Keith Starky Explains Twitter

Daily deep-dive analysis of a specimen from the modern world's most exciting communication medium for penis humor.

Keith Starky is a leading researcher in the field of Advanced Sparse-Tree Social Networking Systems from Washington Polytechnical Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana. This "weblog" is part of his ongoing research in humor propagation and fluid reputation dynamics.

Please contact him at with any questions you might have.

Jesus Christ! I feel like I’ve been asleep for a thousand years. How long have I been asleep, Kip? I must be way behind on my research. Fetch me some coffee, boy! Time to check out my favorite source for research material and—what the fuck

— Dr. Starky, ten minutes ago, emerging from and returning to a lengthy coma brought on by acute Sween overdose during his ill-fated Sween Week this past July.

Awesome Sween Week Graphics

Let it be known that the amazing Girlmonkey made these graphics for me. They are amazing. Look at them. Amazing. Did you look at them? Maybe look at them again. Then follow Girlmonkey on Twitter. Then look at them again. Print them out. Tape them to your mirrors.

(She’s a great writer, too.)

Thank you, Ms. Monkey. Thank you very much. My apologies for neglecting to mention this already.


(Sween week part 1)

For today’s Sween “tweet” I have gone a little further back in time than I normally do, since I found the specimen so interesting. I am, you may have guessed, extremely fascinated with Sween’s Canadianousness. Canadia is a strange place into which I have very recently been barred entry, and so like a small child that is forbidden to explore his father’s underwear drawer1 I am now obsessed with it. Since this “tweet” focuses so specifically on various Canadian things, I had to study it further. A deeper study was both disappointing and surprising.

First, about Canada Day. In the United States, we celebrate a similar holiday on the 4th of July2 which denotes our flipping the righteous finger of freedom to our lame-ass parent kingdom (the United Kingdom).3 Canada Day instead recognizes when the United Kingdom decided to make Canada a real place rather than just the imaginary wonderland it had been prior to that, when it existed only in the dreams of depressed children and small dogs.

To say the very least, this is lame.

But Sween’s “tweet” instead makes a wonderful analogy. One that is far less lame and by extension far more non-lame because it doesn’t have anything at all to do with Canada Day. Which as I have said before is pretty lame.

In this “tweet,” the “maple syrup” denotes Canadian industry, “your eyes” represent the working man’s drive to convert hard work into Industry, and “Céline Dion”4 represents the heart-dashingly attractive but dangerously looming spectre of laziness that threatens to undermine the working man’s singular drive for greatness. Laziness, like Ms. Dion, is a Siren. Its beautiful cry burrows deep into a man’s heart. But take heed, Canadians! Place but a jar of the blood of your national industry at the window to stave off her keening wail of slothitude! Beautiful!

Yes, I’m crying, I admit it.


1 What was in the drawer, you ask? Nothing. This is an analogy. If you are curious, my father did not have an underwear drawer because he did not wear underwear as he was part of a naturist commune in Vermont. While there he formed a three-piece band called The Junk Funkies. As dictated by naturist commune mores, he wore the guitar very high so his penis was still visible to the audience. The drummer was forced to play facing the rear of the stage. It was complicated.

2 This holiday is referred to colloquially in various areas of the United States as “Splodin’ Day,” “Neck-Strainer’s Day of Delight,” “Fingerman’s Folly,” “The Night of a Thousand Yipping Frightened Dogs”, and “Habersham’s Sparklefest.”

3 King George IV (the reigning world champion of the United Kingdom) was nicknamed “The Rabbit” for his charming ability to procreate in only thirty-one days thereby producing an entire litter of cute and fuzzy royalty-kittens. From this the phrase “Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for Patriots”a was born, a phrase still in modified use today amongst Alaskan teenagers who fight over easily-abused prescription drugs. (The “Rabbit” in this case is the child most likely to be a “Narc,” which is a hurtful nickname for the narcoleptics who so desperately needed the drugs—the “tricks”—to survive the long, dark Ice Wolf season. The “patriots” are the tougher, less sleep-deprived children.)

4 My favorite songstress!

aThe “tricks” referred to in the original expression were a reference to fornication with a prostitute. If you read your American History books you’ll know why those prostitutes were so important. Ever heard of Betsy Ross, dumbass?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sween week graphics are courtesy of girlmonkey, whom you should follow on twitter.

First, let me begin with a few personal notes:

  1. Many thanks to my wonderful teaching assistant Kip, who was a big help during my physical and emotional convalescence, especially when administering his world-class perineal massages, for covering this weblog for me while I was, you know, convalescing and getting my perineum tenderly knuckled.1

  2. Many thanks to everyone who left a comment or thought about leaving a comment (I know who you are, you kind souls!) on that last post that Kip left. I have been soaking up your healing mindthoughts like some sort of extra-large psychic Zorbeez™.2

  3. Many thanks to Mr. Sween who has kindly given “Sween Week” his holy blessing.3

Thank you for indulging an old man’s fancies.


So I’m kicking off Sween Week4 with this gem of a “tweet”. Let us pick this “tweet” apart like the glorious odoriferous onionoid it appears to be.

