by Kieran Healy on March 13, 2010

If you are one of the few remaining people not to have tried it out, watch this movie or this Daily Show clip and then come back here. The rest of you know that Chatroulette is a human slot machine where pretty much every other round comes up with some guy abusing himself or demanding that any ladies within range expose themselves. As a trained observer of human behavior I was professionally obliged to investigate. Bearing in mind the second sort of modal user, I used the following image:

Show me ur books

Selected perfectly SFW results follow.

Show me ur books

Show me ur books

Show me ur books

Show me ur books

Show me ur books

Show me ur books

After that, the constant barrage of dangly bits became tedious, so I don’t think I’ll be doing that again.



Zardoz 03.13.10 at 2:50 am

Perhaps this is all just some sorta Turing test from the twilight zone? Which isn’t quite working as intended…


parsimon 03.13.10 at 2:59 am

The 35-year-old grad student had promise. Are we to understand that each of these people cut off the exchange?


David 03.13.10 at 4:29 am

“abusing himself…” How quaint. I rather doubt that people of either gender persuasion regard the act as abusive.


Phillip Hallam-Baker 03.13.10 at 4:44 am

Only book on my desk at the moment is titled “How to Stage a Military Coup”.

Light airplane reading.


Lester Hunt 03.13.10 at 5:35 am

Um, so, how do you quantify risk?


Sarah 03.13.10 at 8:18 am

ive got a mathematics book, Equal Rites by terry pratchet, master of the five magics, Harry potter, Stephen King’s IT, Jody Piccoult’s Perfect match, My sisters keeper and 18 minutes


Hidari 03.13.10 at 10:21 am

‘I rather doubt that people of either gender persuasion regard the act as abusive.’

Yes but Jesus does and that’s all that matters.


Mrs Tilton 03.13.10 at 10:40 am

“BOOKS i said” — priceless!


Wendy 03.13.10 at 11:31 am



mollymooly 03.13.10 at 11:59 am

“abusing himself…”

Would you settle for “using an undocumented feature which voids his warranty”?


Seeds 03.13.10 at 1:25 pm

@Sarah, 6:

So, just one book then? :p


kid bitzer 03.13.10 at 1:45 pm

rawls’ lectures on the history of moral philosophy?

that’s…obscene! indecent! unspeakable! immoral!


rea 03.13.10 at 2:20 pm

“abusing himself…”

E. g.:

[To self]: “You stupid idiot! You useless waste of air! You damned fool! You excrement for brains! You complete disgrace to your ancestors! You lower-than-a-snake! &c.”


skidmarx 03.13.10 at 3:30 pm

“Books i said”
She showed you a rack, don’t be so picky.


Jacob T. Levy 03.13.10 at 3:41 pm

This is funnier than the Daily Show clip by a good 80%.


MQ 03.13.10 at 5:33 pm

This is probably the funniest post ever on Crooked Timber. Not that the competition is so tough, with the exception of D-squared.


dsquared 03.13.10 at 5:45 pm

That last one was me. I’m sorry for what happened next, Kieran.


Daniel 03.13.10 at 5:48 pm

>>‘I rather doubt that people of either gender persuasion regard the act as abusive.’

>>>Yes but Jesus does and that’s all that matters.

Jesus says nothing about the matter, but the Torah does.


kid bitzer 03.13.10 at 6:01 pm

and hillel said to him:

that which thou wouldst do to another, do not do unto thyself. that is the torah; the rest is commentary.


Kevin 03.13.10 at 8:52 pm

I enjoy the angry guy who decided using foul language was a great idea when meeting someone for the first time. They must not have read any books in their lifetime because they can’t spell.


Natilo Paennim 03.14.10 at 7:27 am

Some friends at work just discovered Chatroulette last week. Their method is to have the female member of the team troll for chats, and when a fellow appears disporting in the altogether, the two male members of the team (as it were) poke their heads (as it were) in front of the camera to startle their interlocutor.


delagar 03.14.10 at 3:06 pm

kb: Now there’s an interpretation of Hillel I never considered…


idlemind 03.14.10 at 3:36 pm

It’s abuse if you want to force random people to watch.


chairman meow 03.14.10 at 6:10 pm

Hahahahaha! People on Chatroulette are in general not likely to have a stack of books at a hands! And sometimes they are masturbating! They might even make spelling mistakes! THEY HAVE NEVER READ BOOKS LIKE WE HAVE!



Barry Freed 03.14.10 at 6:46 pm

24: you must be real fun at parties.


Kieran Healy 03.14.10 at 7:21 pm

Right now in a different thread on this very internet, chairman meow is saying “I GUESS YOU UPTIGHT HUMORLESS JERKS JUST CAN’T TAKE A JOKE”. It’s all a question of which trôle to assume. Incidentally, I’m pretty sure the second to last guy has cancer-related blindness, and was unable to go to college because he was beaten by his drunken stepfather whenever he tried to do his homework. Which makes it that much funnier.


chairman meow 03.14.10 at 8:05 pm

At parties I usually don’t demand that the other guests tell me what sorts of books they are reading and then find it oh so funny when they fail to come up with a reading list as impressive as my own.

OTOH, I have been known to abuse myself.


Karl Steel 03.14.10 at 8:47 pm

Meow, jeez, if the books were meant to be impressive, they wouldn’t all be in English. A Penguin edition? That’s just getting the job done.

(I for one think the post is excellent, but I won’t say “impressive”)


Substance McGravitas 03.14.10 at 9:12 pm

OTOH, I have been known to abuse myself.

At parties?


chairman meow 03.14.10 at 10:21 pm

I party with aristocrats.


kid bitzer 03.14.10 at 11:10 pm

karl steel’s got a point. a stack of books that was really meant to intimidate would be in fancy languages.
“call that a stack of books? that’s not a stack of books. they’re all in *english*!”

or the exhibitionist might whip out his *own* books. “see these? i wrote ’em all myself.”

combine the two: “see these? these are editions of the books i wrote, translated into fancy languages”.

no, no–kieran’s stack was meant to *start* conversations, not end them. i’ve seen some conversation-ending stacks of books, and they didn’t look like that.


kid bitzer 03.14.10 at 11:28 pm

i’m also reminded that gatsby’s library is said to be huge and uncut.


Barry Freed 03.15.10 at 1:00 am

kid, your last was superb.


Ginger Yellow 03.15.10 at 11:12 am

“all a question of which trôle to assume.”

How very serendipitous.


chairman meow 03.15.10 at 1:31 pm

Oh forgive me, kid bitzer. I take it all back. This was just Kieran’s honest (though naive) attempt to start interesting discussions on Ancient Greece with members of the Chatroulette community. Who could’ve guessed such hijinks would ensue?


kid bitzer 03.15.10 at 2:13 pm

don’t mention it, c.m.–i forgive you entirely, and the less said the better.
really; it’s just water over the dam, and we won’t mention it again.
it won’t be an issue in any way, shape, or form. it’s a non-issue. at ease.


Karl Steel 03.15.10 at 2:16 pm

Kid, high fives all around, with only one party left fiveless and low.


ogmb 03.16.10 at 2:18 pm

Since you’re only posting the SFW bits, can we assume that you subsequently got it on with the Quantifying Risk Stranger?


Strether 03.16.10 at 4:20 pm

Chmn. Meow — Nice work in this thread. Callous sophisticates!


Substance McGravitas 03.16.10 at 5:04 pm

Of interest? Chatroulette with zippy piano.


Tom M 03.17.10 at 2:16 am

Son’s experiment with chatroulette:

just chatrouletted for like an hour. final tally: 12 penises, 1 couple having sex, 5 girls, 1 creepy doll monster, 25394 dudes


Jon H 03.19.10 at 3:26 am

The ‘fucuk you’ guy: is that one of the Gallaghers from Oasis?


Jennifer 03.19.10 at 3:52 am

I can’t explain how much this makes me love you.

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