A Word in Response to the "'On the Nature of Sweet," or, A Meeting of the Minds

See other posts in the "Is this sweet?" series.
See other posts in the "On the Nature of Sweet" series (more focused on the philosophy of sweetness).

While I find Mr. Beers' attempt at penetrating the formidable intellectual husk of Sweetness to be admirable, even revolutionary, there were, I'd take care to note, plenty of deficiencies in his discussion. Certainly Mr. Beers, speaking through his representative Demosthenes, eloquently articulates the complex nature of the "Is this sweet?" dilemma, but provides us with no coherent criteria with which to judge. He recklessly declares a bearded, drunken Jack as "sweet," while neglecting to take a position on the more pressing issues of the sandwich and the blues song. He gives us neither methodology nor judgment, and leaves us adrift in a murky sea of confusion. Additionally, his exposition and pseudo-algebraic formulation of the "sweetness of 'is this sweet'" is so self-evidently absurd, as to not warrant a discussion at all. Clearly, it is sweet. Thus, I propose an alternative dialogue that I believe will more definitively declare our purpose and enunciate our philosophy. Our characters are Plato, Bentham and Kant. The connection to Mr. Beers' "Lost"-based dialogue should be apparent.

Plato: I declare that all non-Greek studies of my work have been critically flawed, because they rely on a fatal mistranslation.
Bentham: My good Plato. Do you mean that the entire history of Western philosophy has been founded upon false premises? What is this mistranslation?
Plato: My concept of eidos, which has been denigrated to "form" or "ideal" in your vulgar Anglo-Saxon tongue.
Kant: There are indeed, ancient, arcane rumors of a mistranslation, whispered in the most forgotten corners of Konigsberg.
Plato: I am afraid they are true. The early generations of so-called Neo-Platonists writing in Latin, should have translated eidos as "dulcis." As such, it ought to have come down to you, Bentham, as "sweet."
Bentham: Most remarkable! What you suggest then in your Dialogues, then, is that a realm of perfect Sweetness exists? And all we can see are its faintest shadows? Hints of the eternal Sweetness?
Plato: Indeed this is the nature of the Real.
Kant: Preposterous! We can apprehend the Sweet readily enough. Take, for a moment, that most poetical of philosophical allegories, your own notion of the cave, Plato. If I recall correctly, you present the image of several prisoners chained to a wall, forced to watch a parade of shadows on the wall.
Plato: More or less, yes. The shadows represent the Unsweet, the material realm, grasped through the physical senses.
Kant: Well, are not shadow puppets totally sweet?
Plato: ......
Bentham: They are certainly sweet. But remember, this is allegory. So although shadow puppets may be definitively sweeter than the sun, his point may still hold. I do think, however, that a group of prisoners forced to watch Radiohead music videos escaping to encounter Slash shredding hard on a Flying V, would be more readily comprehensible as allegory.
Plato: Thank you, Jeremy. This will be amended in all subsequent editions.
Kant: I still don't buy this notion of "the Sweet." The Sweet is something tangible, something visible, not merely an ideal. It must be, for my theory of ethics rests upon this very conception of Sweetness!
Plato: Please elaborate, Immanuel.
Kant: Simply put, always act according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time claim that it is totally sweet.
Bentham: Here I must object. An admirable ethos, to be sure, but I have a problem. What if an act that is patently not sweet in isolation could lead to greater sweetness? Surely you can recognize the morality of such an act. For example, smashing a bottle of Dogfish Head 90 Minute in the middle of the street is not sweet. But what if this is done so that the glass might pierce the tire of a passing gasoline tanker, sending it careening into a gas station and setting off a totally sweet chain of explosions?
Kant: Hmm...that would be pretty sweet....But do you mean to say that the bottle was broken with this intention? Then perhaps I could permit it. But if the crash were inadvertent, I'm afraid it could not be condoned, or labeled as sweet.
Bentham: Sorry to demur, but I maintain that it would be sweet.
Plato: Ok, I'm going to interject here. Because I'm about to blow your minds.
Kant and Bentham: ?
Plato: Seriously, ready?
Kant and Bentham: Yes.
Plato: IS this sweet?


On The Nature of Sweet: A Dialogue

See other posts in the "Is this sweet?" series.
See other posts in the "On the Nature of Sweet" series (more focused on the philosophy of sweetness).

Demosthenes, venerable Greek orator, and Jack Shephard, character from the hit ABC television show LOST, stroll through a
jardin in crisp fall weather. Fresh leaves skitter across the marble walkway as the wind picks up. Standing beneath the shadow of a Robert E. Lee statue, Demosthenes picks at his half-eaten egg and cheese bagel sandwich.

Jack: So, what about the time that I tried to watch Juliette perform surgery on my own stomach? Or that time I told Miles to suck it? Those things were sweet.
Demosthenes: Jack, you're clearly not grasping the concept of "Is this sweet?" In those two instances you mentioned, you've already made a clear judgement about sweetness. Yes, they were sweet, but did you have any doubt? Would anyone take issue with your assertion?
Jack: I don't follow.

Demosthenes: Let's start from the beginning again. "Is this sweet?" functions as an empirical research tool that can be applied to anything you want. It's like --
Jack: Could I have some of that sandwich?
Demosthenes: Yes. But you see, "Is this sweet?" could even be applied to this sandwich, although with limited results. Is this sandwich sweet? Yes, it probably is. Though unless there's some hidden and controversial quality in this sandwich -- say, maybe it was used to kill a man -- we lack a meaningful conclusion. The real power of this tool emerges when we tackle more difficult subjects.
Jack: Like my bearded, drunken future self?
Demosthenes: No, that's just sweet.
Jack: Oh.
Demosthenes: For example, let's travel back to last Friday night, where I was in a bar watching an awful blues band. The greasy, 47 year old frontman is singing the following lyrics: "SHE AIN'T GOT NO PANTIES ONNN." Over and over. It's the chorus. Now, our initial reaction might be of horror. But halt! Let's apply our tool. "IS this sweet?" The complexity of the answer will surprise you. This event, which we might have otherwise written-off, could, in fact, be totally sweet.
Jack: I think I'm starting to understand. So you're saying --

Demosthenes: Let's examine Andy Beers's Facebook status as an amusing exercise (intellectual fugue? Haha.)
Jack: Uhhhh --
Demosthenes: It reads: "Is this sweet?" So, of this status, we can ask, "Is 'Is this sweet?' sweet?" Or, to put it another way: ["Is this sweet?" -- Is this sweet?] Better yet, let's represent this as a mathematical proof, where "Is this sweet?" (the facebook status) = n, and where "Is this sweet?" (the question) = x. So:
- nx
- x posed to n = y
- where n is posed to p
- where p = anything
- where y = awesome results
Jack: Although I'm a doctor, math and science do not resonate with me. All I really want to do is be a leader. And to avoid taking care of that baby.
It looks like we ended up walking all the way to the parking lot.
Demosthenes: No, my Prius is right over there.

Epic Competition

Ok, folks. So we all agree that we here at Epic Mail (Less Talk, More Blog) are trying to bring you the most epic and relevant discussions of whatever we happen to find floating out there in the ether, but it's come to my attention that there are some people who want to challenge our epic-ness.

A quick google of "Epic Mail" reveals our cowardly and unholy competition. The first thing to come up is this. After scrolling up and down the page, I still haven't figured out what the hell this page is for - but it's definitely not epic. While it's french fry icon is cute, I guess, the "Would you like fries with that?" mantra is mystifying. What the hell? NOT EPIC!

"Epic Blog" is another search option I tried that had more fruitful results. Epic Blog is a Post College Ministry website for the hugely successful mega-church Saddleback (i.e. Rick Warren). While the size of his church is epic, this website is not. Sorry, Rick, we're just way more epic than any website you can come up with. Don't even try.

Although it makes one wonder: WWJB?

