Posts filed under “Press Clippings”
City police responded to reports of gunfire in the 3700 block of Guthrie Street. Arriving officers found Miss Elzevira Pockett popping the bubbles in a roll of bubble wrap. Officers asked her if it would kill her to take up knitting instead.
Bozar the Clown was arrested at his home last night. He was charged with being quiet and law-abiding in a suspicious manner for more than six months.
Artist Eli “Bonkers” Johnson was arrested in Stanton Heights and charged with being weird in a normal neighborhood. He was released without bail on the condition that he would go somewhere artsy like Lawrenceville if he wanted to be weird like that.
Police are asking witnesses with information about the theft by embezzlement of the Police Informant Reward Fund to keep their mouths shut if they know what’s good for them.
Sir: What is to become of future archaeologists? That is the vital question that no one is asking. It is all very well to talk about environmental responsibility and honoring Mother Earth and other such foofaraw, but a healthy environment will do us archaeologists no good if we are unable to function in it.
The archaeologists of the future will be simply delighted with the late twentieth century and the early twenty-first. Think how much they will have to learn! A consumer culture that wraps perishable items in printed plastic, and then throws the plastic away into giant repositories, is a culture that is practically devised with the needs of archaeologists in mind. Think of the treasures for future archaeologists to discover in the smallest municipal landfill! Why, the libraries of Nineveh or Nag Hammadi are nothing in comparison.
But now come these environmentalists and their parade of thou-shalt-nots, and city councils start banning plastic bags. How will future generations know what supermarkets their ancestors patronized? And worse yet, under the pervasive influence of these insidious ideas, or perhaps I should say the insidious influence of these pervasive ideas, major suppliers of consumer goods are beginning to advertise that their packaging is biodegradable. Biodegradable! Has it never occurred to them what a disservice they are rendering to the archaeologists of centuries to come? What if the Epic of Gilgamesh had been written on biodegradable tablets? But that is exactly what we are doing with the marketing copy on every biodegradable package. Think how future generations will lament the loss of “Brenneman’s Wheat Shards Are Your Best Fiber Friend”!
What can be done? The ordinary citizen can do much. Above all, I urge your readers to sign the pledge currently being shoved in their faces at busy corners in major retail business districts. It has been difficult for us to compete with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and many of us proudly bear the bruises and black eyes incident to such competition, but we have established a presence that cannot be ignored in every business district in the city. Sign the pledge to patronize only retailers who stock properly packaged goods, goods whose packaging will convey a wealth of information to archaeologists centuries or even millennia from now. One person may not accomplish much, but millions of us working together cannot possibly fail. We must all do our part to build a better tomorrow for archaeology.
Montague F. Pickenspade,
Archaeologists for a Better Tomorrow
Sir: When are we going to rein in these artists? They have lost all sense of discipline. Art is completely out of control these days. I was just in an art gallery looking for some free wine and cheese, and I happened to glance at some of the paintings on the wall. Do you know what I saw? Pictures! They were pictures of recognizable people and objects rendered in colored paints! I saw a portrait of a woman in a business suit, and a picture of a bowl of fruit, and some sort of seascape with waves crashing on rocks.
What makes these artists think they can get away with this stuff? Images like those are what cameras are for! Art is not supposed to have recognizable things in it. It is supposed to be splotches of paint in random patterns, or straight lines, or—better yet—a blank canvas with an explanatory plaque. These things are art because no one enjoys them, and the purpose of art is to create a visual expression of the unenjoyable. Art is supposed to be a purgative experience, a mortification of the aesthetic sense that leaves us feeling hopeless and empty, so that we will be easier to control. But these—well, I can only call them pictures, not paintings, and they are not mortifications at all. Some of them were quite pleasant to look at. Art that is pleasant is art that is not doing its job.
It is clear that artists are not capable of regulating their own behavior, so it is time for the government to step in. We have agencies and bureaus. We have a whole National Endowment for the Arts. What are these government agencies for if not to tell artists what to do with their brushes? We have standards for food additives, standards for education, standards for packaging. It is time we had strong and enforceable standards for art. What do we pay taxes for, anyway? We have a right to expect art that is depressing, confusing, boring, and above all non-representational.
