Introducing The R.E.A.L. Index


The feeling of superiority that comes with a successful bullshit call is unparalleled. As kids, we prided ourselves in telling other kids that the professional wrestling they were watching was “fake.” The adult version of this is sitting down with someone to watch The Bachelor or The Real World and figuring out whether or not that argument was actually real or if the producers edited the drama together. Discovering bullshit feels important.

It seems to be the message of the summer, after all. Jon Stewart’s parting words from The Daily Show warned and told us the ways to avoid it. Mr. Robot, the summer’s biggest television hit, was full of messages on what should and should not be believed in the cruel, cruel modern world.

Luckily, I am here to help wade through all of the crap and give you answers to some of the hottest ongoing questions of today. Introducing the R.E.A.L. Index. An acronym for Relative Evaluation of Achievable Legitimacy, the R.E.A.L. Index is a device used for folks wanting to know if that wardrobe malfunction was premeditated. Is that viral video of the pig saving the puppy’s life real? Don’t worry. I’m here. And yes, I know I half-assed the acronym. Congratulations. Look at you calling out bullshit!

Let me explain how this works:

10.0 on the R.E.A.L. Index is achieved by simply being. For example, walking out to get the mail is a ten. However, if I were to toss off my shirt and saunter over to the mailbox in hopes of catching the eye of the attractive neighbors two doors down, then the rating slips. My actions may have happened in the real world, but they are not indicative of the way I act when I suspect I am not being watched.

0.0 on the R.E.A.L. Index is fiction. The contents of a Stephen King novel, fairies, your boy’s sexual encounter number from freshman year, magic, etc. You get the point.

Here are a few hot topics from the past few months after getting run through this highly, highly scientific formula:

Donald Trump

Tump is, personally, my favorite thing happening in the world right now. He is brash, rude, a confirmed liar and he’s leading the G.O.P. polls. He’s alienated races, veterans, a gender and combatants within his own party. People are questioning if he even wants to win or if he’s only doing this to get Hillary Clinton nominated. The whole thing is preposterous and it seems inevitable that he will fall apart over the next 14 months, but, for now, it’s great theater. However, is it real?

This whole thing started out at about a 3.0 or 3.5 on the scale. He threw his name into the race by throwing a race under the bus and it somehow stuck. Maybe he’s gathering support from Fed-up America or Insane America, but the campaign’s legitimacy is gathering steam. Trump pulled a few punches and actually came off as a politician in a CNN interview back in July. Yeah, I don’t think he believes “putting my best guy” on China is going to save America’s economy and reputation, but he certainly seems like he wants to try.

Trump earns a crisp 7.0.

Musician Beef

As a white male in his 20’s, I can tell you that Drake and Meek Mill led this summer in rapper disagreements. I thought it was fake at first – possibly some type of promotion for Meek Mill’s album – but, nope. Drake hit him with two separate diss tracks and Meek Mill’s response was taken down for copyright infringement. Wow! Then, at a concert in Toronto, Drake 2015-ed Meek with memes. Meek Mill didn’t even try to retaliate and just gave up.


The beef between Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus, on the other hand, seemed a little less plausible. Leading up to her eventual hosting catastrophe at the MTV Video Music Awards, Miley was interviewed by the New York Times. There is a lot going on in the interview, but Miley essentially called out Nicki for playing the “race card” and said that Nicki was not very nice about the whole thing. Nicki retaliated by calling her out at the VMA’s.

Don’t trust anything you see at the VMA’s. Ever since Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift, the producers there have attempted to create manufactured drama every chance they get. Plus, Nicki smiled after.

2.0 for minor beef turned into mild entertainment.


The key-jingle story of the summer for the sports world. It has pretty boy Tom Brady, the hated, multiple-time-cheaters New England Patriots, the incompetent Roger Goodell and ball jokes.

What more could you ask for?

Oh yeah, this story also has a guy called “the deflator,” claims of a sting operation, false reports and federal court intervention. Look at the results for “Tom Brady Sketch Artist.”

All of this is over Brady and his co-conspirators allegedly deflating a few footballs about 10% lower than usual. Yes, that’s against the rules and he should be punished in some way. There maybe should have been a fine, or some other type of slap on the wrist and that should have been it. Somehow, this story went for seven months! Seven months! After a federal court was involved, we wound up with Brady playing day one. The Patriots look like cheaters and the NFL looks incompetent, but those are things that happen seemingly all the time. Nothing came out of it!

I’ll just say this: Last year, at this time, we were talking about concussions, domestic abuse and the dangers of football. This year, we were talking about Tom Brady’s balls. Which do you think the NFL would rather talk about?

Deflategate gets a 4.0.

Hope this helps clear things up, folks.

Nick Dorman (@nickdorman) is a clean cut young professional.