The old standby for rating a person’s attractiveness is the ten-point scale. However, the meaning in a score has, I think, been heavily influenced by the letter grading system used in our schools. Thus a 9 is super hot, a 7 is average and a 5 is fugly. But this leaves half the scale unused except as comically insulting scores of 1.4, the decimal being used for humorous effect. The problem here is that we hesitate to give a score of less than 5: in part because scores less than 5 have little numerical meaning, and in part because 5 is already a failing score so why kick a dog — or someone who looks like a dog — while they are down. I propose two different rating systems to replace the ten-point scale which will hopefully clear up these issues.

The first is the five-point scale. The difference here is that it goes from -5 to 5. In this system an average looking person would receive a neutral zero, their perceived worth in society, and a wookie would get a negative score. It is important to inform hideously malformed abortions of human conception that their appearance detracts from them and is not simply the lack of a “bonus” of pleasing features. While it may seem cruel at first glance, think for a moment on the psychological damage inflicted on the general populace by fat, ugly people wearing revealing clothes and you will not only see that this is a good policy, you will have a searing mental image you can only remove with boobies. You’re welcome.

The second system is a ten-point logarithmic scale. A person, “Sheryl,” is assigned a score of “k” where “k” best completes the following sentence: in a room filled with 10^k random people, 1 would be more attractive. A score of less than 1 would be very common as 90% of the population would fall into that category. 0 is not possible because there’s no one so ugly that we couldn’t put them in a room with an uglier person then shoot them both and call it a mercy killing. Then burn down the room. As there are not 10 billion humans in existence, a score of 10 means the person is perfect. It does NOT mean that that person is the most gorgeous on Earth. It means that there is no one MORE attractive. Which brings me to a side note.

I saw an average rating of Raiders of the Lost Ark as 9.8 on some movie site with 10,000+ reviews. The only way this is possible is if some of the people gave it a 9 (it is inconceivable that anyone intelligent enough to use a computer would rate it less than 9). Why? There’s some weird compulsion certain numbskulls have about never giving something a perfect score as if 10 is a purely theoretical level of awesomeness. Just give it a 10 already, morons.

In season 5 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry adopts a dog that barks at black people. Wanda Sykes accuses the dog of being racist. Given that the dog was adopted by, and not raised by, the current owner, the discriminatory instinct of the dog probably can’t be attributed to Larry. But that made me wonder–should you blame an owner if his pet seems to be racist?

I have not done extensive research into animal behavior, but I would assume that animals have no racial preferences (towards humans) by nature. A dog should not care who raises it, as long as it’s given a good home. What animals do seem to pick up on however, is their owners’ reactions towards other people. If a type of person has a negative effect on the owner, the pet probably reflects the owner’s personality and preferences. If you train your dog to bark at minorities, that’s surely a bad reflection on you. But the pets often pick up on more subtle cues that non-self-realized racists may by unconsciously leaving.

People are pretty quick to blame owners for their pets’ bad behavior, including racism. But does that also count animals short in their free will? Can an owner be completely free of bigotry and still have a racist pet? Some friendly people have very bitchy cats (though I’d argue that all cats are bitchy to some extent). Some timid individuals might have loud and aggressive dogs. Pets have their own personalities to a certain extent, rather than exact mirror images of their owners. Maybe it’s not fair to blame the owners if the animal indeed barks more often at black people. Perhaps it’s because people don’t think that animals are so deficient in reasoning that any kind of learned behavior must be human-driven.

What do you think? Should we blame owners for racist pets?