by Mike Masnick

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Year At Techdirt

from the it's-been-quite-a-year dept

Since we've got this extra day off, and we already posted the funniest/most insightful comments of the week yesterday (oh, and because it's a new year!) I thought we'd go with a "Funniest/Most Insightful" post for all of 2011. Since doing an "editor's choice" here didn't seem to make as much sense (or, rather, would involve digging too far into too many comments), I'm just going to post the top five comments in each category as voted on by you guys in the community.

Coming in first in the most insightful category, by an amazingly wide margin, is a comment from Chris Rhodes from back in July, on a story about a woman being arrested for not letting the TSA grope her daughter. Chris was responding to one of our usual critics who tried to downplay the story by saying, "Once again, if there is molesting and groping going on, why don't they call the police? Oh wait, it's a valid and legal search. Stop whining already." This is, of course, a classical logical fallacy, and Chris demonstrated that wonderfully, and it seems you guys agreed (strongly):
"Once again, if denying women the vote is wrong, then why don't they call the police? Oh wait, it's valid and legal to stop women from voting.

Stop whining already."

That's a very good point you make.

"Once again, if making black people sit at the back of the bus is wrong, then why don't they call the police? Oh wait, it's valid and legal to make black people sit at the back of the bus.

Stop whining already."

Can't argue with that line of thinking at all.

"Once again, if rounding up Jews is wrong, then why don't they call the police? Oh wait, it's valid and legal to round up Jews.

Stop whining already."

You've certainly backed me into a logical corner there. I don't see any way to assail your iron-clad premise. Kudos to you, sir!
Thanks Chris! And, yes, in case you're wondering, that comment also got a ton of "funny" votes -- enough to come in 7th on the year... just out of the top 5.

Second place on the year goes to Marcus Carab with a very short comment, way down a thread, on the story of how Viacom's General Counsel, Michael Friklas, was insisting that it's easy to know what sites are rogue. Someone in the comments pointed out (of course) the unfortunate (for Mr. Fricklas) fact that he's leading the big lawsuit against YouTube for supposedly encouraging infringement... a case in which Viacom listed a ton of videos as infringing that it, itself, had uploaded. Someone shot back that this didn't excuse the other infringement on the site, to which Marcus replied simply:
No, but it sort of shatters every single argument about how SOPA will only target illegal content, doesn't it?
Indeed it does. Not that SOPA's supporters still won't cling to those arguments.

Coming in third on the insightful side of the ledger, we've got el_segfaulto commenting on a story from back in July, about Spotify being sued for patent infringement soon after entering the US market. El_segfaulto highlighted the clear chilling effects to innovation:
As a developer, there is a reason why I do not release code anymore and am reluctant to even help others out on message boards. I'm a decent developer, I've never been great on prettiness but when it comes to security fuggedaboutit. I've been threatened with patent litigation before and it is not a pleasant process. When I was in grad school I had the resources of a major U.S. university to help. Their pack of rabid lawyers outmatched the trolls', but the sad reality is that the amount of money, time, and energy expended was wayyyy more than was warranted for the little piss-ant project that I was working on.

Now that I have a cushy government job and consult on the side, I simply can't afford to be sued for creating a JavaScript/CSS vertical dropdown menu (I kid you not, I received an email saying I was violating a patent for doing that). What happens is that all of the neat ideas that me, and others like me have are simply going to stay in our brains out of fear of having our lives ruined by a parasite suing us in East Texas.

If you give a group of engineers a problem and each one of them comes up with a similar solution guess's not that damned novel! Creators (artistic and technological) need to realize that they are not special little snowflakes and not every idea that comes out of their minds is unique and amazing.
In fourth, we have a short comment from Brent Ashley in response to the story of Congress attacking Google for being big. Brent figured if "big" was bad, perhaps Congress had the wrong target:
Congress should expand their search for systems that need dismantling or breaking up due to bigness. Take their own two political parties for instance. Not enough competition. If one goes out of business all you'll have is the other one.
And, coming in fifth (and, I have to say that comments three, four and five were super close in voting to each other, is a short comment from Ken with a statement that is simple, but true:
Just like the saying goes "you have tyranny when the people fear their government and you have freedom when government fears the people."
There were, obviously, tons of other wonderful and insightful comments, but that's what you voted on the most this year.

