The Day I Defeated Gawker

GawkerThe Extroverts are trying to fight back. 

In the past few days people have been sending me sarcastic parodies of 10 Myths About Introverts. So far, they’re:

1.) Uninformative. 
2.) Insincere. 
3.) Defensive.

Familiar behavior. 

The nerds have empowered themselves and started their own little ham radio club in the school library. The jocks are mad. Maybe some more bullying will help?

It’s alright. Caity Weaver is just doing her job, getting paid to write about popular topics to generate clicks for a website. (There’s a few more for you, Caity. No problem. Keep up the good work.) And this topic deserves the continued attention, even if that attention is foolish and abusive.

-Carl.

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Dr. Zoltan: "Normal Humans" Have Invaded The Internet

According to a recent Anti-Sociology Study conducted by Dr. Zoltan Øbelisk, Normal Humans have invaded The Internet, a place which has, until recently, been a sanctuary for non-conformists, hackers, social outcasts, phreaks, SubGenii, and all other flavors of Intelligentsia (a 19th century Russian term meaning, “a social class of people engaged in complex mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture).

“There is an astronomical increase in Normal Content on The Internet,” reports Dr. Øbelisk. “Photos of Normals posing with alcoholic beverages in restaurants, photos of Normals wearing bathing suits and smiling on the beach, photos of Normals smashing their faces together and sticking their tongues out.”

Professional Colleague, Dr. Whilton Popple, who boasts a Ph.D. in Social Metaphysics, noted that, “As of August 2009, thanks to Facebook, photos of infants now outnumber photos of female breasts on The Internet, which is… remarkable and disturbing.”

Twitter, an easy-to-use social networking tool, has been flooded with meaningless minute-to-minute messages chronicling the lives of The Normals, such as, “watching TV” and “so sleeeeeeeeeeeeepy!”

“The cost of this new breed of spam is immeasurable. Billions of dollars are spent on high-speed web servers in the Pacific Northwest and this is the best data you can create for them to store? No one cares if you just dropped off your rent check, are now on your way to the bank, and then picking up some pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, tinned tuna and a bit of mayo for tomorrow’s lunch,” hissed Popple.

Up until the late 1990′s, Internet Technology was primarily used to connect networks of computers for the purposes of processing and sharing important data.

“Yeah, we mostly used it to study science, but we had some fun, too. We had all read The Anarchist’s Cookbook by the time we were 12. I mean, come on,” says Dan Silverman, a high school chemistry teacher in Fairbury, Nebraska. “I remember… once a year we’d meet up for what we called a Con. All five Boards from our region banded together and put on PentaCon. We stayed up all night eating pretzels… writing disgusting poems and feeding the text into Dr. Sbaitso. I think this was 1991 or so. Back before The Normals took over.”

But the Normals didn’t stop with The Internet. They’ve desecrated other once-sacred annual cultural events that were previous only exciting to Mutants.

“It’s a big post-modern mess. First we had The Invasion of the Normals on the Internet, and now they’ve watched The Matrix, broken through the veil between the worlds, and they’re Invading our Cons,” added Silverman, reluctantly.

Theodore Lipton, a member of MENSA and late-night restaurant cook from Ash Fork, AZ reports: “In 1970 my friends and I saved up all summer and drove across the Mojave in my mom’s station wagon to the very first San Diego ComicCon. It was uncanny, no pun intended, to see 300 people that liked comic books. It changed my life. It became a yearly pilgrimage, until 2008, when I couldn’t even get a pass because of the glut of Normals and Slutty Goth Girls. In 2009 it sold out 11 months in advance. I barely got in for one day, but 140,000 Alpha-Betas were there in 2009. How does that make any sense?”

“The end of THAC0 is like Year Zero, the apocalypse for all of us. Once they switched it all over to D20 to accommodate people who can’t do math and read charts, it was over,” says Sally Thompson owner of a used book store in Boise, Idaho.

Never fear, Sally. A non-profit organization called The War On Fun will be launching a campaign to promote Normalopolis, a Sports Complex Dome twenty-times the size of the San Diego Sports Area, with a capacity of 250,000. Sponsored by Disney / Marvel, ComicCon will act as a Decoy Convention, attracting Jocks, Lawyers, Rich Kids With Nice Haircuts And Cars, and entire families of Pinks.

According to the War On Fun website, “The Normals will be lured into paying $425 for a 4 day fun pass (also valid at Disneyland, which will be connected via high-speed rail). From there, they can walk around, get drunk, and buy overpriced, fake Marvel comic books (specially printed with blank pages) without disturbing The Mutants and their Important Intellectual Activities.

Theodore Lipton is hopeful.

“There’s no safe place left for us. Let’s pray that giant Roach Motel gets built.”

