Category Archives: First World Problems

The McDonald’s breakfast menu is problematic.

Sometimes, you’re in the mood for a hamburger. This can happen when a McDonald’s is convenient, and you might just overlook the fact that it’s McDonald’s, and proceed to satisfy your hamburger craving.

However, sometimes this craving happens in the morning. And when that’s the case, have fun trying to get a hamburger at McDonald’s, because that’s when they have their breakfast menu going.

Who goes to McDonald’s for breakfast? Their breakfast items are gross, and any time I’ve tried them, they’ve left a sour feeling in my stomach, as though my body was telling me I’ve made a mistake. Egg McMuffins? Gross. Sausage Egg McMuffins? Grosser. They also offer bacon in their breakfast items, because orangutans love powering that stuff down their throats with a zero-minded focus.

Considering how foul the McDonald’s breakfast menu is, ignoring it is easy. The problem is, when they have their breakfast menu going, they don’t make hamburgers. So if it’s a hamburger you want, you’d have to wait.

What’s McDonald’s most famous for? Hamburgers. At one point, they’d put something like “N million hamburgers sold” on their signs. Around the time that number reached the hundreds of millions, they just changed the signs to read millions and millions sold.

Oh, hold on. The number is actually billions. My mistake.

mcdonald's billions.jpgUnbelievable.

How many hamburgers did they sell by saying “No, it’s too early in the morning. Come back when we want to make them.” I don’t know, but I suspect that the answer is close to zero.

Maybe the real problem here is that when I want a hamburger, I sometimes actually consider McDonald’s. I can do better, so why don’t I?

Heel-eaters should be banned.

I recently got a new pair of shoes. By the time I got home, I realized that I made a big mistake. I got a pair of shoes that digs into the back of my heels.

The shoes were my own size, so I didn’t make any mistake there. The shoes, while padded, still dug into the back of my heel. The shoes really did seem okay before I bought it, but its heel actually curves inward, so it digs into the achilles tendon more and more with every painful step. Eventually, the pain seems to wear off. But when I went to take my shoes off, I found blood spots on both my socks. Gross! It stung to peel them off.

Sometimes, you think you can save money by buying a cheap pair of shoes. But if you make the mistake of buying the ones that chew your heels, you find yourself buying Band-Aids and Neosporin to try to reverse the damage, and by the time you buy some of those expensive pads for your shoes, you didn’t really save money at all, did you?

The people who design these shoes have to know what they’re doing. It’s hard to imagine making shoes that damage heels any way except on purpose. After all, isn’t it easier to sew up something linearly rather than curved inward? What did these guys think they were doing when they designed these shoes with a feature that couldn’t be anything except uncomfortable?

These kinds of shoes should be banned. Why should it be considered an acceptable risk to buy a pair of shoes that have the potential of causing physical harm to the consumer? Why should the shelves at a shoe store be a minefield of misery?

It’s probably some conspiracy designed to get us to buy more shoes. After all, if we accidentally buy a terrible pair of shoes, the designers of heel-eaters might actually be banking on us not bothering to make a return, just spending more money on yet another pair of shoes. And in my case, it might actually work. I just want to get the same kind of shoes I got a few months back, and set some firecrackers off inside the heel-eaters I accidentally purchased. If I get to have some fun watching it blow up, it’s not a waste of money.

The Wrong Setting to Soapbox

get woke go broke.png

As most people do, I face a number of challenges in my day-to-day life. These include succeeding at my job and also managing my finances so that I’ll have enough money to pay the rent month-to-month while still having enough to eat. If, on top of the challenges of typical life, one were to be exposed to the issues facing society as a whole through social media and corporate information outlets, it’s easy to develop a bleak outlook of the world.

Because of this, it’s understandable that a person would want to unwind with some entertainment. This escapism to idealized worlds of fantasy can be just what a person needs to help them forget, at least for a short time, the problems that that person and society as a whole faces, and in some cases permit them to retain some sanity.

It can be quite distressing when the entertainment media outlets that a person chooses can start taking up issues and causes, and in so doing, become yet another polarizing voice in a divisive political landscape. When this is the case, a person’s choice of escapism ceases to be a means of escape, and oftentimes, this leads to a person finding another source of entertainment altogether. After all, if a product that a person purchases ceases to serve its essential purpose, it can be discarded and a replacement sought out.

The observation of this phenomenon has led to the popularization of the phrase, “Get woke, go broke“.

What it means to get woke is to experience an awakening in awareness of issues and causes, usually from a left-wing perspective (those on the right tend to prefer the expression “red pill”). What it means to go broke is self-explanatory; it suggests that there’s a price to pay in using one’s position to further an agenda.

There is a wrong setting to soapbox.

The entertainment industry is one such wrong setting, and the industry itself is having a pretty hard time learning that lesson. In fact, facing correction in this regard, it would seem as though the entertainment media are digging their heels in, though it’s not really benefiting them to do so. There are many examples to pick from.

The film industry has decided to pander to intersectionality. Superficially, the idea is to provide a voice to oppressed groups such as women, minorities, and the sexually non-conforming. This has the appearance of “standing up for the little guy”, but is devious in that it is used as a means to come away with a moral victory in the event that a movie doesn’t do so well. If a movie does well, it’s a victory for oppressed minorities. If a movie fails, it’s because those who didn’t go see it are racists, misogynists, or homophobes.

It should be obvious why such an approach doesn’t work. For one thing, even if you can find someone else to blame for your movie failing, your movie still fails. Shifting the blame doesn’t change that. Worse still, turning against the public can result in the public turning against you.

Since going to Disney, Star Wars decided to take on intersectional pandering. Since this became the case, the Star Wars fandom has gotten quite scary. They’re so sick of what Star Wars is becoming, that they are actually wishing failure on the more recent Star Wars films. This includes the new Solo movie, which they declared a blackout on. Since then, the Solo movie failed at the box office, and Star Wars fans are actually celebrating this. While it seems like Kathleen Kennedy is close to being dismissed as the person in charge of Star Wars, if that’s the case, Disney is being quiet about it, perhaps because they want to deny the Star Wars fandom its victory.

The Star Wars brand and its fans have turned on each other, and it’s an ugly sight. It’s especially difficult for those who just want to enjoy Star Wars without getting into the fight.

The comic industry has pandered to intersectionality for a long time, so it shouldn’t be the least bit controversial to say that they have. What’s really interesting is that independent publishers that refuse to toe the line are gaining in popularity, and comic book shops that have long since sided with intersectionality have no idea what to do about them. In some cases, they’ve even turned away paying customers just for wanting their products. The author of a rising star comic series called “Jawbreakers” has voiced his disagreement with the mainstream narrative, and his comic is being sought out by sympathetic comic readers, even though his political opinions aren’t being expressed in his comics. Another comic gaining in popularity as a result of the consumer uprising would be Cyberfrog, which amazingly raised over $300,000.00 through crowdfunding!

The comics industry should never have ramrodded a political narrative into their products to begin with, but since they’ve decided to, it’s nice to see that consumers have strongly expressed what they really wanted by throwing huge piles of money at the alternatives. It’s sad that a divide occurred between the comics industry and its consumers, and it could have been prevented with the understanding of the principle that there is a wrong place and time to soapbox.

Thankfully, The Pokemon Company has remained politically uninvolved. That’s great for me, because Pokemon has long been one of my favorite games, and it would be sad to see the company co-opted by a rather vocal and short-sighted minority.

Not everyone in the Pokemon community is the same way, as indicated by Bulbagarden’s Twitter feed:

bulbagarden embarrasses the pokemon community.png

The events at the US-Mexico border being referred to are the arrest of people who have entered the United States illegally (instead of through proper channels), and the decision was made not to take their children to jail along with them. The corporate media, tripping over itself as usual to make Trump look like Hitler, is making this out to be Trump tearing families apart.

I decided to check out the thread on Bulbagarden forums, and the virtue signalling hits you right away on the forum header:

bulbagarden turns on their virtue signals.png

Yes, Bulbagarden wants every child that visits their forum for Pokemon discussion to know that they can embrace their sexuality. Anyone see a problem, here?

As you would expect, the OP uses hyperbolic language to describe what they perceive as happening. Whether an intentional leftist shill or some unwitting pawn in a larger game, the outcome is just the same.

What I find particularly condescending is the following statement in the Twitter post:

We would like to stress that, for us, this is not a matter of politics but of basic human rights and decency.

In saying that they don’t see it as being about politics, but about basic human rights and decency, you’re not allowed to disagree with them without being a horrible human being, and if you don’t watch yourself, they might sic Antifa on you.

antifa lol.png

If it’s not about politics, why did the forum post encourage us to contact members of the House of Representatives or the Senate? Believe it or not, people don’t see politics as just some game where the parties are likened to some stupid sports teams. We know that politics are ideologically driven, which is why it matters so much that the people who are voted into office have their heads on straight. When it comes to matters where legislation offensive to human decency is enforced, the people who can make the biggest difference the fastest are elected officials.

And when the matter came to Trump’s attention, he signed an executive order ending the Obama-era legislation that separated families. So how about thanking him?

Thankfully, the very first reply to this thread shows that someone on Bulbagarden forums is thinking:

someone at bulbagarden has his head on straight.png

There’s my point. A community about Pokemon is no place for politics. At best, it’s off-topic. At worst, it’s divisive, and could tear the community apart regardless of how convinced you are of the nobility of the cause. When it comes down to it, a Pokemon community is where a person goes to get away from the world’s problems, not where moderation abuses their positions to push their own agendas. If the community is no longer a place that serves its purpose, people will go somewhere else for a community that does.

Get woke, go broke.

The Worst Kinds of Customers in Retail

If you really hate yourself and want to reinforce a dim view of humanity, there’s no more effective way to accomplish this than to work in the grocery or retail industry. There’s a lot to it that makes it some of the worst soul-crushing misery that man can impose on his own kind without violating the Geneva Convention, such as the fluorescent lighting, the destitute pay, and the mindless, low-skill busywork. But what really drives the misanthropy home is the customers.

I’ve worked in the grocery and retail industry for years, and was happy to get out. From my experiences, I can name some of the worst kinds of customers that one can expect to have when they have to work with the general public.

To be fair, I’ll point out that most customers were pretty normal, and therefore weren’t very memorable. This list is more about the ones who, if I were to take over the world, you’d have to thank if I were to usher in some kind of global police state.

The Litterbugs

Once you’ve wiped your nose on a tissue or finished your free sample of coffee in those little Styrofoam cups, you’d have to use the wastebasket. Sometimes, this involves holding onto your trash until you find one, which is the procedure when you’re in any public place. One store I worked at was nice enough to have a small trash bin at the end of every aisle.

Apparently, this still wasn’t easy enough for some people. These would be the litterbugs. They’ll ignore the trash receptacles or pretend that they aren’t even there, and simply leave the trash in their carts, even after leaving. In doing so, they leave their problem for the next person, who blames the staff for not noticing it before they did. So they just ignore the cart with the trash in it, or they just throw it into a different cart, even if there’s a trash bin right by them.

Worse yet are the ones that just drop their trash on the floor when they think no one is looking, or, even worse, the ones that stash their trash among the merchandise. I kind of wonder how filthy their homes are, because in public they’re total slobs.

The cart not-returners

So you’ve gathered up everything on your list and paid for it without incident, and loaded your order into your car. After having gotten this far in taking a trip to the store without making a dunce of yourself, you have one thing left to do – just one thing – before having accomplished the bare minimum of being a decent customer. You put the cart into the cart return.

You can do this, right? That’s what they’re for. They’re designed to streamline the process and make it as easy for you as it can be. But there are still people out there that find it too hard.

