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Why I Fucking Hate Weblogs!


by Donald Brook
Originally Written September 22, 2002

Table of Contents
ChapterTitle
IntroductionWeblogs are fucking stupid
Chapter 1Weblogs
Chapter 2Why do they do it?
Chapter 3Weblog comments (suck (usually)).
Chapter 4Communication Issues with Weblogs
Chapter 5The word "Blog" is fucking stupid.
Chapter 6Acceptable Uses of Weblogs
Chapter 7Proposal and Conclusion
Appendix AThe Weblog Author Personality Quiz
Appendix BRead This If This Essay Offends You

Introduction: Weblogs are fucking stupid.

Weblogs suck ass. What the fuck is up with this shit? Fuck. Who the fuck cares what these people think about oatmeal or what the UN did last week? Nobody! Who reads these weblogs? Nobody! Maybe fellow weblog authors read each others weblogs out of a sense of desperation...the feeling that if they read someone else's weblog, someone will read theirs. It's kindof like cooperative advertising too, people will cross-post, linking weblog entries to each other's weblogs. How fucking pathetic is that? I hate weblogs. There are so few reasons to keep a weblog, and so many of these are fucking stupid while so few of them are legitimately non-brainfucked. The problem of course, is people. In general, people are fucking stupid, so many of the things they do are fucking stupid. I fucking hate weblogs, they are so fucking stupid.


Chapter 1: Weblogs

Okay, so let's get a little more objective here. Let's pause a moment and reflect on weblogs, what they are, and why they exist.

What is a weblog? Well, a weblog (or 'blog' in the slang of the afflicted) is like a public journal. An autobiography of sorts, a weblog is an intimate look at the thoughts of an individual person, written from the perspective of that person, updated regularly, created as a publicly browsable web page. The first weblogs were created by simple web folk in the late 1990s to keep track of interesting things they found on the web. Basically lists of links, they were a precursor to modern web-news sites like Slashdot.org. Many of these offered personal editorials from their link compilers/authors. These weblogs were pioneering a new idea of personal opinion sites that would someday blossom into a virus like phenomenon of "blogs", where hoards of nobodies regurgitated their every thought into the digital void. At some point in this primordial weblog soup, the online diary emerged onto the scene.

Some of the first really useful "online diary" type sites I remember seeing were created by key software developers of rather famous software projects to announce daily or weekly progress on their work to their eagerly awaiting audiences in an effort to curb the incessant emails asking them for progress reports, current status of bugs, etc. They could simply point these eager beavers to their weblog and tell them to follow along. To facilitate their own weblogs, many developers and webloggers created rudimentary weblog programs that allowed them (and anyone else) to easily create their online diaries; this was another large step toward the weblog explosion. Other legitimate uses of weblogs grew quickly and the distinction between online diary and weblog became less distinct as link lists evolved into internet news sites. Large-scale weblogs tracked the progress of National Geographic teams in the Sahara, the status of international rally races, the daily lives of astronauts; smaller-scale weblogs were created by other celebrity figures in order to reach out to fans/followers. Pretty much anyone who was well-known might have some sort of online diary: models, magazine editors, authors, government figures, celebrities, scientists, even royalty. Along with these, came the copycats. Suddenly, just about everyone decided they too should have an online diary. Enter, the personal weblogger, or "blogger".

Anyone in the computer industry, especially web developers, probably knows someone who has, or has themselves, some sort of online diary. In it, they rant about things that upset them, they swoon over girls/boys they like, they expose their deepest fears and herald their most miraculous events with bold tags and large colored fonts. They evangelize for their favorite computer manufacturers, they list URLs they find interesting, they philosophize on mundane linguistic topics and editorialize on current political issues to, apparently, everyone. Therein lies the catch, of course, for their "audience" is probably, at best, only a couple of pairs of eyeballs and the countless hours they spend at the keyboard typing out their inner thoughts are likely wasted on a couple of readers, whom they will probably never actually meet. So why do they do it?


Chapter 2 - Why do they do it?

There are, I'm sure, as many reasons to keep weblogs as there are weblogs authors, however, some common threads surely exist between them. What could motivate someone to keep a public journal of their innermost thoughts? What possible reasons would someone have? Are some legitimately insightful or original, of course! Are most? No, probably not. So why? Well, I think most can be classified into one (or many) of several basic categories.

The Reverse Voyeur. This person suffers from a serious personal attention debt. I think this probably accounts for the majority of weblog authors. Not so much an exhibitionist, they aren't making a spectacle of themselves in order to attract attention, no these people simply wish to be spied on intimately. They crave attention from someone else in their lives, they wish that someone would see them for who they really are and want to spend real time with them. Some are quite balanced persons who, for whatever reasons, have become recently socially disabled and crave the contact of another human being in some way...these acute cases probably cure themselves after human contact is resumed. Others are simply social outcasts who have never received quality human attention and to them, the weblog is a vast unknown audience that actually listens to their thoughts, cares about their opinions, and listens to their jokes. All of these persons are reaching out into the void in the hopes that someone will read their digital thoughts and the thought that they are communicating with others (even though no one else may be listening) is comforting. It is the same phenomenon found in many religions, as followers pray into the void, knowing the communication is one way, but the hoping that their thoughts are being received by the heavens brings them peace in some way. These people should be shot on sight and all their genetic material vaporized...fucking losers. Chronic Reverse Voyeurs probably need sex worse than normal people need oxygen.
* A side note about my use of the term "reverse voyeur". It's not an official term, but one I adopted to differentiate between an exhibitionist, who makes a spectacle of in an effort to _draw_ attention to themselves, and the reverse of a voyeur, who simply likes to look at other people intimately. A "reverse voyeur", then, in my terminology, would be someone who likes to be _looked at_ intimately, however, does nothing to attract others to give them attention, aside from simply _being_. The physical analogs of each might be an exhibitionist, who runs down the street naked, and the reverse voyeur, who just _wishes_ that someone would peep through their open window while they are taking a shower.

The Exhibitionist. These people are genuinely out there trying to wiggle their junk in everyone's faces. They are ACTIVELY making a nuisance of themselves via their weblogs in order to draw attention. They rant about controversial topics and take the side most likely to produce the largest public outcry from their readers. They want attention and don't care if it's bad or good, they just need someone to pay them attention. The Exhibitionist often evolves out of failed attempts at other weblogger archetypes in the same way that the frantic struggles of a drowning swimmer evolve from the patient water-treading that slowly drains their physical reserves. They are the kids that behave badly in school because it gets them noticed. These people deserve all the bad attention they can get...let them wallow in their filth and enjoy the show.

The Self-Important Moron. These people honestly believe that they have 'listeners' who actually care what they think about the various topics they rant about in their weblogs. They believe that their opinions matter in the grand scheme of things. They are typically idealists who believe that one-person-can-make-a-difference bullshit applies to them personally or that they are somehow more enlightened than the rest of us schmucks. They tend to be rather self-involved or often highly opinionated about one particular subject area (politics, music, etc.) and feel that their random meanderings on the subject are justified by their profound and unique insight into it. Truth is, nobody really fucking cares what these people think. These people deserve to be sodomized with a red-hot poker and slowly eaten alive by army ants.

The Obsessive-Delusional Ranter. These people can't turn it off. They fixate on everything and NEED to talk about it. These are the people you have to find an excuse to walk away from occasionally because they just fucking won't shut the hell up. They have an opinion on everything, whether they do or not. Often, their weblogs are unfocused, blindly-meandering, blatherfests that may start on one topic and end up passing through twenty new topics before finally ending in a non sequitur or some comment about a failed love affair two years ago. They'll talk about the oatmeal they had for breakfast and come up with four reasons not to talk to chipmunks on a weekday and then get started on their opinions about Jewish footwear, all in the same log entry. They are severely agitated personalities who hunger constantly to express all the myriad thoughts in their head, but often have no one to listen to them (see: Reverse Voyeur, above) or just no one around at the time to listen to them. These people need a pre-frontal lobotomy followed by a cinderblock head message or a morphine drip and a phat blunt.

