Liberal Social Harmony, "Aren't You Glad You Used Dial?" Edition
Ostensibly, Breezy Willis' target here is none other than the worst consumerist offenders of all - UW alums who attend hockey games. I kid not: After taking a seat at the Kohl Center, one has only to glance quickly around to get a good look at one of the thousands of red-clad consumption machines who are more commonly known as upper-middle-class Wisconsin alumni. They are easy to identify. Usually they attend games with their kind-looking, but submissive and clueless wives clinging to their arms, or with their stoic, spare-tire-sporting husbands standing at their sides and staring off into space during time outs.
Red-clad consumtion machines! I love it!
But the piece quickly loses whatever coherence it hoped for, and turns into a rant about the wretchedness of people who like to drive cars and who weigh more than the author thinks they should. It'd be very hard for me to pick out what I love most about this piece, but this part is priceless:
Typically, they [alums] are overly clean, and smell of laundry detergent, deodorant, cologne, perfume, lipstick, soap, hair dye, Rogaine, Viagra, blush and aftershave. Their hair is always neatly trimmed, and the men's faces are always scraped clean with razors on a daily basis, while the women's are painted unnatural Revlon hues.
Hmm... this is an odd thing to complain about. Something tells me that Breezy Willis, if I were to meet her (him?), likely goes without these things. Unshaved, messed up hair (maybe in white-boy dreads, at least?), and worst of all - no deordorant. Breezy, I take it, is never overly clean! If I meet Breezy, I need to buy her a T-shirt that says "Avoid Being Overly Clean." Of course, that would only be more consumerism, so he'd probably hate it. Can't please everyone, I guess.
And what, exactly, are Rogaine and Viagra supposed to smell like? Wait... don't answer that question.
Then there's the classic economic fallacy that undergirds egalitarianism in all its guises: "In a world with limited resources, one person consuming more means other people are consuming less. The evidence is everywhere; some starve while others grow obese, some live in massive, suburban homes while others patch together huts out of mud and sticks. Not only is the life that the unaware, materialist zombie leads unrewarding, but it is also cruel and thoughtless, since it directly impinges on the rights of other human beings to possess the basic necessities of life. One could probably buy food for a poor family for a year just by pawning the goods that could be stripped off a Kohl Center-going pair of alumni."
If universities across the nation intend to force incoming freshmen to take seminars on multiculturalism and all manner of PC nonsense, I wish they'd also require some basic economics as well. Just one essay by Julian Simon? Would that be too much to ask? Anyway, not only is the above literally the exact opposite of truth (people everywhere have more with increased consumption), it trades on a fallacious economic concept, the fixed pie of a zero-sum game. And what gives this piece such strong shades of totalitarianism, beyond its undisguised visceral hatred of middle class and overweight people, is that when you start talking about a pie, you have to start talking about who, and how, that pie will be divied up. Which is precisely, of course, the role our friend Breezy might want someday. Of course, maybe Breezy isn't that ambitious. Maybe she'd prefer to organize little groups of fellow "not overly clean" activists - they could all wear plain red, or brown, shirts, and they could mug some of these middle class alum as they exit games at the Kohl Center, pawning their stuff and redistributing the goods to poor people. Sounds like a winner to me. And it sounds like a great way to thank all those overly clean and well-groomed UW alums who graciously donate huge chunks of their over-taxed paychecks to make it possible for Breezy to major in International Studies and write a column for the "official" UW paper.
The thing is, this reads like a self-parody - like a really piss-drunk Peter Singer. If UW had a decent parody newspaper (not The Onion - something about local & college news), I'd expect a piece like this to run there. Unreal. God, I love Madison!