• • •

This article by Dr. Zoltan was not accepted in accordance with The Onion’s Editorial Policy.

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Social Metaphysical Dimensions

Which Plane of Social Metaphysical Existence Are You Operating On?

Illustration: Two planes of existence, rotating on separate Axes. One inhabitated by Winners, one inhabited by Losers. Each plane sees only a thin slice of the other plane. Therefore, Winners seek out other Winners. The Losers clump together and waste their lives together. Ask yourself: do you notice more Winners or more Losers around you? Do you need to change your Axis? If so, visit www.drzoltan.com

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Neal Stephenson: "Why I Am A Bad Correspondent"

The following was scraped from Neal Stephenson’s esoteric homemade website. Unfortunately, it was removed from his official pop-culture domain in favor of advertisements for his books. In Dr. Zoltan’s ironic opinion, this letter is much more important than his fiction writing.

Writers who do not make themselves totally available to everyone, all the time, are frequently tagged with the “recluse” label. While I do not consider myself a recluse, I have found it necessary to place some limits on my direct interactions with individual readers. These limits most often come into play when people send me letters or e-mail, and also when I am invited to speak publicly. This document is a sort of form letter explaining why I am the way I am.

When I read a novel that I really like, I feel as if I am in direct, personal communication with the author. I feel as if the author and I are on the same wavelength mentally, that we have a lot in common with each other, and that we could have an interesting conversation, or even a friendship, if the circumstances permitted it. When the novel comes to an end, I feel a certain letdown, a loss of contact. It is natural to want to recapture that feeling by reading other works by the same author, or by corresponding with him/her directly.

All of this seems perfectly reasonable—I should know, since I have had these feelings myself! But it turns out to be a bad idea. To begin with, a novel has roughly the same relationship to a conversation with the author, as a movie does to the actors in it. A movie represents many person-years of work distilled into two hours, and so everything sounds and looks perfect. But if you have ever met a movie actor in person, you know that they are not quite as dazzling and witty (or as tall) as the figures they play in movies. This seems obvious but it always comes as a bit of a letdown anyway.

Likewise, a novel represents years of hard work distilled into a few hundred pages, with all (or at least most) of the bad ideas cut out and thrown away, and the good ideas polished and refined as much as possible. Interacting with an author in person is nothing like reading his novels. Just about everyone who gets an opportunity to meet with an author in person ends up feeling mildly let down, and in some cases, grievously disappointed.

Authors are participants in a kind of colloquy that joins together all literate persons, and so it seems only reasonable that they should from time to time stop writing fiction for a few hours or days, and attend public events, such as conventions, signings, panels, seminars, etc., where they should exchange ideas with other authors and with other members of society. Therefore, authors such as myself frequently receive invitations to do exactly that.

Letters or e-mail from readers, and invitations to speak in public, might seem like very different things. In fact they are points on a common continuum; they have more in common than is obvious at first. The e-mail message from the reader, and the invitation to speak at a conference, are both requests (in most cases, polite and absolutely reasonable requests) for the author to interact directly with readers.

Normally, my only interaction with readers is to go to a Fedex drop box every couple of years and throw in the manuscript of a completed novel. It seems reasonable enough to ask for a little bit more than that! After all, the time commitment is very small: a few minutes tapping out an e-mail message, or a day trip to a conference to speak.

For some authors, this works, but in my case, it doesn’t. There is little to nothing that I can offer readers above and beyond what appears in my published writings. It follows that I should devote all my efforts to writing more material for publication, rather than spending a few minutes here, a day there, answering e-mails or going to conferences.

Writing novels is hard, and requires vast, unbroken slabs of time. Four quiet hours is a resource that I can put to good use. Two slabs of time, each two hours long, might add up to the same four hours, but are not nearly as productive as an unbroken four. If I know that I am going to be interrupted, I can’t concentrate, and if I suspect that I might be interrupted, I can’t do anything at all. Likewise, several consecutive days with four-hour time-slabs in them give me a stretch of time in which I can write a decent book chapter, but the same number of hours spread out across a few weeks, with interruptions in between them, are nearly useless.

The productivity equation is a non-linear one, in other words. This accounts for why I am a bad correspondent and why I very rarely accept speaking engagements. If I organize my life in such a way that I get lots of long, consecutive, uninterrupted time-chunks, I can write novels. But as those chunks get separated and fragmented, my productivity as a novelist drops spectacularly. What replaces it? Instead of a novel that will be around for a long time, and that will, with luck, be read by many people, there is a bunch of e-mail messages that I have sent out to individual persons, and a few speeches given at various conferences.

