TAYLOR SWIFT: Tell me, Socrates, must the player always play, play, play?
SOCRATES: Well, that depends on what it is to be a player and what it means to play. Could you be more specific?
SWIFT: I’m thinking of the dirty, dirty cheats of the world. Those about whom so many get down and out while they could be getting down to sick beats. Alcibiades, for example, abandoned Athens and sought refuge in Sparta, then left Sparta for Persia before finally returning to Athens, leaving an inter-imperial trail of broken hearts.
SOCRATES: Yes, I see. Alcibiades is, in fact, a player who will play, play, play.
SWIFT: Yes, very much so.
SOCRATES: But must he? That is the question at hand.
SWIFT: I believe he must for, consider that the hater must hate, hate, hate, and the faker must fake, fake, fake. Why should the player be different?
From McSweeneys, in sort of what I think of as an exemplar of what one of their homepage humor pieces is like, a bit of a highbrow-lowbrow remix. Since I'm here, some of my other favorites from McSweeneys.
ZINN: Well, power needs to have its proxies. That way the damage is always deniable. As long as the Hobbits have the ring, no one will ever question the plot Gandalf has hatched. So here is the big scary ring, and all that happens when Gandalf moves to touch it is that he sees a big flaming eye. And notice it is a… different kind of eye — not like our eye.
CHOMSKY: Almost a cat-like eye.
ZINN: It’s on fire. Somehow being an on-fire eye is this terrible thing in the minds of those in Middle Earth. I think this is a way of telling others in Middle Earth to be ashamed of their eyes. And of course you see the Orcs’ eyes are all messed up, too. They’re this terrible color. And what does Gandalf tell Frodo about the ring? “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”
CHOMSKY: “Let’s leave the most powerful object in all of Middle Earth with a weak little Hobbit, a race known for its chattering and intoxication, and tell him to keep it a secret.”
ZINN: Right. And here we receive our first glimpse of the supposedly dreadful Mordor, which actually looks like a fairly functioning place.
CHOMSKY: This type of city is most likely the best the Orcs can do if all they have are cliffs to grow on. It’s very impressive, in that sense.
ZINN: Especially considering the economic sanctions no doubt faced by Mordor. They must be dreadful. We see now that the Black Riders have been released, and they’re going after Frodo. The Black Riders. Of course they’re black. Everything evil is always black. And later Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White. Have you noticed that?
CHOMSKY: The most simplistic color symbolism.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get my hands on some fucking gourds and arrange them in a horn-shaped basket on my dining room table. That shit is going to look so seasonal. I’m about to head up to the attic right now to find that wicker fucker, dust it off, and jam it with an insanely ornate assortment of shellacked vegetables. When my guests come over it’s gonna be like, BLAMMO! Check out my shellacked decorative vegetables, assholes. Guess what season it is—fucking fall. There’s a nip in the air and my house is full of mutant fucking squash.
I may even throw some multi-colored leaves into the mix, all haphazard like a crisp October breeze just blew through and fucked that shit up. Then I’m going to get to work on making a beautiful fucking gourd necklace for myself. People are going to be like, “Aren’t those gourds straining your neck?” And I’m just going to thread another gourd onto my necklace without breaking their gaze and quietly reply, “It’s fall, fuckfaces. You’re either ready to reap this freaky-assed harvest or you’re not.”
The plane’s wings were moonlit and reflected the stars. The moonlight had guided him there, toward this salvation. He had stopped an older man along the way, hoping to find some long forgotten words, or perhaps an ancient melody, for such an occasion. The old man had said nothing at first, and instead stared cryptically into the sodden earth. Then he raised his head and turned slowly.
“Hurry, boy. It’s waiting there for you,” the old man had said.
The one I read every winter during the holidays, as classic as Little Drummer Boy, In Which I Fix My Girlfriend's Grandparents' WiFi and am Hailed as a Conquering Hero:
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.
But with the dawn of the feast of Christmas did a beacon of hope manifest itself upon the inky horizon. Riding in upon a teal Ford Focus came a great warrior, a suitor of the gentlefolks’ granddaughter. Word had spread through the kingdom that this warrior worked with computers and perhaps even knew the true nature of the Router.
The people did beseech the warrior to aid them. They were a simple people, capable only of rewarding him with gratitude and a larger-than-normal serving of Jell-O salad. The warrior considered the possible battles before him. While others may have shirked the duties, forcing the good people of Ferndale Street to prostrate themselves before the tyrants of Comcast, Linksys, and Geek Squad, the warrior could not chill his heart to these depths. He accepted the quest and strode bravely across the beige shag carpet of the living room.
Ack, I need to stop. McSweeneys humor pieces are like Doritos or Pringles, you can't eat just one.