Sunday, July 26, 2009

'That's Just the Rule 5 Way It Is!'

Little Miss Attila encounters the original inspiration for the Paul Anka Integrity Kick:
Seeing that was like watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time . . .
Indeed, and with Goldsteinesque appreciation for intentionality, I feel obligated to provide some (unfortunately necessary) clarification on the origins and purpose of Rule 5.

Donald Douglas is a good guy, and the blogospheric round-robin consensus that he pushed the rule beyond its reasonable limit does not diminish his good-guy status. One of the things about "edgy" humor is that you never know where the edge actually is until you've gone over it. Certainly, I cannot cast the first stone.

'Pork Marlene Desmond?'
The sociological purpose of an inside joke is as a signifier of membership, an acknowledgment of shared experience. When I was at the Rome News-Tribune, there was a group of us guys in the newsroom who were all fans of Animal House and Blazing Saddles.

So when special-projects editor Pierre Rene-Noth issued an editorial memo to the newsroom, business editor John Willis would say, "Now what'll that a**hole think of next?" To which the only response was, "Somebody's gotta go back and get a s***load of dimes!"

Or, if you drew one of those short-straw assignments, city editor Mike Colombo would say, "You f***ed up -- you trusted us!" Such a reference might lead to an extended riff-fest: "Will that work?" "Hey, it's gotta work better than the truth."

The whole point of this silly riffing was to humorously reassure each other that we were all sharing the same miserable fate ("Mongo only pawn in game of life.") and thus maintain some some semblance of esprit d'corps among the wretches pulling the oars on this galley.

After I moved to Washington, I was mortified to discover that, in the newsroom of The Washington Times, the appropriate signifiers on the national desk were Caddyshack and Seinfeld, so that (a) I didn't always get their in-jokes, and (b) my own accustomed in-jokes did not elicit the appropriate chuckles of recognition.

To make matters worse, over the course of the next decade, turnover in the staff meant that we increasingly had younger staffers for whom all such references were as opaque as the Dead Sea Scrolls. (On the upside, however, your average 20-something's shortage of cultural referents means an old guy can recycle ancient vaudeville gags and be considered inventively witty: "If I could walk that way, I wouldn't need the talcum powder!")

Pirate's Cove and the Zero Hour
As I've explained before, but perhaps should explain again, the credit (or blame) for inspiring Rule 5 is split three ways:
  • A back-and-forth Christina Hendricks riff with Stephen Green of VodkaPundit in the gloomy weeks following the 2008 election, when political blog traffic plummeted precipitously.
  • Five days a week, Conservative Grapevine includes links to bikini babes at the end of its news aggregation and -- as John Hawkins has pointed out -- the bikini links consistently get more clicks than all the rest.
  • Every Sunday, William Teach at Pirate's Cove does Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup, an aggregation post featuring classic pinup art.
Back in the day -- and remember, my first month of full-time blogging here (March 2008) I had a grand total of 6,000 visitors -- involved repeated encounters with that awful moment experienced by every newbie blogger, The Zero Hour: You toil into the night to create what you think is the most brilliant post ever, e-mail the link to several bloggers (Rule 1), go to bed, wake up at 5 a.m., log on expecting your SiteMeter to be spiking off the charts and . . . nothing. Your most recent hourly traffic was a big, fat zero.

OK, you could buy a "secrets of blogging" book (Secret Tip No. 1: Be A Cute Chick) or sign up for a class on how to enhance your blog traffic. Or you could stick your head in the oven and end it all.

If neither of those options is appealing, however, there's the DIY method: Obsessively study the craft, apply what you learn, and resourcefully bootstrap your own trial-and-error solution to the ubiquitous blogger problem of traffic suckage.

Also, listen to your wife. After about my third or fourth Instalanche, my wife said, "Let me guess: Was it one of your smart-ass comments?" Well . . . yeah, it was. My wife said, "See? You should be funny. You're good at that."

At any rate, there were some Sundays in the early going when, if it hadn't been for inclusion in the Pirate's Cove aggregation, I wouldn't have had 100 visits for the whole day. So when it came time to celebrate our first million hits, to have omitted Rule 5 would have been an act of negligence and ingratitude. You've got to give something back, see?

'Land-Snatching . . . See: Snatch'
Hedley Lamarr: My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.
Taggart: Golldarn it, Mr. Lamarr, you use your tongue prettier than a $20 whore.
And so we behold Donald Douglas and the "Erin Andrews nude" Google-bomb, still pounding it as relentlessly as Andrew Sullivan in the back row of the cineplex during a Patrick Swayze film festival.

When we crossed the 2 million threshold, I used the occasion to suggest that maybe it was time to "step away from the peephole," but Donald keeps milking it like Andrew Sul . . . Never mind. Supply your own disturbing mental image. I refuse to take responsibility for the emergency brain-bleach shortage that would result if I completed that sentence.

My point is that now Cassandra of Villainous Company is becoming so offended, she's threatening to remove her sexy garter-flashing pinup art -- and we can't let that happen. Like some sort of well-intentioned mad scientist, I've created a monster (Frankencheesecake?) and now the villagers are storming the castle with pitchforks and torches.

What's weird is that Professor Douglas is now able to provide Erin Andrews nude citations from the Hartford Courant and Howard Kurtz. It's one of those viral memes that is unlikely to stop spreading anywhere this side of the Wall Street Journal or the Christian Science Monitor.

How can we lure Donald out of the swirling vortex -- a torrent, one might say -- of Erin Andrews nude?

'We Have to Go All Out'
Otter: I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: And we're just the guys to do it.
Fighting fire with fire, and inspired by the success of National Offend A Feminist Week, I hereby declare July 27-Aug. 2 to be International Rule 5 BikiniFest Week. (Smitty: "Now what'll that a**hole think of next?")

We'll have a daily contest, recognizing the best of each day's entries, and culminate next Sunday by awarding the 2009 Rule 5 BikiniFest Week Grand Prize. Here are the rules:
  • PG-13. You'll be disqualified for prizes if you go too far, so use your best judgment, guys. Generally speaking, anything more revealing than the sexy bikini picture of Mrs. Other McCain risks disqualification. Smitty will be the final arbiter of this rule, although I may be available for consultation on particularly difficult cases.
  • Bikinis preferred, but not mandatory. Glamour/lingerie photos will also be considered. Mrs. Other McCain has never minded me looking at the Victoria's Secret catalog, so long as I buy her something nice and lacy for Christmas. However, keep in mind the "PG-13" rule. Of the 15 photos in this Miranda Kerr Victoria's Secret pictorial, the three topless photos would probably risk disqualification. However, Smitty is the final arbiter.
  • Sorry, ladies: No beefcake. Given that the whole point of this exercise is to tempt Professor Douglas away from his traffic-hungry Erin Andrews frenzy, photos of studly bare-chested macho dudes (NTTAWWT) will be ineligible for prizes, although Smitty may decide to link those posts anyway.
  • No minors. Anyone posting bikini photos of Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez will be immediately disqualified. Ex-jailbait princesses -- Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, etc. -- are eligible, but only if the photos were indisputably taken after the subjects turned 18, you sick freak, you.
  • No Erin Andrews. Speaking of sick freaks, whoever drilled that peephole and recorded that video needs to be strung up by his scrotum and repeatedly cattle-prodded where it hurts the most. No criminal voyeurism, no bondage, no whips, no chains, no handcuffs, dog-collars or nipple-clips -- do we need to go ahead and specifically rule out bestiality and necrophilia, or is the general idea clear? We want healthy, wholesome cheesecake of the kind that any red-blooded truck mechanic would be pleased to see rendered as art in a Gil Elvgren classic pinup calendar. Again, Smitty is the final arbiter.
So there you have it: Thanks to Dr. Douglas and this disgusting peephole video, bloggers now have a perfect excuse to post babelicious bikini pics every day of the week. Just post the babes and e-mail your links to Smitty. In addition to reciprocal linkage, winners will be eligible for the the prize of one beer, if you should ever happen to catch me in a bar with money in my pocket -- and good luck with that.

Will this crazy scheme work? If it doesn't, we may have to send SWAT units and the hostage negotiation team to try to talk Dr. Douglas away from Erin Andrews nude.

The amazing coincidence here is that International Rule 5 BikiniFest Week just happens to occur during the nadir of the mid-summer doldrums, when our blog traffic would otherwise suck worse than Andrew Sul . . . oh, you don't really expect me to finish that sentence, do you? Hit the tip jar, or I just might, and in such a way that you'll never get enough brain-bleach to erase that mental image.


  1. Now what'll that a**hole think of next?"
    Seven virgins on a mule?
    Keep it cool, keep it cool.

  2. You think bikini pics would be a good idea for the new IG-Gate Linkage site??? Doris Matsui?!

  3. @Bob,
    It's your site, but bikinis would alter the tone.
    I've got a scheduled post touting your effort, about an hour from this response.

  4. Doris Matsui in a bikini?


  5. I give up. I just can't compete with that sort of creativity and chutzpah.

    I suck as a blogger.

  6. How did I get left out of that diatribe after posting "I am with Little Miss Attila in Villainous Company to challenge American Power"? Especially when I explained Rule 5 and linked you so liberally? Update, please!

    By the way, I don't have any special objection to Rule 5, as I stated in my post, I just don't feel like playing. I DO object to the "No beefcake" rule on behalf of straight women and gay men.

    My problem with Donald Douglas is that the video he is exploiting was taken illegally without the knowledge or permission of the woman whose life it so callously destroys. He is a million times worse than Perez Hilton.


  7. OK, Cynthia:
    1. If Smitty or I have failed in the Rule 2 department, your message has now been heard loud and clear.
    2. Nobody -- not even Professor Douglas -- is arguing in defense of the video or the creep who produced it. I have argued that actually linking the video was over the line (and my line is a lot farther out there than most people's line). With those points settled (at least in my mind), the issue now is whether, in exploiting the bizarre curiosity of celebrity-porn Googlers, the Professor was doing anything worse than what the Hartford Courant and other "mainstream" news organizations are doing by their "objective" reporting.
    3. You rank up there with Kathy Shaidle and my wife on the list of Women I'd Never Want To Have Angry At Me. Perhaps I should warn the Professor, eh?

  8. I DO object to the "No beefcake" rule on behalf of straight women and gay men.

    Thanks, Cynthia

    I think I'm just going to post pictures of the hottest conservative talk show hosts, politicians, and bloggers - all male of course.

    My problem is I don't have a decent picture of Smitty, who would need to be included on at least one of the days (did I mention before I have a crush on Smitty? No? Well, I do! He knows all about those elusive little squiggles called commas, too)

    Since it is my blog I can do what ever I want and, rest assured, my 5 or 6 regular readers will appreciate what ever I do. So there!

  9. And it's my birthday today...

    Thank You, God!!!

  10. OK I'm in. Bikini, pink pistol, what's not to love:

  11. ...but it ruins your XTIAN cred. Lust of the eyes, dude. You're better than smut-peddling-for-hits aren't you? If you're gonna talk the talk...