Moving over to funny, the winner (by far, receiving the most votes by nearly 2x of any other comment, insightful or funny) over the course of the year was from an Anonymous Coward (who says anonymous comments are bad?), responding to a story of the police in Philly threatening to shoot a man who was legally carrying a gun, and then charging him with disorderly conduct for daring to record the interaction. This AC decided to go Fresh Prince of Bel Air on us:
In West Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground is where I spent most of my days
Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool
And all shootin' some B-Ball outside of school
When a couple of cops, who were up to no good, started makin trouble in my neighboorhood
I recorded one little fight and the cops got scared, had the D.A. trump up some charges that weren't really fair
Coming in second place is (once again) el_segfaulto, explaining why it actually is right to say that infringement is just like theft:
I hate agreeing with ACs but I have a story that will help. A few days ago I was hiking in my beloved Sierra Nevada mountains outside of Lake Tahoe. I saw a beautiful snow-capped peak just to my left. I harmlessly thought that I'd take a picture of it. Well I snapped my photo and wouldn't you know it, the entire damned thing disappeared!

A park ranger came up to me demanding to know what had happened. I told him that I had taken a picture of the mountain. No sooner had I uttered those words than a fleet of black helicopters descended on our location. An engineer jumped out of the first one, grabbed my camera, and proceeded to pull out all of the bytes one at a time with a very tiny set of tweezers.

It took most of the weekend, but the mountain is now back to where it was (along with a couple of families camping in the mountains and a very confused black bear). The moral of the story is copying things, or even remembering them can be critically damaging to our planet, and thus our children.

And won't somebody please think of the children?
Third place goes to Chronno S. Trigger from September, responding to a story of a printer error screwing up some DRM, by doing a callback to another story, from August, about Gamestop removing coupons from games in its stores. Chronno wondered if the two might be related:
We sure it was a printing error and not Game Stop taking out the extra 6 characters?
Coming in fourth we have an amusing comment from Brendan, responding to a story of someone else (not us) trying to claim copyright on Techdirt's articles (which are public domain). Brendan had a suggestion for us:
Hey Mike,

I'm not sure if you've heard of them, but I've been reading about this great outfit called "Righthaven." They seem to be exactly the kind of service you need in order to deal with Evans appropriately.

According to their press releases, they're really having great luck in the various courts -- the judges are even helping them to iron out some minor issues with their paperwork, making their cases even more bullet-proof.

Remember, squeeze the balls until his wallet falls out of his pants.
And, finally, we've got another comment from Marcus Carab, and it's another "callback" comment. In responding to a story in June about police in Miami holding a man at gun point and trying to destroy the video evidence the guy took of them shooting a different man in another car, Marcus reminded us of another story of police overreacting: the story of Washington DC police bodyslamming some peaceful protestors who were silently dancing at the Jefferson Memorial:
Ridiculous - he wasn't even dancing!
And... there you have it. The top five most insightful and funniest comments of the year according to your votes... I can't wait to see what you guys come up with in 2012.

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2012 @ 2:09pm

    <sarcasm>Is so sad that the music industry despite getting everything they wanted and more with laws in the UK still haven't been able to translate that into more sales</sarcasm>

    BBC - UK album sales fell in 2011 but digital downloads rose

    On the other hand, the public appears to be the ones re-educating some CEOs.

    Some people woke up to the size of the black market, and why it would be counter productive to try and get rid of it.
    Wired: But it’s not all Chinese manufacturers, right? In your book, you write about how huge international corporations want to get their goods into informal markets.

