by Lenny Levine
Welcome to falseequivalency.com, a website designed to improve your skills in using a critical technique for success in today’s world. The art of false equivalency.
Unless you’ve stumbled onto us, the very fact that you’re here, reading this, shows you’re interested. You’d like to know how/ to level the playing field so it tilts in your direction. Good for you, and in more ways than one.
What is false equivalency? Here’s a multiple choice question that illustrates it:
You’ve broken up with your boyfriend/girlfriend and you’re so incensed at him/her that you tweet out what most people would consider a death threat. How do you defend your action?
a) Say the person deserves it, and you would not take back a single word.
b) Claim you were drunk and it was the booze talking.
c) Call the person oversensitive, and say they should suck it up and stop whining, or
d) Point out that they’d never objected when you were tweeting “I love u,” and since this is just another tweet, it’s no different.
The answer, of course, is “d.”
Now, for those whose conscience might nag at them, who’d call this behavior a tad amoral, I should point out that the idea of false equivalency is as old as America itself. Enshrined in our Declaration of Independence is the phrase “All men are created equal.”
That’s demonstrably untrue, of course, as anyone who was born without sight or a limb, or with any other birth defect, could tell you. Throw in people who were born into abject poverty, or great wealth, or have a predisposition to certain illnesses, and I think you’re getting the point.
But we all want to believe in the notion of shared equality, don’t we? So we get there the only way we can, false equivalency.
It’s a part of human nature, not to be avoided but to be celebrated. False equivalency is as American as apple pie, a phrase that’s another example of it.
At this point, if you remain unconvinced, you may exit the site and congratulate yourself on achieving sainthood. But if you’ve put your qualms aside and you’re still with us, here’s how it works:
Our site is, basically, a forum in which you can find solutions to sticky situations by using false equivalency. The situation could be your own, someone else’s, or hypothetical. You don’t have to reveal which, and in fact, you shouldn’t.
You are free to make the situation more or less sinful than the example we provided; it’s entirely up to you.
Other visitors to the site will comment on your post and suggest solutions, as you may offer yours to them. All solutions must involve false equivalency. Anything else will be removed.
In the meantime, our team of false-equivalency professionals, available 24/7, will evaluate your situation. In due course, we will post our solution to it.
There are, however, two rules:
1) As previously stated, all suggested solutions must involve false equivalency.
2) For obvious reasons, NO REAL NAMES!
If you don’t already have a clever, enigmatic screen name, then make one up. It cannot be overemphasized: We don’t want people going to jail because of our website.
Are you ready? If you are, then click, or tap, on Sticky Situations and let’s do it.
* * *
aka aka— What if someone agreed to take care of his girlfriend’s cat for a week while she’s away? Five days into it, he can’t find the cat anywhere in her apartment. The food dishes haven’t been touched and the litter box is unused. He vaguely remembers the day before, when he might have (I stress, might have) left the door open a crack while he was chatting with a neighbor in the hallway. It is now the sixth day, and there is still no sign of the cat. Tomorrow his girlfriend is coming home. What does he do?
So Pseudonym Me— No one needs a hysterical girlfriend. Since you presently have one who’d trust you with her cat, you are obviously attractive enough to women to break up with her and find someone else.
Nom de Plume Pudding— A cat is a cat is a cat. Offer to get her another one. Or let her do it herself, if she wants. Really.
…67 Additional Comments…
False Equivalency.com— There are some interesting suggestions on this post. A lot of respondents, however, referred to the person in the situation as “you,” rather than using the hypothetical third person. Please remember that, for legal reasons, we need your cooperation in maintaining anonymity and deniability.
That being said, the blame for aka aka’s situation rests squarely on the girlfriend.
House cats are, essentially, prisoners. They have no direct control over their living conditions. They have been transported to an enclosed space, where they are sentenced to exist for a lifetime, with no chance of parole. Since it is the desire of any prisoner to escape, the fact that the cat ran away is no one’s fault but the girlfriend’s. She’s the one who imprisoned it in the first place.
* * *
Ginger Alias— Okay, I hope I’m doing this right. Let’s say someone is driving home from a party at 3 a.m. with two of her friends, let’s call them Tiffany and Lisa?
Everyone had been drinking, but no one is really drunk. They’re all singing along with an MP3 of Bruno Mars and laughing about some of the boys at the party. Suddenly, there’s this car up ahead, parked on the side of the road with its flashers on.
Tiffany wants to stop and see if they can help, but Lisa says it could be a rapist, pretending his car had broken down. The driver doesn’t know what to do.
Tiffany is screaming at her from the backseat to stop the car, and Lisa’s telling her to keep going. Just to be safe, she keeps going. In all the excitement, she may have heard a thumping noise as they passed the stalled car, she’s not sure.
The next morning, there’s a story on the news about a man getting killed by a hit-and-run driver while changing his tire at 3 a.m. And it was right on that same stretch of road.
