Gossip, Celebrities, Linear Time, and Quantum Physics

This morning, groggy and bleary-eyed, I stumbled out of bed and headed for the computer, as I do every morning (I am such a creature of habit!), and immediately turn to my favorite time-waster, Datalounge.

Billing itself as “10 Years of Gay Gossip, Politics, and Pointless Bitchery,” Datalounge (“the DL”) is a surprisingly international forum where anonymous strangers can post on wildly divergent topics, most of them centering around who is gay in Hollywood, or outrageous incidents in the press like the woman with the toddler at Reagan National Airport who either went ballistic when told she couldn’t bring her toddler’s sippy cup onto the plane, or who was unreasonably hassled by out-of-control TSA agents, depending on your perspective.

There are endless arguments, some of which are are surprisingly cogent; tremendous compassion when someone’s dog or parent dies; tremendous cattiness and even unwarranted cruelty; and humor. It’s really the humor that draws me.

For example, the Sippy Cup incident that has been in the headlines this week. Most of the DL posters were shocked at the woman’s over-the-top reaction, at a time when much of the Internet was saying it was tantamount to an attack by the TSA agent.

“I just saw the video on Inside Edition,” the OP (or original poster of a new topic) wrote. “What a complete bitch. Typical frau [Datalounge-speak, short for hausfrau, or “housewife”], telling NTSB security people she should be ‘exempt from this stupid policy.’ When they wouldn’t let her through security with her kid’s cup filled with liquid, she opened it up and poured it out onto the floor. Yet another mother who feels because she’s pushed out a worm, she and the offspring deserve special treatment.”

This was followed by a number of replies about her sense of entitlement, and how she should follow the rules or just stay home.

The discussion turned the corner with R9, or the ninth person to reply to the OP, who said, “She may be a bitch, but much worse is the fascist government that set up such stupid barriers. If we’d seen such stuff in the ’60s in a film, we’d have said how sorry we were for those poor Soviets.”

R19 wrote, “Drastic times call for drastic stupid pointless measures. Twenty Arabs flew some planes into some buildings, so the last thing we need is for toddlers carrying juice boxes.” (That comment really cracked me up.)

As expected, the argument quickly devolved: “Sorry, but it seems all the ‘hausfrau’ hate on this website are from queens who are just angry because they will never have children.” “Uh-oh, you did NOT just say that!” “Although I hate entitled sippy-cup-toting breeders, I am with her on this one. Airport security retards are the stupidest, most obnoxious people you have to deal with. I’m rooting for her.” “Oh yes, she’s the Rosa Parks of white, urban, entitled breeders.” And so on.

More fun are the random barbs.

OP: “I hear Vivien Leigh would just randomly pick a guy off the street and have sex with him.” R1: “To be fair, this was well before Craig’s List was invented.”

In a thread about the nutty judge who is suing a Korean dry cleaner for $54 million for losing a pair of pants to a maroon and blue suit: “Maroon and blue suit? Oh, honey, they did you a favor…!”

Or in a discussion about poor Paris Hilton’s prison drama, where she was afraid someone would snap a photo of her on the toilet and it would be all over the Internet: “Perhaps someone could helpfully remind her that even blind men could draw her hoo-ha from memory by now.”

But this morning I was shocked to find a new post that asked, “Do you believe in linear time and object impermanence?” I expected it to be something tongue-in-cheek, but no: the OP had written, “I don’t believe in linear time out of personal experience—I know time can also move laterally. I want to believe in object permanence, but it contradicts my disbelief in linear time. Still, it freaks me out when things suddenly no longer exist. It’s been happening to me more often lately: objects that were at my side suddenly aren’t there, even though I haven’t moved. I would think it was neat if I hadn’t just had a half a pack of smokes disappear.”

After a couple of posters suggested the OP get some sleep, or flip over a sofa cushion to look for the missing cigarettes, a few actually started a dialogue. “What is an example of time moving laterally?” one asked.

