1. If you, too, have wondered where all the moral messaging has been coming from in advertisements—whether it’s Amazon, Barbie, Budweiser, or 84 Lumber—why all those Super Bowl ads were so heavily imbued with political and philosophical truisms, well, you’re not alone. This week, Megan Garber of The Atlantic wrote an article called “Selling What They Preach,” which is an observation of the kind of morality flag-bearing happening during a lot of primetime TV commercials. She’s extremely aware of the irony of this endeavor—that so many of these enormous, consumer-focused businesses are spinning messages of “empathy” or “togetherness” or “love,”…
Another Week Ends: Chuck Berry, Preachy Ads, Yik Yak Help, Optimist Empathy, Missing Richard Simmons, and the Relentless Gig Economy
SAVANNAH, GA—Realizing something needed to change before it was too late, local alcoholic Darren Weller laid out a plan for turning his life around Monday that had absolutely nothing to do with getting sober. “Today’s the day that I finally clean up my act and start taking the steps I need to better myself,” said the visibly intoxicated Weller to his fellow bar patrons, outlining a series of dramatic steps aimed at improving his physical and mental health that will in no way interfere with his crippling addiction to alcohol. “No more excuses. It’s time I went back to school and finished my degree. No more pizza and beer every night. I’ll probably live five more years just by having salad and beer. Who knows, I might even start getting a run in every night before I hit the bars. Yeah, I really feel like this is a new beginning.” At press time, Weller had passed out on his bar stool, already making good on his plan to get to sleep at a more reasonable hour.
A day late but nonetheless a classic:
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA—According to sources, clinically depressed groundhog and weather prognosticator Punxsutawney Phil awoke from his slumber this early morning, peered directly into his soul, and saw but a mere pathetic shadow of the rodent he once was. “My God, is this who I am now? Is this what I’ve become?” the melancholy animal told reporters, staring hopelessly out onto the pale morning light outside his pen. “There was a time when my world was spring eternal, bright and without gloom. But that was a lifetime ago, I’m afraid.” The downcast rodent then sighed, lifted himself from his urine-soaked confines, and mustered the strength to perform his “little song and dance” for excited locals.
The Onion Reports: 50% Of Heaven’s Population Just Assholes Who Begged For Forgiveness At Last Second
Just when I thought they had run out of gas… Click here to read the whole thing:
WASHINGTON—According to an alarming new report published Monday, roughly half the population of Heaven is composed of total assholes who begged for God’s forgiveness at the last moment before dying. “Our data show that 50 percent of the inhabitants of the Heavenly Kingdom were total… sleazebags on Earth who waited until their very final breath to plead with God for mercy,” said report co-author Janet Ryder, adding that a survey of celestial records confirmed that one of every two residents of the eternal paradise willfully lived sinful existences and shamelessly committed immoral acts before seeking clemency in the closing seconds of their lives. “What we found particularly interesting is that those who truly committed themselves to God by leading lives of virtue and doing good works are actually outnumbered by hate-filled scoundrels, petty criminals, and murderers who humbled themselves before the Lord and turned from their wicked ways at the last possible moment to con their way into Heaven.”
Another Week Ends: The Problem with “Parenting”, Solipsistic Audiophiles, Más Havrilesky, Self-Defeating Happiness, and Dubious Decency
1. Having a dog used to be easy, and were it 1995, I’d get one in a heartbeat. Fill up the gallon pail of food, a couple large buckets of water, and for the next three days the responsibilities were watching it run around (outside), fetch, the usual. Now I might be leaning cat-wards – dogsitters, crate-training, sticking to a strict routine… and the dog-hotel for vacationers business has been booming.
First up, same with kids. A friend from college mentioned how much it annoyed him when, as a kid, his parents would use the phrase “underfoot” to describe him. For the record,…
WASHINGTON—According to a poll released Thursday by the Pew Research Center, 80 percent of Americans would, if given even one opportunity, enter a stranger’s vehicle for a shot at starting a new life. “Our research indicated that as long as the driver was headed somewhere else, anywhere else, more than three quarters of Americans would get in that person’s car without any hesitation,” said Pew spokesperson Sylvia Ettinger, adding that neither the make of the vehicle, its intended destination, nor the appearance or temperament of the driver would have any bearing on the decision. “Provided that entering the vehicle offered even the remotest possibility of a clean break from the past, eight out of every 10 people we surveyed said they were happy to toss their cell phone and wallet into a ditch and put their destiny in the hands of the very first person who pulled over.” The poll found, however, that only 3 percent of Americans would pick up some weirdo standing on the side of the road with his thumb out.
