Jul 5, 2011

An Open Letter about SEO and Hungry Bears

Taken from Selva's Flickr stream.

Search engines are wonderful things. They’ve practically made the Internet usable. But, sometimes, they hiccup. Sometimes you search something perfectly reasonable, and instead of finding a helpful result, you’re directed to a page that has nothing at all to do with your query.

Sometimes you search “did anyone in the bible get eaten by a bear” and you’re directed to a review of Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos.

And that’s exactly what happened to you, Mr. Did Anyone In The Bible Get Eaten By A Bear Man.

I say “Mr.” because that’s how I imagine you, Mr. DAIBGEBAB Man. I see you as a guy with a wide range of interests. You enjoy a little light theology. You’re a zoology hobbiest. I bet you watch the History Channel. And you’re persistent, if a little pig-headed.

How do I know this last bit? Because you’ve searched “did anyone in the bible get eaten by a bear” eleven times in the last month, Mr. DAIBGEBAB man. Eleven times.  And every time, it brings you to the same review of Imaginary Jesus. I know this because Google Analytics told me so, and Google Analytics doesn’t lie. This review only mentions bears once, and doesn’t really have anything to do with bears in the Bible. Now, it’s possible that you just really enjoy that review and find this to be a convenient way to reread it. But you know you could just bookmark that post, right?

Of course you do. You’re an intelligent person, Mr. DAIBGBAB Man. You watch informed cable television.

No, I choose to believe that you’re still searching for answers. I choose to believe that you have a need to know about the dieting habits of ancient bears, and you refuse to change your search term, and darn it, Mr. DAITBGEBAB Man, I’m going to help you.

The answer you’ve been waiting for, Mr. DAITBGEBAB Man, the answer is…Yes. Forty-two anyones. It happens in 2 Kings 2:24.

Because I know you’re something of a naturalist, you’ll be interested to hear that the bear in question was probably a Syrian brown bear. And because you’re a theology guy, you’ll want to know that it was the result of a curse from the prophet Elisha. And because maybe, just maybe, you’re starting to thin a little up top, and you’ll be gratified to know that, well, Elisha was too.

Here’s how it happened:

23 Elisha left Jericho and went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, a group of boys from the town began mocking and making fun of him. “Go away, baldy!” they chanted. “Go away, baldy!” 24 Elisha turned around and looked at them, and he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of them. 25From there Elisha went to Mount Carmel and finally returned to Samaria. (2 Kings 2:23-25, NLT)

Never mess with a prophet of the Lord, Mr. DAITBGEBAB Man. No, no.

So there you go, Mr. DAITBGEBAB Man. I suppose I’m reading into the text a little bit to say that these kids were actually eaten by bears, since the word is mauled, but I’m sure you could find someone to help you really get into the original intent of the passage. Just google “Hebrew exegesis” and don’t stop until you get the right result, Mr. DAITBGEBAB Man. Don’t stop.



  • this is ah-mazing

  • I love keyword analysis. 🙂 It has (almost) made me (if I ever blogged) write about the grammatical correctness of “sincerest gratitude” and “most unique,” squirrel evisceration, and many other lovely things. Once, I got someone who had searched “What is the homework for Sophie’s Choice?” but there was just no helping that poor soul. Of course, it’s always nice when I actually have the answer to someone’s question. The day someone found me by searching “What colors of Americolor Gel Paste should I use for Thomas cupcakes?” I think I beamed with pride.

    It’s so kind of you to answer this person’s deeply personal quest for knowledge about the appetites of biblical bears. You are a generous and virtuous person, and I am proud to know you.

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