Fixing a Few Memes

I came across some memes and other images in the past day or so that looked like they needed some fixing. I just thought I’d share.

First, we have a meme from a Facebook page called “The Advocates for Self-Government” (h/t Jason):

"Up until 1913 Americans kept all of their earnings. Despite this, America still had schools, roads, colleges, vast railroads, subways, and an army & navy. Tell me again why people need to be extorted?"

It shows a scene from a New York City street, circa 1913*. The text offers a pretty standard revisionist history of the United States prior to the Sixteenth Amendment, suggesting that the U.S. was doing just fine without federal income tax. Then, of course, it throws in the “taxation = theft” bit, which I’m not even going to bother refuting here because the people who make that argument are incapable of feeling intellectual shame. Continue reading


Fool Me Once on Social Media…

If you don’t know by now that you should always Google the subject matter of a meme before re-posting it, then you are either (a) too young to use a computer yet, or (b) hopeless. That said, it is now becoming clear that you shouldn’t always trust a debunking of a meme.

A series of images making their way around the web show huge numbers of people piling onto some rusty, rickety ships. The description often accompanying the image suggests that these are Syrian (or Libyan) refugees headed for Europe, with sinister suggestions for what that implies…

Via Ahmet Aykac / Facebook Continue reading


All Bark…

This is a realistic depiction of most internet arguments:

(via Phadrus on Imgur)

And here we see the “live version” of that scene: Continue reading


What’s the Opposite of Curmudgeonly?

I was going through posts on my old law blog, and found a post from about 3½ years ago in which I tried out something called the AgeAnalyzer. Using what I’m sure are extremely advanced socio-dynamic algorithms, the site examines a website and guesstimates the age of the writer. Back in 2012, it estimated my age, based on my law blog posts, as 51-65 years of age. I was 37 at the time.

My last post to that blog was in 2012 sometime. Now that I have moved my erstwhile blogging activities to this site, and refocused my efforts much more towards animal GIFs and WTF moments, I thought I’d see how this site compares, in terms of computer-estimated age.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.55.07 PM

Yup, AgeAnalyzer thinks the author of this blog (who is the same person as the author of the other blog, plus three years) is 26-35 years old.

A 26 year-old would have been born in 1989. I was in high school in 1989. People born in 1989, based on a quick and lazy Google search that made me realize how little I know about anyone who became famous after roughly 1999, include:

I hadn’t heard of anyone else.

Meanwhile, famous people sharing my birth year include: Continue reading


On Taking Offense

Here are a couple of nicely-synergistic pieces from Cracked about taking offense at things seen online and in society:


The Killer Jargon of #SXSWi, Part 2: Bring the Gibberish

See Part 1 here.

If South by Southwest Interactive (or SXSWi, for those in the know) is good for anything, it’s breaking news that makes no freaking sense whatsoever if you don’t already know the names of the companies and apps at issue.

I was thinking about sending gibberish tweets involving SXSW-style jargon using the #SXSWi hashtag, just for fun and because I’m kind of a snarky ass. My Twitter handle is @wellslawoffice, though, so it doesn’t look all that credible coming from me.

I heard Facebook crimped the OS for Orange Gazelle right as the Zebra Sponge purchase was undergoing Slideshow review. Muskox is gonna be *pissed*.


I could start a @BreakingInteractiveNews account, I suppose….

Most of my ideas are pretty mean, could possibly lead to at least some civil suits, and really just need to remain ideas in my twisted brain…… Not that I’ve ever let that stop me before.

Location-based apps seem to be all the rage right now. Hmmmmmm……. Continue reading


The Killer Jargon of #SXSWi, Part 1: WTH Are You Talking About?

South by Southwest, or SXSW, as it is more commonly known these days (or #SXSW, as it more commonly appears in online references these days) is now underway, with the Interactive portion of the festival, or #SXSWi, having begun this past Thursday. I attended this part of the event as a full-fledged badge holder in 2012 and 2013, and I may do so again some day, but there is also some value in observing the festivities from afar.

One aspect of SXSWi that particularly jumps out at me is the near-total inscrutability of much of its news and gossip, especially with regard to the quest to be this year’s “it” app. Take this headline, posted to Facebook by my friend Jen: “Twitter cuts Meerkat off from its social graph just as SXSW gets started.”

Literally nothing in that headline, or the comments to Jen’s post, makes any sense at all without heaping amounts of context. I initially just assumed that Meerkat and Periscope are companies, or apps, or websites, or programming languages, or something else tech-y. It’s just funny how the tech world has normalized jargon so much. Continue reading


3.141592653 (UPDATED x 2)

There. 9:26 a.m. on March 14, 2015 has come and gone (at least in my time zone—sorry, Hawaii), and we never have to see this stupid meme again in our lifetimes:

March 14, 2115 will probably be even more insipid, I fear.

Continue reading


What I’m Reading, February 10, 2015

Progressives Have Hope; Just Don’t Ask Jonathan Chait About It. Lisa Factora-Borchers, Truthout, January 30, 2015

Enlisting a philosophical argument that peaked in the ’90s, Jonathan Chait brought it back to 2015 with an article in New York magazine published earlier this week with a lukewarm punch: The PC movement is leading to the downfall of the liberal social agenda in the United States. In one of the most “This isn’t about me at all or personal whatsoever” personal essays in recent memory, a White, liberal, middle-age, cisgender male journalist declares the rise of tone-policing and trigger warnings as bad for democracy and just plain bad for the United States.

It’d be easy to dismiss Chait’s oddly outdated, half-thunk think piece, which conveniently blames women of color for complicating the social liberal landscape with their demand to be treated as equal stakeholders. But to overlook Chait’s self-appointed superiority complex as the work of one anachronistic guy would be to ignore the growing litany of complaints emerging from straight White men – claiming their own marginality.


By skewering “PC” culture to make his case, Chait stumbles into an argument usually reserved by the right: The powerless are threatening the powerful.

I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet, Paul Miller, The Verge, May 1, 2013 Continue reading


Social Media Synergy Leads to Awkward Results

A couple of friends shared a story on Facebook yesterday, about attorney Ted Olsen schooling right-wing legal dilettante Tony Perkins on marriage equality  In short, Perkins tried to pull out the tired old standby argument that allowing same-sex marriage would open the floodgates to all kinds of marriages.

Watch lawyer destroy Tony Perkins on Fox after he says gay marriage leads to girls marrying dads. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins argued on Sunday that girls would be allowed to marry their biological fathers if the U.S. Supreme Court legalized... RAWSTORY.COM
At least this time Perkins had an actual news story to cite, regarding a father and daughter who say they plan on getting married after two years of dating  which began after twelve years of separation (when the woman was ages 4 through 16). There is plenty to unpack and analyze in that story, beginning with the fact that it certainly appears to be an outlier, followed by the fact that so far no one else seems to be seriously advocating for legal recognition of their marriage.

If they want legal recognition for their marriage, though, I say let them make their case, either in court or in front of one or more state legislatures. This is not the point I want to make in this post, though.

Continue reading