The Philosophy of Meh.

•August 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

calvin-and-hobbes-on-postmodernismPostmodernism is to blame. We’ve killed the meta-narratives, challenged authority, destabilized knowledge, eradicated Truth. It needed to be done, and the world is better for it. Postmodernism validates the voices of the marginalized by seeking to bring their voices into the forefront of the conversation, or at least ensure that they have a place at the table. It rightly questions foundational beliefs at the heart of society, justice, religion, politics, and gender identity. But of course, it has been hijacked, watered down, and distorted into The Philosophy of Meh. Now anyone can be a skeptic! Climate change? Meh. Evolution? Meh. There are no facts, only local knowledges, right? Societal norms dictate that certain voices carry more authority than others, but now we know that what’s really going on here: the oppression of the minority by the ruling powers, who “create” knowledge and disseminate it to the masses, thereby furthering their grip.

Postmodernism is an important quasi-philosophical movement. But, like any good idea, it has been diluted as it filters down to those who are able to grab only snippets of a complex maze of ideas and questions. Postmodernism is an exercise that involves extensive deconstructive work. The term “deconstructive” is significant here, in opposition to, say, “destructive” work. Postmodernism methodically takes apart the pieces of a working engine to examine each piston thoroughly and seek any flaws and determine consequences of those flaws. It requires one do the work, understand what he or she is looking for, and ultimately acknowledge that the engine as a whole is not in need of a major overhaul. Postmodernism breaks down expertly, layer by tedious layer, until the foundation of an idea is reached. That idea is then examined, its practical implications considered, painstakingly projected through thought experiments, then rebuilt if necessary. Postmodernism disassembles the engine. The philosophy of Meh simply wrecks the car because it can.

The difference is crucial. The difference between healthy skepticism and poisonous cynicism is that skepticism is earned. It is earned by a commitment to do the work, to first understand the deconstructive target as an expert in the field would, with the eye of a scientist first and philosopher second. First one must understand what the underlying assumptions are behind the idea, then determine to what extent those ideas are merely social constructs (most of them are), and finally decide if this now-deconstructed idea necessitates a reconstruction with alterations, or perhaps merely a simple reminder to the affected societies that these ideas are in fact social constructions and therefore may be changed according to the will of the people. Understanding comes before evaluation.

People are dismissive. Whether it is aimed toward a professor, a doctor, a lawyer, law enforcement, a general sense of distrust permeates American culture, and this can be at least partially attributed to the perversion of postmodernism as it devolves into the Philosophy of Meh. The consequences may be dire; people who doubt climate change because they somehow feel empowered to flippantly dismiss the overwhelming scientific evidence believe themselves to be intelligent skeptics who will be proved right eventually. These people are not skeptics, however, because their skepticism is not earned. They are cynics whose doubt comes out of convenience, laziness, and a pathetic non-understanding of two extraordinarily complex ideas (environmental science and postmodern thought).

Postmodernism is for skeptics. Not cynics.


Health Specialists Concerned about Americans’ Apparent Bone Expansion

•September 10, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Neo-Bone”, says The Scientific Research Institute of American Exceptionalism

Baffled by the disturbing trend of Americans’ increasing size and weight, The United States Department of Health and Human Services today commissioned a team of the country’s top scientists to study the growing phenomenon. The concern stems in large part from a recent Gallup Poll that discovered the average weight of a typical American adult has increased by almost 20 pounds since 1990. “The increase is significant enough for us to be concerned,” said Republican Senator Minority Whip Jon Kyl. “We’re putting our best team on it.”
Spearheading the study is Dr. Noah Trapp, lead analyst at the Scientific Research Institute of American Exceptionalism. Dr. Trapp is a proponent of “The Big Bone Theory”, a working hypothesis that asserts Americans are experiencing an evolutionary change to their skeletal constitution. “We at the SRIAE are pretty certain that the average weight increase can be explained by Americans’ recently developed tendency to grow bigger bones,” said Trapp. “Furthermore, this growth is most likely the result of a natural process.”
In addition to preaching his Big Bone Theory, Trapp is also taking swipes at those who believe that weight change is man-made. “The way the mainstream media tells it, you’d think this was our fault. The fact is, bone expansion has always been cyclical in nature.” Trapp’s comments are indicative of a growing chasm between scientists at the SRIAE and a growing majority outside the institute who insist that weight change is a direct result of human behavior. “This shouldn’t even be up for debate,” said Dr. Michael Alder, professor at MIT. “Dr. Trapp doesn’t even have a college degree from an accredited university. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by ITT Technical Institute under an executive order by the Bush administration. We have X-Rays, for God’s sake. We can see people’s skeletons. What the hell is wrong with everyone?”
Dr. Trapp, however, isn’t convinced. “Americans are undergoing a fundamental, natural change to their anatomies. Granted, the traditional ‘skeletons’ as defined by Dr. Alder do not appear to have changed, but what he fails to account for is that we are also seeing a massive increase in a new softer, squishier substance that’s unlike any bone structure we’ve seen before. Furthermore, this ‘neo-bone’ is an almost uniquely American phenomenon. It is practically non-existent in many parts of the world, places like Ethiopia or Sudan, for example.” Trapp has yet to find an explanation as to why the change is limited almost exclusively to adults living in the United States, but says he is currently working from the premise that it has something to do with “America’s being so awesome.” In the meantime, Trapp is on a personal mission to combat what he perceives to be a hidden agenda from those outside of the institute. “Despite the misinformation that most scientists are putting out there, the majority of the American people know that when something gets too science-y sounding, it can’t be trusted.”

