Questions that plague me

Posted: May 14, 2007 12:01 AM
Questions that plague me

Many years ago, there was a popular radio quiz show called “20 Questions.” The challenge faced by the panelists was to come up with the identity of a person, place or object. All they were told in advance was whether that something was animal, vegetable or mineral.

I have my own list of questions that I suspect would have stumped even the resident experts, Fred Van De Venter, Florence Rinard, Johnnie McPhee and Herb Polesie. To begin with, why do basketball fans go berserk whenever a player dunks a basketball? Considering that the height of the basket has remained 10 feet off the ground even though today’s players are typically one-and-a-half or even two feet taller than they were when the game was invented, the chorus of “oohs” and “ahs” make no sense at all.

Next, I’d love to know why the utterances of such people as Rosie O’Donnell, Sean Penn and Donald Trump, are given such wide dissemination? I mean, even if you found yourself agreeing with any of their banal observations, they never even attempt to say anything in an interesting or amusing manner. In days gone by, you had to be Shakespeare, Twain or Oscar Wilde, now you merely have to appear on “The View.”

Why does singer-song writer Sheryl Crow, who is now well-known for having insisted that, for the sake of the environment, people should limit themselves to using a single sheet of toilet paper per bathroom visit, “except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two or three could be required,” continue doing concert tours? After all, having already made a fortune off her music, it’s not as if she needs the money. So, why will she be busing her band and tons of the paraphernalia required for live performances to such far-flung places as Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and Minnesota? One would think that the woman who claimed “paper napkins represent the height of wastefulness,” and just so happens to have created a clothing line with what she calls “dining sleeves” -- dress sleeves that are detachable and can be used in lieu of napkins -- would happily do without the ego gratification of performing in person for her adoring fans.

I just wonder if at next year’s Grammy awards, where so many boozers, druggies and sex addicts, take the stage wearing ribbons meant to impress us with their social consciences, a lot of performers will show up with little golden toilet rolls on their lapels, letting us know that they’re dedicated single-sheeters.

But I suppose the worst that you can say about Ms. Crow is that she is merely behaving in the proud tradition of such avowed conservationists as Robert Kennedy, Jr., Al Gore and Arianna Huffington, who demand that the rest of us toe the ecological line while they, themselves, the little piggies, get to be energy gluttons.

While we’re on the subject of energy conservation, how is that none of the patron saints of polar bears has dared speak out against Nascar races? Every weekend, you not only have dozens of these cars burning up fuel like there’s no tomorrow, but you have hundreds of thousands of the Nascar faithful showing up in their trucks and SUVs. As a friend of mine said, wouldn’t you think there would at least be a move on to change the Daytona 500 to the Daytona 400?

Moving on, how is it we have come to prioritize self-esteem to such an extent that to even suggest that it’s supposed to be based on decent behavior and actual accomplishment is taboo in our society? The first inkling I got of this was when young people in Japan and the industrialized nations of the West were polled, and it was the Americans, the very kids who scored the very lowest marks in science and math, who were found to have the highest opinion of themselves.

But to be fair, it’s not just our youngsters who are self-deluded. You read the stuff that Hollywood celebrities say and it’s all too apparent that they also regard themselves as the brainiest of the brainy. Frankly, I can understand why such people, who are treated like royalty for no other reason than that they look pretty or can act goofy in front of the camera, would have enormous egos. However, when these folks, whose reading material consists pretty much of movie scripts and their P.R. releases, start spouting off about global warming, the Constitution and America’s foreign policy, one can’t help but long for the good old days when the studios provided the stars with their talking points, limited, for the most part, to singing the praises of their kids, their spouses and their latest release.

Next, I’d like to know why, if the United States is as racist as black bigots insist it is, how is it that Asians manage to fare so well in this country? I think even Jesse Jackson would have a tough time explaining why evil whites would expend all this time and energy keeping urban blacks poor and uneducated while allowing millions of people who were yellow and brown to achieve the American dream.

And why is it that the media, even Fox News, will regularly have such race hustlers as Al Sharpton and Charles Rangel spouting off, but I can’t ever recall seeing the likes of Thomas Sowell or Walter Williams sitting between Hannity and Colmes or across the table from Bill O’Reilly, discussing race relations.

A related question comes to mind. Namely, how is it that in the wake of Seung-hui Cho’s murderous rampage at Virginia Tech, there was widespread remorse expressed by the Korean-American community, but American Muslims so rarely condemn the world-wide butchery committed in the name of Allah that when one actually speaks out, it becomes a newsworthy event?

My final question strikes closer to home. I’d like to know why, when they created the tradition of the Tooth Fairy’s leaving money under the pillow, they didn’t also come up with the Hair Fairy? Today, I’d be a millionaire.