I’ve been really sick this week, so here’s something from a few years ago that still applies today—I hope you enjoy it!
Have you noticed the increasing proliferation of bizarre Facebook quizzes that purport to identify different aspects of your personality with absolute accuracy? While they are, for the most part, as generic as horoscopes in telling you about what kind of person you are, they are getting more and more desperate for new topics as they attempt to mine your data. At first, it was TV shows or films, like “Which Game of Thrones Character Are You?” or “Which Bond Girl Are You Most Like?” Respectively, I got Arya Stark, and Xenia Onatopp, former Soviet fighter pilot and top assassin. This was very disappointing—I really wanted Daenerys Targaryen, Mother Of F*cking Dragons instead of a whiny little kid who makes lists about who she wants to kill instead of getting revenge by setting people on fire or getting her badass husband to pour molten gold on her enemies’ heads. Also, I would have preferred Kissy Suzuki, the badass Ninja Bond Girl. Still, it was better than some of the other choices, for example Chew Mee, Holly Goodhead, Plenty O’Toole, or Pussy Galore. Seriously, am I the only one who thinks that female characters in James Bond movies are named by giggly 12 year-old boys?
“Hey Danny, why don’t we name the new Bond Girl ‘Perky McBoobs’?”
“Oh my God, dude–hee hee hee–that’s AWESOME!!”
“And we’ll call the new Bond Villain ‘Dick Wanker!”
“SHHH! Here comes my mom!”
But now these quizzes run the gamut from the strange to the ridiculous. I’ve been doing them for a while, and I’ve reached the following conclusion: Facebook doesn’t know me at all. In the last few weeks, I’ve been told that my age is 20, that I will have a baby in the very near future (much to Ken’s and my collective shock), that if I was an element, I would be hydrogen, and that my favourite food is ice cream. Let me just clarify—I’m more than double that age, the only “baby” I currently want comes from either Tiffany’s or the Humane Society, I am PALLADIUM, thank you very much, and I hate ice cream with a passion. I don’t want to embark on a rant, but why the hell would I want to eat something so cold that I can’t taste it? How can Facebook claim to know me if it doesn’t realize my favourite food is steak wrapped in bacon?! Which, to anyone who is not a vegetarian, is known as ‘Nature’s Perfect Food’? And now, I’m totally distracted by the thought of bacon-wrapped steak, and will have to put writing this criticism of Facebook quizzes on hold while I go to the grocery store. Well played, Facebook.
Ok, I’m back. To continue, not only are these quizzes seldom accurate, the path to arriving at a conclusion has become so random and convoluted that I swear Facebook is just making this sh*t up. Case in point: I recently took a Facebook quiz called “Which Philosopher Are You?” It sounded a little more up-scale than “Which Kardashian Sister Are You?”, so I thought I’d give it a whirl:
Question 1: “What is the most overrated virtue?” Ok, well this sounded somewhat philosophical. There were several options, including Honesty, Faith, and Courage, but I went with Chastity on the grounds that IT’S STUPID. That, friends, is an example of empirical reasoning, which is what all great philosophers are good at.
Question 2: “Pick a Desperate Housewife.” I had NO idea who any of these women were. Would a philosopher actually watch this dreck in the first place? Again, I used my powers of mad logic, and chose a woman whose name began with ‘A’, because ‘A’ is the first letter of the alphabet. And the cool thing was that her last name began with ‘B’. Angie Bolen. A totally logical choice, even if I had no f*cking clue who she was.
Question 3: “Vegetarians are….” There were several choices, mostly negative, like ‘Missing out’, ‘Annoying’, or ‘More moral than you’. I chose ‘Probably right’; the fact is, I would BE a vegetarian if it wasn’t for the whole ‘steak wrapped in bacon’ thing, which I just can’t let go of.
Question 4: “Pick a condiment.” I was torn between soya sauce and salsa, but I went with soya sauce, because if these questions have ANY bearing on what philosopher I’m most like, I’d rather be Confucius than Gongora–I’ve seen too many sci-fi movies to not believe that comets are harbingers of doom.
Question 5: “Worst thing you’ve ever done?” I wasn’t copping to anything except Gotten Drunk or Stolen Sweets. I picked stealing candy, because aren’t ALL philosophers alcoholics? Drunkenness will not define my philosophy. I stand by that statement. Also, once when I was 4, I took a piece of bubble gum from the variety store. My mom found out and made me go back and apologize to the store owner. It was so mortifying that I pretty much avoided anything illegal from that point on. In fact, I once got caught going through a red light and went to court just so I could tell the judge I was sorry. She reduced my fine—I call that karma. There I go, being all philosophy-ish again.
Question 6: “Pick a teen drama.” The only one on the list that I’d ever seen was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Maybe this was setting me up to be Vlad the Impaler or something. Was he a philosopher? I’m sure he had a reason why he impaled all those people. Or maybe not. Sometimes philosophy is so f*cking enigmatic.
Question 7: “Your ideal Saturday night?” I was too distracted at this point by Facebook’s sidebar headline: “Miley Cyrus wore a prosthetic penis on stage last night”, so I randomly picked cooking. I hope to hell Julia Child was NOT a philosopher.
Question 8: “Which European city would you live in?” My first reaction was ‘Why isn’t Glasgow on this list?! WTF is up with that?’ Scotland had to have at least ONE philosopher, so I googled it. There was a list, but I didn’t recognize any of the names. Then I saw a picture of Steve Carrell (the American actor) next to someone named Michael Scot, and got suspicious that the Scottish philosopher site was also run by Facebook.
Question 9: “You promised to hang out with your Grandmother tomorrow. What do you do?” Some of the options were ‘Cook for her and her friends’, ‘Cancel at the last minute’, or ‘Grin and bear it’. Well, my grandmother passed away a couple of decades ago, so I chose ‘Look forward to catching up’.
Question 10: “Right now I am….” At this point, I had no idea how any of these random and absurd questions could lead to any particular philosopher except for Jean-Paul Sartre, so I chose ‘Confused’.
The program calculated my responses and came up with this: “You got: Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Although you believe in individual freedom, you think that social contracts are necessary in order to allow society to function in a rational, non-impulsive way.” Close enough, Facebook, and in true philosophical fashion, I have logically concluded that it was my choice of Angie Bolen that led to this revelation.
I still had a little time to kill so I did the next quiz on the page which was “What Fossil Are You?” I went through the series of questions: Pick a vacation plan (visit a castle), pick a pattern (psychedelic), pick a moment from Drakes’ Hotline Bling video (WTF? Random.), pick a Greek goddess (Athena), pick outdated 90s slang (Aight), pick a moustache (Old-timey Western Saloon Keeper), pick a geologic time period (Ordivician, because it sounds Illuminati-ish and cool). I got this:
“You are just like an ammonite! These awesome looking sea-critters were everywhere back in the day, but not much is known about their behavior. Like them, you are elegant as fuck, but also seductively mysterious. People have been known to frame ammonites’ likeness on the walls of their majestic mansions and palatial villas and the same will be certainly be said of you one day.”
“Elegant as fuck” and totally philosophical? OK, maybe Facebook knows me better than I thought….
(Ken commented that he was confused by the fact that I normally put an asterisk in the middle of a swear word to keep this site a little more PG 13, but I used the F word twice at the end without an asterisk. I reminded him that they were direct f*cking quotes, so it was OK.)