I just had an unexpectedly harrowing experience on the internet.
While I like to think that I’m immune to clickbait, occasionally I leave the high road and tumble gracelessly down into the muddy ditch where I roll around with all the giddy enthusiasm of a dog who’s just found a particularly feculent turd.
(Pat pauses for a moment, looking up at the sentence he just wrote, and thinks that sometimes, just maybe, he should dial the vividity of his phraseologer down from 11.)
Anyway, I stumbled onto the following webpage the other day. I can’t even remember how.
So I think, Okay, sure. I’ll vote in your little poll. I am wise in the ways of the geek. I have opinions.
The thing is set up as a series of X vs. Y pairings, and you have to vote for one or the other.
The first couple were easy. Obviously Felicia Day beats Peter Jackson. Obviously Johnathan Coulton beats out JJ Abrams. Tina Fey trumps Shatner.
You also have the option to skip voting on a particular pairing. This was first useful when I was given two people I’d never heard of before, a cosplayer and a voice actor. Rather than vote blind, you’re able to just shrug and get a completely new random pairing.
But I didn’t realize how essential the skip button was until this happened:
I saw this, and a gear slipped in my brain. How could I possibly pick? The author of the second comic I’d ever read as an adult (Watchmen). The guy who Promethia. Top Ten. Tom Strong. V for Vendetta. Someone whose work has honesty changed my perception of comic art if not storytelling as a whole. Plus, y’know, wizard.
On the other hand we have Wil: creator of Tabletop, which is a force for good in the world. Co-founder of Wootstock, a source of persistent joy in my life. The actor that played Westley Crusher, a character that made my life suck a little less as a kid. Someone who regularly speaks truth to power, and a damn fine author in his own right….
It was a flabbergasting choice. It’s not like comparing apples and oranges. It’s like comparing sex and videogames. I had to skip that matchup.
Then this happened:
As the poll continues, it winnows out the people you don’t know pretty quickly. Then it gets rid of the people you don’t care for. With a little more difficulty you leave behind geek celebs you are merely fond of.
Then it starts to become excruciating. You are forced to make choices no sane person would ever willingly make.
Still the grindstone turns until you are finally confronted with something like this.
Don’t. Just don’t.
So. If you want to plumb the depths of your own personal geeky faith, go ahead and check it out. I think the voting ends today.
Edit: Monday July 21st. I just googled “Sophie’s Choice” because while I knew what it meant, I didn’t know the actual etymology of the phrase.
I don’t think I would have used it as the title of this post if I’d known the original referent.