THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

‘FIVE STARS FOR THE GIRL IN WYOMING!’ (Or, ‘WALDEN’ SUCKS; McDONALD’S ROCKS!)


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While I work on my final(?) and multi-part political post, here’s a blast from the past to tide y’all over. This is a little sumpin’ from my years at BigBitch.com:
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful

***** FIVE STARS FOR THE GIRL IN WYOMING! - September 12, 2005

I have no intention of reviewing the writings of Thoreau. The way I figure it is this: If you don't "get it" (and the world around us clearly testifies that few do), I'm not about to explain it. Besides, several other reviewers here have already done a very admirable job of excavating and cataloging the rich treasures that constitute the thoughts of Concord's timeless, self-professed "mystic, Transcendentalist, and natural philosopher."

I included this book in one of my Listmania Lists a while back, and was surprised to suddenly notice its low average grade today. I came to read the reviews and find out what's gone wrong here, and in doing so, I happened upon the review by the young lady from Rock Springs, Wyoming. Back in the year 2000, she gave 'WALDEN AND OTHER WRITINGS' one Star; titled her review, Dumb!”; stated that she "hated this book entirely"; and called for the start of an "anti-Thoreau campaign for students."

But it was her opening sentence that literally caused me to burst out laughing. Unquestionably, and by a good margin, this is the funniest thing that I've ever encountered on the Amazon website. Actually, it's almost too perfect to be true, and yet, there it is. It provided me with the best laugh I have had in some time. If you don't appreciate the writings of Henry David Thoreau, then surely you will not appreciate the irony of her statement, but for those of us whose lives have been enriched by the New England SAUNTERER and NONCONFORMIST, this is just too "delicious!" Our Wyoming friend began her diatribe on Thoreau with this classic sentence:

"I HAVE TO MAKE THIS SHORT SINCE I WILL BE GOING OUT WITH MY BOYFRIEND FOR A 4:00 DATE AT McDONALD'S."

“I went to the fast food establishment because I wished to eat inexpensively, to acquire only the essential promotional toys of a Happy Meal, and see if I could not keep down what they had to serve, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not removed the plastic wrap...

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of Chicken McNuggets... to forgo the hot dog in favor of a Quarter Pound of greasy, round-molded meat and to put to rout all that was not delivered in under 60 seconds.”
~ Henry David Thoreau
'WALDEN' (21st Century edition); chapter II

For those who aren’t already very familiar with Thoreau’s ‘WALDEN’ (shame on you!), that was my updated version of this classic passage from the second chapter of Thoreau’s great book:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived...

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life,...”

See ya...

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

18 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. HA!-HA!
      Thanks, SUSAN.

      Ya know, you couldn't possibly even make that shit up! I mean, anyone who says Truth ain't stranger than Fiction, that person is probably just a figment of the Big Fig Newton's imagination.

      I got so lucky to stumble upon that gal's review and was able to spin that crap into gold.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  2. I don't see your problem with her review. Surely Thoreau would have enjoyed a Filet O' Fish while pondering the wisdom of Ronald McDonald.

    Shame on me-I've not read Walden, but even from what I know if it, I think characterizing it as "dumb" kind of leaves one open...

    Kind of the same mindset that critiques music as "It RULEZ!" or "It SUX!"

    Or maybe the problem lies in the fact that the lady in question settled for a significant other whose idea of a night on the town consisted of a trip to the play area at McDonald's.

    Perhaps were she to broaden her social horizons, her mind would open.

    LC

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    Replies
    1. LC ~

      >>... Surely Thoreau would have enjoyed a Filet O' Fish while pondering the wisdom of Ronald McDonald.

      Well, I think you're sorta kinda close to the truth with that. However, it would probably go a bit more like this:

      Surely Thoreau would have enjoyed a fish he himself caught at Walden Pond while pondering the wisdom of Old McDonald who has a farm.

      And... please stop calling me Shirley.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  3. Make that 34 out of 36 (both of us).

    Not only did I understand the reference before you posted it, but I GOL'd at this. Man, this one really hit close to home. Not because I think I'm any kind of Thoreau and people don't get me (though, in all fairness, you should see the reviews where stupid people don't "get us." Apparently metaphors are soooo 20th century and folks like the woman above need things spelled out for them in letters like this).

    But the reason it hits so close to home is because recently I was looking at Amazon reviews for classic books, just out of curiosity. Particularly after our conversation about Mark Twain never getting published in this day and age. And you should see some of the idiotic things that people say about his work. You'd expect his books to have solid 5 star reviews, but no, one of America's greatest humorists has about 3-4 stars average, thanks to reviews like this.

    1 of 12 people found the following review helpful (<--Who the f*** found this helpful?)

    1.0 out of 5 stars very different book October 8, 2005

    This review is from: A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

    i think that this book was very diffent. and that it was very hard to understand. most of the book i wasnt really sure what was going on just that he was magical and that he was in the past. there was definitly a twisted ending but thats ok. if i had a choice i probably wouldnt have read this book and read a different book


    This, ladies and gentlemen, is our future.

    ~6B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 6-B ~
      Ha! I most certainly remember that E-versation we had. And if I recall correctly, I also mentioned John Steinbeck and Charles Dickens as two other great writers who probably couldn't get their books published in the 21st Century.

