2/27/08

The Pure and the Proud



Whatever we do, remember: It’s someone else’s fault.


Owning up to our mistakes is something that we as a nation are not particularly fond of. When a sportsperson tests positive for illegal performance-enhancing substances, it’s always a set-up. When our football team loses, it means your rivals have bribed the referee. When a political party steadily loses ground to their rivals after each and every election or is implicated in illegal activities or even fails to get into parliament, the leader doesn’t resign, he (yes, ‘he’) just lays the blame on everyone except himself. When someone blames your ancestors for crimes in the past, we say that it was everyone else who committed crimes against us. In other words, it’s not our fault. Nothing is. We are pure as lambs. The Turkish minister of justice, Cemil Çiçek, said this just over a year ago: ‘We are the cleanest, purest and most innocent nation on earth.’ Anything unsavory that happens is always the result of a conspiracy on the part of our enemies.

This narcissistic national self-absolution is seen not only in the realm of politics, but even on an individual day-to-day basis. It’s quite common to see people accosting everyone around them for being assholes and morons while they themselves do the exact same thing they blame others for. People will fret about those who cut in front of them in traffic or in a queue or while shopping, and then they themselves – with no apparent sense of self-contradiction – will unabashedly do the same thing. When asked, they will explain ‘If everybody’s doing it to me, should I just let myself be a victimized sucker?’ So instead of taking responsibility for our own actions and setting exemplary standards for others to emulate, we instead expect everybody else to take responsibility for their actions first… and we’re all still waiting.

So what’s with our arrested ethical development? Perhaps it’s that what predominates in our social relations is pride rather than respect. Pride is essentially solipsistic respect, while respect is basically shared pride. The former needs no outside qualification, and is in fact oblivious to it, because it’s self-indulgent. It only needs to be defended from attack, so it’s defensive by nature. Respect, on the other hand, entails a certain conciliatory vulnerability that can be risked because you trust others not to take advantage of that vulnerability. And therein lies the difference: without that essential trust, that give and take, you end up merely a society of aggressively defensive self-seekers who view all around them as either rivals or allies.

You can see this defensive self-serving attitude throughout our society, in our tendency to belittle people, to speak poorly of those around us, to establish a sense of superiority over others, to hang out in cliques and groups, all of which are like preemptive defensive tactics to guard our pride. In restaurants, on the streets, in offices, all around us, we tend to treat others disdainfully with the aim of establishing our own exclusivity. The prime minister of the country will refer to workers as ‘lowly peons’ (‘ayak takımı’); the lady in the brasserie will treat the waiter as a peasant; when a Turkish team competes against a foreign one we will belittle our opponents when victorious; when you ask someone to clean their litter they will take offense that you’re insinuating that they are garbage collectors; ask anyone sitting behind some kind of desk or wearing some kind of uniform a question, and they will give you a smart-ass cocky belittling answer that seems to suggest that you are not worthy of knowing what they (usually don’t) know. With no trust, everyone is terrified of showing any vulnerability, which means everyone is being an asshole to each other to uphold their pride in the absence of mutual respect.

Why are we like this? One factor may be that in Turkey, we have a vertical-exclusive structure of power rather than a horizontal-inclusive one (as seen in modern Western democracies). In other words, for us, power is something applied upon you by those in higher positions above, and applied by you to those in lower positions below. It’s something applied by one agent on another, and thus is synonymous with ‘force’. This martial mentality is instigated in every Turk from an early age: father is master of mother and child, teacher is master of pupil, state is master of populace, imam is master of his flock, state bureaucrat is master of average citizen, elder sibling is master of younger sibling, male is master of female, etc. We are taught to strictly adhere to the words of our superiors, without fail, without criticism, often under threat of corporal punishment in the event of disobedience, at the same time as we are taught to treat our ‘inferiors’ with a high hand. With the resulting undeveloped capacity for critical thinking – bolstered by an education system in which you can graduate from senior high (‘lise’) without ever writing a paper/essay, being graded almost solely on multiple-choice exams – it’s no wonder that this vertical-exclusivity continues to replicate itself at every level.

So what we end up with is a sense that the position of others and ourselves is static, absolute, hierarchically determined, and thus beyond criticism. Pride becomes a guarantee of respect granted by a certain social/economic/political position and that becomes inviolable under any circumstance. Personal integrity takes precedence over others’ integrity and you are used to considering yourself beyond reproach, because those you don’t respect are thus unworthy of reproaching you. Therefore your moral right is determined and safeguarded by your hierarchical might.

And yet, this state of affairs is not absolute or monolithic either. After all, when you do actually treat people respectfully they always respond with admiration and gratitude and a smile, even with wide-eyed surprise, as if it’s something new and refreshing and unheard of. So it is possible to change our ways, and we do understand and appreciate something better than blind megalomaniacal pride. We just have to start taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions first, and teach our kids to do the same. Things can change in as little as two generations.

Inaneologisms



Anecdonapper/anecdojacker - one who hijacks another person's anecdote as it's being told. E.g. "He totally anecdojacked my story. Every time I made a slight pause, he would jump in and finish what I was about to say."

Attitude-acting - the style of vulgar hyperbolic Hollywood acting in which the character delivers his or her lines in the form of indignant moralistic mini-monologues. E.g. "I'll be damned if I'll just let you sit by while innocent people's lives are put at risk!" Usually involves clenched teeth, squinted eyes, pointing finger and prolonged penetrating gaze.

Carefare - having to act like you care when someone tells you something that's important to them. E.g. "I had to pay extra carefare when she started talking about her dead grandmother."

Catch 33 - a three-way Catch 22. E.g. "I had a coffee in my left hand, a cookie in my right, and a plate which had just slid off my lap. I needed to put either the cup of coffee or the cookie down on the plate to free a hand to pick up the plate, but first I needed to pick up the plate to put either the cup of coffee or the cookie down to free my hand so as to be able to pick up the plate in the first place. Furthermore, the cookie was too crumbly to hold in my mouth, and the coffee was too hot to lay on the polished wooden table. It was a Catch 33." (I know, this rarely happens, which is why I thought there should be a word for it when it does)

Chainbrewing - preparing one cup/pot of coffee after another. E.g. "I could tell from his rapidfire gibberish that he was on a protracted caffeine overdose as a result of chainbrewing."

