Category Archives: Colbert

What’s your point?

Ever since I put up my post (and made a video) suggesting Sheryl Crow should shut the fuck up, I’ve been formulating what I want to say about climate change “skeptics”. Skepticism is a good thing generally, being naturally skeptical will protect you more often than it will hurt you. Blind faith is far more likely to do you damage than healthy skepticism.

But I use the term “skeptic” loosely when describing climate change deniers because I strongly suspect that a significant majority of them aren’t true skeptics – they simply don’t care to know the truth about climate change. I’d also divide this “don’t care” brigade into two groups – those who believe the prevailing scientific consensus about climate change is probably true but still don’t care and those who don’t believe but don’t care to discover what the truth might be (as if there is a simple and all-encompassing truth on the topic).

Here’s the cynical part of me talking (yes, I know, the cynical part of me is clearly at least 90% of me. Shut up. Do you like how I have conversations with you, dear reader, as I type? I’m clearly insane. Unless that’s what you were thinking. That would make me psychic. Are you freaked out yet? Oh god, I’m getting off track.) The cynical part of me says the loudest voices speaking out against the scientific consensus of climate change are nothing more than paid shills for vested interests in governments and energy companies.

This scares me because the people running these companies aren’t stupid. I think the majority of them realise serious problems are coming, it’s incredibly unlikely that such a large body of scientific consensus would be utterly wrong (although it may well prove to be wrong in some important aspects.) It’s just that… well, they don’t give a fuck.

Either their thinking is literally “I’ll be dead before the worst hits, so I don’t give a fuck,” or they assume we’ll find some way to cope or some magical technological breakthrough will save the day (which may well happen) so they care more about their short term profits than they care about the prospect of long term damage. 

To defend themselves, they use their positions of power to sow seeds of doubt. Sometimes they make points that are true in isolation. These points don’t refute the concept of climate change but they pretend that they do. Sometimes they distort sort-of true statements to an absurd degree. Sometimes they tell outright lies. The thing I’ve noticed that all these approaches have in common is a tendency to focus on isolated aspects of the arguments supporting the notion of climate change without addressing the overall issue.

They pretend that by picking on these isolated issues they have refuted climate change in its entirety when they’ve done no such thing. They’re not even close, in fact they’re deliberately avoiding dealing with the larger issues. In my opinion, they do this because it isn’t possible to successfully discredit the full body of scientific knowledge on climate change so they spread fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the minds of the public.

The concept of FUD will be familiar to people who work in the IT field. Microsoft are past masters at spreading FUD to undermining competitors although they’re far from alone in the practice. When you can can’t take an opponent head-on, chip away at the edges and hope people start to lose faith.

For me, one of the best ways to counter FUD is to ask the person spreading it: “What’s your point?” And keep asking. If someone can’t clearly explain to you why they’re pushing a particular view it’s usually a good sign they aren’t being honest. 

When someone says “there is dissent among scientists,” ask: “What’s your point?  Are you saying because you can show there isn’t 100% consensus that you have conclusive evidence that climate change is not a serious problem?”  The argument here seems to be, as Stephen Colbert said, “Why can’t the 5% of dissenters have 50% of the time?”

When someone says “there are other important problems that are killing people now, like malaria,” say: “What’s your point?  Are you saying we must ignore climate change to deal with malaria?  Because I’m not saying we have to ignore all other problems and focus solely on climate change.  Why does it have to be an either/or proposition?  Why can’t we do both?”

When someone says “Al Gore wants us to give up our lifestyle because of global warming but he lives in a big house that uses lots of electricity,” say: “What’s your point?  Are you saying if you discredit Al Gore (despite the fact that the story was mostly a beat-up that omitted important facts and was laced with outright lies) you have proven that climate change is not an issue?  The worst you can do there is paint Al Gore as a hypocrite which does nothing to undermine the scientific consensus about climate change”

When someone says “if global warming is real, why is it so cold today?” say: “Shut the fuck up!”  OK, you could say “What’s your point?  Are you saying that the sum total of scientific thought on the issue of climate change is that it will always be warmer everywhere?  If so, you’re a fucking moron.  Shut the fuck up.”  But that would waste time.  With some people it’s much more efficient to go straight to shut the fuck up.

