Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 2-7-11
Columnists are opinionated, no question. Writing a column is a different art form than penning a novel or reporting a news story or chronicling the latest technologically awesome gew-gaw. The difference being that columnists tend to write about everything with a wry eye which is to say – with a whole bunch of skepticism.
As one afflicted with a wry eye, I’ve made the often-rediscovered discovery that while change is constant, nothing changes. More than 30 years ago, I wrote about some political twaddle. The glove still fits. Only the names have changed or else they’ve died. Here’s more or less what I wrote 30 years back:
A recent invention promises to do away with all political claptrap. What is it, you eagerly inquire? A humanoid robot called, B.S. Aplenty. This bionic machine walks and talks but never sleeps and never quits talking out of both sides of its mouth just like a real politician.
B.S. Aplenty comes dressed in standard business suit, white or pale blue shirt, and plain or striped red tie. The jacket is a casual sporty type for flinging casually over the shoulder. He (from now on, we’ll refer to B.S. as “He”) is battery, solar, coal, propane, oil, gasoline, steam, wind and digitally powered. He responds to people, TV cameras, talk shows and speaking engagements with automatic smiles, handshakes and platitudes. Asking B.S. a question is done by jotting a question on an iPod and slipping the gadget under his tie. B.S. instantly computes the query and spits out an innocuous answer.
When B.S. visited our community, one of the local organizations – the Snow-Weevil Control Administration – sponsored a banquet, naturally I attended. Public was admitted free to listen to keynote speaker – B.S.
After a meal of chicken and broccoli, B.S. orated. He touched on almost all current major issues such as exporting chopsticks to China and Japan. He advised that the Government is combating the threat of inflation by having all members of Congress write inflation is a nine letter word 500 times every day for a month.
B.S. firmly maintained that Government ought to balance its budget. He has introduced a bill to have everybody turn in their loose change which will then be converted into pennies. A select Congressional committee will then be required to make cents of balancing the budget.
B.S. spoke fluently on the wilderness question, endangered species and modifying jack rabbit ears.
Clean air, of course, is high on B.S.’s priority list. He pontificated that he is backing another bill wherein Government subsidized gas masks will be issued to all persons living in a population center of more than 13.
Not forgetting that the Snow-Weevil Control Administration was the sponsor of his speaking engagement, B.S. announced that a new Government agency has been created to address the problem of snow by mandating a no-snow year.
These topics were only a few of the issues B.S. mentioned. At the end of the evening, however, something untoward happened just as he pressed his computer-programmed charming-smile button. A dab of tapioca pudding dropped on his digital tie and short-circuited his mouth.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he rasped, “I can say without fear of contradiction that the meeting here tonight with all of you good people has been the most meaningful … meaningful … meaningful … fu … f … f … f …”
As they say, some things never change. This opinion might have been penned 30 years ago, but B.S. is still around and going strong.
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