3 Guides That Do the Exact Opposite of What They Claim
Bad advice is the world's freest and most renewable resource. Still, there is an entire self-help industry devoted to selling it to us. I actively seek out the worst advice available, and during my cultural archaeology, I've found many books, videos and electric fitness belts that go beyond simple failure and end up doing the exact opposite of their intended effect. Here are three of my favorites.
Making Sex Fun With Games & Toys, 1991
It's not exactly a huge challenge when you set out to make sex fun. If a sock filled with sour cream can figure it out, "America's top sex educators" should have an easy time. They don't. They really, really blow it. If a nighthawk broke through your window and removed your genitals while you watched it, that would be the sexiest, most fun part of your viewing experience. This video is what it would look like if you sent castration chemicals to film school.
It's hosted by Dr. Roger Libby, elected fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, and Dr. Judy Seifer, who is listed in Who's Who in International Sexology. Those achievements account for, no bullshit, barely 2 percent of the sex-related qualifications listed at the start of the tape. I don't know why the world needs 370 organizations on boning, but Roger and Judy are council members of each one. If you academically talk about dicks out loud, Roger and Judy appear in your mirror. They talk about sex more than I think about sex, and to put that into perspective, I didn't know there was such a thing as a non sex swing until I was 17 years old. The first question I ask when I buy a mop is if it will work on Latina fluids, and I've called every woman I've dated "Sideboob" on accident at least once a day.
Speaking to a camera frankly about the clinical act of dildo insertion is probably hard. That being said, I don't think anyone should have done it in the first place, so I'm not going to cut Dr. Roger Libby any slack. This man is so creepy that I'm certain his voice is produced by an orchestra of tiny crickets living in his chest. His eyebrows move up and down suggestively with every penisy syllable he purrs. He looks like the cat that ate the canary's asshole, and he can't even get through a painful, delicate safety discussion about cock rings without cooing. If Roger isn't sitting on an enthusiastic fist, someone should really tell his face and body language. Ooh, la la!
There's a reason the world's most famous sex expert is a goofy German woman -- it's disgusting to hear medical discussions of sex when it's not ridiculous. And the last thing this video is is ridiculous. It's not even advanced enough to be considered an entry level sex course. This was made specifically for an escaped clone who found refuge in an Amish commune who has yet to try out the confusing holes on his wife's egg-laying parts. Which I guess in its own way is ridiculous.
The video is extremely graphic. For instance, after a writhing, purring discussion from the hosts about what a vibrator is and where you rub it, Making Sex Fun shows you. Not on a doll -- on a nude woman spreading her legs and really emphasizing how spoiled ordinary pornographers are with the camera-readiness of their performers.
To the sound of elevator music and skin-crawling narration, the woman goes to town on herself to completion over the course of many sex toys. If you had any questions about where dildos went, the video gives what I'd describe as an excessive amount of time to wrap your head around it. In fact, they seem to have really banked on the fact that you're a 13-year-old who stole this from his parents' closet. This becomes very clear in the "Sex Games" section.
The first Sex Game they explain is how to bang in the kitchen. That's it. They tell you to try to find a place where your kids won't see you, then in the very next sentence suggest that it might be kind of fun to get caught while having sex. After that, they shut up for ten minutes and watch an angry man pound his wife from a bathrobe. My favorite part of these segments are the title cards. Let me show you why:
The editors used a generic video effect where scenes from the video scroll across as each title card comes up. But since the video is almost entirely closeups of people and devices pumping into women, it creates this violently absurd disaster. Shots of sex acts and pulsing pink shapes slide past, and now I know what it feels like to watch 40 different cows give birth from a bank of security monitors. I really hope that image helps you prepare for some of the highlights of Making Sex Fun. I put Dr. Roger over the parts you can't look at at work, but it's really not safe to watch there or anywhere else.
Jay Leno's How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World (Or Just in Your Class), 2005
Comedians get asked a lot whether they were funny as a child. That's probably because it's a more comfortable question than "Were you a lonely soul struggling for a way to make sense of a society that's inherently absurd and evil?" Speaking of evil, this book. This book is a humor book in the most desperately scientific sense. It's a painful combination of Jay's awful jokes, his philosophies on comedy and anecdotes about growing up so hilarious. I don't want to say it's the most horrible thing ever done to children, but if you rest this book on a pregnant woman, her immediate miscarriage will try to kill you. Forgive me for what I'm about to show you.
As you probably expected, nearly all of the comedy is based around words meaning more than one thing. Most words do this, so there is no shortage of "jokes." If you're the rare person who enjoys homonyms, that's good news for you! Here is the bad news for you, though: your autism. Within half a page, this book stops being cute and starts to look like a badly spelled list of things transients can scream at rats.
The setup for the book's punchlines involve a pretty severe suspension of disbelief. I mean, if you're a wacky farmer, the question "Why does your pony's whinny sound so funny?" is the kind of miraculous joke setup you're not going to run into very often. That means that when Jay Leno was writing this joke, he thought the idea of "horse" meaning a second thing was so funny that it was OK to set the joke in a bizarre world where amateur otolaryngologists ask farmers about pony throats. I don't think it's wild speculation to say that sex with Jay Leno is him asking you how he's supposed to get a chicken inside a cat followed by an expertly timed pause for laughter.