      I mean, WTH?! No ZOMBIES, no VAMPIRES, and no MARTIAL ARTS! How the f**k is a publisher supposed to make any money from books that don't include even one of the three principal ingredients necessary for healthy story nutrition?

      And that real review you posted - SHEE-EEE-SH! Where would one even begin in an attempt to correct it? Start with the punctuation? Start with the rules of capitalizing? The misspellings? The missing letters? The grammar?

      I know where I would start. I'd start with a 375 ml bottle of GraMar (Grand Marnier), just to numb my disgust enough to begin the task.

      HOO-WEE! To quote Yogi Berra: "The future ain't what it used to be."

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  4. Hahahaha. Thank you for this laugh. That was iconic. I feel a bit like that dude in the now-defunct show "The A Team" when I say, "I love it when a plan comes together."

    ReplyDelete
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    1. ROBIN ~
      Sometimes it's much better to be lucky than good. And I was lucky when I discovered that Wyoming girl's review.

      I was serious... when I read the first sentence of her review, I laughed loud and long. Them my mind went to work on how I could creatively use it in a review of my own.

      Her review had been posted there for five (count 'em: 5!) years and, frankly, I was amazed that no one before me had seized upon it to illustrate the astounding irony of what she'd written about a book with a message that was the complete antithesis of the very sort of life she was living at the time.

      I 'bout fell over laughing. And then I went to work, using the material to shape my own review. I was surprised how quickly I managed to compose my "21st Century" update of that passage from the second chapter of 'Walden'. But then... I was terrifically inspired, so that probably explains the ease with which I was able to transform it into something fairly amusing.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  5. While I cannot authoritatively comment on Thoreau, I can comment authoritatively on empty-headed blonde who post reviews of classic books for no other reason than she was pissed at her prof for assigning it and/or was unhappy that he wouldn't waive the assignment for a BJ.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BROTHER MARTIN ~
      >>... While I cannot authoritatively comment on Thoreau,...

      Didn't you mean to say "auThoreauitatively"?

      >>... was unhappy that he wouldn't waive the assignment for a BJ.

      Hmmm... I didn't even know there WERE such professors!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
    2. Just got your caps today (Saturday). Right now I'm singing the "just not enough energy to do this " blues like you, and when I get a couple weekends in a row off I'll get pics cataloguing, and a post up on the caps blog. I'll warn everyone at the main page when I do . Both of the CMs earn a place because I do save for shade changes and that one is quite dramatic.

      Delete
    3. Ahh, glad I sent both then. I very nearly didn't. I think I actually like the "off-color" orange-ish one better than the dark red, which is actually the "correctly" printed one.

      I'm sure the red is what the orange one is SUPPOSED to look like because the two others I encountered were also red (and I even saved one for myself because I liked it so much).

      True story: I had one toward the end of April - bought it ONLY because I loved the cap and wanted to send it to you. After removing it with a bottle opener (which always leaves a small crimp in the cap), I noticed it said "Twist Off".

      So even though I didn't really like the beer much, I went back and bought 3 more for Cinco De Mayo, and this time I twisted them off (no crimp) and kept one for myself.

      I tried 4 different varieties - IPA, Porter, etc. - but none of them were really topnotch, except for the great label and cap art.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  6. Too bad you aren't still doing the Amazon reviews. There is some nutty stuff on there. I always head for the one star reviews when I'm looking up something. Some of those reviews are fantasticly entertaining while others are head-shakingly stupid.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BOIDMAN ~
      There was a lot of nutty stuffs there even back when I was reviewing. I'm sure it's only gotten worse.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  7. Sheboyganboy SixMay 9, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I'm late seeing this (as usual), but I, too, got a big laugh out of that gem you found!

    Really: have you ever encountered something more blatantly and deliciously ironic, EVER? Just laying there, waiting for someone to find, like a $100 bill laying on the floor of Terminal A at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Think of the THOUSANDS and thousands of room-temperature IQ chowderheads that read her McDonald's statement and rushed past it! I would hope that at least several folks guffawed before moving on to the reviews rightly praising Walden.

    Again: Heh-heh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SHEBOYGANBROTHER SIX ~
      "Room-temperature IQs" - Ha! I gotta remember that one. Thanks.

      Yeah, it was just SO PERFECT that it almost seemed like a set-up. My review practically wrote itself!

      In a HURRY because you're on your way to McDONALD'S - if you gave me the rest of my life to think about it, I know I couldn't come up with a single sentence that more perfectly encapsulated the exact opposite of everything Henry David Thoreau stood for.

      Finding that was one of the best strokes of luck I ever had. I wouldn't even trade it for finding a $100. bill on the floor at O'Hare.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete
  8. It's more than nice too know a man who so thoroughly knows his Thoreau.

    I would say the girls comment was funny, it it wasn't so sad. BUT, I think your excellent response made everything right with the universe again, effectively cancelling out the 'stupid' factor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, FAE.

      Actually, all these years later, just thinking about it can STILL make me laugh out loud. So deliciously ironic.

      I think I'll order the large fries to go with the Chicken McNuggets. And then I'm gonna chew with my mouth open and not even dump my trash and stack my plastic tray when I'm done... as an act of 'CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE'!

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

      Delete

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