Jackasses with Word Processors

It's what's inside that counts

(Image from AhaJokes)

One of the minor battlefronts in the culture war turns out to be Amazon.com. As I mentioned in a recent article about Expelled, you will see the massively deluded fighting with the rationalists over the ratings for a product. You end up with bimodal ratings distributions like this:

Bipolar reviews

The product might be very scientific and trustworthy (in which case the crackpots hate it), or it’s total drivel (in which case the rationalists hate it). Any time you see that type of distribution, you should read some of the reviews. They’re usually quite hilarious.

I’ve recently discovered another battlefront at Amazon: The Tag.

Apparently anybody can tag any product at Amazon with descriptive text. I think tags are one of the criteria Amazon uses to determine what related products to display on the same page when you are looking at a product.

Tags are one of those things that could probably best be described as “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

Let’s take a look at a few of the tags that have been attached to some books, shall we?

Since I mentioned crackpots, let’s see what happens when we search for “crackpottery”. Wow! 57 books! Twelve of these have been tagged “crackpottery” by more than one person. Of these 12, eight are Intelligent Design creationism books! William Dembski is the big winner in this contest; he has 4 of those 8.

Let’s click on one of those books, let’s say The Design Inference by Dembski, to see what other tags it has. Here are some of the creative phrases people have used to describe his book:

  • Breathtaking inanity
  • Junk science
  • Discovery Institute pseudoscientific rubbish
  • Keeping America stupid
  • Abyss of reason
  • Intellectual porn
  • Josef Goebbels of intelligent design

Ironically, each of those phrases is better written than Dembski’s book.

If we click on “breathtaking inanity”, we find 130 books and DVDs. Of the first 35 alone, 34 are creationism! I’m spotting a trend here.

A lot of things are “keeping America stupid”. In the first few alone, in addition to creationism, we see homophobia, Scientology, anti-atheism, and Ann Coulter and her fellow retrogrades.

On one of these lists, I came across Bill O’Reilly’s Culture Warrior. Here are just some of the tags that people think describe it:

  • Waste of a good tree
  • Delusional
  • Jackasses with word processors
  • Dog vomit
  • Gay for bush
  • Assclown
  • Compulsive liars
  • Loofah
  • Falafel

I like “jackasses with word processors”. Clicking on that takes us to 35 products. Of the first 8 alone, Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter each have 3. That’s quite an accomplishment. Let’s look at one of Coulter’s books. Oh my! 694 tags! That’s quite an accomplishment, too. Here are just a few:

  • Adams apple
  • An aborted fetus that lived
  • Annie the tranny
  • Books written by horses
  • Chocolate tunnel diver
  • Coultergeist
  • Drag queen
  • Dude looks like a lady
  • Ichabod crane in drag
  • Man Coulter
  • Manorexic
  • Seek counseling now
  • Succubus
  • Tranny tirades
  • Trannylicious
  • Transexuals on crack
  • Transgender fiction

Like I said. Tags probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

25 Responses to “Jackasses with Word Processors”

  1. Lindsay Says:

    LMAO…they are all funny, but I love the random tag on BO’R book “falafel.”

  2. The Improp Says:

    Agreed. Falafel threw me into a laughing fit, much to the chagrin of my cubicle neighbors.

    As did the progression of manorexic, seek counseling now, and succubus. It flowed so well.

  3. Ron Britton Says:

    Lindsay:

    It wasn’t random at all. Just Google “Bill O’Reilly” and “falafel”. It comes out of a sexual harassment suit and his inability to distinguish two entirely different objects. Dinner at his house must be unpleasant.

  4. Lindsay Says:

    Oh Ron, I’d missed out! I just read the BO’R falafel quote…and that made me laugh so hard I have tears running down my face.

  5. ericsan Says:

    Yeah, I had a bit of fun with tags myself a while back when tagging Cheney’s daugther’s autobiography “children of monsters” among others.

    I never realized how much this was “costing” me in terms of reviews until Amazon switched its reviewer ranking algorithm to remove “fans” from the equation (“fans” are people who indiscriminately give all thumbs up or all thumbs down to all your reviews). My reviewer rank jumped from 3500 to 800!

  6. Jr. Says:

    I think you might have buried the hatchet on this one, but it’s important:

    one of the duggar kids is getting married.
    http://www.ja20.com/

  7. Jr. Says:

    and the simple elegance of “dude looks like a lady” had me in tears laughing.

  8. ericsan Says:

    Ah, the Duggar family… Never ending source of hilarity. What a bunch of fuckwads.

    About Ann Coulter, I wish I knew what happened between Bill Maher and her. She used to be on his show all the time and now he’s all vitriolic about her. Maybe he finally got to third base and found out she was pre-op.

  9. The Improp Says:

    Ericsan, you just made me laugh so hard that coffee shot out of my nose with a force so violent it now feels like I just mainlined an entire bag of Halls.

    Thank you. I was feeling stuffed up to that point.

  10. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Maybe Bill realized she’s not a true believer. I have read people discussing this before on blogs (I would cite references, but it’s been a long time since Ann was actually relevant) and I agree: she’s just a schtick. She’s probably conservative, yes, but her extremes are just an act to sell books. Bill Maher is liberal, but he’s pretty fair to his conservative guests in the sense that he let’s them make their point without overtly interrupting and so forth. He may have finally realized that she’s just an act and it pissed him off. Pure speculation on my part, but never-the-less, food for thought. :-D

    Anybody want to take bets on if the Duggar marriage was due to an unplanned pregnancy?

    Fun with ja20…

    …Do you think you can get to heaven by being a good person???

    Yes or No

    The correct answer is No. Think about it? …

    JA has a question mark fetish.

