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.


(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.

I know. Sween. Again. Right? My email is already filling up. “Does Keith Starky have a research stiffy for Sween?” they all ask, using different words and foreign words and words that I can’t pronounce the same way twice in a row, like aaaaeeeeaaaaallbllbll. (But please, keep sending me your delightful emails. They are essential to my research.)

Yes. Keith Starky is research-gay for Sween. Okay?

I like short “tweets” the best. Any monkey with a typewriter, three or four monkey paws and a basic sense of direction can cram a lot of ideas into one hundred and forty characters. Look, I’ll show you.

The dichromatic exegesis of the alphabetic equinoid dead-ender doesn’t enumerate markings so much as disenumerate the spaces between them.1

See that? You can say anything in a buck forty. Less than half that many characters and you’re going to need a few more monkeys and some sort of industrial idea cram-rod.

I guess what I’m saying is that Sween is at least three monkeys (give or take the cram-rod). Here. Take a look at this one. I’ll show you.

Now when you read this “tweet,” here’s where your brain is going:

  1. Umlauts. Diacritic mark.
  2. Looks like eyes. Ha ha ha.
  3. Well, things that stare are scary, especially in Canadia where Sween is from.2
  4. Waitaminute, things with umlauts look German.
  5. Hitler!
  6. Back up, what about the heavy metal band umlaut cliché?
  7. Hïtlër?
  8. You’re pathetic.

Forget all that. What does the diacritic mark mean? Something about vowel sounds. Forget all that, too. Does Sween look like someone who cares about vowel sounds?

Vowels that look back at you. Vowels. That look back. At you.

Maybe I’m making this too easy for you. Without vowels, can we have words? No.3 The vowels are necessary. When they stare back, Sween says, they force us to no longer take them for granted. They are essential, but Sween wants to ignore them… except when a word or two needs to be created. He turns the lights down far lower than necessary to appropriately set the mood and turns up the slightly below-average-tempo jams and you can’t see the diacritic in the dark, baby, but it’s still there.

So, is Sween is a misogynist who yearns for earlier days when vowels (a.k.a. women a.k.a. can I be any more obvious) hadn’t even the social standing to stare down a Canadian with a hanker on for some wordsmithery, evoking neither a Heebie nor a Jeebie? No. But, men: did he make you rethink your attitudes toward women? And women: did he avoid embarrassing you? These are not answerable questions.

1 You heard me.

2 You see two little pin-small black things jammin’ you in your peeporbs while you’re standin’ in the middle of downtown Whitehorse with a half-pint of Ben and Jerry’s wearin’ just one sock, a secondhand Planet Hollywood sleeveless tshirt, two hats and a pant? You run, mister, and I don’t care who you think you are.

3 The Welsh can. I hate them.

This Sween character is a manifestation of a phenomenon related to hyper-local fame or notoriety. Having no well-known online persona outside of Twitter like Mr. Mann (see the prior entry), Sween nevertheless maintains an enormous presence on Twitter, with approximately forty-five million followers1. The sparse information available indicates that Mr. Sween may in fact be Canadian2, which may render my conclusions completely moot given that they will exist (necessarily so) outside of their nascent continental contextry.

The central conceit of the “tweet” in this case is the idea that Ninjas, which are black-clad martial artists who employ tactics of stealth to both defeat their opponents and avoid waking people up at night when they go to the bathroom, could partake in some of the worldy pleasures of the non-Ninja world (e.g., crunchy snacks) if that non-Ninja world consisted entirely of people wearing noise-canceling headphones3. Henceforth we refer to this world as Headphone-World.

But in a world like Headphone-World, with the rules of the game so casually muted4, what of the Ninja? With no need for audible stealth have we not removed from him or her his or her very Ninjaness, reducing him or her to merely one-dimensional specialists with hearing that is, relative to the headphone world, extremely acute? One would have to imagine that in Headphone-World a Ninja would be able to find better-paying work, leaving the vocation heretofore known as “Ninja Work”5 to be done by merely well-trained yeomen6. One wonders if there exists room in this crazy world at all for the highly trained specialist.

After all, Charles Barkley would defeat me one-on-one in a game of basketball regardless of whether I were blindfolded, correct?

Therefore once the layers of humor are peeled away from this “tweet”, one sees at its heart a portrayal of a bland crypto-utopian future against which many American capitalist objectivists have (rightly or wrongly) struggled. I will be paying particular attention to Mr. Sween in the future, as I find his ideas both challenging and rewarding.

1 Est.

2 I found Canadia in my one visit there in 1961 to be mildly unsettling, like chocolate Alka-Seltzer on an empty stomach.

3 Forgive, if you can, the built-in misunderstanding about how noise-canceling headphones actually function and pretend instead that they function like perfect earplugs. This absurd naivete on the part of the author, in fact, lends weight to the overall sense of whimsy this “tweet” presents, and so therefore must be considered an intentional oversight.

4 You see what I did there, right?

5 Ninja payscale information on the internet is highly suspect.

6 “Yeoman” in this case being someone with a two-year Associates Degree from a school within five miles of an accredited university.