Chapstick - a guy who's really into - and good at - cunnilingus (as in 'moistens dry lips'). E.g. "She likes him because he's chapstick."

Cheapdeep - person or topic of conversation that is meant to be deep and meaningful, but comes off seeming shallow instead. E.g. "They started getting into all that cheapdeep shit about spiritualism and quantum physics, comically regurgitating half-understood concepts to each other in an attempt to seem intellectual."

Chirocephalist - one who likes to stroke and handle another person’s head (from Greek 'chiro-hand' and 'cephalos-head'). E.g. "I felt patronized by my friend's avuncular chirocephaly."

Converhog - a person who keeps hogging the conversation. E.g. "I couldn't get a single word in with all his converhogging".

Cryptosarcast - one who's only capable of being sarcastic in private, preferring to tow the line in public. E.g. "Her cryptosarcastic remarks went right out the window when the others arrived as she re-assumed her usual deferential and diplomatic demeanor."

E-go Maintenance - a compulsive urge to continually check on-line vanity sites like emails/Facebook/blog. E.g. "I spent the day e-going between Facebook and my emails. I also updated my profile for some last minute e-go maintenance." A form of 'vanity upkeep'.

Envy-wishing - a reactive yet momentarily sincere wish to do something cool after you've just met someone who has done something cool. E.g. "After he told her he'd just come from a diving expedition to the Great Barrier Reef, she envy-wished a trip to Australia."

Facefag/Facehag - a guy/girl who's really into Facebook. E.g. "S/He's a total facefag/hag with all his/her ridiculous applications." Also: Facefart - writing something lame in your Facebook profile. Facefeed - to update, renew and change one's Facebook profile. Facefind - to find a long lost friend on Facebook. Facewaste - to waste time procrastinating on Facebook. Ok enough about Facebook.

Fartsponge - a person's favorite/accustomed place to sit in the house. E.g. "That's his fartsponge where he reads his papers and watches TV while silently squeezing out gaseous postprandial odors into his seat cushion."

Fartcart - a vehicle that has the lingering smell of accumulated farts inside. E.g. "I made the mistake of taking a ride in his fartcart, and boy, I see now why he doesn't carpool."

Gay-ray - hitting on or being hit on by someone of the same sex. E.g. "He totally had the gay-ray on you. Did you notice that innuendo about cream and those prolonged stares?"

Google-wank - to Google yourself. E.g. "He was Google-wanking all through his lunch break, checking and comparing how many results came up for his name compared to his friends."

Hair drops- the residual bits of hair dispersed across your neck and shoulders after a haircut. E.g. "I should have taken a shower after leaving the barber's because the hair drops down my shirt made me itch terribly all through the bus ride."

Ichthyocephalotroph - one who likes to eat the heads of fish (from Greek 'ichthys-fish', 'cephalos-head', 'trophos-nutrition'). E.g. "The way she plucked the eyes, picked the cheeks and then ate the deep-fried head of the fish made her friend wince at her icthyocephalotrophic enthusiasm." Also, ichthyocephalophobe - person who's afraid of fish heads (seriously, I know one).

Inaneologism - the coining of inane and often useless new words and terms. I.e. Everything I have listed here... except 'vulnerbonding', that's a good one.

Laziwork - extra work that arises as a result of a lazy and inefficient carrying out of initial task which could've been avoided had it been taken on with due diligence from the beginning. E.g. "The fact that he did such a bad job at stirring the risotto now meant that he had to do the laziwork of adding more rice to soak up the extra water."

Malaurosimile - believing a word means something it doesn’t because it – or part of it – sounds like another word, i.e. thinking ‘supercilious’ means ‘very silly’, or that 'inveigle' means 'to hide' (as in 'in veil'), or that 'crapulous' means 'full of crap', or that 'tortuous' means 'torturing', or that 'ostracize' means 'to turn into an ostrich', etc. Synonym of 'malaproprism'. (From Latin 'mal-bad', 'auro-ear/aural' and 'simile-similar'). E.g. "His malaurosimilar use of the word 'curation' to convey his hope that a 'cure' is found for the patient's unique malady was met with the sarcastic smiles of those around him."

Metrophor - when the metaphor is the same as the original subject (metaphor=meta/beyond + pherein/carry=transfer beyond, metrophor=meta/beyond + retro/back + pherein/carry=transfer beyond and back). E.g. "When he said that 'spices are the spice of life' I countered his metrophor with my own and said 'meat and potatoes are the meat and potatoes of cooking'".

Me-spree - a person who will not stop talking about themselves. "He went on a total me-spree to impress the two girls he'd just met at the cocktail." (often engaged in by insecure attention seekers after two cups/lines of coffee/blow)

Misbonding - when a person mistakenly thinks they’re sincerely bonding with another, assuming that they share the same views and interests. E.g. "As Mark continued talking her ears off in an effort to connect with her at the party, Dorothy couldn't help but feel that this misbonding would never end unless she stopped nodding in agreement and just made it obvious that she didn't care for his company." (Misbonding also often involves blow)

Nap-dance - when a girl starts dancing sexy all over you in a miscalculated attempt at seduction. E.g. "I was just tired and beat and wanted to go home, but then I had to endure her excrutiating nap-dance and act like I was enjoying it."

No-job - a guy or girl who isn't into oral sex. E.g. "S/he gives a great no-job every time, guaranteed." (sarcastic)

Paleopropism - an old and anachronistic word that's ill-suited to what is attempted at being expressed (from Greek 'paleo-old' and French 'proposer-propose'). E.g. "His referring to the popular kids as 'cats' and to the science students as 'poindexters' came across as a hilarious paleoproprism in their eyes."

Pocket-change - person who keeps saying they've changed, but is full of shit. E.g. "She totally pulled out the pocket-change with her 'I've kicked the habit and I just want to be healthy from now on' schtick." Usually seen in substance abusers who are keen to make a clean start but need that little pick-me-up to motivate them to achieve that clean start and who, after having made a putative clean start, enjoy celebrating their clean start with another little celebratory pick-me-up, which totally ruins their clean start. In other words, people who never actually make a clean start and so feel the need to always have to.

