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    Friday, June 22, 2007

    Rant: Deface The Nation

    It’s not like it was the first time I checked out a library book and discovered that someone had written in it. I often find scratches in the margins, usually some private code I was never meant to understand.

    Still, it’s odd to open a non-fiction book and find ‘ALL LIES’ scrawled on the first page of text. Stranger still to realize that the phantom scribbler actually agrees with the author and is trying to back him up. You’d think lucid, machine-printed prose would be enough.

    I flipped through the book and found several more unnecessary contributions. Fortunately, they were made in pencil. (True believers use ink.) The several minutes I spent erasing made me feel like a good citizen. Next time I’ll wait and do it in the library, so as to lead by example.

    I get the same feeling removing a new type of spam comment that’s cropping up around here. Recently I made an idle crack about the ad campaign for an upcoming fall TV series that I’m interested in. I won’t mention its name again for obvious reasons. Instead, I’ll take a cue from Knocked Up and call it Shmiva Shmaughlin, whose star Shmugh Shmackman is best known for playing Shmolverine in the Shmex-Men movies.

    Since then, I’ve gotten numerous “comments” that are excerpts from newspaper articles about how the show might fare in the ratings. Said “comments” have been deleted. My house, my rules. And if said “comments” keep turning up, maybe I won’t watch the show after all. Take that, ShmeeBS.

    On The Web: Cultural Ignorance

    From Andrew Sullivan comes this post by Ilya Sonin on “rational ignorance of pop culture.” It was prompted by Forbes’ list of the top 100 celebrities as determined by pay and media exposure. Sonin hadn’t heard of 26 of them, the highest being Jay-Z at #9.

    Big surprise: I knew 98. I’d heard of Michael Schumacher (#25), but not his Formula One cohort Kimi Raikkonen at #41. I also couldn’t place motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi (#58); clearly I don’t follow motor sports. I’m going to give myself Rhonda Byrne at #93. Her name was familiar, and I knew she had something to do with self-help, but I had to click on the link to see that she’s one of the people peddling that mystical hooey The Secret. Why not test yourself?

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    I have come in at a lowly 94. My score would have been worse, but I gave myself credit for "either a golfer or a tennis player."


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