This “tweet” exemplifies Sween’s (perhaps fictional) existence as a tortured man-child5. In this “tweet”, Sween lies awake at night pondering horrificalities until he spirals downward into a mental pit of anguish inside which no light can exist and where sleep is impotent to save one from the madness that grows in ones own brain, which is a common theme he returns to often in his “tweets”. This is why so many people think he is so funny, unlike sad clowns or every other Canadian. In this case he is abusing his imagination privileges by considering the Omega Supervillain.

The humor of this “tweet” derives from the fact that everyone knows that the Omega Supervillain is in fact 1983 Soviet Russia. Sween subverts this universal expectation and instead creates humor through a surprising amalgam of several supervillains from popular works of fiction:

  1. "Lord" clearly refers to Jesus;
  2. "Adolf" is a pointed reference to Austrian footballer Adolf Hütter against whom Sween appears to be harboring some sort of hateful grudge because he, unlike Jesus, is clearly non-fictional;
  3. and “Skeletortron” which is a clever portmanteau of He-Man nemesis6Skeletor and the optical scanning systems created by the Scantron corporation for recording pencil marks on specially formatted sheets of paper.

It is the third of these that holds the most promise for further study, for obvious reasons.

Does Sween hate the Scantron corporation itself or its product? After all, such bubble-sheet multiple-choice apparati appear in several places:

  1. In schools, for standardized testing, which I assume they have in Canada but I wouldn’t know because they wouldn’t let me in;
  2. In many voting districts in the United States during federal, state and local elections;
  3. And for communicating with deaf-mute people over great distances.

It is difficult to know what Sween intends with this “tweet”, then. Does he mean to disparage the very few communication methods available to the deaf-mute? Does he hate the processes by which he was able to excel in school, which I have been told by many reliable sources7 he most certainly did? Is he unhappy with the recent election returns in Canada, where I assume some sort of duck or moose has been elected to office?8 I leave this to the reader. I personally suspect that he was passed over for a job at Scantron, probably as one of their sophisticated sheet-readers, and he is now greatly embittered by this. Adolf Hütter probably works there, too.


1 He’s very versatile.

2 That’s right, I said Zorbeez™. Look ‘em up.a ShamWOWs are for suckers and dilettantes.

3 He replied to my email! I’m never washing this computer again!

4 Which by the way will not just be one week and will not happen every day unless for some reason it is and it does.

5 Much like Michael Jackson! Can you believe it! I referenced both of the dead people! (See footnote a)

6 And occasional reluctant swing dance partner


8 Just kidding. Lighten up, Canada.

aRIP Billy Mays, whom you might be surprised to learn was a quite a significant supporter of my research. I don’t know what I’d do if he had not generously doubled that offer of Mighty Putty™. (FOR FREE! Not including a reasonable shipping and handlement surcharge. Mighty Putty™ is a class 2 explosive and is very difficult to ship.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sween week graphics are courtesy of girlmonkey, whom you should follow on twitter.

Returning Very Soon

Kip here again. The Prof is finally starting to feel better. His skin is healing nicely from all of the road rash he suffered during his Canadian border-crossing disaster from a few weeks ago, and he’s excited to get his research going again. He’s afraid everybody stopped reading this a long time ago. It’s not actually true; we’re down to about fifteen “tumblr followers” again, which any mathematician will tell you is WAY bigger than zero. Like CRAZY bigger than zero.

Would you fifteen guys mind writing the Professor a note or a card or something asking him to come back? The University doesn’t let him get mail anymore (after the whole incident with that “lady”) so you’ll just have to pretend to send it to him, like you would with letters to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or the Ghost of President Hoover. But just like those fictional monsters, the very much non-fictional Professor will be able to feel the good feelings rising from your cards and notes like cartoon stink-lines of karma tragicomically entering his giant inhaling karmanose. Thank you so much.

Sween Week Has Been Postponed

Kip here. Well, so Prof. Starky was going to do Sween week this week, but all sorts of things have gotten in the way.

  1. There was a little problem with some unpaid parking tickets that got Prof. Starky’s car towed.
  2. Locusts! Locusts! Locusts!
  3. The Canada Incident.

So, okay, he told me not to tell you about The Canada Incident but I guess I had better or you guys will email him and pester him and he really needs time to recover now that he’s finally back in the United States.

So, Sween is from Canada, right? Well, Prof. Starky has mentioned before that he finds Canada unsettling, but he was determined to get some good research done on Mr. Sween and so he figured he needed to observe him in his native habitat. But Prof. Starky had lost his car to the fascist regime of the Washington University Parking Enforcement and so he had no way to get to or get across the border. I ride a nice little scooter around everywhere, but no way was I going to let the Professor have that.

Well, turns out that I know a guy who knows a guy who has a big crazy panel van who goes across the border all the time. So the Professor decided to stow away in the back of the panel van—I guess I’m not clear on why he had to be smuggled across the border, but apparently the last time he was in Canada the Professor was a much younger, hornier, breakinger-and-enteringer man—with his economical, off-brand, three-speed bicycle. When they made it to the border, the Professor threw open the doors of the panel van and shot out of the back astride his bicycle, a maneuver which he practiced for three days in the parking lot to which he was so recently granted access (THANKS EVERYONE FOR SIGNING THE PETITION), but he mistimed his emergence in two ways:

  1. He was still in the United States by about five hundred yards AND
  2. The panel van was moving at about eighty-five miles per hour.

