Stupid “R” us

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

One thing that humbles me deeply is to see that human genius has its limits while human stupidity does not. – Alexandre Dumas

We may have shortages of basic items from eggs to building materials, but when it comes to basic (often self-destructive) human pettiness and sheer stupidity, we in the 2020s seem to have discovered the ultimate renewable resource.

For most of us, our stupidity is restrained, limited to our professions or personal politics or at least not entirely exposed to the public.

Politicians, celebrities and other public figures do not always have the “filters” or lack of access to wide-spread forums the rest of us have. Many of them, in fact, are called on to comment on topics of which they have little if any exposure or expertise.

And of course, some media “echo chambers” and their “opinionators” pick up on, and fan the flames of response on such a regular basis that you might think there was some kind of “outrage of the month” club with a rotating menu of “hot” issues.

From M&Ms to rainbows to children’s books, we can count on these protectors of our civic virtue to raise alarms over threats most of us would never have noticed.

Here are just a few…

Who will protect us from M&Ms?

It’s difficult to imagine a product more American, more politically neutral than M&Ms. But once again, that would be underestimating the sheer absurdity, and presumably, profit margin, available from hysteria and divisiveness in what passes for the marketplace of ideas in the current times.

M&Ms is abandoning its dancing and joke-cracking “spokescandies” because, apparently, in our fractious environment, brown, green and, gasp!, even purple candy characters are a threat to all that America holds dear.

The ever-vigilant Tucker Carlson warns us that those subversive candies are, in fact not as “sexy” as they should be.

Did I miss something here?

I tried explaining this latest dust-up to my wife and realized that, the more I tried to explain it, the more incoherent it seemed.

It was a simmering mix of cancel-culture, snowflakes afraid of animated candy characters and political correctness run amok.

In short, welcome to the American culture of 2023.

Do an online search for Tucker Carlson and M&Ms if you dare.

We don’t need no education – The Wall, Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd fans reacted after the band released a 50th anniversary edition of their album “Dark Side of the Moon” originally released in 1973 – with the immediately recognizable prism and rainbow on the cover.

Accused of “wokeness” for using a rainbow on the re-issued edition, many fans apparently forgot that the rainbow has been on display for, ahem, fifty years.

Who knew Pink Floyd was political? (For future readers, the term “who knew?” refers to something that, in fact was long-term common knowledge, somehow neglected in this particular instance).

Apparently a significant subset of human beings who walk among us have taken seriously the line from Pink Floyd’s The Wall, “We don’t need no education”. Or history. Or common sense. Or books.

Meanwhile in Florida

In yet another expression of “cancel culture” (or is it the opposite? I can’t keep track…) the state of Florida has made the display of certain teacher-selected books a third class felony. This is Florida HB 1467, which was signed into law by the governor about a year ago.

That law established and codified that teachers could not be trusted to select books appropriate for their students.

But somehow, by edict, government bureaucrats are, by legal fiat, suddenly qualified.

Apparently the political party that opposes big government, official intrusion in personal decisions and individual freedom has decided what children should be able to read. (And that students actually listen to their teachers).

As one official put it, “materials we use in a classroom are all state approved” which means that any book is considered “banned” until otherwise “vetted”: the literary equivalent of “guilty until proven innocent”.

Students are not allowed to bring their own books to school. It was not clear if students who brought the “prohibited” books to school would be charged with a felony.

“Guns don’t kill people, but books apparently do” seems to be the operating principle in some jurisdictions.

In the county pursuing these laws and policies, 50% of students are reading at grade level.

But who needs to read when the government decides who reads what and when?

The “nanny-state” seems to be upon us – advocated and authorized by those who said they opposed it the most.

You can see details on this law and decide what your (or other people’s) children should be free to read here.