5 July 2006 Will you be my friend?

It was recently released that, according to a study done by sociologists (take-home lesson: yes, you can do something with a sociology degree) at Duke (school song: "Loving, Touching, Squeezing, Consensually" by Journey), Americans have fewer close friends than they used to. Obviously this is important, as it was on CNN, in the New York Times, and most importantly, listed in Google News, making it truly legit (which scares the hell out of the other two news sources). This raises some questions for us as Americans that I feel need to be answered as only we at TNE are qualified to do. Now, we are not going to claim that we "read" the study, or even the entire article, nor did we do actual "research" for these answers, but we are certain that they are right, and if you disagree, you can file that complaint in the proper receptacle marked "Restroom" and flush, or send us an e-mail... but we are selectively illiterate and won't be able to read the message unless it proclaims in all caps how great we are.

1. How is this news? Good question! Glad we asked ourselves that. Well, recently books have been published reminiscing back to the "good old days" when there were "bowling leagues" and people used to hang out with "other real live people." This is seen as the heyday of the American Civilization and writing about it is seen as a damn good way to make a buck. News is all about contrast: the way things should be, to the way things are. There should not be floods, but there are, so this is news; there should not be a war, but there is, so that is news; and Angelina should not have kids, but does, so that is news (huh? hang on...) Obviously, because Americans are soooooo cool, they should have tons of friends and be wicked popular, but they aren't, so that is now news.

2. What does this mean for Americans and our future? That Americans are having a hard time making and keeping friends — wait, I'm actually lying. What the study says is that Americans have fewer "confidants" but have more advanced social networks and do a better job keeping in touch with people — mostly because of the Internet.

2. Answer the question, moron: what does this mean for Americans? It means that we frickin' love MySpace (www.stalkerparadise.com) and the Facebook (www.willyoubemyfriendipromisenottopoke.com). These websites allow you to create networks, keep in touch with old friends, know where people are living, look at pictures, and, in the case of MySpace, allow you to pretend to be a 14-year-old girl from North Dakota looking for an older woman to have a deep and meaningful relationship with* (see note).

3. Will this affect my dating life? I don't know if you have heard this, but we as Americans love the internet, and it is predicted that in the next 20 years we will actually go on dates, have sex, and get married all online without ever having to deal with the awkwardness of an actual relationship. (Some of you out there are a bit ahead of the curve on that one.) You can also meet all sorts of great people online that you never would have met before and try and get them to go out on dates with you* (see note). So in short, YES! This will affect your dating life in such a way that YOU will actually be able to get a date. It won't be real though, so it will be a lot like your current girlfriend or boyfriend.

4. How does one go about getting the money to do these kind of studies? We at TNE have people looking into it but at this point we believe it has something to do with kneepads and humming; lubrication may also be involved — she refused to tell us any more after that.

Part of the problem is that we, as a nation, are so great that it is hard to find people who are worthy of our closeness. We are not going to get close to just some "normal" person. Why would we ever want to have a meaningful relationship with someone who isn't perfect (e.g., all the girls on the internet)? This study is obvious bull though; we have tons of close friends who IM us all the time, send us cute Facebook messages, and ask us to send them money so they can get into the country. Don't worry, we don't. We aren't that stupid; we send checks. It will be so nice to have someone to talk to once we get over that whole language barrier thing* (see note).

* Note: We at Taste No Evil do not condone lying on the internet, or lying in general. Do not try and pick up people online, it is sketchy... dirtbag.