Editors Note: Now, admit it ... aren’t there times when you open up the newspaper and find yourself thinking that the human race is just too goddamn stupid to survive?

Tell It to the Vulcans


For baby boomers growing up in the 1960s, the sci-fi classic “Star Trek” was must-see TV. The most-impressive officer on the Starship Enterprise was Mr. Spock, the always-logical Vulcan, whose reaction to his Terran shipmates’ irrational behavior often fluctuated from bemusement to exasperation. I wonder what it would be like to explain today’s human comedy to a clear-thinking Vulcan.

Figure this one out, Mr. Spock. On their way out of Gaza, Israeli settlers bulldozed their buildings. It’s understandable they’d prefer razing their homes to permitting Palestinian fanatics sworn to Israel’s destruction to occupy them; however, what if a sale could have been negotiated?

If the Israelis had asked for 40 cents on the dollar, they wouldn’t have left Gaza empty-handed. And instead of moving into rubble, the Palestinians, who must now build new homes, could have had them at a discount. It didn’t happen, of course, because it’s simply not human nature to take advantage of a win-win situation.

Meanwhile, one of the reasons Muslim protesters took umbrage at the Danish political cartoons was because they portrayed Islam as a violent faith. So, outraged demonstrators burned embassies, destroyed churches and murdered bystanders to prove Islam is peaceful. Mr. Spock, don’t even ask me to explain religion to you.

Closer to home, pro-lifers are obsessed with preventing hospitals and pharmacies from dispensing morning-after contraceptives ... which reduce the number of abortions. Many of these same people also disapprove of condoms and oppose sex education, evidently believing ignorance is bliss. You see, Mr. Spock, earthlings hate sex because it causes disease, unwanted pregnancies and abortions … or is that the reason?

And why are Democrats outraged when the president nominates right-wing ideologues to the Supreme Court? Mr. Bush campaigned twice as a right-wing ideologue and made it clear he planned to pack the court with hard-core conservatives, like Justices Thomas and Scalia. Whom did Ted Kennedy expect him to nominate … Ramsey Clark?

When lawyers float preposterous ideas without laughing out loud, they’re said to pass the “giggle test.” Was Clarence Ray Allen’s attorney able to keep a straight face while arguing before the Supreme Court that the 76-year-old triple murderer was too old and frail to be executed? What was he afraid of … that Allen wasn’t healthy enough to die from the lethal injection?

Allen also contended that the 23 years he’d spent on death row exhausting his appeals constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.” That’s like the old joke about the man who murders his parents, then begs for mercy on the grounds he’s an orphan. But Mr. Spock wouldn’t giggle at this ― Vulcans have an exceedingly dry sense of humor.

On the lighter side, when did Hollywood become so trivial that used clothes became big news? Reese Witherspoon was horrified to discover that the dress she’d sported to the 2006 Golden Globes had been worn by Kirsten Dunst three years earlier. Even a Vulcan’s computer-like mind wouldn’t recall one celebrity’s outfit in the endless sea of couture (Hollywood runs award shows for itself pretty much every waking moment). However, some people’s lives are apparently so superficial, they actually keep track.

And when did we become so enamored with celebrities that even their former relatives get their own reality shows? It was bad enough when mindless couples like Britney and Kevin or Jessica and Nick were filmed doing nothing interesting. But now we have “The Gastineau Girls,” in which cameramen follow the ex-wife and daughter of retired Jets lineman Mark Gastineau around while they shop and order lunch. And yes, Mr. Spock, people really do watch this stuff.

Maybe it’s because we’re taught to be irrational from an early age. Witness the concept of “indigo children.” Described by their admirers as disruptive, eccentric, irritating, undisciplined, hard to get along with and convinced of their own superiority, indigos would be called “brats” in less self-absorbed eras. But nowadays, they’re often home-schooled to keep their “specialness” from being tainted by contact with teachers and less-gifted children (i.e., those without attention deficit disorder and obnoxious personalities).

People who claim to see human auras report these children emit an indigo glow. Those who take this stuff seriously also contend the indigos represent a spiritual and developmental leap into the future. Apparently, this future will be annoying. If the Enterprise’s logical first officer served with an indigo crew and their aura-viewing sycophants, he’d probably want “to boldly go” as far away from them as possible.

But who am I to make fun of other people’s foibles? In 2000, when the Supreme Court appointed Halliburton’s ex-CEO Dick Cheney to be vice president, my wife suggested we spend every nickel we could could beg, borrow or steal on Halliburton stock. When Cheney and Mr. Bush decided they’d destroy Iraq, then rebuild it, my wife again recommended a substantial purchase. Between the March 2003 invasion and the end of March 2006, the company’s stock value has more than tripled, as well as paid some generous dividends, and I still don’t own a share.

You’re right, Mr. Spock, we earthlings are one dumb species.

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