That is not such a terrible outcome, but neither is it an especially good outcome. The quality of my e-mails and public speaking is, in my view, nowhere near that of my novels. So for me it comes down to the following choice: I can distribute material of bad-to-mediocre quality to a small number of people, or I can distribute material of higher quality to more people. But I can’t do both; the first one obliterates the second.

Another factor in this choice is that writing fiction every day seems to be an essential component in my sustaining good mental health. If I get blocked from writing fiction, I rapidly become depressed, and extremely unpleasant to be around. As long as I keep writing it, though, I am fit to be around other people. So all of the incentives point in the direction of devoting all available hours to fiction writing.

I am not proud of the fact that some of my e-mail goes unanswered as a result. It is never my intention to be rude or to give well-meaning readers the cold shoulder. If I were a commercial best-seller, I would have enough money to hire a staff to look after my correspondence. As it is, my books are bought by enough people to provide me with a sort of middle-class lifestyle, but not enough to hire employees, and so I am faced with a stark choice between being a bad correspondent and being a good novelist. I am trying to be a good novelist, and hoping that people will forgive me for being a bad correspondent.

Dr. Zoltan is now obsessed with Logical Fallacies. Visit http://www.drzoltan.com/blog to find out more.

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Tim Ferriss: Honesty And Die Hard Fans

Tim Ferriss: “If you have any skills and you’re just as honest with your audience (or potential audience) as you would be with friends after 2 drinks, you’ll have die hard fans. You’ll also have people who decide you are the anti-Christ.”

Dr. Zoltan is now obsessed with Logical Fallacies. Visit http://www.drzoltan.com/blog to find out more.

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Meme Crisis! The Island of Dr. Zoltan?

Dr. Zoltan has discovered a Spanish-Language blog by a creature who calls himself Lord Zoltan! He has his own series of cartoons (and you can read about these courtesy of Google Translate) called The Island of Dr. Zoltan! Also note his use of the term, “Meme Crisis.” Fascinating! Dr. Zoltan is proud to appear in multiple cultural costumes across Endless Time. 

Dr. Zoltan is now obsessed with Logical Fallacies. Visit http://www.drzoltan.com/blog to find out more.

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Dr. Zoltan on getFreshMinds!

Katie Konrath at getFreshMinds has written a blog about Dr. Zoltan’s 81 Ideas On Creative Career

Her site was recently named one of the top Innovation Blogs by Guy Kawasaki’s site, AllTop

Subscribe to getFreshMinds in your favorite RSS Reader!

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Are You The Same Enough To Be Different?

Are You The Same Enough To Be Different?

Humans have a hard time perceiving differences between one thing and another unless they are mostly the same. 

How much difference is there between:

Coke and Pepsi?
Sprite and 7up?
Ford and Chevy?
Forks and Spoons?
Dogs and Cats?
Star Wars and Star Trek?
Blondes and Brunettes?
Los Angeles and New York?
Mac OS and Windows?
Community Radio and Commercial Radio?
Republican and Democrat?
Condenser and Dynamic?
Lakers and Celtics?
Serif and Sans Serif?
Gibson and Fender?
Heterosexual and Homosexual?
Angels and Demons?
AM and FM?
English and Spanish?
Vegetarian and Carnivore?
McDonalds and Burger King?
Islam and Christianity?
Ketchup and Mustard?
DVD and Blu-Ray?
Yin and Yang?
White Wine and Red Wine?
Socialist and Capitalist?
Coffee and Tea?
Men and Women?
Rich and Poor?

Not much. Their fundamental sameness makes all the difference!

{ This post was written and approved by Dr. Zoltan! When your hearing starts to go, visit http://www.drzoltan.com/blog. Or just drink some Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda. It will help stabilize your psychotic mood swings. }

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Dr. Zoltan Featured In Mike And Ike Video Game!

The music of Dr. Zoltan Presents: Sir Millard Mulch’s Fanatical Video Game Retroverse has been licensed to Mike And Ike’s new video game, “Lemonade Blends Blitz.”

Play the game:

http://apps.facebook.com/mikeike_blitz/

{ This post was written and approved by Dr. Zoltan! If you believe that country folk are civilized, visit http://www.drzoltan.com/blog. Or just eat some candy that has been sitting around for 50 years. }

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Dr. Zoltan Letter Read On 2600 Podcast, July 8, 2008

Dr. Zoltan was once again honored for his email-typing skills on the July 8, 2008 Edition of 2600 Magazine’s “Off The Wall” Podcast, hosted by Emmanuel Goldstein. Listen to the show, and at 50:16 you will hear it! 

off_the_wall__20080708.mp3

And for those of you in the NYC area, be sure to attend The Last Hope at Hotel Pennsylvania, July 18-20. Dr. Zoltan will be unable to attend, but looks forward to hearing reports on the event!

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