Whatever It Is, I'm Against It!

Sharon March 25th, 2009

I don’t know what they have to say,
It makes no difference anyway,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I’m against it.Your proposition may be good,
But let’s have one thing understood,
Whatever it is, I’m against it.
And even when you’ve changed it or condensed it,
I’m against it.
I’m opposed to it,
On general principle, I’m opposed to it! – Groucho Marx

It is definitely my fault that Simon thinks he’s Groucho Marx.  First of all, we gave him the middle name “Julius” which was Groucho’s name.  And then we introduced the boys to the movies – in fact, right now as a reward for something, Simon, Isaiah and Asher are watching the Marx Brothers hornpiping to the song mentioned above in “Horsefeathers.”  Oh, and they are plotting their Halloween costumes for next year – guess who?   The all important and ongoing “who gets stuck with Zeppo” debate engulfs us, ultimately to be resolved by Mommy threatening to take away the fake mustache of the initiator.

I’m starting to channel Groucho too, at least when I listen to the range of presented solutions to our problems.  Like Groucho, I’m starting to think that the best possible answer to any of the solutions coming from Washington or from nearly anyone who has a half-assed grasp of the fact that we have problems, but isn’t willing to actually stop running madly in all directions long enough to look at the root causes of those problems or the connections between them, is simply comic nihilism. ”Whatever your moronic rescue plan is, I’m against it – now will you get your large congressional-style behind and whatever you are imagining you are stimulating out of my way so I can get this wheelbarrow through and grow some rutabagas?”

Here are some things I’m against, in no particular order:

1. The Fed.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very sympathetic to their position - it must be very frustrating to be so very powerful (able to destroy the future of millions of Americans and their posterity in a single blow) and so very powerless (completely unable to do anything to change how totally screwed the rich folks are). I truly grieve for those who see the suffering of Wall Street companies and find themselves transfixed by the tragic misery of their executives.  But I think at this point, the only thing left to do is excavate the skeleton of Alexander Hamilton (who despite his limitations would be appalled, and who almost certainly could power a section of Washington with the energy produced by spinning in his grave) and replace Tim Geithner with Hamilton’s corpse.  This will save on staffing, and improve the quality of the initiatives coming out of it..  We can import some Zimbabwean immigrants to run the printing presses for further savings.

2. The Democratic party, the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, the Working Family Party, the Lazy Family Party,  the Green Party, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, the Manichean Party, the Hemp Party, the Crystal Meth Party, the Party of the First Part…. 

3. The Media, especially the newspapers.  Ok, folks, you are on your way out of business in many cases.  You literally have nothing to lose if you tell the truth and do real, serious investigative journalism about the biggest story in American history – the destruction of a country that actually used to be worth something.  I do not mean the kind that most papers (there are a few important exceptions) are doing that show “Gasp, you mean the government knew about AIG’s situation and didn’t say…Shocked, I’m shocked and appalled…” but the kind that might actually help ordinary citizens (you know, those people you wrote for back before they became “consumers”) understand their future and prepare for it.  But we gotta keep Al’s Tuxedo Shop happy for one last ad, and Al doesn’t really like bad news.

4. Geoengineering as a solution to climate change.  Yes, for the very first time ever, engineers will produce solutions without any negative or unintended consequences.  The National Academy of Science’s solution to the problem of unintended consequences – “We’ve trained all our scientists never, ever to say “oh, holy fuck, I didn’t think it would do that!” out loud anymore.  They’ve also been warned they could be fired for uttering the word “oops” audibly.  That should take care of the problem.”

5. The word “biomass.”  The term you want is “forest”  And why be mealy mouthed about it – forests suck!  They aren’t even keeping the planet cool anymore, so what’s the point of all that unused potential cellulosic ethanol just looking pretty.  But yes, let’s transform all the organic material on the planet into fuel so we don’t have to stop driving our cars.   Or maybe we could turn it into electricity through the elegantly described “biomass co-generation” which really means “Who needs plant life, food or topsoil, when, after all, Steve needs his beer to be really, properly cold before he puts a redwood in his riding mower.”

6. People who are slowing down the apocalypse.  Like these folks I think most Americans are lazy slobs who simply aren’t doing their share to bring about the end of the world as we know it. 

A Department of the Interior report released Wednesday stated that there are 6 trillion such instances that could not possibly go any slower if they tried, some of which include budget meetings, shaving, the act of waiting, upward mobility, microwaving that lasagna, settling down and starting a family, walking from one place to another, searching for a misplaced item, returning to the place you initially walked from, air travel, 2009, and the time it takes for a sent e-mail to arrive in someone’s inbox.

There are thousands of us waiting here impatiently to actually need to eat our stored rice, fend off zombies and start really wiping their butts with that cloth toilet pape by necessity, and that doesn’t seem like the circumstances making this necessary will be in place before early May.  We’re Americans – we can do better than that!

7. Gay marriage. As they celebrate their 30th anniversary together, surrounded by their daughters, sons in law and grandchildren, I’d like express my anger at my mother and step-mother for modelling a lasting, family centered, loving, happy, religiously grounded marriage for my sisters and I, and virtually forcing us into similar relationships with our husbands. Not only are my mother and step-mother personally eroding family values left and right in their neighborhood (that guy around the corner from them who got divorced named them specifically, and their chickens,  as the root cause of his whoring and Jagermeister addiction), but my husband has informed me that because his values have been undermined by my lesbian parents, after we’ve been married 80 years, he expects to be permitted to date other people.  All I will be able to do is what any 105 year old being dumped for a 98 year old girlfriend would do – blame Mom.

8. The National Debt.  Who cares that we’re now well on our way towards third world country status, unable to dig our way out of our hole by oppressive repayment schedules that won’t end in anyone’s lifetime?  That’s not the problem – who can imagine that we’ll ever care about debt?  My objection is that I can’t get a longer than 30 year mortgage, but the government can get a home equity loan on my country that doesn’t have to be paid off until 2290?  I’m planning on using the US as a model and refinancing my home under the new “hundred year mortgage” plan, so that by the end of the loan period, I, my children, grandchildren and their  heirs and assigns have had the chance to pay 1.7 million dollars for my 80K mortgage.  If the country can afford it, so can I.

9. China – I’m deeply opposed to their plan to stop buying our treasuries and maybe even establish a non-dollar currency for trading useful things like oil, food and wool socks.  Don’t they realize they owe us – we bought their plastic crap for them.  We did it purely out of the goodness of our hearts – most of us felt that we really didn’t need a new “entertainment center,” vaginal freshening spray or “Hora dancing Elmo” but we knew that our brothers and sisters in China needed our help, so we bought them anyway.  Now it is China’s turn to help us in our time of need, by buying our increasingly worthless treasuries.  It is only fair.

10. Methane.  I’m deeply opposed to methane, and would like to suggest a resolution that respectfully requests the permafrost to stop melting, cows and congress to stop farting and Starbucks to recycle 4.3% of its coffee grounds.  After all, never let it be said that I don’t have anything positive to contribute.  I’m definitely against negativity.

That’s it – I’m against them all.  Those are my principles, and as Groucho once said, “If you don’t like them…I’ve got others.” 


31 Responses to “Whatever It Is, I'm Against It!”

  1. Theresa says:

    You rock Sharon! (And so do your moms!)

  2. Chile says:

    Funny, Sharon! Heard a stupid-scary story on the news this morning along these lines. Our city water company is facing a huge shortfall in their budget this year because, gasp, people are using less water! They’ve been pushing water conservation for years, as is appropriate in the desert, but couldn’t get any city council members to approve an increase in water rates. Ya just gotta shake your head.

  3. MEA says:

    Heck, and I’m just against other people.

  4. Kerr says:

    I’m definitely in favor of being against other people… in the nicest possible way, of course.

  5. Greenpa says:

    Laughing out loud!

    And once again, our tastes in art coincide. Smidgen, at 4, can name Groucho and Harpo, and knows Chico as “the one that talks and plays piano.”

    Loved the Onion bit on “too long”.

    Us humans are a hilarious crowd, if you only take a look.

    What if it turns out that we are just a sitcom on the gods’ cable channel?

  6. ChristyACB says:

    I’m laughing my patootey off over here! Good one and yes, it sure does sound like you’re channeling Groucho today. But in a good way! Thanks for the link to the Onion. I had never seen it before and I am mightily entertained. :)

  7. Katrien says:

    So good! Are the people growing the rutabagas the only ones left with a sense of humor?

  8. BlissfulBee says:

    Go Sharon!

  9. Greenpa says:

    Also a good time to remember that other bit of Marxist humor:

    “Everybody knows there ain’t no Sanity Clause.”

  10. NM says:

    I love it! Especially the part about the solution to unintended consequences. Thanks for the morning laugh.

