Learning Day: WikiHow: How to Live Like a Vulcan 🌭

One of the most dangerous parts of WikiHow is every part. It’s a trap by a primitive AI to cull the weak so only premium brains make it to the human battery farms. Especially heinous are the “lifestyle” articles where WikiHow advises their readers – unattended head wound patients, all – to abandon their entire lives to be a suburban Dothraki instead. I already wrote about How to Act Like Shinji Ikari, the worst anime boy. This is How to Live Like a Vulcan.

You know it’s gonna be a solid WikiHow when the introductory paragraph tells you it’s both impossible and unwise. You know it’s gonna be a great WikiHow when that same sentence ends with “let’s do it anyway.”

What a crazy place to start a WikiHow. This is how to live your entire life like a Vulcan and WikiHow felt the need to start with basic hygiene, that’s like telling you to wear deodor-

No, actually, this is called knowing your demographic. Fair play on this one, WikiHow.

Now that we’ve showered the Taki dust from our folds, how do we finish becoming better than the human race?

Get a bowlcut!

That kid looks reeeeaaaal smug for somebody about to get beat up by fifth graders.

The WikiHow only specifies that your haircut should be short and practical. Speaking as a man who did not know how to manage his glorious hair for many decades, the shortest and most practical haircut is a buzzcut. There’s nothing practical about a bowlcut, unless wordlessly signaling that you’re the weak link on this observatory field trip is considered practical.

Now that we are relatively clean and have the official haircut of playground victims, it’s time to conquer the world with our vast intellect.

That is instantly the most insufferable thing I’ve ever heard. I want you to step back and imagine an actual human being following this guide. I want you to picture going into work tomorrow and Doug from Accounts Receivable has a dork haircut with a notch in the back because he used a batter bowl. He smells more tolerable than usual, but when you tell him somebody left donuts in the breakroom he says “fascinating” and starts studying them like a sprinkleologist. How many times could Doug do that before you punched him square in the face? Is it more than one? Congratulations, you are a pending Doug.

The guide goes on like this, listing a number of objectively insane quirks you can adopt to guarantee you won’t pass your social worker’s next wellness check.

“Hey Shanice, I know HR’s busy this time of year and I’m sorry to bug you but Doug’s in the breakroom right now stabbing the donuts with pencils – he says it’s because ‘an illogical workplace does not contain chopsticks’ but I just don’t think the divorce is going well for him.”

There’s no consistency to this WikiHow, it alternates between telling you wacky shit like get a bowlcut and never touch food, and then suggests maybe you should shower more, go for a walk, and buy sensible shoes.

I’m not up on my Vulcan lore, but is “they all wear supportive shoes” really in there? That’s the most practical advice I’ve ever seen in a WikiHow, and that makes this the craziest god damn thing I’ve ever seen in a WikiHow. This is a guide on how to throw your entire life in the garbage so you can spend each breathing moment pretending like you’re secretly on a space show, and one of the steps is “wear comfortable shoes.” It’s like writing a guide on how to chase and eat hobos and telling the manhunters to always brush their teeth. It’s like writing a guide on how to secretly sniff bus seats after females have scentmarked them and tip #4 is “annual bus passes are a better deal than daily fares.” It’s like writing a guide on how to abandon society and live like an Ewok and one of the entries is just “ergonomic sandals are a must.” Wait, it actually is that last one.

Later, the WikiHow advises readers to stop and see a doctor before changing their whole diet to no-touch vegetables only.

Let’s try to put aside the wild expressions on their faces. The raw, idiot sexual tension there. Like it’s last call at a Buffalo Wild Wings. Like they matched on OkCupid because they both have “tim allen” in their interests. Like two juggalos just discovered they both like monster trucks.

The poor Filipino WikiHow artist who got paid 40 cents to make this ran “Vulcan man needs doctor” through Google translate and it came back “bulkan tao kuko doktor.”

All right, I did it – I found the most obscure way to make that joke. We can move on now.

This is the weirdest god damn guide. It is exhaustively complete, but half of the steps are “abandon humanity to live a pretend life” and the other half are “chew your food 25 times for proper digestion.”

Immediately after advising you to see a doctor about this whole Vulcan thing, it tells you to never trust that doctor because she’s a filthy human, especially if she says anything about your weight! The illogical asshole!

I’m not here to fat shame but this guide is apparently aimed at the kind of person who prepares for a doctor’s visit by WikiHow searching up a space philosophy where weight concerns are a product of hysteria.

At one point the WikiHow tries to use your desire to be Vulcan to stop you from using this WikiHow.

