Ten Reasons Illustrations are Better than Benzene. by John West

Q: “Are illustrations better than benzene?”

Unless you’ve been living in your kitchen cupboard with sealing wax in your ears, you’ve certainly heard this all-too-common question. Admittedly it’s a head-scratcher. Western philosophers have pondered the problem since ancient times—as far back as 1845 when Charles Mansfield discovered benzene—but responses to the question have remained questionable (see what I did there?).

Until now. After lengthy research using the most reliable academic sources (the Internet), I have found the answer.

A: Illustrations are better than benzene.

I present to you the following irrefutable evidence:

1)  There are no harmful illustrations in baby powder. There isn’t any benzene in baby powder either, but if there were it would probably cause diaper rash or colic or something.

2)  While the inventor of illustrations is unknown, the inventor of benzene had a name that sounds too much like Charles Manson, which is distasteful.

3)  Benzene evaporates quickly. Illustrations, on the other hand, take much longer to evaporate and can therefore provide pleasure for an extended period.

4)  While benzene is composed of only six carbon atoms, a copy of an illustration could theoretically be created using carbon paper, which has waaaay more than six carbon atoms in it (and as everybody knows, whatever has the most carbon automatically wins).

5)  “Benzene” rhymes with mean, unclean, crime scene, latrine and Hummel figurine, all of which evoke frightening mental images. On the contrary, “illustration” rhymes with things like vacation, admiration, celebration, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and prison visitation, terms that throw a veritable bachelor party in your head when you hear them.

6)  Benzene is colorless (yawn!). Illustrations can be full of beautiful hues.*

7)  People who like benzene are 78% more likely to be dumb and ugly.

8)  Illustrations smell better than benzene. Sure, you can look at an illustration and think, “Man, that stinks!” and it might even give you a headache, but those are still preferable to benzene’s puke stank. Go stick your nose in a gas pump and tell me you don’t agree.

9)  OSHA says that if you’re exposed to benzene, you need to take off your clothes** and wash with soap and water.*** You are NEVER required to drop trou after looking at an illustration. It’s completely voluntary.

10)  And finally, as Natalie Sklobovskaya says in her 2010 article, illustrations are art that punches a timeclock: they work. Their job is to tell a story. They are important. They deliver information. They enhance understanding. They speak to you.****

And therefore, Illustrations are undeniably better than benzene. The age-old conundrum is resolved.

You’re welcome.


*I acknowledge that they can also contain gross hues like puce and anything starting with “fluorescent,” but for the purposes of this blog we’re going to ignore that.

**I bet they thought they were pretty funny when they wrote that right after the word "exposed."

***Well duh! Do they think people would wash with spaghetti sauce and kitty litter?

****Benzene does not speak to you. If you think it does, you need to see somebody about that.