The Town Crier. This person uses weblogs to announce things. Typically, the Town Crier archetype doesn't really use weblogs for anything other than to let the void know about important events in his or her life. Anything worth writing on a calendar is typically fair game; anniversaries, birthdays, kid's first tooth, new car purchase, new computer part, interesting event at work, etc. This person seems to think that people are watching their weblog intently for updates, hoping to get a glimpse into the fascinating world that is their own. Maybe they've told someone in their family about their weblog and assume that that person is looking at it occasionally for updates (and maybe one or two is). This person really doesn't invest much time in their weblog, they are often hovering on the use-not-use line somewhere, but haven't made the move to completely abandon their weblog yet. Often they are recovering "bloggers" who have previously been much more active in their weblog authoring, but have, as of late, begun to create entries less often because of outside influences and actual honest to goodness life. Weblog authors who are _only_ Town Criers have a chance, they can be saved, but typically only by themselves.

The Tragically Geek. This person is a depressing realization of all that is bad in the land of the nerd. They may be very powerful geeks in their own right, excellent programmers or scientists or mathematicians or philosophers, but they've lost their soul to the world of the geek and will probably never get it back. They live in front of a monitor, they follow the weblogs of friends and write their own weblogs because they realize their friends will read theirs too, friends typically known by aliases like 'warzd00d' or 'Ph33rFr33k' or 'No><ius'. They haven't seen real sunlight in weeks and their skin is the color of copy paper. If they are male, the last time they saw a real vagina in person was probably on the day of their birth. They can tell you the value of Pi to twelve digits and their primary mode of socialization is by touching plastic keys and looking at a flatpanel LCD screen. These people should probably all be sent to an island without technology for a decade to make them learn to be real humans again, but unfortunately, the world would probably collapse without them, so they just have to stay in their Aeron chairs and maintain the real world, sortof like those batteries on the Matrix.

The Ego Stroker. This weblogger is sortof a cross between a Reverse Voyeur and Self-Important Moron. A feeling of zero self-worth leads this weblogger to reach to the void for validation of their lives. In real life, this dumbass probably does the same thing to everyone they meet. They tell you about their day, they tell you about something they did, all in the hopes that you'll provide them with the sort of approval their Daddy never gave them. This weblogger listens to the silence and assumes that nothing is better than someone saying something bad about what they've done and, like a fourteen-year-old with a Hustler, masturbates their self-esteem to the rhythm of the keyboard clicks. This weblogger is often depressed, sad, and lonely...basically a fucking loser who needs a reality check written in whatever comes out when they get a steel-toed Redwing to the temporal lobe.

The Crossover Poster. This weblogger isn't satisfied with just talking about THEIR stupid moronic opinions, they have to crosspost with someone ELSE's stupid moronic opinions, link to THEIR weblog and then create a weblog entry that regurgitates the other person's post, then expands on their personal feelings about the original post, what it means to them in the deepest most fluffy happy pathetic useless fucked-up places of their hearts. Not _only_ can these dipshits not come up with something useful to post in their own weblogs, they feel the need to post something so badly, that they steal someone else's content to feed their insatiable need to beg the universe for attention. These people need to be set on fire and put out with a switchblade.

The Aspiring Writer. This weblogger is probably one or many of the other weblogger personality archetypes and is using the excuse that they are an aspiring writer to justify their meaningless drivel. They'll marvel at how wonderful it is to have a printing press in every home, or they'll talk about how their weblog helps validate their writing and builds writing skills, steadfastly ignoring the fact that they could do the exact same thing WITHOUT a weblog and not publicly. They are undoubtedly following some other agenda or fulfilling some other need, but have found an excuse that seems acceptable in their minds that justifies the electronic equivalent to holding up a big sign that says, "Please look at me! I'm important! Listen to me!" These people need to just accept what they are and deal with it or dive on a pitchfork.

The Pedant (a subclassification of Self Important Moron). This weblogger is basically the same asshole/bitch you know that enjoys arguing about the stupidest, most minute details of whatever subject they are ranting about at the time. They'll argue about usage rules for an English word or rant about how a senator wears his shoes. They'll feverishly pontificate about how nobody seems to understand or use correctly some esoteric networking protocol or how nobody seems to understand their horror at something Microsoft did. These people are utterly without lives and write weblog entries more as a way to pass the horrible lonely waking hours between work and sleep. Unfortunately, there's no cure for the Pedants of the world, they just continue to bitch and moan their whole lives and even sometimes manage to find others like themselves, much to the eternal annoyment of the rest of the norms. Pedants are fucking arrogant annoying twats that need a railroad spike wedged in their aorta.

This is by no means meant to be a complete list. There are many many more ways that a weblog author can be a fucked up person...this list is meant as a demonstration of a handful of the mindfucked attitudes weblog authors may be experiencing.

There are, without a doubt, some good reasons to keep a weblog. See Chapter 6 for details.


Chapter 3 - Weblog comments (suck (usually)).

This brings us to a facet of weblogs almost as twisted as the weblogs themselves, weblog comments. Weblogs often accept reader comments to posts. Undoubtedly, the existence of these comments serve to validate the weblog poster, proving conclusively that their thoughts and personal feelings are being heard. What's happening here? Something magical happens to a weblog that accepts comments: a dialogue is started when someone posts a weblog entry and someone else posts a followup. That feeling of shooting off a message into the void is replaced with joy; someone IS listening! Some anonymous person is actually reading a weblog entry by the author and is moved enough by it to comment on it!

There are typically three types of comments:
  • 1. Conversation. "Hey, I found your comments on Enron to be waay off. Here's why."
  • 2. Random misc. "Dood, I like oil too!"
  • 3. Return comments (comments by the original author), typically in the form: "Haha...good one."
  • Comment type one, Conversation, is the only useful type here. Actual dialogue about a subject may actually be useful to both participants, help them refine their opinions, check their data, etc. This is the only time weblog comments don't suck. Bear in mind, weblog Conversation comments are comments by people who are no more qualified to make statements on a given subject than the original author. Weblog entries about serious subjects are designed to mimic real editorial posts by experts on major news sites or internet magazines...but poor imitation is all they are capable of in the end and the blind leading the blind may SEEM like they are going somewhere, but who knows if they actually are? At best, at least Conversational exchanges in comments offer SOME value to weblogs. The real suckass part of weblog comments are that they suffer all the same problems as weblogs for the most part and when not engaged in relevant conversation (that is, for the most part), they range between vapid and fucking unbelievably vapid.

    Chapter 4 - Communication Issues with Weblogs

    One of the things I find most annoying is that weblogs take away a lot of the interaction between people on the internet. Communication mediums like IRC/chat, email, instant messaging, etc. all facilitate direct electronic human/human interaction. They directly imitate, by design, communication channels used in the real world, such as telephones, direct in-person conversation, etc. They were designed this way because, over thousands of years, these are the methods of communication that have risen to the top of the usefulness list. People communicate and socialize much more effectively when communication happens in real-time. Ideas can be exchanged dynamically in small bursts of information which can be efficiently communicated quickly. IRC, for example, allows a one-to-many realtime conversation to take place, just as a group of people sitting physically at a table could all do. These are the methods of communication that work best at communication within small groups.

    Weblogs take us away from that.

    They are designed to mimic mass-communication channels where realtime communication is not possible or practical because of the large number of audience members, such as news sites, magazines, newspapers, etc. They take communication back to an 'announcement' mode of communication, where comments are the only feedback given, if any, and the original speaker doesn't even know who their audience is until after feedback returns. It decentralizes small group communication and decreases its efficiency, which is ironic, considering that the vast majority of weblogs are only read by a few people. Can you picture these weblog entries, individually or as a whole, being presented at a microphone in front of a crowd of people? Of course not. Why? Because what they have to say is FUCKING STUPID and nobody in the real world would give a flying fuck. The analog doesn't fit the material. Still, webloggers like the format because it makes them FEEL like they are addressing more people than they actually are and makes them FEEL like there are far more unknown people listening than they actually are.

    Weblogs create a decrease in communication efficacy with an increase in communication overhead in order to replicate a mass communication channel that does not apply to the audience addressed for the express purpose of a satisfying a feeling of unearned self-importance...sounds silly doesn't it?


    Chapter 5 - The word "Blog" is fucking stupid.

    If weblogs weren't so fucking pathetic, "blog" wouldn't probably sound as idiotic to me as it does I guess. I just hear it and I think about someone standing in a Starbucks ordering a "Half-caf Venti Latte with soy milk and no foam." To me, the word 'blog' represents the type of mentality that goes into a weblog; a need to be trendy about something completely unnecessary and over-hyped.


    Chapter 6 - Acceptable Uses of Weblogs

    There are acceptable uses of weblogs? SURE! Weblogs aren't fucking stupid under the following situations/paradigms.

