Thursday, December 24, 2009

2009: The Year of Stupid

I'm not going to do a year end review on how stupid, on so many levels, this year has been. Instead I'll pull from a few stories/posts I've run across the past few days which illustrate the point.

Stupid 1: Health Care "Reform". Buried deep in the 2,500 page morass of legislation that no one has read, another example of the power-elite enriching itself while working class folks pick up the tab.

Skin Deep: You're Going to Pay for That Tan.

DERMATOLOGISTS and plastic surgeons may find themselves off the hook. Last weekend, the Senate replaced a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures with one on indoor tanning services in its proposed health care bill.

In recent weeks, doctors and industry groups lobbied against the so-called Bo-Tax, a play on Botox, arguing in part that it discriminated against women, who receive the majority of cosmetic surgery and anti-aging injections. The site, financed in part by Allergan, which makes Botox, stated that “it is unfair and insulting” to impose a penalty on cosmetic procedures sought primarily by women as if the procedures were unhealthy, like smoking.
LOL. So going to the tanning booth is MORE of a danger than injecting your sagging face with botulism?
The 10 percent tax on indoor tanning services, which the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation projects will raise $2.7 billion over 10 years (compared with the estimated $5.8 billion the cosmetic tax would have raised), is designed to offset some of the expense of providing health insurance for millions more Americans.

“In the past, taxes on addictive substances like tobacco and alcohol have decreased usage,” said Dr. June Robinson, who has studied young people’s attitudes about indoor tanning. “That’s the dream.”
Ah, so tanning is now considered a "sin tax" along the lines of smoking and drinking, but taxing cosmetic surgery (with all its known risks and mortality rates) why, that's just plain discrimination. And if it means collecting less money to fund the monstrosity known as Health Care Reform, all the better.

This is just another example of Big Medicine and Big Pharma screwing middle income Americans. Most of these tanning salons are mom and pop stores, owned locally by hard-working entrepreneurs trying to make a buck like everyone else. Forcing a 10% federal tax on them is economically detrimental since most won't be able to pass it on to the customers (the majority of whom are students).

Meanwhile, Big Pharma, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (the irony) and their customers (who are disproportionately wealthy and can afford the tax) escape scot-free. Reform you can believe in.

Stupid 2: While Apps have become all the rage in 2009, leave it to the knuckle-dragging set to join in the "phun" too.

Five Most Sexist iPhone Apps of the Year.

PMSTracker: Unlike apps designed to help women keep track of their own menstrual cycle, this one is meant specifically for men. It "allows you to quickly track the approximate time each woman in your life has PMS" using a color-coded method that functions much like the U.S. government's terror alert system -- only it's red alert, severe chance of PMS attack!

Shake That Booty: This app allows you to manipulate an image of a woman's butt -- or, as the official app description calls it, "BOOTY!" -- by physically shaking your phone. Of course, this jiggle fest is presented as something that she desperately wants so players don't have to feel guilty. Look at that: Everyone wins!

Pole Dancing: "Get these hot girls to spin around a stripper pole by shaking your iPhone/iPod touch from side to side! Even better, clap, yell, make some noise and they will spin around at your command." Control her without even forming complete sentences -- just a few claps or grunts will do!

Michelle: She's your brand "new virtual girlfriend" and "can be who you want her to be." You can take Michelle "to the beach or pool and choose which bikini or bathing suit she should wear." Guess this one's for the guys whose parents never let them play with dolls.

iControl Her: Here's another riff on the apparent desire of many app developers to have complete power over virtual women. iControl Her is an actual remote that appears on the iPhone screen, with such clever buttons as "Stop Whining," "Clean" and "Give Me Beer." Here's an idea: Develop a remote for women with a button that reads, "Delete that app and stop being such a jerk."

To echo Global Sociology's take, is this stupid decade over yet?

Stupid 3: Remember all those stories this past year about how Sexting has become the latest apocalypse of adolescent behavior?

Pew Finds Sexting Not An Epidemic.
4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of themselves to someone else via text messaging.
Waaa? Only 4%? Jay at Montclair has more:
Where was the media hysteria? Most news outlets ignored it, probably because the results weren’t all that alarming.

For the entire sample of 800 12-17 year olds, the estimated proportion who sent “sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images of themselves” was 4%. Given the margin of error, that means that the actual percentage, as Dan Ryan at Sociology of Information notes, is somewhere between 0% and 8%.

Of course, we’re not going to see a headline like “Sexting Teens May be 0%.”
No soap will be sold with that headline. And since the numbers aren't there, could it be, as I've written countless times, that this was nothing more than moral panic?

Hate to say I told you so, but...well actually, no I don't: I told you so.

Is this year/decade over yet?

No comments: