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Parlor Game

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Allegedly one of the big-time Nazis during the coming-to-power of the Third Reich said, "Whenever I hear the word 'culture,' I reach for my revolver." Notwithstanding the fact that the quote does in fact illuminate some of the mind-set of that infamous regime, it is a little too pat and probably, therefore, apocryphal.

Even so, the statement became the basis, a few years back, for a fill-in-the-blank parlor game in which one was invited to substitute for the word "culture" whatever other term got the dander up. And since the word "revolver," after all, connotes a sense of violence we'd just as soon do without, different terms were invited for that one, too, along with such other editing as proved necessary. As in: "Whenever I see the word 'finalize,' I reach for my white-out."

We now live in an age in which an entire political party (yes, the Grand Old one) has begun using the term "job creators" for instances that formerly were served by perfectly good, well-established terms. And a major problem is that the people and groups so described — usually to justify cutting their tax bills — have created few or no jobs in at least a decade, unless you count some that were taken overseas. All this while the people in the "job creator" groups received an unprecedented number of tax cuts and tax breaks.

So, here goes: "Whenever we hear the term 'job creators,' we reach for a thesaurus" — where we find such better descriptors as "bosses," "rich  people," "corporations," "owners," "the privileged 1 percent," and "plutocrats," among other terms.

A little truth in packaging, please.

Animalhood 

"You can't legislate morality," said Shelby County commissioner Terry Roland last week, speaking in opposition to a proposal by the apparently indefatigable Steve Mulroy for a strict county ordinance against the mistreatment of animals.

That some such action is necessary is demonstrated by the fact, as indicated by this week's Flyer article "Basic Needs," of some 4,000 cases of animal neglect and cruelty that have been brought before the county's Environmental Court over the last three years. And regrettably few of the cases have been brought to any kind of full resolution because, as Cindy Sanders of Community Action for Animals stated to the commission, there are no laws specific enough to enforce against these improper actions.

To quote from the article by Bianca Phillips, "The ordinance requires pet owners to feed and provide fresh water for their animals daily, provide them relief from extreme temperatures, pick up pet waste, and groom animals to avoid health risks."

That such modest common-sense requirements should become controversial is peculiar in itself. And as for the notion that morality cannot be "legislated," we have pointed out before the obvious fact that most legislation does just that, setting bounds on what is proper conduct — which is to say, "moral" — in an organized society.

"Personhood," a term employed in some recent would-be morality legislation in Mississippi, proved to be ambiguous as defined. "Animalhood" is easier to describe; it usually walks on four legs and sometimes wags its tail, if treated right.

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