I’m soon going to have to give up this line of work. Here I am, three days before this rather insightful and erudite piece of writing is due to be sent to a wonderful group of editors, and I haven’t got a clue about a topic for it.
I cannot think of a single thing on which to wax eloquent. Come to think of it, a good friend once said that the best column I ever wrote was an exposé on dog poop.
It’s much easier to choose members of the human race to write about than things. All kinds of fodder there. Trouble is, writing about individuals can get one into trouble.
Most people will not take kindly to being made fun of, or even to being put down, even when they deserve it. I’m not really fond of it myself.
What one has to do is choose individuals who are representative of groups, in other words stereotypes. One can write away about stereotypes, the best example of which, of course, is politicians.
No matter what one says about that particular genre of human being, no politician ever thinks it applies to him or her personally.
Even if it did, no politician could ever react because that would be seen as admitting that it did apply, if you follow my drift.
A drift is a snow job which is what so many politicians are good at. For that reason, they are something like shrimp, who swim in the ocean and schools because there is safety in numbers.
There are those who would object to use of the word “schools” because in schools, one is supposed to learn something. Politicians show little evidence of that being the case.
And on it goes. There is no end to the insults and offensive remarks one can make about politicians and the only people who won’t react are our politicians themselves and they’ll be quiet about it for the reason given above.
That’s why I dislike picking on them so much. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
I’ve never done that, mind you, and I doubt that anyone else has, either. What would be the point? Apart from the fact that would be a cruel thing to do, the fish are as good as dead, anyway. Simply drain the barrel.
There’s another group about which one can write practically anything, especially something negative, and it will be accepted as basic truths.
Many people call them overpaid, underworked and overeducated, who think themselves well above the rest of us culturally and socially. They work eight months of the year and get paid for 12. During Easter they use their influence to get the holiday time expanded so that they can fly south.
Generally, they are called teachers. Their value to society in general is often questioned.
I don’t know much about them as a group, other than what I hear on public affairs programs such as Open Line.
People don’t like to criticize individual teachers because we all have children and grandchildren and distant cousins who are generally perceived to be at their mercy.
Another knock against them is the number of teachers who leave that profession to go into politics. Some would say they’re eminently suited for that second calling.
I do know of at least one person who would argue strongly against those stereotypes by casually pointing at the number of teachers who find themselves mayors of towns, members of municipal councils, leaders in churches and volunteer organizations, coaches of community sports teams and a few things like that. But he’s only one.
And I have talked to another fellow who says he’s never met a politician he didn’t like. Actually, I’ve never met a politician or a teacher who didn’t like him.
There are others who say they know some politicians they could trust. But again that’s only one or two. Hardly enough to stem the tide of negative comments that the public at large seems to regard as its responsibility if not its prerogative.
Another group that writers can shoot against at will is what used to be called the merchant class. Greedy and moneygrubbing, they made fortunes off the unfortunate “common man.” They kept poor fishermen in perpetual poverty and despair while they built up family fortunes.
Joey Smallwood came into power as the champion of those who were victimized by people who occupied their exalted positions in the community by virtue of their money, and who subsequently rose to power “from one suspender,” as American poet Edgar Lee Masters put it.
This “one person” we’ve been quoting above tells of one merchant who accepted people’s deeds to their properties against their debts to him. He knew because of his government contacts that the community in question was slated for resettlement and knew the deeds were consequently worthless. Eventually he went bankrupt and lost everything.
Lawyers, of course, are piled on by everybody in every possible way. Ambulance chasers, chargers of exorbitant fees for their services and because no one else does the law as well as they do, they can get away with anything.
This one person again (bless his heart) knows of one lawyer who has spent countless hours defending poor people of colour pro bono who were getting a raw deal from the system. Haven’t heard any jokes about that lawyer.
Has anyone not yet grasped the rather serious point of the foregoing foolishness?
Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale.
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.