  11. Kati says:

    *chuckle* Numbers 4 through 7 were my favorites, though #4 took the cake overall.

    Thanks for the morning laughs (and the onion report) Sharon!

  12. kathy says:

    I just read that the EU is less than enamored with our economic proposal and considers it the road to Hell. I really needed a laugh and you gave it to me.

  13. Jill says:

    That was great Sharon – thanks.

  14. risa b says:

    “Baravelli: I make you proposition. You owe us $200, you pay us $2000, and we call it square.
    Wagstaff: That’s not a bad idea. I tell you … I’ll consult my lawyer. And if he advises me to do it, I’ll get a new lawyer.”

    – Horse Feathers

  15. Cat says:

    Awesome! Sharon – you are a true gem. :-)

  16. gen123 says:

    Are you against fusion centers? Check out Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC)–interesting.

    And addressing your #8, from the AP of 3-24-09:
    A Congressional Budget Office analysis released last Friday estimates Obama’s budget would generate deficits totaling $9.3 trillion over the next decade
    “If these plans are carried out, we run the risk of looking like a Third World country,” said McConnell, R-Ky.
    But Obama repeated his claim that his plans would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term in 2011 — “even under the most pessimistic estimates.”
    So, based on Pres. Obama’s
    estimates, you only have 2 years to get your house half paid for…..there goes your 100 year loan idea.

  17. graycat says:

    Perhaps the Marx brothers would like to run our government? Although I agree with all you said about Alexander Hamilton.

  18. Bart says:

    Funny and good points.

    One thing I have to disagree with is hopping on the populist anti-government bandwagon.

    This is a slippery slope – one gets applause from different parts of the political spectrum because everyone is ‘against the gub’ment.’

    This is a theme throughout the peak oil blogosphere that makes me uneasy , as if all we have to do to enter permaculture paradise is to discard the government and economic structure.

    It’s ironic because we are all so deeply dependent on the government and economy. As one example, many of us would not be alive today or would be crippled were it not for modern medicine. This is true for my wife and me, as well as many of your readers.

    And yet, as you point out, we are going to have to move to a different kind of civilization.

    The problem is how to make the transition without the wars, revolutions, ethnic cleansings and catastrophes that have marked previous transitions.

    For samples of what can go wrong, all we need to do is look at European history 1920-45.

    It’s going to take patience and careful thinking to make the transition.

    I’ve been following the essays being published at The Nation which are grappling with this problem. Barbara Ehrenreich is saying something particularly interesting things:


    At the bottom of the article, see links to the related essays by people like McKibben and Solnit.

    your fan,
    Bart Anderson

  19. Much needed hilarity, thank you, Sharon.

    BTW I am sort of against the internet these days. Logging off more – only on from 1-5 pm weekday afternoons. Serenity ensues.

    I can definitely state that I am against news blogs, Twitter and maybe Facebook although I just can’t give up Facebook.

    PS, my husband wants to know when are we supposed to start eating the rice? Cause he hates white rice and thinks we should just get rid of that 20 lb bag I bought on sale at the drugstore. He has been “eating more like a hippie” lately for the sake of his health (having finally given up on Atkins) but he draws the line at white rice.

    I didn’t want to tell him that the white rice is zombie insurance – keep them fed for a little while, if the apocalypse ever gets here. :)


  20. WNC Observer says:

    I’m surprised that you didn’t include that pesky old 2nd Law of Thermodynamics on your list. What a drag that thing is! No fun at all!

  21. Diane says:

    In the matter of geoengineering ideas we have biochar. It sounds too good to be true so it probably is. So far, I have only seen Monbiot question it and some respected environmentalists have championed it but to me it sounds like the science is barely preliminary. And this week we learned that dumping iron in the ocean won’t lock up carbon because iron isn’t the limiting factor after all. I think the PTB’s are engaging in magical thinking in respect to both economic and environmental issues. Or hoping the public will.

  22. knutty knitter says:

    Have you ever noticed how often quick fixes also find a use for yet another toxic whatever that has been sitting around as someones leftovers from other products? Like “we have this stuff – now find a use for it so it won’t be necessary for us to dispose of it.”

    viv in nz

    Life in the slow lane is where its at man.

  23. Brad K. says:

    I don’t get it. Why all the comments about “how funny”? These seem like serious accusation, and plausible remedies.

    Just a couple of nits, thought. I think your perspective is a bit skewed on the Gay Marriage thing. I think you should actually find joy in your Mom’s union, for the values and for the loving home.

