Writing Switch: The writing of our discontent | AspenTimes.com

Writing Switch: The writing of our discontent

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith

There’s an art form to trolling. Anyone can spout hate on the same level as a Russian Twitter bot, but the key to sculpting takes hot enough to get random disc golfers to threaten your life is thought and creativity. Calling a person a “doo-doo head” from the comfort of your basement won’t dial up their anger.

No, it takes a nuanced approach, one that’s equal part insult, equal part rage inducement. Calling out a skier for the typical rich-kid stereotypes is nice but suggesting they ski because their poles double as a crutch and an excuse to not straightline cat walks is better. It implicates they fear speed and also are uncoordinated hacks.

So in light of Ben getting booted from Xbox Live for using the acronym STFU, we thought it best to give him a safe space to troll, vent, rant and rave because we have a lot less readers than Xbox has gamers. Enjoy — or more accurately — don’t.


SB: I believe the Forest Service should take a few different steps in order to keep bears safe. The first one is let the bears have free reign. It’s their habitat, too. People dig through dumpsters and don’t get arrested (I think), so neither should bears.

No. 2, if a bear becomes troublesome, don’t relocate it. I’d like to implement a Darwin-esque policy that forces people to take a turn as Leo DiCaprio in “The Revenant.” The Forest Service has enough to do without tracking down, tranquilizing and transporting bears to the middle of nowhere.

The last reason for possibly increasing the probability of a bear attacks is two-pronged. Did you see that scene in “The Revenant”? It was wild. If that happened in real life, this newspaper could get at least 10 to 15 stories out of it. And one lucky person with the presence of mind to pull out a phone in the middle of a bear attack will get to go viral or experience something similar to a “killfie” (aka when someone dies taking a selfie), which also is newsworthy.


BW: In summer 2017, an unidentified woman in Colorado Springs was caught on film dropping a deuce in the yard of a local family and quickly became the butt of fecal-related jokes everywhere. “The Mad Pooper,” as she was called in media stories, was never found and she mostly was castigated by self-righteous toilet users online, but what was never reported is how lush the family’s yard became.

Similar to the outrage over that incident is how angry Aspenites are over 7-month-old dog crap thawing out along trails and in parks. But instead of being upset at the bacteria left behind and the poop-scooping lethargy of our neighbors, let’s recognize what benefits it’s bringing to the environment.

Climate change is ravaging our landscapes, killing grass, injuring sunflowers and making dirt even dirtier. The nutrients in our pets’ Purina, once passed through their bowels, also brings vital fertilizers to the earth, combating global warming at a much more efficient rate than curbing greenhouse gas emissions caused by naughty teenagers smoking menthols.

I’m about to say something so vile, so offensive and so loathsome that I may lose respect, friends and perhaps my livelihood itself: I don’t really care for dogs.

“D’ya like dags?” my hosts say in a terrible “Snatch” impersonation as I discreetly wipe my disgusting hands on their couch.

Ever since I was young, I was grossed out by the slobber, the smells, the barking and the dog gamn fur everywhere.

Today that is compounded by my intrinsic need to despise everything popular (superhero movies, Billie Eilish, “Game of Thrones,” etc.) and the way some people fawn over these beasts (or yell at them constantly) becomes an absolute eye-roller. So, if you follow my logic, the angrier people get over dog excrement everywhere, the more rules restricting where they’re allowed will be enacted.

None of this really affects me in the slightest; I’m just a sadistic solipsist.


SB: Speaking out against F&W is like endorsing cancer. Locals and visitors alike can’t wait to dress in fancy clothes and make a mockery of the food half of the festival. Have you ever seen a drunk person eat food? They’re not even tasting it.

I saw a guy doze in and out of consciousness on an afternoon RFTA bus over F&W, only waking up periodically to eat pieces of plain white bread straight from the bag. I can’t imagine that guy took the time to enjoy the micro greens on his tuna tartare let alone balance his plate and drink at the same time.

Just turn it into what it really is, an all-adult boozefest that gives hedonism a bad wrap. The morning seminars should be things like “How to shotgun a bottle of beer,” “How to avoid drunk dialing/texting,” “Trust you nose: Let you senses tell you when it’s time for a line” and other alcohol-related activities. Let’s face it; if Domino’s had a stall at the Grand Tasting, it would be as popular at the “Top Chef” tent.


BW: Advocating for being against something may sound like a double negative, but that’s just an optical illusion.

The Aspen area has played host to a weird number of ’80s-themed ski parties for whatever reason. “Everyone frantically scan through the Thrift Shop on Saturday morning to find the funniest jean jacket and Hawaiian shirt!” I don’t know if ya’ll remember the ’80s (I don’t, because I wasn’t born), but they f—ing sucked. The worst music. The corniest movies. The fuzziest graphics. The boringest video games. Their football helmets only had two faceguard bracket thingies.

And yet whenever a restaurant wants to host an event, we have to summon every jerkoff with a David Bowie wig who’s about to dance around like MC Hammer to “Don’t Stop Believing”? If you think mullets are so funny, why don’t you just buck up and get one? If I have 50 Twitter followers by May 23, I will seriously cut my hair into a mullet and post photos to our next column.*

Props to Gwyn’s (RIP) at least for trying to disguise their bash as a “Top Gun Party.” I’ve never actually seen that movie, but I’m pretty sure Tom Cruise/Han Solo gets frozen in ice and stops aging. Also there’s some idiot named Gander who’s too dumb to flap his wings and crashes into a camel.

How many puffy-armed dresses and purple tuxedos do you think lifties have lying around for “’80s Prom”? I bet I’m the only one who preordered “Michael Jackson the Experience” for Nintendo Wii just to get the sequined glove. Yes, I was in college but his death really took a toll on me and I had dreams of winning the talent show. Will still bust out the moonwalk during an obligatory “Thriller” at weddings, though.


SB: There’s an obvious pro-business hot take but, in the theme of unpopular opinions, let city government meddle as much as they want. The real reason why Paradise Corner should go by the wayside is no one likes classical music. A bunch of hoity-toity music students playing songs by people who were probably racists (I’m just assuming everyone before 1960 was racist, as opposed to now when it’s more like 75% of people are racist) is annoying. Play “Free Bird.”

Also, can we talk about ice cream? Other than probably being racist — it was around before 1960 — it’s overrated, as are sweets in general. We should add one of those shops that sells fried turkey legs like the ones at medieval-themed amusement parks — or maybe a Sonic. Corndogs remain the best food on a stick, an underrated food category.

I’m not pro designer Italian clothing; I treat high-end retailers like access-less business fronts in “Grand Theft Auto.” What I am, however, is pro savory snacks. Let’s get some shawarma or hot dogs because, if I’m going to listen to kids play Darth Vader’s music like it’s the coolest thing that ever happened to classical music (it is), at least give me some satisfying grub.


BW: Gridlock is the best way to truly judge a person’s character. There are three types of drivers: the ones who zip through crosswalks with reckless abandon, the people who courteously stop to let pedestrians pass and those who slam on their brakes when they’re already halfway through the intersection and I’m still on the sidewalk 12 feet from the curb. I’m a grown-up; I’m not going to tumble into the street and in front of your speeding vehicle. Just go.

That being said, we are way past our word count and I think nobody is paying attention. So if you are the first person to tweet me the password “milquetoast” I will seriously buy you one beer during happy hour at a local watering hole. #socialexperiment I’m not sure if anyone is actually reading this. Anyway, I’ll be the one wearing a coconut bra.**

*All fake accounts created by Sean will not count toward this total. Sole discretion goes to @bwelch1990. ** If Ben already knows you, this doesn’t count — unless you’re hot, in which case sole discretion goes to @seanbeckwith.