I was trying, but failing, to walk past a bookstore. This happens all the time. Accepting my fate, I let myself get sucked inside. I wandered the aisles for a few minutes to see what books were being promoted in stacks on the front tables. I like to pick up the most ridiculous books and page through them, just for laughs. Did you know there's now The Complete Idiot's Guide to 2012? It is perfect for the complete idiot who thinks 2012 will be replete with mystical cosmic events, perhaps involving Mayans or space aliens (who—you never know—might be the same thing). It's a really accurate book title. And one of the authors claims to be the world's foremost expert in crop circles.
I put down the book for idiots and found another one. Book for idiots, that is. This time it was a book of trenchant political analysis by that well-known trenchant political analyst, Chuck Norris. The title is Black Belt Patriotism, and I nearly didn't bother leafing through its pages. But the impulse overcame my good taste (and good sense), so I dipped inside. Pay dirt! On pp. 90-91, Chuck tells us the sad tale of his nephew's encounter with the evils of public education (What, Chuck didn't help his nephew get into a proper Christian academy?):
My nephew Andrew Cox, who is a strong young Christian man, was in the fifth grade when his teacher, a young lady who had graduated from the University of Berkeley, told the class to write a report about evolution. Andrew said he couldn't do that because he didn't believe in evolution. He went on to say that he believed God was our Creator and creator of the heavens and the earth. The teacher gave him an “F,” instead of allowing him to write about what he believed in based on his own convictions.Oh, horrors! The unfairness of it all!
Young Andrew was cleverly trying to establish a precedent that would have proved most useful in his future education, if only the edu-fascist from Berkeley hadn't thwarted him. (By the way, Chuck, it's the University of California at Berkeley, not the University of Berkeley. Make a note of that for the paperback edition.) You see, if Andrew had gotten his way, he could later have refused to write a report in humanities class about the Greek gods (because he doesn't believe in them), or an essay on Marxism in econ class (because he's not a Marxist, and only Marxists can do that), or even a term paper on Islam in a comparative religion class (because he's not a Muslim, praise be to Allah!). Andrew is a clever cookie, but the teacher didn't fall for it.
Chuck likes to think, though, that he and Andrew got the last laugh. And I fear he may be right, giving us the last groan. For now, at least.
[R]ather than believe that he was a glorified ape, he believed that he was a child of God made in His image. He is in Army Intelligence now, serving our country in Iraq.Oh, damn.
While I sincerely hope that Andrew Cox comes back intact from his tour of duty in Iraq, you can understand that I might be a bit conflicted about the professional role he plays. A man with his critical thinking skills—a creationist—is helping to compile the knowledge base on which our Iraq policies are founded.
You know what they need over at Amazon.com? I'll tell you. They need a check box on their search function so that you can tell it to forget your search after it's been accomplished. An “I didn't mean it” button. Having gone over to Amazon to refresh my memory about the pertinent pages in Norris's manifesto, I am now being offered other lovely items “for the Chuck Norris fan.” Hey, Amazon, I come to bury Chuckles, not to praise him. I guess I'd better go search now on lots of science and science fiction books to flush the martial arts out of Big Brother's memory. And the New Age crap, too. Preferably before 2012.