The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts. They shoot for the baroque. – Philip K. Dick, Valis
For years, many of y’all have been urging me to get more rest, take a few breaks, maybe even not post every day. And while the latter is out of the question, the more observant among you (especially those who have been hanging around here for years) have almost certainly noticed that I’ve done a lot to lighten my workload. The time and energy I used to use to prepare one weekly news column now produces two; my weekly diary is often quite short and requires little effort to write; Q&A columns flow naturally in response to reader questions and are thus comparatively low-effort; links columns grow from scanning Twitter and thus almost write themselves; I no longer do research-intensive essays (partly thanks to Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who has become the Queen of Debunking); fictional interludes have become occasional rather than monthly; and holidays are now represented by the online equivalent of greeting cards. But there was still one holiday I always poured considerable effort into, and that one is today, April Fool’s Day. I’ve always enjoyed gently hoaxing y’all, and longtime readers may remember that some of the pranks were fairly elaborate. But at least for now, I feel it’s time to retire that six-year tradition.
It’s not only to reduce my stress levels, however; it’s also because hoaxes just aren’t fun any more. The internet is full of parody news sites which, unlike The Onion, Clickhole and Reductress, make no effort to be amusing or witty; they just print stupid shit that isn’t true and yet isn’t silly enough to be distinguished from the actual absurdities published by the mainstream news sites. Furthermore, even the “real” news media are positively riddled with idiotic nonsense about “sex trafficking”, the “War on Cops”, supposed “epidemics” of things that are actually less common than they’ve ever been, and other tall tales that could be easily debunked by ten fucking minutes on Google if reporters actually cared to practice journalism rather than stenographically reporting every moronic, impossible and self-serving lie vomited out by cops, politicians, prohibitionists and all the other bipedal vermin who glut themselves on others’ suffering and profit from human misery. Mathematically-impossible, scientifically-illiterate and sociologically-absurd poppycock too ridiculous for a ’50s science fiction B-movie is routinely presented as fact even by “respected” sources like The New York Times, and politicians base laws on fantasies roughly as credible as the contents of Malleus Maleficarum, complete with penalties that would’ve found approval from those who employed that book. Clowns are widely presented as objects of terror (and are the subject of a recurring moral panic), which perhaps makes sense given that our rulers are themselves violent clowns who send forth armed thugs in clownish costumes to terrorize, rape, rob and murder the populace based on excuses Caligula himself might recognize as mad. And their cringing subjects attempt to impose order on a world gone completely insane by artificially dividing their overlords into teams, swearing fealty to one of those teams and then obstinately ignoring all the evil done by “their” leaders while blaming the other side for everything no matter what the facts show. In short, we live in a world in which the highest points are all occupied by professional full-time fools, and it seems pointless for a sane person to even attempt to compete with them.