This Is Twittering: Meta-commentary Digest, Episode 24

Follow me on Twitter, or die trying: @thisisconlan.

WORDPLAY:

If you saw an actual “laugh riot”, you wouldn’t think it was so funny.

Speaking of dying: [something about “died laughing”].

REACTION:

I love how people describe their pet peeves by sarcastically saying “I love how [whatever it is they don’t like].”

Oh, I get it. You’re being sarcastic. You said you love something, but—in reality—you don’t. How clever! Saying one thing and meaning another. You must be really smart. With intellect like that, I bet you’re really good-looking too. I admire you soooo much. Can you teach me how to do that? I’d be very grateful. I am so impressed.

WISDOM:

Humans have a seemingly unlimited capacity for self-delusion. And I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who realizes this.

This is the type of thing I love. I start with a statement that’s true—maybe even insightful. Then I comment on that statement with joke that satirizes the insight by seemingly negating it.

I try to do this in a way that isn’t immediately apparent. To someone who is particularly literal-minded (and isn’t aware of my penchant for meta-commentary), my “only person to realize” claim may just seem like an egotistical remark. If they think about it more, it will seem unintentionally ironic. Then if they think about it even more (and do a little background research), the intentional irony becomes clear, and they’ve caught up with the actual joke. I am awesome.

STUPID:

Every calendar is a word-a-day calendar if you don’t know the names of the days of the week.

This joke was awkwardly phrased. But it’s the same structure as the late comedian Mitch Hedberg’s joke: “Every book is a children’s book if the kid can read.”

Along the same lines: everybody is a volunteer firefighter if their own stuff is on fire.

Et cetera.

WISDOM:

“Slow and steady” only wins the race if all the racers are too stupid to realize that “fast and steady” is also an option.

But it’s not really an option for everybody.

REACTION:

Well, it’s official: the word “official” is officially meaningless.

People use the word official in quips like this (i.e., when they actually mean something like as far as I’m concerned, rather than authorized by some recognized authority) and it rubs me the wrong way. But it bothers me even more when it’s incorrectly used in a context where it could be interpreted properly.

For example, if you said “I am officially sick of TV shows about cops ‘with attitudes’,” most people wouldn’t assume you submitted a proposal to the People Who Watch TV Shows About Cops “With Attitudes” Governing Board and they decreed that you are, in fact, sick of those shows. Instead, they’d just think that you didn’t like those TV shows and were explaining your distaste in a colorful way. But if you started a fan website for your favorite TV show, Justice To The Max!, and labelled it “the official Justice To The Max! website”, people would probably assume that it was authorized by the show in some way. That’s when you start getting into real trouble.

REACTION:

The columbine: the official flower of lyricists who want to sing about pretty flowers but still keep a subversive edge.

I actually only heard one song that referenced a columbine flower, so it may not really be official. But it just seems like a gratuitous choice, since (for people of a certain age) it immediately conjures up memories of the 1999 Columbine school shootings. I can’t imagine this fact was lost on the songwriter, so I assume he or she chose it intentionally for some visceral effect. (It’s not like “columbine” rhymed with anything.)

REACTION:

I hate social media. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering how much I hate society.

I actually love social media—as long as I don’t have to use it the way social media experts tell me I have to. But the part about hating society is true… or is it?

WORDPLAY:

Something about malignant humor and a self-deprecating tumor.

Sometimes I don’t want to think of an actual joke. Why do I always have to do all the work? You figure it out. That’s the idea behind my patented #MidnightDump.

STUPID:

Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

Unless you mean it metaphorically.

I have to admit, that’s a pretty damn good metaphor.

It really is.

REACTION:

People sure seem to hate their friends.

Everyone likes to get together and complain about other people. What makes you think they stop when you aren’t around? Are you getting paranoid yet?

STUPID:

The vegetables we call “red” are actually purple.

Yet another reminder of society’s oppressive patriarchal underpinnings.

This is a joke about two things. Possibly three.

First: the observation that red onions and red cabbage, for example, are purple. Second: the idea that colors can have gender. Third: the idea that some people actually do think that colors have gender. Fourth: the idea that some people are always looking for new ways to feel oppressed. Fifth: the idea that some people think that society is not inherently discriminatory in many ways. Sixth: the idea that tomatoes are vegetables, not fruits. Seventh: airplane food. Eighth: reality television.

So, yeah, it’s actually a joke about three things.

REACTION:

I think the reason a lot of movie dialogue doesn’t sound realistic is because the characters don’t quote movie lines all the time.