If a cart is left anywhere outside a cart return, such as next to a signpost or propped against a curb, it could inconvenience a customer that might have to maneuver their car around it. Or worse, the wind can cause it to drift into a vehicle. This doesn’t just cause dents and nick expensive paint jobs, it can necessitate the need for an expensive coating that needs to be done soon before rust can set in.

The customers on this list aren’t just bad for the workers, they’re terrible for other customers.

The dog walkers

Too many people who go to the store don’t think far ahead, and pet owners are some of the worst offenders. I suspect that their logical progression of thought goes something like this: “I’m going to the store, may as well bring the dogs with me. I’ve arrived, but I can’t leave the dogs in the car, so I may as well bring them in with me.”

I suspect that this is used as a pretext to show off the wimpy little inbred mongrel that they consider a dog, considering that if you’ve met a dog person, you know that they’re proud of their degraded wolf and won’t stop talking about it.

But there’s a problem with this: People are allergic to dogs. Stores don’t prohibit non-service pets just to be mean, they do this because some of us really can’t be around them. Put that on top of the fact that there’s so much else that can go wrong with bringing a dog to the store, and it’s evident that those who bring their pets with them have left their brains at home.

The shoddy-stockers

If you change your mind about an item in your cart, just put it back where you found it. Easy, right? Yeah, it’s so very easy. It’s hard to imagine how anyone can mess this up. But there are those who still manage to.

Hanlon’s razor aside, we know that the reason people do this is because they are either lazy or they think that making the place a mess for the staff or their fellow customers is funny.

What’s more, some of them get creative with it. There are times when there gets to be a rancid smell near a certain spot, and it can take a while before the workers find out where it’s coming from. When they do, it turns out that it’s coming from a leaky, sopping pork roast that’s been set behind boxes of cereal, and has long since spoiled.

The look-in-the-backers

You knew these guys were coming, the ones who can’t find what they’re looking for or found an empty spot, so they ask an employee whether there’s any more in the back.

As much as you’d want to tell these guys what they can put in their back, this isn’t standard minimum-wage procedure, so it’s on to “assisting” them. Usually, the first thing I’d do is check where the item is kept on the floor, because I’d sometimes find what the customer is looking for, and relish the awkward pause as it dawns on the customer, at least in part, that they aren’t as diligent as they thought they were.

In grocery and retail, the back rooms are mainly for unloading stock from trucks, which are then quickly moved out to the floor. Product that remains in the backroom doesn’t sell, so management wants the staff to get the product on the floor quickly. Because of this, very little product is actually in the back, and finding it back there is a long shot.

This takes a while to explain to customers, and if one were to go to the trouble, they’d probably insist that the employee go check anyway, or they wouldn’t get the idea, or funnier still, they’d say that they don’t believe it even though they have little choice but to take the employee’s word for it.

So, what can an employee do about it? Usually, they just go to the back, take a short break, then return in a few minutes saying that they couldn’t find it. At this point, the customer usually resigns himself to the inevitable, but in some cases, they’ll fall into the next group.

The ones that call for managers

There are some people out there who just can’t take an honest statement of fact, however tactfully delivered. So they move on to inconveniencing the next level up on the ladder: the managers.

Customers seem to have the expectation that employees get in trouble the moment management is involved, because when I’d nonchalantly agree to go get management, it seems to surprise them. Believe it or not, employees don’t necessarily have an adversarial relationship with management. They work together, and have pretty similar goals. Besides, making enemies with someone you see every day is stupid.

When I called management over, they pretty much always agreed with me. After all, most people in management are bright enough to understand that giving someone something that they don’t have is physically impossible.

For all the threats that I got from customers saying that they could get me fired, I actually worked in grocery and retail for about a decade without facing termination once. Which was probably worse to endure than collecting unemployment, all things considered.

Miscellaneous checkout shenanigans

As simple as the process of checking out is, it’s surprising just how much can go wrong, and how many customers there are who find ways for it to happen. One would think that customers would be extra careful at this step in the visit, considering that this would be the point where they part with their money. But, it somehow turns out to be when they make the most mistakes. I suspect that there’s some science that the retail industry has mastered to make their customers’ IQ drop by 30 points during their visit, while the sanity of cashiers is the collateral damage that companies are willing to pay.

I’m not kidding, I hated working register with a passion. I’ll just go over a rapid-fire list of dos and don’ts to keep things nice and tidy.

  • Don’t make a point of paying with exact change. You’re slow at it, and the cashier is faster at it because it’s the cashier’s job.
  • Don’t attempt to use expired coupons. Do your due diligence.
  • Don’t hit on the cashier. The setting degrades the experience.
  • Oldie but goodie: Don’t enter the express lane with more items than permitted. Customers and cashiers alike make fun of you for it.
  • If your debit or credit card breaks, don’t be lazy, get it replaced. Cashiers hate it when you waste their time by having them punch in all those numbers, and the customers behind you don’t like it, either.
  • You’re not the first one to joke that “it’s free” when an item doesn’t scan right. If the cashier bothered to pretend a laugh, you have no idea how much effort it took.
  • If an item scanned the wrong price, it was likely you who made the mistake. Cashiers are seriously annoyed when things have to come to a halt just to do a price check, and so is everyone in line behind you. Take care to read the price tags to reduce the likelihood that you look stupid in front of the other customers.

There’s a lot more, but those are the main ones that I can think of at this point, possibly because my brain isn’t permitting me to recall too much about my grocery and retail work because of some internal mechanism that protects my sanity. Therefore, I’m concluding this list at this point and being glad that there’s life beyond retail.

The thought of these 8 fads being over brings a smile to my face.

This is a blog wherein I do complain about stuff, but I do like to generally keep things positive. While there are things going on today that I find irritating to think about and fads that make me think that so many people have been hit on the heads as children, there are some things to be positive about.

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people that sometimes breaks out into a smile. Because people don’t read my mind, they might assume that I’m just crazy, rather than savoring an especially positive thought (while I do enjoy my privacy, I know that there are some people who I’d welcome to read my mind because they’d learn a few things that could result in them becoming better people).

There are thoughts that bring a smile to my face, and I’m sharing a few of them right here. Mainly, they have to do with certain things that used to be really popular and irked me, but I managed to live to see the day in which they are things of the past. I think of the following fads being over, and it brings a smile to my face.

1. H.I.M. (His Infernal Majesty)
This was some trendy pseudo-rebellious garbage that pandered to black finger nail polish wearing high school kids who wanted a little bit of satanic symbolism to help them be passive-aggressive towards religion for image’s sake. Their associated symbol was a pentagram with two rounded points that made it look like there was a heart in there. What was the point of this? Who cares? The fad is over. I survived, the fad did not.

2. The Emo fad
Another stupid fad that pandered to children, this one encouraged them to act all depressed in spite of the fact that they’re children who have never experienced a real hardship in their lives outside of their mom and dad not letting them borrow the car.

I can think of the following challenges that kids face:

  1. Showing up for school. Apparently, they get credit just for that.
  2. Not stepping out of line. When everyone else is bigger than you, it’s easy for them to beat you up.
  3. Keeping your mouth shut. It’s a challenge for kids to realize that they don’t know better than the adults in their lives who have been at this “life” thing much longer than they have.

There are children out there with very little in the way of food, shelter, and clothing, and they were probably more irked by the emo movement than I was because the emo kids seemed so sad to be reaping the benefits of middle-class life in a first world nation. Not that they’d still be upset about it, because the fad is over.

3. Miscellaneous nineties music
The music was probably the most annoying thing about the nineties. While it may open some wounds to bring it up, it is comforting to know that the garbage that was popular back then is no longer annoying us today.

When was the last time you turned on the radio and heard The Mighty Mighty Boss Tones? Or Third Eye Blind? Or any of that other garbage that likely had some political undertones? Left-wing political undertones, of course. This is the entertainment industry we’re talking about here. It’s not like they trust you to think for yourselves.

For that matter, when was the last time you turned on the radio and allowed it to dictate to you what music you listen to? No thanks, radio. I prefer to listen to my own playlists, without the advertisements.

4. Tight/bangin’ as slang
There have been various iterations of the word “cool” over the ages that come and go. There were a couple in particular that I was really glad to see go: “tight” and “bangin'”. Both seemed to be popular at the same time, and both of them I was really happy to see go, because of the sexual connotation involved that made them cringe-worthy. Here are a couple examples of their use:

“That hamburger was tight, yo.”

That’s “tight” as in a property of a woman’s vagina, because apparently a Burger King hamburger can be compared to the grip supplied by a birth canal during coitus, right?

“Those chicken wings were bangin’!”

To understand the full annoyance of the delivery, imagine a mildly-overweight middle-aged woman trying way too hard to sound hip tilting her head back and to the side on the word “were”, so she can push the word “bangin'” at you so you immediately feel like going home and scrubbing that association between the sexual connotation and her overly-mascaraed face from your brain with steel wool and butane.

When these two slangs were phased out as substitutions for the word “cool”, the collective did language a huge favor.

5. Michael Moore’s career
One thing that really annoyed me about the Bush presidency wasn’t Bush himself, it was the sheer smugness of the self-appointed intellectual superiors who complained about him nonstop, while a bunch of liberal arts majors carried water for them in spite of the fact that they had no idea what was going on. Considering that these people had near institutional control of the information media, it was difficult to escape all of the whining over everything he had ever done. But if I were to pick just one of them that I found more shrill and annoying than the rest, that would be Michael Moore.

While hating on Bush was the fad of the time, Michael Moore took it to an art form. To the point of making a movie to bust Bush’s chops. His arrogance was so astounding, that I actually wanted to see Bush win reelection out of spite. Which was just what happened.

Wonder what Michael Moore is up to now? When was the last time he said anything that you gave a care about?

Exactly.

It’s true that he still does speaking events, but it’s not as fun watching him descend into lunacy as it once was. Besides, right now, we have The Young Turks for that, and those guys are pure unintentional entertainment. If it’s a left-wing meltdown that you’re in the mood for, Cenk Uygur has you covered. Michael Moore is old news.

6. The DaVinci Code
If it weren’t bad enough that we had a fake documentary from Michael Moore, there were a bunch more inspired by The DaVinci Code. If you’ve already forgotten what The DaVinci Code was about, that’s enviable in it’s own sense. It was basically a work of fiction based on the premise that Jesus actually had children, which was then covered up by a mysterious order who somehow benefited by keeping this information to themselves. The order, being highly secretive and cunning, decided that the best way to keep their secret from the public was to have Leonardo DaVinci plant evidence of it throughout his work. The associated media flavored the material with mysterious, moody music and yellow, faded parchment, because you’re supposed to feel as though such a conspiracy actually happened.

Here’s the kicker: The author, Dan Brown, says that the cover up actually occurred. And suckers ate it up. Plenty of them.

So, what happened? One might like to think that the aforementioned suckers realized that they were being conned into buying garbage and doing a media machine’s marketing for them, but it’s far more likely that they got distracted by the next fad theology that came along. In any case, the DaVinci Code fad was over, and the History Channel moved on to marketing another stupid movie.

7. Loose Change
I could have merged this and the previous two into an entry called “Fakumentaries”, considering that all three of Fahrenheit 9/11, The DaVinci Code, and Loose Change came around at about the same time, indicating that there was this unusual demand at the time for being lied to by pseudo-intellectuals with obvious agendas. Our children will think that we were so stupid, but there’s no denying that there were many stupid people around at the time, as evidenced by these three fakumentaries.

What makes Loose Change so special is that it was produced by a film student by the name of Dylan Avery, who made it as an example of the kind of nonsense that 9/11 truthers believe. What Dylan didn’t count on was that, after having released his film to the internet, millions of people were stupid enough to take it at face value. So, did Dylan set the record straight?

No. He gave himself up.

He had something that most film students could only dream of having prior to graduation: a huge audience. If he set the record straight, he’d lose that audience and have to build it up again in the industry, which is something that many in the film industry spend their entire lives doing. So he issued a revised version of his film and gave the suckers what they wanted.

So, why don’t you hear about him today? For one thing, he made the mistake of releasing his video to the internet for free, so no one had to pay him for it. Not a very sustainable way to do business. Since then, he’s worked on several other films, but no one cares about them.

Of course, if more people had thought to ask why a mere film student would possess such insight into the inner-workings of a conspiracy to present a planned demolition as a terror attack, we wouldn’t have heard much about Loose Change to begin with.

8. Truck nuts
Truck nuts are one of those things that you’d see at a store somewhere and think to yourself, “Man, these things are stupid. Only a total dunce would put something like this on their car.” But then you see some people actually mount them on their cars, and you find yourself wishing that you had a rifle in your car so you can shoot them right off while you’re on the highway.

So, what are truck nuts? It’s a pair of plastic testicles that one can hang from their vehicle, right under the license plate. Putting them on your car sends a message, and that message is that you’d buy anything.

One thing I found weird about them is that I didn’t see anyone attempt to hang them on the front of their car, only on the back. Maybe it’s because they are being used to express a desire to [REDACTED].

So, there you have it. A list of fads that I’m glad are over. And sure, a few more annoying ones have popped up since. But at least we know that fads do come to an end, even the annoying ones.

Where’s the Fair Use? We still have to fight for it.

If you use YouTube a lot, you’ve likely come across a number of videos that exclaim “WTFU”, or “Where’s the Fair Use?”. This is because on social media, there are many wrongful copyright claims that have the effect of stifling the expression of opinions.

A fresh example of this is the recent removal of a video by Steven Crowder, in which he explained why Democratic Socialism doesn’t work. The video was removed from YouTube at the request of Mashable, with the claim that Crowder’s use of portions of their video was a violation of their intellectual property rights.

Here is a video of Crowder’s opinion on the matter (Trigger Warning: Steven Crowder is a Conservative comedian. If you’re an SJW or similarly weak-bladdered, you might be exposed to an opinion that is not your own):

In American law, there is a legal protection called “Fair Use”. Fair Use allows for the limited use of copyrighted materials for educational, review, or satirical purposes without being considered to have broken copyright law. Crowder’s video, like those of many other YouTube personalities, falls nicely under Fair Use.

So, what’s the problem? The doctrine of Fair Use is being ignored, that’s what.

It gets worse when you consider that YouTube’s policy on copyright claims is horribly flawed. When a copyright claim is made on a video, the channel that uploaded it gets a strike on its account. Strikes can be contested, but the uploader is faced with the burden of proving that they didn’t violate copyright law, instead of placing the burden of proving that a violation of copyright law occurred on the one filing a complaint, which is right where it belongs.

It gets worse. When a copyright claim is made against a channel, any money that the video would have made the uploader goes to the person making the claim until the claim is resolved. Even once it’s resolved, the person making the complaint doesn’t have to pay it back. Because of this, there are people who abuse the system by making false complaints to make some money for themselves. As of this writing, they actually get away with it.

And it gets worse, still. Once a channel has three strikes, it’s deleted. The whole channel.

That’s a catastrophic blow for a channel that has gone big. Channels that have over 100,000 subscribers can easily make the account owner as much money as a minimum wage job. For some people, their YouTube channel is their livelihood.

As you’ve likely already gathered, a person doesn’t need to be the copyright holder to file a copyright complaint. On YouTube, false copyright complaints are rampant. In many cases, as is the case with Steven Crowder’s video, a false allegation of copyright infringement can be filed in an attempt to silence an opinion that they don’t like. Sometimes, a company will file a copyright complaint in order to remove a review that might hurt the sales of their product, even if it’s obvious that the copyrighted material has been used in a manner consistent with the allowances afforded by Fair Use.

So, what can we do about it? On the one hand, you could do as Doug Walker did and make a video pleading for the administration of good, decent sense:

Look at those puppy eyes! Don’t you see that all this copyright abuse is making him sad?

Yes, you can be another messenger in a world full of messengers that are easy to ignore because most of them won’t actually do anything proactive about their problems.

