Sure, Obama came of age in the dawn of the internet, but it still feels like he's leaned forward on social media more than the average President would have. I'll always think of him as our first intentionally viral President (Bush having been more “unintentionally” viral).
A holiday satire, one that does a good job personifying some of our more prominent online economic commentators:
Open Borders: Why should they stop at Christmas?
By Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
Every year the American government briefly relaxes its stranglehold on our borders to permit the entrance of Santa Claus and his team of reindeer. If this is a good thing on Christmas, imagine how much better it would be if we made this our year round policy? Have you ever eaten in an Elven restaurant? The candy canes are sublime.
While there are some who think that competition with elf workers would impoverish American workers, there is not a lot of evidence to support this. In fact, the toy making of the elves would likely be complimentary to native production. What's more, the wealth generated by elven labor would add to economic growth.
Is Christmas Deflationary or not?
By Izabella Kaminska, FT Alphaville
As we pointed out quite some time ago, there are serious questions to be raised about the deflationary possibilities of Christmas.
[The rest of this article is free but you must register with the Financial Times. And later, if you want to read this again, you will have to register again. And again.]
I rode on Santa's sleigh and it was surprisingly comfortable
By Henry Blodget, Business Insider
I have very long legs. The seats are made for jolly old elves. Take a look at all these pictures I took.
Here's what you need to know about this year's big Christmas econ-war
By Joe Weisenthal, Business Insider
[Click to view this 28 page slide show on one page]
Makes a great companion to this list of the 10 least successful holiday specials of all time.
Bob & Carol & Ted & Santa (1973)
This ABC Christmas special featured Santa as a happy-go-lucky swinger who comically wades into the marital bed of two neurotic 70s couples, and also the music of the Carpenters. It was screened for television critics but shelved by the network when the critics, assembled at ABC’s New York offices, rose as one to strangle the producers at the post-viewing interview. Joel Siegel would later write, “When Santa did his striptease for Carol while Karen Carpenter sang ‘Top of the World’ and peered through an open window, we all looked at each other and knew that we television critics, of all people, had been called upon to defend Western Civilization. We dared not fail.”
Noam Chomsky: Deconstructing Christmas (1998)
This PBS/WGBH special featured linguist and social commentator Chomsky sitting at a desk, explaining how the development of the commercial Christmas season directly relates to the loss of individual freedoms in the United States and the subjugation of indigenous people in southeast Asia. Despite a rave review by Z magazine, musical guest Zach de la Rocha and the concession by Chomsky to wear a seasonal hat for a younger demographic appeal, this is known to be the least requested Christmas special ever made.
I'm likely the exception, but I'd watch some of these if they were made.
Every holiday season, many techies complain vociferously about going home and having to play tech support for all their relatives, especially their parents. Whenever I read the exasperated tweets, I think of this comic masterpiece in McSweeneys: In which I fix my girlfriend's grandparents' wifi and am hailed as a conquering hero by Mike Lacher.
Lo, in the twilight days of the second year of the second decade of the third millennium did a great darkness descend over the wireless internet connectivity of the people of 276 Ferndale Street in the North-Central lands of Iowa. For many years, the gentlefolk of these lands basked in a wireless network overflowing with speed and ample internet, flowing like a river into their Compaq Presario. Many happy days did the people spend checking Hotmail and reading USAToday.com.
But then one gray morning did Internet Explorer 6 no longer load The Google. Refresh was clicked, again and again, but still did Internet Explorer 6 not load The Google. Perhaps The Google was broken, the people thought, but then The Yahoo too did not load. Nor did Hotmail. Nor USAToday.com. The land was thrown into panic. Internet Explorer 6 was minimized then maximized. The Compaq Presario was unplugged then plugged back in. The old mouse was brought out and plugged in beside the new mouse. Still, The Google did not load.
Some in the kingdom thought the cause of the darkness must be the Router. Little was known of the Router, legend told it had been installed behind the recliner long ago by a shadowy organization known as Comcast. Others in the kingdom believed it was brought by a distant cousin many feasts ago. Concluding the trouble must lie deep within the microchips, the people of 276 Ferndale Street did despair and resign themselves to defeat.
So rather than grumble, remember this: your relatives will regard your ability to fix their gadgets and doodads as some sort of fucking sorcery. Rejoice in your power.
So a guy walks into a bar one day and he can't believe his eyes. There, in the corner, there's this one-foot-tall man, in a little tuxedo, playing a tiny grand piano.
So the guy asks the bartender, “Where'd he come from?”
And the bartender's, like, “There's a genie in the men's room who grants wishes.”
So the guy runs into the men's room and, sure enough, there's this genie. And the genie's, like, “Your wish is my command.” So the guy's, like, “O.K., I wish for world peace.” And there's this big cloud of smoke—and then the room fills up with geese.
So the guy walks out of the men's room and he's, like, “Hey, bartender, I think your genie might be hard of hearing.”
And the bartender's, like, “No kidding. You think I wished for a twelve-inch pianist?”
This piece by Simon Rich is behind the New Yorker paywall, but many of you probably have a subscription, right? The opening excerpt above works as a stand-alone joke, but the piece goes on from there to places unanticipated.
I don't often read the humor pieces in The New Yorker, but when I do, I read the ones by Simon Rich.
Via Maria Popova, this humorous review of the Cyclone 4006 - Ultra High Pressure Hard Surface Cleaner, 40,000 psi water with Full Recovery:
It used to take me 1 1/2 hours to get to work in the morning. It takes me less than 15 minutes now and that includes stopping to get an Egg McMuffin!
My secret? Easy. I bought a Cyclone 4006. Now, if there is anyone in front of me on the road, I beep my air horn once or twice. If they don't get out of my way, I turn on the "juice". If 40,000 psi water pressure (with full recovery) is strong enough to blast off concrete curing compound from asphalt, you won't believe what it does to a Toyota Corolla! Woo hoo! Beep beep! Wooooooosh!
OK, it's a little difficult to parallel park and it doesn't go faster than 30 mph. I'll give you that. But, trust me, when you are behind the wheel of a bright yellow Cyclone 4006, these things don't really matter.
PS. It comes with an "optional remote walk-behind head." If you figure out what this is, please let me know.
To really appreciate the review, you need to see a photo of one.
Sadly, the Cyclone 4006 is out of stock. Some days when I have to drive to work down the 101 I could really use one of these. I wonder how much it cost? I'm going to guess it wasn't available for free two-day shipping via Amazon Prime.
Every child dreads this day: sooner or later, your parents will come to you, innocently wide-eyed, to ask you about twerking. How you handle this difficult conversation is extremely important and could have a significant impact on the way your parents think about twerking for years to come. You may prefer to put off the big “twerk talk,” but remember that it’s far better for you to be the one to explain than for them to learn on their own by searching YouTube.
A critical first step is to acknowledge that twerking is a normal part of life and that there is nothing shameful in their questions. They’re parents, after all, and this is the sort of thing they hear about on NPR, and, well, they’re curious.
I admire [CNN's] commitment to covering all sides of a story...just in case one of them happens to be accurate.
When Obama leaves office, one of the things I'll miss the most are his comedy routines at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. The one he gave last night was one of the best yet.
I recognize that the Press and I have different jobs. My job is to be President, your job is to keep me humble. Frankly I think I'm doing my job better.
Seriously, he has some serious comedic timing, that's a gift. He also has some great joke writers, and they deserve some recognition. Who are they? Conan O'Brien could've used them last night.