OPINION — The big news lately, quite obviously, is the monumental disaster going on in Afghanistan. The country has been going south on greased rails since the U.S. withdrawal, which seems to have caught pretty much everyone by surprise. And that, in itself, is a surprise, since President Biden had said he was going to withdraw U.S. forces from the country, and so far Biden has done pretty much everything he promised he would. And everything he promised has been disastrous for America, so I guess it’s only fair that he destroy another country, too.
But the Afghan debacle is far from the only crazy thing going on right now. For example, last week the New York Times published an essay written by Greta Thunberg and a host of other ‘youth climate activists’ about what a loser you are for being alive. The gist of the piece was that young people have been telling you for years you needed to Do Something about the climate, and you haven’t been listening. What horrible people you are, doing your jobs and raising children and building things, and not paying attention to Greta’s temper tantrums. Shame.
And children aren’t the only ones pitching fits about the climate. A 71-year-old British preacher named Tim Hewes got all hot under the collar about it recently, and decided to make a spectacle of himself in front of the U.K. offices of News Corp. He says Rupert Murdoch has denied the climate emergency, which is a Bad Thing, so he sewed his lips shut in protest. Now, to clarify, Hewes sewed his own lips shut, not Murdoch’s, which probably would’ve made more sense. But then he would’ve had to catch Murdoch, and hold him still to stitch him up, and I doubt Murdoch would’ve been too cooperative. I know I wouldn’t.
Maybe I’m wrong, but sewing your mouth closed doesn’t seem all that effective to me, if you’re trying to get people to listen to your argument. Oh, it sends a message, for sure. And that message is: ‘I’m nuts.’ Normal folks are seldom propelled to action by loony acts of crazy people. They pretty much just ignore the lunatic and go on with their lives.
And this isn’t the first time Hewes has been in the news because of his climate change protests. Last March he and a fellow named Ben Buse were arrested after they went to a court and glued themselves to some furniture. He said our world was on fire, and the courts aren’t doing anything about it. I’m a little vague on what he expects the courts to do about climate change. Maybe he wants the climate fined, or something.
But lunacy is not confined to only those with complaints about the climate. There’s a new trend taking hold in California and Utah that really doesn’t make sense at all. People are climbing way up in electrical towers, hanging hammocks in them, and lying in the hammocks. I am not making this up. They call it Power Hammocking.
Now, I have nothing against hammocks, as far as they go, but I never use them, because they give me a backache. Others don’t have that problem, but normally people use hammocks pretty close to the ground. If you fall three or four feet out of a hammock you’ll probably survive. But the new thing is evidently to hang out in a hammock so high that if you fell, authorities would have to pull your dental records to find out which idiot you were.
But the heights these people are going to is only part of the danger. The sheriff’s office in Weber County, Utah recently posted a picture on its Facebook page of a couple of rocket scientists in hammocks on a tower, admonishing people not to do this. The post pointed out that the wires on those towers carry 75,000 kilovolts, and the electricity can jump from the lines. Which means you could be swinging in your hammock in a carefree manner one minute, and be fried to a crisp the next. And if you don’t die, but you do get caught, you’ll get fined for trespassing. So there’s that.
And although people seem to be getting stupider lately, nature seems to have gone wacky, too. In Indiana, for instance, the vultures have stopped waiting for animals to die before they start eating them. Farmers have been reporting that vultures are attacking their cows and taking bites out of them, while the cows are minding their own business, grazing, chewing their cuds, and generally engaging in cow-related activities.
The situation has gotten so bad the authorities have given the farmers permission to shoot the vultures, which are normally protected, because they clean up dead animals on roads and stuff. There’s a limit on the number of the birds the farmers can kill, for some reason, but I doubt that will matter much to Old McDonald, when the vultures are pecking at Bessie.
All this craziness is giving me a headache. I think I’ll go lie down in my hammock . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and minister who avoids hammocks. And England. Write to him at [email protected]