Language learning tools generally lack one of two things: subtlety or usefulness. In this case, I am referring to Pimsleur’s Conversational line of software, which exhibits no sense of subtlety whatsoever. It is extremely direct in its methods. It also teaches the basics of ordering food and asking directions, but you want the juicy stuff. In addition to asking ladies to return to your place for drinks or food (read: Sex), it teaches you to ask them…well…you can ask them…

Do you really need anything else?

Just so you know, I’m not going to apologize for jokes. I’m certainly not going to give $1000 to a charity because I may or may not have offended some people with a comic. I think the creator of The Oatmeal sets a bad example by doing so. He might not have been entirely right in his assumptions, but he didn’t do anything wrong.

Comics are usually based on experiences, not on universal truths. Inman experienced an Internet where female gamers were fawned over and given special consideration (which could be both annoying and demeaning in its own way). His joke centers more on the men who act like idiots than anything else. Also, it was a joke. Comics tend to make those.

On the subject of women and the Internet, I can understand the problem. It is bad enough for a man. Any 14 year old who doesn’t think you can find out where he lives will throw a combination of racial epithets, attacks on your sexuality, and other combinations of insults at the slightest provocation.

Or at no provocation. My first (and only) time trying out PlayStation Home, I had someone send me an email that said “Fuck you”, for no discernible reason. When these evil people encounter female gamers, they are given an entirely new spectrum of insults and threats to toss around.

I mostly avoid any play with strangers online, because even my very early experiences (before voice communication was commonplace) were harrowing. Nobody used text communication except to curse at and threaten you. MMOs are the exception, since they are usually a safe haven. Persistent accounts and financial barriers to entry force players to behave somewhat cordially.