Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sci Fi Sex Comedy.

A long-dormant sexually-transmitted virus renders sterile men who have had sex with women. Oh they're not impotent. They still want to have sex. But they can't father children.

This makes straight men kind of like playthings--good for fun but not really serious candidates for fatherhood.

The only ones unaffected are virgins and gay men.

Suddenly nerds and gays are terribly attractive to women. Straight men have become bimbo's.

Hilarity ensues.

--E. R. O'Neill

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What the Market Will Bear

In the future memories cannot be created, but they can be bought and sold. A market develops. The people with the happiest memories could become rich.

The catch is: you're left without memories. So the people who are the richest cease to know who they are. Once they were happy. Now they are rich but lack all memories. (It's inverse-Citizen Kane. You're not shut up in your mansion with memories but with zip.)

Eventually, the rich-but-unhappy exchange all their money for the memories of the poor-but-happy. And the poor-but-happy become the rich-but-miserable, while the rich-but-unhappy become poor and happy.

--E. R. O'Neill

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New Lottery Devised.

A new lottery aims to raise the level of General Happiness by randomly introducing ease and self-fulfillment into the general population.

Citizens are chosen on a random basis.

When chosen, they are given a monthly stipend which generously covers all their living expenses.

Winning allows the winner to pursue their dreams. An elaborate advertising campaign aims to induce the feverish dream of winning into the general populace in order to compensate for the envy that will be generated by the few winners living off the public coffers.

The result tends to be, though, that the winners all become batshit crazy.

Winners may spend long amounts of time in public libraries constructing elaborate theories, camp out at coffeehouses regaling those at neighboring tables with stories and advice, and start businesses for things like canary therapy. They take large amounts of time chatting with the clerks in drive-through toll booths and slowing traffic.

All the pleasures, in other words, of an independent income.

The theory was that this would raise the general level of happiness more than it lowers it.

Eventually, however, scientific testing proves that the envy and annoyance of the losers are significant enough to outweigh the happiness of the winners.

The winners are cut off forthwith and forced back to boring day jobs. Some are actually happier given a constructive purpose, however banal. Others are reduced to the most abject states of alienation.

Further testing is required to determine if the entire effort created more misery or happiness.

Prospects for employment for the social scientists whose job is to determine whether General Happiness goes up or down are, however, very good--although the work is often not very satisfying, which is itself a cause for further study.

--E. R. O'Neill

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


In the future, people are convicted on TV.

Cameras secreted about streets, workplaces, even homes, monitor everyone.

It's not done by a special agency: it's entertainment.

Computer algorithms search the video streams for good programming.

Viewers do the same.

When enough people watch a stream, it moves up in the listings and hence draws yet more attention and viewers.

Almost everything entertaining to watch has been criminalized--except execution.

Happily, everyone's remote control has a thumb's up/thumb's down button.

Being watched is tantamount to conviction.

Execution takes some time: not for legal appeals--there are none--but to build up a sufficient audience.

Ratings have never been higher.

The only problem is: the most entertaining people, instead of becoming 'stars,' are all killed.

This has its upsides, too.

--E. R. O'Neill

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Photo Project.

You wish you had photographs to match some of your memories--people and times now irretrievably gone.

So take photographs to replace the missing times.

You are not replacing photographs you once had, photographs now missing.

You are taking virtual snapshots, snapshots you might have taken, had you thought to at the time. (But why didn't you? Doesn't this then falsify their very existence? Isn't the point about those images that they were not recorded?)

This would involve, it seems, hiring actors to play the roles of people now changed or gone.

But what would these unrecorded moments be?
  • You and M. at one of your favorite restaurants?
  • Sitting on L.'s couch watching a movie?
  • Or sitting at L.'s kitchen table having tea and learning about the great love of his life?
(The only thing worse, it seems, than those people who endlessly document their own private existence is those who fail to.)

In theory, any snapshot would do, since most snapshots are interchangeable, except of course for the people in them. Aren't most snapshots of birthdays and social gatherings pretty much identical?

It is not a question of taking 'artistic' pictures, since these kinds of documents are not generally characterized by their artistry, which tends to be accidental at best.

Indeed, many such virtual memories could be out-of-focus, poorly-exposed, etc.--the better to hide the fact that they are false and to make them resemble those documents we actually produce to remember ourselves, touched as they are by accident, chance, contingency.

The truth is: other people's memories would serve just as well as yours. The only thing that makes them your memories is that they are (happen to be?) yours. (Contingency enters in. How did these people come to be your friends? How do certain moments end up being or not being recorded? How were certain acquaintances lost to time, disease, circumstance?)

You could buy old snapshots on ebay. But those tend to be of more remote time periods.

A difficult problem to solve. No virtual memory would be entirely satisfactory. Which is perhaps why none are in the end better.

--E. R. O'Neill

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Unibrowed Men

Companion piece to Les Blank's Gap-Toothed Women.


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Onion: The Movie

A movie about all your favorite Onion stories.

Nation's Porn Stars Demand To Be Fucked Harder.

Meth Addicts Demand Government Address Nation's Growing Spider Menace.

The sad, disappointment-filled life of Area Man--Food Court Taco Bell Not as Good, Area Man Reports--and his ever-present, more cheerful companion-in-news, Local Man.

A mockumentary, clearly.

With occasional interrupting commentary but those dumbass man-on-the-street types.

--E. R. O'Neill

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A peevish and whiny blog about other blogs.

Complaining about blogs that are nothing but peevish and whiny.

But in a peevish and whiny way--as if the bloggers were sorry they didn't get there first.

Would be a massive project indexing all possible peevish and whiny blogs.

Which is to say: all of them that aren't just selling diet powders.

--E. R. O'Neill

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Literary Journal.

Online literary review of recently published short fiction. Point being that the latest David Foster Wallace story in The New Yorker is the literary equivalent of a leaked Timbaland track. Why wait until the collection is published by Knopf three years from now? Five-star scale with brief capsule reviews. Risk of trivializing "serious fiction." But maybe that's what "serious fiction" needs?

--C.M. Stamm

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Identity Thieves.

A couple enjoys having sex while pretending to be other people.

They do this by stealing the identities of dead people--reading obituaries, getting copies of birth certificates, etc.

But when they steal the name of a criminal who's faked his own death, the police apprehend them.

They can't talk their way out of it, but then the detectives are assassinated, and the couple realize they have been framed--unless the find the actual culprit.

So they assume the identities of the murdered detectives and are off and running.

--E. R. O'Neill


A musical score for toasters.

Parameters focus mainly on the darkness of the slices.

Different types and weights of bread--whole wheat vs. white, bread vs. bagel--would create different sounds.

--E. R. O'Neill