Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Death of Common Sense

I just received this by e-mail, from a friend:

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as: Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn't always fair; and maybe it was my fault. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place: Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Elastoplast to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

I have removed what originally followed here. If you have read it, you may wish to read this. On a more positive note, we may observe that, whatever the many failings of our elected representatives, the residual grace of generations of gospel exposure may be one cause of the significantly lower levels of political corruption in the UK, compared to, for example, France or Italy.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

You couldn't caricature it

Oh goody, the government is to introduce a "national play strategy" for children.

Am I meant to laugh or cry?

Monday, 10 December 2007

Another Triumph for St John's

I'm delighted to note in my alumni magazine

that a study of noise pollution across Britain has discovered that [Canterbury Quad, at St John's College, Oxford, where I lived from 1998-9] is the quietest place in the country. Sound levels there ... were measured as less than [sic] 50 decibels, as quiet as the hum of a refrigerator.

St John's has also recently installed a new organ, costing about £175,000, built by Bernard Aubertin, the first French (as opposed to imitation-French) organ in an Oxbridge college.