  • The 'Expert in a Field' Model. This model provides comparatively advanced/expert commentary on an area of interest. An astronaut might keep a public journal of training for his trip to space. A mathematician could keep a journal of his daily thoughts on his research into graph theories. A National Geographic photographer could post daily comments about photographic techniques on their trip through Africa. A programmer could post their progress on their project in a daily diary format.
  • The 'Celebrity Figure Information' Model. This model provides an insight into the lives of persons of public interest. A model might keep a weblog of their daily routine or places they travel. A television star might comment on their personal lives or events they attend. A professional sports player might comment on games (see Expert In A Field model also) or just on how they are feeling.
  • The 'Opinion Of Worth' Model. This model provides opinions from someone the of notoriety. Sortof a cross between the Celebrity Figure Information and Expert In A Field models, there are some celebrity opinions of whom we care very much to hear about. Movie critics could offer film critiques. Professional journalists could offer political or financial opinions. CEOs might offer business opinions, etc.
  • The Chronicle Model. This model is a weblog chronicling the history of something that someone else might find useful. It could be someone's personal accomplishment. A diary of how they earned their pilot's license. A history of someone's professional triumphs. An autobiography or memoirs. An autobiographical account of someone's first tour of duty in Vietnam.
  • The Author Model. This model is a weblog that tries to legitimately attempt daily writings. Each writing, either fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose, is methodically created and displayed for the intent of disseminating the original work (or following the creation process, see the Expert in a Field model, above) of an author. Authors may mix relevant comments with their work, commenting on what they were thinking when they created a particular piece of art, or comment on life in general in order to facilitate an audience understanding of their frame of mind. This is the hardest to distinguish from the blathering idiocy of most weblogs because it is the model most open to interpretation, however, weblogs that follow the Author model should consistently focus on the work of the author, rather than their lives, unless it truly also qualifies for the Celebrity Figure Information model, above.

  • Chapter 7 - Proposal and Conclusion

    As we can see, clearly weblogs are fucking retarded as a general rule. Most weblog authors either think they have something important to say (self-centered and egotistical authors), or believe that they have an audience that cares what they think (delusional and irrational authors.) What can be plainly seen is that most weblog authors need something to push them back into the real world from the self-centered and delusional world they have created for themselves.

    I, in an effort to separate the wheat from the chaff of weblog authors, propose that all weblog authors create a Statement of Audience once per month (or, every two weeks if possible) to facilitate understanding of their place in the universe and the importance of their writings. I offer the following Statement of Audience as a template, and apply it willingly to this entire essay:

    Statement of Audience
    ---------------------
    I realize that nothing I say matters to anyone else on the entire planet. 
    My opinions are useless and unfocused.  I am an expert in nothing.  I know
    nothing.  I am confused about almost everything. I cannot, as an
    individual, ever possibly know everything, or even enough to make editorial
    commentary on the vast vast majority of things that exist in my world.  This
    is a stupid document; it is meaningless drivel that I do not expect 
    any of the several billion people on my planet to actually read.  People who 
    do read my rambling, incoherent dumbfuckery are probably just as confused as 
    I am, if not moreso, as they are looking to my sorry ass for an opinion when
    they should be outside playing Frisbee with their dog or screwing their life
    partner or getting a dog or getting a life partner.  Anyone who actually
    takes the time to read my bullshit probably deserves to ingest my fucked up
    and obviously mistaken opinions on whatever it is that I have written about.
    
    
    Signed: --------------
    


    Read This If This Essay Offends You

    ...or...

    How You Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Weblog Essay

    Now then, before we begin, I'd like to get a couple of things straight and maybe save some of you out there some time writing angry emails to me.

    First, let me start by saying that this essay is written a bit tongue-in-cheek. No I don't -really- want to kill webloggers, set them on fire, or kick them in the head with a Redwing, as I seem to imply in the essay. From my perspective, this is written with a sortof Bob The Angry Flower feel and it's meant to be somewhat over the top. I don't feel I need to apologize for this fact, but the near-parody nature of the writing has eluded some folks, folks whom I personally suspect see a lot more of themselves in my negative weblogger stereotypes than they'd like to admit and tend to send emails that are almost always insulting and sometimes almost threatening.