The First Ironic, Hipster, Millenial Voting Campaign

The name: BotherVoting.com

This is so much better than Vote Or Die

Let's all go vote and then watch Choke.


um... yeah.


Download the file called "inertia".

Tell me what you think, dear reader(s).

Bear in mind, I made it using garageband and the item above.


Thanks, Matt Sherrill

I just have to post this, because it might be my favorite youtube clip right now:

I'm not sure why I think videos of people getting really into Pokemon is sweet, but if you have other good ones, by all means, share!

This man

Barney Frank is coming up so huge during this whole bail-out ordeal.


Fuck you, Steve

Here's A Fun (read: massively depressing) Quiz!

Can anyone guess the only stock that gained today?

Answer: Campbell Soup

Tomorrow morning I'm investing heavily in the hobo bindle** industry.

**Updated 9:19 PM: Rebecca -- our resident hobo expert -- has informed me that there is no such thing as a hobo "bundle", as I had previously posted.


G-Day (Graph Day)

For any Democrat who still thinks picking Obama was a mistake:

(this taken from FiveThirtyEight.com, where models currently have Obama winning the election 80.5% of the time)

For anyone, anywhere who says McCain's crusade against pork-barrel spending is significant:

For anyone who still thinks Palin poses a threat to Obama:

For Brandon, whose pain I feel:


All I can say is, If I find out Annie Clark has married Stifler or something, I will fucking kill someone.

I'm more of a fan of the Republican Party's Early Work

If McCain wants to score some points with the college-age kids, he needs to go underground to a more obscure Republican figure. I'm thinking Rutherford B. Hayes. He could re-work Hayes' famous quote from his 1864 congressional campaign (while Hayes was in the midst of the mildly more important Shenandoah Campaign): "I have other business just now. Any man who would leave the army at this time to electioneer for Congress ought to be scalped" to something about suspending his campaign to help the economy.

Or something like that.

My Gayest Moment of the Week

In the midst of a massive computer upgrade project at one of my schools, I wandered in to the teachers lounge to purchase a drink. I overheard some of the teachers discussing the previous night's episode of Project Runway. Being at the school until 9:30 the previous night, I had missed the episode. I inquired as to who was "auf'ed."

When informed that Suede had been kicked off, I let out a triumphant, high-pitched "YES!!!"

Studying the judging eyes of the teachers all around me, I quickly muttered something about hoping to get my bang on this weekend, and quickly fled the lounge.

It is official...

My Scarlett Johannson mack is officially dead.

Seriously? Van Wilder?

I'm going to drink a lot and ask my girlfriend to not read this blog post.


Best Headline For A Way Boring Article Ever

Woman goes raw, loses more than half of herself

Incidentally, it's the #1 most read article on CNN.com

Putting Things in Perspective

$700 billion dollars is a lot of money! How can I as a hard-working, tax-paying, fast-food-eating, Biggest-Loser-watching American possibly fathom that amount of money?

Luckily, CNN has provided me with a comparison that really strikes a chord - McDonald's apple pies. Here's what they said:

"It's 35 times the amount spent on all foreign aide in most years. But it's also as American as apple pie. McDonald's apple pie, that is, 2,000 of them. That's how much $700 billion would buy for every single American."

That's all well and good but what CNN doesn't say is if they're making that calculation based on the 2 for a dollar deal that McDonald's usually sells these highly-demanded treats. Is that $1,000 dollars for every American and thus 2,000 pies or is it actually 4,000 apple pies that we're getting. And another thing: can I get half of my pies as cherry pies?

Next time, make things even easier for us, CNN, and just tell us how many immigrants could be kept out of our country if we gave the money to Lou Dobbs or how much $700 billion amounts to in moose pelts.


Along with FiveThirtyEight.com, one of my big finds during this campaign has been Wonkette. It's like the Gawker of the politics world, and it's pretty consistently hysterical. Even the people who comment seem to be exceptionally funny (and intelligent), which I didn't think was allowed for people who comment on internet sites.

