I Just Saved 15% on My Car Insurance with My Crotch

 

I’ve resigned myself to some things I will never fully fathom: the electoral college; women; Pokemon GO (a videogame that requires you to go outside and walk? That’s the opposite purpose of itself. That’s like a treadmill-powered Twinkie dispenser.).

But I’m having real trouble with this concept, which I guess is more a question:

Why do men pay more for auto insurance than women?

The question seems obvious, and, indeed, insurance companies treat it so, even putting the rationale on their websites: Because men get in more crashes.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that men do 60% of the driving in the U.S. — and are in roughly the same percentage of accidents, the companies note.

My question: Who gives a shit?

Empirical data would also produce (if the study were done) statistics about, for instance, race. What if that study were conducted, and it found that more black motorists were involved in crashes than white? Would State Farm advertise a honky discount?

It’s an absurd notion, but it underscores a real question. If you cannot discriminate based on race and gender in employment, housing, hiring, public transportation and nearly every facet of our lives outside of health insurance, why is it permissible for, say, Geico to do it?

The wrinkle gets one more fold with the times. How are insurance firms handling transgender motorists? If I’m a parent with a 16-year-old boy who just got his driver’s license, it would save me literally thousands to tell State Farm that, you know what, I caught Billy throwing the ball like a sissy. He’s a female driver.

It’s enough to make toilet controversies utterly flushable.

Now for some real answers:

  • The word “Afghanistanism”, which means focusing on problems in distant parts of the world while ignoring local issues, was first used in 1948.
  • Charles Darwin was the first to put wheels on an office chair, creating the modern office chair.
  • The highest accuracy calculations at NASA use just 15 decimals of Pi.
  • The artist formerly known as Prince was obsessed with lavender and that reporters knew he was entering a room: you would smell the lavender.
  • The hum that comes from electricity mains provides forensic scientists with a date and time stamp on audio recordings.
  • Dragonflies can get fat. And when they do, they become less successful at finding a mate.
  • The woman who made cannabis brownies famous by baking and distributing them to AIDS patients was actually named Mary Jane.
  • Dumbo was the first Disney animated feature set in America.

We the Press People

 

Enough.

Enough with the attempts to define news.  Enough with the mock outrage over a lack of objectivity. Enough with pretending that “social” media is somehow different from its “mainstream” sibling.

It isn’t. Make no mistake: They are siblings, if not identical twins.

That we in the ancient media of print and television ever tolerated the term “social media” is something of a grim miracle. It’s hard to imagine other professions that would tolerate such a mangling of the terminology of its trade. Or that the public would so wholeheartedly embrace the mauling.

How many businesses or people, for instance, would hazard a flight on a plane steered by a “social pilot?” How many would reserve gurney time for an appendectomy by a “social surgeon?”

Yet, like running a hotel or driving a taxi, being a journalist has become the province of amateurs. Thanks to blogs and free vomit buckets like Facebook and Twitter, the idea of being published hinges less on linguistic dexterity than determinism.

Yet so many in the media claim to be outside its Ivy League walls, forbidden entry by out of step gatekeepers. And we’re not just talking conspiracy slackwits like Sean Hannity or Alex Jones.

Really smart people — like, Noam Chomsky-, Sam Harris-, Neil deGrasse Tyson-, Richard Dawkins-smart — make similarly ridiculous claims.

Take Harris, a neuroscience author of staggering eloquence. In his podcast, website and books, he is quick to lament that “the mainstream media refuses or is unable to see” most issues that underpin our society, from religion to economics to politics. The schism, Harris contends, was a leading contributor to the victory of the Trump administration.

Yet in the same talk or web posting, he will wonder aloud how his podcast became so popular, his Twitter account so swamped with activity.

It’s because you’re in the mainstream media, Sam.

Just do the math. While podcast numbers are not officially tallied (like Nielsen ratings for TV, and yes, that’s a hint), Harris has been publicly flabbergasted by a podcast following of 400,000 that exceeds all of his book sales — combined. He has 888,000 Twitter followers.

The Washington Post has a circulation of 740,000. While not an apples-to-apples comparison, If Harris’ Twitter fanbase alone were a newspaper, it would be the fifth largest in the nation

He’s hardly alone in the confusion. There isn’t an outlet in America that doesn’t distinguish between “mainstream” and “social” media.

But what is the real difference? The largest newspaper in America is the Wall Street Journal, with a circulation north of 2.4 million. (It’s also owned by Rupert Murdoch, in case critics of a liberal media forgot).

Compare that to Facebook, which functions like any other news outlet, with curated headlines and all-flavored news and feature stories. A recent Pew Research study found that 68% of Americans have accounts on Facebook.

That’s a circulation of 218 million.

The same applies to myriad “social” media sites: Instagram would have a circulation of 89.9 million; Pinterest, 83.5 million; Twitter, 67.4 million.

Even the term in a misnomer. If something qualifies as social media, by definition it is also renting property in MainstreamVille. How do we even claim separation, particularly when the largest news outlet in the United States decided a presidential election? How does it remain spared of fake news claims?

The truth is, media is like pizza. You get what you ordered, or you go out of business. Does anyone honestly lay claim to the notion that “mainstream” media refuses to report real news because it would rather report on Kim Kardashian’s ass? That it wants to secretly slip the public pap, like giving a fussy baby a spoonful of Gerber’s by making an airplane noise?

So let’s ratchet down the vitriol, Mr. Harris, Dawkins, Tyson et al. You’re criticizing a club to which you belong.

For Esme, with Love and Slobber

 

A horrible thought just occurred to me.

You know how dogs sleep? Usually with their feet skipping along, to accompanying mini-yips. It’s really cute.

But then I realized: We  assume a dog is having a pleasant dream when we see that. Perhaps images  of untrodden fields and unsniffed anuses.

Yet my dog never acts that way when she’s awake. I’ve never seen her yip playfully when she runs. Shit, I’ve never heard her bark. Esme would have made a great mime; she’s already got the whiteface.

What if she (and her canine brethren) are actually having nightmares when they’re yipping and skittering along the dream circuit? What if dogs are actually picturing Buick-sized cats and electrified fire hydrants? What if Fido is actually calling out for help: Please, wake me from this hell! I have a memory that lasts 15 seconds; not only will I forgive it — I’ll forget it before I fall back asleep. PLEASE HAVE MERCY!

So I’m going to go on Amazon and buy an air horn. When I see her nodding off, I’ll just gently hold the button and BBBBRRRRRAAAAAAAPPPPPPPP!!!!! No more bad dreams.

You’re welcome, honey.

And now, beloved bitches, a non-alternative Factslap:

  • Only 17% of 11 to 38-year-olds experience no mental disorders, according to a study in New Zealand.
  • There is a castle in Scotland shaped like a pineapple.
  • In 1989, a new Blockbuster store was opening in America every 17 hours.
  • “Sesame Street” has won 167 Emmys and 8 Grammys. An estimated 77 million Americans watched the show as children.
  • Scientists usually omit left-handed people from tests because their brain works differently.
  • Tear gas is banned for use in international warfare, but is still legal to use in the U.S.
  • In 18th century Paris, it was fashionable to wear hats and umbrellas with lightning rods attached.
  • All octopus species are venomous to humans, but only one is deadly, the Southern Blue-Ringed octopus.