Friday, January 03, 2014

2013: the year in review

The old year is past. What weirdness shall we remember from 2013?

In Iowa last fall, debate raged over whether or not blind people could obtain a gun permit. It would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act to deny a gun permit to someone just because that someone is blind. The story was picked up by USA Today (a.k.a. McPaper) and also by the online publication The Daily Beast.

But why should the Second Amendment be limited to pistols and rifles? Why not include machine guns or nuclear weapons? What could possibly go wrong?

The novelist Philip Roth is most famous for Portnoy's Complaint (a.k.a. "The Gripes of Roth"), along with many other novels. (Enough novels to justify the creation of a new literary journal, devoted to Philip Roth Studies) Roth wrote decades ago that the challenge facing a novelist in America today is that reality is stranger and more grotesque than anything the novelist can imagine.

Roth wrote the truth. The stand-up comic Mort Sahl got his best material from the headlines. Too bad Mort missed this one: back in the Reagan Administration, a US official spoke to an official about the effects of sea-level rise on low-lying Bangladesh: "Now you have cows. In the future you'll have fish!"


Daniel Wirt said...

"In the future you'll have fish!"

In the future they may not have fish:

Daniel Wirt said...

Of course, according to Russell Seitz's analysis, there is nothing to worry about, since sea level rise should be limited to centimeters. (But, he reserves the right to change his mind if he is wrong and all the cows in Bangladesh drown...)