Jay is so frond of some jokes that they get their own two-page centerfold. Now, this book is supposed to make your child funny, but can you imagine the kind of damage this could do to a young person's sense of humor? Your money would be better spent on corn syrup and pole-dancing lessons. This bullshit will make your child the Most Punched Kid in the Whole Wide World. The only time this joke would ever be appropriate to tell is after the phrase "HUMAN PRISONERS, HISTORICAL DATABANKS INDICATE YOU FIND COMFORT IN HUMOR. THE FOLLOWING JOKE IS BEING TOLD TO EXPEDITE YOUR MARCH INTO THE SQUASHING CHAMBER."
Some of the book doesn't even bother with jokes. I guess they figure if you're retarded enough to enjoy palm tree puns then fuck it: Here's the word "trachea," asshole! No, but seriously, what is the deal with the word "trachea"? Did the word scientists in charge of naming things have a problem with "squirnorb" or "bananjo"? And while I have the word scientists here, why aren't titties called hamburgers? If you would have thought to do that, then today you could buy cheap titties everywhere!
Oh, hey, the what do you a call a gorilla who does something joke -- this punchline is classic. It's a perfect example of defying expectations when the answer turns out to be ANYTHING HE WAN- wait, "Hairy Putter?" Hairy God Damn Putter!? Does that mean he's a wizard or something, too? You dickhead, Jay Leno. If all you needed was a hairy animal for this garbage setup for a pun, why did you use a gorilla? Was your mom too busy alphabetizing her M&M's in a different joke? If Gandhi lent his celebrity face to a book on how to beat a girl in a street fight, it would be less of a violation of his life's principles than a comedian putting his name on this book.
If you're a naturally contrary person, and it's the Internet, so you are, you probably saw the title of this book and thought, "Come on, these jokes are for kids. It's not fair to hold children's material up to any kind of standard." I've never been a fan of that argument. Kids shouldn't be forced to put up with crap just because they don't know any better. Giving them shit and hoping nobody notices is how we got Go-Bots, Pogo Balls and Necco Wafers. Humor is subjective, but if a guy argued that this book could make your child funnier, he's only scheming to make sure your nerd grows up with no chance of sleeping with his daughter. In closing, Jay Leno's How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World is the kind of book a dentist would leave in his waiting room to let other child predators know he can be trusted.
The Ministry of Clowning, 1983
When a normal person sees a book about clown ministers, their third reaction is a desperate need for explanation. Obviously, the first two reactions are pee. If you happen to actually be a clown minister, then you already know that your only reaction to anything is sharpening your knives. For the others, let's move on to the desperate need for an explanation. Here is the first paragraph of the book in its entirety: "The Ministry of Clowning is the direct result of the surging interest in Christian clowning." Wait, what?
It's an explanation that raises more questions than it answers. Where are these Christian clowns surging? Why? And what nation or God would allow it? Do their giant shoes foil missile targeting systems and lightning bolts? It doesn't count as bringing Jesus Christ to someone if all they do is scream his name while you chase them.
The book doesn't read like an instruction manual for clown ministers, or as I call them, the worst way to die. It's more like a distant anthropological study on them. It reads like a Martian military scientist compiled data on what they perceived to be an Earth PSYOP weapon. For example, someone enthusiastic about spreading Christ's joy through wacky antics probably wouldn't fill their book with dozens of pictures like this:
These photos didn't come from a chapter with seamstress patterns for costumes. The book just stopped to show pictures of empty clothes, like scarab beetles ate their owners or they were evidence photos in a court case. Fun fact: Eventually all pictures of clown clothes will be used for this purpose.
Is a photo of random wigs necessary or helpful? Is this to help make sure amateur clowns don't accidentally buy dog food at the wig store? The only reason to put this picture in your book is to show children what their remains will look like after you take their face off.
"Hi, children! With these binoculars I can see everything, always. And I use this 1,000-pound barbell to get strong because I'm in charge of this list of PEOPLE GOING TO HEAVEN. Oh, my! All your names are here. Would you kids like to know what time you get there? Listen closely, because it rhymes with now."
The pictures are obviously bizarre, but the text isn't much better. Even in the middle of clinical explanations on the basic types of clowns, The Ministry of Clowning will throw in vaguely terrifying sentences like "Many consider large, full-bodied puppets as actually being clowns." What kind of technicality is that to bring up in a person's very first five seconds of clown knowledge? To me that's a subtle warning that at least some of the clowns pictured in the book are puppets, moving of their own accord. That message seems a little off for an evangelist, since a shambling puppet is a surefire way to get nearby people to question God.
I wish there were a word for the moment when a large, full-bodied puppet is tying a noose and catches you taking a picture of it, because I hate knowing that this photographer's last word was 17 days of shrieking.
All these clowns brandishing ropes help support my point. And that is that if it's important for you to share your religion, maybe nightmares aren't the best avenue to take. Using a clown to share Jesus with someone is like using a bag of unexpected snakes to share Jesus with someone. Here, I'll let this clown explain it.
Seanbaby collects strange things and writes strange jokes. Visit him at Gamegoon.com or follow him on Twitter.
For more from Seanbaby's collection, see 4 Instructional Videos Made By and For Crazy People or Dr. Laura - The Worst Board Game of All Time.