Greeting the New Year


Will 2016 turn out to be as silly as 2015? The early signs are promising. A Socialist almost won Iowa’s Democratic contest. The most unpopular Republican in the U.S. Senate caucus turned out to be the most popular Republican in the Iowa caucuses. The Republican who came in third is being hailed as the winner.

Some person resembling Donald Trump gave a gracious concession speech in Iowa, complete with kind words to his competitors and even to Iowa’s voters. Hard-core Trumpsters weren’t fooled. Despite that man’s close physical resemblance. they know their hero doesn’t lose, can’t lose, despises losers and has no use for all that Establishmentarian “etiquette” foolery. They might be ready to forgive their savior for shooting a man in the middle of 5th Avenue—-and they are—but they will never put up with weak and wimpy “good manners.”

Thirty years ago, sensitive students at the University of Oregon noticed a painfully sexist quote inscribed on an Erb Memorial Union wall. It called the university “a leader in the quest for the good life for all men.” This attack on the dignity and personhood of all women everywhere, was promptly replaced by “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream . . .” —Martin Luther King.

This year, some even more sensitive students recoiled in horror at the sudden recognition that the King quote was far from inclusive. Mia Ashley, a sophomore majoring in “all sorts of things” summed up the problem: “Obviously race still plays a big role, but there are people who identify differently in gender and all sorts of things like that.” The University’s Daily Emerald reports that the Student Union Board, “after much hard thought” decided to stick with the tainted quote. At the present pace of progress there’s reason to hope that it will be expunged along with any residual capacity for hard thought, well short of the next thirty years.

Even as the University of Oregon dodges the leading issue of the day, the Transgender Law Center expresses its delight that the Unites States Department of Labor has eliminated the gender binary from its enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance regulations. “Gender binary” is a bureaucratic term for the cultural habit of distinguishing between creatures called ‘males’ or ‘men’ and those called ‘females’ or ‘women.’ This is bad enough by itself, but the ‘binary’ quality makes it worse by obscuring the many, many, and ever more, gender identities now available to contemporary Americans.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Edward Perez is married to Ann Marie Staudenmaier, whose gender he has never publically disclosed. Anne Marie Staudenmaier, in turn, has never disclosed what role, if any, Thomas Edward has had in the procreation of Amalia, Susana, and Rafael. Nobody seems to know the gender identities of these three creatures.

Moving along on the same front, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced at year’s end that male troops will now have the right to breastfeed their children. Secretary Ash is not actually expecting to male troops to start lactating anytime soon, but since America’s twenty-first century armed forces find it increasingly difficult to distinguish between multiple and multiplying genders, it seemed best to extend the breastfeeding permission to all servicepersons.

This rule is part of an extensive series of “family-friendly” initiatives designed to attract and retain “the best America has to offer” for service in America’s Force of the Future. Protocols for dealing with “family-unfriendly” gunfire are still under study by DoD sociologists.

Nono, a 20-years old Norwegian woman, has opened a whole new field of cultural confusion by telling the world that she’s really a cat. This is difficult to deny since she wears cat ears, a tail, and fluffy pink paws. She grooms herself with those fluffy paws and claims superior hearing, better night vision than day vision and a fear of water. She hisses at dogs.

Those who remember Rachel Dolezal, who resigned from as head of the Spokane chapter of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People, and from being a person of color, must wonder why Nono can’t identify herself as a cat. Rachel, after all, sort of defended herself by saying she ‘felt’ Afro.

The Washington, D.C. Council enacted a measure to pay two hundred carefully selected persons up to $9,000 if they managed to get through a full year without committing a violent crime. Some critics deem this pretty meager compensation since council members receive $125,583 for a part-time job with no restriction on additional employment. More fair-minded observers point out that membership on the District’s council isn’t always criminal and usually doesn’t involve violence.

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, lost more than $6 billion dollars of his net worth in one afternoon of after-hours trading and nobody seems to care. Even Bernie Sanders remains unmoved by the evaporation of billions of dollars in taxable assets. We live in heartless times.


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