Scarier Than Covid

Humans are built to worry.  It’s in our DNA.  It’s why we became the dominant species on this planet — and not lunch.  When you’re the slowest, skinniest, weakest predator in the food chain, you need to develop some skills. One of the most important is anticipating danger.  It’s looking into the nice, warm cave and imagining the badass beastie who might be in there, just waiting for an unsuspecting Cro-Magnon Happy Meal to come along.  To be wary of the unknown is to be human.  So when an invisible little bug comes wheelin’ out of (dare I say it?) China and starts killing people, our natural tendency is to say “OMG!  Is it going to get me?”  Good question, but remember: as terrible as Covid is, it’s a temporary pain in the ass.  There are other things in this world that are a lot more permanent — and a lot scarier.  And if we don’t watch out, they WILL get us.  Here are just a few examples.

1 — Record Keeping – Back in the day, when anyone wanted to preserve knowledge, they carved it into a stone.  We literally have tons of examples that are thousands of years old: Hammurabi’s Code, the Rosetta Stone, the Pyramids.  They are all still there for anyone to see.  These days, however, when we want to keep important stuff safe, we rely on digital dots that head off into … I don’t know where.  However, I do know (wherever they go) some adolescent hacker with a grievance can go get them.  Not only that, but if he’s pissed off enough, he can do terrible things to them – with his telephone.  Personally, I’m scared stupid that my medical records, criminal records, bank history, driving history, Amazon account, credit cards, PIN number and library card are all at the mercy of a teenager with a grudge.  Swear at some kid on the subway and you could end up a bankrupt sex offender with a scheduled colonoscopy, outstanding warrants and overdue books.

2 — Lawyers – I can’t even write anything here because I’m scared some bloodsucking lawyer will take offence and sue the pants off me.  (Disclaimer: This is a general comment and not directed at any particular bloodsucking lawyer, living or dead.)

3 — Fraidy-cat Feminism – Nope, I’m not going to go there, either.

4 — The Cyber Mob – There’s a social media lynch mob out there just waiting for somebody – anybody — to step out of line, and there’s no law against them coming after me.

5 — University Students – Young people are supposed to be outrageous.  They’re supposed to say and do things that rankle the rest of us.  They’re supposed to talk about stuff that stodgy old buggers like me shy away from.  It’s their job because that’s where new ideas come from.  So, it scares the hell out of me when I hear undergrads demanding “trigger warnings” to alert them to the imminent danger of — words.  That’s right: we’ve raised an entire generation who are afraid of words.  “Careful, kids — or the nouns’ll get ya!”  It’s impossible to overestimate how dangerous this is.  University students should be on the frontline of our war against ignorance.  They’re supposed to take intellectual risks, not cower in a “safe space,” clutching their “anxiety puppies.”  These are the folks who are destined to deal with the problems of the 21st century.  How?  They can’t even hear the names without getting PTSD.  And BTW, calling them “snowflakes” is demeaning to the survival skills of snow.

And finally, the root of all anxiety in the world:

6 — Politically Correct – This new religion of the intellectually lazy has evangelized the entire world, and those who refused to convert have been slapped into silence. (See item #4.)  It has created so many sacred cows that our conversations are starving to death.  Think about it!  How many topics do you avoid just because it’s easier that way?  How many subjects are verboten?  How many times have you thought twice about expressing an opinion?  It’s getting to the point where we can’t even talk about the weather without some “woke warrior” lecturing us on the evils of climate change.  And the scariest thing about it is there’s never going to be a vaccine available to kill this viral stupidity.

 Now, that’s frightening!

Stuff I’ve Learned to – UH – Dislike!

hate

Hate is one of those things we’re not supposed to do anymore.  It’s on this unwritten list of things that are strictly verboten in the 21st century.  There’s a lot of other stuff on the list, but that’s not our concern today.  (Besides the list kinda keeps changing, so it hard to keep up.)  Anyway, hate is a biggie, so if you’re going to do it, you better keep your mouth shut about it.  And that’s the problem.  You see, hate is one of the primal emotions.  It’s hardwired into our DNA — like love, jealousy, fear, sadness, etc., etc. — and we can’t just switch it off because a Twitter mob tells us to.  Think about it!  Every religion on the planet made its bones preaching that our spiritual needs must overcome our baser emotions; Twitter’s no different.  Yet, throughout history, we’ve managed to harvest a pretty substantial crop of sinners.  Personally, I think a little sin is good for the soul: just don’t let it get out of hand.  So, with that in mind, here are a few things I — uh – dislike very, very much.

Eggplant – When I was a kid, this was a particularly insidious brand of child abuse, and I vowed when I became an adult, I would never let this slippery, slimy, sludgy purple horror darken my doorstep again – and it hasn’t.

Wine Snobs – These are the guys (and they’re always guys) who take one sip of wine and start orating its qualities like Cicero in front of the Roman Senate.  Here’s the deal.  It has been proven (literally hundreds of times) that ordinary people cannot actually tell plonk from pinot noir— and even seasoned sommeliers can’t do it consistently.  In fact, in one study (University of Bordeaux) white wine was coloured red and nobody knew the difference!  Fruity aftertaste, my ass!

“The Little Drummer Boy” – Listening to this dirge every Christmas is like getting beaten over the head with candy canes.  This is one holiday tradition that should be shot in the head, dragged by its heels into the back garden and buried without ceremony.

“Relationships” – This is what’s wrong with contemporary society: we don’t have the cojones to love each other anymore.

Faux Foodies – I love genuine foodies.  Anyone who spends that much time and trouble just to find something different to put in their mouth is a dedicated connoisseur of the oral experience.  However, those other clowns who insist guacamole is an entrée, refuse to serve any vegetable with a recognizable name and prowl the trendy shops, looking for esoteric crap like Peruvian pygmy goat cheese, are just assholes.

And finally:

Pompous Asses – Years ago, I had a university professor who thought he didn’t put his pants on one leg at a time.  I decided to squeeze some creative points out of the old boy by giving him a gag gift for his office.  I bought a plaster figurine of Pan at a local garden shop.  Then I created a long-winded provenance that said it was a replica of a full-sized statue, discovered in the ruins of Pompeii.  I even printed a tag that read, Frederico II, University of Naples/Gift Shop.  I thought it was all in good fun.  Unfortunately, Professor X and his colleagues didn’t really have a sense of humour.  They were quite impressed with the gift!  They marvelled at the craftsmanship, and a couple of them commented that it was an excellent example of 1st century Roman art.  One fellow, overcome with one-upmanship, casually mentioned that it was indeed a very good replica because he’d seen the original.  (I needed the marks, so I kept my mouth shut.)

Cult Of Celebrity!

red-carpet

It may be too much to hope for, but it looks as if the terrible, terrible plague that has gripped our planet for far too long may be over.  … SERIOUS PAUSE … Uh – no – not that one, the other one: the soul- eating Cult of Celebrity.  Maybe — just maybe — our unholy obsession with celebrities could be in its final days.

It all started in March when Wonder Woman and her tone deaf (that works on so many levels!) choir trotted out John Lennon’s ode to hypocrisy, Imagine.  Although they meant it as feel-good manna from the ruling class, it didn’t take the peasants more than a few minutes to “imagine” Gal and the gang were a bunch of assholes.  After all, millionaires telling a bunch of people who are having trouble paying the rent to “imagine no possessions” is kinda adding insult to injury.  And from there, it just got worse.  Ellen DeGeneres, the world’s mightiest sycophant, told us that living in her multi-million dollar mansion was like “being in jail.”  Clearly, Ms. DeGeneres has never been in jail, seen a jail or even had a jail carefully described to her.  And of course, since then we’ve all learned that, even as she spoke, her smiles and chuckles production company was treating the staff as if Ellen was the warden.  Then along came Madonna, the Queen of Pop, and named Covid-19 the “the great equaliser.”  Oddly enough, she did it stark naked in a bathtub that probably cost more than my car!  Apparently, some of us are more equal than others, huh, Madge?  Then there was Jennifer Lopez frolicking in her huge backyard; Pharrell Williams, asking for money; Katy Perry, bored out of her mind, and on and on and on.  But for sheer audacity, nothing beats the crew of really, really white people on Twitter, celebsplaining how much Black Lives Matter in their “I Take Responsibility” campaign.  These Malibu militants were giving it their best shot, but it was almost impossible not to laugh at their “Dammit, I’m sincere!” sincerity.  First of all, they’re actors – Duh!  Secondly, we all know their only brush with black anything is probably Will Smith.  And finally, aside from wearing a T-shirt and maybe giving the housekeeper a Christmas bonus, these folks were done.  When they shut off the camera, they were going back to their enormous homes, their manicured lawns, their nannies, their drivers, their personal assistants and a little Grey Goose by the pool.  The message might be “We’re all in this together,” but anyone who’s watching knows we aren’t.

The truth is without Award Shows, Red Carpets, parties, photo-ops and the Late Night Jimmies (Kimmel and Fallon) the celebrity emperor has no clothes.  When push comes to shove and serious stuff is on the table, it’s painfully obvious that celebrities are less than useless.  In fact, they’re part of the problem, because they insist that fame somehow makes them relevant — that their political insights, their social awareness and – OMG! — their medical advice actually means something.  It doesn’t.  It’s just muddying the water.  Personally, I’m praying that, as more and more people discover this, when the New Normal finally gets here, there won’t be any room for these parasites.  We can only hope!