    That Jesus did the work for you when he died on the cross for your sins, and trust in his blood to save you.

    Repentance is an attitude from your heart that “says” my sinful ways are so wrong.

    Please come into my life, I give you the right to be the boss of my life.

    Apparently grammar was not emphasized in the Duggar home schooling.

    In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

    For crying out loud — the phrase you probably say 100 times per day, you should be able to correctly write down. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

    ThE STUPID. IT BUrNS!

  11. arkonbey Says:

    I despise Ann Coulter and all she and her kind represent, but all those insults are just fuel for her kind. Not just fuel, but also their emissions.

    Insults and profanity are the easy road and it’s a road they take all the time. We of reason must, I believe, rise above that kind of garbage and use our brains against their antagonistic drivel.

  12. Lindsay Says:

    The Duggars never cease to entertain me. I have to admit Anna is a cute girl…though she does need some serious help with the hair. At lease she doesn’t have some sort of mink living on her scalp like Michelle does.

    Ann Coulter is all talk. She is an attention whore and will say whatever she needs to say to get it. I’ve had a sneaky feeling she is nowhere near as radical as she pretends to be…I don’t have much evidence to back that up but it is just a hunch of mine.

  13. Ron Britton Says:

    I’ve had a sneaky feeling she is nowhere near as radical as she pretends to be

    This is true of a lot of the conservative blowhards. A certain amount of their on-air talk is just part of their act.

  14. The Improp Says:

    Doesn’t that just make it worse? They are convincing people to believe in hyper radical thinking while not believing in it at all?

  15. griffon8 Says:

    Yes.

    Just like all too many proponents of religion.

  16. cipher Says:

    I’ve had a sneaky feeling she is nowhere near as radical as she pretends to be

    On the one hand, I’d like to believe that someone walking around isn’t that psychotic; on the other hand, there is Phyllis Schlafly. And her spawn, God help us.

    If anyone ever wishes to abandon all hope for America, reading comments on Amazon is certainly a good way to accomplish it. Another recommendation – the message boards on AOL. Perhaps nothing so validates Bill Maher’s assertion that, despite Obama’s election, this is still the “United States of Stupid”.

  17. Ron Britton Says:

    Phyllis Schlafly’s career doesn’t live or die by how much TV time she gets. Schlafly is genuinely nuts. Mann Coulter is probably still nuts, but she exaggerates it for effect.

  18. Parrotlover77 Says:

    This is true of a lot of the conservative blowhards. A certain amount of their on-air talk is just part of their act.

    The true believers are pretty easy to spot. Michelle Malkin is one. I have never seen a conservative blow hard get as bent out of shape over critique as her. The conservative attention whores (so-to-speak) just let it go (Coulter, et al.).

    cipher – it is a damn shame that the most stupid tend to be the loudest, but I still have faith in humanity to overcome its shortcomings and eventually break free of the superstition and selfish attitudes holding us back from true greatness.

  19. rattenmaus Says:

    The part about Ann Coulter makes me pretty angry. It’s not that I like her (I despise her, actually), but seriously, can you imagine what it would be like for a Transgendered person to stumble across this? Why exactly is being a “tranny” worse than being a fundamental asshole?

  20. Ron Britton Says:

    rattenmaus:

    That’s actually a good point. I used to know a transgender, and it didn’t even strike me that those tags were offensive. The reason it’s funny is because she’s so extremely conservative. The idea that there’s even a possibility that she is secretly something that conservatives despise so greatly is actually quite hilarious.

    When we all found out that Ted Haggard is gay, it was hilarious beyond measure. The fact that person X is gay isn’t funny. The fact that Ted Haggard is gay is hysterical.

    Twenty years ago, people threw around the “fag” label. There was still enough gay stigmatism that many people would be offended if someone hit them with it. I suspect that in many backward parts of the country that is still the case. However, out here in liberal (recent election results notwithstanding) California, such a label gets very little traction. Somebody who calls someone else a fag is viewed as sub-moronic.

    Transgenderism is far from that position today. We need to move it in that direction. (The only side effect is that during this process of destigmatizing it, the fundies will go berserk. They’ll probably be able to use it to raise lots of money and whip their followers into foaming maniacs.)

  21. rattenmaus Says:

    I see what you’re getting at, but it’s not like Ann Coulter is really a secretly transgendered person arguing against the rights of trans*folk. She’s just not conventionally beautiful or feminine. So using transphobic slurs at her sucks in two ways: It’s disrespectful to trans-people, and to women.
    Why not focus on the bullshit she spills out, why go for her looks?

    I’d also say, yep, it’s kind of funny that Ted Haggard turned out to be gay, but I still wouldn’t be happy to hear people call him a fag or any other homophobic slur.

  22. ericsan Says:

    I never meant to be disrespectful to trans people, so could we just agree and call her an evil cunt? :D

  23. Ron Britton Says:

    rattenmaus:

    I didn’t make the above slurs. I’m merely reporting on them. You did raise my awareness, though, and I will be careful next time about what I repeat.

  24. rattenmaus Says:

    I didn’t want to accuse you of making those slurs! It’s just that you presented them as funny, or at least raised no objection when everybody in the comments perceived them so. I don’t want to say you did something offensive on purpose.
    And I’m really happy that it looks like I raised some awareness! :)

  25. Parrotlover77 Says:

    The Stephanie Miller show went through the same steps with Ann. First, she “was a man baby, yeah.” Now she’s just called the incubus sucubus. Yes, the transgender insults are not necessary, but I can’t possibly stop poking fun of her ginormous adam’s apple.

    So did you all hear she broke her jaw and it’s now wired shut????

    Awesome.