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.

bumper bully

Living in the city now, I see all sorts of extraordinary sights and people. Among them are the people who put these hideous bumper guards on their cars while parked on the street. My initial reaction is that these people must be trying to protect their car from scratches. Street parkers don’t tend to be that careful; some cars are bound to hit other cars while swiveling into that parallel parking space. I guess a rubber skirt would keep those tiny collisions from leaving indelible scratches on their back bumper (note: I have yet to see a front bumper bully equivalent).

So I get it; you don’t want your car to get scratched. Is that for aesthetic reasons? Sure, you might a void a tiny scratch here, but don’t you think that black rubber partition is an eyesore itself? I’ll be that any scratch that bumper bully can prevent would be invisible to all but the most scrutinizing at point blank range. While having that bumper “protection” on is visible to all the people making fun of your car from hundreds of feet away. Consider this from the Bumper Bully faq:

(3) Will the Bumper Bully protect my car bumper from damage?

The Bumper Bully may protect the bumper finish only. It may not protect your bumper from impacts greater than 1MPH. The product may help minimize the risk of scratches, the result of low impact parking maneuvers. The Bumper Bully is not a structural component and will not contribute to vehicle crashworthiness or occupant safety during rear end collisions.

I wonder how bad an accidental scratch you’re going to get at 1 MPH. The website lists the Bumper Bully “Extreme Edition” for $29.95. Honda’s parts warehouse lists touch up paint for $11.95 with FREE SHIPPING & HANDLING. This paint is reusable and works on front scratches too! Or maybe you don’t want to buy the paint to fix that insignificant scratch. After all, you drive a Honda Accord. It’s not a bad looking car, even a little scratched up. But you’re pretty solidly in mid-class sedan range. Putting on the bumper protection doesn’t turn your Accord into an E-Class. Ditch the black bumper cover and let loose.

Why the focus on underachievement based on race? I have always been uncomfortable with using discrimination as a tool to fight past discrimination. As any firefighter can tell you, the most effective way to fight fire is with fire. In the past, I’ve advocated doing away with race-based affirmative action and targeting real root causes of underachievement more closely linked to economic gaps rather than perpetuating race stereotypes. Of course that debate is too loaded to be resolved in a succinct blog post. Instead, I’d like to address a more demanding case of human prejudice that could be better addressed by affirmative action.

We all know about the pain felt at rejection, and as a society, we try to flatten the playing field as much as we can. Our country prides itself on allowing anyone the chance to succeed without innate attributes holding us back. Race is certainly one of the most obvious extrinsic qualities that we want to avoid judgments about. It’s not something that we choose, or we can change, therefore we find it disdainful to discriminate based on that trait. But as much as we say that racial discrimination is a learned trait that should/can be unlearned through methodically reshaping society, what about prejudice based on physical attractiveness? I’d say that hating ugly people is just as inherent a disposition that should be targeted and systematically eliminated.

But how can we target ugly-haters? Unlike the key attribute singled out in heightism, which can be measured objectively, isn’t physical attractiveness subjective? Beauty is a spectrum, a spectrum that has shifted and emphasized different attributes over human existence. Though there may have always been an attraction towards proportionality, there are certainly attributes that have been treasured in the past that no longer hold true. Breast size for instance, though we tend to think that large breasts have always been the norm, small breasts were actually preferred in the Middle Ages.

I don’t think it’s that debatable that at least some traits of attractiveness are heavily influenced by media and society. Is it any more unfair for a black applicant to be turned away than an unfortunate-looker based solely on the interviewers preferences?

People are drawn to pretty people. There’s no way around that. But why perpetuate this preference for beauty by putting beautiful people in places of power? Let’s elect a short President, hire that woman with the droopy eyes, date the bald guy. For every job, set aside interview slots for people you wouldn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole. Start including photographs for college applicants and specifically choose the ones who couldn’t get a date with the opposite (or same) sex. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a color-blind society where people can still be celebrated for their cultural diversity? Frankly, I don’t think being ugly brings much culture, and I’m fine with phasing it out completely as a barrier to entry.