Poorgasm - bad/weak orgasm. E.g. "For him, sex had become a mundane and mechanical act that led to little but poorgasms at best, and just plain boredom at worst."

Pourgasm - great orgasm (unfortunate homophone of 'poorgasm', usually needs to be spelled out loud so as to avoid offending partner - in a way that 'phat' usually needs to be spelled out if used around same partner). E.g. "Their mutual excitement at having seen each other after so many years led to effusive pourgasms that left them panting for minutes afterwards."

Postcrastination - additional procrastination after one has supposedly stopped procrastinating and sat down to start working. E.g. "Even after spending the entire morning fixing his bike when he had a paper due, he ended up postcrastinating on his email."

Pratriot - a patriotic prat. E.g. "I was sick of all his jingoistic flag-waving pratriotism."

Precrastination - diligently carrying out little day-to-day tasks/things/chores so that one has more time left over to procrastinate. E.g. "I made sure to precrastinate my way around doing the dishes by having a go at them while I waited for the coffee to brew and my eggs to cook, and so I gained a good extra 15 minutes that I saved for surfing youtube."

Primoveloinebriate - first and fastest person to get drunk (from Latin 'primo-first', 'velo-speed/velocity' and 'inebriare-drunkenness'). E.g. "His competitive downing of one shot after another betrayed his primoveloinebriate ambition." (Postprimoveloinebriate - second fastest person to get drunk). Granted, it's not easy to determine who gets drunk fastest and first, but certain subtle signs like, say, moonwalking to the Beastie Boys with a soggy cigarette in your mouth and an empty punchbowl on your head while you're flashing the heavy metal hand sign is usually a pretty fair indication.

Probablem - a probable problem. E.g. "That his hand was stuck in the cookie jar just as his mother was entering the kitchen was a probablem, because he didn't know if he was allowed to eat them or not."

Redundatroph - one who eats too much junk food (from 'redundant' and Greek 'trophos-nutrition'). E.g. "His ingurgitation of three Big Macs in a row caused onlookers to marvel at his redundatrophic gluttony."

Scrababble - talking way too much about Scrabble (you know who you are). E.g. "All his anecdotes about the double triple word scores he's landed made him a terrible Scrababbler."

So-ing - the tendency to make self-flattering hints, often by letting the sentence trail off with an open-ended 'so...'. E.g. "I just came from backpacking around Sri Lanka to find that I had sold my first painting, and at a really good price too, so..."

Stereotyponym - names that sound like stereotypes (from Greek roots 'stereotype' and 'onomatos-name'). E.g. An African city called 'Ougadougou' (capital city of Burkina Faso), or a Chinese city called 'Chongqing' (city in China).

Storybore - one who tells boring stories (duh). E.g. "You could tell from the way everyone rolled their eyes when he started talking that he was a total storybore."

Suckle-chuckle - to suck up to someone by insincerely laughing at their unfunny jokes. E.g. "His attempt at laughter was little more than an obsequious suckle-chuckle that was intended to keep him on his boss's good side following his recent promotion."

Suisimile - when the simile is the same as the original subject (sui=self, simile=similar, thus literally 'self-similar'). E.g. "To say that 'rocket science is like rocket science' is neither an understated nor an overstated suisimile."

Tardisism - to regularly isolate oneself in a small cozy space (usually with books, art and comfort items) as a personal haven from the world outside, always looking forward to returning to said space whenever not there (From the 'Tardis' in BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who). E.g. "His tardisism was getting out of hand, considering he spent all his time in his room just living imaginary armchair adventures through his books and rarely answering any phone calls from his friends."

To 360 - people (usually 'pocket-changers') who declare that they've completely changed but who end up the same as before. E.g. "He said he'd given up smoking and drinking only a month ago, but I saw him at the bar yesterday and he was doing a total 360, downing tequila shots and whooping after every chug."

Travel face - the dreamy and introspective face of composed self-immersement that solo travelers get when on a long-distance journey. E.g. "The airport was filled with university students going home for the holidays, iPods and books in tow, and travel faces that betrayed their dreamy state of place transition."

Ultimolentoinebriate - last and slowest person to get drunk (from Latin 'ultimo-last', 'lento-slow' and 'inebriare-to be drunk'). E.g. "She had a tough time adjusting to the drunken conversation, considering she was the ultimolentoinebriate of the party." (Penultimolentoinebriate - second last person to get drunk; Antepenultimolentoinebriate - third last person to get drunk; Preantepenultimolentoinebriate - fourth last person to get drunk.)

Vanity upkeep - a compulsion for spending an inordinate amount of money and time on oneself. E.g. "She spent the whole day on her vanity upkeep, washing her hair, checking her emails and painting her nails."

Vulnerbonding - bonding/friendship that results from vulnerability, usually as a result of being in a new and unfamiliar environment. E.g. "Distraught over her grandmother's death, and feeling alone in her new surroundings, Elizabeth vulnerbonded immediately with fellow expat, Geoffrey, who was from her own home town, and would no doubt empathize with her predicament."

2/26/08

Things Nietzsche might say if he taught kindergarten



1. "No Charlotte, your goldfish did not go to heaven because heaven is a lie that man has conjured to alleviate his fear of reality, remember?"

2. "You know what this is Dorothy? This is the Eternal Recurrence of bad macaroni necklaces. Seriously, that’s the third one you’ve botched. You can now go sit in the weak half of the classroom until you prove you deserve to return to the strong half."

3. "I don’t care for raised hands if you have something to say, children. I want to see arm wrestling."

4. "That wasn’t tragedy kids, that was tragicomedy. Michael, your Dionysus character needs to scream louder and spin faster during the choruses. Here, drink some more wine. And Larry, your Apollo is way too passive, you sound like a democrat. Ok, maenads ready? Once more from the top: The Ressentiment of Prometheus, Act I. And this time everybody please try to say your lines without letting your eyes wander all over the place."

5. "Your coloring-in skills are way beyond good and evil Terry, but your choice of crayons is still human, all too human."