There’s something deeply strange going on here. The whole point of WikiHow is that multiple authors edit the page just like Wikipedia. It’s open source knowledge. The difference is that Wikipedia is a non-profit with a passionate crew of volunteer fact-checkers, and WikiHow is an exploitative freelance pit where feral writers tear each other to bits for pennies. And this time it’s like two of those authors are at war while writing the guide. One of them has a severe mental disability and is trying to justify a total retreat from society, and the other is deeply concerned about the first and trying to claw them back.

To explore this theory, they will need names. One author will be called Spolck. The other will be called Melissa.

Spolck will write insane wish fulfillment like “the only thing that beats a bully is Vulcan logic,” when literally the opposite is true.

And then Melissa will chime in with “maybe you have autism?”

Now that you’re looking for it, the whole guide suddenly makes sense. It’s Spolck saying “I am going to build a ¼ scale replica of the NCC-1701-C, fill it with Takis and Monster, then live in it until I die of malnutrition.” And it’s Melissa responding “I’m sorry this world has been so unkind to you, but maybe a walk would help. Bring a water bottle!” It’s like gambling a human life on a game of 20 Questions when one of the players is a Kansas City yoga instructor and the other is Gary Busey.

They really go to war in the “how to control emotions” section.

Holy shit, look how reasonable that is. That’s Melissa all the way. It’s a little inept, like all WikiHow efforts, but it’s well-intentioned and not terrible advice for an emotionally compromised person.

Classic Spolck. Wait until your mother is all cried out before explaining why virtual reality is finally high-def enough that you never have to take the headset off again. Melissa explains why people might cry at a sunset. Spolck explains why you should never laugh or you’re a fake Vulcan. Spolck explains that pure Vulcans choose solitude, because human connection is illogical. Melissa lays out a Taki trail that leads to a therapist.

The war sprawls into the Q&A section:

Depending on which “expert” you get, you either receive practical advice on how to kill your own soul, or somebody’s aunt desperately trying to play along so you’ll take your “star medication.”

Spolck it up:

That’s fine advice in theory, but in practice it excludes you from 90% of human interaction. It’s the kind of thing you think a good person does when you’ve never had a relationship with somebody you didn’t have to level up first.

A direct rebuttal from Melissa. “Not all teasing is bad, maybe the kids really liked your bowlcut and they’re trying to make you feel included!”

I’m starting to think, and this is crazy, but it’s possible that we’re watching Spolck write a WikiHow page about how fed up they are with humanity and Melissa is their mother, live editing it in the next room just trying to keep them in the world.

“Well hold on, sweetie, that’s not quite right. We don’t touch people reluctantly because their inferior brains demand it.”

“See, baby? It’s not a chore to mimic human affection, that’s not why Reagan slapped your hand away at the prom. You just gotta ask first!”

In trying to be both things – a way to abandon humanity so you can live in a pretend world you like better, and also a guide on how to use that pretend world to be a better human being – this WikiHow winds up being both exhaustive and kind of nothing. It’s long, contradictory, argumentative, rambling and unhelpful. Of course it’s one of the highest rated WikiHow pages I’ve ever seen.

And you know what? Those readers aren’t wrong. This guide won’t help you do anything, and if you think of it as a set of instructions it will actually undo things you’ve already learned. But purely as a piece of art, watching a frustrated neurodiverse kid write a guide about how to retreat from the world while their parent tries to trick them into rejoining society through edits on that same page is some Oscar bait shit.

I can almost prove this theory is true. Because it’s impossible, but there’s another, rival WikiHow page on How to Be a Vulcan. It’s fucking completely insane that somebody did this once, it can’t be chance that it happened again. And this other guide has no moral quandaries about Vulcanism. It’s full of much worse art and all of the same advice, but with the cautious well-meaning editor removed. Spolck got sick of the game and left to finally write the guide they wanted. Then they included a special anti-Melissa Warning.

God, what a tragedy.

The Academy is going to love it.

And if that’s not enough to win over the judges, there’s also a really solid character arc in this guy’s hairline.

This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: John Dean, who has never touched food unless you count enemy ninjas as food, which he does.

3 replies on “Learning Day: WikiHow: How to Live Like a Vulcan 🌭”

As above, so below, for each Melissa there must be a similarly structured Wikihow featuring a kid grappling with navigating their neurodiversity by writing a gentle guide about taking inspiration from Ash by volunteering at an animal shelter and a parent being all, “I gotta throw some gas on this fire and see what happens!” and adding edits telling them to whip tennis balls at raccoons and organise neighbourhood hamster fights.

I’m surprised there’s no mention of the fact that the actual title of the wikiHow is, “how to be inhuman.”

We should all feel very sorry for poor Spolck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *