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)

Monday, February 14, 2011

AND WHY THE SEA IS BOILING HOT AND WHETHER PIGS HAVE WINGS: If you walk down the main thoroughfare of our happy little burg, said thoroughfare being Main Street, a name that combines accuracy, pithiness, and an extraordinary lack of imagination in just two words, you will pass a great deal of mediocre 19th century architecture; many a mediocre 19th century architect first practiced his craft here before going on to inflict their indiscernible architectural talents on larger and more remunerative towns; you will eventually pass Gallagher’s Restaurant. Here in our happy little burg everyone goes to Gallagher’s for breakfast sooner or later. The bacon is crisper at Gallagher’s than anywhere else in the county, the pancakes are lighter than air, the maple syrup on the pancakes is the real thing, not the maple flavored sticky sugar syrup you buy in the supermarket, and Gallagher’s is where the wise solons who govern our happy little burg go and do the public’s business. I suppose they could do the public’s business at City Hall, but they choose not to, as City Hall was supposed to cost the taxpayers six million dollars and, as is the wont with many government project, wound up costing the taxpayers twelve million dollars instead, the discrepancy between the original estimate and the eventual price tag being the cost of keeping our impressive new City Hall from sinking into the sea of mud that apparently no one realized they were building on. Our solonic class, being not entirely stupid, although there are many in town who would disagree with that statement vehemently, and realizing that doing business in a building that reminded the citizenry why they hate the solonic class in the first place was not an idea conducive to one’s chances for re-election, immediately decamped to Gallagher’s, leaving the police and the municipal bureaucracy at the now fairly stable City Hall, there to endure the whips and scorns of the public’s contempt. And the coffee is better at Gallagher’s too.

As you enter Gallagher’s you pass the large blackboard that lists the day’s specials, which are usually written in red chalk and are just as usually misspelled, for the public’s perusal. This past Friday the soup of the day was she-crab soup, and so after a long and otherwise pointless digression we come to the point of this screed. I am not sure how she-crab soup differs in taste from he-crab soup; one cannot, after all, discern the sex of a pig by eating a sausage; and I am not sure how one goes about telling the difference between a he-crab and a she-crab, and I am sure I do not want to know. The process is, no doubt, intrusive in the extreme, the sort of thing that would result in a lawsuit if it happened to someone you knew personally, but I assume having an exoskeleton renders your privacy rights null and void in our security-minded world. That someone would accept money to make sure that only she-crabs wind up in the she-crab soup is, I think, testimony to the parlous state of chivalry in this country today. In a country where, once upon a long time ago, a lady would use the word limb instead of leg lest someone accuse her of gross vulgarity and would smack the face of any man who would use such a word in polite conversation with her, we now accept as a commonplace that a strange man may inspect female crustaceans for the purpose of soupifying them with the same disregard for their modesty as this same man might use in inspecting a line of prostitutes for an equally nefarious purpose.

How did this thuggish state of affairs come about? I suppose that there are many possible root causes at work here: higher taxes, the 1960’s, the Boston Red Sox, the increased depersonalization and anomie amongst today’s youth as they struggle to find a meaningful existence in a world devoid of God, but I also suspect that a major contributing cause is the increasing pornification of the world’s fauna by the media.

Yes, it is once again time to shoot the messenger and not treat the underlying causes of the problem, or so many people are now thinking, but if you can’t shoot the messenger, then who can you shoot? What is the point of having a messenger in the first place if you cannot shoot them if they come with bad news? And in this case the fusillade is entirely justifiable. Today’s media, especially the cable television networks, bombard the impressionable minds of our young people with an endless stream of bestial filth. Only the other day I sat in silent horror in front of my television set with a mouthful of half-eaten potato chips as some species of Siberian duck copulated while the narrator intoned that this particular species returned to the same lakes every year in order to reproduce. And as far as I can tell, no one protested. I daresay that if I and my neighbors learned that the sleazy guy down the street ran a hot-sheets hotel that the Elks returned to every year in order to reproduce then the police had better do something about it and not when they felt like it, either, not if they didn’t want a crowd of angry homeowners shouting down the police commissioner at the next city council meeting. But in this case nothing, absolutely nothing, happened; no one called this station to tell the manager that their display of aquatic porn was in any way inappropriate, even for a cable channel. It does make you wonder what has happened to the nation’s moral compass when a television station puts on a program showing a female anaconda engaging in group sex and then passes off this disgusting display of sluttishness as a lesson in natural science. Diarrheas is also an exercise in natural science, but save for the problems of one incontinent three-toed sloth, I do not believe I’ve ever had to watch this particular exercise in natural science anywhere on American television. That alone tells you something about the priorities of American television in our day and age.

It does make me wonder just how today’s young people are supposed to learn to treat the natural world with respect when all these young people see on television and in their classrooms is an unceasing putrescent tide of ecoporn that undermines any respect they may have had for the world’s ecology. Under such circumstances the young person who chooses to study nature anywhere except in a laboratory will be the target of suspicion and gossip as their friends and neighbors wonder what kind of deviant this young person is and how did they manage to hide their perversions for so long? How can natural science long endure when the public links the study of nature to a desire to traffic in humanity’s worst instincts? The world wonders. In the meantime, I’m going to Gallagher’s for a hamburger.

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