old enough to have considered switching to fax in the ’80s and then deciding that the grainy photo results meant that no technology could ever replace the U.S. Postal Service.
Thanks to the Internet — Facebook, in particular — you may still get the Christmas letter, but it’s already old news. You’ve already cried into a homemade mojito that you’re still childless and a career barista whereas the Komeski’s kid has a doctorate, twins and negotiates mergers in Japan — all in one year after graduating from Harvard. Ain’t nobody got time for that shit and the usual holiday depression around Christmas.
And now that we know that the government is already collecting and storing that info for you, whether it’s your tweets in the Library of Congress or your Tumblr posts expressing terrorist sympathies in the Utah Data Center, your trivial personal bullshit is already being examined by top men (top. men.) and being disseminated to people who actually give a shit.
Shortened your time in purgatory
When the Catholic Church isn’t inventing new ways to keep poor people up to their eyes in babies — and then molesting them when they get a little older — it’s also cranking out favors for the few people who lack the intellectual curiosity to ask why men who vowed never to marry are worried about gay people ruining it.
They did it for Irish Americans, allowing them to eat corned beef if St. Patrick’s Day occurs on a Friday during Lent. Or the Spanish on any Friday. And now they’re granting indulgences to Internet Catholics for following the pope on Twitter.
So, if you’re Bill Donohue, and your choices are to either leave your chat forum argument over Piss Christ or go to mass, now you can do both. This is the Internet that Jesus wanted. And it raises Pope Frank’s Klout score, making him more influential than McBournie, which is the ultimate Catholic good work.
And you thought the Internet was no good. For shame.
It’s summer. If you’re a kid, that means it’s time to go look at a dead guy your buddy found. If you’re a farmer, that means carrots. And if you’re a movie producer, that means pouring millions into loud, dumb-as-a-bucket-of-whey-protein blockbusters. (Or a remake of that movie where kids go look at a dead guy.)
Why do blockbusters coincide with summer? Because, historically, movie attendance has always been up in the summer because theaters were the first buildings in town with air conditioning.
But it’s not like anyone doesn’t have air conditioning these days, or that there aren’t other air-conditioned options. So why do we still go to the movies instead of, say, the local dialysis center or Ruritan clubhouse?
Most people aren’t willing to enumerate the positives to people dying. They’re even less willing to do it in writing and publish it on the world’s most preeminent web sites because of how likely you will offend someone who knows someone who just died. I mean, the odds aren’t good: according to some random ass Internet search, 1.8 people die from death every second, so at least one of their relatives will likely stumble upon this article when Googling “inverted nipples” or “how to kill your parents.”
Fortunately, as the author of both those articles, I am not most people.
And that’s why I’m also willing to raise the stakes to explain why it’s good that the world’s most beloved/reviled song-singer is dead. And really, why it’s OK to like Michael Jackson again because he’s dead.
When Michael Jackson died four years ago this month, the world had pretty much all but forgotten him, save for some very odd personal habits and accusations of child molestation. Sure, there was still his music, but it came with baggage and snickers. Except, of course, on Halloween because (a) that’s a time for flaunting social and moral taboos, and (b) c’mon, we’re gonna judge “Thriller” but not “The Monster Mash,” a song so hyperbolically self-promoting that Kanye West can’t perform it without blushing?
But, since then, we’ve remembered something: we really, really liked his music. Like, to the point where we liked it enough to not just let Michael have sleepovers with our kids, we wanted him pretty much everywhere doing everything, from shaming drunk drivers with President Ronald Reagan to officiating hockey games, neither of which he was qualified for as a professional singer/dance-fighter.
And now he’s back in our summer playlists. Captain EO is back in Epcot. Even Alien Ant Farm is back on the radio because it’s too great of a stretch for rock stations to play the original “Smooth Criminal.”
So why now? While some people could always listen to “Man in the Mirror” and separate it from the guy who sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber — pretending that weird guy was already, essentially, dead — most people couldn’t do it until he was really, truly dead.
Roland Barthes noticed this back in the 1960s (not about Michael Jackson since he was still cute back then), and suggested in his essay, “Death of the Author,” that pretending the author is dead is the only way to honestly critique any work of art.