“Say it’s 4pm,” the OP replied, “and you’re in your cubicle working and working and working and so on for what seems like hours, then you look at a clock and it’s 4:02.You’ve been sliding around in lateral time. It’s like an icy sidewalk that’s not beside anything and leads nowhere. Or say you’re dreaming and your alarm goes off. You hit snooze, and in your dream (which is just alternate reality) you experience an entire lifetime before the alarm goes off again. Was it the nine minutes the clock claims, or was it the lifetime you experienced? Time is not independent from experience. Time is defined by experience, and defined differently by different cultures. We are trained to believe clocks instead of our own minds, trained to believe we exist on a stright line, but really we’re always slippy sliding around it.”

Fascinating stuff. Still, I began to wonder if this was some bit of performance art when the OP continued, “I know I didn’t leave the cigarette pack on the front steps, where I smoke, because I never bring the whole pack down to the front steps. I bring one at a time, because there’s this red-wigged crack whore—I don’t use the term as a pejorative, it’s her chosen profession and I respect it—who walks up and down the block all hours of the night looking for crack or johns or whatnot. She invariably asks if I have another cig when she passes, even if she’s smoking one, and I truthfully tell her I only brought the one down.

“So dig it: not only did my smokes cease to exist, but (I suspect) so did the red-wigged crack whore. I opened my backup pack this morning and went down to smoke one…and behold, there was her unoccupied wig on the small patch of dirt in front of my house. I think the crack whore fell into the same dimensional rift as my smokes.”

Of all the replies, my favorite was R17’s: “Sorry, OP, but if you really knew what you were talking about, you’d realize that some scientists believe that there are 11 or more dimensions, of which many, if not all, move parallel in time.”

R18 then said, “R17 is right except he forgot to mention that IF there are 11 dimensions of spacetime, 7 of those dimensions are incredibly microscopic (ie. millions of times smaller than an atom)—too small for us or even individual atoms to pass through. There is no such thing as ‘object impermanence.’ Matter cannot be created or destroyed. In this house, young lady, we obey the Laws of Thermodynamics!”

This prompted a reply from OP: “No, the scientists only believe that dimensions move in parallel time. 400 years ago the scientists believed the world was flat. Consensus is not evidence, and no one can mathematically or logically prove or disprove the number of dimensions or how time behaves in any of them, including this one. Assumptions are made, but there is no immutable truth. Hell, 75% of the universe is ‘dark energy’ which no one can define or describe or account for, i.e. 75% of the universe is a utter mystery to us in composition and design. So how can anyone speak in absolutes? All we have is experience, and experience tells me my smokes and my neighborhood whore were swallowed up by the Land of the Lost or something.”

When one poster said, “I have No Idea what the @$#*! you are talking about. I think you need to stop smoking whatever you’re smoking, stop drinking whatever you’re drinking, and throw the rest of the mushrooms away. Get a good night’s sleep every night for the next 30 days. If you continue to have problems, sign yourself into a mental institution and do not let them allow you access to a computer.”

But did this poster get applauded? No, oddly. In fact, someone called the him a “resentful, unimaginative cubicle calf.”

Then R26 wrote, “OP, you have just hit on my most irrational fear. Falling thru the space-time continuum. Don’t tell me it can’t happen. It DOES. All the time. No, I don’t believe in linear time or object permanence, OP. And this does not, in any way, violate the law of thermodynamics. Just because something goes to another dimension/time or whatever doesn’t mean it’s been ‘destroyed.'”

The discussion was concluded by two one-liners:

“Oddly, the item most likely to fall through an inter-dimensional rift is a Ham & Cheese Hot Pocket.”

“Do I believe in linear time and object permanence? My more pressing concern is whether or not it believes in me.”

Lovely. Just lovely.

Now back to gossiping about George Clooney and the aftermath of the Tony Awards.

Categories: Brain, Humor, Time and Space | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Gossip, Celebrities, Linear Time, and Quantum Physics

  1. indigo bunting

    Oh, this was delightful. Welcome back.

  2. Thanks, IB. I’m going to try very hard to be more consistent!

  3. Your post provided me with a very trippy Saturday morning!

  4. Owain Fox

    Excellent! I’m not the only one.

  5. quithappy

    Hey, I’ve been perusing your blog and I like it. Keep up the good words.

    Glad you liked the DL thread I started… it was a very cool surprise to see it blogged about, wig picture and all.


  6. Thanks, quithappy, and thanks for the original thread.

    I see that a few more Datalounge posts have been made to that thread lately, so I’ve posted an update to it.

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