6. "Kids, what did we say about sharing? That’s right, sharing is for socialists. Now try to show a little more will-to-power and a little less will-to-pansiness… and don’t hesitate to hurt each other."

7. "Get your pencil back from Javeed yourself and stop being such a whiny little crybaby, ok Timmy?"

8. "What did we learn today class? Yes, we learnt about cooperation, sure, but what else? Nobody? We learnt that for cooperation to work, those of you with inferior faculties have to delegate leadership responsibility to those among you with superior ones and do as they say, ok?"

9. "Alright kids, today each of us is going to write our own ten commandments. The first person to transvalue all values gets a Snickers bar!"

10. "…and so Mr. Wagner lived happily ever after, secure in the cowardly knowledge that he sold out to become a Roman Catholic, living out the rest of his days in the comfort of metaphysical lies writing operatic drivel like Parsifal. The End."

11. "Why am I such a good teacher? Why do I teach such good things? Why am I a pedagogical destiny? Hm? Why do I... STOP PICKING YOUR NOSES!"

12. "Show me your drawing. Ok so this here is you, correct? Aaand this is your dog, and this is your mother and father – they don’t have hands, but whatever – and that’s your house, and this is a Christmas tree wiiiith… a bird in it? Hm, looks more like a lizard… Now Allison, can you tell me what’s wrong with this picture? Nooo, not the orange clouds. I’ll give you a hint: it has a little something to do with the underlying Judeo-Christian Weltanschaaung of this decadent depiction of untermensch slave morality."

13. "Mr. Potato Head is dead."

2/25/08

Another 80 or so things we need to stop putting up with



(for the first 101 things, click here)

1. Talking about your dreams. Am I in them? No? Then I don't care.

2. Goatees. Why do you have a muff on your face? You look like you ate a pot of honey before going down on Winnie the Pooh's ass.

3. Bicycle helmets. Bicycle helmets are very sensible, and sensibility is very sexy, right up there with other sexy qualities like caution and prudence.

4. How I Met Your Mother. How I myeh myeh myeh myeh.

5. Acting like you're great. Ok, if you're Napoleon or Picasso or Wagner or Brando or someone like that, you can strut around and act like you're great, because you ARE great. But what's with all these average everyday people everywhere acting like they're amazing? Remember: if you're doing something anybody else can do, then you're not great. You're only okay at best, no matter how good you dress.

6. Sideburns. Why did you not finish shaving your beard? Why does your ear have a moustache?

7. Feeling sorry for Britney Spears. It's time we stopped being so exclusive with our misplaced sympathy, spread the love equally, and started feeling sorry for ALL nasty stupid white-trash skanks across America. Why do we only feel sorry for the one that used to be able to dance?

8. Che Guevara iconography. This guy fought a war against all odds, co-led a revolution, took his destiny in his own hands to change the world, and ultimately fought and died for what he believed in. You, on the other hand, did not. Having his face on your t-shirt in a futile attempt at scraping some vicarious orts of brilliance into your sad aural orbit is actually instead only advertising how unexceptional you are in comparison.

9. Che Guevara idolatry. Ok, Che Guevara was an exceptional kind of guy and all, but you have to admit that he was a bit of a pretty boy compared to badass revolutionaries like Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata. Sure, the girls and teenagers go more for Che Guevara's rock-starry features and dreamy idealisms, but Villa and Zapata are like cruel, lusty, tough and terrible forces of nature in comparison. They're like the real man's revolutionaries. In fact, if he'd been born in Mongolia at the right time, Pancho Villa and his Division del Norte would have probably gone toe to toe with Genghis Khan. Awesome.

10. Neatly trimmed beards. Uh-oh, it looks like your life just lost 35 minutes that could have been spent on something other than trying to shape the perfect little douche beard. Time to step in a time machine and turn the time back to pre-douchy-beard time please.

11. Gulf Arabs are... (take a deep breath here) a bunch of degenerate sleazebags who fell ass backwards in oil that foreigners have to take out of the ground for them because they're too fat stupid and lazy to do it themselves, who can't even wipe their own asses or raise their own children without underpaid and frequently raped Filipino maids doing it for them, who oppress their own women, harass other peoples’ women, have zero democracy, consider it their god-given right to intrude and infringe on everyone's private life, who execute or mutilate people for sins that they themselves commit secretly on a regular basis, who have no rule of law, no respect for human rights, who are all secretly perverted womanizing alcoholic drug-addicted hypocrites, who like to fuck little boys in the ass when they're not betting on camel races jockeyed by Pakistani slave children, who exploit laborers to make obnoxious disgusting oversized gaudy palaces in their vapid and cultureless theme cities, whose idea of refinement is rosewater perfume, who need foreigners to send troops to save their obese hairy smelly asses when their country gets invaded while their vulgar ruling families live it up in luxury hotels, and, and... wait, I ran out of breath. Anyway, you get the picture.

12. Spiritualism. Also known as Blahblahblahlogy.

13. Brazilian wax. If you’re a man who waxes around his genitalia, then you probably seem to assume that women are attracted to big sexy newborn babies. They’re not. In fact, none of those words should ever go together.

14. Coffee connoisseurs. Oh, so French roast shouldn't brew too long otherwise it gets bitter, and Kenyan java has subtler texture than the more robust Sumatran coffee bean? 1) You should be punched in the eye, and 2) Nobody really cares that much how their caffeine tastes, just as nobody cares how ANY drugs taste as long as it gets the job done.

15. Gourmet tea houses. This is mint if you own one, because you're serving slightly flavored hot water for 4 dollars a cup, but if you're actually a customer in one of those pretentious tea houses then that means you have too much time and money than you know what not to do with, Mr. precious little anti-oxidant sipper.

16. Sports bars. Question: Who goes to bars filled with obnoxious advertising and sports paraphernalia, where Gillette commercials play on a loop on TV screens that line the walls, and all the furniture and theme décor look fake fake fake? Correct answer: Conservative yuppies with collared shirts tucked into their pants who high-five and whoop like retarded apes every time they mention their favorite NFL team or hear the word 'breasts'. However, we will also accept 'The Enemy' as a correct answer.

