post

Time Out: Groucho Marx and the Funniest Film Character Names

Note: this post appeared recently under a different title on The Blog of Funny Names

“Those are my principles.  If you don’t like them, I have others.”–Groucho Marx

The inimitable Groucho

The Inimitable Groucho

Julius HenryGrouchoMarx (October 2, 1890 – August 19, 1977) was not only one of the funniest men to ever live, he also played some of the funniest named characters in American movie history.  It’s also notable (at least to me) that he is the “ridiculous” part of the inspiration in the name of this blog (The Millennium Conjectures: A blog of the Ridiculous and Sublime).  And by the way,  the “sublime” half of the inspiration is one Mohandas K. Gandhi (October 2, 1869-January 30, 1948).  The point?  Well, take a close look and you will see one similarity.   They share the same birthday, October 2,  which just happens to be my birthday–if many years later.

But I digress.  While Groucho’s name may only be somewhat funny, many of the character names he played in a slew of classic Marx Brothers movies were over the top funny.  Here are just a few of them,  in chronological order.

Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff (Horsefeathers, 1932)

” I married your mother because I wanted children. Imagine my disappointment when you arrived. “–Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers.

While Groucho’s first truly iconic role was that of  Captain Jeffrey Spaulding in 1930’s Animal Crackers, Wagstaff was his first funny-named character.  But believe me, in that department he was just getting started.

Rufus  T. Firefly (Duck Soup, 1933)

“Go, and never darken my towels again.”–Groucho Marx in Duck Soup.

While originally opening to mixed reviews, perhaps due to its then already dated World War I era political satire,  Duck Soup has since become regarded as a classic and comedic masterpiece and was named to the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 films of the 20th century.  One critic said “love the comedy and ignore the plot.”  No kidding.  Caring about the plot of a Marx Brothers movie is like caring about the frame on a Picasso.

Otis P. Driftwood (A Night at the Opera, 1935)

“And now, on with the opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor.”–Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera

Another classic which was also named to AFI’s top 100 American Films of the 20th century.  It just happens to also include what I consider the funniest scene of slapstick comedy ever made. (See below).

I’d laugh even harder, but the last cruise I went on, my own cabin was about that size.

 

Dr. Hugo Z. Hackenbush (A Day at the Races, 1937)

“I have a confession to make.  I’m a horse doctor.  But marry me and I’ll never look at another horse.”–Groucho Marx in A Day at the Races

As suggested by the quote above, Groucho plays a veterinarian of dubious skills in this flick.  I always think of the character name as being Dr. Quackenbush.  And as my wife happens to be a veterinarian, I laugh doubly hard.  Hey, if I can laugh at myself,  I can laugh at my wife, too.

J. Cheever Loophole (At the Circus. 1939)

 “I bet your father spent the first year of your life throwing rocks at the stork.”  Groucho Marx in At the Circus

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that, with that name, Groucho’s character in this one was a lawyer.  It wasn’t the best of the Marx Brothers’ movies, but produced one of the most iconic musical numbers from their oeuvre, Lydia the Tattooed Lady.

That’s just a sampling,  but if you don’t like these, well, he has others!

post

Time Out: Second Annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards for the Funniest Names on the Planet

Note:  This post appeared yesterday under a different name on The Blog of Funny Names

“Awards do not pay the mortgage.”–Kevin Chamberlin

I’m taking a poll.  All those who don’t agree with the above quote, send me $100.  Let’s prove it wrong.

Now, let’s get down to business.  2014 may be over, but the awards season for its achievements is just beginning.  Not to be outdone, let’s be the first to throw out meaningless accolades in the new year, with the second annual Outerbridge Horsey Awards, honoring the best of the past year’s funny names previously covered in these pages.  Yes, we do consider it an honor.  By the way, due to numerous complaints from readers, we have dropped last year’s requirement that you be wearing a tuxedo or evening gown when you read this post.  But please, no tank tops or bare feet;  and if you do chose formal attire, wearing both a tuxedo and an evening gown at the same time would be awesome!

It’s going to be tough to outdo last year’s winners.  How do you top the likes of 2013 Funny-Named Athlete of the YearBarkevious Mingo  and 2013 Funny Name in the News of the YearJanice “Lokelani” Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele?  The latter  should also win a special achievement award as the longest name ever presented herein–or maybe anywhere else for that matter.   Anyway, we may not be able to top them, but let’s give it a go.

