[This piece appeared here exactly two years ago and is reposted now because I am really out of words.]
’ve been amusing myself with various random idea generators for creating blog content. One of them seems to like posts with numbers in the titles, like Seven Ideas for Making Your Business Cards Stand Out, or Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Save the World. So I thought I’d give it a try, what with being desperate for content and everything.
So here is my list of four things that make me want to go and read something else altogether.
First (1) is, well, mean-spirited garbage about people in the public eye. Silent-film star now living on roadkill. Twelve beautiful celebrities who’ve had ugly children. There are legitimate stories about celebrities being serial rapists, or chronic users of performance-enhancing drugs, or whatever, without stooping to this sort of thing.
Second (2), stuff that shows an idiotic misunderstanding of basic science. There can’t be a runaway greenhouse effect on Venus because human beings aren’t putting carbon dioxide into its atmosphere. The second law of thermodynamics rules out evolution. Use of the metric system causes planes to crash. We only use ten percent of our brains. Nobody knows what electricity is. For Allah's sake, seventh-graders know better than this.
Third (3), oddball stuff that shows the writer knows nothing of equally basic history. The words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the US Constitution (but then, neither do the words “freedom of religion”). The Norse are said to have settled in North America before Columbus (no, there is evidence that the Norse settled in North America). The true authorship of Shakespeare's plays is a matter of controversy. FDR let the attack on Pearl Harbor happen to bring the US into the war. Rachel Carson urged a ban on DDT that caused millions of deaths from malaria. Israelite slaves built the Egyptian pyramids. The American Civil War was fought over conflicting interpretations of the Constitution vis-à-vis state's rights. There are legitimate areas of dispute in history without throwing out fringe notions as fact.
And finally, fourth (4), entries taking the form of idiotic lists. Like this one.