America's Greatest Thinker (Special Edition)
Part V: You Talkin’ to Me? (Your Questions Finally Answered, Sort Of)

It's high time for a little positive reinforcement. That is, this column was imagined as an an exercise in dialogue: I, the Thinker, say some preposterous shit; you, the masses and Daniel Baldwin's peter, respond with your deepest thoughts and questions via the comment box below; then I respond with little doses of enlightenment. Together, we become more expert lovers, better drivers, and -- hopefully -- a little less art faggy and/or douchebaggy.

But the Thinker committed a serious offense last week: he didn't respond to the reader comments. See, I forgot that the whole impetus for typing something in that little box was to be recognized, either in a personalized message from alphabet (in)validating your perspective, or simply through the thrill of having your fake name appear on the Internet, so that you might suggest to the girl ignoring you at the Deerhoof show that she Google it for proof that someone has actually listened to you before, a good argument in favor of her maybe also listening to you. Maybe, I mean, if she's not doing anything later. Or whatever, she can just have your number and call you whenever. I mean, because you're usually free. So whatever time is good for her. Oh and here's a link to your blog. Okay, well you're going to go get a drink, does she want one. Or whatever, you know, you're probably just going to take off but you'll maybe run into her here again at some show in the future. So yeah, she can call whenever.

Naw but really, though, many of you have written with some seriously thought-provoking questions, and it's time some answers were dished out. If I don't get to you this week, don't give up hope, and maybe you'll get an answer someday.

Okay, well a lot of you wrote in asking for a cure for hypercelibacy; unfortunately, this is an area where I don't have much experience, and my best answer involves moving to South Carolina and ranch dressing, and it's probably more trouble than it's worth, considering the seriousness of your condition. (Good luck, though.) And many of you have clearly gone to college slash not gone to college because you read enough that you thought you didn't need to, i.e. "Dave": "If it is impossible to truly understand music through any method of traditional analysis blah blah blah...?" (Minus one kudo for the wordy intro but plus two for finally coming to the point with "Why is Europe's 'The Final Countdown' so impossible to get out of my head?") But these aren't really questions so much as tragedies, so I'm going to stick to the stuff I can answer. Therefore, below you will find a few of my favorite questions from the past couple of weeks (smart and stupid alike), expertly answered, and as an added bonus, ranked on the FDA-approved boner scale. Because everything is better that is ranked by boners. On to it then.

Awesome Alex (3 Boners): "Pirates vs Missionaries: who fucked up the world more?"

Why not both? And why "fucked up"? Why not "made awesome"? Let's look at one of my favorite historical examples: The Foot Clan. Most people hear the word "pirate" and think simply "thief". But piracy is a two-way street. There are certain things that are just begging to be stolen: microwaves, eight-track cassette players, skateboards, ninja pajamas, Guns 'n' Roses albums. One could even argue that such luxuries have an inherent negativity value, proportional to their material worth, in that for the wrong person to own them is to go into a sort of spiritual debt. As nonessentials, these objects are acquired in a market economy through a transaction in which the purchaser (i.e. an upper-middle-class white woman with a good job as a network television news reporter) exchanges a sum of cash for hard goods. But this cash is merely a stand-in for her physical and psychological toil, not only the hours she must spend in front of the camera reporting the serious ninja crime wave to which she herself has fallen "victim", but the incalculable efforts of her life up until that point, from the energy she expended through positive thinking "wishing" her breasts larger (she wished so hard she passed out) one afternoon at the tender age of twenty-three, to the day 15 years later that she got her big break interviewing the sex predator who had been terrorizing a local retirement community. So now she has a microwave, but look what she's had to give up to get it.

On the other hand, these goods are not without worth; in the hands of the right underprivileged upper-middle-class white teenage boy, they represent a treasure, at least if he didn't have to work for it. And that's where the Foot comes in. Historically, the Foot Clan has been responsible for relieving rich adults of their pernicious accumulations and using the proceeds to fund youth centers, where rich kids who aren't "understood" at school can hang out with their friends in a nurturing environment and play pinball and smoke cigarettes; simultaneously, the act of theft cancels the human bond between the April O'Neils of the world and their thieved material possessions; with the eight-track goes the spiritual debt. Cause she didn't need that shit anyway. I mean, Jesus, she was just going to listen to Guns 'n' Roses anyway. It's like a double gift, and that is the Foot Clan's message of enlightenment to the world. So: Pirates? Yes. Missionaries? Absolutely. Fucked up? Not in the least. But good question, Alex.

Tucker (1 Boner): "What is it that separates photography from all other art forms? What's the one thing that makes it distinct from drawing, painting, sculpture, or interperative [sic] dance?"

You know, a lot of people have been asking this question for like a hundred years, and assuming you're American or pseudo-American (Canadian/Jewish), this really says a lot about the state of American schools. I mean, you spend what--like a dozen years?--in public schools, take all these end-of-year tests, follow a prescribed curriculum, do science fair projects . . . science fair projects. You remember science fair projects? Okay, well I'm not going to come right out and give you an answer to this one; I'll let you use the scientific method to figure it out. But I will supply you with a hypothesis, however: Cameras. You do it with cameras.

*Ben Gudorf (4 Boners): "CENSORED . . . and How has George Bush managed to not have been assinated [sic]?"

I'm sorry Ben, the first half of your question was reviewed by our parent company, Viacom, and was deemed unfit for publication due to ethnic insensitivity. But to answer you, it's really just a combination of diet and genetics, simple as that. As to your second question, hahaha, "Assinated." But seriously, I'd have to say it's a lack of Democratic leadership, and if anybody really appreciated that joke, I urge you to make a five dollar contribution to Joe Biden for President, which might just turn out to be the most absurd, offensive, and worthwhile national campaign waged in the coming years. If your donation can prolong it just one more day, just one more hour, this country will be incalculably better for it. Whatever that means.

And that's going to do it; I have to go watch that Barack Obama cigarettes-gave-you-purple-lips shit on YouTube again. High-larious. Many apologies to Heywood Jablome, who asks a very important question that will have to be dealt with on another occasion (how's that for lip service). And to those of you who think you can do better than the above-captioned tools, let it rip. Yeah, we're talkin' now. With emoticons and erethang. Wink.

Photo: Ridiculopathy.com



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Other Installments

Part I: The Challenge

Part II: Who Hearted?

Part III: Glory, Glory, Hallelujah

Part IV: The Brat-Off

Part V: You Talkin' to Me? (Your Questions Finally Answered, Sort Of)

  

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