Anyways, there has been this one ongoing joke on Wonkette which I've really never been sure about. It started back during the primary days, all based on this video, which might be more creepy than humorous.

If you go to their site, they literally will refer to McCain as walnuts in almost every post. I don't think I'm for it. What do YOU think?


Leaves and Leavin'

Okay Dave. You wanna talk leaves and leaving? Lets do this shit:

1. Wilco- Sunken Treasure: I could probably listen to only this song from October through late November and be completely fine with it. I mean shit, look at the lyrics:

All the leaves will burn

In autumn fires and then return
For all the fires we burn
All will return

Doesn't get anymore leaves and leaving than that.

2. Wolf Parade- Dinner Bells: I distinctly recall buying this album and driving around downtown with fall in full blast.

This song came on and I knew what leaves and leaving meant before it was even a colloquialism.

That is all I feel like writing for now. To be continued?

Why Georgia

Actual posts on Clay Aiken message boards following his people cover:

This is a gut-wrenching day for The ClayNation. Somebody wake me up, I hope it’s a dream.Please tell me I'm not the only one who is shocked beyond belief! I feel numb I’m so upset. This can’t be real!! How can you guys say this won’t change anything? This changes EVERYTHING. I don’t even know what to think right now.

To me this is the saddest thing and the reason I won’t be able to hold him as my idol. I remember the day when I ran to turn it on and called all the family to watch with pride. It just seems so in your face now and I don’t want [to expose] my kids to this.

I don’t know what to believe anymore. I have believed in Clay, I have defended him. I have taken so much crap over the years from co-workers as well as my own family. I don’t know how I’m going to deal with this.

Now I have to endure the humiliation of being proven to be incredibly STUPID! I have donated all my Clay Aiken t-shirts, CDs, etc. to charity and some of the stuff ended up in the landfill, which is a good place for it. To Clay I say: Depart from me, I never knew you.

All Things Nostalgic

Inspired by this article in the Onion's AV Club, and in response to the "current events"/DIGG content of the preceding posts, I've decided to assemble my own Autumnal Top-5:

1. "Maple Leaves" - Jens Lekman
This song has everything you want in an autumn song. From the soaring strings to the burning nostalgia... hell, even the TITLE screams "LISTEN WITH A SWEATER!" No other song makes you want to call up your ex-girlfriend and ask her to go jumping in a pile of newly fallen leaves... or better yet, makes you WISH you could call her but you know you can't because it just hurts too damn much.

"The Poacher" - Ronnie Lane and the Slim Chance
Woah strings! This song has the benefit of being a perfect Fall song while at the same time bringing in the Palin voters. Unlike Jens, Ronnie Lane opts for a song that SOUNDS like the nostalgia-filled autumnal bliss you desire while simultaneously being full of hunting references. I don't know who the Poacher is but he sure makes the leaves fall.

3. "To Go Home" - M. Ward
Talk all you want about how Daniel Johnston isn't outsider art but this version rocks way harder and shakes the trees full of dead leaves ten times as vigorously. Nostalgia, group vocals, pound acoustic guitars and pianos... and those sweet dulcet tones courtesy of M. Ward.

"Pink Frost" - The Chills
A song about killing your wife might not seem to embody the leaves n' leaving ethos, but a closer look reveals the contrary. In fact, it's merely a dream the narrator is having! In this context we see the narrator as having doubts about his relationship and pining for a more perfect self and partner that is just out of reach - thus, the leaves AND the leaving. The opening guitars make this song so sublime. It starts off rocking and poppy and then... then it kills you with a duel guitar/bass harmony. Nothing better.

5. "Thoughts Are Leaves" - Bob Marlow's Weekender Music
A personal friend who should be way more famous than he is. The name of the song says it all. Every time a tambourine rings, a leafe falls. Stop making chemicals, Bob, and make more autumn tracks!!!

That's enough for now. Get back to politicizing, bros.

Jews = Awesome

Sarah Silverman urges Jewish kids to go to Florida and convince their grandparents to vote for Obama. Video is pretty hilarious.


