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Clippings by Trent Campbell: I google therefore I am … what?!

You may have noticed that I rarely cover the meatier topics in this column. Heaviosity just ain’t my bag, man. But sometimes we have to face the deep questions. Deeper than politics or religion or work or love. Sometimes we have to dig as deep as we can and get our hands dirty and really examine the self. The me. The I. The us. Who am I? This is a question that has been pondered through the ages. Aristotle, Plato, Lao Tzu, Nietzsche, Descartes, Spinoza, Rousseau and that guy I can’t ever remember … oh yeah, Kant, have all tackled it. But have they cracked it?
Is it even crackable? Is crackable even a word? Maybe not, on both counts, but recently the all-powerful Internet has come through with what it does best: provide us with infinite, and really adorable, kitten videos. No, no, no. This is what it does: provide us with infinite wisdom and serenity. It answers all questions. And recently several websites, most notably Buzzfeed and Zimbio, have used some kind of supercomputer technology and their access to the entirety of human knowledge to create intellectually and philosophically demanding questionnaires that are meant to address the age-old question. So I finally have an answer. Who am I? According to the Internet I am Princess Leia. No, that’s not it. I am Ronald Reagan. No, wait. I am a Snickerdoodle. Ah nuts, I am Gilligan.
You remember Gilligan? From “Gilligan’s Island?” They say we are currently in the golden age of television, what with “Breaking Bad” and “The Good Wife” and “House of Cards” and “Mad Men.” But to some of us of a certain age the golden age of television begins and ends with “Gilligan’s Island.” This was the show that stranded seven people on an uncharted island after their tour boat ran into a heavy storm. They were unable to repair their minimally damaged boat but they were able to build, mostly from coconuts and bamboo, a lie detector, a pool table, a washing machine, a hot-air balloon, a Geiger counter and a battery charger. Most weeks some guest star would manage to arrive on the island and leave, still stranding our beloved seven. It was remarkable. Writing that show took genius.
The real genius, though, happened many years after the show went off the air when someone wrote a book or an article or something (this is a question the Internet cannot seem to answer) about how everyone’s personality matches that of either Gilligan, The Skipper, The Millionaire, his wife, The Movie Star, The Professor or Mary Ann. And now quizzes that reveal what character from television or the movies you are, or even what cookie you are, have exploded online. It seems like every day a friend on Facebook reveals that he or she is Augustus Gloop or The Fonz or a chocolate chip cookie.
The first quiz that caught my eye was “What Star Wars character are you?” Being a Star Wars fan from way back I immediately took four different quizzes. Turns out I am either Princess Leia, Yoda, Chewbacca or Qui-Gon Jinn, depending on who you ask. Leia’s hairdo would not suit me, Yoda is a little short (and too green) and Chewbacca is a hairy mess. I’ll stick with Qui-Gon.
Soon I was rolling through dozens of quizzes. I am Michelle Tanner from “Full House,” Al from “Happy Days,” Neville Longbottom from “Harry Potter,” Khan from “Star Trek,” Bert from “Sesame Street,” Miracle Max from “The Princess Bride,” Kyle from “South Park,” Indiana Jones from ’80s action movies (I’ll take it), Smithers from “The Simpsons” (what!?) and finally, if I was a font I would be Times New Roman.
Just as I was getting bored of trying to find out who I am, I stumbled on the best and most ridiculous quiz out there: Whose celebrity butt am I? It asked revealing questions like, what is my favorite pizza? What is my favorite color? What is my favorite song about butts? Do I prefer the phrase Badonka Dizzle Dunk or Badonka Slam Dunka Dunk? After pondering each question with an intensity never before equaled and after searching my soul to its greatest depth, it turns out I am … wait for it … Rihanna’s butt. Descartes would be proud.

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