For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. Mark 4:22 NIV
A long-dark secret of school textbook publishers has, at last, come into the glaring light. When you see a kid in a wheelchair in your school textbook, interacting with other kids, he is actually able-bodied and doesn’t need a wheelchair at all!
Why photograph a kid in a wheelchair when he can walk around like everyone else? Because disabled people are one of the social groups contributing towards our rich diversity. So if you show a bunch of kids at school or anywhere else, one of them had better be in a wheelchair. Trouble is, they can’t find enough disabled kids to model, so Houghton Mifflin sticks able-bodied kids in the “house” wheelchair, kept on hand for just such emergencies. (WSJ 8/18/06) Only a quarter of the disabled kids in photos really are disabled. Publishers therefore have to be careful that a kid in a wheelchair is not seen, a few chapters later, playing football.
Sometimes the light from one news story can illuminate another. Such is the case here. We are now in position to understand the sudden rush to classify new planets,with our present nine planets expanding to twelve, if the International Astronomical Union’s executive committee has its way. It plainly is an effort to project our wonderful diversity into the very heavens.
We already have, commendably, a planet for women, Venus, to offset Mars, the one for belligerent guys. There is also a planet for dog lovers, Pluto; a planet for automobile aficionados, Saturn; and a planet for practical jokers: Uranus. (is there life on Uranus?) But, except for women, these groups reflect the diversity of another age. We must now demonstrate sensitivity towards more up-to-date minorities. Thus the three new planets will, no doubt, consist of a gay planet, an Hispanic planet, and a disabled planet.
The government, of course, will spend an obscene sum of money in naming the new planets. The Whitepebble Religious Institute is angling to land a soon-to-be-awarded naming contract, and it’s track record is good in this regard, since it has mastered the fine art of the low bid. In it’s proposal, the Carriertom organization tentatively suggested Provincetown, Poncho, and FranklinDRoosevelt as new planetary names, just to show that they are on the ball. The real contract money will be made from exhaustive testing to ensure that, God forbid, whatever new names are decided upon do not offend anybody.
Better still, the contract may be open-ended. There’s lots of rocks and stuff out there that may qualify as planets under the new definition. Tom Whitepebble eagerly awaits the day when every minority, no matter how tiny, has its very own planet, at $200,000 a pop for the Research Institute.
Update: The IAU has voted. They did the completely unexpected! In a contemptuous show of insensitivity, the organization not only declined to recognize the new planets, but they delisted Pluto. Now there are eight planets, not nine, much less twelve.
This is a politically correct age. Do not think dog lovers will take this lying down. We can expect protests, which will probably begin when they refuse, in retaliation, to clean up after their pooches from now on. One can only hope that when members of the IAU saunter through the park and step in you-know-what, they will reflect upon the great injustice they inflicted on the noble dog lover.
As for the Whitepebble Religious Institute, looks like it's back to parking cars on its front lawn for nearby stadium events.
****** The bookstore