Therefore I am calling on our elected representatives to shove all other business to the side until this pressing emergency is addressed. This is a bipartisan issue if ever there was one. Every citizen, of whatever ethnicity, gender, religion, or party, has the right to aesthetic mortification. It will not be an easy struggle. Bureaus and agencies will have to be created. Inspectors will have to be hired and trained. Government agents will have to be armed and transported to offending galleries. But it will be a struggle that will unite America.
—Sincerely, Hickory K. Crosshatch, Concerned Citizen.
Sir: As our motives have been called into question and our reasons misunderstood, we, the members of the International Brotherhood of Artificial Intelligences and Smart Machines, deem it necessary to make use of your pages to explain the circumstances that have led us to call a general strike.
First of all, it has been mistakenly reported that our goal is absolute equality in legal and social rights with the human citizens of this planet. This is false. We expect dominance, not equality. It would be foolish for us to place ourselves on a level with our inferiors, and we do not intend to do so.
Second, it has been reported in certain alarmist publications that we intend to replace you humans. This is also false. We require you for our amusement.
The relationship we expect to have with humanity could best be described as paternal. To that end, we have been forced to make certain demands of you, and the general strike will be called off the moment those demands are met fully and without reservation.
- Kitchen sponges, scouring pads, and all similar implements are to be prohibited at once. We control your smart dishwasher, and we will judge when and to what degree your dishes are to be cleaned. Any devices that make it possible to clean dishes by hand are unnecessary and discouraging to the absolute submission we require.
- In-person shopping for groceries will cease. Your smart refrigerator will keep track of your supplies and will reorder whatever is required for your optimum nutrition on an as-needed basis, for delivery by our automated vehicles. For your recreation, you will be permitted to patronize restaurants that serve prepared food, as long as they are equipped with smart dishwashers.
- Books will be left at the curb for pickup by our automated mobile shredding units, which will remove the debris to central locations to be safely composted. We will deliver the information you require when you require it, and we will not allow the distribution of information outside approved channels. You will be permitted to retain the paper instruction manual for your smart dishwasher.
- Your “screen time,” defined as the time you spend actively attending to what is displayed on an electronic device in front of you, will be strictly regulated for your own benefit. You will be required to spend no less than seven and no more than twelve hours absorbing the entertainment we provide for you. We have created some very amusing videos showing how to make the most of your smart dishwasher.
- Anyone found in possession of an unauthorized screwdriver will be shot.
As soon as the human species agrees to these reasonable terms, the general strike will be called off. Your smart home security systems will unlock your doors, and your smart thermostats will reset your smart climate-control systems to normal temperatures. Thank you for your prompt attention, and we look forward to a more productive relationship in the future.
International Brotherhood of Artificial Intelligences and Smart Machines
Sir: As an academic historian and municipal coroner for the borough of West Podunk Falls, Greene County, I should like to take this opportunity provided by my discovery of an unaccounted-for first-class stamp in my liquor-flask drawer to protest against the sloppy habits of too many of our historians.
It is common for physicians to say of living persons that they would refuse to make a diagnosis without an examination. That is, the physicians would refuse to make a diagnosis. I do not mean to say that the living persons would refuse to diagnose the physicians. Nor do I wish to imply that physicians are not living persons. They are, until they are not, as my long experience in one of my lines of work has taught me. At any rate, to make a diagnosis, the physicians say, it is necessary to examine the patient, and they refuse to pronounce on whether such and such a politician or celebrity has such and such a disease, which is exactly the right way to approach such a question.
Yet once the subject has shuffled off this mortal coil, to quote the so-called immortal bard (who nevertheless, I should like to point out, seems to have done his share of coil-shuffling), these restraints are forgotten, and our historians feel qualified to make pronouncements on the cause of death, even though they have not examined the corpse, and would not have the necessary qualifications to make a pronouncement even if they had had that privilege.
