Into everyone’s life comes the realization that we are not young and in between the time when we were, the world has changed. Not always for the better, either. In fact, it’s hard not to conclude the whole world has gone to shit since the internet arrived.
Aging is not something that, as a culture, we embrace. After all, who wants to be old? Being a senior today is way too often portrayed in the media as being vulnerable, out of touch and cranky, as if we emerged from the chrysalis of middle age into a hunched curmudgeon shuffling along with a walker, incontinence and a squint, grouching about how we miss rotary dial phones.
No, mostly we’re too busy to notice that it’s been a gradual but inexorable slide. We have jobs, hobbies, entertainment, pets, families, and even ukuleles to keep us from noticing the daily drift. We’re forever young as long as we don’t look inward. Then suddenly we look up and WTF? How did things get this way? How did I get this way? It’s like waking up with a start when you hear a door slam in the night.
I was a skeptic from an early age, but of late it seems I shake my head at human follies more often than I nod in appreciation of our accomplishments. But we all have more and more reason to be angry and astounded at human stupidity. Just spend an hour on social media or watching YouTube videos and you’ll be saying “You gotta be kidding!” so often that your Google Home device will start telling you to shut the fork up.
For me – and maybe for many of my readers – when I read headlines and news stories these days, or watch YouTube videos like those above, they are often followed in my head with a simple question: “What’s wrong with people these days?” And it’s not a once-and-a-while thing. It’s several times a day. I mean, just look at these recent stories and headlines and try not to ask yourself that question:
- A bizarre new trend dubbed the “Tide Pod Challenge” is gaining popularity among teens on social media (AJC.com) What’s wrong with people these days? Seriously: is anyone really so stupid they eat detergent? Apparently. Six people died as a result. I can hardly wait until teens start eating scrub pads and Borax. Or maybe oven mitts.
- Don’t Put Parsley in Your Vagina, Doctors Warn (Independent). What’s wrong with people these days? How stupid do you have to be to stuff a sprig of greenery normally found on restaurant plates into your vagina? And if you don’t have parsley do you use coleslaw? Olives? Scalloped potatoes?
- Gwyneth Paltrow and GOOP recommend irrigating your rectum and colon with coffee. Don’t. (Dr. Jen Gunter) What’s wrong with people these days?Come on: it’s Gwyenth thick-as-a-brick Paltrow. You have to be completely daft (or suicidal) to listen to anything she says! I suppose sufferers should be glad she didn’t recommend using dry coffee grounds…
- About a quarter of American adults (24%) say they haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year, whether in print, electronic or audio form. (Pew Research). What’s wrong with people these days? Are these people too busy with their phones to look at anything else? Reading is crucial to self-development and growth. It’s our greatest accomplishment as humans.
- Popular “cinnamon challenge” has potential to be deadly. (CBS News) What’s wrong with people these days? Do people just open cupboard doors and randomly choose something to ingest? Have they found the Draino yet?
- Don’t bother getting the kids out of bed this morning — school buses are cancelled. (Comment from Simcoe.com on its Facebook page) What’s wrong with people these days? Since when was children’s education optional, or too inconvenient for parents to bother with? Sure it’s cold, but the teachers still go to work, so why can’t the students? One respondent said her kids “deserved” a break – like they worked all night to create the weather to foil the machinations of evil Dr. Education. Get off your ass and drive them there!
- Just 66 percent of millennials firmly believe that the Earth is round (Scientific American). What’s wrong with people these days? What the hell are people being taught in school these days that they’d fall for this nonsense? This is BASIC science! No, there’s no excuse for this idiocy.
- Teenagers in MAGA Hats Mocked an Omaha Elder and Vietnam Vet at the Indigenous Peoples March (Jezebel.com). What’s wrong with people these days You know by now that pretty much any headline with the word MAGA is about some disrespectful, hurtful, vicious or deceitful act (and likely racist, too). Why aren’t kids being taught respect? These boys were bused into Washington by their school to protest women’s control over their own bodies; they weren’t on some trip to a museum. It was a stunt. And some folks are trying to defend their actions and the school for politicizing its students.
- The City of Dorval is once again battling a bit of fake news that has popped up on the web every now and then over the past three years. (iheartradio.ca) What’s wrong with people these days? This stupid, racist piece is still being shared in 2019. Isn’t anyone clever enough to check the facts before sharing fake – and clearly racist – news? But despite the ease of using Google it keeps getting passed around. Stop sharing bullshit!
- Survey: 41 percent of Americans don’t know what Auschwitz is (wgntv.com). What’s wrong with people these days? Are you freaking kidding me? This was the most horrible event in human history. What do they teach in schools these days? Is it too much to ask of people to know a bit about our collective past? How can we avoid making the same mistakes if we don’t know what they were? This is why antisemitism is still around.
UPDATE: Nearly half of Canadians unable to name any concentration camp or Holocaust-era ghetto: study (National Post). This just depresses the hell out of me. I thought Canadians were smarter. Apparently we’re just as stupid as the Americans we make fun of. This is very embarrassing. What’s worse: “Millennials, defined as people ages 18 to 34, were particularly uninformed.” Hey millennials: get your head out of your phone and start paying attention to the world! Everything isn’t about you! You’re helping make hatred stronger by your ignorance.
- Gillette ad about toxic masculinity and #MeToo movement draws criticism, boycott (NBC News). What’s wrong with people these days? Some male egos are so damned fragile that they can’t take a gentle chiding in an advertisement? Aw, boo hoo. And now they have to pout and boycott the company. Who decided that your bad behaviour couldn’t be challenged? Grow up, and get over yourself.
- Arizona lawmaker says porn fees could fund border wall (New York Post). What’s wrong with people these days? As if pornography wasn’t already a significant social problem, a lawmaker wants to institutionalize it (and then skirt all the fabled US laws about freedom of expression with a security lock-down on it). And let’s not forget Trump’s quickly-broken promise Mexico would pay for the wall, not Americans. But the whole wall thing was a stupid, racist idea from the start and promises a severe environmental backlash on top of international disdain. Every statistic says illegal immigration from Mexico has DECLINED since 2007. And despite the lies perpetuated by Sarah Sanders, only six people whose names were in a federal database of known or suspected terrorists were apprehended at the Mexico-US border. No matter what your political views, spending more than $5 billion on a wall in a country with decaying infrastructure, poor healthcare and decaying education is simply insane.
- Doug Ford warns of recession with carbon tax, economists disagree (Globe & Mail, Macleans). What’s wrong with people these days? Ontario’s answer to Donald Trump – our Premier, Doug Ford – isn’t an economist, so why is he spouting off like this? Like Trump, he likes to make what appear to be extemporaneous and often contentious remarks that require media fact-checking and frequent debunking. Economists and people who actually know what they’re talking about quickly pooh-poohed Ford’s claim. Like Trump, Ford has smart people around him, but they seem unable to contain his outbursts. It seems that, like Trump, his politics thrive on divisiveness and confrontation instead of working for the people who elected him.
- Measles: two US outbreaks are blamed on low vaccination rates (The BMJ) and Anti-vaccination views among top threats to global health: WHO (CTV News).What’s wrong with people these days? The World Health Organization now places the anti-vaxxers as a threat to world health alongside ebola. That shows you just who far the influence of stupid people has spread. In the first article it notes, “Most states allow parents to use religious reasons to opt out of vaccinations that are required for day care or school attendance, but 18 states allow parents to opt out for philosophical reasons.” How stupid is that? More than 200 cases of measles were reported in the USA – most affecting children. A bunch of anti-vaccination wingnuts who get their information from social media and the websites of charlatans and hoaxsters, are ignoring the science that has helped protect people from easily-preventable illness for decades. They are putting their children at risk and causing a health crisis in the USA, but lawmakers just sit back and let it happen.
- It’s Time To Start Alkalizing Your Body. (Mindbodygreen) What’s wrong with people these days? No, it never is time to be stupid about what you eat. Like detoxing, anti-gluten, anti-GMO, paleo diets and organic foods, alkaline water and alkalizing your body is just another diet fad with no scientific support, but a lot of people making money from it. Your body maintains your blood at a pH between 7 (neutral) to 7.4, which is already alkaline. Making it more alkaline than that could kill you. Fortunately, your body will resist your attempts: your lungs remove acid through exhaled air and your kidneys excrete acid in urine. No matter how many lemons you consume. Marketing food fads and diets to the gullible is a big business Stop being victims of these con artists..
- Kondo-mania has left homes everywhere in chaos (news.com.au). What’s wrong with people these days? Are people really incapable of picking up after themselves? Of throwing out their own garbage? Discarding clothes that are worn out or no longer fit? Apparently they live in a world where simple housekeeping chores now require intervention and outside assistance. Marie Kondo’s Netflix series on organizing and de-cluttering your home just underscores how lame we have become that we need both a TV show and a consultant to help us behave normally in our own homes. If your parents didn’t teach you to clean up after yourself, and put your toys away, then your parents failed you and you should not become parents yourselves.
- Injecting Semen Into Your Arm Does Not Treat Back Pain, Case Shows (Forbes). What’s wrong with people these days? And who dreams up this stuff? Did he just decide that medicine was all about making stuff up? What guy lies awake at night wondering what part of his body his semen should be injected into? I await the story about the one who injects it into his brain.
- Three arrested over Drake’s ‘in my feelings’ dance challenge (Punch). What’s wrong with people these days? People jump out of moving cars to dance along with music. What could go wrong when you’ve got a ton or two of moving metal beside you and a distracted driver? In at least one case, someone got run over and another teen ended up in hospital in her attempt. Police are calling the stunt “super dangerous.” I call it Darwin in action.
- The ‘condom snorting challenge’ is every parent’s worst nightmare (USA Today). What’s wrong with people these days? Teens are stuffing an unwrapped condom up one of their nostrils and inhaling until the condom comes out of their mouth. Aside from damaging your nasal lining, getting an infection, having an allergic reaction or just choking to death, what could be the downside?
- Man eats world’s hottest chilli pepper – and ends up in hospital: Carolina Reaper appears to have narrowed the arteries in the competitive eater’s brain, causing a series of thunderclap headaches (The Guardian). What’s wrong with people these days? I’ve been eating hot peppers and hot sauces for decades and even I don’t eat raw ghost peppers. Super-hot peppers have caused heart attacks and one man tore up his esophagus puking his hot pepper challenge. And don’t get me started on the idiot who put hot peppers in his girlfriend’s vagina… or the guy who took a bath in hot pepper sauce, The stupid: it burns!
- Blindfolded Utah teen crashes her car while doing the ‘Bird Box’ challenge (CNN). What’s wrong with people these days? The teen covered her eyes while driving and predictably crashed into someone. Other participants have been hurt trying to walk blindfolded or driving into trash cans. Even Netflix is warning viewers (aka idiots) that it’s just a movie. It’s not real life, not a documentary. These are professionals doing stunts. Don’t do this stuff at home. Why should TV networks HAVE to tell people this?
- ‘Corn drill challenge’ woman left with massive bald patch (The Mirror). What’s wrong with people these days? The “corn drill challenge” involves putting a cob of corn on a power drill bit, then trying to eat all the corn from the cob while the drill is running and the corn is rotating against your teeth and lips. In one failed attempt, a woman couldn’t hold the drill and it jumped up and snagged her hair, ripping out a large patch from her scalp before she could turn the device off. So far no one seems to have drilled through their cheeks or their skull when it slipped, but it’s only a matter of time.
- Internet ‘fire challenge’ leaves girl, 12, with critical burns to half her body (Global News). What’s wrong with people these days? What could be smarter than pouring a flammable liquid on yourself, then setting yourself on fire while you film it? If you’re lucky and don’t burn your eyes out in the attempt, you’ll be able to watch it again and again from your hospital bed during your months of painful surgery and slow recovery. True, you’ll end up scarred for life, but imagine what a YouTube star you’ll be!
- McGill science group takes aim at pharmacies for selling ‘quack’ flu remedy (CBC) What’s wrong with people these days? First of all, nothing homeopathic is a “remedy” – it’s just sugar or water. Second, are companies really so greedy for money that they would sell such obvious hoaxes instead of actual medicine? Doesn’t that put the public’s health — and maybe even lives — at risk? Homeopathy is bunk and should be banned. period.
- UPDATE: Video appears to show motorist clearing windshield of snow while driving on Toronto highway (Global News) “The clip begins with a close-up view of the driver holding an extended brush out of the driver’s side window as the SUV travels down the highway.” How the frig did someone this stupid get a driver’s licence? This isn’t merely the normal Toronto-area inconsiderate: it’s dangerously ignorant. What’s wrong with people these days?
There are a lot of non-lethal, but equally stupid challenges that deserve their own post but they all end with the same question: What’s wrong with people these days? I could go on. And on. I haven’t even weighed in on the stupidity of climate change deniers, the NRA, Brexit, smokers, the Kylie Jenner Lip Challenge, the milk-chugging (or gallon) challenge, or people who won’t get flu shots. The stupidity out there is beyond the scope of my small blog to encompass.