I take back every time I said Sarah Silverman is nothing but a woman making poop jokes.


Country First

In case you haven't yet heard, apparently everything we thought we knew about elections has gone out the window.

My initial reaction: Can a candidate actually do this? This campaign has been going on 2 years and he suspends it 6 weeks before the elections? Before a debate about 100 million are estimated to watch? How can this possibly work in McCain's favor?

My more sober, depressing reaction: This is kind of brilliant, and I totally understand why McCain did it.

Here's my interpretation, which may or may not be completely off base:

The Palin pick succeeded in stealing Obama's momentum and getting him off message for about three weeks; however, that period is clearly over, and McCain and co. probably realize that they pushed it too far (the media's revolt during Palin's world leader speed-dating at the UN seems like it was the tipping point). Meanwhile, Obama has convinced the electorate (by about a 15 point margin) that he is more trustworthy on economic issues. McCain's biggest attempt to undermine that (the ads re: Obama connections Freddie Mac) backfired massively when the media published Rick Davis' (much more significant) ties w/ the firm, which McCain can't possibly discuss w/o losing credibility.

So, much like w/ the VP pick, McCain's campaign sat down and decided that if they continued on the current trajectory, they would almost certainly lose. McCain is likely to get hammered in the debate Friday, both by Obama and the moderator. By suspending the campaign, they get McCain out of the debate until he is more prepared and the emotion over the economic crisis has died down, and they potentially can gain back the moral high ground by making Obama's campaigning and ad spending (which McCain can't possibly compete w/) seem inappropriate.

Obama's no doubt bewildered about how to proceed, though he's already issued one great line, essentially telling McCain, "We both have planes. We can get between Mississippi and DC pretty easily."

If I was Axelrod/Plouffe, I'd have Obama say this too:

"Lincoln ran two campaigns during the Civil War and never needed to take a time out."


The most shocking article you will ever read.

Linked In

We're back, baby!

Al Franken still has it

Hey Hank, help a brother out!


In Deep with Dylan

My boy Bob has got a hot new track. New favorite Dylan lyric:

I eat when I'm hungry... drink when I'm dry."

Pop open an beer and wait for this to load: "Dreamin' of You"


Thanks, Megan


Can a Biden get some love?

So while I was on the floor of the Pepsi Center in August, I was struck by the rock star reception being received by none other than the 36 year Senior Senator from Delaware. I mean, I expected craziness over Michelle, Hillary and Bill, but the frenzy over Biden seemed just as big -- if not more so. I remember thinking that ol' Joe was injecting a heck of a lot of energy for a candidate who was considered the safe/boring/experience VP pick.


That was a long time ago.

Now the only time Biden is mentioned is in a piece like this one from today's New York Times. Basically it's a reporter talking about how sweet Joe Biden is, and then trying to explain why absolutely no one in the MSM cares to even mention him. Except, of course, when he says something unbelievably stupid, like this.

So here's the thing, I know he's no Tina Fey/Lenscrafters Model Look Alike, but check out some of the barnburners he's been throwin' down recently. Dude is absolutely killin' it right now.


And one to grow on....

He may have killed Kennedy, but Fidel Castro is kind of sweet.

Takin' It Eazy

Is it just me, or is Eazy-E the least hard sounding gangsta rapper ever?

I'm not disputing that Eazy-E
WAS hard, I'm just saying he doesn't SOUND hard.

Palin/McCain Administration

I think John McCain is just playing in to America's love of Tina Fey.

Honestly, how is she so popular? I get that she is attractive. I get it. Why does teh hawtness= awesome Vice-President?

I'd say if they won, I'd move to Canada. But I was in Canada last week, and that place is fucking weird.

That's it.

I officially retract any defense I've ever made for McCain. The guy is dumb.

Not knowing who the president of Spain is? Not knowing who the president of Spain is before an interview with the Spanish press?

And what's really scary is that when he doesn't know who a leader is, his first inclination is: "gotta be the same as Castro and Chavez".

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