Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Obituary for Common Sense

So I got another one of those annoying email messages that seem to circulate. You know the ones. They start off with a slightly humorous point, or an attempt to be cute, and then slowly morph into a right-wing, not-so-well-disguised fascist point of view. All of them seem to have the theme of "Oh, isn't the world just going to H-E-double hockey sticks, and isn't it great that folks like us who mindlessly forward pithy, poorly researched emails are keeping the rest of society above water?"
Well, rather than send my comments about this particular insipid mailing around the world in email form further perpetuating the problem, I've decided just to blog them. I won't make you read the original email (An Obituary for Common Sense) in its entirety this time. I've just inserted it in black font and my own smarmy comments in purple.

An Obituary for Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
-Hospital record keeping, to be fair, has been responsible for tracking diseases and evaluating care methods to improve them. It’s also very important in our system in making sure that Doctors and Nurses get paid. But it is red tape and confuses some of us, so Common Sense dictates that we dispense with it.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.
-Ben Franklin didn’t know when to come in out of the rain and today we have electricity. Worms can be attained any time, day or night (It's called a bait shop), and life is fair in that the same laws of physics apply to everyone and death awaits us all. Writing this was someone’s fault, and that clearly remains so to this day but seeing that this email was unsigned, that lesson was not learned by the author.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children are in charge).
-Every home owner, except those few who pay cash, has spent more than they earn. It’s called banking and it’s fundamental to our society. Was Common Sense against home ownership?
Children are not allowed to vote, thus are not in charge. Perhaps we’ll give them the right to vote once they learn to beat themselves, bomb other countries and give upper class tax cuts.

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.
-His? Common Sense is male? Oh, of course. Men are responsible for all that is good and right! Women are incapable of logic and reason…
Darn those regulations! If only we were more like China! Common Sense was always a fan of putting lead paint and date rape drugs in kid’s toys!

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition
-He was also disparaged by apocryphal stories. People who found 3 instances occurring in a country of 300 million people and determined them to be the norm rather than the exception.
I heard a story of a guy who strapped rockets to his car and crashed into a cliff. Why do all people do that? It doesn’t matter that the story isn’t true either. It might have happened once, so clearly it happens all the time. If only Common Sense were still around everyone would know this.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
-Yes! I so wish that teachers were allowed to beat the crap out of other people’s children. I love it when people who are relative strangers beat up and abuse other people’s children. Good thing it’s NEVER EVER my own children who are “unruly,” because if anyone ever harmed them, I would unleash an unholy vengeance upon the teacher who laid a finger on them. Of course, this makes me a terrible parent.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Aspirin, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student; but could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
-Yes! Since something as harmless as a PEANUT can kill a child, Common Sense always dictated that a school nurse should be allowed to pump whatever medications she wants into a kid without really knowing any kind of medical history.
And of course Common Sense dictated that a teenaged girl needs parental guidance to opt for an abortion, but not to raise a child by herself. (By the way, I know of no law keeping a teacher from telling parents any information about their student. They often don’t since this is a major betrayal of trust and really isn’t part of a teacher’s business or job, but freedom of speech lets you do what you want.)
Oh, and sticky plaster? What is this 1912?

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband;
-Yes. Common Sense required that we must put 3000 year old superstitious dictates (the definitive word on “Neighbor’s ass coveting”) on classroom walls, so that we can stop adhering to Jefferson’s Separation of Church and State and start being more like the Taliban, Northern Ireland and Iran.

churches became businesses;
-OK, I’m going to agree there. If Jesus came back today and saw these mega-churches, he wouldn’t just overturn the money-lender’s tables, he’d have to tear down the whole church, starting with the gift shop. Hey, I bet they could sell you a really nice poster of the Ten Commandments to put up in your school...

and criminals received better treatment than their victims.
-Really? Really? OK, sure victims always get it bad, they are victims after all, but the alternative is to treat innocent people worse than victims along with the criminals. Is that really what common sense dictated? Our legal system is surely flawed, but show me a better on.
By the way, Common Sense really DICTATED a lot. Perhaps people would have been nicer to him if he asked please once in a while. Given the tone and general hatred for our elected government in this obituary, Common Sense was no fan of democracy.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.
-Um, you can still defend your home. Here’s something Common Sense knew about: Math. If a burglar sues one time out of 1000, one time out of 10,000 or whatever it works out to, it is still a virtual statistical impossibility that you’ll get sued for protecting your house. Common Sense says don’t get hysterical when improbable things happen. (And yes, such suits exist, but almost invariably either get thrown out or lose, so shut the fuck up.)

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
-McDonalds was selling coffee at a temperature of 190 degrees, a temperature which can give third degree burns if in contact with human skin for less than three seconds! (Your home coffee machine is probably set around 135 degrees.) McDonalds had been warned 700 times about it and had already paid half a million dollars in settlements from previous incidents. They were fined punitively a mere two day’s coffee sales, which was immediately reduced 4/5ths by the court. And the lack of common sense is on the part of the legal system?

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers;
-Common Sense had stepbrothers? This implies that Truth or Trust either had children out of wedlock or remarried. Which one? I’m betting it was Trust. Whore.

I Know my Rights,
-Yes. Don’t know your rights. Common Sense dictated ignorance.

Someone Else is to Blame,
-Um, so you’re blaming yourself for Common Sense’s demise? I didn’t get that from your tone. But I guess you’re a murderer.

and I'm a Victim.
-Um, I thought victims had it worse than criminals, so why would anyone want to be one?

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you still remember him pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

-Funny how Common Sense made it through witch burnings, the Spanish Inquisition, and several World Wars, only to be killed off by a couple of random hiccups by American institutions. If only more people circulated trite emails, then he just may have been able to hold on for one more millennium.

Author unknown
-but a blameless victim who knows his/her rights just the same…

Common Sense would have wanted you to send this to at least 11 people! If you do, good luck and prosperity will come your way!


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