MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
And now…Modern Wisdom Presents:
1. ADJUNCT PLEASURE
2. THE STERN WOLF
3. SOME WORTHLESS SONG
4. THE WIDE WORLD DREAMING
5. MY ADDER’S SENSE
6. MONARCH’S PLAGUE
7. UNKNOWN MINDS
8. PITIFUL THRIVERS
9.. PRETTY RUTH
10. THE WORLD’S FALSE SUBTLETIES
11. DYSLEXICON PART FOUR
Nota bene: Selected definitions were first published in Oracle numbers
1, 2, 3 and 6 and are copyright 1992 and 1993 by the author. Others
are here published for the first time and all are copyrighted 2014.
RADAR: Wartime detection and surveillance device ca. 1940S (Archaic);
peacetime detection and surveillance device.
RADICALS: The only thing more tiresome than the purblind slanders of
reactionaries are the self-styled verities of radicals.
RADIO: Bland, euphoria-inducing medium devised to advertise bland,
euphoria-inducing commodities; the EDUCATOR of desire. See THE
INTERNET, MOVIES, TELEVISION.
RATIONAL SYSTEMS: Now synonymous with decline.
RATIONALIZATION: A seductive mistress, but a bad wife.
REAGAN: The One-Minute-To-Midnight COWBOY.
REALISM: Any system of preconceived notions. See FATALISM; BELIEFS.
REALITY TELEVISION: Supplants the former occupation of throwing cow
shit at the village idiot.
REBELLION: Struggle against the dominant paradigm (Archaic); that
which sells products for the dominant paradigm. See ADVERTISING.
REFORMERS: People who tilt against already well-established perversions.
RELIGION: The Stalinization of material and/or spiritual commodities. See
RELIGION: Worship of remote celebrities.
RELIGIOUS REVIVALS: Circuses for people who are baffled by clowns.
RELIQUARIES: See DISNEYLAND.
REPUBLICANS: Boring fat-cats; premature grandparents.
REPUBLICANS: The party of whiskey, golf, and selfishness.
RESTAURANTS: The church of the middle class.
RHETORIC: System of devices used in the art of persuasive speech
(Archaic); device always used to perpetuate falsehoods.
RHODE ISLAND: Nepotistic utopia.
RHODES SCHOLARSHIP: Antique madman’s blood money; BRIBE paid to future
EXPERTS or members of the MANAGERIAL ELITE.
RHYME: System of precise assonantal correspondence and consonantal
similarity (Archaic); words which sound vaguely alike.
RICHARD NIXON: A paranoid drunk embarrassed by his brother; courage-impaired
political wheeler-dealer whose 1974 abdication saved him from
RICHARD NIXON: The American Ahab.
RITUAL: Any compulsion. See ADVERTISING.
ROCK AND ROLL: Never so unforgiving as when an Adonis turns into Porky Pig.
ROCK AND ROLLERS: Participate in elaborate rituals, drink to excess,
wear funny costumes, and share a secret arcane knowledge. See MASONS.
RODNEY KING: Some PIPEHEAD in LOS ANGELES who got beat up by cops for
being a lousy driver.
ROMANCE: An exercise in fertility.
ROME: Capitol of imperial empire ca. 200 B.C.-600 A.D. whose decline
is constantly likened to that of America.
ROYALTY: Priest-king of sovereign state (Archaic); any celebrity.
SAFFLOWER OIL: Wondrous fat believed to have magical properties.
SALES TAXES: See USURY.
SAN FRANCISCO: West Coast capital of narcissism.
SARCASM: The default mode of the second rate. And self-referential
irony, of the third-rate.
SATIETY: Mythical state of well-being.
SATIRE: A form of travesty which seeks social reform via humor
(Archaic); a form of artistic expression which attempts poetry where
SATURN: ROMAN GOD who devoured his own children (Archaic); formerly popular
Make of automobile.
SCHIZOPHRENICS: Always demand your divided attention.
SCIENCE FICTION: Baseball for people who throw like girls.