The details get hazy after that. He’s back home now, and I’m taking care of him, though if he rings that fucking little bell I gave him to summon me one more time just to massage his scrotum again, I swear to god I am going to join the Peace Corps.

Sween Week. It’s coming. Soon. Soon-ish.

(Awesome photoshop work by Traci AKA @girlmonkey. For her excellent work, by the way, she was compensated with twelve credit hours toward the degree of her choice at Washington Polytech here in Indianapolis.)

I Have Got To Get It Together, People

Guys. Guys. Look. C’mere. Guys. Look.

I need to tell you something.

The “tweets,” guys. You know. The “tweets”? My research? Something’s wrong.

All the “tweets” seem obvious, now. It’s like a switch was flipped, and now all the “tweets” seem normal and obvious and there’s no deeper truths and onionic layerings and subtle double switch-backs like I’m used to seeing everywhere.

Something happened in Pittsburgh. Something happened to me in Pittsburgh.

Before Pittsburgh there was beauty and truth and social networtainment.

After Pittsburgh every tweet reads like one of Guy Kawasaki’s interns pecked it into a Blackberry with his pointy, needle-like beak while the smoothest of jazz played in the background, muffling the sound of his master’s painful death wheezes.1

So now I’m locked in the bathroom of my apartment with my MacBook siphoning2 WiFi from my downstairs neighbors3 while Kip bangs on the door and tries to reason with me.4

I keep looking, over and over, at the last two weeks of “tweets” and I just don’t understand what happened. Was it all the smoke I inhaled at the Twootenanny? Was it the head injury I suffered in the rest area bathroom on I-79 that I have successfully concealed from Kip until he reads this?5 Was it the fifth ibuprofen I accidentally took for the resultant headache? I know you’re only supposed to take four at a time, but I was having trouble counting and I didn’t even notice until Kip did my end-of-trip travel inventory and debriefing three days later.

But that doesn’t matter. Everything’s falling apart. My research. The book deal based on my research. The fancy over-sized I-told-you-so card I made for my ex-wife that says, “Guess what, Jerk-Lady, I got a book deal based on my research.” It’s all falling apart.

Well, it’s a real pickle, but ol’ Professor Starky has dealt with worse problems.6 I’m going to spend the next week meditating, which seemed to work before.

I guess I’ll let Kip into the bathroom now.

1 “For while Twitter lives he shall never die; and while he lives so too will Twitter always; and in this way the two are linked forever, lo though he may live unto a thousand years and/or a million followers, whichever shall come first.”a

2 Because Kip already turned off my apartment’s WiFi so that I couldn’t go online and post something “stupid.”

3 SSID: I Peed On Your Car. They’re not nice people.

4 He thinks I have sleeping pills in here, but I let that prescription lapse three years ago when I realized I could get the same drowsing effect with an Oreo cookie, a moment of quiet self-reflection, and a bag of popcorn popping in the microwave. Two or three bags and I’m out like a light.b

5 That’s right, Kip, I didn’t fall into a puddle of ketchup like I told you. I’m sorry. I hope you learn to trust me again someday.

6 I’m having trouble thinking of one at the moment.

a From the Book of Guy, in some fake Twitter Bible I just made up. Holy shit, I’m getting my lit agent on the phone right now. This dude is so easy to make fun of. α

b A light that doesn’t have a dimmer switch, or a clapper. Just a switch. But not one of those old fashioned ones; they make too much noise. When I go to sleep it’s soundless and beautiful, like a Yugo exploding in space.

α I wonder if he’ll write the intro.

"Twootenanny" Post-Mortem

Kip here. Prof. Starky just got back from the “Twootenanny” in Pittsburgh. He made many great observations of the “tweeters” in their natural habitat from an airduct near where many of the “tweeters” were sitting. Let me share some of his notes with you:

  • They hand out paper hearts and stars to one another in person, which is interesting. Some of them seem very eager to get the stars, though none of them actually ate the stars themselves. I assume that when they went to the bathroom they ate them or stuffed them into their cheek-pouches.
  • As on Twitter itself, they seem to worship bacon like a god, distributing many bacon-related items amongst them. I grow ever more concerned for the inclusiveness of Twitter for people who do not eat bacon, because even Jewish, Muslim and Mormon people deserve the joy of “tweeting.”
  • Did you know you can still smoke in the bars in Pittsburgh? It’s like a fucking third-world country here.

The rest of the notes are pretty blurry, and Prof. Starky is in no condition to explain them to me because apparently he was observing the party from an air duct nearby and all of the smoke inhalation has made him pretty incoherent. Still, a pretty good first attempt at in situ “tweeter” research, I think.



Thanks @dascola for designing this kickass poster.

I’m looking forward to studying many “tweeters” in person this weekend at the Pittsburgh “Twootenanny” though I will be hidden behind an apparatus of my own design that is not unlike a duck blind.