The war against reverb

Nancy Reagan, ew

Turns out that after years of crusading for massive labor beatdowns, a lower minumum wage, a globally apocalyptic and hallucinogenically ill-considered war on drugs, and scores of other issues recited verbotim from hard-right prayerbook, Nancy Reagan has taken a stance in favor of … embryonic stem-cell research.

Well, obviously, it’s because her husband has been so ravaged by Alzheimer’s. And obviously only someone with a heart of tempered steel would not feel pity for her situation. Fortunately, when it comes to Nancy Reagan, I actually do have a heart of tempered steel.

More precisely, her simpering hypocrisy reminds me of the whole reason that socialized health care rocks: Because it forces the rich to care about the quality of a nation’s welfare. Most of the time, of course, the brobdignagianally powerful could not possibly give less of a fuck about the lives of the meritless gnats scrabbling by in the bottom four-fifths of the American economy (to say nothing of the rest of the world). AIDS? Yeah, yeah. Crappy exploitative work? Cry me a river. Huge hydroelectric and oil/lumber concerns shredding the environment? Hippie.

But — whoops — as soon as someone powerful actually has to grapple with one of the horrible problems faced by tons of other people in society face, the hue and cry goes up; something must be done!

Grumble, grumble. Like Nancy Reagan actually gives a shit what I or anyone else says, but whatever. What’s the point of having a blog if you can’t write stuff that doesn’t make a shit’s worth of difference to the known universe?

I feel better now, I suppose.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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