There’s a lot more I plan to go into on this topic, particularly an exploration of some of the worst, most evil lies propagated by climate change deniers.  The most dangerous position to take on either side of the argument is an absolute one that allows for no further discussion, hence my strategy of asking “What’s your point?”  The subject is not closed because someone makes some grand pronouncement that they think resolves the situation conclusively – the issue is far more complex than that.

There’s no single cause of climate change and there’s no one solution.  There isn’t even really a single thing called “global warming”.  You can’t point at a specific thing and say “that’s global warming” (an attitude spoofed hilariously on South Park).  There isn’t a convenient end point to discussions of climate change and I deeply distrust anyone who makes sweeping statements that suggests they are the holder of ultimate knowledge.  It’s important to at least listen to people when you disagree with their position.

But it’s even more important to realise when they’re talking shit.  That’s my point, what’s yours?

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Filed under Colbert, Politics, Science

John Stewart is Ripping Me Off!

Well, not really. But I did just see on The Daily Show that he did the exact same joke about that scumbag Republican Mark Foley that I did the other day for The Angry News video “Republican Sex Shenanigans.” He used the line that Foley had sponsored legislation to protect minors from online predators “so he could have them all to himself.”

Quite frankly, this rocks. It might not have been the best joke in the world but it was good enough for the Daily Show. That makes me think I might have a future.

Coincidentally, this really illustrates the pointlessness of the non-story from a few weeks ago where some people were saying The Colbert Report ripped off ZeFrank. It’s simple folks – if you come up with an obvious joke about a current event, you won’t be the only one who comes up with it.

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Stephen Colbert, ZeFrank, a doughnut and a predictable backlash

Long-time readers of this blog will know I’m a big fan of Stephen Colbert, having formed the Church of Colbert earlier in the year after being simply overwhelmed by his ballsiness in ripping on George W Bush at the Whitehouse Correspondents Dinner.  While Bush was sitting about an arm’s length away from him.  Go and watch it on Google video if you’ve never seen it – it’s astonishing.

More recently, I have become a fan of ZeFrank, an online video blogger funny type dude.  ZeFrank’s “The Show” is, for my money, far and away the best work of its type being done online.  If anyone thinks they’ve found a video blogger funnier than ZeFrank I’d love to hear about them.

Anyway, this week, Colbert finds himself embroiled in an Internet storm-in-a-teacup involving ZeFrank and a doughnut.  Sharp-eyed WordPress blogger Kleinschmidt who has an interest in mathematics noted that ZeFrank and Colbert made essentially the same joke about the Poincare conjecture, illustrated with a doughnut.  ZeFrank’s show featured the joke before Colbert’s.  He made a good natured joke about the cynic in him thinking Colbert had ripped off ZeFrank but acknowledging that in all probability it was a coincidence.  The blog linked to above contains links to both videos so you can see them for yourself.

Then BoingBoing picked it up and ran with the rather more sensational headline “The Colbert Report rips off Ze Frank? For shame, if so.”  This in not a rip on BoingBoing, I’m a big fan and they did leave the question open ended.  Then they went and included a reader comment that basically said Colbert does this all the time as you’ll see in the following quotes:

“this isn’t the first time I’ve seen Colbert “ripping off stuff” from the Internets… It’s like he takes the stuff that, say, received 1,300 diggs that day and does the same thing on show and passes it off as his own… Now I wish I had a bunch of examples to give you to back up my point, but I don’t. I know, bad me.”

So essentially they decided to reprint someone’s opinion slagging off Colbert when that person admits to having no objective measurement for what he’s saying, just his opinion.  Well, I guess that’s what blogging is all about – slinging shit at other people.  The overall tone of the BoingBoing piece was reasonable enough but this reader comment was just bullshit.