For reals, yo. I don’t mind people going around spouting off cliché catchphrases, but at least try to make them original cliché catchphrases.

WORDPLAY:

Every argument about office furniture should end like this: “Therefore, nomics.”

This is a joke about ergo.

STUPID:

What day is it, and why?

The why part is the funny part.

STUPID:

Some girl told me I make “dad jokes”. I’m pretty sure she was hitting on me.

Think about it.

See, because she wants to have my babies.

REACTION:

I don’t care what you think.

Hey, did you hear me? I said I don’t care what you think.

Pay attention to me! Hey! I don’t care!

Ostentatious ambivalence: the act of making sure others know you don’t care about something, with great urgency and intensity.

REACTION:

There’s nothing as unsexy as a person *trying* to be sexy.

Which is probably why I’m so lonely.

The last part is just a joke (I’m so lonely for reasons that are completely unrelated), but the first part is damn true. When I see someone trying to be sexy, on TV or something, I just feel uncomfortable for them. I instinctively reject things that seem forced. And I think sexiness is inherently effortless.

WISDOM:

Some people see the world as black and white, but they’re only half right.

The world is really black and blue.

STUPID:

It’s too bad people are so closed-minded, because I know a bunch of great racist jokes.

The old switcheroo. Racism is the thing that’s closed-minded. The part you may have missed: I do think some people are so sensitive to the issue of racism that they think anything that has to do with racism is racist. I disagree. Racism is absurd, and absurdity, to me, is funny. And funny is not the opposite of serious.

REACTION:

I have an idea for a TV show about a cop — wait, let me finish! This isn’t your typical cop show. It’s about a cop *with an attitude*.

Every TV show has characters. But the best TV shows have characters. Know what I mean?

STUPID:

Always a chambermaid, never a chamber.

This doesn’t make any sense… or does it?

WISDOM:

It’s better to have loved and lost than to have been tortured and burned alive.

This is debatable, but probably true.

REACTION:

Mom always said, “If you can’t say anything nice, make sure you comment anonymously.”

The internet, you know?

WISDOM:

If you ask me, we’re all far too outraged and not nearly enough in-raged.

I firmly believe the world would be a much better place if we all hated ourselves as much as we hate other people. It might only be better because we’d all be dead by suicide, but, hey, better is better.

REACTION:

Somewhere between the sixth and ninth time you say you’re “not going to beg” for something, the universe explodes.

This statement has not been evaluated by physicists.

WISDOM:

Pro tip: If you aren’t 100% sure of a word’s meaning, use a simpler word. If you *are* 100% sure of a word’s meaning, use a simpler word.

To my ear, nothing sounds more stupid than a person trying to sound smart and using a big word incorrectly. Ironically, they’d sound a lot smarter if they just used simple words (correctly, of course). But even for people who do use words correctly, it’s almost always a good idea to use the simplest language that accurately conveys your meaning. (I’m as guilty of not doing this as the next person. Sometimes I think in relatively complex language, so I try to simplify it when I write. It doesn’t always work out.)

WISDOM:

I don’t know much, but I do know that none of us know what we’re talking about.

Have you noticed any recurring themes in my meta-commentary?

REACTION:

I’m too smart to believe ridiculous conspiracy theories. I only believe the true ones.

Or maybe that’s just what they want us to think.

WISDOM:

My low self-esteem is one of the things that makes me awesome.

This is a good one.

STUPID:

I just think it’s disrespectful how they continue to show reruns of Oprah, God rest her soul.

This is funny because Oprah isn’t dead… or is she?

STUPID:

If I had a nickel for every time I sneezed, that’d be weird because — are those nickels coming out of my nose?

It’s like a magic trick!

STUPID:

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “If I had a nickel for every time…”, we’d probably break even.

I’m no good with money.

REACTION:

Did you know that the prince and princess spent the Fourth of July in *Canada*? I don’t care what their excuse is, that’s just un-American.

Typical liberals.

REACTION:

How come the Internet histories of suspected murderers never reveal searches for “how to avoid being incriminated by my Internet history”?

Idea for a T-shirt: “NERDS DO IT IN INCOGNITO MODE.” Where “it”, of course, refers to murder research.

STUPID:

Idea for a game show: Crash Cab. Unsuspecting tourists hail a taxi and, once they’re inside, it crashes. (executive produced by @aplusk)

Crashing is funny.

That concludes this much-too-long episode of This Is Twittering: Meta-commentary Digest.