Showing posts from April, 2010

All I really need to know is that I haven’t learned all I really need to know

Originally @ Stanford Daily

People draw inspiration for their life lessons from different sources. Some choose spiritual leaders, some look to personal experience and some spend their money on self-help books and get-rich-quick tips. I don’t. I glean my meta-knowledge and wisdom from spam e-mails. It’s much more efficient.

Most of what I learn from junk mail is pretty trivial information that I’m already aware of. Lonely singles in Palo Alto? Sign me up! Reduce my body fat by fifty pounds in three weeks? Check! Super massive gigantic penis size? I’m on it! Apart from the dietary supplements and erection enablers, though, my spam folder doesn’t offer much in the realm of genuine wisdom that I can bring up in casual conversation (like Confucius quotes–that guy probably killed it at parties).

The rare occasion does arise, however, when someone misguidedly sends me some real deep spam. I want to share one such message and its simple wisdom. This e-mail was based on Robert Fulghum’s poem “…

Sometimes Jokes Are Not Jokes

Originally @ Stanford Daily

Back when I was a freshman, my buddy and I liked to play a little game. Late at night on weekends, after coming back from parties, we’d go to our hall’s whiteboard and erase letters in the messages written on it to spell out offensive phrases and curse words. We thought it was a really funny game. One night, I came back late and, seeing a detailed message written out on the whiteboard, erased letters to spell out a homophobic slur (I think you all know it, but if you need a hint, it’s three letters and starts with an ‘F’).

A little over a week ago, a gay friend of mine deactivated from his fraternity, joined by three of his friends. They left due to feelings of disappointment stemming from the use of this same pejorative in casual conversation and due to the blunt refusal of people to excise it from their vocabulary.

This topic arises all too frequently because certain derogatory terms have become so culturally embedded that it is difficult to consciously a…