Tag: stupid

Amazon and Mailing Lists

Back in the old days of the Internet (the 90s) one of the things that made me want to slap the snot out of certain people was email mailing lists. People would sign up for a mailing list, and when they realized they really didn’t want 500 emails per day, they would post a message to the list asking someone to take them off. This is even though every message typically contained a few lines of instructions at the bottom (something like “to unsubscribe, reply to this mail with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject line”), but apparently there are whole loads of people out there too stupid, too lazy, or (most likely) too self-entitled to follow these simple instructions to take themselves off the mailing list.

The lesson to be learned here is that mailing lists are simply not compatible with the human race. There is always going to be a percentage of people that are not fit to handle the responsibility of removing themselves from a mailing list, and they end up ruining it for everyone. That’s why mailing lists have mostly been replaced by web forums.

Well the reason I bring it up is that, apparently, Amazon didn’t learn the lesson.

Today I got an email saying they had corrections available for a book I had bought for my Kindle, and that if I wanted it I should reply with Yes in the first line of the message. Here is what I did in response to that message.

  • I replyed to the message. Got a message back saying the reply had to come from the same email address I used at amazon.com (which is a forwarding only email address that’s delivered to main main inbox).
  • Fine, I grumbled, and added an identity to my email client, and followed up with the From header set to my Amazon email address. Got a message back saying it was sent to an address not configured to accept email.
  • Of course. I was supposed to reply to the original message. So I went back to the original message, and replied to that one again.
  • Then I realized I didn’t type Yes in the body so I replied yet a fourth time, being sure that I was using my Amazon email address, and that I typed Yes.

It finally worked and I got my update.

If a simple Yes reply to Amazon caused me this much trouble, imagine what trouble it will cause the people who can’t remove themselves from a mailing list. There is no way they’ll be able to manage it. I don’t know if it’s the first time Amazon ever attempted something like this, but I suspect it is, because if they ever did it before I don’t think they’d ever do it again.

Stupid Ad Placement

The following image shows a portion of my drive to work every day:

This is the ramp from 405 South to 110 West in Los Angeles, and is part of my commute to work so I see this sign nearly every day. And yet I still have no idea where the Colonial City on a Beach is. The bottom of the sign is out of my view for the whole length of the ramp, but that is (evidently) where the name of the mysterious Colonial City on a Beach is found. The whole sign would be visible to people driving on La Cienega Boulevard, but drivers on the heavily traveled 405 can’t see the name of the city.

(I admit to taking a photo while driving, but what is it to risk my own life and the lives of nearby innocent drivers, when I could make a good blog post?)

A New Political Spectrum

The liberal-conservative spectrum we are accustomed to is a gross simplification and distortion. Labeling someone as “liberal” or “conservative” often obscures the true political views of someone. This is true of any one-dimensional measure of political opinion, of course. But it seems that there could be an alternative to the liberal-conservative political spectrum: one that more accurately reflects what people consider important.

I believe I have found such a spectrum: the evil-stupid spectrum.


It is a simple fact that a politician must lie to get elected, with very few exceptions. Why, you ask? Because for every truth, there is always a lie that sounds better. I suppose it’s possible a truth-teller can defy the odds and win an election occasionally. But one can only defy odds for so long. Eventually, the truth-teller will run against a skilled liar, and will then have to lie or lose the election.

Now, to lie to the public, you either have to be intentionally dishonest (i.e., evil), or naive enough to believe the truth of what you are saying (i.e., stupid). That’s where the evil-stupid spectrum comes in: it determines whether a candidate is mendacious or naive. (If I wanted to be more precise, I could call it the mendacious-naive spectrum, but I am not interested in political correctness here.)

Evidence of the usefulness of the evil-stupid spectrum

I say the evil-stupid spectrum more closely represents what people, unconciously, consider important. As evidence of this, I invite you to consider the Presidents of the United States over the last century:

Theodore RooseveltRepublicanStupid
William Howard TaftRepublicanStupid
Woodrow WilsonDemocratStupid
Warren HardingRepublicanStupid
Calvin CoolidgeRepublicanStupid
Herbert HooverRepublicanStupid
Franklin D. RooseveltDemocratEvil
Harry TrumanDemocratEvil
Dwight D. EisenhowerRepublicanEvil
John F. KennedyDemocratEvil
Lyndon JohnsonDemocratEvil
Richard NixonRepublicanEvil
Gerald FordRepublicanStupid
Jimmy CarterDemocratStupid
Ronald ReaganRepublicanStupid
George BushRepublicanStupid
Bill ClintonDemocratStupid
George W. BushRepublicanStupid

You will notice that, although the public fluctuated freely between Republican and Democrat, the choice of evil or stupid has been more consistent. That should tell you that this evil-stupid spectrum is more aligned with the national conciousness. It forms a definite pattern in the Presidents of the last century, while the liberal-conservative political spectrum yields no rhyme or reason to the selection.

How does evil-stupid correlate with liberal-conservative?

The only question left is how does the evil-stupid spectrum correlate to the liberal-conservative spectrum? It seems that most conservatives tend to be stupid, whereas liberals tend to be evil, but that’s only a tendency. A look at the above table will confirm that there were more stupid Republicans and evil Democrats.

In fact, the Presidents that I am not so certain about the evil/stupid status of, namely Wilson, Eisenhower, and Clinton, are opposite of this tendency.

Nevertheless, there are very evil conservatives and very stupid liberals, and it seems that when voters “cross over,” they do it (unconciously) because of evil-stupid sympathies.

Update April 30, 2011

Barrack Obama, while he was campaigning, I originally placed in the Evil category. After having experienced two years of his presidency, I’m now putting him squarely in the Stupid category. (In fact, I’ve jokingly called him Barrack W. Obama several times….)

As you can see from the chart, after decades of Stupid, America seems poised to enter a phase of Evil Presidents. This leads me to believe that Obama is likely to lose the next election. There are at least three notable Republicans exploring presidental runs who are squarely in the Evil category (Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and the very Evil Rick Santorum).

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