Any mammal can obsess about fairness. (Did I mention how ticked off monkeys
get if they find out they’re getting cucumbers while somebody in the next cage
has a grape?) The real human trick is to get past the quid pro quo and try to
focus on the common good.
I forgot to mention that the purported subject is the bailout. Oh! Which bailout?
The Detroit one, the voom-voom zoom zoom zoom one. To be technical, the auto industry.
Back in October, would you have known, without checking, that bailout was one, unhyphenated word? Was $700 billion inconceivable to you way back then? (It may be that I, alone in this nation, am just still in sticker shock, still feeling snookered*. I have a good head for maths, pure preferable to applied, but no aptitude for the burgeoning field of snookered-mathematics!)
I didn't want to read it, especially how it was pitched in my email summary:
The Dreaded Fairness Doctrine
By GAIL COLLINS
Any mammal can obsess about fairness. [My eyes fairly rolled back in my head in response to this universal cheesiness.]
The real human trick is to get past the quid pro quo and try to focus on the common good.
As a Socialist, I am considerably more grounded in reality than when I stroll around mathematically. I like my socialism applied, thankyouverymuch. So... she had me. There is nothing more despicable to me than the confusion of fairness with quid pro quo.
Collins makes a clear and simple point, rare enough these days. It can be dressed up for Senators and Congressional Representatives; It also plays well at the local playground:
The really hard lifting still lies ahead, and we cannot possibly do it if we’re going to dwell too much on the fairness thing. It’s just too easy for lawmakers to dodge the tough vote by reminding their constituents that somebody else is getting more breaks than they are.
Which somebody always is. If Senator DeMint’s constituents are going to riot over a bailout for the auto industry, they’ll wind up being met by tool-and-die makers waving torches and yelling about soybean subsidies. If the lawmakers from Alabama say their constituents do not want their tax money going to bail out Michigan, the people in Michigan are going to say that they never really enjoyed paying more taxes to the federal government than their state received in aid, while Alabama got a return of $1.61 on the dollar.
Posted by Henry on March 22, 2004
In Reply to: Re: Behind the eight ball posted by Fred on March 21, 2004
: : Hi! Can you please tell me about this phrase? Thank you...
: If you are behind the eight ball you are in trouble. In the pool game called
: "eight ball" if you need to put the 5-ball in the pocket and the 8-ball is between
: the 5-ball and the cue-ball, you have a difficult shot. You are not allowed to
: use the 8-ball to hit the 5-ball.
The equivalent phrase in Britain is to be snookered. In the similar game of snooker, if a coloured ball lies between the cue ball and the remaining red balls, preventing it from hitting a red ball directly, then the player is snookered. The player must then play a more difficult shot, usually off the cushion although experts can make the ball swerve.