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The following is a reproduction of a column that appeared in the April 16 edition of Inside Beat.

By Tom Wright-Piersanti / TV Editor

I am an adult in the eyes of the law, and this year on St. Patrick’s Day, I drank alcohol, as my Irish ancestors have for millennia. To take that classic tradition into the 21st century, I decided to post updates to my Twitter. That way, any friends stuck at work could live vicariously through my exploits, and I’d have a record to refer to the next day.

The problem with Twitter, as old people constantly remind us, is that it’s out there on the Internet and anyone can see it. What they don’t understand is that we early-20-somethings are on the older cusp of a generation that lives increasingly public lives. For many, Web privacy is a thing of the past.

My mom followed my St. Patty’s tweets from home and told me the next day how nervous they made her. And as much as I care about my mother’s mental health, I didn’t feel any guilt. Web sites like Twitter and Facebook are personal spaces where we can post whatever we’re comfortable with. If people — moms included — aren’t prepared to actually know what’s going on in my life, then they don’t have to look.

I don’t take Twitter seriously, and I don’t try to utilize it as a marketing tool to push my own personal brand like so many annoying iPhone app developers and search engine optimizers. It’s just a fun place to write a silly line I thought of, or to post a link to a bizarre photo or video I found.

When I tweet, I try to represent myself as honestly as possible. For the most part, that means I don’t censor swear words or slightly adult subject matters. I’m never too crude or eyeball-meltingly offensive, but I do season my tweets with the same colorful words that I enjoy using in real life.

People fear that possible employers will judge them by their Twitter page, and therefore keep them painfully boring. We get it, you’re a journalism student, but no one cares that you link to 10 industry news items a day. If you aren’t using Twitter to be yourself and have fun, you’re doing it wrong.

Anyone who hires me (please hire me!) can see exactly what I’m like by visiting my page. In my dream work environment, I’d feel comfortable enough to behave like myself, which would entail the occasional usage of curse words. If a future employer says, “He used the ‘s’ word, he’s a loose cannon! We can’t hire him,” then maybe that’s a place I don’t want to work.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging everyone to begin listing all illegal activity where anyone can see it, and I wouldn’t recommend making your Twitter an outlet for your 140-character erotic fiction tales (though I’m sure there’s a market). Just don’t be afraid to be represent yourself truthfully on the Internet. Pretty soon, all those old people who think it’s a bad idea will be gone, and we’ll control the workforce. And we’ll all tweet dirty words back and forth to our hearts’ content.

Tom welcomes feedback in the form of @ messages to his Twitter account, tomwp. He also encourages everyone to follow him and promises he’ll follow back.


Anyone who follows my twitter (EVERYONE SHOULD!) knows that today I’ve been a little obsessed with Rihanna. Some sample tweets:

Pros: Great voice, beautiful.
Cons: Possibly used to be a man.
As great as she is… I can’t stop thinking about that damn con!

Best Rihanna song: “Unfaithful”
Worst Rihanna song: “Post-op Blues”
Mediumest Rihanna song: “What Happened To My Weiner? (Feat. T.I.)”

So while researching her past, I was reminded of her first song, Pon De Replay, and wondered, “What the heck did that mean?” So I decided to check out what they were saying over at SongMeanings. Consensus seems to be that “pon” means “put on” and “de” means “the.” Simple enough, it means “play the song again.” But in the comments, I happened across one man’s fantastic story. His name: Foxwing.


The way I see it, poor Foxwing wrote his comment and felt good about it for a day or so. Then he realized his mistake, but it was too late. He spiraled into depression, fearing every Hispanic person he saw would know his terrible error. After a short stint in rehab, he moved West and found Jesus. Only then, after almost two years of meditation and planning, was he finally ready to admit his mistake to the Internet. His inclusion of squinty-eyed flat mouth man was the perfect touch on his formal admittance of the mistake, and he now lives a very happy life traveling through South America teaching heathen tribes the ways of the Lord. And he never calls them Mexicans. often highlights certain quotes from their forums or comment sections, and features them on the homepage. People turn to ESPN for comprehensive, intelligent analysis; which is why it only makes sense that this was today’s featured quote:

YankeesJets2375 provides us with some incredible insight here… “The Rays are gonna have to back to Tampa in a pumpkin.” I mean, I get that he’s trying to make a Cinderella joke. But wasn’t there a single clever comment that was actually written in English?

Also, what a generic name. I have a hard time believing this wasn’t written by some ESPN intern. Keep your eyes out for the next piece of incredible sports writing… hopefully someone named SportsFan2000 will tell us, “The Phillies just the World Series, now they are it now.”

