This cartoon by Raul Fernando Zuleta pleases me for a variety of reasons beyond its overall sardonic brilliance.
The first is the simple one, which is tying it into the idiotic notion by Facebook people that if a particular sick/crippled/disabled/dying child gets a number of "likes," some cosmic event will occur. But that's just foolishness in the classic sense of people who don't comprehend how the world works.
The casualness with which the well-dressed couple tosses their "like" to the poor kid, however, lifts it well beyond that to an entire other level of arrogance.
Zuleta's message is about the insufficiency of dismissively acknowledging the less fortunate with self-satisfying pity, while, in fact, doing nothing to help, and I recently dealt with the arrogance of privilege here.
But what it also brings to mind, and what I'm thinking about now, is more a matter that I dealt with a couple of years ago, which rant I will encapsulate by simply showing you the Cul de Sac that provoked it:
We recognize the condescension, I hope, when someone expresses admiration for a woman who can actually golly run a successful enterprise, and I wish more of us recognized the arrogance on display when someone doubts that an African-American president could speak coherently without using a TelePrompter.
But the recent flood of Super Crip admiration on Facebook is beginning to really wear me down with its smug, completely unwarranted self-righteousness.
I'm sick of posts about amazing people with autism and inspiring people in wheelchairs and the beautiful people with Down Syndrome.
I've known a fair number of people with special physical, intellectual and emotional needs through the years and some of them don't have a lot going for them, but most are as talented at something or other as anyone else, while, just as with the rest of us, a few have extraordinary talents.
And if that amazes and inspires you, well, maybe you should ask yourself how you got this far in life before you had that revelation. And ask yourself why the fact that they can do all those things, that they can go through life with a positive self-image, is so astonishing to you that you feel compelled to point it out to others.
And consider, as you click "Like," whether you are really liking them, or just liking yourself for being so very, very sensitive.
'Scuse me, while I kiss this frog
Today's Freshly Squeezed happens to coincide with a recent conversation about a freelance gig I got back in around 1982.
I was in on the cutting edge of a new technology and, while this startup wasn't able to actually pay me in cash, they were willing to pay me in company stock.
You've heard those stories about employees in a high-tech start up who take some of their pay in stock and then, when the company goes public, make huge, huge fortunes, right?
Right. Well, this is not one of those stories.
Which is Ed's point. There are a lot of frogs out there, puttin' on the Chapstick, and they don't all turn into handsome princes. Fact is, most don't, some more entertainingly than others.
In this particular case, the company was one of the first video rental outfits, and their business plan was to deliver the videos, like pizzas, to people who would order from a monthly catalog. My job was to write the feature articles for the catalog -- roundups and reviews of what was new and notable.
There being no web or email or anything, people would then phone in to rent a video and it would be delivered to their door. They would have to specify Beta or VHS, of course.
I forget how the videos then got turned back in, whether it was upon delivery of the next title or what. Possibly the videos were delivered and picked up on a route delivery, less like a pizza place than like the milkman.
Remembering the details of a business plan is hard when it wouldn't make a lot of sense even if you recalled it correctly.
Anyway, I was being paid in stock, but I also got to borrow a VCR (they rented those still somewhat rare devices) and I could take out as many tapes as I wanted.
Here's how long ago this was: We were using the VCR to time-shift David Letterman and watch him in the morning, and he was funny. No, really. Funny and inventive.
I forget how long the thing lasted, but, when it all fell apart, I got to keep the VCR, and they weren't cheap in those days.
Hey, people have emerged from collapsing pipe dreams with a lot less than that to show for it.
Insert video clip from another planet here: