Web Hostess Live: The latest from the Web

Apr 17, 2014

A weekly chat about the best ways to kill time online. Our Web Hostess, Monica Hesse, sifts the Internet so you don't have to, searching for meaning, manners and the next great meme.

Afternoon, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. We'll get started at 2. If you're lurking early, and looking to waste a bit of time, please feel free to take this egregiously long quiz and determine what level of geek you are (points scored out of 300). Then feel free to discuss what you like or don't about this quiz.

Next, please watch this video, which has likely made an appearance on one of your social media feeds. Probably, the friend who posted it described it as either "heartwarming" or "infuriating." What do you think? Why?

I only got 3 out of 300 on that quiz: I've watched all of BSG, I've seen the Princess Bride and I've binge watched more than 8 episodes of a show in one day/night.

But if you've seen The Princess Bride, surely you can quote from The Princess Bride? Don't you only have to watch it once before all of the dialogue is emblazoned on your frontal cortex?

to the quiz.

It's there! Is it not working for you? Did I hallucinate the quiz?

Apparently the team at previously.tv is inviting TWOP forum posters to join them. The recaps are, erm, not at the level of TWOP. But to be perfectly honest, I found most of the recappers to get a bit wearying and preferred to go straight to the forums for shows I liked anyway.

Thank you for this ongoing update in the saga of just what the world will come to post-Television Without Pity.

I think it's funny and entertaining, but then I don't see why so many people go all judgypants over The Mommy Wars. But there's something about Seeing Stuff On The Internet that makes people overreact.

One vote for funny/entertaining. Others?

Sort of a strange quiz. It's shallow in a large number of geek areas, so a truly geeky person who specializes in one flavor of geekiness could still score pretty low. Also, it's got a large recency bias. If you were an 80s geek, there's tons of stuff on there that you might not have ever heard of.

It was exceedingly comic heavy, Star Trek heavy, and Star Wars heavy. I actually wondered if that meant it was male-heavy, and whether there might be a different version that spoke more to women.

Thank you for sharing the Geek Number quiz! I think it was comic heavy on the questions, but I ended up with a 102.

102 seems like a really dominant number. I wondered myself whether some of the questions should be worth more than others. I'd wager you should get less street cred for attending a midnight movie screening than for, oh, bothering to learn an entirely fictional language.

I'd love to see the split in opinion between people who have/want children and people who do not. I do not want children, and I find the video irritating - but not infuriating - because it glorifies a choice. I'd like to say I'd feel this way about a video talking about the tough job requirements of, say, teaching, or welding, or driving a truck, but there's already so much sanctimonious carping on the Internet concerning mothers and motherhood that I doubt I would. Of course, I may have a skewed opinion due to my upbringing, as well - my mom was a good mom, but we never had the best relationship, and still don't. So I guess that would be interesting to look at, too: how does your (the collective your, not Cupcake-your) own relationship with your mother color your view of it? And where's the outcry from the sanctimonious fathers of the world? Their job isn't easy, either... Gah. Maybe I'm more bothered by this than I thought!

I'm sure that around the time the ramp up to Fathers Day begins, we'll see a corresponding gloopy video for dads.


It won't be quite the same, though, since most dads haven't had to deal with the "you don't have a REAL job" stigma that moms do. That's where so much of the backlash comes from: a belated realization that it's really hard to be a stay-at-home-mom.

I have not watched the "mother is the toughest job" video. I don't want to see a sincere job-seeker as part of someone's gotcha moment. Also (and I can't take credit for this idea but can't find where I saw it), there are plenty of parents that can't stand due to disabilities and still have this "job." I just don't like this premise, and I write that as a mother of two school-aged children that has been a full-time at-home parent, full-time in-an-office parent, and a blend of everything in between. Quiz: 25 out of 300, more than I expected. I've played more Magic the Gathering than I care to admit (see above: two school-aged children) and am starting to have opinions on deck colors.

I, too, was more bothered by the "gotcha" nature of the video than the glorifying moms nature of the video. I felt so bad for all the people who had bothered to put on their sportcoats and get their hopes up for a job, and then found out that -- nope -- they were just in a greeting card commercial. (Hope they got paid).

Yeah, I can quote some of the more popular Princess Bride quotes, but not in the same way I can quote Wayne's World, for example.

Well, that is just ridiculous.

I'm not into fantasy/sci-fi/comics/video games, but I'm a tremendous science geek and there were hardly any questions about that, and just one about grammar? I demand a new test so I can let my geek flag fly!

Although, grammar geeks might not get classified as geeks so much as their own ferocious breed of...something else.

enough already with the deification of moms/parents, whether as some personal crusade or as part of a campaign to hawk greeting cards.

I think you had it right before the backslash. Dads don't get deified, do they? Or DO they?

Quiz was a bit heavy on comics and TV shows, a little short on science geekdom. I have an autograph collection of Nobel winning scientists, have had more than one poster of Einstein hanging in my room, and have played with a cyclotron. I think that should give me a bit more geek cred than some comic books and TV shows.

I give you 10 points.

You'd need to distinguish between true grammar geeks, who realize that punctuation, spelling, style, lexical mixups, linguistics, and phonetics are not "grammar" and those poseurs who think that "I don't say it that way so IT MUST BE A GRAMMATICAL ERROR.

Well, the second classification of people are just...rude.

I don't want children either, but I have a mom, and I appreciate the sentiments described in the video. I wish people could accept things without insisting on the If-Then partisanship. "If you like this video, you must hate working mothers or childless adults!" Relax, people, please.

But that's what so much of video culture on the Internet is based on these days, right? It's the ever-creeping influence of ViralNova and Upworthy. "If this video doesn't make you laugh, you have no sense of humor. If this video doesn't make you cry, you have no soul."


They've become a dare and a test: Watch this video to determine whether you have normal human emotions.

It's funny, until it gets all smarmy at the end. The internet has made me assume all sentimentality is faux sentimentality, and I hate it all now.

Intriguing. How would we differentiate between the two? When is something sentimental and when is it faux-sentimental?

All this talk of faux-sentimentality reminds me how much I hate those Cricket wireless commercial where that guy in the stupid looking hat goes to these different events/classes and turns them into a pitch for Cricket wireless.

I know not this ad you speak of.

Can we start a remedial middle-ground movement? "Quit feeling polarized just because you watched a video demanding a false dichotomy in emotional response!"

"If you're not mildly amused by this video, and then forgetting you ever watched it, you are probably like 98% of the rest of the population."

I'm of mixed emotions - I got teary-eyed when the people at the end were talking about their moms and my mom is the awesomest one that ever lived. But, I rolled my eyes as soon as I realized what the video was, perhaps because it's such a tired point and has been raked over the coals so often. I also don't want kids precisely because I don't want that kind of life. I guess it depends on who it is coming from; I am sick of self-congratulatory parenthood but I'm all for people celebrating their moms : ). My first instinct, though, having watched an unemployed person get very hopeful at a job prospect, was that this is cruel to the job seekers.

Is it fair to say you like when people individually and spontaneously express love for their own moms, but you don't like it when it's done in a corporate way, or in a braggy Facebook way?

I didn't think I would like Rosamund Pike as Amy but I'm totally sold.

This trailer?

And for those of you who haven't read the book, I'll go ahead and post the passage that seems to stick the longest with most readers:

(Actually, I said I would post that passage, but then I read the passage, realized it contained naughty words, and decided to link to the passage instead. The passage. It's about Cool Girls.)

But it immediately becomes apparent that this has to be a hoax because of the job requirements. I mean, c'mon.

I dunno. Some of the people in the video seem to be gamely nodding along with it for as long as they can. That's how badly they want to be hired.

Here's the one: There are more. I want to punch that guy in his hat.

Wait, but these people are actors, right? This is not a real cooking class.

I think that's fair. I always think it's wonderful when people celebrate others who are important to them, but I have long-since lost the ability to appreciate events that are engineered to pull my heartstrings. They just pull the string that rolls my eyes.

"They just pull the string that rolls my eyes."

This is in contention for the best comment of the day, and perhaps week.

I *loved* that book, and that passage is just the *best*. Seriously. Amazing how some authors can just nail it. And - yeah - was surprised to see you post the quote. ;-)

I pulled it down very, very quickly. Do not tell my boss or anyone else who would be distressed by the presence of PG-13 words in the newspaper.

I agree with Monica's response, but even still, making it immediately apparent that it is a hoax doesn't erase all those hours between getting an interview offer and realizing that you're being used for a commercial. This is a really nasty economy. You don't pull this crap on people. They could have accomplished the same thing with a man-on-the-street interview that gave no pretense to the interviewee.

I'm still hoping the interviewees got paid, though I doubt they did. We bank too much on the concept that people should "feel lucky" to appear in commercials or have their content used, and therefore they shouldn't be compensated for it.

The mom ad is also encouragement for helicopter parents - "OMG, I need to hover over little Jimmy's life 24/7 or else he will become a degenerate gambler/drug dealer/Cricket wireless pitchman.'

That's the spirit. Blame those Cricket commercials on the actor's mom.

I'm probably more of a nerd than a geek (if there is truly a difference other than in my own head), but I couldn't get through that thing. The first 40-50 questions were all comic book stuff, and I just never got into them. Actually, as I'm thinking about it, I'm probably a terrible geek. I feel like I'm the only person who ever gets online that's over it with the whole "don't we all love Star Wars" thing that seems to be so rampant lately. I loved those movies as a kid, but I can't sit through them now. You're probably all burning my internet anonymity in effigy now.

Oh, I've seen the Star Wars movies once and only once, and then out of a sense of duty rather than enjoyment. Come sit by me and we'll duck the tomatoes together.

There are apparently only 107 of us here today, and we'd all miss you and this chat horribly if something were to happen which would endanger your future with this fine newspaper (and - yes - it was quick!).

Only 107 -- that explains why things feel slow. We usually have at least two or three times that. Wonder where everyone is.

Well, I don't think we can really separate them (though when it's done as part of a corporate 'hey, let's "not" advertise with a viral marketing campaign' that helps make it obvious), and that's why I think my default has become to assume it's all fake. I'm probably too jaded and cynical... it's like the UpWorthy videos... don't tell me how to feel about things; I'd like to make that decision myself.

Confession: Every time I read the words "UpWorthy," I think it says "UpYoursy."

Here's another candidate for the "Eh, so what, tastes differ" grass-roots movement I called for. Why does everybody have to like what I like? Why should I like something because other people like it? Although I suppose it's much harder to organize a Live and Let Live movement than one that is violently in favor of or against something. It's like Let's Hold an Introvert's Rally!

This sense-talking is hurting my brain.

Gahh, best quote ever and my favorite part of the book. I can recognize at times I've been the girl pretending to be the Cool Girl, but then I grew up, realized who I was, and realized that the real me is pretty cool. Do I like to watch football and drink beer? Yes. But watching hours upon hours of Squidbillies and Comedy Central with my ex, all the time pretending that I found it hilarious? Not worth it, especially when I realized a few months later that he didn't really know me (I hadn't let him) -- he liked the Cool Girl idea of me.

Has anyone written the version of the Cool Boy passage? I'd like to read it.


Ahhhh you're right. You're absolutely right. That's where all my colleagues must be, too.

I've read that the author wrote a new ending for the Gone Girl movie at the request of the director. Does anyone have any more detail on this? Will a character now get his/her comeuppance? Is their reunion unmarred by murder? Thoughts on what was the reason for the director's request?

Dunno. Maybe the director just thought none of us would be able to stand watching the original ending where (SPOILER ALERT)




Two terrrrrible people decide to bring a child into the world and force said child to have them as parents.

Thanks for posting that link! I've been meaning to read that book forever, and it's just be shoved up to the top of my queue, based on that quote alone. And I suspect people are not here today because it is spring break for some. AND, geek quiz is too pop-culture heavy, not science/grammar/whatever geek enough. I'm much more of a science/grammar geek, and am not afraid to admit that.

Thank you.

Is there no chance they were actors and the whole thing was set up to look like a real job interview? I don't believe commercials when they say they are using real people.

And that's really sad -- when even a "these are real people, not actors" quote still makes us think, "Okay, I get it, these must be actors pretending to be real people."

On Spring Break. Seriously, half my office is out this week, and our staff meeting today had about 1/3 its usual attendance.

Maybe we'll take a Spring Break too, and cut out 10 minutes early. For those of you in Washington, I'm told it's warmed up and the weather is brisk but lovely. I'm going to walk around the block before tethering myself to my desk again.

See you next week, GSTQ.

In This Chat
Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

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