One of my friends, like a real-life friend, just posted a comment fight he had with a conservative friend-of-a-Facebook-friend over the issue of transsexual access to restrooms. 

I remember talking with an online friend once and I said My kids will not watch television, it’s a huge waste of time and intellect and it stiffens the brain. She said, no, I mean I agree but I have a lot of great memories of television and I wouldn’t want to deprive my children of that.

Here with a special report, is a midget, in a bikini.

I’m watching the South Park movie, which my pothead college roommate insisted was a brilliant piece of satire and we watched together all the time. His contention was the entire point of the movie was not to be funny by using R-rated language and fart jokes, but to lampoon the overreaction to such forms of humor in the face of what was deemed permissible media for kids, namely violence. Which, it’s both, fart jokes and satire, but as a teenager you’re more interested in what’s cool and kids my age were watching South Park because it was the trendy thing to do, it was cool, we knew it was funny and edgy and different and it put in an obvious amount of effort to look amateurish, and that made it cool. But the specific mis-reaction to situations involving violence–Kenny just got run over by a salt truck and Cartman says wow, I guess you can light a fart on fire, huh–and this hasn’t happened yet but soon enough Kenny’s heart will get replaced with a baked potato and it will explode and the kids will curse about it as their moms walk in, forcing them to admit they just saw the Terrence and Phillip movie again with the filthy language, and this is now the drama of the scene, not the dead kid on the table with the exploded chest cavity.

It happens several times in the movie, where actual tragedies are ignored for the obviously less important issues, namely cursing. Oh, here’s another one, Conan O’Brien jumps out a skyscraper window to his death, and the kids say did you see that? They arrested Terrence and Phillip!

I know I won’t have the strength to keep my kids from television, but I also know it would be the best thing for them. We are a generation of TV watchers who took to the internet with the same fervor for soundbites and one-liners that television trained us to absorb, that have been carefully crafted and censored to be easily digestible and have mass appeal, and we unleash these often clashing mindsets back at one another using the same learned soundbites and one-liners, because they sound like truth, as if we’re speaking truth. I won’t say brainwashed but we have certainly been conditioned. If you liked South Park before you recognized the satire — I know I did — you have been conditioned. I have been conditioned. If you’ve watched the Super Bowl without wondering why they get some super mega-celebrity to sing the national anthem, and you’ve just taken it for granted, like this is what happens, this is the way things are, then you’ve been conditioned. 

My future father-in-law likes to tease me for being a Reds fan, but as a kid it was the team on television, essentially the only baseball team in the world, to me. This is why being no-hit by the Cubs stings me so. It is, literally, an event that has absolutely no bearing on my life, my future, my health, my happiness. But it stings all the same.

I read through every comment my friend posted, mostly because I couldn’t believe how long it went on, and how immediate the responses were to each other. A comment section is not a chat window, or an exchange of texts, it’s not a direct conversation between two people, but my friend and his antagonist were responding to each other back-and-forth mere minutes, often seconds apart. Yes, new technology allows us to be notified when someone else comments on the same thread we have commented on, but the knee-jerk responses were amazing to me. Also the pointed use of SAT words from the conservative guy, like he’s used to being called dumb for his political affiliation.

More people will come if they think we have punch and pie!

‘…punch and pie.’

Later in the movie, a kid raises his hand at the kids’ meeting to save the world. Um, we were told there would be pie and punch? There isn’t any. Two kids leave.

We do not argue over the fate of the world, we argue over punch and pie.

Maybe it’s just me. I’m not quick enough to return fire on the spot like that. It’s literally the only reason I’ve never tried stand-up comedy. I don’t doubt my joke invention capability. If I picked up nothing else from paying so much attention to South Park and the like, I can satire with the best of them, but any average heckler would destroy me on stage. I don’t work like that. I have the same impulses to shout down the idiots that everyone else has, but I have to think about it for a while, I have to measure out my words of biting retort in coffeespoons. 

I went to Yardale and had a four-oh grade point average.

I am South Park’s Gregory. I am unpalatable online. I don’t engage with the people I see being horrible because I know they don’t know what they’re talking about and, more to the point, most of the time I don’t either. 

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of “Fail” videos in which people do something dumb and hurt themselves. It’s like satire you don’t have to figure out.

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