Two of these will be awarded to Englebert Humperdinck.  Sadly, this won't make a whole horse.

Two of these will be awarded for Englebert Humperdinck. Sadly, this still doesn’t make a whole horse.

We’ll start with a bit of nostalgia and bestow the 2014 Funny-named Entertainer of the Year on Engelbert Humperdinck.  Both of them!  The cheesy 1960’s and 70’s British pop singer and the not-quite-as-cheesy 19th century German opera composer.   British Englebert had a number of top 40 hits back in the day, the first and biggest of which, Release Me, peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1967.  German Englebert composed any number of forgotten hodge-podges, but had one smashing success, Hänsel und Gretel, which premiered in 1893 under the baton of one Richard Strauss.  It has held down the #1 spot on the Fairy Tale-Themed Opera hit parade for most of the 120+ years since.  Oh, he also had a cheesy pop singer copy his name.  Our correspondent Kerbey originally profiled the British Engelbert back in April of last year, and included a shout out to the late German composer.

Next up is the 2014 Funny Named Athlete of the Year award, and the field of nominees is a crowded one.  With the likes of World Series MVP and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Madison Bumgarner, Funniest Names in the NFL Draft poll runner-up Jadaveon Clowney,  Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness runner-up Joey Pankake,  and probable NFL Offensive Rookie-of-the-Year Odell Beckham, Jr. all in the running, it’s going to be hard to pick a winner.   But since we have to,  the envelope please!

And the winner is….none of the above, because there is just no way we can deny our readers’ wishes.  The winner is the 2014 Funniest Name in the NFL Draft poll champion Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.   He was not chosen as early in the NFL draft as Clowney and did not have as great a rookie year as Beckham, Jr.  But he sure led the league in bad jokes on his name.

Next, we move on to Funny-Named Politician of the Year. I was very tempted to delve into the realm of nostalgia again, and award posthumous trophies to two classics I profiled back in July:  Harry Baals and Wankard Pooser.  But those names are in such an elite class of their own, it seems almost unfair to award them Horseys.   So instead, we’ll actually name this award after them, and give the 2014 Wankard–Baals Award for the funniest name in politics to one Zephyr Rains Teachout.   Profiled by Arto back in September, Ms. Teachout had the audacity to challenge the unfunny-named, but very powerful Andrew Cuomo, for the New York Democratic gubernatorial nomination.  She lost; but she won our hearts.  Being that she is a professor of constitutional law–a teacher!–at the Vermont School of Law, we need to create another new honor for actually being her name.   Let’s call it the Major Major Major Major Aptly-Named Award.   Too bad she doesn’t look like Henry Fonda;  the image below could have been her campaign poster.

He's not Major Major Major Major, but he sure looks like him.

He’s not Major Major Major Major, but he sure looks like him.

Moving on to the 2014 Funniest Name in the News Award, we have a dilemma.  Nothing could possibly top the aforementioned 2013 winner, Janice K.  We have limited storage space on WordPress, so we can only spell out her name so many times, even though the abbreviation makes her appear to be the sister of  Joseph K., from Kafka’s The Trial.   And again, space limitations prevent us from naming the award after her.  So let’s be brief.  The winner this year is pop singer Iggy Azalea, for repeated news mentions mainly due to legal problems and for having a name that sounds more like a coniferous evergreen than an actual person.  She was first covered here in a Funny Names in the News post in August.  Hopefully this will be her last mention.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for–well, I’ve been waiting for it because my hands are cramping up from all this typing–the ultimate award, The 2014 Funny-Named Person of the Year.

May we have a drum roll please.  Ratattattat

And now a trumpet fanfare.  Tarantara

And finally, one stupendous, ear-splitting volley of flatulence!  Pffffffffffttttttttttttt!

And if that introduction did not clue you in to the identity of the winner, you clearly have not been reading this blog very closely.   Because, yes, our winner is the man who famously described his own name as sounding like “a fart in a bathtub,”  the irrepressible British actor Benedict Cumberbatch.  He’s been nominated for both an Emmy as best actor for his portrayal of the title character in the BBC  TV series Sherlock, and for a Golden Globe as best actor for his portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.  He’ll almost certainly get an Oscar nomination for the latter role, as well.  But he doesn’t have to wait to actually win an award.  He’s got one now.  So let’s give him a big round of applause and drown out all that flatulence.  Or at least the sound of it.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Funny-Named Person of the Year.  Only his name is flatulent.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Funny-Named Person of the Year. Only his name is flatulent.

Check out the insanity on my own blog here,  and have a happy and prosperous 2015

Cheers,

 

 

post

Cosmic Quote(s) #49

“Sometimes it is the people nobody imagines anything of who do things nobody can imagine.”–Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game

“Machines take me by surprise with great frequency”–Alan Turing

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game.  No, that is not Sherlock Holmes.

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game. No, that is not Sherlock Holmes.

Allow me for one second to depart from my usual flippancy and be serious for a minute.  The Imitation Game, starring Benecdict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, is one of the most important movies I have ever seen.  If you are a regular reader of this blog, there is a good chance you know who Turing is, or at least have heard the name.   Whether you do, or do not, you should see this movie.  It will leave you with an indelible impression of Turing’s profound contribution to the world we live in today.  I know it did me.

post

Equations of Everyday Life #2: Inane Celebrity Memes

Summer rerun of a WordPress.com “Freshly Pressed” post.   New content coming soon.

“You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you”–Jay Leno 

(Jay Leno graduated from Emerson College the same year I did.  Aren’t you unimpressed?)

Lindsay Lohan…Paris Hilton…Charlie Sheen…you just gotta follow these people to be “with it” in this day and age.  What I can’t figure out is exactly what “it” is. The nonsense involving these silly (do I dare say ridiculous?) excuses for humanity, and the speed with which their inane meme virality propagates throughout the internet and general mediasphere is stultifying.

 How do we quantify this vacuous tripe?  Quite obviously with:

The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality

Get out your calculators folks, though the math on this one may require something more like a Cray supercomputer.   This process requires not one step, but three.

  1. Rate the inanity
  2. Compute the Virality Index
  3. Classify the virality using the Virality Classification Scale

Rating Inanity

This part is for those of you who—like many politicians—prefer fuzzy math.  In order to compute the virality of an inane celebrity meme, you first need to give it an inanity rating.  This, however, does not compute.  You need to estimate it by a process that could be seen as similar to the way we old folks were taught to compute square roots in days before electronic calculators.  You sort of have to zero in on it—surround it, using  a combination of whatever logic or intuition works for you.

Using a scale of 0 to 1.0, we rate the inanity based on how unusual, how cable newsworthy and, of course, how inane it appears to be.  Using the Lindsay Lohan example, let’s rate some real and imagined events.

Lindsay Lohan gets up in the morning and brushes her teeth (or not).  Probable rating=0  (probable rating because, again, there is some subjectivity here).

Lindsay Lohan gets busted for another probation violation.  Approximate rating=0.5 (This is fairly commonplace but due to media culpability still maintains some newsworthiness.  Also, the specific story behind the arrest may result in some adjustment up or down; the next item demonstrates this.)

Charlie Sheen stubs his toe on the curb of 34th Street in NYC, stumbles into oncoming traffic causing Lindsay Lohan to swerve her speeding Porsche through a display window at Macy’s, decapitating several mannequins, skidding across the retail floor and then crashing through a sidewall into a back room where she runs over Paris Hilton who was in the act of giving her boyfriend a you-know-what.  Absolute rating of 1.0.  This theory does not permit a rating higher than 1.0, but we’ll give this one a 1.0 with a star, meaning it also generates spontaneous orgasms in Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and every Fox News and CNN anchor past, present and future.  (Note that while coverage on Comedy Central will actually lampoon the coverage by the other networks, this will add even greater fuel to the viral fire than serious reporting).

Computing the Virality Index

Here comes the fun.

ξ = Φ(F+T)(µ-110)

Symbol key

ξ =Virality Index I chose that squiggly symbol because I think it looks like Kate Middleton mooning the paparazzi.

Φ =Inanity rating Aren’t those Greek thingies cool? This one is iota, as in “I don’t give one iota of a hoot about these nitwits”.

F= number of “friends” or “likes” on celebrity’s Facebook page

T= number of Twitter followers of the celebrity There is a reason they call it TWITter.

µ =the median IQ of the set whose members are F+T. For the uninitiated µ is the scientific symbol for micro.  How appropriate. (Can’t you just imagine those two sentences being uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper?)

To sum it up:

The virality index is the inanity rating multiplied by the combined number of Twitter and Facebook followers multiplied by what I call the vacuity index (median IQ of all followers minus 110).

Classify the Virality

For any chance at virality, the final Index number MUST be negative.  This works perfectly fine for most of the personalities discussed above.  If we are talking about Stephen Hawking, however, there is a better chance of finding virality in the singularity at the center of a black hole.

