I went to high school during what most scholars regard as the Golden Age of Sarcasm. The standard response to someone committing a in-class blunder was, "Well, I GUESS you're not DUMB enough..." And many people who heard those stinging words were aroused by them, snapped out of their lethargies, and became governors of Texas and Hawaii, and then sought higher office, only to meet with ignominy and worldwide disdain.
It was relentless. If someone tripped in a hallway jampacked with baby boomers, three or four people at once would call out, "Walk much?" I mean, that was no way to talk to the principal, but whaddya gonna do? It was the Golden Age, and before Homer Simpson's "d'OH!" we had the all-purpose rejoinder, "Duh!"
Well, I have brought "Duh!" out and dusted him off, because he is sorely needed in these current times in which we live now.
ITEM: Some air-traffic controller at Kennedy Airport in New York City, one of our larger metropolitan areas, where they have as many as 1100 planes landing every day, thought it would be a great idea to have his children sit in with him and talk to the planes. So, on a recent weekend, he uhhhh brought da kids theah to da aihpoht uhhhhh and uh let dem tawk to da pilots in da planes thea, you know what I'm talkin about heah?
Earth to Air Traffic Control at Kennedy Airport: These are big planes up in the sky and big ones on the ground, some landing, some taking off. All of them are full of people who, one presumes, wish to continue living for the foreseeable future. We hope that all of the planes accomplish their takeoff-or-landing goals without running into a) the ground b) each other or c) the control tower. One excellent way to prevent these things from happening would, uh, be to uh have adults in the uh control tower, Roger that? For the sweet love of God, it was just a year ago that a plane took off from your airport and had to land in the middle of the river because its engines were ruined by wildfowl. I'm not so sure that little Ethan or baby Snooki would have had the experience and training to operate the radio channel properly during such an emergency, but, hey! It's as cute as all get-out to let the kids tawk ta da planes deah, right, Noo Yawk? For the sake of Captain Quagmire's passengers, let's keep things professional up there, shall we?
But the Duhs don't stop in the big apple. Right down the street from here lies a major university - Towson U, formerly Towson State Teacher's College, formerly Towson State College, formerly Towson State University, and formerly the employer of an art professor who stood in front of his class a couple of weeks ago and declared that he was a (racial slur) in a corporate plantation. Someone complained and he got the can tied to him. Now he is in the papers, resorting to the time-honored "some of my best friends are ____" defense and also claiming that he is the victim of modern-day McCarthyism. Son, you are solely the victim of your own stupid mouth. Sure, you like to play the role of put-upon struggling artist for the sake of your students, who are probably standing there with their paintbrushes in hand, wondering why this guy is rambling on about his persecution at the hands of corporate interests. But you were hired to teach Art. In a way you did. You showed your students the art of making oneself unemployed and impenitent: always a formula for extended suffering. Maybe you could paint a picture of that.
We used to have a sign in the firehouse: "To be seen, stand up. To be heard, speak up. To be appreciated, shut up."