Barbies, birds, and bird brains

When approached from an unconventional perspective, coincidences can sometimes be productive of interesting insights. For example, two events occurred on 13 August that on first consideration seem to have little to do with each other, but when juxtaposed in an unexpected manner and allowed to resonate, they prove to be quite instructive.

Died on 13 August 1991 – Jack Ryan, designer of the Barbie Doll and the pull-string talking voice boxes for all Mattel’s dolls. Today, many of these talking dolls are called “politicians,” and they all have someone pulling the stings that control what comes out of their mouths. Sometimes, of course, an improperly pulled string can produce oddly garbled answers, and it soon becomes obvious that the doll is programmed to say only a few things, no matter what it is asked. Nonetheless, the doll still pleases most five-year-old children, just as the equivalent politician pleases anyone with a five-year-old’s intelligence level.

Sarah Palin: History Major

Of course, every Barbie must have her equally fatuous Ken, and one politician seems ideally qualified for the role.

On 13 August 1987, fossil bones discovered in Texas in 1884 were proclaimed to be the remains of perhaps the world’s oldest bird, which may have lived more than 150 million years ago – except, ironically, in Texas, where evangelical Christian governor Rick Perry and his newly-appointed chairman of the State Board of Education, Gail Lowe, an avowed Creationist and enemy of science, reason, and reality, both presumably agree that the fossils cannot be more than six thousand years old, since that is the Biblically-determined age of the earth. When the ambitious Perry recently proclaimed “I am one of you” to a large gathering of evangelicals, and when the details of his dubious Super PAC’s were revealed, it became immediately apparent just which religious and corporate sponsors were pulling his string. Finally, it is not surprising that the governor can so glibly oppose evolution, since his college transcript reveals him to be a scientific dunderhead.

Rick Perry: Science is for the Birds.

Americans have already seen the political, economic, and ethical disasters that can ensue from electing a bird brain to our highest political office –

Quick - get Cheney! We need him to pull the string again.

– but there are so many cults of unreason in the United States these days that it is not impossible to imagine one of them gaining sufficient political leverage to help elect the next President. After all, by any sane measure it is clear that in the mental institution that is often politics in America, the inmates have escaped and want to run the asylum. And if the zanies can “pull the string” of the President, more than just an ancient bird will likely become extinct in the United States.

How do you like our plumage?

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