Both Tiffany and Lisa say they should do nothing, that it was probably someone else who ran him over, but I don’t know. What do you think?
Phony Monicka— I think you ran him over, that’s what I think. But there’s nothing to worry about (unless Lisa or Tiffany get cold feet). It was just another accident, and accidents will happen. The poor man who died isn’t coming back, no matter who confesses. Why cause further suffering? It was just like any other accident.
Ms. Nomer— They say that taking a single life is the same as killing all of mankind. If that’s true, then you committed genocide. Chew on that for a while.
…124 Additional Comments…
False Equivalency.com— Tiffany and Lisa are right; the driver should do nothing, aside from putting the car through a couple of power washes. This will show what a good friend she is to them, because the accident was their fault, not hers.
They distracted her, and since distracted driving is the same as drunk driving, they may as well have been pouring alcohol down her throat. Also, if Bruno Mars was a part of the distraction, he’s not entirely blameless either.
* * *
Mr. E. Mann— I want you to know that I’ll go along with your “no real names” crap for now, but very soon, the WHOLE WORLD will know my name.
That’s because, at this moment, I’m sitting in the living room of my high-rise apartment, looking at enough explosive ordnance to bring down the entire building.
And I’m going to set it off, you sons of bitches! Just you wait!
I have no reason to go on living. Several months ago, I was suddenly fired from my job, just before being diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. When I called my 23-year-old son to tell him the awful news, his roommate answered the phone, sobbing. He said he was just about to call me. My son had overdosed on heroin. He was dead.
Two weeks later, my wife ran off with our marriage counselor.
Ever since then I’ve been slowly accumulating explosives, and now the time has come. If I’m going to die I might as well choose when and how it happens, right? And if my choice involves taking a whole lot of strangers along with me, why should I care? Tell me that.
I’ve posted this so you can knock yourselves out trying to come up with another pathetic “solution.”
Go ahead. I’m giving you one hour.
Humphrey Bogus— Hey, I hear you. Like yourself and most of humanity, I couldn’t give two shits about strangers. I don’t trust them either, and that’s why I carry a gun. Many times, when people get under my skin, I remember that I have the awesome power to instantly end their lives. It’s in such moments that I realize what a good person I am. By not killing them, I actually save them. In fact, they owe their lives to me. You’ve got an even bigger opportunity. You get to not blow up hundreds of strangers and force them to be forever in your debt. I envy you.
Fee-Fi-Faux-Fum— Oh, my God, this is so scary! Are you out of your mind? How can you even consider killing all those innocent people? What’s the matter with you? Kill your wife and the marriage counselor!
…3,297 Additional Comments…
False Equivalency.com— Well, that sure woke everyone up, didn’t it? It was interesting that the great majority of comments tried to dissuade Mr. E. Mann from blowing up the building. The respondents who did encourage him were removed by us, not because of our interest in public safety, but because, in their enthusiasm, they forgot to use false equivalency.
We have carefully considered all angles, and now, with five minutes to go before his deadline, here is our decision:
While some respondents claimed that Mr. E. Mann’s faith is being tested by suffering, like Job in the Bible, they were in error. He’s actually more like Samson, chained to the pillars of the Philistine temple. The test is not of his faith, but whether he’s strong enough to destroy himself and bring everything down around him.
We say, go for it. Pass that test with flying colors! As well as flying pieces of glass, furniture, and body parts.
Sorry if some might find our solution disturbing, but we call ’em like we see ’em.
* * *
HEADQUARTERS OF POPULAR WEBSITE DESTROYED IN BOMB BLAST
A powerful explosion ripped through an apartment this morning at 955 E. 78th Street, killing the occupant, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his family. The blast also destroyed the apartment above it, which was the headquarters of the website False Equivalency.com.
Police sources say that no one was at the website’s office at the time, due to the early hour and the fact that most of their employees work from home. One police source, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that it was a good thing the building was so well constructed and that the bomber was not an explosives expert.
“Most of the stuff didn’t detonate,” he said. “He didn’t wire it correctly. The only significant damage was to his apartment and the website office above it.”
There was also some damage to the apartments below and on either side, but, fortunately, there were no injuries. The only fatality was the man who set off the bomb.
There was suspicion by law enforcement that activity on the site just before the explosion might have triggered it. Apparently, the bomber had posted his intentions and was encouraged to go ahead with his plan.
Founder and C.E.O. of False Equivalency.com, Cy Berspace (pronounced “Ber-spa-chey”) issued the following statement: “As far as we’re concerned, all situations are hypothetical, and it’s our policy to treat them that way. If people want to make them real, that’s not our responsibility.”
Mr. Berspace added that, despite growing calls to shut down the site, he intended to keep it going. He speculated that today’s events might even increase the number of subscribers.
“We are like a torch,” he said, “guiding lost travelers to the light of our flame.”
When asked whether some might consider that a false equivalency, he smiled.
“Well, either the people we’re guiding are lost travelers or they’re moths. I’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Category: Fiction, Short Story