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J'Accuse Me!

or, How I Rigged the Village People Contest

by Charles Rempel

I am not a criminal; I am a patriot. I say this to you because the truth can now finally be told: I fixed the "Who Should Be the Next Member of the Village People" contest.

Seven weeks ago, we here at vgg.com created that web contest. Six days ago, this contest came to a merciful end. What happened in-between was nothing short of the greatest triumph in Web Patriot history. Why did I decide to rig this contest? Three reasons:

1. T. Mike was smug. He announced that night, and for that matter every night we met since this contest started, that he was going to win. It was a given. You see, his mother has been stuffing the ballot box in order to ensure victory for her son. Now for the record, I have nothing against ballot box stuffing or T. Mike's mom; she is a saint for putting up with our shenanigans for lo these many years. I had a problem with T. Mike's smugness. It was as if he were Babe Ruth, pointing with his bat at the left field seats, calling his famous home run. In that scenario, I would be the pitcher, and thus I had to throw at the Bambino's head.

2. Rob was smug. Rob's smugness was unique, in that he was happy he was NOT going to win. "Just take T. Mike's pictures and leave me out of it," he muttered that fateful Monday evening. That got my blood a-boilin'. I couldn't believe his smugness. It was as if he were Babe Ruth, motioning with his bat that he intended to strike out. I would have no part of this, either. If I were the pitcher, I'd be forced to throw at the Sultan of Swat's head, hitting him with the pitch and putting him on base.

3. The contest was poorly promoted. We had links for this contest on the front page of our site for the first two weeks, but then the link was relegated to the dustbin that is our VGG Archive. The voting slowed to a crawl, until ultimately the votes remained unchanged for ten days. So, if I were to fight against group smugness and poor website promotion, I had my battlefield, my Waterloo. Like the British have their Waterloo, mind you, not that punk Napoleon.

My intent was simple: to give Rob just enough votes to tie T. Mike. With a tie vote, T. Mike would not be the sole winner and Rob would have to have photos taken. Or would we have a run-off? I didn't know the answer, and goose bumps ran up my spine. I had never felt more alive.

The night after that fateful Monday night (some of you might call it "Tuesday Night"), I went to the vgg.com Internet contest offices, located on the eighth floor of the Firg Building in downtown Boulder, Colorado. I scaled the side of the building until I came to the window of our contest manager's office. Using a glass cutter and a suction device like they used in "Hudson Hawk," I made an entrance through the window. I grabbed a magnetic key card off the desk and scaled down the building. Opening the front door with the key card, I then rode the elevator to the eighth floor. Using that multipurpose key card to shimmy the door open, I made my way to the server room and the three servers dedicated only to the Village People contest.

Hacking into the server using a parc-scrambler, I signed in as the only non-VGG member who has access to these servers: former Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg. Then I wrote a CGR to debinacate the poll engine and I weenafied the subfolders with a Javascript-enhanced data portaloop I wrote in PERL. Once I did that, it was only natural that I would chonalite the USB charge suppository, defrag the hard drive and rebuild the desktop. Then I opened the document that tallied the votes and gave Rob enough votes to tie T. Mike. Remember, that was my plan in the first place: to see what the Van Gogh-Goghs would do if there were a tie in the voting. I then realized what would happen. The rest of us would debate what should happen while Rob votes for T. Mike, thus ensuring that this evilness would continue. I could not let that happen, so I gave Rob twenty-five more votes. I closed the file, refragged the hard drive and logged out. I then scaled down the building again, so that there would be no record of my leaving the building. It is entirely possible that the Boulder SWAT team is currently surrounding the Firg Building, calling through megaphones to give up peacefully.

Two days later, at practice, the group was in for the shock of their lives when they checked the voting and found Rob was firmly in the lead with only three hours of voting left and T. Mike's mom soundly asleep on the East Coast. My plan was a success. T. Mike was stunned, Rob was surly and forced to sober up long enough to take photos, and we all got to meet our childhood idol, Mr. T. The next day, the contest was officially over, Rob was declared the winner, and I became an Internet Hero.

I feel no remorse for my actions, and why should I? Was this a true scandal, deserving to be dubbed "Villagegate" or something of that ilk? No. Was this fraud? No, since fraud implies that someone really gives a damn. Okay, maybe T. Mike's mom is a casualty of this insurrection, but as the old saying goes, "You must break a few eggs to make a revolution." Or is that "make an omelet"? It doesn't matter. The important thing is that I fought the good fight, waging war against web smugness and, ultimately, Communist oppression. Some of you may call me a sore loser, since I had the least amount of votes in the contest; I find your views laughable and without merit. Some of you, the smart ones, may see me as a true patriot; I certainly agree with you. If you're interested in making a statue in my honor, I wear a 42 long. Viva me!


© copyright 2001 The Van Gogh-Goghs