***CONTEST IS CLOSED-THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE ENTERED***
Yeehah. From now until Mayday, I am asking readers to write the 2005 Update for "Man." The author whose definition I select will receive a copy of "The Devil's Dictionary," on which this weblog is based, as well as The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce. The task is simple: Write a definition for Man which is funny and carries some of Bierce's dry irony. Then email it to me at email@example.com. To maintain suspense, I'd appreciate no entries in the comments section but since I myself have been known to follow instructions badly, comments there will be considered as well. It will be assumed that I have the right to publish anything anyone sends and make sure I have a way to contact you for a mailing address in case your entry is the selected prize winner.
The selections will (mostly-see below) all be published somewhere on the day the prize is announced.
The winner will be selected either at my sole discretion, or I may add a guest judge or two who know Bierce better than I do. The point is I am William Randolph Hearst, YOU are Ambrose Bierce.
One more rule, all are encouraged to enter but people I know in person are ineligible for the prize as I don't want to discuss at Thanksgiving why you didn't win unless I made the gravy myself.
A few helpful hints:
1. Entries containing profanity will be omitted, deleted, scorned and their authors placed under peril of sarcasm. "Son-of-a-bitch" is alright but probably not necessary.
2. Partisanship misses the point, and entries using proper names of people or parties will not win unless they're awfully funny and, probably, the only entry.
3. I don't always imitate Bierce in my posts and you don't have to in yours, but if I'm wavering between two or more, the one that sounds most like Bierce to me and the (currently imaginary) other judges will probably win.
So, with no further ado, here is Bierce's definition of "Man"
Man, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.
2005 Update: You tell me.