WILL UNWOUND #173: “What could be a More Appropriate Funding Source for Libraries than a ‘Stupid Tax’?” by Will ManleyJuly 15, 2010
For fun I like to play golf. I love the pleasant surroundings, the thrill of hitting a solid shot, and the challenge of trying to improve my athletic skills even as I wander into old age.
I am not a country club golfer and never will be. Give me the low end muni courses with their low prices (I can play as much as I want for 95 dollars a month), less than pristine conditions (you don’t feel so bad when you scuff up the course a bit), and lack of snobbery ( muni golf is blue collar golf).
The other thing I like about muni golf is that I never need to make a tee time. I just show up everyday around 1:00 and end up being randomly placed in a twosome, threesome, or foursome. I have met a lot of golfers that way, which is fun because I’m a gregarious person.
Yesterday I played with a chiropractor named Harold. Like 99% of the golfers I play with, Harold is a salt of the earth type of guy…a pleasant, talkative, friendly fellow. But like most of the golfers I play with, Harold does not like President Obama. This surprises me because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has to be Obama Central.
It’s okay not to like Obama. This is a free country, and political speech is the most protected speech we have, but what I’m finding very alarming on the golf course is the reasons why golfers don’t like President Obama.
Take Harold. Yesterday he made the statement, “I don’t believe in conspiracies, but I do believe in facts and the facts show that Obama was behind the BP oil spill from the get-go.” When I asked Harold to explain, he told me that by causing this spill, Obama was creating the conditions by which he and the federal government could seize permanent control of “Big Oil.” But that wasn’t enough. Harold moved on to the economy. Apparently, Obama wrecked the recovery because he wants to create the conditions by which he can implement a socialist “and maybe even communist” government.
When I asked Harold where he learned about these “facts” he simply replied “the internet.” Chiropractors are not uneducated people. I looked it up (on the internet!) and chiropractors have to go through a fairly rigorous academic training. So how do you explain Harold’s stupidity?
Other golfers I have played with have other “facts” about Obama. He wasn’t born in this country. He is an Islamic extremist. He knows where Osama bin Laden is but won’t allow the C.I.A. to capture him. It goes on and on. The source is always the same: the internet.
I bring this up because yesterday’s discussion on creating new taxes produced a comment from Nora on what she calls the “stupid tax.” Under the terms of the stupid tax, if you say something verifiably stupid you are taxed 50 or 100 dollars depending upon the egregiousness of the stupidity. Presumably the tax would go directly to libraries because libraries are where you go to get less stupid.
Here are my questions for you today, Unwinders:
- Are people in general getting stupider or is it just golfers and/or chiropractors?
- What effect is the internet having on our collective stupidity?
- How can libraries parlay the stupid factor into enhanced funding?
Unwinders, you all get a big shout out! Great comments on the last 2 posts! Now don’t get stupid today but have some fun! And don’t forget what James Carville said to Bill Cinton…”it’s the economy, stupid!”