The problem is that, try as we might, a lot of artists make this incredibly hard to do. Like that dress on the wall? Too bad it was designed by anti-semitic John Galliano. Enjoying that movie? Way to support Roman Polanski and child molestation. It’s OK to like Ender’s Game; just don’t like it too much, like in a gay way, because it was written by your homophobic pseudo-uncle, Orson Scott Card.
The more we demand and artists readily supply every facet of their lives to us, the harder it is to appreciate any of them in their lifetimes, a feat that was already nearly impossible.
And that’s why it took four years for us to get over Michael Jackson as a person to finally appreciate his music. And when you think about it, even his worst headlines are nearly 20 years old now, so really, he’s been absent from our constant attention for even longer.
It could have been worse. It took us nearly 130 years to consider Richard Wagner’s music without his recalling his anti-Semitism. Of course, it didn’t help how enthusiastic the Nazis were for his entire catalogue, so that probably tacked on at least another century before Israeli orchestras will play it.
It’s something today’s artists should probably consider, even if we’re unlikely to recognize their genius in their lifetimes: why make it harder?
In the meantime, now that Michael’s parts are falling off of him, we can finally listen to his music without picturing his parts falling off of him the way they were in the 2000s. And thank goodness, because I couldn’t take another summer of Katy Perry. Did you see the way she dumped Russel Brand?
As fellow Guy, Bryan McBournie, brought to our attention on Friday, the new pope kind of forgot to send atheists to Hell last week. During a recent sermon, Pope Francis said that everybody can go to heaven through good works, even atheists.
Wait, even atheists, Father?
Wow. That’s pretty exciting news. Sort of like how the Boy Scouts of America also decided last week that gay kids can join their club that is intentionally devoid of any positive adult gay role models.
In both cases, two very conservative organizations that do good work when they’re not actively discriminating against people they dislike, attempted to reach out to communities in the most tone-deaf ways possible.
I’ve written about the Boy Scouts gay ban before. I support the ban because Jason Voorhees votes Republican and the last thing we need is to give him another reason to go full Tea Partier in the woods again.
But, if the Scouts are willing to acknowledge that gay kids — even those as old as 17 years old — aren’t going to hurt straight kids, then they might as well admit that the 18 – 116 crowd is OK, too. Especially when, as boys, we’re all at our date-rapiest between the ages of 14 – 17.
We’ve spent the past several years trying to convince gay, lesbian, bi and trans youth that it eventually gets better. Leave it to the BSA to invent a reason that, no, it doesn’t, and if you join their organization today, one of their straight leaders can teach your kid to morally straighten up or kill themselves by the time they’re allowed to vote. Or just stay away from kids because they’re monsters.
And then there’s the pope, who basically set the wayback dial to “John Paul II.” I’ll admit that it’s kind of cool that a sitting pope acknowledged that people of different faiths (Protestants, Muslims, Jews and etc.) — or even no faith (atheists and Star Trek fans who wonder if there will ever be a new, good show) — can be good people. Admitting us into a club that we’re almost definitely sure doesn’t exist is just how he explains who’s good and who isn’t.
But, it only took a day for the Vatican to clarify that, while the Pope means well (as most infallible people do), he is incorrect (as most infallible people aren’t.) According to one of their spokesmen, Father Thomas Rosica, atheists can do good work and be considered good, but if they know about the Catholic Church and refuse to join, then it doesn’t count.
And this is where things get sad. When Father Rosica said that ““They cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her,” he doesn’t just mean atheists. He means non-Catholics, too, because that’s what faiths mean when they capitalize “church”: it’s their Church, not your Lutheran church.
But, you’re not going to see Lutherans or Episcopals or even Hindus or Buddhists upset about not getting into Catholic heaven because (some of them) have their own heavens and, guess what, Catholics aren’t allowed in either. (Or, in other cases, everyone’s invited to our all-encompassing energy rave, so why would they go to Catholics’ stodgy old country club?)
But atheists? First, they got excited when Francis, who serves the wine, said they’re on the bouncer’s list. Then, they got upset when the regulars told them that the bouncer doesn’t take orders from the bar manager.
