Saturday, September 6, 2008

Facebook: A Skewed Sample of America?

Some people claim that the strip-malling of America has led to a citizenry that clamors for the lowest common denominator in all things. In order to find out whether this is true, I decided to compare the number of Facebook fans for various pairings. Since numbers don't lie (except on Fox News), this should tell us whether or not the average American is truly as dumb as a lot of people seem to think.

Death Match #1: Mark Twain vs. P.J. O'Roarke
Mark Twain: Humorist, novelist, essayist, and arguably the greatest American writer of all time.
PJ O'Rourke: A reasonably funny guy with horrific political ideas. O'Rourke is sometimes compared to Twain, and he probably has whatever Libertarians consider an orgasm every time that happens.
Facebook Fans:
Mark Twain: 138
PJ O'Rourke: 309
Winner: Mr. Let's Privatize The Fire Department

Death Match #2: George Carlin vs. Carlos Mencia
George Carlin: One of the greatest comedians who ever lived, and the man who Robert Anton Wilson once called "America's Greatest Philosopher."
Carlos Mencia: Aka Ned Holnitz. A man whose primary talent is the ability to steal other comics' material.
Facebook Fans:
Carlin: 3,531
Mencia: 450
Winner: Originality and Actual Humor

Death Match #3: Guinness vs. Budweiser
Guinness: Can the entire nation of Ireland really be wrong about beer?
Budweiser: America's most mediocre beer.
Facebook Fans:
Guinness: 42,024
Budweiser: 5,282
Winner: The one that doesn't taste like warm piss.

Death Match #4: Backyard Burgers vs. McDonald's

Backyard Burgers: Sure, it's fast food, but at least their beef is made of something approaching an actual cow.
McDonald's: You ever notice how right after you eat a Big Mac, you need to take a shit? That's because an alarming percentage of McDonald's "beef" is composed of cow feces, so there's no digestion necessary.
Facebook Fans:
Backyard Burgers: 3
McDonald's: 258,436
Winner: Toilet Paper Manufacturers

Death Match #5: Edward R. Murrow vs. Bill O'Reilly

Edward R. Murrow: Generally considered to be the greatest television newsman of all time.
Bill O'Reilly: Political hack who Stephen Colbert has made a career of parodying. Based on his appearances on The Daily Show and Colbert Report, I've developed a theory that Papa Bear is doing the same thing Colbert does, he just doesn't have the good taste to publicly admit it.
Facebook Fans:
Murrow: 76
O'Reilly: Doesn't even have a fan page.
Winner: America

Death Match #6: Terry Gilliam vs. Michael Bay
Terry Gilliam: Visionary filmmaker (and former member of Monty Python) whose works include Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fisher King, 12 Monkeys, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, just to name a few.
Michael Bay: A guy who does explosions real good, if you can sit through the often ridiculous plot lines that lead up to them.
Facebook Fans
Terry Gilliam: 4,806
Michael Bay: 631
Winner: The man I hope gets to finish his Don Quixote movie one day.

Death Match #7: John Prine vs. Justin Timberlake
John Prine: The man Bob Dylan once called the greatest songwriter of the 20th Century.
Justin Timberlake: The guy who sang "Dick In A Box."
Facebook Fans:
Prine: No fan page. I find this deeply disturbing.
Timberlake: 466,819
Winner: J.T.

Death Match #8: Alan Moore vs. Todd McFarlane
Alan Moore: Author of Watchmen, V for Vendetta, From Hell, and countless other ground-breaking comics. Believed by many to be a magical being of pure energy.
Todd McFarlane: Creator of Spawn, the revenge story that never ends.
Facebook Fans:
Moore: 6481
McFarlane: 257, though Spawn has 903 fans (The Todd McFarlane is a Fucking Prick group has 7--soon to be 8--members).
Winner: Alan Moore. As it should be.

Death Match #9: Michael Chabon vs. Dan Brown

Michael Chabon: Award-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, an incredible book about comics, golems, and the American Dream.
Dan Brown: The man who swiped the plot of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, added the most two-dimensional characters this side of porn, and somehow ended up with a best-seller.
Facebook Fans:
Chabon: 528
Brown: 8,442
Winner: The worst author I've ever read an entire book by.

Death Match #10: Johnny Depp vs. Ben Affleck
Johnny Depp: Amazing actor whose roles include Captain Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Hunter S. Thompson.
Ben Affleck: The man who can only act when Kevin Smith is behind the camera.
Facebook Fans:
Depp: 224,152 (413,110 for Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow)
Affleck: 12,371
Winner: The right one.

The Results
In a surprising 60% of my test cases, the higher quality competitor had the most Facebook Fans. On the surface, this seems to suggest that George Bernard Shaw's math was off and the 100% American is actually only 40% an idiot. Unfortunately, this fails to take into account two important factors: (1)The international nature of Facebook; and (2)the fact that many, um, let's call them "Michael Bay Fans" are probably not Facebook users (though there's an excellent chance many of them have Adspace accounts). So, in the tradition of the Christian Right, I'm going to boldly ignore science and continue to believe that the average American is dangerously stupid.
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