Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I feel weirdly complimented by this.

Those of you who read this crap with any frequency are well aware of my long-standing fascination with Conservapedia. Seriously, I have been writing about them for a long, long time. Partly, I think this fascination is born out of an interest in how people with very different perspectives think. I am, after all, a social scientist. Partly, however, I think my fascination derives from a base impulse to point and laugh at things I view as stupid. And Conservapedia has an awful lot of very amusing stupid. Alas, however, my fondness for Conservapedia has always been unreciprocated.* That is, until now.

As it turns out, one of the Conservapeons has taken note of my solitary toil over here on Blogger** and decided to respond. Sort of. I refer, of course, to their new page Conservapedia Proven Right:

The heading text, as you can see, explains that it's a page dedicated to all the times that Conservapedia has been correct about something. I won't do an exhaustive analysis of this very short list- in part because it appears to have been written by someone who never really mastered English- but, believe it or not, I am actually mentioned therein:

So let's go through this. First, there's the "Conservapedia Statement":

Conservapedia mentions that some Americans are turning to self-employment during the economic downturn as jobs are difficult to come by. In addition, Conservapedia mentions developing multiple streams of income in case the economy goes into a depression and many people lose their jobs. Conservapedia also gives resources and suggestions for low cost businesses.

Yeah, okay, I remember that. Next comes the column "Liberal claptrap in response":

The liberal "graduate student at a sociology department somewhere in the United States" at the Total Drek blog seems to shiver in horror at the hard work involved. In addition, he appears to want people to have a defeatist cry in their beer attitude instead of having a proactive and creative can do attitude. In 2011, Conservapedia indicates that a sociology major is one of the worst college majors to have.

Um... huh? That doesn't really sound like me, you know? I'm not actually afraid of hard work, nor do I want people to have a defeatist attitude. So what did I actually say? Well, if we follow their link we do, indeed, reach one of my posts about Conservapedia. First off, I provide a quote from their main page, which I will reproduce below:

Rather than searching for decent jobs that are very hard to find, some Americans are deciding to become self-employed. Robert P. Murphy, an economist at the Mises Institute, recommends that one of the best measures to protect against a future economic depression is to develop multiple streams of income rather than risk depending on one or two income sources which may disappear in a depression. In the present economic crises, Americans are using creative ways to launch a wide variety of low cost businesses.

Okay, so, the logic is clear: since the economy is uncertain, maybe you should have multiple streams of income. Fine. Great. But my comments on the subject more or less make the point that while this is good in theory, in practice it's often not practical, and I end in my usual pseudo-profound manner:

And this is, I think, what bothers me most about Conservapedia's "silver lining" that people are starting businesses. These aren't heroic entrepreneurs, they're desperate people who are just trying to survive any way that they can and, unfortunately, for every one of these folks who succeed, there will likely be dozens who don't. It reminds me of nothing so much as that scene in Roger & Me where a woman is selling rabbits for pets or meat in order to stay afloat.

I just never watched that movie before and thought that she was living the American dream.

So, in other words, the fact that people are becoming "forced entrepreneurs" isn't a sign of how great the U.S. is but of how hard things have become. Also, I'm frankly arguing that responding to people who are in a precarious financial position with, "Well, then go work harder!" is often not realistic or helpful.

But, to get back to Conservapedia in the present, what do they say is the result?***

Barack Obama's "stimulus" package fails. Many Americans lose their jobs and have their unemployment benefits run out. In 2011, Fox News reports that most unemployed no longer receive unemployment benefits. Homelessness increases and "Obamavilles" spring up. Unemployment in the United States and many other countries remains high. In 2011, Cafe Press is selling unemployed sociology major bumper stickers.

And this is an utter non sequitur. I mean, what the shit does this have to do with anything that I wrote? And I don't even know what to do with that Cafe Press reference. Leaving aside that the bar for selling something on Cafe Press is absurdly low- hell, I have a store, which I guess means I also have a second stream of income****- I was a sociology major in college and have been continuously employed for over a decade. Ah, well. All we have left is the "date of result" column, which in my case is truly bizarre:

World economy continues to skate on thin ice and the Eurozone is experiencing significant economic problems.

I don't know what kind of calendar Conservapedia uses, but I'm pretty sure that isn't a "date".

So what should we take from this? Well, basically nothing, but since the Conservapeons went to all that trouble to write me a love letter, I thought that the least I could do was respond.

Kiss, kiss, boys!

* Well, unless you count that one time when Schlafly actually commented on one of my posts. Granted, he completely missed the point, but that's pretty much normal for him, no?

** On a related note: Jesus, I still use blogger? Who uses blogger anymore? Hasn't everyone moved to Wordpress? I realized how long I've actually been keeping this place open recently when the service I used for my blogroll actually closed. I feel old.

*** Yeah, they refer to that column as "Result". I don't know if they think that my comments had a causal relation, or what, but there you go.

**** Not true. So far as I can tell, nobody has ever purchased anything. But, then again, I'm selling it all at cost, so it's irrelevant either way.

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Blogger brayden said...

I'm seriously jealous. I want a Conservapedia entry dedicated to me!!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011 9:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do you get on their hate list?! Drek, I WANT TO BE YOU WHEN I GROW UP!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Houghton said...

1) I still use Blogger. Angry Bear and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo both remain there.

2) You have a Cafe Press store??? I'm SO envious. I desperately need that second (first, occasionally) source of income! Of course, most CP and etsy stores (think eBay of the Noughts) make about as much in a year as Phyllis Schafly spends on cellophane in any given week. Though PayPal makes money off them...

Wednesday, December 07, 2011 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger The Key Question said...


Wednesday, December 07, 2011 9:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sunday, December 11, 2011 11:59:00 AM  

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