Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pond Scum

I am often bemused by the fact that for all my Pollyannish attitudes and gushing pronouncements on just how wonderful people are, I in fact very often consider vast numbers of people pond scum, whose membership in the human race should be terminated.

A week or so ago, I watched the questionably-titled "America's Got Talent"—an indication of both the sorry state of television and my desperation to watch it regardless. The audience had obviously been transported bodily from a “bread and circuses” event in 1st century Rome, glorying in their negative power. They hated everyone, talented or not. The last contestant (for some very strange reason I do not understand, the last contestant is always by far the most talented. Sheer coincidence, I'm sure) was a singer whose vocal cords had been smashed in an accident eleven years ago, and who had been unable to even speak for several years.

Granted, the quality of the “talent” that preceded him had set the mob in a justifiably foul mood, but they took it several steps beyond foul. The minute he walked on stage, the boos started, and drowned him out as he started to sing. He has a great voice, but they didn't give a shit: they wanted blood. And then, probably on cue from some unseen prompter, the boos turned to cheers and at the end of this number everyone was standing and cheering and doing that uniquely human "What? Us? No! We always thought he was great" turnaround that always follows the success of something everyone was sure would fail. Pond scum, every one of them.

E-mail spammers are pond scum, pure and simple. Those who prey on the trusting, the naive, and the elderly, are so far beneath contempt that applying the term “pond scum” to them could be considered a compliment.

TV evangelists who shamelessly bilk those desperate for reassurance and something to believe in by pleading for money to do “God’s work”—which somehow always coincidentally seems to include making the preacher very, very rich—are pond scum.

Politicians and talk show pundits who ruthlessly use bigotry, intolerance, and the boundless ignorance of those who never take the time to think for themselves to promote their own ends are pond scum.

People so pathetically insecure that the only way they can feel superior to others is through cruelty, embarrassment, and insensitivity are pond scum.

And thee and me, my friends, ride pristine in our neat little boats upon a vast, smooth, and algae-green sea.

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