« December 2010 »

Memo to the Arnolds: YOU WERE DUMB.

I've been saving the sad story of the Arnolds. Because their stupidity isn't time-dependent, despite what they'd have you believe. And I knew there'd be a day when I'd want... no, NEED, to turn my eyes away from the ongoing trainwreck clusterfuck* in Washington, and give my attention to something local and insipid.

And by local and insipid, I don't mean Tom Emmer, who proved me right by conceding the governor's race just over a month after the election after polls proved he was fooling nobody. But I can understand your confusion. No, I'm referring to Pete and Alisha Arnold, residents of Twin Cities outer ring suburb Apple Valley, and their "Abort Or Not" website.

Alisha, you see, is pregnant. And she and her husband put up this website, complete with poll, to let the Internet decide whether or not she should keep the baby. From the instant it appeared in my RSS feed, I knew this was patent bullshit. You know how I knew this? Because online polls don't decide shit. And any online voting that's meant to be taken even remotely seriously uses a slightly more robust voting engine than a Polldaddy.com embed.

Pete insisted it was real. Of course, he insisted it to Gawker, which probably doesn't count, but still, he said "Voting is such an important part of who we are as a people. Here's a chance where people can be heard about whether they are pro-choice or whether they are pro-life, and it makes a difference in the real world."

I'm not sure what world he lives in, but in my world, pro-life and pro-choice voters make difference every goddamned November. Usually for the worse. Also, "Abort" and "Not Abort" aren't the options that map to "pro-choice" and "pro-life". Unless the pro-choicer is me, or Internet wags who like to flood polls. Also also, I look at turnout numbers, and the McRib is a much more important part of who we are as a people than voting is.

There was an uproar, of course, but considering that this was a Thing On The Internet, it didn't get much of an uproar. A bit of the how could they, a bit of the what does this mean, and the obligatory Googling Of The Names. Which turned up some glibertarian and pro-Dubya bullshit from Dad, and a Glenn Beck Facebook friending from the ostensibly pro-choice Mom. All signs pointed to a clumsy embryo-fetishist hoax, and the husband essentially admitted as much to CNN after about a week.

"My intent is not to deceive people, but at the same point, I do want people to talk about this. This seemed like a pretty good way to further the discussion, because people don't ever seem to want to talk about it for real if there's no name on it, no Baby Wiggles."

Genius! That's the one thing the abortion debate needed to be settled once and for all. A name that people can think seriously about, like BABY WIGGLES. Plus, it'll probably get you sued by Hasbro or something. And the assumption that an abortion discussion isn't a REAL discussion unless you give the fetus a name is straight out of the pro-life handbook that Pete has spent most of his adult life reading from.

Even after this, though, Alisha clung to her pro-choice claims and that the site was real, even though they'd decided to ignore the results of the pool because of "voter fraud". And even though they'd bought the domain name four months before she got pregnant. And even though she'd had two miscarriages but was still allegedly unsure about whether she wanted to be a parent. Pull the other one - maybe there's an umbilical cord attached.

Also, there's no such thing as "voter fraud" on the Internet. There's barely even such a thing as "voter fraud" in actual voting, so if you use the phrase at all, you're probably a wingnut, and if you use it to apply to your Polldaddy.com results, you're a STUPID wingnut.

What's the moral of this story? Fucked if I know. Internet don't preach, they're gonna keep their baby. Because passing on THOSE genes is so vitally important to the future of the species.

*That's when a bunch of trains try to have sex with each other and end up derailing. Known in some circles as "Thomas The Skank Engine".