06 February 2017

Pointless, Aimless, Graceless, and Feckless [2007]


[Originally posted 6 February 2007]
I
 see in the news that Homeland Security has taken time out from its important mission of keeping medicine out of the hands of old ladies to repel an invasion of Mooninites in Boston. Orson Welles must be having a good laugh, wherever he is today. And somebody or other has kidnapped an Iranian ambassador in Iraq using American equipment—shall we start a pool now on who exactly is responsible? Is this payback for the Iranians seizing American diplomats back in the bad old days before The Hidden Hand took charge of everything?
Isn’t it high time that we disband the department of Homeland Security? And who picked that appalling name, anyway? It sounds like something out Orwell, or the Soviet Union, or the Third Reich. But, horrific names aside, any outfit that can’t tell a bomb from a glowing advertisement is wasting the money the citizens have been throwing at it.
We’ve seen its glorious triumphs in New Orleans, in Boston, in the arrest of a (relatively) harmless lawyer here in Portland. We’re assured that it’s accomplishing great things that we are not allowed to hear about, but how the hell are we supposed to know that? When we do hear anything, it is these mare’s nests and smoke-and-mirrors parlor tricks. Conspiracies of the impotent, old people in need of medicine, foreign med students enjoying a quiet lunch—these are worth going after? And to cap it off, now we learn that they seriously regarded a cartoon villain—and at that the lesser Mooninite, one of the least effective villains of all time—as a threat?
Gack. The world wonders. There is some good news out of New Jersey, however. Coach David Paskiewicz, who took to preaching in a United States History class, has been vindicated by his school board. Believe it or not, the board decided to ban voice recorders in classrooms. It also concluded that teachers should be instructed in the proper ways of smuggling religion into the classroom, or, at any rate, that’s what I got out of it. They were to be reminded of the distinction between church and state in America or something like that. When I told that bit of news to my nephew Brandon, he asked, “Shouldn’t they be teaching that to the students?” Exactly. Of course all this has nothing to do with the coach’s real sin in all this—his confusing the students in the class by misrepresenting the nature of science. He blatantly lied to those who (it seems) trusted him by saying that scientists say that “nothing somehow exploded”, that the age of the earth, and of the universe, cannot be scientifically observed, and so on and so on. But for the principal of his school, these are “high level” discussions that should be encouraged. If filling the kids’ heads with religiously-inspired lies—and that’s what his “high-level” discussion consisted of—is what passes as education in New Jersey, and should be encouraged, then New Jersey is on a slide straight to hell.

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