    And the cow methane is mostly from burping. Wasn’t that also supposed to be the reason for the holes in the ozone layer, until the holes in the ozone layer started closing? No, that was only cows grazing on leased federal lands that caused that, according to law suits against the Bush, Sr. administration. Has anyone actually checked that more methane arises, from year to year, on a patch of meadow that a cow grazes on, than a patch that a cow doesn’t graze on? Or that a cow produces more methane, annually, for the amount of grazing, than other grazers would have created? This whole methane thing smells .. well, fishy.

    And I am against Congress accepting full salaries and pensions until the national debt is paid off, and the budget balances against tax revenue. And the tax rate is under 12% for the highest bracket.

  24. Bill says:

    Hi Sharon:
    Like myself, I think you must have been born with your tongue firmly implanted in your cheek. This latest piece is a good example. I have nothing but appreciation and total agreement to express here. Sorta strange to hear a lady using the “F” word, but it was well-placed and an certainly appropriate.

    Here, in TN, in Tellico Plains, specifically, we have an outfit called Ready Made Resources, a family owned business devoted to preparing, etc. I spent a most interesting hour on the phone with Roxanne yesterday, and am looking forward to visiting her and her husband at their store. The web site is definitely worth a visit! After our chat, I do think Roxanne and her hubby are of the Presbyterian persuasion. Not especially doomers…but close. I think you might enjoy a call to her, in the spirit of enuminical brotherhood…or sisterhood, as it were.

    In any case, I think it’s only fair to warn you that my attorney is going to be contacting you reagrding the hernia I sustained while reading you latest post. Pleeeeeeeeeze don’t stop!!! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, my achin’ gut!!!

    Peace and best wishes,

  25. David King says:

    I’m against slippery slopes! That phrase has been useful in keeping perfectly intelligent legislation from being passed because it would lead us to do more of the same thing to ridiculous extremes. Like, we can’t ban assault weapons because it would be a slippery slope that would eventually take away even pop guns from children… Hmmmm… maybe that wasn’t a good example. OK… we shouldn’t legislate against driving with a cell phone because we’ll eventually find ourselves inexorably drawn into legislating against driving while in cells. Or is that phoning while in cells? I’m not really sure.


  26. “Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you, he really is an idiot.”"

    Just insert Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner or your least favorite Senator/Congress person


  27. Sharon says:

    Brad, you are kidding, right? Of course I’m proud of my mother and step-mother. This was a humor piece.

    Bart, you have a point – some of the government shots are cheap. And yet, if we’re to take Orlov seriously, is it not possible that there really is no way that government can do much more than mitigation – and they aren’t doing that. I’m not permaculture paradise person, but I do think that it may well be that it is possible that federal-level government only can make things worse – or not much worse. I don’t know that’s the case, and this again is a humor piece, not a more serious analysis of your interesting question. I’ll put that on the list.


  28. Anonymous says:

    Ahh, yes . . . number 9. The US is waiting in the ticket line for a hyperinflationary ride. Make sure the bar is down and your seatbelt is tight.

    If we cannot buy their goods, they will not loan us money. If they do not loan us money, we cannot have them produce the crap that we buy. Why would they want to buy our worhtless treasuries? Keep the presses running, Helicopter Ben. We will surely be destroyed.


  29. juliet says:

    I like sarcasm and swearing.

  30. Bart says:

    Thanks for the reply Sharon. I realize your piece was mostly humor, but you are one of the few who can tackle something like this.

    I love Dmitry Orlov, but I would not take literally his ideas about the prospects for social change in America. His strong point is the Soviet experience, which had 75 years of repression and war. They are champs at survival, but they get a D- in democratic social change.

    We in America are much luckier. You and I are not going to be shipped away to work camps for anti-Soviet agitation. Our main problems are our ignorance and impatience.

    I’ve been going through the works of Vasily Grossman, who wrote the monumental novel Life and Fate, almost a 20th century War and Peace, about life in the USSR during the Battle of Stalingrad.

    Afterward reading what the Soviet citizens went through, I feel impatient with Americans. We have democratic institutions that we are too lazy to use. We want instant fixes, and if they don’t come, we declare it all a sham and prophesize collapse. (rant off)

    Ironically, I’ve been in correspondence with a German peak oil author who envies the American and English propensity for grassroots action.

    BTW you and several other PO authors got favorable mentions on an Australian radio program, “The Peakist”

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