WWE Considering Adding Instant Replay

•September 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

20120907-140058.jpgSTAMFORD, CT—Sources inside World Wrestling Entertainment report that the WWE competition committee is considering a proposal that would allow referees to use instant replay for critical calls during matches. The proposal comes on the heels of yet another controversial championship match last week between WWE Champion Eagle Jesus Washington and challenger The Ble$$ed Profit Moe Hammad. After several minutes of back and forth action, Washington was able to put the Arab-born rapper/wrestler/alleged terrorist into his patented “U.S. F-ing A” submission hold, which should have ended the match. However, the referee missed the call because of the commotion outside the ring caused by a little person dressed as a feces log who had just crawled out of the oversized inflatable anus worn by Bin Laden’s occasional tag-team partner, Butthole McPoopin, and had started skipping around the ring singing “I’m a fancy doo-doo log, mostly made of corn!”. Using the distraction to his advantage, Bin Laden then assaulted the champion with a virtual cornucopia of illegal instruments, including a steel chair, a metal chain, and a sledgehammer, before finally shooting him in the face with a double-action Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44-cal. Magnum revolver to win the match, all while the referee’s back was turned. Though Washington is expected to make a full recovery (he is scheduled to return to action next week and compete in a “Testicle Trauma” match), some outside the sport are crying foul.
Many believe that the WWE is facing a crisis after yet another controversial title match. “For the first time, people are starting to question the integrity of the sport,” said chairman Vince McMahon. “Last week a fan posted ‘Another poor officiating performance? What is this, the NBA?’ on a fan forum. Obviously that’s hyperbole, but it speaks to a real problem with our officiating. We could bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is fine, but the truth is we need to act now.”
For many WWE fans, the addition of instant replay is long overdue. “I can’t tell you how many times the refs have missed illegal chair shots or outside interference because their backs were turned,” said WWE fan Bubba Monroe. “I get that these refs are only human, but these missed calls often directly affect the outcome of very important matches. I mean, the technology is there. Why not use it?” Others, however, seemed more resistant to the change. “I’d really hate to see the matches stopped or slowed down every single time a wrestler gets sprayed with a fire extinguisher while the ref is re-tying his shoes mid-match. Sure, he might miss an occasional thumb to the eye or blow to the crotch with a 2×4, but do we really want to take the human element out of it?”
For now, the WWE is taking less dramatic actions to improve its officiating in the hopes that replay won’t be necessary. The steps include providing ADD medication for all officials in the hopes that it will help them focus on their assigned matches and block out distractions. “I think we have the best officials in all of professional sports,” said McMahon. “Hey, I can’t say that I’d always ignore midget feces, but that’s what we’re asking these guys to do.”

God Answers Democrat Prayers to Reroute Storm; New Orleans Residents Pissed

•September 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

20120906-110629.jpgCHARLOTTE—Following in the footsteps of their Republican counterparts, it now appears Christians within the Democratic Party have also managed to divert inclement weather away from their national convention using the power of prayer. On Tuesday, forecasters were predicting heavy rain and thunderstorms during the president’s speech on Thursday night, which eventually caused organizers to move the conference from Bank of America Stadium to an indoor facility. However, thanks to the prayer power of Democrats, the storm has apparently changed course and is now headed straight for New Orleans instead. “This is a clear sign that God wants this convention to go on as scheduled,” said delegate Nancy Henderson. “God’s love and mercy is very apparent in this moment.”
Meanwhile, the people of New Orleans are once again scrambling to prepare for its second potentially catastrophic weather event of the convention season. “The moment we heard that Democrats were praying about the weather, we knew that we might be in trouble again,” said New Orleans resident Walter Jones. “We were hoping they might just ask God to disband the storm altogether instead of just praying for it to change course. When the Republicans did it with Hurricane Isaac, we weren’t all that surprised. I guess we were expecting more from the Democrats.”
Although Christians on both sides of the aisle agree that the diverted storms are overwhelming evidence of the power of prayer, many also recognize the ambiguity caused by the phenomena. “After He changed the path of Hurricane Isaac, I thought for sure that God was a Republican,” one delegate remarked. “Now that God appears to have done it for the Democrats too, it’s harder to know what His political affiliation actually is. If I had to guess, though, I still say Republican. I mean, an old, white, wealthy male who loves to grandstand about the fact that he doesn’t change while looking down on those less powerful than Him? Gotta be Republican.”
Regardless of God’s political affiliation, the changing storm paths in response to prayer have brought some much needed common ground to what has become an otherwise very contentious election season. “Whatever else divides us, it’s nice to be reminded that we can all come together under the blessed assurance that God really, really hates the city of New Orleans.” While God was unavailable for comment, sources close to the Deity suggested that the beef between Him and the City of New Orleans has something to do with unpaid gambling debts.

Reality Show where People Rationally Discuss Differences Canceled

•September 5, 2012 • 2 Comments

ABC has announced that it is canceling its newest reality television show “I Respectfully Disagree but I’m Glad We’re Still Friends” after just one episode. The show debuted last Thursday night to some of the worst ratings in the history of modern television, faring only slightly better than “The Magic Hour with Magic Johnson” did when it debuted in June of 1998. “When we saw the numbers, we were shocked,” said executive producer Alexander Westington. “I thought we had a perfect multicultural homeostasis of individuals who were enthusiastic to serve simultaneously as both educators and students in regards to one another’s totems and taboos in a calm, Socratic dialogical format. For some reason, the public did not go for it.”
An executive at ABC, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said many at the network were against the project from the start. “You should’ve seen the focus group comments,” he said. “One woman wrote, ‘Da fuck whus that shit? Yo’ ass said it’d be a show about ‘rashional discussion’. Ain’t nobody on that show got any kinda rash I could see.’ And she wasn’t the only one upset about the complete lack of STDs on the show.” Executives said that they discussed giving one of the reality show cast members full-blown AIDS in order to give the show more appeal, but the show’s creator would not assent. “He was quite rigid and uncompromising about his vision for the show. We even backed off of our ‘AIDS’ idea and suggested just secretly infecting one cast member with HIV instead. These days, that’s like having a bad cold, right? He was being quite unreasonable, if you ask me.”
One of the would-be stars of “Respectfully Disagree”, French Native Michel “The Rationalization” Moreau, was clearly disappointed by the show’s failure. “It certainly felt like we were doing something, how you say, speciale. The premier was full of initial disagreements and conflict, followed immediately by rational conversation that quickly evolved into peaceful resolutions. Everyone in the house was so polite to one another at all times. It really was quite pleasant and educational.”
On the heels of the show’s colossal failure, ABC announced Monday that it has already chosen a new reality show to fill the time slot. The new program, entitled “Date or Jailbait?”, will feature one male contestant who lives in a house with 20 women, 5 of whom are underage prostitutes. “If at any point the guy gets, you know, down ‘n dirty with one of dem underage girls, he gets arrested immediately and boom! straight to jail,” explained Mickey “The Slug” Posanski, the show’s creator. “But, for every legal woman he manages to sleep with, we add $5,000 to his winnings. It’s really a fun show.” Posanski said the show was a big hit with focus groups. “People love the part where the chick flips a card and reveals her age. There’s that poor bastard standing in the middle of the stage, pile of cash on one side and Officer Gavin on the other.” Posanski is currently in talks with Chris Hansen, as well as NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor to serve as host.

Sasha Obama: “I Inherited My Messy Room from The Bush Daughters”

•September 4, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Sasha Obama, youngest daughter of the President, narrowly avoided being grounded yesterday when she decided to go public with her father’s plans to punish her for the state of her bedroom. While most analysts agree that the teenager’s room is in complete disarray, pundits on both sides of the aisle have their own theories as to who is really to blame for the condition of the room. “The actions of the Bush twins during their time in the White House are well documented. For eight years, the Bushes ran roughshod throughout these bedrooms. Considering the condition in which the bedroom was left, it’s simply ridiculous to think Sasha could clean it up in four years.” Those on the right, however, have expressed much more skepticism. “How long can young Obama blame this mess on her predecessors? At some point, she has to take responsibility for the clothes lying everywhere, the pizza crust in the corner…”.

Sources inside the White House say that both the President and the First Lady were initially in agreement on punishing their youngest daughter, but that their plans changed after Sasha decided to go public. “I just told them that I was confused,” said the youngest Obama to a group of reporters outside the White House lawn. “I kept hearing him say that sometimes we inherit things that we can’t fix very easily, that sometimes it can take up to eight years to clean up certain messes. I hear my dad saying that the American People should be patient. When I reminded him of that, he seemed to have a sudden, reluctant change of heart.”

Per White House Spokesman Jay Carney, Sasha now awaits to see if she will be given another four years to straighten out her room. Sources in the Romney camp claim that any one of Romney’s children would do a fine job insuring that the mess will be dealt with immediately. In fact, Romney’s youngest son, Craig, released the following statement: “When my father takes up residence in The White House, the first thing I will do is clean up this bedroom.” Romney later clarified, stating that he meant only that he would “hire one of the illegals that cuts my dad’s lawn to clean it up. It’s the responsible thing to do, after all. Those guys will work for next to nothing.”

Carl’s Jr. Employee Shocked to Find Out His Job is Really More of a Hobby

•September 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Marcum, doing what he didn’t know he loved for fifteen years

As millions of hard-working Americans stay home and relax in recognition of Labor Day, Shawn Marcum stands in front of a fryer with a confused smile on his face. The thirty-six-year-old fry cook is trying to enjoy what he suddenly realizes is not his job, but is apparently his favorite hobby: dropping french fries into a spattering vat of grease and putting a shredded pork-like substance on top of hamburger patties. “It was a shock to me,” says Marcum, while wiping hoof blood on his apron. “I really thought this was my job, and I really, really hated it. But, obviously, I’m here doing it on Labor Day, so I guess I must’ve been wrong.”

After fifteen years of wearing a clip-on bow tie and paper hat while sweating onto a grill and cursing his god, Marcum now has a new perspective on the place he has frequently referred to in the past as “Hell’s Anus”. “If you knew the number of times I’ve thought about just sticking my head in that fry grease and ending it all…but now I realize how much I’ve taken this for granted. Most people have to work all day and don’t have time to indulge in their favorite pastimes. Obviously, some part of me loves doing this, since it clearly isn’t work and I’ve been here almost every day for the past fifteen years. Plus, I get paid a little bit.” Marcum says he used to complain about his wage, but now realizes how selfish he’s been. “All these years they’ve been paying me to indulge in my labor of love, giving me free access to all the tools I need; Now, as I stare into that golden reservoir of fry oil, I see an ocean of possibilities, whereas before all I saw was a way out. I really am the luckiest guy in the world.”

Marcum says his epiphany came late last week, when his ex-wife asked him if he could watch their child during the long holiday weekend. “Jeanie called and said that she and her new husband Steve were going to Vegas during Labor Day weekend. She wanted to know if I could watch our son while they were away. When I called the restaurant manager to ask if I needed to work on Labor Day, he just laughed. I didn’t understand then, but I do now. He said ‘if you want to be able to come in on Tuesday, you’d sure as shit better be here Monday’, and then he just hung up. So that caused me to really stop and think.” Marcum said that in the past he would have responded negatively to his ex-wife’s chastising when he told her he was not free on Labor Day to watch their child. Now, Marcum says he realizes that she has a point when she calls him a “deadbeat selfish fucking shithole” for going to Carl’s Jr. on Labor Day to grill meat-substitutes.

Marcum says that his new perspective makes him both happy and anxious at the same time. “I’m trying to learn to be grateful for this amazing opportunity, but suddenly it all feels so indulgent and selfish.” He acknowledges that at some point he will have to abandon his newly discovered “dream life” and find a real job. “I know the ride will have to end some day, but right now, I’m just trying to focus on today and enjoy this amazing opportunity before me. Millions of Americans will have the day off today, and you know what they’ll do for fun? Grill burgers,” Marcum says with an ironic smile. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find the tweezers and try to get most of the cowhide hair out of this patty.”