Aug 282016
 

I played Cards Against Humanity (“a party game for horrible people”) for the first time last night at my friend Beth’s birthday party. I knew in passing that it was pretty depraved, but not much else. Basically you’re asked a question, or occasionally to fill in a blank or two, and you answer with the best card(s) in your hand.

Sometimes the depravity is on the cards already, and you just have to find the best place to plug it in. (There’s not much innocuous to be done with “necrophilia” or “micropenis.”) Other times the depravity is left for you to construct. (I noticed that the pairings including a little invention consistently did well. God bless creativity, even in degenerate cesspools.)

Now I’ve realized for quite some time that I’m a lot of folks’ “tacky friend.” I’m almost always loud. I’m frequently a little too direct. Sometimes I’m a little too quick to tiptoe into the gutter, just to see if you’ll come with me. If you do, then we’ll walk farther—and faster! Ha! Bottom line is that I’m quite certain the word “obnoxious” has been hung on me, both to my face and behind my back, for decades.

And I’m OK with that.

Something that occurs to me about this game, though, is that it’s not necessarily everyone’s “tacky friend” playing this game. We’re just walkin’ around folks playing it together, for the most part. We’re friends from school, or work, or church, or more than one of the above. We’re not bad people.

But, demonstrably, we can draw on one hellaciously deep reserve of vulgarity and otherwise wanton inappropriateness for laughs.

So here’s the big question I’m chewing on. How can we, societally, make something like Cards Against Humanity the gigantic success it is during our nights, while actively cultivating hair-trigger sensitivity to anything and everything that might possibly offend someone somewhere during our days?

 Posted by at 5:04 pm
Aug 222016
 

As I type, it is eleven weeks from Election Day. The conventional wisdom for the 2016 presidential election is that Hillary Clinton is all but inevitable. Don’t put a foot wrong, Hill—especially keep it out of your mouth—and you’re in.

Run out the clock.

But just how highly should we value conventional wisdom this time? Are you paying attention? We’ve been tumbling down the rabbit hole for months. And it’s not that up is down, it’s that up is purple.

Many have said it before me, and I’ll say it again here: in Donald Trump, the Republicans put up one of the only candidates Hillary Clinton could beat. In Hillary Clinton, the Democrats put up one of the only candidates Donald Trump could beat.

To say that we don’t have best feet forward here is an understatement.

So what could happen to Hillary? Here are two big opportunities for chaos:

  • Julian Assange says he’s still sitting on quite a lot of Clinton Foundation/campaign/DNC material, for which he’s promised staggered release over the remainder of the campaign. (He has suggested that just before debates would be ideal drop times.)
  • Trump could make a political master stroke. I’m still fleshing out exactly what I think that might look like, but consider with me: what would be the (seemingly) least likely trait for him to exhibit? How about humility? What about a somber delivery of something like “Look, folks. I know my mouth gets me in trouble sometimes, and I know a lot of you find me obnoxious. But please let me take a moment to talk about my love of this country, and why and how it motivates me…”

As crazy as this campaign has been, I have the gnawing suspicion that from here to the end will be the least predictable time of the entire cycle.

 Posted by at 9:42 am
Aug 192016
 

I happened upon a shorter version of this story in a comment this morning. I needed to read it today, and I also want to retell it. Three years ago, Aaron and I were riding the elevator down from the beach condo at which we’d just had a vacation. It was the last elevator ride of […]

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Aug 172016
 

“You don’t get to decide what offends me!” This is, of course, true, but only trivially so. Any of us are free to be offended by anything we like. I’m offended when sesame seeds come on my hamburger bun. I’m offended by freight trains with an odd number of cars. I’m offended when the sun […]

 Posted by at 12:08 pm
Aug 152016
 

I was browsing the products available at Amazon Launchpad, and happened across a fantastically executed smartphone. It’s especially good for the married man with a girlfriend. Meet the NoPhone. The NoPhone is compatible with all carriers, and features unprecedented battery life. Best of all, it arrives ready to use. Talk to your wife on the […]

 Posted by at 12:10 pm

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