Thursday, February 5, 2009

Talking about the Issues: Monkey Touching to Utensil Violence

This is a great video clip from a live show the Flight of the Conchords did in New York City. And it brings up some very sensitive and important issues. For one, monkey touching - when is it okay? Is it a new pandemic? And how can it be stopped? Another one: Why are kids calling each other names like 'Jork'? What is a Jork? And then of course the most serious issue: utensil violence. We use them every day, and now they have become a ubiquitous tool in gang fights and even simple domestic disputes like "Why did you drink my milk?" or "Why don't you ever look at me when you tell me you love me?"I'd like to start with the monkey touching issue. I've heard new statistics from some very reputable journals that say monkey touching is on the rise. In some zoos, like the famous Bronx Zoo, and even the world famous San Diego Zoo, strange bald patches are showing up on their monkeys. It seems to be more frequent with Spider monkeys and Tamarins, but zoo keepers are concerned for all of their primates. The public is divided on the issue with some people claiming that the monkeys invite the touching with their provocative howling and throwing of feces. Others believe the monkeys are being victimized. I for one and ambivalent to monkey touching. It just seems to be another way of self-expression, and I'm not going to weigh in on who touched who first.

The second issue is equally interesting, if not a little more disconcerting. As many of us are well aware, American English vernacular has been spiraling for years now. If I were to say that there was a paucity or dearth of refinement in vocabulary and word selection, it would be an understatement, and, most people would not even know what I was saying. This ties in with the trend of young kids calling one another 'jork.' Jork, as most people know, is just an unintended spelling error of the word 'jerk' which was perpetuated in online chat rooms and on instant messenger because no one knew any better. However, jork has been given a life of its own. It can also mean "someone who likes to drown bags full of cats in the Seine" or "someone who likes their toast done only on one side and becomes introverted and sadomasochistic if they don't get it just right" or "someone who eats decomposing leaves." So, as you might have guessed, calling someone a jork is indeed very unflattering. And, in many cases, leads to domestic abuse in the form of utensil violence.
This last issue of utensil violence is probably the most boggling of all the trends. Some criminals who ordinarily would have preferred a hand gun or a switch blade have turned to knives, forks, spoons, and the occasional spork to carry out their misdeeds. Some believe that this is happening more and more due to the current economic climate. With rising unemployment, businesses going broke, and weapons prices going up, criminals and would-be criminals have had to scale down their budgets and use the more accessible and primal tools that they find in the silverware drawer. The results are mixed, with some criminals and angry spouses reporting that they are satisfied with kitchen utensil performance during violent acts, swearing they'll "never go back to guns," and others saying they felt emasculated and even debased having to use a spork to rob a bank or keep a sibling in line. The climate of violence and abuse is changing, in some big ways. As utensil violence becomes more everyday, the risk of Tetanus, Lock-jaw, and not being able to pass through metal detectors due to lodged utensils increases.
All of these issues are important. I hope it has cleared up any misconceptions. Now the choice of what to do with this information is up to you. Or as Captain Planet said:
"The Power is YOURS!"

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