Some hilarious work/play resonance from America’s Finest News Source. Reminds me of the time I watched a clergyman berate his staff for a perceived lack of joy at the Christmas Eve service, sadly sans tongue in cheek. Sigh:
SAN MATEO, CA—Warning of severe consequences if he didn’t see results, Pantheon Digital Consulting COO Daniel Abelson, 59, told employees Monday he wants a relaxed, friendly company culture implemented by the end of the week, sources within the organization confirmed. “I don’t care how you make this a laid-back, fun place to work, just get it done, and get it done fast,” Abelson said during a meeting of the company’s various department heads… “If we have to stay late every night this week figuring this thing out, then that’s what we’re going to do. And if we don’t have a casual, cheerful workplace environment all wrapped up by end of day Friday, everybody’s coming in this weekend.” Abelson reportedly dismissed a project manager later that day when the employee failed to loosen up after Abelson demanded she do so.
Click here to read the whole thing.
NEW YORK—After his laptop suddenly stopped working earlier this week, chronically anxious man Henry Geller, 36, confirmed to reporters how nice it was to have an actual problem to worry about for a change. “I’ve got to say, it’s pretty refreshing to obsessively agonize over a real, concrete issue instead of some artificial mental construction,” said Geller, pointing out how much of a pleasure it has been to explain his problem to other people and, in response, hear them agree that he’s facing a difficult predicament rather than offering repeated assurances that the concern is solely in his head. “This…
Pretty funny rejoinder to their classic, “New Study Reveals Most Children Unrepentant Sociopaths”. Read the full thing here:
WESTON, CT—Visibly shocked and repulsed by her own behavior as she sat questioning the type of person she is deep down, unsettled 2-year-old Ellie Ritter admitted to reporters that she had no idea what compelled her to bite her friend on the face Thursday. “I honestly don’t know what came over me. I know Jacob took the train I was playing with, but I usually handle that kind of thing okay—but this time I…I bit him,” said a shaken and bewildered Ritter, sitting wide-eyed on a floor mat at her daycare… “I mean, this is Jacob we’re talking about. He’s my friend, my playmate. And I just went straight for his forehead like an animal. Jesus, what is wrong with me?” At press time, the unnerved toddler was staring uneasily down at her trembling, fingerpaint-covered hands and contemplating what other horrors she was capable of.
How do they keep this up? That’s what I’d like to know. Just in time for wedding season:
ROCHESTER, NY—After sitting through an outdoor ceremony officiated by the groom’s best friend, local parents Scott and Linda McNeil were clinging to the lone religious element of their daughter’s wedding, sources confirmed Saturday. “The vows they wrote for each other were nice, but the passage from Corinthians they used on the back of the wedding program was just beautiful,” said Linda McNeil, adding that she and her husband were both deeply touched by the inclusion of the biblical quote “Love still stands when all else has fallen,” which appeared beneath a verse from a Sarah McLachlan song. “I’ve always loved that passage, and it’s a part of the Scripture that really captures who they are.” McNeil then added that she knew the small image of a dove above the quote would have made her late mother very happy.
Another Week Ends: The Onion’s Guide to Mothering, The Happiness Industry, Selling Beauty, Cultural Christians, Sad David Brooks, and More Bill Fay
1. First off, The Onion has been doing marvelous things lately. Their insight into the human condition is always surprising, especially their sense for all the pressures of social life, how ridiculous they are, and how strange is our reliance on them for identity. Cue Mothershould, their new web series on how to be a better Mom. Our frequent use of scorekeeping as a description of our obsession with metrics and comparison has found its best video example since King of Kong, below:
2. In the dystopian scare department this week, Vicky Price of The Independent reviews a new book by William Davies called The Happiness Industry. Our unprecedented ability to…
Holy lord they got me good today:
PROVIDENCE, RI—Shedding new light on the biological underpinnings behind the behavior, scientists at Brown University announced Tuesday that eating appears to serve a number of key functions besides relieving anxiety. “While a considerable portion of food is indeed ingested in order to distract an individual from feelings of panic and insecurity, our research shows that eating actually confers several benefits beyond temporarily holding despair at bay,” said Dr. Sandra Lutkin, who explained that consuming food has been found to provide vital nutrients to the human body and in many cases replenish it with energy, suggesting that its primary purpose may not be as a coping mechanism at all. “In fact, we observed dozens of subjects and discovered that only a portion of the items they ingested were intended to assuage their apprehension about their job, relationship, or body image…” Although she cautioned the findings were tentative, Lutkin posited that there might be additional methods of eating besides frantically devouring a meal directly over a trash can or sink.