Hot Air: Buy & Bygone

Know Your Place

The United States Supreme Court did you and me a big favor yesterday when it ruled, 5-4 that contract employees could not press class action suits against their corporate employers for being, well, the greed-monkey jerks they normally are. Writing the opinion for the majority was Neil Gorsuch. You remember him, don’t you? The fellow who was nominated by President Gag to fill the Antonin Scalia vacancy after the Republicans staged a mini-junta and refused to allow then-Pres. Obama to seat his own nominee?

Junta leader Mitch McConnell.

And the favor the Court did us? It simply reminded us working people that we are powerless before the forces of unfettered capitalism and that our only acceptable roles in this 21st Century society are to work 60-hour weeks, shut our mouths, and pathologically consume all the useless shit our global economy produces, like bottled water, uniforms to ride bicycles in, Hello Kitty toasters, Fitbits, banana holders, guillotine bagel slicers, and everything else that keeps Asian workers on the assembly line at slave wages.

See, the Supremes didn’t want us running around starting to think we were anything more than consumerist cogs in the wealth-gap machine. Had we begun thinking we were, y’know, able to organize as workers, the five conservative Justices reasoned, we would become depressed at some time in the future when reality slapped us in the face. Nice guys, Gorsuch and his pals, no?


This item appeared in the Herald-Times this AM: A group called Stop Animal Exploitation Now! (SAEN) out of Milford, Ohio has demanded that Indiana University atone for some of the critter experimentation procedures employed in a certain series of tests it conducted for five years. The series of tests was suspended last July.

Acc’d’g to SAEN, researchers at the IU School of Medicine used trio breeding, killed some animals by breaking their necks w/o anesthesia, and conducted exploratory surgery on the critters in dirty rooms. SAEN says these practices were specifically forbidden by the contract between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and IU Med. The NIH began funding the series of experiments in 2012.

SAEN wants IU Med to pay back the dough it’s gotten from the NIH, the only real punishment applicable to the school in this case, per its funding agreement with the federal biomedical and public health research agency.

Trio breeding, BTW, is a practice wherein the researchers pen up one male and two females — usually mice — for quick and predictable reproduction purposes, the idea being, you know exactly what the genetic characteristics of the three are and the two females tend to help each other raise the resultant litters. Animal rights advocates object to trio breeding mainly because it can lead to cage overcrowding; mice — like humans — don’t like to be squeezed together.

I’m sure the research that was being done by IU Med was important. Whatever maladies or pharmaceuticals the researchers were digging into probably would produce some advancement for human health. Still, it seems supremely ironic that the greatest medical minds of our species find it necessary to batter, snap, crowd, nauseate, and wipe out little guys in order to help our own kind feel better and live longer.

Real beings.

I don’t espouse stopping all animal experimentation. Over the last four or so decades, we’ve emerged from a sort of laboratory dark age when furry pals were tortured or executed not just to find cures for childhood cancers, say, but also to find more pleasing colors for lipsticks or mascaras that would adhere to our kind’s eyelashes better. In that sense, we’re better people — dare I say more humane? — than we were in, oh, 1967. Today’s animal experimentations are done under strict guidelines designed to minimize pain and unnecessary deaths

Nevertheless, we still bat around living beings for our own betterment. Yes, it’s vital we find cures for disease and drugs that can help us cope with illness. It’s also vital that we remember these little guys experience agony, deprivation, loneliness, and most, if not all, those other emotions we like to call “human.”

Absolutely Old School

Caught an episode or two of Absolutely Fabulous on Netflix the other day. I used to watch the thing religiously on Sunday nights on PBS. AbFab was the cutting edge, Brit-com snarkfest that originally aired in this county a quarter of a century ago. The BBC production featured two hard-drinking, uber-jaded fashionistas navigating their way through the casual sex-dripping, coke-fueled London of the early ’90s. The two main characters, Edina, editor of a tony fashion mag, and her best pal Patsy, an aging model, drink, fuck, snort, curse, outrage, preen, shriek, chain smoke, bully, and otherwise somehow get each month’s edition out and survive the vicissitudes of a crazy world and their own, crazier, selves.

Edina (Jennifer Saunders, L), Patsy, (Joanna Lumley, R), and a boy toy (middle).

Hardly a single line of it would be permissible to be written for laughs in this humorless age. Patsy, instance, can’t play ping-pong unless she’s bumped up and Edina often wonders how much more fabulous her life would be had she aborted her teen daughter, Saffron, when she had the chance. The signature gag comes, early on, when Edina, drunk and riding a few lines, tumbles into her own father’s grave after showing up late for his funeral.

I loved every minute of it.

Funny thing is, watching it now is the equivalent of my parents enjoying an old W.C. Fields movie in, say, 1968.

And the actress who played Saffy, 16 or so when the show originally ran, is now a middle-aged woman.

This tempus fugit thing can make a person feel sort of jittery.

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