Devil’s Guide to the 21st Century, Part 2

edited by ANDREW J HICKS

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Tony Fyler presents the following definitions with respectful acknowledgment to the great journalist Ambrose Bierce, who wrote the original Devil’s Dictionary in 1911. Read the first part of Tony’s brilliant invective here. -AJH]

Altruism: Self-interest in full camouflage.

Astrology: Entrail reading’s less socially awkward cousin.

Atheism: The understanding that there is no grand plan for human existence. Life has about as much meaning as the existence of Brussels sprouts, so everything we do is ultimately, in the long term, pointless. Still, you’ve got to laugh, haven’t you?

Baby: A young human. Also a term misapplied to fetuses, embryos and even blastocytes by those who seek to deny a woman her reproductive rights. The proof of this misapplication, of course, lies in the fact that humanity has bothered to come up with entirely different words for these different stages of life. By “pro-life” logic, teenagers too should be considered babies, and it should be illegal to destroy them. Clearly, that way madness lies.

Beck, Glenn: It is commonly believed that there are only Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. This is the result of a transcription error in the King James Bible. In reality, there are Five Horsemen – War, Famine, Pestilence, Death and Hysteria. Anyone who has watched Glenn Beck’s show knows that the Fifth Horseman is already here. Of course, most people who have watched Glenn Beck’s show rather wish that the Fourth Horseman had preceded him.

Creationism: Proof that evolution does not necessarily select for intelligence.

Cricket: One of a handful of games that would be palpably improved by the use of live hand grenades (See also: “Pass The Parcel“)

Democracy: Mob rule with suits and slogans.

Democrat: One who believes that government exists to “make life better for everyone.” Democrats are generally mystified and really rather hurt by the fact that “everyone” doesn’t agree with them.

Dumbass: A kind of cretin who, by all logical assessment, should not be allowed to walk about in the world on his or her own, but somehow, vexingly, still is. In the early 21st century, scientists revealed research which claimed that in any modern city, one is never more than ten feet away from a dumbass.

Evolution: “Just” a theory that has explained more in 150 years than religion has in 6,000.

Emo: A teenager entirely aware of its own pointlessness.

Facts: Incontrovertible truths. Their existence has become an article of heresy in the 21st century, where only competing opinions are allowed to claim validity.

Globalization: Economic system that does to indigenous cultures what a Smith & Wesson does to brains.

Homeopathy: Water. The assertion that homeopathic remedies are anything more than water is only made by the kind of people who would compliment the Emperor on the fineness of his clothes.

Hope: The patently groundless assertion that life will get better. Life ends in death. Any questions?

Insurance: Protection money with a smile and a free gift, just for inquiring.

iPad: Proof that, if left alone for long enough, even pet rocks will evolve.

Kindle: Small device owned by those for whom “books” are too complex a concept.

Large Hadron Collider: Fantastically expensive device designed to smash things together and see what happens. A technological toddler, in essence.

Media, “Liberal”: Media, Rational.

Netbook: A small computer that can do everything a real notebook can. At least as long as its batteries last.

News: A concept now in terminal decline, based on the waning importance of delivering facts impartially. (See also “Wikipedia“)

Orgasm: A state of sexual pleasure, historically the province of men. Since the discovery in the 20th century that women could not only achieve this state as well as men but more often, more regularly and arguably more intensely, there have been concerted efforts by a number of male-dominated groups (organized religion, the Republican party etc) to ban women from having orgasms altogether, and even, where possible, to redefine the female orgasm as “just a theory,” and discourage belief in it altogether.

Physics: The patient study of precisely how and why shit happens.

Quantum Physics:The reassuring notion that the electron, the fundamental building block of all matter in the universe, really doesn’t know what the hell it is but is very very eager to please.

Rap: Misogyny for the musically minded.

Religion: Onanism with chanting and the occasional song.

Republican: One who believes the government should do nothing and have no money with which to do it.

TV: A device installed in nearly every 21st century home, with the express purpose of lying to us. This can be highly entertaining, but should not under any circumstances be taken seriously.

Vibrator: A girl’s new best friend.

Wikipedia: It has long been asserted that a thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters would eventually produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Wikipedia has finally disproved this theory.

YouTube: What happens when the Internet and the movies don’t exactly love each other very much but occasionally get together for a sleazy booty call in a back alley somewhere.

Zeitgeist: The pinnacle of currency and “cool.” In the 21st century, we have reduced the duration of the zeitgeist from Andy Warhol’s “fifteen minutes” to something closer to twelve seconds – and counting. Indeed, among young people in the 21st century, it is conceivable that the zeitgeist is now achieving a half-life of mere nanoseconds, allowing the notion that something that is “soooo fifteen minutes ago” has long outlived its moment in the collective attention span.

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