Saturday, April 26, 2008

America Free?

This one's a bit more political than usual. It's one of three parody news articles I've written. The first one was lost to the sands of time (probably for the best), this is the second one, and the third one (hopefully) exists still, but I can't get my hands on it at the moment. I posted the first on a forum, but I don't know if I posted this one.

At any rate, I only fixed spelling and changed ambivalous to ambivalent. Apparently, the dictionary gods still don't recognize ambivalous as a word and I'd rather not argue with them today. The anniversary year is probably wrong as I think this is a 2005, and not a 2006. And it looks like I didn't actually finish writing it. Needs one more sentence. More stories to follow as soon as I figure out what to write about.

Oh, I suppose you want the one and only one thing that I will tell you about this without bribes. Ok. April B. Zantelli was a character that I designed after a family cat.

America Free?

New study shows Americans misunderstand freedom

By April B. Zantelli

A recent study determined that an overwhelming 90% (error margin of +/- .5%) of Americans were unaware of the actual definition of the word freedom.

As the 229th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence approaches, a small but vocal group of Americans are asking "what happened to that freedom thing, anyway?"

The study, conducted over the course of eighteen months by a group of college students from across the United States, sampled all known demographics of Americans and came to the conclusion that most Americans were ignorant of the actual meaning of freedom.

The pivotal question in the survey was "what is freedom?" and the participants were given four options. 40% of the participants chose "the right to have the government take money away from others in order to make me richer," just ahead of "the right to smack my neighbor Bob because he sometimes smokes cigarettes within fifty miles of me," selected by 38%. 12% chose "the right to smash the windshield of any SUV I see with a brick bat."

Only 10% of participants responded "the right to do what I choose, as long as it doesn't violate anyone else's rights," the correct answer.

Constitutional law expert Statis Tmaksimumm suggested that this trend may explain a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing local governments to use "eminent domain" to confiscate land from private citizens to give to citizens who would pay the government more taxes. "People want a freedom more compatible with their lifestyles today. The right to be secure in your person and free of unreasonable searches is just so passe in this post-9-11 society. It's only appropriate that the Supreme Court would take that into account."

When asked if he would participate in the survey, Tmaksimumm declined to answer any of the questions because he is rich, smokes, and owns an SUV, but doesn't see why freedom ought to mean he should be able to do what he likes.

Even journalism, once the vanguard of freedom of the press, has recently become ambivalent on the subject. In decades past, reporters didn't consider themselves serious journalists until they were held in contempt of court for refusing to divulge the identities of their sources.

"It used to be all 'you don't want me to use your name, right?' because they wanted to refuse judges' demands and be held in contempt," said a source who asked -- for purposes of nostalgia -- not to be named. "Now, most reporters won't even talk to someone unless they agree to be named. I can tell you, I've seen a lot of reporters getting bladder infections because no one would tell them where the john was with a stipulation like that."

Even prestigious magazines like Time are bowing at the first sign of peer pressure from courts like that of Thomas Hogan.

Hogan's school-yard-bully manner became evident in a recent altercation with Time Magazine and the New York Times when he used the phrase "anarchists" in reference to journalists standing up for the time-honored press right to confidential sources. Hogan did not say if there was a specific type of anarchist that he disliked, or if he just thought the word sounded naughty in general.

Regardless, the editor of Time Magazine quickly succumbed to Hogan's taunting. While a few papers, like the New York Times, decried this course of events, most did not even comment on the incident, and even those who did fell short of doing anything to combat the disturbing trend.

"The newspapers are supposed to be telling America what the politicians are up to. They're supposed to remind Americans what the Constitution says. Instead, they're cowering like dogs," said another source who spoke on the nostalgic condition of anonymity.

So, what kind of effect is American ignorance having on American freedom?

(Read more!)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

IT Widows, Widowers, and Orphans

Sure, it's not a story or a poem, but it is creative, and I did make it. Witness my April Fool's prank.

P.S. This is another article where the "Read More!" text is a lie. Unless someone posted comments. In which case it is utterly and completely true. Cheers. (Read more!)