Penn & Teller    PCC articles by Penn Jillette        Reprinted with permission.

I [heart] my [dog head] = I Heart My Dog's Head

Penn Jillette

The New York Post had a front page that was a picture of a computer monitor on which was superimposed "`NYC'=[poison] [Star of David] [thumbs up]." The headline was, "Program of Hate."


If you type "NYC" in a certain clip art font* you get "[poison] [Star of David] [thumbs up]." According to the dumb as a post, Post writer, Don Broderick, this is "a secret anti-semitic message apparently urging death to Jews in New York City." Don really did write it just like that. I didn't take it out of context. There was no "could be," "might be," "kinda," "maybe," "I think," or "sorta." He states that it is a "secret anti-semitic message." What a jerk.

Some brain dead, mouth-breathing, computer consultant (remaining nameless is probably the only smart thing this bottom-feeder did in his whole wretched life) was installing a program for a client, when he typed "NYC" while accidently in a clip art character set. He got "[poison] [Star of David] [thumbs up]."

Now, there were many ways he could read the random rebus glowing on his client's CRT: My first interpretation would be: "Hey, numbskull, if you're really a computer consultant shouldn't you know how to get letters instead of clip art out of the keyboard? Maybe your real aptitude lies in a different profession, perhaps something a little less high-tech, like . . . oh . . . let's say . . . shepherd (I'm sure there's sheep accounting software and very computer-literate shepherds but I'm equally sure that anyone who's ever touched a sheep professionally has a sense of humor. We won't see the headline, "Message of Shepherd Hate by Two-bit Magician in PC Computing" on the front page of "The Sheep Examiner").

To me, [poison] [Star of David] [thumbs up] means "Jewish people make really good pesticides?" Isn't that a more valid translation than this lamebrain's "message of hate?"

Brian Young, a shameless enough loser to claim to be a friend of the anonymous fool who "discovered" this nonsense says, "there's no way this could be coincidence." The Post says "Young calculated the odds of three letters of the alphabet being combined with 255 symbols and said he found that the odds of obtaining the message were less than one in a trillion."

How does he get "less than one in a trillion?" Beats me. The real odds are one in 16,581,375 (255[cubed]). You can't even see a trillion from 16 million. And that's only if you think the order of the symbols matters. I think once you're living off the deep end [Star of David] [thumbs up] [poison] , [thumbs up] [poison] [Star of David] , or [thumbs up] [Star of David] [poison] all mean the same thing. When order doesn't matter it comes down to one in 2,763,562.

This, however, is playing a nut's game - once you're crazy and know nothing about numbers, the chances of finding something psychotic and hateful in a scrabble factory explosion are hovering just around 100%".

The real question is why would a Neo-Nazi hide his/her psychopathic hate messages in ASCII numbers where only Brian and his probably imaginary "friend" could find them? What does that accomplish for the Aryan race? With the only slightly limited freedom of speech in this country, Hitler Jr. could just state his/her sick message outright on "Geraldo" - just like everyone else.

There is so much hate, paranoia, and bad math in this whole thing that I quit. ("QUIT," incidently comes out [airplane] [cross] [hand held up] [snowflake]. This must mean "A plane carrying christians must be stopped if it's snowing." The odds of obtaining this message by chance are one in 4,228,250,625 - so Brian, [finger pointing right] [cross] [thumbs up] [neutral face] [Star of David] [flag] [cross].)

* I'm not writing the name of the software in which the so-called "computer consultant" imagined his little "message of hate." The people responsible for this font are really good people and are in no way anti-semitic. If someone reading this is whack enough to think there's a buried hate message, he/she is probably also stupid enough not to be able to find the original Post article.