CSotD: Ostriches and Reality

Tom Toles expresses some impatience with the public’s willingness to ignore what’s going on around it.

Granted, ostriches do not, in fact, stick their heads in the sand and imagine that they are hidden.

We do, however, and, as Toles suggests, we not only do it, but we do it wonderfully well.


We also do it unpredictably. When the reports came out last week about how much the Secret Service was spending at Mar-a-Lago, you’d have expected outrage. Or, I expected it.

And Mike Luckovich joined me in expecting it, offering this mash-up of the Secret Service revelations and the capitulation of the Justice Department.

But it was crickets on the money issues, which I guess makes some sense in that the people who obsess over whether some kid is getting a free lunch in school at taxpayer expense are the ones who march in lockstep with Dear Leader.


And there was never any surprise over the cost of Trump’s choice of Mar-a-Lago over Camp David because it’s been dribbling out ever since that ridiculous performance in which he stood on a stage with stacks of folders full of blank paper explaining how he wouldn’t rip us off.

Which followed his promises that he wouldn’t have time for golf and wouldn’t be taking vacations.

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me continuously for three years and we’re not sure how to count that.


But all of a sudden that handover of the Justice Department to Dear Leader’s tender embrace, while inspiring a re-do of the seal by Clay Bennett, has also inspired an insurrection of sorts from within the Department or at least within its alumni association.

The count is up to 2,000 of former Justice Dept folks calling for Bill Barr to resign. I don’t know if this should be “surprising” but it surprised me.

I am gratified by the show of spine, but remain cynical about what it all means, since even the Saturday Night Massacre at the end of Nixon’s reign simply required him to go down the line until he found a toady who would follow orders, and, if Barr did resign, I’m sure Trump would have no problem finding a new jellyfish to take the spot.

But at the same time that’s going on, we’ve got a Senate Banking Committee on the verge of perhaps not confirming Dear Leader’s latest appointment to the Fed, largely because she joins Medal of Freedom Winner Rush Limbaugh in recommending that we all invest in gold.

It’s almost enough to give you hope, though we’re still stuck with the notion, as expressed in a meme that floats around frequently, that one third of the nation would murder another third of the nation while a third of the nation watched and did nothing.

And I’m not sure cutting it down to just a quarter of the nation watching and doing nothing is a huge improvement.

But going back to Toles’ point about sticking our heads in the sand over climate change, I saw a little tiny breakthrough on the environmental front as well. I sent a young reporter to a presentation at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science by Marcus Eriksen, who turned a sort of Kon-Tiki ocean crossing into a foundation to fight plastics in the ocean.

One of the things he brought back from the event was this

When I have learned about pollution in school or heard about it on television, the solution is usually about what each of us can do as individuals: reduce, reuse, recycle, don’t litter and do compost. Eriksen thinks those are all really good things to do, but he does not believe it will address the problem. He believes the cause of the problem is also the solution, and the cause is the companies that produce billions of disposable plastic goods and sell them all over the world.

Which brings us back to Abbie Hoffman’s response to the first Earth Day in 1970: “Sure, I’ll pick up the Dixie Cup. Who the **** is gonna pick up Con Edison?”

We should perhaps bear in mind, as Trump and his cronies undo all the restrictions that have been put on Con Edison since then, that they aren’t undoing liberal Democratic actions.

They’re undoing things Dick Nixon put in place. In case you needed further evidence that we’re not re-experiencing Watergate in its entirety.

And Marcus Eriksen’s remarks on linear versus circular systems (you should go back and read that; there’s also a pretty good Sonic review in the issue) bring us to this


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Pearls Before Swine)

(Rico Schacherl, Financial Week)

I’m not sure cutting printer prices down to nothing to profit by selling ink is a terribly good practice, though it makes me wish that auto makers also owned the petroleum companies.

The problem with the theory, however, is that the paper-free world is beginning to happen. I have maybe half a dozen printing jobs a year; everything else is a scan-and-send.

And while that’s easy to say for a freelancer out in the sticks, my last two office-bound jobs involved brass in another city, so I was still emailing far more than I was printing.

My current printer cost me fifty bucks and replaced one that had cost me fifty bucks but whose cheap-ass printer heads had gone woefully out of alignment, which I only discovered on my once-a-year color print job.

The sample ink they package in those $50 printers doesn’t get you far, so I’ve had to buy an expensive set of cartridges, but it’s still a ridiculously cheap expenditure that results in tossing out about 20 pounds of useless plastic every two or three years.

To recap

I’m more concerned with people ignoring the rise of fascism in America than I am with their ignoring climate change, but only because one could have a quick cure and the other requires some real sacrifice.

And, BTW, I can care about more than one thing at a time.

So could you. Really. It’s just a matter of short-term garbage versus long-term garbage.




3 thoughts on “CSotD: Ostriches and Reality

  1. The other popular urban myth I see these days is the frog in the boiling water. Empirical research has shown that the frog, contrary to legend, gets out of the water well before being poached or parboiled, which makes the American public, collectively, dumber than the frog. But we’re way more eloquent about our reasons for staying in the soup, so there’s that.

  2. Tangential note: a color laser printer is more expensive upfront, but it will work after sitting unused the whole winter.. guaranteed! Toner is basically plastic and doesn’t dry up. Works best with a primary color pallet though.

    Agree with the general sentiment of the page! You have to laugh to keep from crying. Keep it up.

  3. Years ago I got a color laser printer/copier/scanner/(fax) for something like $300. I think I’m still on my first toner.

    Seriously one of the best purchases of my life. Ink jets can go straight to hell.

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