While browsing, your home for dull, PR-written information about the New York Jets, I saw this headline flash by:

“Jets Expecting a Dogfight in a Dark Place Today”  Maybe I’m just being nitpicky here, but isn’t it a little soon to be reminding NFL fans about dogfighting? Couldn’t there have been a less controversy-related headline to go with?

  • Jets Expecting Drunken Boat Revelry Today
  • Jets Expecting Pain Killer Overdoses Today
  • Jets Expecting Beating the Hell Out Of Some Strippers Today

I mean, those are just a few possible alternatives I thought up, I’m sure the guys getting paid to do this could find an even better one.

I don’t have much to say about MTV’s new reality competition series, “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF,” because I always tell everyone at the newspaper that “I don’t watch MTV, ever.” But that’s a lie; if I never watched it, I’d never have a legitimate answer for when people asked why I hated it, other than the boilerplate “No music videos!”

So I watched it tonight. I watched the second half of the new Paris Hilton series. I want to tell you why it’s bad, and why its good.

First, the bad. Though she starred in “The Simple Life,” Hilton is a failure as a TV personality. She’s a distant, aloof heiress who doesn’t concern herself with the issues of those she considers below her — a tragic mistake for a show where all the contestants are her subordinates. She comes off as sad, as would anyone who needs a TV show to make a friend. The competitions are cheesy, and the contestants are predictable. And as easy as it is to take a shot at this, it’s impossible to ignore the sickening feeling you get when you watch dozens of attractive young people fawn over a woman who really doesn’t deserve the praise or attention.

But the show isn’t so horrible as to warrant violence, certainly not “Tila Tequila”-level unwatchable. Watching the contestants admit that they’re lying about everything they say is refreshing. None of these people want to be Hilton’s friend — they want to be famous themselves. And when they admit it, as some did in the premiere, it’s refreshing to hear. It’s also fun to know that one day, your grand-kids may ask you about it, since it’s probably the most horrible premise for a show in the history of television. Watch “My New BFF,” and you’re watching history.

There is some strange attraction that I have to Hilton. It’s not physical, because I find her a bit muleish and bland. There’s this itch, somewhere in the back of my mind, that she might not be as dumb as she seems. She’s never done anything to prove her intelligence — quite the opposite, in fact. But sometimes I think she’s a modern day Andy Kaufman, and that she’s consciously playing with an American public so crazed with celebrity that they’ll accept anyone, anyone, to fill the role, no matter how talented. And when I think about that, I just can’t help but love this girl and every hilarious, terrible new joke she plays.

This column ran in today’s inside beat, the weekly entertainment section of The Daily Targum. That neat photo of me ran above the column, meaning my face is now famous.

Whether you’re a freshman involved in your seventh ice-breaker of orientation, looking for an easy way to start a conversation at a party, or just chatting at a bus stop, there is one no-fail topic for people our age: old school Nickelodeon.

Before you throw your newspaper computer down and announce to everyone that you remember “Rugrats,” take a moment to read on. This is not a column remembering the good old days. Instead, I’m attempting to help the Rutgers Internet community raise the level of intelligent discourse surrounding the programs we all remember.

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When I first started doing today’s NY Times crossword, the only thing on the grid were circles where I now have red outlines. That’s a swastika, right there.

This puzzle design is... questionable.

This puzzle design is... questionable.

Now, I can’t be the only one who saw this today. Come on, people, that’s a Nazi puzzle! Maybe creator Peter A. Collins really didn’t see the swastika outline he designed, but I think it’s hard to miss.

Completed puzzle image via Rex Parker

That’s the TOMCAT Snap Trap, one of the best kills in the mouse trap game. Guaranteed to rid your house of mice! (Guarantee not guaranteed.) Cleanup is a breeze — just take it to the trash, open it up, and the mouse drops right now. Your little mouse problem will be solved in just a few days, no fuss, no muss.

Unless you’re a wuss. Then, you begin to think about the little mouse as you’re getting ready to smear peanut butter on the trigger. And you think about his adorable adventures, and the mouse children waiting for him to come home so they can give him hugs. And then it becomes a whole lot harder to set that trap.

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If you missed my cool “recently updated” format I had here tonight, shame on you. I worked really hard on that. But you can still read everything I thought about tonight’s Emmy telecast, in nice chronological order. Mind you, it’s quite a bit or writing. But it’s generally entertaining, especially if you watched the show.

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I made a mistake today. Cromwell was telling me how he uses his Blackberry to check his Compare People rankings on Facebook, and I thought, “Oh boy! I wonder what my rankings are!” This inquisitve nature, that has led me down so many new and exciting educational paths, can also sometimes lead to trouble.

Compare People is a Facebook app where two of your friends are pitted against each other in a specific challenge, and you choose who should win. “I have lots of friends,” I thought. “My rankings are gonna be awesome!”

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