Archive - May 2010

Almost As Funny As Me On Twitter

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As we all know, the First YAD Rule Of The Internet is that the Internet tells you lies, because it thinks that's funny. But the fact that it's the "first" naturally implies the existence of a second, which I hope I've never revealed before now. And the Second YAD Rule Of The Internet is this:

The Internet will interpret any request you make of it as an excuse to show you its wang.

Now, this can be literal, as with ChatRoulette, webcams in general, and porn in general, but it is also somewhat figurative. You ask the Internet for its opinion, and you are guaranteed to be buried under an avalanche of dicks. This rule is, for example, why this column has no comments section after it. Because I learned Rule Two a long time ago.

You know who didn't learn Rule Two a long time ago? The Republican Party. You know who still hasn't learned Rule Two? The Republican Party. They're still stuck in early 2008, trying to harness the power of the Intertubes to propel themselves to victory the way that Obama fellow did. It's like when Granpa gets on Facebook and then accidentally friends SomethingAwful.

I am, of course, referring to "America Speaks Out", the new website sponsored by the House Republicans, in which you are invited to suggest policy ideas, vote on other people's policy ideas, and help bring the Republican party to a rousing victory in 2010. So the entire process, from idea submission to voting, is open to the entire Internet public. I think we all can predict how that would turn out, and that's exactly what happened.

As a result, it's very difficult to sort out what ridiculous ideas on ASO (which I of course pronounce with the silent SH-LE) were posted by liberals, trolls, and agents provocateurs, and which ones were from legitimate right-wing morons. I'm almost positive about this one, though, so it's ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We need to make the enviro-whackos trying to create a panic over the golf oil spill to shut the he!l up! OIL IS A NATURAL SUBSTANCE!!! You cook with it (vegatable oil), clean with it (lemon oil), put it on your skin (oil of olay), etcetera. GOD put it there for us to use, and anyone saying that a NATURAL SUBSTANCE is bad for NATURE either is severly misguided or diliberately lying to promote thier own SOCIALIST agenda."

Why do I think this is legit? First, the choice and spacing of misspelled words. I will admit being a bit suspicious at "golf oil spill" when they spelled "etcetera" correctly, but the rest ring true. Also, "enviro-whackos". The comedy version would have gone with some variant of "tree-hugging hippies". And finally, I desperately need to believe that the "oil of olay" part isn't a joke, because if it is, my estimate of the average IQ of the human race is off by ten full points.

Luckily, there's no need to actually make fun of comments or voting that may well be designed to be disingenuous when there's the entire legitimate website itself to mock. For example, what the GOP thinks of as hip typeface choices:

See? It's hip! It's open! It's people-focused! You can tell because one of the words is in a handwriting font and the other is sans-serif! It's totally symbolic of the website's meeting between ordinary people, who only have access to pencils and notepads, and the modern Republican party, with full access to all the technology that comes bundled with FrontPage 2007.

And speaking of web widgets, they have the worst vote-total graphics in the history of the Internet. Now, I realize that with this paragraph I may lose some of you. I may lose all of you. But dammit, I'm an interface wonk at heart, and that heart is bleeding black ichor at the very thought of these graphics.

Yes, or "thumbs up", is denoted in green. No, or "thumbs down", is denoted in... orange. OK, we'll give them that. But the vote totals, as far as I can tell, fill in dark grey bars in their respective colors from right to left. And while the bars are fixed in width, the results aren't shown as a percentage. So you have these strange, arbitrary bars that fill up from one to some unknown number of votes. If the votes go beyond that, the bars get bigger, but then don't fit to the right of the text and instead wrap around beneath it. It's like it was written by a group of people who regularly reject math and science.

The only thing sadder than this epic clusterfail is it's like the seventh fucking thing the Republicans have done to reinvent themselves for 2010, only to abandon the attempt when everyone makes fun of it because the overall weakness of its sauce. They've had at least two different spins on the Contract With America, one attempt at viral videos, and two or three other variations of America Speaks Out where they try to take the pulse of the American people, only to realize that's not a wrist in their hand, but a tiny, throbbing penis.

Don't ever stop, GOP. You haven't tried LOLDems yet!