The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

TOO MUCH CHEESE: We know way too much about people nowadays. It may seem strange to say this in our publicity drenched, celebrity obsessed culture, but once upon a time in this our Great Republic it was once possible for people to have a private life and no one thought them odd for wanting to keep their private lives private. When one robber baron of the Gilded Age found himself mired in a particularly nasty scandal, something having to do him committing adultery with another robber baron’s wife, he whined to J. P. Morgan, the robbingest robber baron of them all, if you don’t include Rockefeller, Gould, or Carnegie, and himself a man not averse to violating several of the Ten Commandments at the same time if possible, that he hadn’t done anything everyone else didn’t do, except that he was honest and above board about being a lying, scheming cad who cheated on his wife. “I didn’t do anything behind closed doors,” this dolt announced proudly, to which Morgan replied, “that’s why we have closed doors.”

Such an attitude could not and did not survive the twentieth century’s obsession with all aspects of celebrity. First newspapers and scandal sheets, then radio and television, and now the Internet, each successive media made the intrusion into the private lives of known and obscure people ever deeper and more profound. Today, in our 24/7 world of instantaneous new coverage, no one’s private life is safe anymore; everyone’s life, celebrity or not, is now grist for the media mill.

I bring this up because of a recent study, in the Sunday Times of London, which suggests that in any given herd of dairy cattle you will find a fair number of gay nymphomaniac bovines. Now, I am sure that the researchers are all honest and diligent workers in the vineyards of science and therefore I do not doubt their contention that America wets its collective breakfast cereal with a product created by four legged lesbians, but beyond the pure titillation value of such information, is there some reason why I should know this particular factoid? Is my life improved or my Honey Nut Cheerios taste better if I know this? And how do these people know this about dairy cattle, unless they have been spying on these cows when they are not at work? Will the next set of shocking revelations from these people reveal that most sheep are transvestites fond of Dior gowns or that the majority of pigs have unresolved Oedipus complexes?

Clearly, the intrusiveness of modern media is getting out of hand. I doubt that these cattle knew the press would make their sexual proclivities public in this way, and I believe the time has come for Congress to consider a further strengthening of laws protecting privacy. I believe the traditional don’t ask, don’t tell policy mandated by Wisconsin state law should be the national standard as well, and that the private lives of America’s dairy herds, as loyal and patriotic a group of vertebrates as you’ll ever care to meet, no matter what their particular orientation, should remain off limits to this sort of prurient tabloid sensationalism.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home