December 8th, 2011 / 11:14 am


This post yesterday was goddamn funny. I almost laughed my ass off. I laughed, and I enjoyed the laughing, because I am worn out, time kills you, existence is terrifying, laughing is the meds, it feels good to be included and not to be the one getting laughed at. The laughing is temporary shelter from bigger extinction, by way of smaller inclusion. I’m not alone. Someone else is alone. Not me.

The post made me sad too. I laughed, but I couldn’t laugh my ass quite off. Almost off but not quite. Like, I laughed my ass ¾ off but I also watched myself laughing and was like: You so stupid, gurl. That’s you he is making fun of. ALONE. You are up there alone. If one of us is up there alone, it is you. It is always you, in a Schopenhauer sense, nah mean?

I felt like a cog, too: cog-ish, cog-esque.  I thought about “mean” and I thought about it as a hits-generator. Perhaps, first and foremost, mean is a hits generator. We are helping to generate hits! Hooray!?

 The etymology of the word “mean”, according to etymonline, is:

(mean) adj.

“low-quality,” O.E. gemæne “common, public, general, universal, shared by all,” from P.Gmc. *ga-mainiz “possessed jointly” (cf. O.Fris. mene, M.L.G. gemeine, Du. gemeen, Ger. gemein, Goth.gamains “common”), from PIE *ko-moin-i- “held in common,” a compound adjective formed from collective prefix *ko- “together” (P.Gmc. *ga-) + *moi-n-, suffixed form of PIE base *mei- “to change, exchange” (see mutable); cf. second element in common, a word whose sense evolution parallels that of mean (adj.). Sense influenced by mean (n.). Meaning “inferior, poor” emerged c.1300; that of “stingy, nasty” first recorded 1660s; weaker sense of “disobliging, pettily offensive” is from 1839, originally Amer.Eng. slang. Inverted sense of “remarkably good” (i.e.plays a mean saxophone) first recorded c.1900, also in phrase no mean _______ “not inferior” (1590s, also, “not average,” reflecting further confusion with mean (n.)).

It must be difficult to be funny and nice. Is the etymology of niceness “high-quality, uncommon, private, obscure, rare, possessed by few?” That sounds really hard. Perhaps what made me feel cog-ish about the post was, as a friend said: It personally called out someone “like us.” One of us small guys. As she put it: “He wasn’t making fun of Joyce Carol Oates.” I am sure Joyce Carol Oates has feelings too. I just don’t think she reads htmlgiant (though she might) (awesome)!

 My own posts, while more of the generally-mean, or vaguely-mean, or passively-aggressively mean variety, are also totally cog-ish. I get more excited to post a funny post than to post somebody’s poem–mostly because I think it will make me more popular. Adolescence was a bitch. I still really want to be cool.

When I look at litblogs, I want to see funny things, gossip and dirt–not straight-up literature. So I figure you will like me more if I make you laugh. I want comments, because comments make it appear, at least, like I’m not alone.

 Hopefully this post will get a lot of comments. Good ones.

I hope it becomes a popular post.



  1. swervy jervy

      Yes. Yes. No.

  2. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I thought what made Shane’s post brilliant was it was artfully constructed, so that it was not just mean and funny, it was also really good.

  3. drew kalbach

      “When I look at litblogs, I want to see funny things, gossip and dirt–not straight-up literature.”

      me too. cool post.

  4. Melissa Broder

      not popular :(

  5. Melissa Broder

      thanks dudems @ drew

  6. drew kalbach

      i even gave you a ‘like’ because i know getting a ‘like’ on an htmlgiant comment is the most validating thing in the world.

  7. Melissa Broder

      also, you’re really beefing up the comments

  8. drew kalbach

      good point comment count is also a huge ego booster

      maybe people will think this is a cool post and starting commenting too

  9. Melissa Broder

      there’s a lot going down here. it’s very chic! you don’t even have to read the post! actually, i really hope you don’t!

  10. drew kalbach

      this post isn’t a valid post until deadgod gets all up in here

      (calling deadgod out today)


  11. Melissa Broder

      now i’m at 11 comments. deadgod will bring it up to 51 at least.

  12. deadgod

      Your Sunday Service blogicles are very “cool”, whatareyoutalkingabout.

  13. deadgod

      Inverted sense of “remarkably good” […], also in phrase no mean ______ “not inferior” […].

      “No mean X” means ‘not an inferior X’ because the “mean” is not inverted in meaning–the mean in “no mean X” is not a usage inverse to “low-quality”. 

      The mean in “no mean sax player”, ‘not an average sax player’ (which “average” connotes mediocrity), is pejorative, as is the mean in “that’s a mean thing to do” pejorative (albeit a different kind of pejoration); they each are inverse in meaning to the mean in “plays a mean sax”. 

      That is, “no mean sax player” can assert the same thing as “mean sax player”.  (–the former “low-quality” being negated by its “no”, the latter meaning the inverse of “low-quality”.)

      (The noun-meaning ‘in the middle; average’ sure does confuse the two senses of “uncoolness”–‘inferior’ and ‘mediocre’–, to the point where the word is its own antonym.)

  14. Leapsloth14

      rub route

  15. deadgod

      more pointed with a hashtag vs. disciplined refusal to compliment

      winner:  :(

  16. deadgod

      I don’t “feud”, swine.

  17. deadgod

      Well, it’s around about like a hundred now, math major.

  18. drew kalbach

      yay we summoned you and you performed for us!

  19. deadgod

      ha ha post hoc ergo propter hoc

  20. drew kalbach

      sounds like fancy talk for ‘i danced like a puppet for you’ :-D

  21. 639

      can it, retard

  22. Anonymous

  23. Anonymous