The weekly online feature This is True is "Thought-Provoking Entertainment." This book contains weird-but-True news stories -- in this volume, very short stories about "Kevin" from its first 25 years: 91 in total.
It's Randy Cassingham's mission in life to get people to think more, and he illustrates WHY that would be a good thing with his laugh-out-loud examples of what happens when people don't. The entertainment part comes first: that's why people will read the stories, Randy says -- and once you get into them, you can't help but to think about some of the issues raised.
This is True is one of the first newsletters on the Internet (since early 1994), and it wouldn't still be going strong if it didn't deliver week after week. The stories, each about 100 words, are timeless examples of humanity going spectacularly wrong.
But at the same time, Randy says, "despite this incessant flow of oddness, I increasingly have more hope for humanity as time passes." Why? "I've said before that far from being a cynic, I'm a frustrated optimist, and perhaps that attitude has something to do with it -- the 'optimistic' view means looking for the positive. Readers often say it this way: 'I thought I was dumb, but after I see what people featured in True say and do, I end up feeling pretty good about myself.'"
"We all do dumb things sometimes," he says. "We see ourselves in the stories, and hopefully we're 'not that dumb' and vow to think more, and be stupid less."Yes, True's primary mission is entertainment, but who are we really laughing at? Randy's answer: "Humanity -- ourselves, and we are better for that. I categorize This is True as Social Commentary. One story doesn't usually create very deep commentary, but over time, you bet clear messages emerge. It gets pretty deep sometimes: it's why my blog entries often end up with dozens of -- and sometimes more than 100 -- comments. Readers who want to can examine, in detail, what it means to be human."Or, you may just laugh at the stories and move on.