Archive for the ‘Why Did You Send Us This?’ Category

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Why Did You Send Us This? – Sarcasm, Inc.

February 19, 2010

Welcome back to our ongoing exploration of useless shit we get in the mail. This week, a sales pitch for an unusual new product.

What It Is: A stack of Post-Its from Sarcasm, Inc.

Wait, What?: Fortunately, we got a letter explaining this one. Sarcasm, Inc. is a company from Michigan, apparently composed entirely of just two guys, that proudly announces their invention of the SarcMark™, a punctuation mark designed to indicate that a sentence is sarcastic. In order to share this invention with the world, they sent us a package of Post-Its with their website and symbol prominently displayed on every sheet.

Why Did You Send Us This?: Verbatim: “While writing articles, you may have found yourself wondering if the reader would understand the sarcastic remark you made. Because you’re unsure, you may have opted to leave that sarcastic remark out. That is a shame, but doesn’t need to be the case anymore. The time has come for the SarcMark.” So in order to save us from our sad state of sincerity, Sarcasm Inc. generously provided free login codes to download software that would allow us to print their spirally brainchild whenever and wherever we desire.

Why We Don’t Want It: To begin with, there’s the manner in which we received it. The address reads, and I quote:

David Hollingswort

Heuristic Squelched

Berkley University

That’s an accumulation of errors so egregious that it almost comes off as, well, sarcasm. If you can’t be bothered to even get the name of a large public university right, I can’t help but think your expressions of concern for our ability to make our authorial voice clear are a bit disingenuous. Beyond that, marketing a sarcasm mark to a comedy writer is just a tad insulting. You know what it means if a reader can’t understand that you’re being sarcastic? It means YOU ARE BAD AT SARCASM. The English language is flexible enough that anyone with a good working knowledge of it can manage to make their tone apparent, even in print, with a little effort. If you need a punctuation mark to indicate tone, you’re admitting defeat. We’re college students who make a comedy magazine. We don’t need an excuse to be lazier than we already are.

In Conclusion:

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Why Did You Send Us This? – Horror In The Wind

January 28, 2010

A few years ago, actor-comedian Jamie Kennedy made a documentary in reaction to the overwhelmingly negative critical response to his film Son of the Mask entitled Heckler.  The film is a very personal and at times defensive critique of criticism itself, which actually struck a chord with me in particular, even beyond the clear irony that blasting critics due to their profession presents.  Sprinkled throughout Heckler are interviews with comedians and actors describing how they feel when they are the subject of negative criticism, with many resorting to the stance that they would like to fight anyone who calls their talents into question — including director Uwe Boll, who did just that, and as a result is seen as a kind of hero.

I understand this sentiment entirely.  I take criticism very personally — even reasoned, constructive criticism will sometimes send me into a days-long depression.  When I was editor for the Squelch, I took it very personally when we would get the occasional “you suck” or “you aren’t funny”, and it even got to me when someone told me we were offensive.  I understand what Kennedy is going for in Heckler.  But there’s just one problem.  Son of the Mask DID suck.  Uwe Boll DOES make awful, awful films.  And sometimes Squelch ISN’T funny.  Sometimes things are just bad and just because someone worked really hard on it doesn’t mean that it’s exempt from being bad or that it has special protection against people calling it bad.

This is particularly applicable to the comedy Horror in the Wind, a film that was sent to us for some inexplicable reason.

This is actually a better photoshop than what's on the DVD that got sent to us, so kudos to them on that, at least

More hurtful criticism after the jump

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Why Did You Send Us This? – The Beginning

October 12, 2009

We at the Squelch like to think that our magazine can appeal to more than just Berkeley students. Sure, we run Cal-specific pieces, but presumably most people can see the humor in our work. That’s why we trick freshmen into running our maddening subscription service, after all. Alas, we’re only half right. People out there in the big, wide world are aware of the Squelch. They just have no idea what we actually do. As a result, we often find ourselves the unwilling recipients of unsolicited gifts from a wide range of people who know we’re a magazine but haven’t bothered to check what kind of magazine. So we proudly present Why Did You Send Us This, a celebration of all the weird shit we get in the mail, from terrible indie movies to articles about why evolution isn’t real. Let’s go to the inbox!

What It Is: “Featurettes — Copyright-Free Features From PR Departments”

Click here to watch me get angrier and angrier as the post goes on.