PART ONE IN A CONTINUING SERIES
As I have read through my favorite blogs each day, I have reluctantly kept abreast of the various outrages and horrors in the world, from fiends who snatch young girls and rape and torture them, to groups such as Planned Parenthood (chronicled with such vigilance by Dawn Eden and others) who seem to want to make sure my two daughters are initiated into the culture of sex as soon as possible.
Although the worst stories about the most terrifying horrors never fail to get to me, in another sense I am not as discouraged about long-term prospects by them as I am by other, less ghoulish stories. My reason? Let me see if I can get this to make sense.
Throughout history, there have always been psychos and sociopaths on the fringe, from the people who burned their children to death worshipping Molech on down. There have always been these monsters, but they remained a small percentage of the population, while most people seemed to be what I'd call "normal" -- people who tried their best to observe the same traditional moral codes and basic guidelines for polite discourse and cohabitation. Private intimacies and unusual variations were always there, sure, but most people tacitly agreed to either keep that stuff private, or at least not flaunt it in the public's face.
But now, more and more, the "normal" people seem to be the ones getting kookier and louder and more brazen -- maybe not murderous or sociopathic, but actively or tacitly approving of things that "normal" people 20 or 30 or 40 years ago would have strongly opposed or at least frowned upon. It seems to me to be a trend, and I worry about it in my most fretful moments.
So, when I come across some weird stories on the Internet, I'm not sure sometimes whether to laugh, or cringe, or cry. In this occasional roundup column, I'll try to share with you some of the examples I'm talking about.
First of all, I was a bit distressed to read how one of my favorite bloggers, Not a Desperate Housewife, was shopping in one popular children's store, and found a teddy bear outfitted in a way to inspire her child to call it "Hooker Bear."
This was bad enough, but then I found a thwarted (but still sleazy) teddy bear atrocity in Switzerland. Switzerland? I thought all they did there was breathe in the sweet Alpine air as they wound their cuckoo clocks and cleaned their nails with that little plastic pick tool from their Swiss Army knives. But no, when they decide to put on a simple street display in Zurich, the first thought is apparently to haul out the cat-o-nine-tails and fishnet stockings.
Thank goodness someone put down their chocolate bar long enough to realize the terrible import of what this whole display would mean, but how did this ever get to this point at all? Can't they keep this stuff behind closed doors, like they do Swiss bank accounts?
Because of the Internet, I have learned that not everything a Communist country does is necessarily bad. For example, China has outlawed the increasingly popular culinary trend of eating raw fish right off of a naked woman's body, with nary a sneeze guard in place.
What sleazy entrepreneur or joyless bon vivant first had the idea for this pathetic practice? Have we become so jaded with normal pleasures that we have to resort to this? What is next? Supplying a naked woman with a gallon of Blue Bell and a can of whipped cream for children's birthday parties?
It just makes me want to wait for The Andy Griffith Show to come on TV and then crawl into the set to Mayberry. I'd ask Aunt Bee to serve me a glass of milk and some apple pie -- not on herself, mind you.
NEWS FLASH: after scientific analysis of census data, weather reports and a poll of the seals at Fisherman's Wharf, they've discovered that the child population in San Francisco is dwindling. REALLY? I wonder why? Hmm. Hmm. I've got to think hard about this one. Hmm.
In dye and pigment news, it appears that so many people are getting tattooed now, it's become about as cool and rebellious as hitting the $4 flip flop sale at Wal-Mart.
My objections against tattoos are aesthetic and not moral, and if someone wants to get one, that's their business. I prefer the old ones like Popeye had, with the hula dancer on the biceps, but that's my personal taste talking.
However, it gets harder to tell your kids "wait until you're an adult" to get one of the dang things permanently applied to their epidermis if "everyone's doing it." And I just can't help but wonder about how all these 20-somethings are going to feel about the big multicolored eagle they've got on their chest now when they're in their 60s, and it looks like a big wrinkly chicken melting down their jutting yet wobbly gut.
Oh well, whether he's tattooed or not, it's good to know that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is feeling taller now.
And when all else fails, there's always the Badger Song to cheer us up.