Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lessons in Anthropology

Good day everybody. I’m Chester L. W. Stephen, your humble doggie host, and this is The Daily Bone. 
It has been brought to my attention that I’ve been neglecting my political commentary in The Daily Bone lately. Well, it seems there’s been nothing but the same old thing on the news the past few weeks, and I imagine you’ve gotten just as sick of it as I have. I thought you might, instead, enjoy reading about my adventures frolicking in the snow. The local climate has been changing a lot, even if the political climate isn’t! In the meantime, I’ve been doing some interesting reading on anthropology, which is the study of humans and their cultures through the ages.

OK, so here’s a great new vocabulary word I picked up: kleptocracy. This happens when gigantic groups of humans try to get along, and help each other by trading for goods (like yum yums and squeaky toys) and services (like professional property protection by yours truly) and then designate a leader to manage everything. Eventually the leader gets greedy, has delusions of grandeur, and thinks he is connected to a god of some kind. He convinces all the people that they have to give him massive amounts of goods—some of which he lavishes on his friends who are supposedly helping to keep track of things—in order for the god to listen to him and bring prosperity to all. This gives him the right to boss everyone around and steal from them, in the form of either valuable goods, labor, or in a sneakier way called taxes. After all, who wants to risk upsetting the gods? Heaven forbid there comes a flood or a storm!

Sooner or later, however, people get wise to this scam, especially when their children start starving. Nobody can actually keep a hurricane from happening, or a volcano from exploding, no matter how chummy he is with the eminent god du jour. They overthrow the current kleptomaniac, replace him with their own leader, and then come up with all new ways to justify their own version of kleptocracy. You see, it always starts out with good intentions, but eventually it all ends up the same.

There’s a brand new kind of kleptocracy going on now. There is still a god involved, but this time he’s called a celebrity. Celebrities are immensely popular because they tend to look like models of perfection—slim, young looking, have sex appeal, a good hair-do, sparkling white teeth, wear high fashion clothing and shoes, and have fabulous parties to show themselves off. They have the power to make even the poorest people give money to them, and believe everything that spouts out of their mouths whether it is true or not. They often demonize and bully their opponents to make themselves look better. They preach high ideals that appeal to the masses, but they themselves usually don’t follow them. Those who disagree are still required to pay money (taxes) because the celebrities tend to influence and win popularity contests. Oops, I mean elections.

We doggies can’t really do anything about this human societal trend. We hope that you try to keep this concept in mind the next time you pay $40 for a movie ticket, $300 for a pair of sneakers, or vote for a candidate who makes the most preposterous promises, while spending vast amounts of your tax money to bash his opponent. And that’s a memo. 
Excuse me, but I have to go hide my squeaky toys now.

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