You may only read this site if you've purchased Our Kampf from Amazon or Powell's or me
• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

May 03, 2009

Tomb of the Unknown Commenter

By: Bernard Chazelle

I've had flu-like symptoms and a sore throat for the past few days. I think I have PIGGY FLU! (I look at the adorable creature below, and seeing a bit of my soul in that sweet face, I can't get myself to call it swine.) But before I die of asphyxiation (I have my entire scuba diving equipment on -- a clever bit of advice I got from Joe Biden), I regret to inform you that, most likely, you're contaminated, too. Sorry about that. But a new CDC study funded by stimulus money reveals that viruses are transmitted by blogs (especially leftwing blogs). The details are still murky but it appears that piggy viruses piggyback (hence the name) on computer viruses and then transmutate in ways that develop not necessarily to a leftwinger's advantage. They hypercrossmutate, too. I don't know what that means but I've been told by a kind woman with a white coat and a reassuring smile that it's just as well that I don't. Anyway, done with the bad news.

Now, for the truly horrible news. As one would expect, the piggy flu virus slithers its way downwards from the main post to infect the first comments. I truly fear the loss of a whole generation of first-commenters: those unsung heroes battling evil from the frontline trenches. Also, it's now official: trolls have been identified as swine flu victims -- the clue was that their comments match the IQ level of the swine perfectly. The CDC recommends the following course of action. Memo to all trolls: Please add "Little Green Footballs" to your RSS feed and expectorate all future comments their way. That's why they chose the color green -- so it matches your output.

Sadly, my temperature is rising and this could be my @(#&* last @)(#&p(o)@#st. (Sorry, typing with two pairs of mittens on is not easy). Now listen up! Come closer to the screen. No, not that close. Just remember this: to survive this pandemic, all you have to do is stHizis^@&#secr*t*$($#@#$$))aNdtaaarrgghhhhhhhhheN*#lY$%)!!zzzzzzzzzzz___________


— Bernard Chazelle

Posted at May 3, 2009 03:08 PM


Posted by: Nell at May 3, 2009 06:24 PM

The ATR fact-checking department is asking me to make this clarification. Since I want to hold on to this job, I need to comply:

1. I have flu: NOT TRUE

2. I wear scuba diving equipment when I blog: NOT (YET) TRUE

3. Biden gave me advice: TRUE

4. Viruses hypercrossmutate: WHO DOESN'T?

5. The first commenter is a courageous woman: TRUE

6. ATR trolls have the IQ of a swine: TRUE

7. The fact-checking office called me: WAIT FOR SUBSEQUENT CLARIFICATION

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at May 3, 2009 07:11 PM

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

Posted by: Phillip Allen at May 3, 2009 07:16 PM

While you're walking things back at the behest of the fact-check dept., Bernard, I think it's also high time that you admit that incinerating cities with atomic bombs is the act of one of the great saints of history.

Posted by: Rojo at May 3, 2009 10:33 PM

The Canadians are saying a farmer gave pigs the flu.

So why isn't it called Farmer Flu? Why do pigs always get the bad rap? Pigs are forever getting blamed for the worst human characteristics...comparing pigs to trolls. Indeed! No wonder our porcine pals refuse to read ATR.

Posted by: Paul Avery at May 4, 2009 01:34 AM


Posted by: Harj at May 4, 2009 06:46 AM

You know what else spreads the swine flu? Immigrant-rights marches!

At least that's according to Wisconsin Public Radio, which headlined their report on the Madison May Day march:
"Despite swine flu fears, marches will proceed"

Strangely enough, our weekly Farmer's Market, which was held the next day and routinely draws at least 10,000 people, didn't get a report entitled, "Despite swine flu fears, market will proceed."

I can't imagine why, can you?

Posted by: SteveB at May 4, 2009 08:37 AM

You wear mittens with your scuba gear??? BTW, do NOT go the two-wetsuit-and-"accessories" route.
6. ATR trolls have the IQ of a swine: TRUE
Why do you feel the need to slander swine that way?

Posted by: Poopyman at May 4, 2009 08:45 AM

This sounds like the type of phenomenon that's best dealt with by blaming it on David Brooks or Thomas Friedman and moving on to the next order of business.

Posted by: Jonathan Versen at May 4, 2009 10:39 AM

Anti-piggy bigotry has always bothered me. Especially that I've been guilty of it -- at times.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at May 4, 2009 10:57 AM

I have flu: NOT TRUE

Bernard, I made a day trip to Mexico yesterday. Had a wonderful breakfast of huevos rancheros on the zócolo, and picked up something for you. Lean over to your screen and breathe THIS.

Posted by: Don Bacon at May 4, 2009 11:26 AM

6. ATR trolls have the IQ of a swine: TRUE

Not true. Pigs are intelligent animals.

ATR trolls have the IQ of an average human. TRUE

Posted by: catherine at May 4, 2009 11:42 AM

But seriously, folks, it doesn't hurt to be ready just in case. Is a school that has fire drills wasting the time of the teachers and students? No, because the small chance of a real fire, multiplied by the consequences of such a fire should it happen, make it worthwhile to put some effort into avoiding the worst.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at May 4, 2009 11:50 AM

If you want to be disgusted (and who doesn't?), you can check out what Egypt is doing about the swine flu. (Hint: Massive, senseless killing!) Israel, on the other hand, would rather call it the "Mexican flu". Stay classy, Israel!

Posted by: Save the Oocytes at May 4, 2009 12:43 PM

I think if you look at the last verse the origin of the name H1N1 is pretty obvious. Something I will never be able to think of and not crack up.

And hey, I'd rather the massive senseless killing has a purpose rather than just for the $hits & gigs. Also while we are incinerating cities with nukes, could I get a drink over here? Something fruity please!

Posted by: tim at May 4, 2009 09:47 PM

tim: Ain't ya figured it out yet, Brother? Its ALL just shits and grins.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at May 4, 2009 10:16 PM

Dangers of transmissions aside, I thought trolls were a rare breed here anyway.

I doubt they would become numerous enough to require quarantine, let alone of derailing any discussion.

Posted by: Nikolay Levin at May 5, 2009 05:58 PM