January 25th, 2009 at 3:32 pm
This morning I discovered that My Space has been quietly been encouraging bloggers to use their real names:
Recently I moved a few blocks, so the other day I dashed up to the Idaho Ministry of Motor Vehicles to update my info. As the kindly clerk prepared to take my photo, I suddenly remembered reading a news story about how Indiana’s motor vehicle department, does not allow you to smile:
Smiling supposedly messes up facial recognition technology, making individuals harder to identify.
I almost smiled when I saw there was no line at the Idaho DMV. Waiting in long lines often automatically erases smiles, so Indiana department heads could use this as an excuse to cut staff, purposely creating longer waiting lines to erase those insidious cheese-eatin’ grins.
These thoughts crossed my mind at the exact flashbulb instant when the clerk shot my photo, which came out with a slight grimace. Not only that, but I looked like I had more chins than a Chinese phonebook! Some friends suggested that an excellent way to subvert facial recognition technology would be to go around celebrating a high level of jocularity all day, like Smiling Bob in that Enzyte commercial:
However if we did, soon funny-boneless Department of Frownland Security clowns would probably mandate smiling against the law everywhere. Since any smiles could be construed as deceptive attempts to avoid identification and no mechanical tool better than rigorous human intuition has yet been proven to measure the absolute purity of princely smiles, (and ways to profit off these measurements) -for now anybody who smiles must be labeled a bad-man terrorist.
Maybe this explains why I always get a funny feeling; whenever I see Smiling Bob broadcasting his upside-down frown.
I realize that some frowny people might consider the above Chinese phonebook joke to be over the top, especially since MLK Day was last week and Obama is now utilizing his real name for productive White House blogging:
However, in the spirit of Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Leonard Pitts’ recent commentary: Where Clint Eastwood draws the line: My dream today is for bloggers of all brands of anonymity, to sense this joke as funny enough to transcend racism:
After all, I’ve shared healthy jokes with our Chinese cousins before, most recently on 9-11: (letter 2):
James Patrick Banholzer Junior
Interesting footnote for Sunday reflection: What is the real name of God?