Monday, June 26, 2006

Dodgeball + lack of information = humorous internet 'facts'

` Ask a question, get several answers. It's the way of the internet. Before the less familiar of you write me (or any skeptic) off as some kind of curmudgeon, please note that I have a sense of humor about the most outlandish and ridiculous assumptions that people might have.
` Take the subject of dodgeball. I am fairly sure that dodgeball was a schoolyard game that originated sometime in the early twentieth century that has since grown into an international sport.
` And yet, if you look up the origins of the game online, you may get something entirely different. For example:
Dodgeball (or Dodge-Ball) was invented in Akron, Ohio in 1897 by cousins Clarence A. Ball and Hubert Dodge, who patented the game under its first name, Clarence-Hubert the following year. Shortages of vultanized rubber following the 1902 Sino-Caledonian war meant that the pair were forced to play with a broken housebrick. It was during this era that the game, then generally known as "DeathBrick", enjoyed its golden age. By 1910 DeathBrick was played at colleges including Princeton, Yale, and the DeVry Institute, and the increasing popularity of the sport saw the formation of the National Deathbrick League in 1912 and the United Negro Deathbrick League the following year. In the prosperous years following the First World War, deathbrick became the first american sport to integrate, and in 1928 the unified leagues replaced the regulation six pound housebrick with a lighter solid latex ball. The name Dodgeball, by then genericized, was adopted at the same time. Some critics believe this marked the advent of commercialisation of dodgeball and the end of the gentleman's game. Some amateurs continue to play deathbrick with reproduction equipment, and the traditional thunk of brick on cranium continues to be heard in council estates and in bus shelters the world over.
` Okay... that's pretty funny, if completely fabricated. So, what else is there?
It was originally invented by a German educator and reformer, Wilhelm Froebel who also invented the term "kindergarten" which means "garden of children". The game grew in popularity during the Second World War when it was used by the German Luftwaffe to keep their pilots active and limber, and to develop hand/eye coordination. The German name is "Völkerball".
` That almost sounded plausible until I actually looked up Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel and found that I could not link any information about him with either dodgeball or Völkerball. Apparently, his name had been conjured up for purposes of trivia.
` Also, I've run into this account several times, though it is so vague as to be useless:
Dodgeball originated 600 years ago in Africa. Then it moved to Europe. Then across the Atlantic to the U.S.
` How very descriptive! Thank you little Susie! So, what more could we have to add to the confusion? Well, thanks to the movie Dodgeball and its humorous attempt at 'educating' people about where it comes from, there are a great deal of references that sounds like this:
In China, during the Great Opium festival, people would get wasted, cut off someone's head, and toss it around! That was thousands of years ago, though.
` Clearly, this kind of thing was designed for humor purposes and has gained attention for its mockery of offensive material. According to '':
"Dodgeball was invented by opium-addicted Chinamen" from a scene in the film Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. The film shows Chinese men smoking pipes in an opium den and throwing severed heads.

Dodgeball attempts a disturbing satire of World War II propaganda films in which the Japanese were demonized. Such propaganda films not only invoked anger and hatred towards the Japanese enemy, but also created fear and suspicion towards Americans of Asian ancestry, and were used to justify the imprisonment of Japanese-American families in WWII concentration camps. Instead of the Japanese, Dodgeball explains the game's origin using a mock educational video with caricatures of the Chinese and a narrator who refers to them using the racial slur "Chinamen."

"Chinaman" is a derogatory term historically used to denigrate Chinese-American laborers during a period of racism and inhumane treatment. Some people mistakenly use the word "Chinaman" because they believe it is analogous to the word Frenchman, Irishman, etc. However, people from France are French men/women. People from China are Chinese men/women.
` Not to mention the whole 'mail-order-bride' thing. That movie really pissed off whoever wrote that article because apparently they didn't realize it was a parody of offensive material!
` Actually, the reason I even bothered bringing up this subject was because someone had told me today that this was a fact. When asked for references, he said he got it from the movie.

` I don't think he's stupid or anything, but seriously, I think that people really need to stop taking history and physics lessons from movies - especially ones that aren't even trying to be serious!

` I figure, though, if people are going to make this stuff up, I'm glad to see that many make it crystal clear that they are doing this for humorous purposes.
` ...What's most hilarious here is that there are still some who completely don't understand what's going on.
` Take this article from a very silly website called Smooth Operator. Read it and soak in the hilarity of it all.
` Then, prepare yourself for the comments left by some teenagers who were doing research for a school report. Note the fact that a few of them are actually credulous to the whole thing! So, someone posted this to clear things up, although they unwittingly did a hilarious job of it:

can't all you people see that it's fake? of coourse it's fake! let me give you some examples.

(1) cavemen were NOT around in 50,000 B.C [Actually there were - modern humans have been around for about 100 thousand years and have coexisted with other species until, at most recently, 14 thousand years.]
(2) cavemen would NOT have such names as "Throg" and "Doug" if they lived in Asia, in fact they probably wouldn't have any names at all! [Why does this person think they wouldn't have names if they were humans and could speak? Even dolphins seem to have developed a similar concept....] I know, because i happen to be from the Philippines! [However, 'caveman' Asian languages would have been a lot different than modern Asian languages.] And what's with the god [named] Muhahaha?!
(3) cavemen were NOT that stupid. of course they'd know about GRAVITY, because how would they get DOWN to the ground from the mammoths they rode? [Riding mammoths? What are they teaching in the Philippines these days?] or how would animals fall DOWN to the ground as they got hunted?

please think about what i said, and you'll not have to worry about failing exams and getting F's on your reports!

