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We are what we eat?

I read the The Daily WTF regularly. When I read today’s WTF article I started to wonder, “Is this stuff real?”

I mean think about it. It has all the elements of a classic letter to Penthouse:

  • The guy is like you or me.

  • He gets an insanely good offer: “60% raise”

  • He follows through with the offer.

  • He performs perfectly.

  • And when trouble comes, he looks like he’ll be blamed


  • He gets away scot-free.

The plot of the letter goes perfectly: He demurely declines the job but is eventually coaxed into taking the job. He does all his work in C# instead of the language everyone else uses, Java. When things go bad, he can prove he didn’t do it but they don’t listen.

It’s like the ad copy for a movie: “He’s the loner who breaks all the rules. When things go bad he can prove he didn’t do it but no one will listen.” Now we just need the voice of god to record that and we’re set!

It could be true, but let’s face it: Geeks are just as susceptible to flattering self images as anyone else. And the Daily WTF panders to the geek self image.

Okay, so I’m not really irritated at the Daily WTF or this article. I mean, I read the Daily WTF so I can see the good programmer triumph over the bad programmers. It’s like COPS for geeks; you watch it so you can say to yourself, “I’m better than that idiot!”

Is this a good thing? I remember articles (sorry, can’t find a link) that talked about how Scott Adams’ Dilbert cartoons made it so workers were less likely to stand up to the abuse represented in the cartoons; the article’s logic being that if one sees it in Dilbert, it must be common and one can’t do anything about it.

If that’s true, then things like the daily WTF are just making us more immune to the idiots in the world, since they are obviously everyplace.

Or not.

To be honest, I never bought the idea that if one sees something as common and everyday in a Dilbert comic means one will think it’s okay to accept situation, abuse or whatever Scott Adams is doing to the Dilbert crew today. I also don’t think that seeing violent things on TV or movies will make we a violent person nor do I think that seeing crime in comic books will make me a criminal.

It’s an interesting idea though. I mean, the phrase, “We are what we eat” has been applied to everything from reading, listening and, of course, eating. But does it hold any usable truth? Anything we can use, day-to-day? Maybe it’s just a tired phrase that doesn’t do anything for us anymore.

Truly words to chew on. Just don’t swallow or that’s what you’ll become!


PS: If someone wants to pay me insane amounts of money, I think I can put up with the trauma of it. And I’ll write about it.

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The personal blog of Christian Höltje.
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