Monthly Archives: May 2009

Captain Planet Theory

 

you'll pay for this captain planet!!!

you'll pay for this captain planet!!!

 

 

Growing up, kids are taught that everybody is good at something at the expense of being good at something else. This was best exemplified by the 5 Planeteers (who were later shamelessly copied by the Power Rangers). As a more specific example, Wheeler was a bumbling fool (note his untied shoelace in the picture) who knew next to nothing about saving the planet, but somehow his good heart and fighting spirit redeemed him as a powerful ranger. While this is certainly ridiculous and borderline outrageous, it’s perfectly acceptable for a children’s TV show to tell every kid they can be the best at something.

What bothers me is how people grow up and still believe this. You hear it all the time:

  1. He might be rich, but he doesn’t enjoy life as much as I do.
  2. He might be good-looking, but he’s not as funny as  I am.
  3. He might be a great cook, it’s but only because his parents taught him how to cook, I never had that opportunity
  4. He might have gone to a great school, but I’m smarter than he is
  5. Tom Brady might have millions of dollars, a supermodel wife, and fingers filled with Superbowl rings, but I bet he’d trade it all for the freedom I have in public.

The list literally goes on forever and gets more and more outrageous. Basically, the formula is:

 

  • _____ has X but Y

 

When X has no correlation at all to Y. Take #2 as an example. Why does being funny have anything to do with being good-looking? “Oh well, if you’re ugly you have to be funny to get by”. No, fuck that, that isn’t true. If Jerry Seinfeld was a fat, balding Jew he would not have been funnier as a result. In fact, the opposite is probably true. Creating observational comedy about real-life situations (generally perceived as the funniest comedy) requires actual experiences. These are experiences that ugly people don’t have. 

Ugly people don’t have experiences, they make them up. They sit in a room by themselves and create all kinds of “possible scenarios” that they think are funny because, to them, it’s just as possible that these scenarios and real-life scenarios will happen. Here’s a comic from a strangely popular website (XKCD) that illustrates my point here:

 

Im not laughing because I dont get it, Im not laughing because it isnt funny

I'm not laughing because I don't get it, I'm not laughing because it isn't funny

Oh wow, it’s observational comedy on a ridiculous contrived situation that requires Wikipedia-first-paragraph knowledge of Fibonacci Numbers to understand. ISN’T THAT FUNNY? FUCK NO!

 

95% of the people who laugh at this will never come close to getting married

95% of the people who laugh at this will never come close to getting married. The other 5%: Battle Trolls

Conclusion: there are more “Captain Planets” out there than Planeteers. Most of the time, the people who are better than you at something are better than you at mostly everything. The guy who is better than you at X is probably smarter than you, funnier than you, enjoys life more than you, and (with some practice) could kick your ass at whatever it is you’re best at. 

Also, that person is not ugly or fat. Did Gaia give those rings to any ugly fat kids? Fuck no.

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Hypothetically

 

oh shit

oh shit

 

 

Any mathematically inclined person or fifth grader either likes hypotheticals or loves hypotheticals. It examines the extreme cases of something: the limits and the boundary conditions that distinctly describe a broad situation when expressed appropriately. I’ve found that the people who don’t like them tend not to understand that the beauty in the hypothetical is in the question. The answer is, in most cases, purely academic and contributes no real value. Let’s do a few:

 

  • If you were the smartest man in the world, capable of deriving and understanding even the most difficult problems with ease, how would you spend your life? Essentially, your achievements are limited only by desire.

 

I’d venture to say most people would make a lot of money early in life, then spend the rest of life spending it (or giving it away). Fools. I would spend my youth improving my interpersonal skills while being labeled an underachiever before pursing a career in academia in my mid 30s. Chasing money is for people who don’t have any. Think about that for a second. And “making money to give it away” is only a good intention waiting to go wrong. There’s omething very ACORN about it. For the record, I love ACORN and I don’t want to wake up quartered in a dumpster. Those statements are unrelated. 

Other common hypothetical questions center around impossible scenarios involving an unlimited supply of money, super powers, time travel, or (my personal favorite) Ancient World domination. Of course ,AWD involves some kind of time travel. Also, it’s clear that toppling the Romans by creating unprecedented havoc as a Gladiator in a futuristic war suit before vowing return in a spaceship to return power to almighty Jupiter is the only way to go there. 

  • With great talent, great hair, Kanye West, and great timing, you become a music sensation/sex-symbol and women are thowing themselves and each-other at you in efforts to get some high-dollar spunk. After 3 years this starts to get old, what do you do?

There’s 4 and only 4 ways to go here and I have an example for each:

  1. Of course, it’s not just women who are after you. Gay men are also targeting your ever move. You choose to avoid both and choose to molest little kids instead. Michael Jackson is the obvious example, but I bet this happens relatively often.
  2. With men and women on your ass, you decide to take in a little of both columns. Anthony Kiedis took that route.
  3. After banging an untold number of hot girls, you tire of it and show it publically by making outrageous fashion and political statements. Also, you decide you don’t care what anybody thinks because you don’t want anything from anyone anymore and put out music that embarrasses even your biggest fans. This is Andre 3000 territory.
  4. After banging an untold number of hot girls, you mysteriously don’t tire of it and show it publically by performing the same 15 songs on tour for 13 years and counting and continue to bang replicas of the college girls you banged in the late 90s.  You wanted time to stand still and, amazingly, you’ve made it do just that. This is the Stephen Jenkins zone.

Honestly, I’d follow Andre 3000 here.

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