Let’s see if we can objectively recap what happened.  ZeFrank does a daily show where he gives humourous takes on current events.  Colbert has a daily show where he… you guessed it… gives humourous takes on current events.  They both make an incredibly obvious joke about a current event.  The fact that ZeFrank got his version out first does not give us a straight line to Colbert ripping him off.  Admittedly, if I did a joke on my blog and then saw the same joke on a TV show a day later I’d be pretty spaced.  I might even suspect I’d been ripped off.  To his credit, ZeFrank doesn’t seem to be making a big deal about it.

If you think about it, for this story of a deliberate rip-off to be true, The Colbert Report’s writers, producers and Colbert himself would have to be stupid enough to think they could steal from one of the most popular video bloggers on the net and get away with it.  Possible but not very fucking likely.  And seeing someone big-note themselves and go on about how Colbert is unoriginal just pisses me off.  It’s an absolutely predictable backlash against someone who’s popular – it always happens.  Someone tries to build themselves up by tearing someone else down.  Real responsible, BoingBoing. 

Like I should complain.  I say worse things all the time.

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Filed under Colbert, Internet, Video Blogging

Funny Search Results

One of the things I do while obsessively trying to broaden my blog readership, spread the angry meme and take over the world is check to see what search terms land people on my blog.  Predictable enough, many of the searches include some variant of "angry" but some of criteria that result in search engines pointing people here are more intriguing, if not downright funny.

No surprises that writing about Stephen Colbert in the last week has been good for attracting readers although this has more been the case with blog aggregators like Technorati than search engines like Google.  I hope I haven't been too cynical on this front – the longer pieces I've written have been heartfelt and I've kept the jokey littering of Stephen Colbert keywords and tags to a minimum.  Except then.  That double reference to Stephen Colbert was a little gratuitous.  So was that.  Anyway, join the Church of Colbert.

Some other search terms that have given me a smile (or puzzled me) are:

"Words to use when angry" – I hope they meant angry words to use for venting, they're in the right place for that.  If they were looking for calming words, they're shit out of luck.

"How to calm angry teenagers" – ummm, sorry, you fucked up there.  I'm no help to you on that front.

"Why does a year have 365 days?" – this one threw me for a while.  Then I worked out it was from the blog title.  There were four variations on this so I suspected this may have been some sort of school project somewhere.  If that was the case, those kids were probably all suspended for visiting an obscene site.

"guys fucking parents" – oooookay.  I really don't think I want to meet that person.

Search engines are weird.

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Filed under Colbert, Internet

Stephen Colbert Nude Sex Teen Orgy

I was reading Mutant Cat's blog and decided I could one-up her on the attention grabbing post title.

So aside from silly search engine manipulation games, I wanted to alienate some readers today.  Well, actually I don't really want to alienate readers but I suspect my angry rant today can't help but put some people offside.  The reason is statistically, it's a safe bet that at least 25% of people reading this blog are smokers and there's no nice way to say this: smoking is really fucking stupid.

I recognise that the previous sentence is technically inaccurate: there are potentially many nice ways to say smoking is stupid.  Fucked if I can be bothered coming up with one though.

Smoking is expensing, stinky, disgusting, insulting and offensive to people around you, destroys your quality of life and ENDS UP FUCKING KILLING YOU!  Usually in a slow, painful, disgusting manner.  There is no rational defence to smoking.  It isn't a personal choice that you should have the right to.  Unless you want to limit your smoking to a closed room somewhere AND NEVER FUCKING DO IT IN PUBLIC WHERE I HAVE TO PUT UP WITH IT!  Seriously, if you want to assert your right to smoke do it in your own home and don't interfere with my fucking right to breathe!

And fuck the idea of smokers' rights!  What about axe murderer's rights?  Axe murderers kill way less people than smoking (like, several million less) but the law is all over axe murderers.  The best I can hope is that bans on smoking in public places continue to spread.  Count yourself lucky smokers, axe murderers aren't even able to indulge in the privacy of their own homes without "the man" getting all up in their face.

