Portland Pessimist Society – Jonathan van Belle

The Portland Pessimist Society was founded in 1984 by Felicia Gay, Rose Brightwell, Gladys Hope, and Joy S. Young. The PPS credo is a four-point “Litany of Grievances”:

(1) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz is the worst person to have ever lived.
(2) Be disheartened.
(3) Sunshine on the shoulder may lead to skin cancer.
(4) Endism, declinism, kaputism, deathism, and meh-ism are, collectively, high and corollary orthodoxy.

The Caxford Dictionary of 21st-Century Isms:

Meh-ism: n. Y’know, whatever; I don’t want to argue about it. It is whatever it is. 

*The following is from an Interview with Cagney Casey, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Tubby or Not Tubby

Interviewer: “In Tubby, you wrote that ‘The contemporary condition is meh-tic, as in the thesis of the meh-ist, a.k.a. meh-ism’ Would you care to elaborate?”

CC: “Not really.”

A List of Notable Failures

Smith Smith (1907-1973) notable for changing his name to Smith Smith. 

Abigail Henderson (1931-1990) notable for eating the most Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy in a single sitting.

Larry “Bing Bong” Miller (1940-2010) notable for the most aggressive promotion of a self-given nickname. 

Isabel Lucci (1942-2017) notable for the most suicide attempts in a Dairy Queen (15 attempts; the runner-up: 12 attempts).

A Treatise on the Epistemic Value of Suicide by Arthur Hower


The Mooother Noose Nursery of Versery by Dead Children

There was once an infant, all rosy and warm to the touch;

Now not so much.


Interviewer: “Cagney Casey, why do you write?”

CC: “I wrote Tubby or Not Tubby in honor of all the victims of optimism, a philosophy that Arthur Hower called ‘a bitter mockery of the most unspeakable sufferings of mankind.’ I write to undo that bitter mockery.”

Interviewer: “You think optimism is a bitter mockery of human suffering?”

CC: “Abel Aganbegyan wrote, and I quote, ‘In the Soviet Union we have a saying, a pessimist is someone who believes things can’t get any worse. An optimist thinks maybe they can.’ Aganbegyan nails it.”

Top 5 U.S. Cities In Which to Get a Decent Waffle at 2am

(1) North Platte, Nebraska
(2) Scottsbluff, Nebraska
(3) Ogallala, Nebraska
(4) McCook, Nebraska
(5) Falls City, Nebraska

Jonathan van Belle is a copy editor for Outlier.org, an online education platform. He previously worked as a bookseller at Powell’s City of Books. Jonathan is the author of several books, all available online, and is currently working on his first book for Deep Overstock Publishing.

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