SEDITION: Any contradiction of or questioning of the sovereign rights
of MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS. See RELIGION.
SELF-AWARENESS: Means always having to say you’re sorry.
SEMANTICS: Study of the structure of language (Archaic); nit-picking.
SENATOR: Politician who will do anything for $50,000.
SEPTEMBER. Commonly the month during which people gather the flashy
tools needed to present to the world an industrious façade; the better
to conceal their secret inanition.
SERVICE SECTOR ECONOMY: Serfdom. See INJURIOUS SECTOR ECONOMY.
SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD: Donald Trump; air-conditioning; Madonna;
the electoral college; Woody Allen; Greek Yogurt; Sylvester Stallone.
SEX APPEAL: Late TWENTIETH CENTURY ADVERTISING mantra.
SHAVING: Daily procedure of symbolic RITUAL self-abasement.
SILVERFISH: Harmless invertebrate more feared by men than women.
SINGING. Sexual display. SEE ART, DANCING.
SIR: (Euphemism.) Fatso.
SITCOMS: Churchgoing for the homebound.Comforting rituals, soothing
verities, and immersion in stories we already know the end of and have
always known the end of.
SITCOMS: Recipes for narcissism.
SLOGANS: Rhetorical substitutes for evidence.
SMITH OF COLOR: Blacksmith (archaic).
SOAP OPERA: Surrogate TELEVISION FAMILY.
SOCIAL SECURITY: TWENTIETH CENTURY Ponzi scheme; system providing a
guaranteed monthly post-retirement income (Archaic). See OLD AGE
SOCIALIST: A HOBO with a PhD.
SOCIALISTS: Wish to redistribute what ANARCHISTS want to occupy.
SOLDIERS: An apologetic killer elite. See MERCENARIES.
SOMALIA: Fount of all human misery (Archaic). See ETHIOPIA.
SONGS: The earliest form of neurolinguistic programming.
SOUTHERNERS: Famous for their hospitality. They have some the
friendliest lynch mobs you’ll ever see.
SOUTHERNERS: Friendly fanatics.
SPORTING EVENTS: Working class fanaticism in its socially approved form.
SPORTS FIGURES: Athletes (Archaic); genetically inbred warrior noblemen.
SPY: A policeman with a PhD.
STABILITY: Euphemism used by the AVERAGE CITIZEN for incipient collapse.
STAND-UP COMEDY: The rattling of a shtick inside a shithouse.
STAR TREK: Ritualistic program ceremonially watched as a type of SOAP
OPERA for DWEEBS and NERDS.
STARBUCKS: Coffee ritual for people who wish they still used illicit drugs.
STARBUCKS: The opiate of spendthrifts.
STARS: Hot incandescent spheres of gas residing in outer space and HOLLYWOOD.
STEEL: A plot by iron and coal to enslave humans.
STEPHEN KING: Dickens for imbeciles.
STILL LIFE: A genre of painting in which a grouping of objects are
captured in a moment frozen in time (Archaic); see PHOTOGRAPHY.
STREAM OF CONCIOUSNESS: A raging torrent.
STUPID HEMORRHAGES: For people not smart enough to have the cerebral variety.
STUPID: See AVERAGE.
SUCKERS: People who believed a GOOD JOB with BENEFITS assured their
SUFFERING: Dysphemism for EXPERIENCE; a cure for innocence.
SUGAR BEAR: Sweetened breakfast cereal mascot; cartoon version of DEAN MARTIN.
SUPERMARKET: Watering hole for misfits.
SUPERSONIC JETS: Destroy the OZONE layer so fat-cats don’t get jet lag.
SURVIVOR: Any person capable of overcoming or abiding a minor obstacle
SUVS: Training wheels for tyrants.
SWASTIKA: The pattern of the interplanetary magnetic field in the
ecliptic plain. See FYLFOT.
SYZYGY: Something which hippies think is magic because it’s hard to spell.
TABOOS: Tomorrow’s norms.
TALK RADIO: bedtime stories for paranoiacs.
TAOISM: Gave us alchemy which, of course, we all use daily.
TEA: A plot by tea bushes to ensure their continued propagation. See COFFEE.
TELEVISION COMMERCIAL:Replaces the art of carrying on a conversation
(Archaic) with one’s neighbors (Archaic).
TELEVISION: A lobotomy on the installment plan.
TELEVISION: Recapitulates the aesthetics of Moloch.
TELEVISION: a velvet sewer.
TELEVISION: a voracious mirror.
TELEVISION: beautiful stereotypes.
TELEVISION: a smoke screen for vested interests.
TELEVISION: manna for dull minds.
TELEVISION: AUTISM in a box; bland, euphoria-inducing medium devised
to advertise bland, euphoria-inducing commodities; the EDUCATOR of
desire. See MOVIES; RADIO; THE INTERNET.
TELEVISON: A soft surrealism for brains hooked on artificial sunlight.
TERRORISM: The marijuana of the Generals. It makes them feel good
even as their thinking becomes hazy, and they end up hanging around
with some pretty unsavory characters and spending a hell of a lot of
money on it.
TEXTING: Compulsive grooming behavior of the amphetamine monkey.
THANKSGIVING: A symbolic orgy of consumption in which humans
hard-wired to hoard fats mourn the rapidly nearing approach of the
dark and cold of the Winter Solstice.
THE ALPS: Overgrown rocks worshipped by rich people.
THE BIBLE: a dreary masterpiece of ignorance.
THE BLUES: Music for depressed alcoholics.
THE CRUCIFIXION: A friendly dice game that went terribly, terribly wrong.
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: Era in which gunpowder, leeches and
cantharides were first widely utilized.
THE EIGHTIES: The 1950s with FAX MACHINES.
THE FIFTIES: The 1920S with TELEVISON.
THE FORTIES: The 1920s with a wartime economy and casual sex.
THE FUTURE: Will be a digital camera catching you in the act forever.
THE GOVERNMENT. Has too much power. Citizens demand that the
government do something about it.
THE INTERNET: A potted history of instantaneity.
THE INTERNET: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Hit ‘Enter’ Here.
THE INTERNET: Meme warfare.
THE INTERNET: Narcissism in a box; bland, dysphoria-inducing medium
devised to advertise bland, dysphoria-inducing information. See
THE MEDIA: A narcissism machine.
THE MIDWEST: Partially abandoned area of American empire superseded by
the SOUTH, EAST and WEST.
THE MOB: Anyone who isn’t us.
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: Era in which ether, chloroform and morphine
were first widely utilized.
THE NINETIES: The 1970s with DIGITAL MEDIA.
THE NORTH: Where SOUTHERNERS go to prove they’re smart.
THE PENIS: Strong enough for a man…but women like it too.
THE POOR: See THE UNDERCLASS.
THE RICH: Another country.
THE RICH: Different from you and me; they mooch more money.
THE SERVICE: College for drunks.
THE SEVENTIES: The 1920s with DRUGS and casual sex.
THE SIXTIES: The 1920S with PHOTOCOPIERS and casual sex.
THE SOUTH: Where NORTHERNERS go to die.
THE SUN: Ain’t so hot.
THE TEENS: The 1910s. See ARCADIA.
THE THIRTIES: The 1920s with unemployment.
THE TWENTIES: The 1910s with RADIO and casual sex.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: Era in which styrofoam, chloroflorocarbons and
plutonium were first widely utilized.
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: The era responsible for destroying and
displacing every myth which ever dared us to aspire to true greatness.
THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: Era in which ADVERTISING and its creation of
CONSUMERS and of a system of CONSUMERISM finished the process of
THE UNDERCLASS: See THE POOR.
THE UNEMPLOYED: The Great Unlashed. See THE UNDERCLASS.
THE WEST: Sparsely populated area of American empire subsidized, taxed
and regulated by the SOUTH, MIDWEST and especially THE EAST; area
defined by its inhabitants’ hatred of the SOUTH, MIDWEST and
especially THE EAST.
THE WORKPLACE: A slaughterhouse of moral integrity.
THEATRE: CHURCH for the upwardly mobile BOHEMIAN.
THEY: Always want to make you think there’s nothing wrong.
THOUGHT: Unscientific term used to describe the residual belief that
one person possessed unique IDEAS before it became widely known that
individual conciousness is merely a self-generated illusion (Archaic).
TIME MAGAZINE: Moloch’s House Organ.
TIME: Creates the mosaic of reality.
TISSUE PAPER: Something squeezably soft that you blow your snots in.
TOM CLANCY: John LeCarre for drunks.
TOMORROW: The new now.
TRADITION: Whatever gets in the way.
TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS: A Golden Shower.
TRUTH: Is stranger than faction.
UKELELE: See ULCER.
ULCER: See UKELELE; XYLOPHONE.
UNEXPECTED MENACE, THE: Nature’s oldest joke.
UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENA: Made-up stories contrived essentially to keep
ordinary people in line. SEE CELEBRITIES.
UNIQUE POINT OF VIEW: Unscientific term used to describe the residual
belief that one person possessed unique IDEAS, before it became widely
known that individual conciousness is merely a self-generated illusion
(Archaic). See INDIVIDUAL; THOUGHT; FREE WILL..
UNITED STATES CONGRESS: Assemblage of drunken, squabbling Lairds.
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION (Archaic).
UNIVERSITIES: See COLLEGE.
USURY: See SALES TAXES.
VERITIES: Socially acceptable nonsense.
VERITIES: Tomorrow’s cant.
VICE PRESIDENT: Widely despised placeholder.
VIDEO GAMES: Training wheels for epilepsy. See COMPUTER GAMES.
VIETNAM: Bloody battlegound whose principal export was strategic rice.
VOLCANOES: GOD’S global AIR CONDITIONING.
WAHH: Translation: “Stop having fun and look at my screaming face.”
WALNUT: A sunflower seed who made the Fortune 500.
WALT DISNEY: A man, now allegedly cryogenically frozen, currently
worshipped for having invented and successfully marketed a six-foot
rat, followed by an assortment of other anthropomorphic mutants; see
WEBSITES: The lingua franca of junk.
WEDDINGS: Festivals of ostentation.
WEEKEND: By POPULAR convention that time period set aside for
spontaneous activities. See HOLIDAY WEEKEND; LONG WEEKEND.
WEEKLY TABLOIDS: Remedial stupidity update.
WESTERNERS: Suspicious would-be isolationists.
WHALES: Stinking blubbery ingrates who vomit ambergris on the world’s
oceans and whose bloated fetid corpses litter our nation’s beaches.
WHITE CLOUD TOILET PAPER: Softer than the other leading brand–leaves and dirt.
WIFE: A mystery like no mother.
WILLIAM FAULKNER: Proof positive that nobody can bullshit you better
than a Southerner.
WILLIAM TELL: A Swiss William Burroughs with better aim.
WOODSTOCK: Mythic HIPPIE Eden.
WORK: Pointless exercise which prizes the ability to bear pain and
inflict it on others.
X: The unknown (Archaic); stand-in for a slave name.
X-RAY: Former Manta.
XYLOPHONE: See ULCER.
YALE: A think-tank surrounded by a ghetto; a brainy slum.
YAM: An unpretentious sweet potato.
ZODIAC KILLER, THE: You can say what you will about the Zodiac Killer,
Mister, but at least he brought astrology into the mainstream.
ZOOKEEPERS: People who steal animals and put them in cages.
I would be remiss if I failed to acknowledge some of the groundbreaking
works in this field, including but not limited to:
Gustave Flaubert’s LE DICTIONNAIRE DES IDEES RECUES (Dictionary of
Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar
Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary,
George Jean Nathan and H.L. Mencken’s The American Credo: A
Contribution toward the Interpretation of the National Mind,
Leon Bloy’s L’Exegese des Lieux Communs
Marshall McLuhan’s The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man
Jacques Ellul’s A Critique of the New Commonplaces