The only downside to banning smoking in public is that prohibition gives it an aura of rebellion.  To really fucking stupid people.  I might add that these stupid people are often very intelligent in almost every other aspect of their life but they make this one really dumb choice.  I remember a quote from Timothy Leary where he said something along the lines that when he was once told it was illegal to smoke in an airport, he blew smoke in the person's face saying he was "proud to be a criminal".  And if I'd been there I would've been proud to smack him in the fucking mouth for saying something so irredeemably stupid.

If you want to make me really angry, proclaim that you're a radical lefty while smoking.  Yeah right, you're radical.  While supporting some of the biggest most corrupt corporations on the planet who kill people with their lies, coerce third world farmers into growing the cash crop of tobacco rather than food that might actually keep people alive and refuse to accept their moral responsibility for marketing a product whose sole side effect is death.  There is no safe level of smoking.

The only justification I'll listen to from a smoker is "I got suckered into smoking and now I'm hopelessly addicted to this disgusting habit and I'm incapable of giving up."  Anything else is bullshit.  And the only justification I'll accept from someone who insists on screwing up public spaces with smoking is "This is a suicide attempt – I want you to strangle me."

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Filed under Colbert, General Angriness

The Church of Colbert

One week on and Stephen Colbert is no less a god and the US media and right wingers are no less a pack of weenies. So I have decided to make it official.

I am convening the international inter-faith non-demoninational Church of Colbert.

He is the god of all who want to stand up to bullies and the patron saint of bravery. You don't have to renounce any other faith to join the Church of Colbert just take the daily challenge:

Did I do anything today that measures up to facing down the president of the United States and calling him a lying sack of shit to his face?

I know for myself the odds are the answer will always be no. But keep trying. Maybe you can do better.

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Filed under Colbert, Comedy, Internet, Politics

What’s in a Name?

OK, I've had enough with the cynical exploiting of the fact that Stephen Colbert is the number one topic in the blogosphere at the moment. I've said all I need to about Stephen Colbert. Just because mentioning Stephen Colbert means that new people might find my blog I'm not blogging about Stephen Colbert today.

Stephen Colbert.

What I really want to blog about today is how some parents make me angry because of the stupid names they choose for their kids. Now, a lot of people will say names are a personal thing and there is no right and wrong. To a degree, they're right. Names are personal – for the kid. I have a simple rule when choosing kid's names: will it get the kids beaten up at school? This is not even a recent problem – anyone remember Johnny Cash singing "A Boy Named Sue"? If you can't honestly answer that the name isn't going to result in noogies and swirlies for years on end, then you're staring down the barrel of a cheap-ass nursing home. Kids will get their revenge, it's only a matter of time.

But if you really want to make me angry, spell a name wrong. My daughter has a traditional Irish name that a lot of people seem to have a real fetish for spelling wrong. They don't spell it "differently", they don't spell it "creatively", they aren't being "individual" – they're wrong! I could spell "chair" as "Khaiyre" and that wouldn't make me creative – it would make me a bad speller.

It's bad enough calling a kid Salange, Jayleen or Shaniqua (all real names of people I've met) but spelling names wrong is opening up a world of pain. These sorts of names don't make your kid "memorable" to people, at least not in a good way. People don't remember made-up names and they don't remember how to spell misspelled names. People will end up having conversations about that go "And how about whatshername, you know, Weirdy McWeirdname."

And you get to look forward to a lot of christmases alone wondering why your kids never visit. It's because they're in bars abusing their stupid fucking parents for ruining their lives. And they're looking for the shittiest, most disease ridden nursing home in the world to lock you away in.

To end on a light note: have you ever met someone with a funny name and you realise the parent probably didn't consider it was funny? Because their parent's minds weren't as twisted as yours? I went to school with a girl called Kerry Hunt. If that isn't funny to you, look up spoonerism on Wikipedia.

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Filed under Colbert, General Angriness