Make My Day
CAN I HOLD UP MY FINGER INSTEAD?
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- When there are people in this world who don't have any food, electricity, or decent medical care, you have to wonder whether some people's priorities are askew.
Take Judy Kleinberg, a member of the city council in Palo Alto, Calif. According to a recent story in the San Jose Mercury News, she developed a code of conduct manual for council meetings, and wanted to prohibit rude body language. So, no more head-shaking, frowning, or eye-rolling.
Just like everyone else who read this story, my first reaction was - of course - to roll my eyes. I then shook my head and muttered, "What a moron!" Obviously, none of this would be allowed if I were a member of the Palo Alto City Council, but I'm not, so ... neener neener neener!
Something tells me that Kleinberg isn't creating a code of conduct as much as she's protecting herself. I'm guessing that she's been on the receiving end of more than one eye-rolling, and finally decided to do something about it. Of course, this has been a campaign issue since 1999, when she spoke out against the city council's "dysfunctional politeness" on her Website.
Since the council has been known to argue - like every other democratically elected organization in the world - one of Kleinberg's committees drafted 44 rules of behavior, including the now-infamous eye-rolling rule. She also told reporters that she doesn't want anyone saying "Oh, my gosh!" while someone else is speaking.
However, according to a later story in the Mercury News, the PACC received so much worldwide news coverage and hundreds of angry e-mails that they agreed decided to drop the proposed guidelines.
Once again, our country's First Amendment - and the inalienable right to roll our eyes whenever anyone says or does anything stupid - has been protected.
Speaking of rolling one's eyes at stupid things, it seems those wacky vegetarians at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are making yet another contribution to worldwide idiocy. This time, they've made an offer to Hamburg, N.Y.: Change your name to Veggieburg, and we'll give you $15,000.
PETA is also known for promoting "Got beer?" campaigns to minors, asking the NFL's Green Bay Packers to change their name to the "Pickers," or asking Fishkill, N.Y., to change their name to Fishsave (never mind that "kill" is the Dutch word for "stream).
Now they're whining about the fact that Hamburg's name is associated with delicious, juicy, lip-smacking ground beef patties. So they offered $15,000 worth of bland and tasteless vegetarian patties to area schools instead.
"The town's name conjures up visions of unhealthy patties of ground-up dead cows," said PETA spokesman Joe Haptas in a letter to Hamburg Supervisor Patrick Hoak. "So we want to offer something gastronomically repulsive to your children."
Okay, he didn't really say that last part.
However, it's ironic that Haptas says "Hamburg" makes people think of dead cows, since one could argue that the name "PETA" conjures up the image of pasty-white, anemic hippies who shout animal rights slogans until they become weak from the effort.
Upon receiving the faxed letter, Hoak immediately rolled his eyes, which caused Judy Kleinberg to bang her gavel at him. He then declined and said "With all due respect, I think (hamburgers are) a delicacy in our community. We're proud of our name and proud of our heritage."
If the name "Hamburg" conjures images of anything, it's the city in Germany that bears the same name, not chopped up beef with a slice of onion and pickle on it. (And don't forget the cheese!)
Although if PETA wrote the history books, they would have us believe the Hamburg City Council was sitting around in a meeting in 1812, deciding whether to name the town "Hamburg," "Veal Cutletsville," or "Baby Venison Surprise."
"Our offer is serious as a heart attack," Haptas said ungrammatically.
While you have to admire PETA's dedication to animal welfare, they have all the sensitivity and tact of a 4-year-old yelling "Who farted?!" in a crowded room. As a result, PETA has a habit of getting a lot of people mad at them, and are in danger of becoming nothing more than a parody of their original efforts.
Instead, they should focus their efforts on more serious matters, like the deforestation of the northern part of Canada's Yukon Territory. As a form of protest, PETA members should travel up to the Yukon and chain themselves to remote trees to prevent more indiscriminate logging.
All of them.
And take Judy Kleinberg with you.