The classifications of virality are as follows

If ξ ≤  -100,000  minimally contagious

If ξ ≤  -500,000  highly contagious

If ξ ≤  -1 million  immutably viral

If ξ ≤  -10 million globally pandemic

If ξ ≤  -100 million worthy of hours of uninterrupted coverage on CNN and FOX News.

Still to be determined is the threshold at which Geraldo Rivera coverage kicks in.

So if we compute the Charlie Sheen meme virality index for the automobile accident scenario hypothesized above,  we multiply the inanity index of 1 times the combined number of his Twitter and Facebook followers (roughly 10.5 million, don’t worry about being exact, this is fuzzy math) times the vacuity index. We will estimate the latter for Sheehan as (100-110)= -10.  This may be generous but 100, after all, is the definition of median IQ.  This yields a score of -105 million.  If you compute and add to this the scores for Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who were also involved in the scuffle,  the Index plunges much lower.  The New York Post would be sure to issue a special edition.

This leaves one unanswered question, however.  We now know how to compute the manner in which these viral memes are turned on.  But what determines how they are turned off?  As you would expect, I have the answer which I call the medialogical constant.  I will discuss this in the next Equations of Everyday Life post, which may or may not be published within your lifetime.

Images credit: Meme Center   All other material in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

 

post

Cosmic Quote #32

“If god could do the tricks that we can do, he’d be a happy man!”–Peter O’Toole as film director Eli Cross in The Stunt Man

the stunt manA moment of silence, please, for my favorite actor of all time, punctuated with a quote from my favorite movie of all time.  The quote above and the image to the left provide the faintest of hints as to why this is my favorite move of all time.   I will deal with that in a future post.  For now, let’s maintain the silence.

post

Photo Op #7–Halloweirdos

“I haven’t seen my analyst in 200 years.  If I had been going all this time, I’d probably be cured by now.”–Woody Allen, as Miles Monroe, in Sleeper.

“We should have had sex, but there weren’t enough people.”–Diane Keaton, as Luna Schlosser, in Sleeper.

Halloween does bring out the weirdos.  In this case me, emulating one of my favorite personages to quote, and my better half.  The characters are from the Woody Allen 1973 classic, Sleeper, which in my estimation is one of the funniest movies ever made.  His comic genius reached an apex with great gags, including the orb, the orgasmatron and the discovery of a 200 year old Volkswagen Beetle that started up on the first try.

We'll get stoned with the orb.  We would have brought the orgasmatron to the party but it wouldn't fit in the car.

We’ll get stoned with the orb. We would have brought the orgasmatron, but it wouldn’t fit in the car.

Gimme that!

Gimme that!  (Don’t we look just like Diane and Woody?)

The original orgsasmatron.  Woohoo!

The original orgsasmatron. Woohoo!

The original Woody!

The original Woody!

.

post

Summer Rerun: Equations of Everyday Life #2, Inane Celebrity Memes

“I enjoy watching reruns of Saturday Night Live and counting all the dead people.”–George Carlin

Hey, I need that!

Hey, I need that!

Ah, summer.  I’m not actually on vacation, but my neurons are.  Here then, forthwith, is a rebroadcast of my post that was Freshly Pressed on WordPress last September.  I’m still getting Google hits on this one, though we might have to call it Slightly Stale Pressed now.

.

September 23, 2012

“You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you”–Jay Leno 

(Jay Leno graduated from Emerson College the same year I did.  Aren’t you unimpressed?)

Lindsay Lohan…Paris Hilton…Charlie Sheen…you just gotta follow these people to be “with it” in this day and age.  What I can’t figure out is exactly what “it” is. The nonsense involving these silly (do I dare say ridiculous?) excuses for humanity, and the speed with which their inane meme virality propagates throughout the internet and general mediasphere is stultifying.

 How do we quantify this vacuous tripe?  Quite obviously with:

The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality

Get out your calculators folks, though the math on this one may require something more like a Cray supercomputer.   This process requires not one step, but three.

  1. Rate the inanity
  2. Compute the Virality Index
  3. Classify the virality using the Virality Classification Scale

Rating Inanity

This part is for those of you who—like many politicians—prefer fuzzy math.  In order to compute the virality of an inane celebrity meme, you first need to give it an inanity rating.  This, however, does not compute.  You need to estimate it by a process that could be seen as similar to the way we old folks were taught to compute square roots in days before electronic calculators.  You sort of have to zero in on it—surround it, using  a combination of whatever logic or intuition works for you.

