The Kids Are Alright
The sign on the wall next to the steam room blares, “Caution: Do you like to slip or get your socks wet. WE DIDN’T THINK SO”. The message goes on to describe the dystopian outcomes for people who don’t towel off properly before entering the locker room to change. ISIS has nothing on the terror of athlete’s foot, apparently .
A few feet away in the water-free dressing room is a sign listing a code of conduct expected from the occupants of the room. These include a lot of respect notions and behaviour modifications germane to civil conduct in a dressing room. There are also signs about cleansing showers and running beside the pool.
Peeing in the hot tub is not mentioned but no doubt it would be punishable by hard time in a federal institution.
Is all this social engineering in an elementary school? A home for wayward boys? No, this stream of helpful hints of living is posted in a post-secondary school, an institution reportedly inhabited by people old enough to serve the Queen At Arms or vote in general election. The average age at most such schools in Canada hovers in the mid-20s.
You wouldn’t know from there rampant signage in this school. The hectoring tone is a relentless “Church Lady” admonition against the rudeness and incivility usually seen in 10-year-olds. The assumption seems to be that, because parenting has failed, a series of snarky remarks about wet socks or not farting in the shower will make them see their way clear in society.
The condescension makes you want to see a few “so’s your mother” or “I know you are but what am I?” graffiti artists.
It’s a familiar scenario for many these days. The snark of the re-education camp attitude pervades progressive institutions (none more so than schools of higher education). For those who somehow stumbled into middle age without the aid of such helpful sign posts, the relentless bombardment seems a trifle earnest. Who doesn’t understand that tracking water into the locker room might cause wet socks? The reason your socks get wet is because the dripping suspect doesn’t give a good goddamn about you. And no sign will change that.
But don’t tell that to Big Nanny, the guiding hand of government, media and other do-gooders who’ve decided that a stern lecture is all that stands between us and Armageddon. The conceit is enormous, most agree, yet it proceeds with all the inevitability of Christmas ads starting October 1 each year.
There may once have been a need for slippy floor signage for liability issues. But that day is dead and buried. Instead we are left with leviathan lecturing. And woe betide anyone who dissents from the orthodoxy of the Church Lady. You will be medicated and sedated and otherwise hoisted by your own Twitter petard.
Which is a long way to say that I have become a fan of South Park lately. The joyful upraised finger of its profane offensiveness was the soundtrack to much of my kids’ upbringing. Kenny, Kyle, Cartman et al was their bulwark against the authority figures drawing up gay / straight alliances and mediating schoolyard scraps. They loved it.
As opposed to the goofy satire of The Simpsons, South Park had a wonderfully dark political subversiveness. Even if I didn’t let on to my kids, South Park made me laugh. But its greatest appeal has been its relentless war against Big Nanny, the forces of progressive assimilation grinding the masses into good little NIMBY missionaries.
The liberal dogmas of inclusion, tolerance, acceptance, empathy, privilege — all are ruthlessly satirized by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Here is a sample of South Park taking on the glitterati for its charitable hypocrisy.
The Kaitlyn Jenner media circus — orchestrated by the No. 1 empathy priest Barack Obama — is likewise sent up by the South Park creators.
And here the pledges for the PC fraternity are urged to go out and “check someone’s privilege” for entrance into the frat.
Anyone else who has ventured into the territory has ended up left by the information highway, a rotting corpse of contrition. But through some subversive miracle, the South Park boys have made Big Nanny laugh without ever knowing the joke is on them. How is this done?
Because NIMBY is the operative ethos of the progressive warrior. Them, not me. Virtue from a mile above. Flying eight hours to a global warming confab. To the liberal eye, Parker and Stone look progressive but act subversive. Hiding in plain sight is the liberal blind spot.
Unless it tracks water from the shower room.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy @NPBroadcaster