I figured that if I wanted to get lots of people
to visit my site, I would have to offer games for them to play.
Now, to be honest, these are not games in the normally expected
sense. They are playful ideas or simply activities we could engage in which might startle, entertain or otherwise
And in the first round of "exposure" (i.e., getting this
web site up and running and available to the public), I will really just start with a description of what I've
got in mind.
IPOP stands for "I Piss On Polls", which doesn't sound
like an awfully polite thing to say, but once you read what I have to say about polls, maybe you won't mind.
The idea behind the IPOP game is to screw around with the minds
and plans of pollsters. I have a real problem with polls. They are used by politicians and corporations to manipulate
citizens and consumers.
Why don't I like polls?
- They allow statistical projections to take the place of real democracy.
We are told that a poll as a range of error of plus or minus 4 points, but that isn't necessarily the case -- even
within their narrow assumptions. That's just a statistical calculation and may not at all reflect the reality of
the people who were polled.
- Most polling takes place by phone. This means that if you don't
have a phone (ie, if you are sufficiently poor), you are not a part of the poll. If you are out of the house working
two jobs, you are not a part of the poll. If you don't speak English very well, you are not a part of the poll.
In other words, I think there is a clear class bias to the polling process.
- Media pundits and politicians use polls to tell us what "the
American people" think about a certain matter. That is ridiculous. There is no such thing as the "American
people", as a homogeneous entity. Our population is deeply divided along many lines; our differences cannot
be represented by a poll. These differences can only be simplified and papered over.
- Polls that are taken near the dates of elections inevitably move
people away from consideration of issues and instead focus our attention on the individual candidates, ie, democracy
as popularity contest. Polls can often have the effect of diminishing voter turnout.
So here is my idea: get a whole lot of people to commit to taking
a very simple action when contacted by a pollster:
That's right. Just tell them the exact opposite of what you actually
believe. Or provide a completely ridiculous answer.
This raises a few questions:
- How do you commit? You enter your email address and a password
in the fields below (ha! They are not there yet, but they will be. I promise. Just give me some time...), type
in your reason for disliking polls, and then press the IPOP button. We will then add your information to the IPOP
list. This information will be kept completely confidential; we will use it to keep track of the number of people
who are ready to IPOP and we will send you information about coordinated IPOP actions.
- How do you lie? Well, in general, you simply answer counter to
how you would answer if you were being truthful. In and of itself, this action will not necessarily have a discernible
effect, except to make the "owners" of the polls draw the wrong conclusions. But if we can accumulate
the effect of enough IPOPpers, then we can drive a stake through the heart of many a political campaign.
When lots of people have agreed to IPOP, then we will publicly
announce an action. We will find out, for example, about an upcoming poll (like one of those conducted by the Gannett
and ABC or whatever) and then we will call on all IPOPpers to distort the poll in a specific way (for example,
have everybody say that Bozo is their favorite candidate for President).
If enough people respond (and they don't have to be just people
who signed up; anyone who hears about the action can decide to get involved and inflate the impact of IPOP), then
we can introduce significant doubt into any polls that anyone conducts. We can take back control of our DEMOCRACY
by one little iota.
Return to top
AFOOFA stands for All For One and One For All. This is my
big dream. See, we definitely cannot trust corporations to do anything but make money and in the process trample
on the lives, health, freedom and happiness of a lot of people. Our government, especially as it is practiced today,
essentially serves the needs of Corporate America. We get trampled by Congress and the White House almost as much
as by Walmart and Merrill Lynch.
We need to join together as citizens, as consumers, as people,
who believe that we all do have the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. We need to take care of
ourselves and through that caretaking, build up the strength to oppose rampant corporate destruction of our country,
other countries and the Earth.
AFOOFA would be an organizational structure to make this happen.
Return to top
Hairy-Shouldered Men's Club
I believe very strongly in affirmative action. I believe that the
United States of America is still very racist deep down in its innards. It is hard to notice this racism if you
are "white" -- whatever that means. It is impossible not to notice this racism if you are anything but
I say this because I do not want my Hairy-Shouldered Men's Club
to be misinterpreted. It is not a spoof on the very legitimate criticisms many people have about the way they are
treated in our and other societies.
Return to top
A variation on the Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon game,
in which you allow people from the around the world to "hook up" with others. Also shows connections
between well-known people, connections they might not want anyone to know about.
Return to top
Death of a Child
12/13/98 - I played Pitch, a very interesting card game with numerous
levels of strategy, several times today with Eli. He has a sharp mind. I sat there looking at him, his long, hairy
legs, his ever-lengthening feet, his expanding chin, and I saw:
Eli in motion -- even as he just sat there:
growing, growing, growing.
It was such a wonderful feeling and then I thought to myself: "How
awful it would be to have the death of a child on one's hands."
So many men in this world (sure, and some women , too) have directly
caused the death of a child; hell, some men have caused the deaths of thousands of children. Try to imagine it
yourself (no, Henry Kissinger, you have to skip this step): because of something you did, or a decision you made
from a position of authority, a little boy or girl stopped breathing.
Maybe you ordered a bomb to be dropped on a village. You didn't
want to, but the General made it clear that this entire sector had to be clear of enemy forces within two weeks,
and you just didn't have the time or the men to check every population center individually.
Maybe you dropped the bomb on that village. You didn't want to,
but the alternative was court-martial, and maybe there were Viet Cong down there, just like the Lieutenant said.
Maybe you ran over a little girl crossing the street because you
were drunk - or just picking your nose (after all, anything can happen).
Maybe you're the CEO of an extremely profitable corporation that
laid off 3,000 workers just before Christmas to increase the value of the stock. Joe, a seriously depressed, 27-year
employee, shoots his wife and two kids, and then himself.
Kids die all the time; some times it's the result of an "honest"
accident. You still have to figure out how to live with the results of your action, but at least it wasn't your
intention. So many children are killed each year, however, by people who went ahead with their action or decision,
even though they knew that children would, as a result, die.
So here is my idea: create a website, called www.deathofachild.com,
which would be used to propose individuals who are responsible for the death of a child. We would then have an
open debate on the Internet about whether or not that individual is responsible or if the charge was unwarranted
(the death was, for example, "justifiable" - whatever that might mean - or truly an accident).
Visitors would submit a name and history; those names would be
researched by an independent group. If they recommended that there is sufficient evidence, the name and situation
would be posted on the website, and let the debate commence. What do you think?
Return to top