` Okay, I think that I can do a better job at this... For one thing - any cavemen living 50,000 years ago in Asia did not have any written history. There is no written (or oral) record of what they did. At all. In fact, there is no evidence of any type of writing even ten thousand years ago! Therefore, the act of saying 50,000 years ago, something happened, is ludicrous - which is why it is meant to be funny!
` Then, the article goes on, dodgeball was revived when the Ancient Egyptians heard of it 'from a mysterious stranger that can only be described as mysterious and strange.'
` Hello? That's supposed to be goofy! The Pyramids having been meant to look like dodgeballs because the Egyptians thought that dodgeballs were triangle and that their culture was centered around them? That's the stupidest thing in the world... and therefore... humor!
` So on and so forth. Even so, the author had kept assuring the student commenters that the article was indeed 100% true. Why? Because it's fun to mess with the heads of people who are so ignorant that they have no clue whether such blatantly false information is true or not. (Especially if they are your peers.)
` Hence, comments like:

This better be true cause im using it for a school thing mang!

` But wait, there's more:

this better be good because i'm using it

I would also like to use this site for a gym project and would like to know where you got your sources from.

Thank you

damit some 1 tell me is it true or not!

this stuff better be true because im using it for and assignment.

if this isnt true its going to suck because im usind it for a school report!!

um... i really need to know if this is fake or not cause I looked every where and I can't find anything on this dodgeball history and its for a school project

` Someone else who was more knowledgeable said:

you BASTARD all you did was pervert history

` And yet more commented about the ignorance:

you people are ate up!human heads for money that's funny!soft melons covered with cow hide that even funnier! too bad i would like to know the actual history!

what the hell dude that can not be true dodge ball did not start the american revolution. im sure who ever made this up had a hell of a time.

hahaha this is sooooooo funny! I'm doing homework on the history of dodgeball and this made me laugh after a bad day! thanx!

50 trillion lol [Referring to the number of people on the 'Professional Dodgeball Association'.]
this is the dumb write up ever. so funny
there is barely 8 billion people on the planet [sic] hwo would you get 50 trillion

ROFLMAO. this is so retarded. wtf was the person who wrote this on? the boston tea party, and the american revolution started over dodgeball? and holy shit. wtf is this about dodgeball being part of the declaration of independance?
who ever actually thought this was true and used it, damn man. you needa use some common sense. i have to do the history of dodgeball for a school project and this just made my whole day.

` And would ya know it? Further on:

i got F on this WTF?

the fuk this web site is such a fukin lye i didnt get no F i got a fukin G for rel my teacher check off a fukin G watever u do take my advice..this website is a BITCH!!

this is not true....i failed on my school asignment because of this NON SENSE!!!

` How could anyone not know it's nonsense? Even so, another kid had a different attitude:

i dont care if its false, im still using it for my gym paper. The gym teachers are too stupid to know its fake anyway.

` Not likely. But whatever.... Still, here's another commenter who was dim enough to buy into some of its believability:

i think it could have a bit of truth in it. ok so i dont believe the egyptian pyramids were built due to dodgeballs but i can see the sense in the bit about dodgeing the rocks. it may be fake but thanks anyways cuz it is the only thing i can find

` Everybody laugh with me, now! Haaa ha ha haaaaaaaa!!! Okay, I'm going to bed now. Good night and good morning!


Aaron said...

You're right Spoony, it's funny. I'm afraid that it's more disturbing than funny though.

That website is dripping with incredulity. Check out the headlines:

Forlorn Janitor Sadly Realizes No One Notices, Let Alone Pays Attention To Him

Lonely Canadian Man Marries Local Maple Tree.

Chick With Huge Tits Wows Local Workplace

S E E Quine said...

` I know... how could those kids have ever taken it seriously?
` Also, here's another e-mail comment from my writer friend Jim that I thought was really worth posting:


Oh and just a short FYI. The reason there are no written records from cavemen is that it was during the caveolissic era that aliens first visited the planet. Cavemen quickly gained electrical and computer technology and tended to store all their writing on their hard drives.
This was especially useful since paper had not been invented and the use of charcoal for painting on stone was considered trivial pop-art.

Sadly, however, the caveolissic was followed by the volcanolithic, during which eruptions and fallout from worldwide volcanoes destroyed all the cold fusion electrogeneration equipment.
Computers quickly fell into disuse. Since the computer carcasses were generally tossed into nearby volcanoes as sacrifices, no evidence of any surviving caveolissic technologies has been discovered.

The Cavemen, having lost all previous written communications and records, gave up all further efforts at evolution, speech, thinking up cool names for each other, and the advancement of civilization. They sat around smoking peyote, nicknaming each other Ogg or Ook, drawing graffiti on cave walls, drag racing their pet dinosaurs, designing pyramids (stepped or smooth-clad was the great debate) and playing the occasional game of “deathskull,” which, millennia later, would slowly morph into the game we know as “deathbrick.”

You probably didn’t know that I have been a deathbrick player for years! I hold the world record for most thunks on head sustained in a single game.


` Thanks for clearing that up, Jim!

Galtron said...

Poor Jim!

You know what would be even funnier is if the whole thing with the gullible teenagers was a hoax so that really, it was just putting you on!!