    If you are one of the people who just read this essay and are all pissy right now about it, just deal with it. (There are lots of ways to deal with it...some people deal with it by writing personally-derogatory weblog entries saying how much they think I suck and how they wish I'd die and whatever...which is fine, though it seems that it's almost like putting a big scarlet "A" on their own chests to anyone with an ounce of perception.) If it's offensive, just take it as humor you don't get (possibly because you really _are_ a pathetic loser) and try to understand why it hurt your feelings and made you unable to think clearly. Maybe you feel the need to fire off some email insulting me...because you think that I insulted you. Before you do, realize that it has become very clear that only people who are insulted by this essay are the ones who see themselves as falling into the categories I describe above as negative. People who match these criteria tend to send me emails with random insults intermingled with, usually, one of several very tired remarks like:

  • my essay is a weblog. "Which classification does _your_ weblog fall into?" they ask. Look, this essay isn't a weblog. You can say that it is million times and this essay won't be a weblog and if you think you're being original by suggesting it is, you aren't, a lot of people before you were just as wrong about it as you are. If you're going to use this one, at least be original enough to send me your definition of what a weblog _is_, so that I might see how a static web page is the same as an online diary.
  • if I don't like weblogs, then I shouldn't go around reading them. This is funny, because a) it's illogical to assume that I go around doing something that I wrote a huge essay to proclaim that I hate, and b) I also hate a lot of things I don't go around doing, such as rape, murder, fraud, beating up old women, etc. Why is it that I can't say I don't like those things again?
  • that it is hypocritical of me to on the one hand say that some webloggers out there are really annoying and how I hate the type of weblogs they create and then on the other hand have a public web page that espouses my opinion on something. What they don't realize is that I'm not dissing ALL weblogs, only the ones that suck ass...which are a lot of them. Some weblog authors have written me to tell me that they agree that most weblogs suck ass and, but that I should make more clear that I think some weblogs are okay. Fine, here it is:

    some weblogs are okay.

    I don't know how to say it any clearer than that (I do devote an entire chapter in this essay on the fact that I think some weblogs are okay, but apparently that was not clear enough for some people.)

    I'm still really not clear on why is it hypocritical of me to say that someone's writing sucks but not hypocritical of them to tell me my writing sucks.

  • my grammar is horrible or that because I lack the ability to cleanly forge original language, I am forced to fall back on words like "fuck" and that the essay sounds naive and poorly crafted because of it. Well, the fact is, my grammar doesn't really suck that bad; to be frank, mine is almost certainly as good as yours when I want it to be. This essay however, isn't a techncal document and I've taken some artistic license with it. It's written in a very loose and emotional form that I thought more accurately conveyed the feelings of frustration and bitterness that was expressed as the topic of the essay (this isn't a paper on "poor weblog usage habits", for example, it's one on "why I fucking hate weblogs"). At any rate, if you don't like the style I wrote this in, go read something else.

    There are other common threads, but you get the idea. You know the people writing these comments probably don't realize that actually I get mail all the time about this essay from people who love it. People who are webloggers themselves write to tell me that my essay made them think about why they weblogged in the first place, and made them re-evaluate the quality of the substance of their weblogs. I've gotten email from people who 'got it', and thanked me for being brave enough to be insultingly honest. I can tell you that the types of people who mail me to compliment me about the essay are vastly different folks than those who write me to insult me or carry on for pages and pages in their own weblogs in order to personally insult me. The former tend to be serious webloggers who actually are intelligent rational people and whose weblogs tend to be fairly active with real conversations, discussions about things that matter, things that educate, things that expand the minds of their readers and contributors. The latter tend to be rather angry and consider my essay a personal insult to them and their friends (my observation is that the only reason they feel personally insulted is because one or more of my negative stereotypes describes their reality so accurately). Some have weblogs without comments (as they clearly know that having no feedback would just verify the fact that nobody is listening to them) and weblogs that either tend to just go around dissing anything in range they can get their hands on or tend to have very little, if any, real substance, or both.

    Lastly, please note this: This essay was written September 22, 2002. If it's still relevant when you read it, good for you, if not, too bad...go have a nice warm glass of shut the fuck up.

    Don't be manipulated by this essay into sending a pissed off ranting email to its author because you were offended by reading something the author wrote in 2002 about nobody in particular that seems to apply to you specifically. That's something only an idiot would do. You're not an idiot are you?



  • Comments? Email the author at: bones@mama.indstate.edu

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