Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The last mammal

Discovery Channel did a show a few years ago called The Future is Wild, and the premise is that humans "leave" the earth, and then millions of years later some kind of probe comes to the earth and makes a nature show about all the new animals that have evolved. Anyway, besides the fact that humans "left", what got to me was the animal they called the poggle, which was, according to the show, the last mammal. The thing about the poggle that is so depressing is that the poggle, the last in a long line of mammals including majestic creatures like whales, bats and horses, is a little hamster-like creature that is raised for food by giant spiders. So that's how it ends, Discovery Channel? All those warm-blooded hijinks for that, to feed spiders in the deep future? Quite sad.

Or not. I mean, maybe mammals weren't meant to live in the warped, twisted future that the staff of futurologists and futuronomists at DC have created. Maybe 100million years in the future is better off without mammals.

Anyway, I was thinking about evolution today, in particular social evolution. The thing that spurned it all was the fact that Bill Clinton has convinced junk food companies to stop selling so much junk food in schools, and there's apparently some kind of trans-fat restriction bill on the docket somewhere. And that would be totally anti freedom of choice, right? How can it be America when you can't even choose your lunch? So that got me thinking about good old fashioned freedom. The kind of good old fashioned frrreedom where you hit the R really hard like a rreal Amerrrican. Anyway, it all started with the founding fathers, those bootlegging tax-evaders, who wanted Americans to be as free as they could possibly be, like old Patrick Henry said, "Give me liberty or give me death." Right? So, given 230 years of evolution, where did that freedom wind up?
I posit that it ended up going something like this: as an American, you are exposed to every possible opportunity to fuck up your life without the government getting in your way. You are totally free to do anything that is likely to ruin your future. And even the people in a position to tell you not to, who know better, may not intervene because they're Amerrricans too. And then after the damage has been done and you know better and you see it coming for the next generation, you bite your tongue in the name of frrreedom.
When I moved to Korea I initially noticed the same thing that most foreign men do: The women are so beautiful. You hear it all the time among Americans abroad, I'm sure they say it in most any foreign country that they go to. Why? Is it because immigration to America has somehow detrimentally mutated the DNA of our nation's ancestors? Of course the answer is that such a huge proportion of our men women and children are fat that half of our beautiful women are trapped inside fat bodies. In my high school there was a girl from China who came to the U.S. not speaking a word of English and, a few years later got an astronomical SAT verbal score. What does that mean? Americans are dumb? Yes, but not because they do poorly on standardized tests. Because they don't push the importance of education in anyway near the way they do in some other cultures. So what you find in the U.S. is a nation of underachievers with lots of rich life experience. I'm serious, not being fascetious about the rich life lessons bit, it's true. The question is, is it good or bad to live way below your potential, making mistakes left and right with little guidance in order to get this life experience?

No comments: