Societal death spasms
Neighbor kills neighbor. Don’t worry, though. They will pay for what they’ve done. Especially if they hate the inconvenience of annoying paperwork, attending a couple of hearings and paying a fine. That’s more than sufficient punishment for killing a fellow human being, right?
What is a society? My definition is a system where people make decisions that impact the safety of others. More and more it seems like that’s the only definition that matters.
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What do you call it when the people who are supposed to save the day, the so-called “experts,” fail to perform when the chips are down? There has got to be a terminology for that. For now, I’m going to go with the phrase “expert failure” or EF.
Example: “Yup. Things certainly went to shit. They EF’d up.”
In the excellent book Jurassic Park the character Ian Malcolm, a mathematician specializing in “chaos theory,” correctly predicts the failed hubris of the undertaking. (Also in the book the character John Hammond, the visionary, is ironically eaten by his creations. That tasty tidbit didn’t make it into the movie.) The genius of Michael Crichton’s book has nothing to do with dinosaurs. As Wikipedia puts it, the story is a “metaphor of collapse.”
Expert failure works like this:
- Only we are brilliant enough to design and breed dinosaurs. You are not brilliant by a long shot. Oops. The dinosaurs got out. Bad shit happens. Our bad.
- A virus enters the country. The hospitals and specialists we depend on for our very lives fail to follow basic protocols. (In unrelated news, studies have shown that 10 to 80 percent of ICU doctors fail to engage in sanitary hand washing as directed. Because, of course, they know better.)
- A politician says, “Doing ABC will lead to XYZ.” When that doesn’t happen, he adds, “Obviously we need a lot more of ABC. We have to give my policies a chance to work.”
- Your financial consultant advises you to invest heavily in Guru Of Negativity (ticker: GON) holdings and you lose your shirt.
- A baseball teams spends $50 million on a single player (cutting other players from the team to make this possible). Later, in game seven of the World Series, bottom of ninth, two outs, full count, bases loaded, trailing by one run the fellow whiffs flailingly at three straight pitches in the dirt and strikes out.
That last example is my personal favorite because I could have easily matched that performance for at least half price. Show me the money!
What else have experts gotten wrong? FEMA? Vietnam? The financial crisis? Mortgage-backed securities? Bridges? Stampedes at religious gatherings? Platforms at state fairs? Fires in disco clubs? Interfering in the civil wars of other countries?
The list is long and distinguished.
So now we look to experts to clean up the messes that were created by the same and/or previous experts. I’m no expert but I say that sucks. When you’re stuck on your the tippy-top of your roof and the water is lapping at your toes, just remember this: There is no expert correction fairy who will swoop in and save your bacon.
Ultimately, no matter what the experts would like you to believe, you’re on your own.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to change into my baseball uniform. You can depend on me.
Things fall apart. The center does not hold. –Yeats
Crapples To Crapples
Ah, Europe. A place where they eat cigarettes like Halloween candy going out of style yet worry about every little nit when it comes to their food.
“Oui! Next week I may hack up a cancerous thing that used to be a lung but today I will live, dammit, live! The juices of life must be savored to the fullest! The one thing we must absolutely never allow is diphenylamine in our food, you damn foolishly greedy capitalistic yanks.”
I, for one, say thanks. Because, without the European Food Safety Authority banning this, that and the other thing, I wouldn’t be able to say things like: “Oh yeah? Well Kraft Macaroni & Cheese still contains two artificial dyes banned in Europe.” Chef Booyah la de Fuckin’ Dah!
Kraft Foods is an American food company that was owned by a tobacco company until recently when they jury rigged the corporate legalese by rebranding Philip Morris as Altria Inc. and allegedly, in 2007, successfully underwent a Siamese twins separation operation, at least theoretically on paper. That’s because Kraft wants you to know they care about what you put in your body. Kraft Kares ™.
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They called her Clean-Fingers McGee. She never missed. They said you could bet your life on her fingers being clean. Come to think of it, if you ever shook hands with her, that’s pretty much what you were doing.
Although not generally known, McGee had a secret. When using public restrooms, she would pull up her pants before exiting the stall and making her way across the tile of questionable cleanliness to the sinks to wash her hands.
You see, McGee was deathly afraid of shuffling across public restrooms with pants around her ankles. This condition, which is more common than most people think, is known as talocruralpantaloonlocophobia.
Curious, we decided to conduct a study.
One thing we know for sure: When it comes to restroom habits the concept of sequencing is of vital importance. Fact: Persons exiting restroom stalls with their pants up and belts secured are doing it wrong.
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Are we Dunn yet?
In the Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black a nun is in Danbury Correctional Facility because she chained herself to a flagpole at a nuclear test site. That’s fiction.
The character is actually based on a real life nun who was convicted of cutting a government-owned chain link fence at a Colorado missile silo, then using baby bottles filled with her own blood to draw a cross in protest. For this non-violent property damage offense she served more than two years at Danbury and an additional three years of probation. (See Common Dreams.)
Meanwhile, in 2013, a 16-year-old rich kid gets in his dada’s F-350 pickup, loads it up with seven of his friends, steals two cases of beer from a convenience store, drives 70 mph in a 40 mph zone with three times the adult legal limit BAC and Valium in his system. He causes an accident that claims the lives of four pedestrians on the side of the road. As we all know by now, the driver, Ethan Couch, received no jail time for his actions.
In 1978, Dan White murdered in cold blood Harvey Milk and the George Moscone, Mayor of San Francisco. The mayor he shot at close range in his office, hitting him in the shoulder, chest, and twice in the head. He then reloaded while walking down the hall and shot Milk five times, again at close range. The final two shots to the head came with the gun pressed against Milk’s skull.
For this actions, Dan White served just five years of a seven year sentence.
Justice is decidedly not a dish that is meted out evenly.
Now I’m thinking about the Michael Dunn case which currently rests in the hands of the jury.
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