Most people of Mustached American descent probably have not heard of JR Raphael – a rather thin but very funny guy, which is not something you’d expect from a nerd who writes on technology.
He’s actually kind of a big deal in tech circles, writing for PC World, and is regularly published in such places as MSNBC.com, The Washington Post, and BusinessWeek, which we are not even sure is a magazine anymore.
A rumored Communist Canadian, in the summer of 2009, JR co-founded eSarcasm along with professional mule racing technician Dan Tynan.
This month JR took time off from being a geek to talk to the American Mustache Institute.
Q: So the Blog Herald and the United Karate Kid Haircut Association have called you “a heavyweight in the tech sphere.” But for Mustached Americans who by law are not allowed to operate Blackberrys, you are somewhat of a goateed mystery. Who the hell are you and why should we care?
A: Crap…that’s a tough one. Do I get any lifelines on this thing? Oh, hell, I’ve give it a shot: I’m a writer with an abnormally large pen. You may have seen my work at PCWorld, MSNBC.com, or on the walls of the men’s room at the local Piggly Wiggly. I also run eSarcasm, voted 0.2 times as the best geek-humor Web site in the world. On a personal note, I like hoagies.
Q: You’re currently wearing a goatee. Did you realize this is the spousal compromise? The halfway meeting point between the utter weakness of the clean shaven, and sheer, unbridled power of the Mustached American. It’s where your girlfriend, spouse or life partner says, “You know honey, I can’t deal with the awesomeness of that mustache but a goatee is OK.
A: See, I tried to go with the straight moustache. But every time I’d leave the house, hoards of women would swarm and throw themselves at me. Don’t get me wrong, that was great — but after a while, it got tough to get anything else accomplished. So in my case, the goatee was more of a compromise with my penis than anything.
Q: You were one of the original writers for The Inquisitr. When you left, founder Duncan Riley gave you a virtual blow job and praised your work there. Is he just weak and pathetic or a good soul? And more importantly, does he have a mustache?
A: Duncan’s a hell of a guy (though he is, I’m afraid to report, moustache-free). As for his kind words about me, I think the lack of vowels in Inquisitr went to his head and caused some temporary delusions. It was really just a matter of lucky timing.
Q: As well as writing for MSNBC, PC World, The Washington Post and Yahoo Tech, you’ve also won two Emmy’s. What the hell man? Two Emmy’s?
A: Let me just say this: Well-placed sexual favors go a long way.
Q: When you left The Inquisitr, you started up eSarcasm which you’ve described as “The Onion meets PC World, with a hint of Maxim, a pinch of Penthouse, and lots of spicy mustard.” So I guess the logical question is: how do tech nerds have the time to read The Onion, masturbate to PC World, scoff at the fallacies of Penthouse, and cover themselves in mustard as they play Worlds of Warcraft?
A: Damndest thing here, but that was word-for-word the title of my grad school dissertation. I’ll have my secretary fax you a copy.
Q: So you recently wrote on eSarcasm about how people can contract syphilis through Facebook? How painful was the syphilis and what did you have to do to get rid of it?
A: Luckily, we employ a full-time fake doctor at eSarcasm, so we were all able to get treated pretty quickly. I’m still not sure how posing for nude photos constitutes “treatment,” but hey, I’m no goddamned scientist.
Q: We like you as you seem to have a hatred for total tools – like Dave Navarro. But you’ve written a lot about tools on Twitter, both for a piece on IT World as well as one on eSarcasm. So what can be done about all of this tooldom?
A: I find sophomoric mockery to be a fairly effective tactic. That, or excessive shouting of obscenities. Maybe what we ought to do is track down the world’s worst toolbags — I’m talking Navarro, Kutcher, the real cream of the crop here — and put ‘em all together in a dark, musty room. Such a high level of tooldom in a damp environment can only cancel itself out, right?
Q: Speaking of tools, why are there so many social media douche bags? Seriously, is it a prerequisite and are there any you find particularly irksome?
A: Generally, anyone who refers to themselves as a “social media expert” or “social media guru” is suspect. To me, that tends to translate into “unemployed and unskilled ass-hat.” I think the very nature of social media encourages people to overvalue their own worth and interest. Speaking of which, you should check out my Facebook page; I’m quite fascinating.
Q: And speaking of douche bags, what’s the worst story pitch from a PR flak that you’ve ever gotten?
A: Some dude from the American Moustache Institute e-mailed me this one time… Ah, but I jest. My all-time favorite, I think, was a press release from a Christian book publisher that said Christ had recommended their product. With that said, J.C. did endorse eSarcasm — twice, actually — but that’s different. He just found our site divinely amusing.
Q: OK, back to mustaches – the important stuff. So as a goateed American, what will you do to support the sexually adventuresome and uber-manly Mustached American lifestyle?
A: You know, I could have sworn I asked my assistant to start preparing a Web-wide moustache awareness campaign months ago. It just now dawned on me, though, that I don’t actually have an assistant. Fuck…no wonder things around here never get done.