Long live The Wanker-Wingnut continuum, the Poor Man is dead

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/01/15 10:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/01/15/7103490.aspx

I have it on good authority that The Poor Man has gone off the air, for good this time. Some truly sad news, as anyone here who read them would readily attest to.

In memoriam, I am going to repost a bit of my favorite post of theirs, the post that described the Wanker-Wingnut continuum, for readers to enjoy.

The Poor Man will be missed by many, including me....

A reader asks:


Every week you give out a “Weekly Wanker” award for the biggest wanker of the week. But the trophy for the Weekly Wanker is the “Golden Winger”, which implies that it’s really an award for wingnuttery. So I’m confused. Is it an award for wanking, or wingnuttery?

Still Craving Your Body,
Julia Stiles

The answer to this question requires that we turn to SCIENCE.

“But The Editors,” you implore, “what is this SCIENCE of which you speak? It sounds terribly frightening and dangerous!”

God, you are such babies. SCIENCE is nothing to be afraid of - it is merely a method of inquiry which makes use of empirical data about the world and fits it into an abstract, predictive model. For example, suppose you ask me the question: “what is the volume of an average human being?” This is a very stupid and pointless question, exactly the sort of question I would expect someone like you would ask. Why do you care? If I refuse to answer your question, you may become violent, so I will attempt to do so, quickly, by making a few simplifying approximations. First, in order to make the math simpler, I will assume that the average person is a uniform sphere, 3 feet in diameter. Why, when I look at the problem that way, it turns out that I’m really quite extraordinarily tall and svelte! Indeed, I’m far too attractive a physical specimen to have to answer your damn fool questions, so I roll you out the door like a beachball full of cottage cheese and have the chicks from “Coyote Ugly” over for a week-long orgy. All thanks to SCIENCE!

Using these same powerful analytic tools, we can begin our investigation. First, we abstract the the concepts of “wankery” and “wingnuttery”, and represent them as the perpendicular x and y axes of a graph, respectively. We define our zero of wingnuttery as Charles Darwin’s classic “The Origin of Species”, and our zero of wankery as Steve McQueen, the only man to live through the 1960’s without ever having a stupid haircut. Moving upwards from our axis of wingnuttery we pass through lines of increasing wingnuttiness, while moving to the right from our zero-wankery line implies ever higher degrees of wankitude, until, after many, many sheets of graph paper, we find ourselves at the Burning Man festival. With this as our guide, we can objectively plot the wingnut and wanker ratings of any individual, and determine what relationship exists between these two seemingly unrelated characteristics.

Figure 1: Wingnuttery vs. Wankery
(Click for larger image.)


Firstly, we note that Paul Krugman, Frank Rich, Nicholas Kristof and David Brooks all lie on a single line which exactly bisects our graph. This is no coincidence: this line of equal wankery and wingnuttery is used by the NY Times to determine who gets a regular spot the editorial page. (Note that by projecting this “Line O’ The Times” out, we discover that Assrocket will soon have a regular gig at the Grey Lady.) We also observe that people may evolve over time along lines of constant wankery, although only in the direction of increasing wingnuttery, which, like entropy, can only be created, never destroyed. Finally, we note that the quadrant of high wingnuttery and low wanking is completely empty. You can have wanking without the wingnuttery, but not wingnuttery without wanking.

So, Ms. Stiles, the answer to your question is: both! When determining each week’s Golden Winger, we at The Poor Man use our own patented technology and proprietary analysis techniques to find out who achieved the maximum distance from the (0,0) point of sanity and dignity.

Although I suppose the Internet Archive will carry that content forever, the fact that I thought The Poor Man would be up forever has shaken my confidence on this point so this one bit is something i wanted to have captured, just in case.... :-)


This post brought to you by(U+a191, aka YI SYLLABLE NUT)

# HenrySkoglund on 15 Jan 2008 7:01 PM:

Hi, I laughed so much when I read the ".. Burning Man festival" sentence, I almost woke up my wife and kid sleeping in the next room! (It's 1 AM here in Stockholm, Sweden)

BTW, thanks for the tip in your blog sometime last year, that pressing CTRL+ALT together is equivalent to pressing ALTGR. That saves a lot of time when you're trying to enter some keys like []{} inside a Virtual PC session (if you're happen to be using a Swedish keyboard) because Virtual PC's default hotkey is ALTGR.

/Rgrds Henry

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referenced by

2008/09/07 A non-partisan type of wingnuttery

2008/03/30 The End?

2008/01/17 Virtual PC + Word 2007 ≠ AltGr support?

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