    Neuwirth: Sure. Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive: They sell lots of products through the little unregistered and unlicensed stores in the developing world. And they want their products in those stores, because that’s where the customers are.

    Wired: How does that work?

    Neuwirth: Basically, they hire a middleman. Procter & Gamble, for instance, realized that although Walmart is its single largest customer, System D outposts, when you total them up, actually account for more business. So Procter & Gamble decided to get its products into those stores. In each country, P&G hires a local distributor—sometimes several layers of local distributors—to get the product from a legal, formal, tax-paying company to a company willing to deal with unlicensed vendors who don’t pay taxes. That’s how Procter & Gamble gets Downy fabric softener, Tide laundry detergent, and all manner of other goods into the squatter communities of the developing world. Today, in aggregate, these markets make up the largest percentage of the company’s sales worldwide.

    Source: Wired - Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy

    Shadow Markets of the World

    If all the world’s informal markets were formed into a single independent nation, its $10 trillion economy would be the second-largest on the planet (behind only the US). These markets thrive in places where taxes are low, poverty is high, and resources are scarce.

    Source: Wired - Why Black Market Entrepreneurs Matter to the World Economy

    Selling to the unwanted is actually a really big business, but some people don't get it and don't understand that if they reached out to encompass the entire globe they actually make more money than they would otherwise.
    There is a whole world not being served out there with a 10 trillion dollar market value.

    For some that would be anathema, since pirates must die, so anything that doesn't do that is like an enema to them.


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2012 @ 2:42pm

    For this year I hope that the 150 million Americans in poverty find a way to live comfortably.

    PBS Hour - Youtube - News Wrap: Nearly Half of Americans in Poverty or Low-Income, Census Says

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2012 @ 6:31pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 2:42pm

      The Democrats promise to extend unemployment, give more food stamps, provide healthcare, make housing affordable and create more jobs, even green jobs!

      I plan to vote for Democrats like the rest of the 150million poor Americans. That way I can get my unemployment extended, get my housing voucher and relax because working sucks!

      Voting is so much easier than working
      All you capitalist working hard are suckers, haha!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2012 @ 6:56pm

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 2:42pm

        "extend unemployment"
        "create more jobs"

        What is this I don't even

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Chris Rhodes (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:44am

        Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on Jan 2nd, 2012 @ 2:42pm

        Unless your vote goes to someone who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can save you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dementia (profile), 2 Jan 2012 @ 3:59pm

    In response to Insightful Comment number 3, or perhaps to go along with it: Just remember that you are unique, JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Brendan (profile), 2 Jan 2012 @ 9:01pm


    So that made the _year_, huh?

    I'll have to brew up another for 2012.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 3:59am

    Tell them what they've won!

    You should give the top 5 people (those with accounts that don't already have it, anyway) insider badges, don't ya think?

    Not that I'm on the list, I just think they should be rewarded, however slightly, for their contribution to the site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dark Helmet (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 7:01am

      Re: Tell them what they've won!

      "You should give the top 5 people (those with accounts that don't already have it, anyway) insider badges, don't ya think?"

      You Freetards always want something for free. Think of the Insider Badge artists!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 4:39am

    The second funniest comment of the year is just pure epic win (el_segfaulto). I honestly laughed hard when I first read it but it just caused the same effect. The TD comments sometimes manage to be better then the article (don't be sad Mike, we still love you!).

    Still, great post, great comments as always. And we should wish the trolls a great new year with a lot of trolling. Seems all the trolling actually results in some really good comments ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris Brand (profile), 3 Jan 2012 @ 10:25am

    So that's as funny as it gets ?

    God thing that the TechDirt commenters aren't trying to make a business out of comedy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    johnlee (profile), 9 Jul 2012 @ 3:03am

    I think its a fine entertainment that to announce the funniest comment of the year,find this to get best Funny Messages and fell happy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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