Why? Because many atheists, despite claiming to be atheists, aren’t really atheists. They’re mad at their Church or their parents, but would jump right back in if, say, the new pope washed women’s feet or traded in his crazy expensive designer shoes for some cheap-ass Hush Puppies. And, in this case, if he said anybody who does good despite using birth control or being pro-choice could get into heaven.
Why would an atheist care if they’re going to heaven if heaven is (A) not real, and (B) full of all most of the preceding popes and zealots who use atheists as a scapegoat for all of society’s ills?
For probably the same reason why parents who don’t discriminate against gay adults and atheists (who are still banned from scouts, even as kids) would keep their kids in an organization that does: because we want to believe that, contrary to all existing evidence, that these groups can be better.
So, maybe some atheists are only atheists until they’re facing their own mortality. And maybe some LGBT allies are only allies until it’s time to get their kids outdoors. It’s easy to sacrifice an ideal if it doesn’t directly affect you. And it’s way easier than creating a new group when the existing “gold” standard that you grew up with is so convenient.
A recent campaign by Dove, a soap company, told us that women have low self-esteem and are all much more beautiful than they think. (Also: just because you’re pretty doesn’t mean you don’t stink, so buy some body wash.)
In a video that was shared by everyone with more estrogen than R. Lee Ermey, Dove cast an actor to play a sketch artist (the police kind, not your friend who’s really into improv) who draws Holywood-ugly — normal-looking — women based first on descriptions of themselves, and then based on how another actor was scripted to see them.
In the end, it turned out that, when women described themselves, the sketch turned out awful. (Way to go, something else that’s your fault, uggo.) When a complete stranger was very polite in case the man was married to the woman he’s asking about, the sketch turned out a-iight. Certainly not as great as when you mail your photo into that SkyMall artist who turns it into a sketch.
And, of course, women decided they were wrong about how they looked and opted for the prettier picture that could have been influenced by just about anything in the room at the time of the interview. (“She, uh … she looked like a chair.”)
Does that sound cynical? There’s a good reason for that: science!
In a 2008 psychological study, Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago and Erin Whitchurch of the University of Virginia took pictures of test subjects and edited them to make flattering and unflattering copies. (They applied whatever techniques the DMV does to your photo to make you look like you’re three days into a speed-induced bender.)
When they submitted the modified and unmodified photos back to the test subjects and asked them to identify the real photo of themselves, the subjects overwhelmingly picked one of the prettied up ones.
We’re not just looking for others to validate how pretty we know we really are. As a species, we also consistently seek confirmation that we’re more likely to vote, that we donate larger amounts in charity than anyone else and that we all rate above average at driving, working and love-making.
It should go without saying that if everyone’s above average, then “above average” is average. But, try telling that to your parents when you bring home a C. (Or, later, a 5 that you plan to marry.)
But, that wasn’t the end of the original photos experiment. While you and I may think that we, in our own estimations, are pretty fairly awesome and better than everyone else, it turns out that all those other assholes also think they’re the competent drivers and prettiest.
When those test subjects were presented the original, pretty and nasty photos of other test subjects, they were able to pick the real photo right away. We’re also pretty good at predicting how much (or little) someone else will donate to a cause or whether they’re really going to vote or just tape last election’s sticker back onto their lapel.
Because it turns out that, while we’re really good at finding ways for others to compliment us and to compliment ourselves, other people are even better at seeing right through our bullshit.
That is to say that we all suck more than we each suspect of ourselves. We want to believe a Dove commercial campaign that says we have low self-esteem and are actually more beautiful than we think … but only somebody with low self-esteem would buy whatever a soap commercial is selling.
OK, so you’re not as great as you hoped you’d be. Neither am I, and neither is anyone else. But, we’re also not as bad as we think we are, either. And even if you take our individual great parts and build the perfect human being, nine times out of ten, you’ll get post-op Carrot Top. That other perfect one of ten? They get all the acting and modelling jobs, but they also become Scientologists so it’s all a wash.
Just try to be nice to yourselves. And if you’re feeling dry or stinky, buy some Lubriderm because, seriously, fuck Dove and their attempts to manipulate us.
Oh, and maybe donate to the Red Cross to help everyone down in Oklahoma City. I did, and I’ve got a pretty good feeling you will, too.