Using a scale of 0 to 1.0, we rate the inanity based on how unusual, how cable newsworthy and, of course, how inane it appears to be.  Using the Lindsay Lohan example, let’s rate some real and imagined events.

Lindsay Lohan gets up in the morning and brushes her teeth (or not).  Probable rating=0  (probable rating because, again, there is some subjectivity here).

Lindsay Lohan gets busted for another probation violation.  Approximate rating=0.5 (This is fairly commonplace but due to media culpability still maintains some newsworthiness.  Also, the specific story behind the arrest may result in some adjustment up or down; the next item demonstrates this.)

Charlie Sheen stubs his toe on the curb of 34th Street in NYC, stumbles into oncoming traffic causing Lindsay Lohan to swerve her speeding Porsche through a display window at Macy’s, decapitating several mannequins, skidding across the retail floor and then crashing through a sidewall into a back room where she runs over Paris Hilton who was in the act of giving her boyfriend a you-know-what.  Absolute rating of 1.0.  This theory does not permit a rating higher than 1.0, but we’ll give this one a 1.0 with a star, meaning it also generates spontaneous orgasms in Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and every Fox News and CNN anchor past, present and future.  (Note that while coverage on Comedy Central will actually lampoon the coverage by the other networks, this will add even greater fuel to the viral fire than serious reporting).

Computing the Virality Index

Here comes the fun.

ξ = Φ(F+T)(µ-110)

Symbol key

ξ =Virality Index I chose that squiggly symbol because I think it looks like Kate Middleton mooning the paparazzi.

Φ =Inanity rating Aren’t those Greek thingies cool? This one is iota, as in “I don’t give one iota of a hoot about these nitwits”.

F= number of “friends” or “likes” on celebrity’s Facebook page

T= number of Twitter followers of the celebrity There is a reason they call it TWITter.

µ =the median IQ of the set whose members are F+T. For the uninitiated µ is the scientific symbol for micro.  How appropriate. (Can’t you just imagine those two sentences being uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper?)

To sum it up:

The virality index is the inanity rating multiplied by the combined number of Twitter and Facebook followers multiplied by what I call the vacuity index (median IQ of all followers minus 110).

Classify the Virality

For any chance at virality, the final Index number MUST be negative.  This works perfectly fine for most of the personalities discussed above.  If we are talking about Stephen Hawking, however, there is a better chance of finding virality in the singularity at the center of a black hole.

The classifications of virality are as follows

If ξ ≤  -100,000  minimally contagious

If ξ ≤  -500,000  highly contagious

If ξ ≤  -1 million  immutably viral

If ξ ≤  -10 million globally pandemic

If ξ ≤  -100 million worthy of hours of uninterrupted coverage on CNN and FOX News.

Still to be determined is the threshold at which Geraldo Rivera coverage kicks in.

So if we compute the Charlie Sheen meme virality index for the automobile accident scenario hypothesized above,  we multiply the inanity index of 1 times the combined number of his Twitter and Facebook followers (roughly 10.5 million, don’t worry about being exact, this is fuzzy math) times the vacuity index. We will estimate the latter for Sheehan as (100-110)= -10.  This may be generous but 100, after all, is the definition of median IQ.  This yields a score of -105 million.  If you compute and add to this the scores for Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who were also involved in the scuffle,  the Index plunges much lower.  The New York Post would be sure to issue a special edition.

This leaves one unanswered question, however.  We now know how to compute the manner in which these viral memes are turned on.  But what determines how they are turned off?  As you would expect, I have the answer which I call the medialogical constant.  I will discuss this in the next Equations of Everyday Life post, which may or may not be published within your lifetime.

Images credit: Meme Center   All other material in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

 

post

Equations of Everyday Life #2: Inane Celebrity Memes

“You’re not famous until my mother has heard of you”–Jay Leno 

(Jay Leno graduated from Emerson College the same year I did.  Aren’t you unimpressed?)

Lindsay Lohan…Paris Hilton…Charlie Sheen…you just gotta follow these people to be “with it” in this day and age.  What I can’t figure out is exactly what “it” is. The nonsense involving these silly (do I dare say ridiculous?) excuses for humanity, and the speed with which their inane meme virality propagates throughout the internet and general mediasphere is stultifying.

