Sunday, December 02, 2007

Two-Parter

Part One: Yeah, I’ve Been Lazy.

Handmaiden has shamed me into that admission with this comment:

“What I initially came here to say was, your busy excuse is wearing thin. Get on with it. :)”

Yes, and ok.

In my defense, I’m still picking up the pieces from the office move, staving off end-users that think I should drop what I’m doing and work on their stuff, dealing with a sick friend, trying to re-connect with blood relatives (we have ample reasons to be somewhat uneasy around each other), gearing up for Christmas, and trying to strategize about or deal with at least 6 other problems. Nice run-on, but that gives you the right picture to express my state of mind.

I could elaborate, but I think you’ll thank me if I don’t.

Part Two: A Tempest in a Pisspot.

While perusing Handmaiden’s blog, furry friends, I encountered this:






My first reaction was, “You have got to be kidding me.” It turns out, that’s not too far from wrong. According to Snopes, the assertion that this is “a popular drug in American schools” is false. So how did this rumor blow up into what threatens to become a national campaign to keep our school children (Won’t someone think of the children!) safe from excrement? Here’s what I think happened.

About 12 years ago, there was a story In National Geographic about Zambian children concentrating and inhaling sewer gas. Why? It was there, it was free, they were living right next to it and smelling it anyway, and it was cheaper than cannabis and gasoline, which they were also using to get high. This was part of a story about how fucked-up life was in Zambia. Some news hack picks up on this and grinds out an article on a wire service. It might have died right there, but the BBC is having a slow news day two years later and dusts this poo-poo story off. So does the New York times. Because of this heightened visibility, UNICEF decides that this is something to be especially worried about, so in 2002, they do what they do best and write a report about it. So now the practice of inhaling gas from fermented excrement takes its place among the 287,323 other fucked-up things in Africa. The story is regurgitated once more in 2004, then nothing until November, 2007, when Fox (Who else? Well, actually…) a CBS affiliate, and a CW affiliate, pick up on a Salon.com story and start a media frenzy. It seems that way back in June, some Jackass wanna-be posted that he was going to try it. He then posted his adventures, but later retracted and said it was a hoax.

This is the kind of thing that gets talked about by 12-16 year-old boys.

“Did you know you can get high from fermented piss and shit?”

“No way!”

“Five bucks says I’m right! … Google ‘Jenkem’”

“Wow!… That’s disgusting!

Next thing you know, somebody mentions it in front of a grownup, and it’s panic in the streets. A Florida sheriff overreacts, the media runs away with it, and now everyone has heard of this crud.

The irony is, the media made this mess in the first place by repeating this weird poo-poo story until somebody noticed. If it weren’t for their recycling this story, the whole idea would have probably lived and died in Zambia. They will blame the Internet for its proliferation of course, and demand more regulation to protect their idiot children from reality.


If you really want to know more:



10 Comments:

At 8:15 AM, Blogger handmaiden said...

Ha ha :) I was starting to think I was the only one who enjoyed the "Poo poo" story.

You've done a good job of using the irony of this story to illustrate the power of the Media & the gullibility of people.

Something to always keep in mind. myth & superstition is alive & well in America.It makes me think of the outlandish propaganda films we used to watch in Sunday School about finding Noah's Ark, bizarre rituals of baby killing in Mormon cults,the evils of Halloween, etc...

 
At 10:24 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

Mormon baby killers? Do go on! I love a good tall tale.

 
At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh....you said MORMON. For a moment I thought somebody had actually stepped up and was killing off the moron spawn of the nauseatingly entitled trailer trash bible belt rubbish. Shucks.

ILD

 
At 5:19 AM, Blogger tina said...

Holy Crap! That is just disgusting! :)

 
At 7:50 AM, Blogger handmaiden said...

The Pentecostals are a sect easily swayed by the shallow & the sensational...hence, baby killing Mormons & scientists drilling into the earth hearing sinners in hell screaming.
You would think this would only appeal to school children, but the adults go ga ga over this stuff.

I suppose if you are a rabid believer in the Bible, (standing on the word comes to mind, or falling down) anything is possible...

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

"I suppose if you are a rabid believer in the Bible, (standing on the word comes to mind, or falling down) anything is possible..."

Or just completely delusional, with a brain that accepts any input because it was broken in childhood by authority figures that demanded one believe contradictory and impossible things as "gospel Truth!"

I started researching "Pentecostal" because it's not a cult, um, sect that I'm all that familiar with. I wound up reading about the origins of Pentecost. Fascinating. I wonder how many Pentecostals know that it had its origins in the annual sacrifice of foodstuffs to the Clerics, I mean Shamans, er, uh, Invisible Sky Daddy Jehovamagod. Yeah, that's the ticket!

 
At 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never heard that! & I was raised pentecostal. Of course, I also thought the gospels actually were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. To Pentecostals the gist is in Acts, chapter 2. When the Holy Ghost 'possessed' people & they started speaking in tongues.

The thing about it is, I've seen the gift of tongues & things more bizarre. Although I don't believe it's God induced, it isn't faked.(I've never spoken in tongues or participated in any of the other indulgences, myself )I don't quite understand the dynamics, but it's intensely emotional, with some letting go involved & some self hypnotism. My best description is "spiritual masturbation". If you've never experienced a real Pentecostal service, I recommend it. :)

 
At 6:51 PM, Blogger handmaiden said...

Opps, that last anon was me.

 
At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, handmaiden, because we all know that I am the only TRUE anonymous here, and I thought I must have been in a trance or something... ;-)

ILD

 
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