Friday, April 1, 2016

The Rodent Complex

Welcome Crooks, Liars, and the people who love them! Thanks, Tengrain!

Designer rodent ensemble, via Trendhunter.
The unmannerly, unkind and unnecessary tone of the Republican primary contest has brought a new and undesirable element into our politics. Sometimes you have to shake your head in dismay, disbelief and disapprobation.
I'm talking about the controversy roused by a statement from Ted Cruz, in response to allegations of sexual misconduct. "Let me be clear," the senator reportedly said, "Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him."
Where did the rumor come from in the first place? Who exactly claimed that Senator Cruz was yearning to have sex with Mr. Trump? Nobody knows. It's as if it came out of nowhere. Moreover it is completely unlikely.
If you are the kind of person who likes to have sex with actual rats, you would probably not be attracted to Mr. Trump. You would find him large, noisy and unpleasantly aggressive. You would seek out a smaller, shyer and probably furrier partner.
Does Senator Cruz like to have sex with rats? I may be old-fashioned, but I believe this is none of our business. Many people were aware that President Reagan enjoyed the occasional oral stimulation of one of the White House squirrels, but they did not talk about it.
At the same time, we should possibly be asking ourselves why so many people are having sex with rodents nowadays. Is this a further sign of the coarsening of our culture? Is it because of the way society has run off the guardrails, with the decline of marriage, study of the humanities, and the suburban dream?
Are our young college men sitting around the dormitories discussing T.S. Eliot and Karl Barth at 3:00 in the morning, or are they out in the quad looking for gophers to hump? Are the people of the American agricultural heartland sitting quietly at their computers thinking of new soybean products, or are they in the honky-tonks flirting with the local prairie dogs?
Probably it is an indication that people need more meaning in their lives. A recent Pew study indicated that more young people belong to SnapChat, with its frail and evanescent images, than the sturdy and durable values of the church of their choice. They are marrying later and leaving school earlier. They are full of anger. They hate Donald Trump but vote for him anyway. This is the first democracy in history to practice hate-voting.
The big question now is what can we do about this sad, angry and impolite state of affairs? First, we don't need any big programs, or startling initiatives. We need to muddle our way through the way the British did when Winston Churchill won the Second World War.
Second, we need to provide our young people with something to live for. Religions and philosophies should step up to the plate, involving themselves with social media and Internet dating sites. Government can help in its modest way by demanding more meaningfulness from our schools and civic institutions, perhaps through deferred taxation options.
Fourth, one of my index cards fell in the crack between the fridge and the countertop, and there's no way I'm going to be able to retrieve that. But I'll be revisiting the issue in future columns.
In the meantime, don't bang any wooden beavers!

Other vital new work in rodent studies may be found here... And do wish Driftglass a happy blogiversary.

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