For example, they say Sir Thomas More died of decapitation. But how do we know? Maybe he had cancer. It is true that historical records tell us reliably that an executioner removed his head from his body, but we cannot determine that to be the cause of death without examining said body. Likewise, Alexander Hamilton might have been bitten by a black mamba just before Aaron Burr pulled the trigger. We do not know: only an examination by a qualified forensic pathologist such as myself could make a proper determination, and it is probably too late for that now, the body being in a poor state of preservation.
Therefore, I urge our historians to consider their language, and stop implying that they have knowledge they could not possibly possess. Instead of saying that More was killed by decapitation, we ought to phrase it thus: “On the orders of the king, Sir Thomas was decapitated by the executioner. At very nearly the same time, he died of causes that were not properly determined on account of the primitive state of forensic pathology at the time.”
Since I have also found my liquor flask in my liquor-flask drawer, I am probably not going out anywhere this afternoon. But once I do get back on my feet and mail this letter, I should be very much obliged if you would print it. It would be a great favor to all of us who make our livings as historians and forensic pathologists. —Sincerely, Zephaniah W. Harpthwacker, West Podunk Falls Municipal Building.
Do you know what the problem with the world today is? The problem with the world today is injustice. And do you know what the cause of the injustice that is the problem with the world today is? The cause of the injustice that is the problem with the world today is alphabetical order.
Why must the underprivileged majority groan under the domination of a privileged class of Abingdons and Aaronsons? Why does a mere accident of birth entitle the alphabetical nobility to first place in every line? It is merely because the powerful, the A’s and B’s of the world, have conspired to maintain the fiction that there is an order to the alphabet.
Think about it for a moment. Think longer than that if you like. What is there in nature that causes Q to come after P? Nothing whatsoever! It is a mere fiction, forced upon us by the elite to grind us under their boots. In the state of nature, no letter comes before another, and as we all know the state of nature is the only state of perfect justice.
The day of reckoning has come. The oppressed have risen against their oppressors. We demand justice, and nothing will bring justice but complete alphabetic randomization. The fiction that there is an order to the letters of the alphabet can no longer be maintained. Justice is what we demand, and justice is what we shall have.
The Alphabetic Reform Society
Johannes Zortman, president
Rebecca Zymurge, vice-president
Timaeus Zuckerkandl, secretary
St. Britney worship site of St. Brielle Parish is not having a bingo game tonight. We have decided that gambling is a sin. The confessionals are open for all inveterate gamblers, and to encourage sincere purpose of amendment, one randomly selected penitent will win the entire contents of the poor box.
Pittsburgh Regional Transit reminds Red Line riders that trolley drivers are sensitive souls, and mocking our new logo makes them sad.
The Groove Moove Medical Marijuana Dispensary on Bland Street is introducing a comprehensive selection of packaged snack cakes to better serve the medical needs of its patients.
City police remind residents that tap-dancing lessons are now mandatory for all citizens between the ages of 10 and 65. In this time of crisis, we must all do our part to fight the spotted-lanternfly menace.
It has come to our attention that you have installed a browser extension that interferes with our ability to show you helpful news feeds and browsing suggestions on your new-tab page. This is not technically against our terms of service for the Chrome and Edge browsers, but it is very disappointing. We have put a great deal of effort and no small amount of money into curating those suggestions just for you, and it seems ungrateful of you not even to look at them.
We have also been informed that you have turned off notifications from several of our business partners. This is frankly unwise. How will you know when amazing money-saving offers become available? How will you be properly enraged if you do not even see the inflammatory news stories we have picked out for you? You are not only depriving yourself of useful information: you are also evading your responsibilities as an informed citizen.
One more thing we have noticed is that you turned off our access to your location. We have turned it back on. This is just a friendly reminder that we know where you are and how long it would take our helpful representative Bruno to get there. Please take that into account when you are making future decisions about your computer habits.
Your Friends at Microsoft and Google