On the other hand, you can do something about it. Because when it comes down to it, most problems don’t go away by themselves, even if almost everyone is aware of them. Sympathy posts to attempt to bring attention to a matter are usually pleas to have someone else do the work.

So, what can we do about it?

Phoenix Wright lawyer up

That’s right, lawyer up. If someone makes a false copyright allegation against one of your YouTube videos, take them to court, win, and in so doing, establish a legal precedent that would serve as a deterrent against anyone who would attempt the same thing.

You would have the law on your side. According to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), filing a false DMCA claim is punishable by up to five years in prison. Of the Federal variety.

I’ve seen videos begin or end with splash images claiming that the limited use of copyrighted materials in the video falls under fair use. If you really want to deter false flaggers, here’s the kind of thing you should use:

YouTube warning

Make it clear that you’re serious.

If you’re wondering where the Fair Use is, it’s because we’re not done fighting for it yet. Until a YouTuber that’s brave enough steps forward to defend their freedom, we’re likely to keep hearing about things like #WTFU for quite some time. Not that that means that anyone’s doing anything about it.

#Fightfor15 backfires: McDonald’s considers replacing workforce with robots

robot

I remember my first job. It was working for McDonald’s, I kid you not.

However, it’s looking like times are changing. We might be saying “good-bye” to the day when high school seniors flipped burgers so they can buy Pokemon cards. The recent push for a massive jump in minimum wage has caused McDonald’s to seriously consider employing robots to replace their crew members. And considering the logistics behind it, it might actually be a pretty good move for McDonald’s.

I don’t know how expensive some of the robots they’re considering may be, but here’s some numbers to crunch:

Minimum wage may increase to $15 per hour.
A full-time work week is 40 hours.
There are about 52 weeks in a year.
Therefore, a full-time worker at the proposed minimum wage would make $31,200.00 per year.

If just one robot set McDonald’s back $60,000, it would end up paying for itself in less than two years. That would be a serious bargain. But there’s more. Employing robots can result in the following benefits:

  • Robots won’t complain about working overtime, nor would they demand more pay for it.
  • The only benefits that they’d require is routine maintenance.
  • They won’t goof off to go on Twitter to complain about their job or accuse their boss of being in some “old boy’s club”.
  • They won’t complain about special orders.
  • No showing up late. Showing up late is for humans.
  • They’re not going to have a bad day or decide to hate their jobs, so they’re always going to be polite to the customers.

And there’s more. If they can find some robots cheap enough that can accomplish the same tasks as humans, something which is becoming easier to do, McDonald’s stands to benefit from employing robots.

I know that some McDonald’s crew might mind losing their jobs to some robots. Me, I have my own reasons for thinking that a minimum wage increase is a terrible idea. I’ve worked minimum wage and close to it long enough to understand the kind of damage that minimum wage increases do to the value of money. The government might force employers to pay their staff a higher wage. But nothing is preventing renters, retailers, and utility providers from charging more for their products and services. When there is a minimum wage increase, the cost of stuff starts shooting up.

And why wouldn’t it? Businesses have a harder time making ends meet when they’re forced to pay their staff more, and increasing the costs of products and services is a natural way of trying to offset an increase in the cost of running a business. People would have more money anyway, so if they were able to pay for it before, they’d be able to pay for it at the adjusted rate.

So, in summary, we’d be payed more, but…

  • …We’d be charged more for everything, too.
  • …The value of the money itself would plummet, which would be tough nuggets if you’ve been trying to save the stuff.
  • …There’s no guarantee that there’d be a rate increase for skilled workers, so if you went to school to do what you do, it might become harder for you to get by.
  • …And you might end up losing your source of income to a robot, in which case, you’d actually end up making less.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve lived as a poor person for quite some time, so I know how these things go. The idea that poor people would benefit from a minimum wage increase is a myth. However, it’s getting to the point that even fast food workers are having to compete with robots. That humans have been less expensive to hire has long been a selling point, but it looks like that’s changing.