 How do we quantify this vacuous tripe?  Quite obviously with:

The Index of Inane Celebrity Meme Virality

Get out your calculators folks, though the math on this one may require something more like a Cray supercomputer.   This process requires not one step, but three.

  1. Rate the inanity
  2. Compute the Virality Index
  3. Classify the virality using the Virality Classification Scale

Rating Inanity

This part is for those of you who—like many politicians—prefer fuzzy math.  In order to compute the virality of an inane celebrity meme, you first need to give it an inanity rating.  This, however, does not compute.  You need to estimate it by a process that could be seen as similar to the way we old folks were taught to compute square roots in days before electronic calculators.  You sort of have to zero in on it—surround it, using  a combination of whatever logic or intuition works for you.

Using a scale of 0 to 1.0, we rate the inanity based on how unusual, how cable newsworthy and, of course, how inane it appears to be.  Using the Lindsay Lohan example, let’s rate some real and imagined events.

Lindsay Lohan gets up in the morning and brushes her teeth (or not).  Probable rating=0  (probable rating because, again, there is some subjectivity here).

Lindsay Lohan gets busted for another probation violation.  Approximate rating=0.5 (This is fairly commonplace but due to media culpability still maintains some newsworthiness.  Also, the specific story behind the arrest may result in some adjustment up or down; the next item demonstrates this.)

Charlie Sheen stubs his toe on the curb of 34th Street in NYC, stumbles into oncoming traffic causing Lindsay Lohan to swerve her speeding Porsche through a display window at Macy’s, decapitating several mannequins, skidding across the retail floor and then crashing through a sidewall into a back room where she runs over Paris Hilton who was in the act of giving her boyfriend a you-know-what.  Absolute rating of 1.0.  This theory does not permit a rating higher than 1.0, but we’ll give this one a 1.0 with a star, meaning it also generates spontaneous orgasms in Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and every Fox News and CNN anchor past, present and future.  (Note that while coverage on Comedy Central will actually lampoon the coverage by the other networks, this will add even greater fuel to the viral fire than serious reporting).

Computing the Virality Index

Here comes the fun.

ξ = Φ(F+T)(µ-110)

Symbol key

ξ =Virality Index I chose that squiggly symbol because I think it looks like Kate Middleton mooning the paparazzi.

Φ =Inanity rating Aren’t those Greek thingies cool? This one is iota, as in “I don’t give one iota of a hoot about these nitwits”.

F= number of “friends” or “likes” on celebrity’s Facebook page

T= number of Twitter followers of the celebrity There is a reason they call it TWITter.

µ =the median IQ of the set whose members are F+T. For the uninitiated µ is the scientific symbol for micro.  How appropriate. (Can’t you just imagine those two sentences being uttered by Dr. Sheldon Cooper?)

To sum it up:

The virality index is the inanity rating multiplied by the combined number of Twitter and Facebook followers multiplied by what I call the vacuity index (median IQ of all followers minus 110).

Classify the Virality

For any chance at virality, the final Index number MUST be negative.  This works perfectly fine for most of the personalities discussed above.  If we are talking about Stephen Hawking, however, there is a better chance of finding virality in the singularity at the center of a black hole.

The classifications of virality are as follows

If ξ ≤  -100,000  minimally contagious

If ξ ≤  -500,000  highly contagious

If ξ ≤  -1 million  immutably viral

If ξ ≤  -10 million globally pandemic

If ξ ≤  -100 million worthy of hours of uninterrupted coverage on CNN and FOX News.

Still to be determined is the threshold at which Geraldo Rivera coverage kicks in.

So if we compute the Charlie Sheen meme virality index for the automobile accident scenario hypothesized above,  we multiply the inanity index of 1 times the combined number of his Twitter and Facebook followers (roughly 10.5 million, don’t worry about being exact, this is fuzzy math) times the vacuity index. We will estimate the latter for Sheehan as (100-110)= -10.  This may be generous but 100, after all, is the definition of median IQ.  This yields a score of -105 million.  If you compute and add to this the scores for Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan who were also involved in the scuffle,  the Index plunges much lower.  The New York Post would be sure to issue a special edition.

This leaves one unanswered question, however.  We now know how to compute the manner in which these viral memes are turned on.  But what determines how they are turned off?  As you would expect, I have the answer which I call the medialogical constant.  I will discuss this in the next Equations of Everyday Life post, which may or may not be published within your lifetime.

Images credit: Meme Center   All other material in this post ©2012 Mark Sackler

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: