New Year, Old Memes

Ken Gorrell

by Ken Gorrell,
Weirs Times

Baby New Year is only weeks old and the scythe-wielding old man of 2015 has passed away. Beyond the symbolic hand-off little has changed. Same old resolutions made and quickly broken, same challenges, same hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, being an election year, the 2016 Baby will live most of its life enveloped in the smog of political lies. If only 2015’s Old Man could have cut through the smog with his scythe, he might have given Baby a chance for a better life.
More than a decade ago, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., founder of The American Spectator, coined the term Kultursmog. Defined as the “popular culture of the United States, polluted utterly by a weird politics…that is often called liberal but is actually simply leftish and adolescent,” its values are “incompatible with traditional American social, cultural, and economic ideals.”
Air quality has improved in the USA since Tyrrell wrote those words, but Kultursmog has extended its noxious fumes across the land like the toxic air in China that contributes to the deaths of an estimated 1.6 million people annually. While Kultursmog doesn’t kill outright, it certainly does deaden minds.
One mind-deadening meme that Baby New Year will have to live with is the so-called War on Women. Like the mythical Hydra, no matter how many heads are cut off, i.e., no matter how many times the lies are disproved, the creature lives on. Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unleashes the beast in TV ads and speeches, repeating falsely that women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. Never addressed is the question, all things being equal, why don’t evil Capitalists simply hire more women and cut personnel costs?
Of course, all things aren’t equal. The “studies” Clinton cites create job “equivalencies” instead of providing head-to-head comparisons. The fact that the most dangerous jobs in America are almost entirely done by men – who account for 92% of on-the-job fatalities – doesn’t factor into her equation. What price does she put on assuming fatal risks? None, apparently.
Moving from the fatal to the merely silly, the latest micro-aggression to infuriate the perpetually-angry War on Women crowd: Just in time for Christmas, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) “discovered” that female consumers pay more than men for the same goods. Specifically, it claims that for no good reason, “on average women’s [and girl’s] products cost 7% more than similar products for men [and boys].” The DCA concluded that “women are paying thousands of dollars more over the course of their lives to purchase similar products as men.” Oh, the inhumanity!
The examples provided started with a quickly-corrected typo from Target. The retailer’s online price for a red boy’s scooter was $25 less than a pink version for girls. When notified of the discrepancy, the price for both was marked at the lower $24.99 figure. I’m waiting for some incensed feminist to rail against the indignity of the gender-based color discrimination (red for boys/pink for girls) as well as the name bias (“Scooter Sport” for boys/ “Scooter Sparkle” for girls). Surely some future study will show that having a pink Sparkle scooter prevented some number of young women from pursuing a career in mathematics or the physical sciences.
Other examples from the DCA’s wonderfully-titled “From Cradle to Cane: The Cost of Being a Female Consumer” were more banal but as easily explained away as Target’s typo. It’s called “the market.” In the market, value perceptions, substitution effects, brand loyalty, marketing costs, and yes, gender differences (remember the deodorant ad tag line “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman”?), all play roles in determining the gap between cost and price. Cost is accounting, price is an art, and value is in the eye of the beholder.
A woman I know and love will travel 80 miles to get her hair done, and buys hair care products at the salon. I, on the other hand, will get my hair cut in any number of local places and will buy whatever shampoo is on sale at the grocery store. Unlike her, I’ve never “had to have” any article of clothing – certainly not shoes. We value things differently, and one of us pays the price.
Unfortunately, politicians rarely pay a price for polluting the air with their Kultursmog. Their campaigns spew the foul lies like particulates from a Chinese toy factory. Early indications are that 2016 will be an especially dirty year.

Ken can be reached at kengorrell@gmail.com