17. Fashion. Ooo, a $200 scarf by Yves Saint Laurent? I know, BUY A BOOK INSTEAD YOU SELF-INDULGENT FOP!

18. Gang signs. That’s what white people do when they get together with their digital cameras: they take photos of each other doing gangsta hand signs with black rapper attitudes, and then they post it up on Facebook. Why is that worthwhile? Because it’s ironic.

19. “It’s a genocide/No it isn’t” debates. Who cares what you call it? The human race is an evil species entirely composed of criminal primates who try and find any excuse and opportunity they can to satisfy their sadistic need to get off on slaughtering and humiliating each other. So how are there gradations to our pathetic crimes? How is ‘ethnic cleansing’ or ‘massacre’ qualitatively better than ‘genocide’? IT’S ALL A CRIME, WE ALL SUCK, WE ARE ALL CRIMINALS. Any crime committed by people is a crime committed by ALL people, and any crime committed against people is committed against ALL people. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can start at least trying to act better, even though it’s probably futile.

20. Cars. Automobiles have become nothing more than lazy ass transporters. We all spend at least four hours a day sitting alone in our cars cursing the traffic around us and feeling all depressed and miserable that we’re wasting our lives in these metallic death traps. Plus we’re spending all our money on parking and fines and registration and taxes and maintenance and insurance and gas. We could use bicycles instead for 90 percent of the things we use our cars for, and we’d be cleaner, fitter, healthier, happier, safer and more sociable. Add a good public transportation system and we’d be set. We already have the roads in place, now let’s just get the cars off them. We’d only use cars for intercity travel and live a fun, relaxing, sporty life everyday as a result.

21. Genius fetishism. Everyone’s a fucking genius these days. The guy who does ‘those amazing light installations’ is a genius, the guy who designed the San Blehblehbleh building is a genius, the creators of that hit new show on TV are obviously geniuses, you’re a genius, ‘no, YOU’RE a genius’, ‘no no no, YOU ARE’. See this is what happens when we have too many intelligent people with too much technology, knowledge and education at their disposal. They all think they're Leonardo da Vinci. Here’s a rule of thumb: if you do something that makes people go ‘Holy Shit! I don’t even understand how that idea/creation is even possible! Explain it to me again!’ then you’re probably a genius. But if you did something that another person could also probably do if they put enough time and effort into it, then you’re not a genius, you’re just pretty cool.

22. Carpet salesmen. I know, I know. You’re thinking “when do you ever have to put up with carpet salesmen?” but I’m from Istanbul and they’re everywhere. Here’s the deal with carpet salesmen: they’re smarter than you. They will always win. You will always end up getting ripped off. You will always lose. So, I’m not saying get rid of carpet salesman, I’m saying get them off the carpets – which they’re already millionaires off of anyway – and make them our diplomats. Send them off to negotiate deals for our country in the international arena. Put them in charge of negotiating on Cyprus and the EU. They will prove UNBEATABLE. They already speak every language in the world with an Ockham’s Razor-like efficiency, learning and using only the words that are necessary for negotiating a sale, without any excess flowery language that could be put to all that endless circumlocution career diplomats are infamous for. Let’s get them out of the Grand Bazaar and on to bigger, better, more important things. Plus they’ll all have to be either overseas or at the Foreign Ministry in Ankara from now on so they can stop annoying the shit out of us here in Istanbul.

23. Persians. Iranians are cool, smart, intelligent and talented people, despite the fact that their country sucks in general because it’s ruled by medieval jackasses in pyjamas. However, the ones abroad who call themselves ‘Persians’ are insufferable slimeballs who have to mention that they’re ‘Aryans’ every five minutes because they’re so embarrassed that they’re always mistaken for Arabs, which leaves you staring at their faces thinking “OK, if the Aryans looked like a bunch of Mexicans, only with bigger and more crooked noses, greasier hair, douchier clothes and sleazier attitudes, then yeah, I guess you’re Aryans. Bravo, I’m impressed.”

24. Musicals. Watered-down opera for tourists.

25. Jazz. Here’s some catchy elevator music that you can tap your feet to. Unfortunately, it inspires no emotion or feeling whatsoever, which basically makes it good happy superficial background music but little else. Ideally suited for pretentious over-priced bars and hotel lobbies.

26. Cows. Can you eat the entire Amazon and fart away the whole ozone layer before we turn you into nutritionally redundant junk food for overweight Americans please?

27. Casinos. Hey drunk moron, you’re about to lose all your money.

28. Dubai. The Walt Disneyland of Arabia, built on slave-labor and bad taste, is yet to unveil the longest waterslide ride in the world, that will begin on the tallest building in the world which will run through the most ostentatious palaces in the world, through the biggest shopping mall in the world, and spit you out into the most misplaced oil fields in the world. Seriously, why couldn’t all the oil fields have gone to Scandinavia instead? All that petromoney would have gone to science and education instead of golf courses built on sand for the super-rich.

29. Jordan. What’s “Jordan”? Why does “Jordan” exist? Oh that’s right, the Hashemite royal family needed some place to rule after they got kicked out of Arabia by the Saudis. Question: why don’t they just give that meaningless country to the Palestinians? Is 80% not enough representation for them to claim Jordan as their own? We're talking about a country named after a river.

30. Straight borders. Ok, any nation that didn’t have to fight for and negotiate its own borders doesn’t really deserve a country. Straight borders are fake borders drawn up by your former colonial masters. Time to create a real country now please.

31. Privatized health care. People’s health is not something to make a profit off of. Seriously.

32. People who describe themselves as big boned. Hey fatso, you and millions like you are draining time and money out of the economy because you seem to think that it’s your right to chug soft drinks, gorge yourself on ice-cream and chips, and wolf down two burgers in one sitting every time you’re bored or depressed or peckish. Time to apply a Fat Tax on every pound of flab for consumers, on every pound of produce pushed on us by junk food companies, and on every fucking junk food ad produced by advertising agencies. That Fat Tax can then be used to fund all the by-pass operations that will be necessary to keep the fat alive so they can eat more horrible food for another few years before their stomachs push up so hard against their other internal organs that they crush themselves to death from the inside out.

33. Scientology. Actually, I’m sort of afraid for my life here, so let’s not mess around with Scientology. I know they’re reading this right now, with their lawyer stormtroopers ready to pounce anytime, anywhere. It’s creepy. In fact, maybe we’d better not mess with any big evil American corporation, religious or otherwise.

34. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. You know why they’re so secretive? Because every night when they come home after spending an entire day fake-smiling for cameras, they pull off their masks made of dead human tissue to reveal their scaly lizard heads as they hiss and kiss with their forked tongues before devouring newborn babies and feeding their little reptilian daughter live mice for dinner.

35. America. What the fuck went wrong there? Why did this shining example of political genius turn into such a fucking shit hole? Why is the infrastructure crumbling, why have crazed religious fundamentalists overrun the country and the government, why do people live their lives in constant fear of foreign enemies, why are they shackled to debt and kept in docile fearful obeisance through student loans and bank loans and credit cards and insurance companies and government-backed corporate fascism? Why has your culture degenerated into little more than Jesus, money, gambling, guns and porn? Why have the American people become nothing more than a big fat stupid consumer market for big business and the government to ceaselessly and mercilessly exploit and make money off of? The problem with America is that you can’t even see your shackles, you can’t even see where the oppression is coming from, because it’s so brilliantly disguised and indirect and multifaceted and non-linear. It’s everywhere and it’s nowhere. How will America and its people ever be liberated? And from what exactly?

36. Tourists. Your trip sucks. Really, it sucks. You’re not experiencing a new country or a new culture or anything like that. You’re not having an adventure. You’re not really trying anything new. You’re completely alienated and detached even though you walk among these locals, wishing you could connect, but you can’t. You’ll have no anecdotes to tell your friends, and nobody will be sincerely interested in looking at the photos you took or the souvenirs you brought back. The locals don’t like you, they think you’re comical, awkward, even a sucker, and they’re only friendly because they’re trying to get at your money. You’re actually sad inside, deep down, because you know all this. But it’s too easy, and you don’t have more than a two-week vacation from work anyway, and it really was a good deal, including accommodation and airfare. Why not do it? Better than not traveling at all, right? But deep deep down, you hate yourself and life is sad. You wish you could travel properly, just grab a backpack and go, by yourself, and you envy the backpackers you see around you here and there. But then the tour guide tells you it’s time to visit his uncle’s carpet store, and that lunch will be served at 3:15. You take another photo of that fountain and shuffle on and disappear back into the tour group. Goodbye.

37. Visas. Why do we have to pay money to be allowed to go to another country? If I have proven that I’m not a terrorist and will probably not try and harm anyone, then why is it not my right to be able to go where I please without some organized crime syndicate (viz. the State) trying to make money off of me simply because it can and because it has armed goons in its pay who can shoot and kill me if I try and enter the patch of land they control without paying their extortion fee?

38. Progressive rock. Sorry boys, but rock progressed a long time ago, and it seems to have left you guys behind. Nobody wants 20-minute psychedelic songs with flutes and synthesizers and sci-fi themes in their music anymore. That was good in the 60s and 70s when everyone was on acid. Nobody’s on acid anymore, everyone’s on coke, and cokeheads don’t want progressive rock. They just want vodka cocktails and any kind of music that’s repetitive and unmelodious like The Strokes or DJ Van Whatever.

39. Medicine. Unless you think you might be dying, don’t take drugs that are good for you.

40. Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Iran’s very own George Bush, replete with close-set beady eyes, little hooked nose, religious fanaticism coupled with slight case of autism, and a politically spoilt childlike irresponsibility for which his people and country are going to have to pay for and suffer through for years to come. Iran’s Dick Cheney, on the other hand, is the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has to chide Mahmud and slap him on the wrist now and then to make him behave. That’s one thing the Iranians have over the Bush administration: the guy who is the Supreme Leader is actually unapologetically called the “Supreme Leader”, whereas in the U.S. he’s only called “vice-president”.

41. Sub-comandante Marcos. Here’s a tip for you Marcos: if you’re going to be some kind of iconic heroic romantic revolutionary rebel leader, you have to fight hard and die young. Otherwise you’ll just end up being a magazine celebrity who’s more into looking good for photo shoots than he is into… um, what was the cause he was sort of fighting for? Land or peasants or something?

42. Man rings. Are for pimps, freemasons and Lebanese.

43. Gold accessories. Are for pedophiles and Lebanese.

44. Silk shirts. Are for Southeast Asian homosexuals and Lebanese.

45. Lebanon. Is for everyone to use and abuse as they please, except the Lebanese.

46. Big muscles. The reason people end up with all that useless muscle bulk is because they get addicted to the testosterone and other hormones the body produces when they workout, which makes them feel sexy, which means they keep touching their muscles with one hand and jerking off with the other whenever they look in the mirror, which means they’re latently gay narcissistic wankers.

47. Neo-nazis. Don’t you guys see the contradiction here? You’re a bunch of lazy unemployed dole-bludging alcoholic delinquents, which makes you just the kind of scum the Nazis would’ve despised, and thus the first guys they would’ve gassed. That means that your oxymoronic support of Nazism amounts to a kind of suicidal masochistic self-loathing euthanasia.

48. Mormonism. Wait, wait, wait, whoa there, time out guys, time OUT. Some convicted conman called Joseph Smith Jr. declares himself a prophet who finds and “translates” these amazing gold plates on which is written the “Book of Mormon” and then the plates just happen to conveniently disappear, and that’s good enough for you to devote your life to this religion? Why wouldn’t you just play it safe and ask to see those gold plates first and then decide? Here’s my impersonation of a Mormon: “Huh? What? He said they’re written on these miraculous gold plates that were unearthed somewhere in New York? Wow! Where are they? Oh, they disappeared again? Says who? Joseph who? Joseph Smith? Ok well, fuck it, that sounds good enough for me. Where do I sign?”

49. The Pope. Oh hey there Mr. Pope, um could you please tell me how I should live my life please? Go ahead, I’m taking notes. That’s ok, feel free to change your mind along the way. So, there’s a limbo now? Oh wait, no more limbo? Shall we throw in a little something called Purgatory? Um, what about this problem with the Virgin Mary, should we just come up with… I don’t know, something liiiiike… the Immaculate Conception? Sure, that’ll cover up that little theological problem. Should we maybe finally apologize to the Orthodox Church for sacking Constantinople in 1204? Oh you did that already last year? Great, great, that’s only, what, 800 years too late? No no, I’m just saying, I’m not criticizing, just saying. What about all the people systematically tortured and slaughtered by Papal decree during the inquisition? That’s taken care of? Ok, if you say so. Wait a second, how come you live in a gold plated palace when Jesus was so poor? What’s that? You’re better than Jesus? You’re better than everyone? You’re infallible? Ok, ok, keep your hat on, just asking. Moving on, moving on. Now, how do we explain that you once took an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler? You know what, fuck it, it’s not my place to ask. Just throw me some Hail Mary’s and I’ll be on my stupid way.

50. Censorship. Dear fascist state. Please stop telling me what you think I should or should not see. I’m not a baby. Thank you.

51. What about the children? The poor innocent children are going to see everything eventually anyway, the earlier they get used to it the better, so stop exploiting them as an excuse to impose your fascist religious morals on me.

52. Reality TV. Ok ok, we get it, PEOPLE DON'T GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER. Wow, what an entertaining revelation to base a whole genre of worthless time-wasting TV on. Please stop subjecting us to sad deranged sociopathic nobodies prostituting themselves as narcissistic guinea pigs for sadistic experiments on TV in some pathetically misguided attempt to become famous. Can you imagine how shitty a person you are if you ball your eyes out crying because you didn't make it on to American Idol? Was that really the only thing that would have made life worthwhile for you? Really?

53. Greed. Seriously, the only thing preventing us from creating a good standard of living for all people everywhere is greed. We have the resources, we have the technology, we have the means to provide a house and land and water and electricity and food for everyone. Honestly, we do. So why do we tolerate people who have too much money, who own more things than you need to have a good quality of life while a billion people around the world live in abject misery? In fact, too much money and possessions leads to as much unhappiness and stress as too much poverty. So why can’t we agree not to be greedy? Why is economic growth the golden objective of macroeconomic policy – even at the price of destroying the planet – when it should instead be fair and equal distribution of existing wealth for all? Why are we all working our asses off while the world goes to shit?

54. Magical realism. Awww, it rained jasmine flowers for three days when you kissed in your imaginary village of Macondo? How precious. Do you also think of mermaids when you masturbate?

55. Postmodern literature. Gee, you wrote a whole book about silk or perfume? Are those your little designer glasses? Is that your perfectly trimmed little beard? Could this be your little black turtleneck and designer blazer? Is this your cozy little Italian university where you teach Meta-textuality and Intercultural Discourse in Post-Industrial Europe? Do you love it when your boyfriend toe-fucks your anus while tickling your scrotum with a peacock feather in between sips of white tea as you act out Kama Sutra positions between satin sheets on your futon while making pretentious fuck faces to yourself every time you sneak a glance in the mirror above your Chinese tea set?

56. Perfume. Smell like a human being for chrissake and stop spending a fortune on that stinky water.

57. Gilmore Girls. That utopian New England town they all live in should be bulldozed to make room for an interstate highway and the people who live in it should be used for slave labor - very chirpy, happy, smug and contented slave labor.

58. Lovemaking. It's called Fucking, OK? Lovemaking is just boring fucking because it involves way too much kissing and cuddling than a guy is comfortable with.

59. I'm great! Hey Mr. Go-Get'em Hotshot, in case you haven't figured it out yet "How are you?" is actually a rhetorical question to which there is only ever one acceptable answer: "Fine and you" - unless of course you happen to be choking on your own blood at the time, in which case we'll just be satisfied with your gurgling sounds of slow agonizing death instead.

60. Kama Sutra. Despite what it says in this handbook for annoying yuppie couples with boring sex lives, there are actually only four positions for fucking. Anything outside of those four are only engaged in begrudgingly by the man because his girlfriend thinks "it would be fun to try". You know why she thinks it would be fun to try? Because she's dying to make her girlfriends jealous by telling them that she and her boyfriend have an exciting sex life because they do stuff from the Kama Sutra. In fact, how successful you are at getting your guy to engage in the Kama Sutra has become the standard by which women rate each others' relationships... even though, like I said, there are actually only four positions for fucking.

61. Appropriation of great deeds by the few. We are ALL humans, therefore all human creation, all human history, all human greatness and all human failures belong to ALL of us. We are all descendents of the ancient Greeks, we are all responsible for the Nazis, we should all be proud of Mayan astronomy, and we should all kick ourselves for ritual human sacrifice and slavery and Hiroshima and 9/11. As soon as we start feeling loyalty to the few – to a select exclusive group who believe one thing and speak one language and identify with and value above all else only one segment of history and one country above everything else, who try and possess a part of humanity at the expense of other humans – that’s when we turn into CRIMINALS. Our collective human history has shown that it is only those who identify with the few who commit such abominable crimes: the religious, the nationalistic, the chauvinistic, the patriotic, the aristocratic, the dogmatic. We should no longer tolerate any of those things. We should all think universally.

62. French. Sorry France, you used to be number one, but you lost. English won. It is the world language now, and yours isn’t. In fact, you’re not even second. Before you there’s Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic. Even Japanese, German, Russian, Hindi, Korean, Persian and Turkish are – or will be – right up there in importance with French.

63. Air fresheners in the toilet. Doesn’t work. Matches work. When you spray strawberry scented air freshener after you take a dump, all you get is the smell of strawberry-coated shit. So either light a match or leave it alone.

64. People who smoke cigarettes as soon as they wake up. BARF. Seriously, BARF.

65. Looking down on Gypsies. Here’s a people who don’t give a fuck about stupid things like nationalism, country, flag, religion or making money, and who spend their time singing, dancing and being happy instead. We should look up to these people and take lessons from them because they seem to be the only smart ones among us.

66. Playboy. Too much make-up, too many accessories, cheesy rather than sexy, and way too little action. In fact, there’s no action. Boring.

67. Teetotalers. Also boring.

68. People who don’t do drugs, not because they’re against it, but because “they’d rather have fun naturally without damaging their bodies” . These are the precious sort of people who wear bicycle helmets and buckle their belts in the back seat.

