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Justin Corwin said on September 18th, 2007 at 1:59 pm

that’s silly. first of all, things like flashmobs, and ITLPD may be conformity within the microcosm of internet subculture, but they’re fucking not in real life, which is where those things happen.

go to a flash mob in a public space, or talk like a pirate at work, and people will look at you funny, be aggressive, cause problems for you.

that’s why participating in those things is cool, but writing about them in your internet microcosm is not, I guess, if you take your ‘risk is the only thing I respect’ creedo about cool things.

Second, the idea that everything has to balance on the knife edge of risk and art to be fun is such a crock of shit.

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Milkman Dan said on September 18th, 2007 at 2:02 pm

I would have totally forgotten about this if you hadn’t reminded me of this. There’s a lesson in that… or is there?

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I’d like ITLAP day more if it wasn’t on my birthday, prompting all my net savvy friends to give me pirate themed gifts and think they are so goddamn clever.

I don’t even really like pirates.

‘cept software pirates, they’re ok.

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ITLAP day doesn’t celebrate random silliness or coolness, though. It celebrates one specific part of silly behavior. This is a holiday for people who sit at home and weave chainmail for hours on end. There are worse holidays to grumble about.. like Sweetest’s day or Secretary’s day.

I will, in a rare display of common decency, not post the lyrics to a famous internet pirate song that I am now tempted to sing aloud.

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I like ITLAP day. But everyone’s doing it. And I am nonconformist.

Therefore, tomorrow I intend to observe International Talk Like A Ninja Day. I will be silent as the breeze. When I must talk, I will be swift and decisive. And I will narrow my eyes a lot.

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Well put. There’s a level of being an outcast in younger years for nerds and geeks of a certain pedigree that immediately causes them to bond up over their own exclusionary memes and jokes. If I’m not part of the accepted group, I’ll make sure that my group is cool just for being ‘wacky and zany’ that will ‘freak the mundanes’. It’s been going on as long as quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

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Arrrg, me feelings be hurt like a Spaniard missing his leg.

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I agree–I intensely dislike the implied social pressure that I need to “talk like a pirate”. Because I really, really don’t. Not now, not ever.

I will stand up for flash mobs–sure, participating in them is dull and lame, but the effect you get when one comes together is very cool. It’s a phenomenon so unknown to human behavior that when one does get together, the people around them feel (ever so briefly) like they’re in a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode, which is always fun. So while I’d never be in one, I support them in principle.

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I think you’re all forgetting one very important thing-

Pirates are fucking old. They are as old as ninjas. As old as the zombie revival. It’s over. Everyone go home.

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I hate ITLP day because it seems to encourage people who I do not like anyway to try and hold a cheery conversation chock full of swash and buckle with me for the sole purpose of being annoying assholes. Fuckers.

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I never realised it was about being unique….

Seriously; it’s just a little social event. We ARE social creatures, and we like to do things together. *I* don’t do it, but it’s not like it’s being forced on people. Hell, I only know a few people who actually bother with it irl. It’s mostly an internet phenomenon, unless I’ve somehow managed to miss it every year. Really though; I teach, and I’ve worked in customer service a lot, so I don’t particularly have much sympathy for people who can’t make it through one day of pointless conversations out of the year.

I don’t think you can really call it groupthink either. Groupthink is about avoiding confrontation by ignoring the facts and just going with the crowd. There’s really no confrontation to avoid here, and not much in the way of facts to ignore (unless you consider something as subjective as what’s “fun” fact). No one (okay, I shouldn’t speak in absolutes, but you get it) is going to get mad that you’re not talking like a pirate unless you’re really obnoxious about it. People are just doing it because they enjoy it.

If you don’t personally enjoy it, that’s fine. You’re pretty much calling everyone who does sheep though. You’re being a little less blunt about it, but overall, that’s what I read here.

Me, I’m all about pi day.

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…no, I’m sorry, that’s really silly. You don’t *have* to talk like a pirate. No one’s forcing you to.

And, dammit, acting silly with all your friends is fun.

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While meant to be specific to ITLAP Day, the arguments in your article are attacking the foundation of human social interaction. Any activity taken up by people has to have structure. Some sort of understanding of ‘what is going on here,’ so that the people involved can work with it, build on it, and turn it into what it is supposed to be. Your third paragraph, you say that people are encouraged to be silly in the same way that other people are being silly, at the same time. Have you ever played a game with other people? Games derive their fun from everybody involved doing the same sort of thing at the same time.

The day camp example is a particularly weak one. Suppose the kids at the day camp decided to ignore the staff and go about their business as they chose. Doesn’t work at daycamp. Works perfectly well for ITLAP Day. The counselor is offering the kids a chance to play a game that he’s organized, if they want to. If they don’t, at least he made the offer, and some kids will have fun.
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As ITLAP Day is basically a game involving being as ridiculous as possible, usually in public, along a very loose set of guidelines to make it more enjoyable for those participating, I can’t see where you’re going with the final paragraph. Creativity around a pre-established framework is still creativity – probably more creative than piecing something together from whole cloth. Considering all the Photoshop editing of other people’s work that you do, I’m guessing you feel the same, on most issues. Why is it a problem this specific time?

Your last sentence amuses me. ITLAP Day does not offer you the substance of something cool. Of course not. The existence of such a thing is not cool. Are you familiar with the game Apples to Apples? Flipping through the cards and reading the rules is not particularly fun. Playing the game is incredible. Like the game, ITLAP Day is not cool because it exists. It is cool because of what you do with it.

Your word choice is bad in this article. “Groupthink” does not mean what you think it means. See BitVyper’s explanation. And your use of the word “voluntary” is odd. The opposite is “involuntary” or “mandatory.” ITLAP Day is bad because you don’t have to talk like a pirate if you don’t want to?

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