Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seeking Offense

And, no, I don't mean football.

I had another post set for today, but I've pushed that one back in favor of recent events.

I work in a relatively small office of less than 100. It's a white collar profession with most of us having at least a college degree. It's part of a big corporation, though, so we have beauracracy galore, including the inescapable Code of Conduct. This is a catch all for the usual suspects of discrimination, harassment and embezzlement.

For several months now I've been dropping off comics I don't want anymore in the lunch room for anyone to take, read or toss as they see fit. I do the same with National Geographic, and used to do the same with Newsweek before I dropped that. Someone else brings in National Review. Someone with no respect for the written word brings in things like People or In Touch. It's all just stuff for people to read at lunch if they want.

On October 14, though, I was told to stop bringing in the comics. It seems someone found some of them offensive. Hell if I know how. Truthfully, I couldn't tell you what a lot of them were. Mostly they were just free DC and Marvel stuff I've gotten recently, but there was at least one Radical, City of Dust. I don't think it was any of the art that was the problem, from what I was told, but rather the language in some of them.

Well, holy shit! Here I thought I worked with adults. It's not like anyone's forcing anyone to read any of the books. They're there simply as an option. Nothing's on the cover of any of them that screams offense, either. So, someone went out of their way to read a book and get offended. I mean, if you get to something you find offensive, stop reading. Why should no one else be allowed to read just because you didn't like it?

It's a private company, of course, so I'll stop bringing them in. Really, it makes no difference to me. Edification is found in many sources, and my co-workers are now deprived of one because of the childishness of some, or even one.

Now, what should be offending people is the Know Nothings. They're better known as the tea party movement, but that's an insult the the Boston Tea Party, which actually protested something important like taxation without representation. These Know Nothings of the 21st century protest governement by representative vote that just happens to move the country in a direction they don't like. Not that protesting a government policy is un-American. What's un-American about the Know Nothings is that their opposition is boils down to an utter disregard for their fellow humans.

Here's a prime example. In a rural community on the Tennessee side of the border between Tennessee and Kentucky, a 70 some year old man lives outside the town limits that's served by the local fire department. As such, he's supposed to pay a $75 yearly fee to the town fire department. He's done so for many years, but this year he forgot. When his grandson accidentally set the house on fire, 911 was called. The fire department, though, refused to come put out the fire because the fee hadn't been paid. When the fire spread to a neighbor's corn crop, the fire department came out to put that fire out, but did nothing to put our the house fire, despite entreaties from the neighbor and offers to pay the $75 fee at that time. Not only did the family lose all of its possessions, the family dogs were also killed in the fire.

The justification for this total abrogation of a fire department's duty? Personal responsibility. Yes, these officials actually have the gall to call it a failure of personal responsibility on the part of the home owner. This is only a valid argument if you're an Ayn Rand devotee. Anyone with a modicum of feeling, or brain process for that matter, would think that personal responsibility for a fire department is to put out fires first and worry about payment second, if not lower. Like a hospital, a fire department is an essential, life necessary service. Like a hospital that can't turn away patients just because they don't have health insurance, a fire department shouldn't be able to refuse to put out a fire that's within its service range, regardless of whether a human or pet life is at stake.

Hell, just looking at it from a larger perspective, all the thinking about this that's required is that the cost benefit to the community is not served by letting properties burn. It means hardship for your residences, making them less likely to spend money on local business and less likely to be able to pay taxes. It means more money spent by an insurer if there was home owners insurance. Just the ill will it engenders is reason enough not to pursue such a policy.

But it sure is in keeping with the Know Nothings, whose raison d'etre is that the government spends and taxes too much. Damn your fellows. Protect the Know Nothings's Social Security and Medicare benefits (which they seem to fail to notice are government spending), but screw the rest of you needing unemployment or food stamps or highways or schools or mental health treatment or any other health care. Nevermind the wealthy being taxed at a pittance and crying like they're being forced into penury if the Bush tax breaks expire. That's not a problem. They create jobs. Nevermind the vast statistics that say none of that has ever trickled down to jobs for those who need them. Maybe to luxury manufaturers, but not the rest of us.

That's enough of that. Go read a comic, and try not to be offended.

No comments:

Post a Comment