69. Respecting peoples’ religious beliefs. Regardless of what religious people might tell you, they DO NOT respect your beliefs, so why should you respect theirs? You know what religious people really think about you? They think you are false, wrong, misguided, lost, sinful, and ultimately hell-bound. They think you need to be taught the truth and that they can teach it to you. They think that God is on their side always. They think they know more than you, they think they are wiser than you, they think they are better than you. And you know what they base it all on? Not science, not proof, not evidence. They base it all on an irrational unconditional submission to a belief in a ‘holy’ book. And if you don’t respect that, they will justify killing you. Seriously, they will find you, hunt you down, and happily take your right to live from your own hands in the name of their God. They will slaughter you with absolutely no doubt or hesitation in their minds that they are doing something good. I am not exaggerating, ALL religious people are capable of this. So I’m not saying don’t be wary of them; I’m just saying that being cautious and being respectful are not the same thing, and while the former is necessary, the latter is not.

70. Belgium. Why is Belgium a country? Why doesn’t everyone just do the logical thing and cut it in half, giving the Walloon bit to France and the Flemish bit to Holland? Instead we have just another country created so a lousy king can have something to rule over. It’s like the Jordan of Europe.

71. Jew-bashing. Enough with giving Jews shit. Here’s a people who have had to live as a despised minority everywhere they’ve been; who were subjected to thousands of years of slavery, massacre, pogroms, Crusades, dehumanization, and genocide; who, being excluded from politics and the armed forces and always under threat of possible expulsion from their country, have had to undertake professions (law, medicine, music, art, literature, science, finance) that could both guarantee their livelihood and also be practiced across borders should they be forced into exile yet again; who finally, after enduring a HOLOCAUST, had a small arid, infertile and shitty piece of land they could call their own and which the existing Arab population was doing NOTHING on; who had to fight and win four wars against far bigger (albeit shabby) Arab armies and all odds to hold on to their land... these are not a people to give shit to. Ok, you can criticize frequent Israeli excesses against Palestinians, who also deserve their own land and whose territories remain occupied, but keep in mind the big picture.

72. Arab countries using the Palestinians as red herrings. Do you think the Arab countries give a shit about the Palestinians? When Egypt was in control of the Gaza strip they used Palestinians as slave labor. When Jordan ruled the West Bank, did they give the Palestinians independence there? Nope. They just use the Palestinians as a sacred cause so that they can avoid ‘lesser’ issues at home like, ooo say, dictatorial repression, trampling of human rights, torture, poverty, illiteracy, crumbling infrastructure, shitty healthcare and education, religious fanaticism, to name a few. If it weren’t for the Palestinians’ ongoing sorry plight, Arabs in other countries would start holding their governments to account because they would see that their living standards aren’t much better than that of the Palestinians, and that they only seem to be better off because at least they have their own country. That’s why no Arab country wants the Palestinian issue resolved EVER. That’s why they act tough and uncompromising, as if they were actually “fighting” for Palestinians’ rights, because they know that if they make no concessions the issue will never be resolved and their fat lazy asses will never really feel pressured to give up the seats of power they greedily hold on to today.

73. Race on the news. Um, if some asshole acts like an asshole and is caught for his assholery, then all I need to know is that the guy is an asshole. I don’t really need to know if he’s black or white or Hispanic or Moroccan, unless it’s really relevant – like Ku Klux Klan relevant, or Islamic Jihad relevant, and even then you can generally guess what race/ethnicity is involved anyway. But I don’t need to know the ethnicity of the guy who murdered his children or robbed a bank. An asshole is an asshole, and you telling me what his ethnicity is only puts gross generalizations and unwelcome ideas we can’t help thinking in our heads. Remember that most people watching are too retarded to think for themselves, so realize your social responsibility in doing all you can NOT to facilitate subconscious racial stereotyping.

74. Gentle liberals. It's time for liberalism to grow a pair of big fat hairy testicles and stop being so conciliatory in the face of hateful heartless bigoted conservative assholes who have overrun the earth.

75. Fear of the cold. Stop being such a pussy. The cold is good for you.

76. Sharia law. The Taleban applied the sharia word for word. They showed us what living under sharia would be like. So did Iran, so did Sudan, so did Saudi Arabia, so did parts of northern Nigeria. All those places are universally considered HORRIBLE even by the people living there. People are getting executed on the streets, their limbs are being lopped off, women can’t work or leave their houses or even show their faces in public, nobody’s allowed to mix with those of the opposite sex, gun-wielding ‘morality police’ (I’m not kidding) go around telling people what they can and can’t wear or do in public, and as if that wasn’t frightening and depressing enough, you can’t even listen to music or go dancing or drink alcohol! What kind of life is that? So shouldn’t those horrible (and ongoing) experiments in the application of religious law finally be considered enough proof that sharia is something everyone everywhere must avoid at all costs? Do you think another group somewhere is going to come up with the perfect sharia that everyone’s going to love? I seriously doubt it. So isn’t the moral of the story that forcibly-applied dogma-based utopian societies are a bad idea?

77. Cigarettes. If you still smoke cigarettes after everything we now know about them, then you’re either stupid or illiterate. Even the people who run and own tobacco companies aren’t dumb enough to smoke that shit they make.

78. The Eucharist. Bill Maher said it best: Ok, so let me get this straight: you live a normal healthy life, go to work, have a family, pay taxes, are an outstanding citizen, loving husband and excellent father, with a solid education… but one day a week you believe you’re drinking the blood and eating the flesh of a 2000-year-old space god?

79. Mother Teresa. This self-important hag thought she was a saint even before they made her a saint. She knew she’d booked her place in heaven. Because you know what heaven feeds on? The blood of all the Indians who died of AIDS and abortions gone wrong because Mother Teresa used her celebrity status to actively fight against the use of condoms. What a fucking kunt.

80. Mosquitos. Proof that god hates us.

81. Middle names. Why are two names not enough? Jane fucking Smith. Enough. Which Jane? Smith. Which Jane Smith? The blonde one. There, done. Who the fuck goes "Jane Constance Prudence Elizabeth Smith, that's which Jane Smith"? Uh, you mean the blonde one? Why didn't you fucking say so?