Archive for ‘Humor’

April 9, 2020

Lies, Damned lies, and Statistics

How to Lie with Statistics

Lies, damned lies, and statistics‘ is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also used colloquially to doubt statistics cited to prove an opponent’s point.

The phrase derives from the full sentence, ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’ It was popularized by Mark Twain and others, who mistakenly attributed it to the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. The true originator is uncertain, but it has, at times, been attributed to an anonymous writer in mid-1891 and later that year to English politician Sir Charles Dilke.

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March 16, 2020

Weird Al Yankovic

UHF

Weird Al Yankovic (b.1959) is an American musical comedian whose humorous songs make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts; original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts; and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.

Since his first-aired comedy song in 1976, he has sold more than 12 million albums (as of 2007), recorded more than 150 parody and original songs, and performed more than 1,000 live shows. His works have earned him five Grammy Awards and a further eleven nominations, four gold records, and six platinum records in the United States. Yankovic’s first top ten Billboard album (‘Straight Outta Lynwood’) and single (‘White & Nerdy’) were both released in 2006, nearly three decades into his career.

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March 4, 2020

Pigasus

Yippies

Pigasus was a 145-pound (66 kg) domestic pig who was nominated for President of the United States as a theatrical gesture by the Youth International Party in 1968, just before the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The youth-oriented party (whose members were commonly called ‘Yippies’) was an anti-establishment and countercultural revolutionary group whose views were inspired by the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s, mainly the opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

Yippies were known for using dramatic theatrics in their demonstrations, and they used Pigasus as a way to mock the social status quo. At a rally announcing his candidacy, Pigasus was confiscated by Chicago policemen and several of his Yippie backers were arrested for disorderly conduct.

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February 29, 2020

Chapo Trap House

The Chapo Guide to Revolution

Chapo Trap House is an American political podcast founded in 2016 and hosted by Will Menaker, Matt Christman, Felix Biederman, Amber A’Lee Frost, and Virgil Texas. The podcast became known for its left-wing contentious commentary in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The show is closely identified with Twitter culture and with the ‘dirtbag left,’ a term coined by Frost to refer to a style of left-wing political contentious discourse that eschews civility for its own sake in favor of subversive, populist vulgarity. The show is produced by Chris Wade and formerly by Brendan James.

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February 27, 2020

Milkshake Duck

Milkshake Duck by Ben Ward

Milkshake Duck is an Internet meme that describes phenomena that are initially perceived as positive but later revealed to be flawed. Oxford Dictionaries defined the term as ‘a person or character on social media that appears to be endearing at first, but is found to have an unappealing back story,’ but did not consider usage of the neologism to be sufficiently long-lived or widespread to warrant inclusion in their dictionaries.

The term has been connected to ‘cancel culture,’ a growing trend of call-out culture on social media resulting in celebrities being ostracized and careers abruptly derailed by publicized misconduct.

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January 25, 2020

Stand-up Comedy

Lenny

Stand-up comedy is a comic style in which a comedian performs in front of a live audience, usually speaking directly to them. The performer is commonly known as a comic, stand-up comic, comedian, comedienne, stand-up comedian, or simply a stand-up.

Comedians give the illusion that they are dialoguing, but in actuality, they are monologuing a grouping of humorous stories, jokes and one-liners, typically called a ‘shtick,’ ‘routine,’ ‘act,’ or ‘set.’ Some stand-up comedians use props, music, or magic tricks to enhance their acts. Stand-up comedy is stated to be the ‘freest form of comedy writing’ that is regarded as a fictionalized ‘extension of’ the person performing.

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January 21, 2020

Fuck, Marry, Kill

Ipsative

Fuck, Marry, Kill is a social forced choice question and answer game in which one person poses three names of people known to the other, either of people known in their personal lives or of celebrities, and the other person then has to decide which of the three they would like to have sex with it, which one they would marry, and which one they would kill.

A 2009 ‘Wonkette’ piece suggested that the rules of the game included an understanding that the player can not have sex with the person they marry, and that the person they do choose to have sex with, they can only have sex with one time. The game has existed for decades, and has found its way into popular culture.

January 6, 2020

Capitol Hill’s Mystery Soda Machine

Capitol Hill Seattle

Capitol Hill’s mystery soda machine was a vending machine in Capitol Hill, Seattle, that had been in operation since at least the late 1990s. It is unknown who stocked the machine. In 2018, the machine disappeared and a message was posted to its Facebook page stating ‘Going for a walk, need to find myself. Maybe take a shower even.’

A drink could be chosen using one of the ‘? mystery ?’ buttons and the dispensed drinks were rare cans, such as those not ordinarily available in the US or that have not been in circulation since the 1980s. Examples included Mountain Dew White Out, raspberry-flavored Nestea Brisk, Hawaiian Punch, and Grape Fanta. The locksmith, in front of whose business the machine stood, claims to have no knowledge of who operated it.

January 2, 2020

Mushroom Management

Dick Fuld by Geoffrey Raymond

Mushroom management also known as ‘Pseudo-Analysis’ or ‘Blind Development,’ is the running of a company where the communication channels between the managers and the employees do not work traditionally. The term alludes to the stereotypical (and somewhat inaccurate) view of mushroom cultivation: kept in the dark and fed bullshit.

Mushroom management is a style of management in which the personnel are not familiar with the ideas or the general state of the company, and are given work without knowing the purpose of this work, in contrast with open-book management. Mushroom management means that workers’ curiosity and self-expression are not supported.

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December 16, 2019

OK Boomer

OK Boomer

OK Boomer is a catchphrase and internet meme that gained popularity among younger cohorts throughout 2019, used to dismiss or mock attitudes stereotypically attributed to the baby boomer generation. The phrase first drew widespread attention in a 2019 TikTok video in response to an older man, though the phrase was coined years before that. It is considered by some to be ageist.

The phrase is a pejorative retort used to dismiss or mock perceived narrow-minded, outdated, negatively-judgemental, or condescending attitudes of older people, particularly baby boomers. The term has been used as a retort for perceived resistance to technological change, climate change denial, marginalization of minorities or opposition to younger generations’ ideals.

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December 10, 2019

Wavy Gravy

Nobody for President

Hugh Nanton Romney (b. 1936), known as Wavy Gravy, is an American entertainer and peace activist best known for his role at Woodstock, as well as for his hippie persona and countercultural beliefs. He has reported that his moniker was given to him by B.B. King at the Texas International Pop Festival in 1969.

Romney has founded or co-founded several organizations, including the activist commune, the Hog Farm, and later, as Wavy Gravy, Camp Winnarainbow and the Seva Foundation. He founded the Phurst Church of Phun, a secret society of comics and clowns that aimed to support ending of the Vietnam War through political theater, and has adopted a clown persona in support of his political activism, and more generally as a form of entertainment work, including as the official clown of the Grateful Dead.

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December 6, 2019

Milkshaking

Anti-fascism

Milkshaking is the act of throwing milkshakes and other drinks at targets as a means of political protest in a manner similar to egging or pieing.

The trend gained popularity in the UK during the 2019 European Parliament election and was used against right-wing and far-right political candidates, such as Tommy Robinson, Nigel Farage, and Carl Benjamin, as well as other members of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the Brexit Party.

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