You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Dec 7, 2004
It's Tuesday, and you all know what that means! It's time for a NEW WORD TO HATE! Like we've done so many* Tuesdays before, we take a look at a new word coined to represent a new idea - a new idea that is stupid and wrong and nobody needs and should crawl back into the muck from whence it oozed.
This Tuesday's New Word to Hate is... RINGBACK. First, the bad news. "Ringback" is not some kind of cute little lemur. It's not a new slang term for breaking off an engagement. It's not a horrible disease that leads to mysterious bulges under your coat during a debate. No, "ringback" is the latest pointless feature being added by the cell-phone industry, who, as it turns out, hates ALL of humanity, not just Sasquatch.
Allow me to explain, as I suspect, at this point, many of you are thinking: "Sasquatch? Where the fuck did he pull SASQUATCH out of?" But if you analyze the development of the cell-phone from a technological-evolution standpoint, you come to the inexorable conclusion that the cell phone industry is deliberately trying to make Bigfoot's life (or Bigfeet's lives, if they're a species and not just an individual who befriends the Six Million Dollar Man), a LIVING HELL.
First, you have the cellular phone itself - a phone you can, ostensibly, take anywhere and make calls. Sure, at first, reception wasn't that great in the woods, but that's why they're expanding coverage. With a cell phone, if you're in the woods and stumble across Sasquatch, you can call your friends and say "Holy SHIT, I just stumbled across Bigfoot!**" And then you hold up the phone and your friends can hear the mournful cry of the Sasquatch.
At this point, the cell phone companies realized that perhaps your friends might not believe you'd found Sasquatch, and so they started putting CAMERAS in the phones. Crappy cell-phone cameras have only two uses - Sasquatch snapshots*** and pervy women's changing room pictures. Note that showing people a blurry, dark, low-res digital picture on a two inch screen and saying "See? I took this with my PHONE! And I'm showing it to you on my PHONE!" is NOT a use. It's incitement to assault.
But thanks to the rise of Photoshop, and the general crappiness of cell-phone cameras, blurry digital pictures of Sasquatch were less than impressive. And this is why the phones now come with VIDEO CAMERAS built in. That commercial with the big, brown, hairy sports mascot? That's advertiser code for Sasquatch. Nothing in advertising is ever unintentional, people.<?p>
So at this point, I think the whole picture is dropping into place. The cell-phone industry is adding coverage and features in a systematic attempt to trap Sasquatch. As more and more cell-phone towers go up, there are fewer and fewer places where Sasquatch can hide, knowing that if he ventures out for a bit of fish or tasty human flesh (depending on your personal interpretation of Sasquatch), he might run into someone carrying a Motorola with built-in Avid video editing suite. And Bejeweled. Oh, and you can call people on it. A flawless theory, until the introduction of RINGBACK, which you may remember from before the rambling, column-padding Sasquatch aside.
Ringback doesn't affect Sasquatch at all, which means it exists solely to PISS ME OFF. The idea behind Ringback is it's like a custom ringtone. When one phone calls another phone, that phone makes a noise, and thanks to modern technology, that noise can be Ode to Joy or any one of hundreds of 50 Cent songs. Ringback operates on the same principle, except that the Ode to Joy or 50 Cent songs don't play on the receiving end - they play in the ear of the person calling you.
Yes, that's right. If I call your cell-phone, and you're a complete and utter weenie, you can pay your cell-phone company two or three bucks, and instead of the universally known and understood "Brrrrrrrt Brrrrrrrt" sound we've all been fine with hearing for decades, I'll end up hearing a tinny, AM-quality rendition of James Taylor's "Fire and Rain". On a related note, I have decided that technological advances have made the traditional telephone greeting "Hello" obsolete, and thus, when faced with a ringback tone, I will be replacing it with the more modern, hip, "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?"
I understand the ringtone thing. It's excessive and stupid, but it does keep every single person on the bus from going through their pockets at the same time when a phone rings. But all ringbacks do is make some person hear your shitty music. It's like a boombox, only instead of the general fuck you to the whole vicinity that a boombox represented back in the day, the ringback is a laserlike, focused fuck you to someone who, until the phone started ringing, actually wanted to talk to you.
So let's join together and reject utterly the "ringback" tones, and return cell-phones to their original purpose - fucking over Sasquatch.
* For values of "so many" equal to zero.
** If you actually have the presence of mind, atter stumbling across Sasquatch, to call it "Sasquatch" instead of "Bigfoot", then you're a pretentious prick and deserve to be eaten by a woodland man-ape or run over by a monster truck.
*** YOU ARE DUMB HAPPY FUN-TIME ACTIVITY CORNER: Say "Sasquatch Snapshots" five times fast!