POETIC BRIEFING
Sincerity, Alas

Aug. 18 - Today is National Bad Poetry Day in the United States. For the first time in the half-decade history of the Moron's Almanac, I decided that this year I would go in-depth on the history and observance of this holiday, the appeal of which should be obvious.

Alas, as always, for obvious appeal.

"Bad Poetry Day" turns out to be the copyrighted holiday of the obnoxious bastards at Wellcat.com, who have climbed into bed with BlueMountain Arts and Excite.com in a joint venture to create quirky new holidays to lure you into spending your banal dollars on quirky new cards and other electronic greetings.

These bastards are so shallow and lazy they can't even be bothered to come up with an actual holiday. Here's their explanation:

As you can tell, we are still working on written copy to provide—as so many of you have requested over the years—more information in print. Please be patient as we co-author much of the material which, collaboratively, Thomas and I would like to see published in a book (Wellness . . . With a Grain of Salt). We began offering that much sought after “more information” about this and all of our other holidays, in interviews—mostly radio, often for magazine and newspaper columnists. Thus, while we are both writers, life’s little distractions have kept us from actually putting our thoughts on paper in any coherent, cohesive manner.

Isn't that cute? They're writers, and they want to copyright their clever ideas for quirky holidays, but they can't be troubled to actually write anything about them. So without going through the bother of creating any intellectual property, they've dedicated pages and pages to telling us how they don't have time to write and can't be bothered to explain things, but had better not be copied:

Please note! All holidays created by Thomas & Ruth Roy, under the name of Wellcat Holidays & Herbs, are, indeed, copyrighted. If you wish to make use of them in any fashion, for profit, we respectfully request that you contact us for appropriate contract arrangements. If, on the other hand, you wish to use them in some non-profit fashion, we still would request you contact us, to ensure permission. Further, please be advised that we, a.k.a. Wellcat Holidays & Herbs, are under exclusive contract with Blue Mountain Arts and Excite.com for electronic transmission via greeting cards. Please do not violate United States copyright laws!

Probably feeling a slight twinge of shame, they do offer an explanation of the things they intend to offer when they're done writing all those pesky copyright notices:

Top 20 reasons and ways to celebrate this and each of our other holidays; recipes (after all, what the heck is any celebration without food!?); some select rituals or traditions which might suit you and your family, friends, or co-workers; some possibly irreverent humor about the reasons each holiday came into existence. And whatever the heck other stuff we think will amuse, entertain, provoke and somehow satisfy the many people who look at Wellcat Holidays as the wacky but uplifting ways to celebrate human nature & life.

Five or six years ago Cokie Roberts found her way into my own personal Bartlett's by observing that "Everyone's becoming so cynical it's hard to keep up." (As an imaginary book, my own personal Bartlett's is prone to serious error.) After browsing the other Wellcat holidays and finding the same pathetic chunks of apologetic and litigious text in everything from "Southern Hemisphere Hoodie-Hoo Day" (Aug. 22) to "Have a Bad Day Day" (Nov. 19), I declare myself unable to sustain the necessary level of cynicism to appreciate this shameless and transparent attempt to wrest control of the American holiday calendar away from the good people at Hallmark.

In order to comply with U.S. copyright law, I hereby advise all my readers to completely ignore National Bad Poetry Day on August 18. It is, after all, the intellectual property of Thomas and Ruth Roy. A person could get sued. I invite you instead to celebrate Thomas and Ruth Roy Can Kiss My Big Hairy Ass Day. This is a copyrighted holiday of my own, but I waive my rights to that holiday for everyone except for Thomas and Ruth Roy.

* * *

Cynicism is easy. How hard is it, after all, to hold the entire universe in contempt? Job did it—why shouldn't we? Much easier to scoff, mock, roll our eyes, shrug, or shake our heads than to actually take the trouble—and risk—of involving ourselves in anything.

* * *

Today's the birthday of Christian Slater (1969), Patrick Swayze (1954), Martin Mull (1943), Robert Redford (1937), Roman Polanski (1933), Rosalynn Carter (1927), Shelley Winters (1922), and Virginia Dare (1587).

But it's not National Bad Poetry unless you've got a pretty good lawyer.

© 2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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