I can tell you why our civilization has so many problems and constantly teeters on the brink of ruin.. I realized it Sunday morning when I was opening the papers.
Now, if you have read all five of the books in the “Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” trilogy the innumerable times I have, all I would have to say to you is, “Yes, we really are descended from the Golgafrinchans.” There is a scene in the second book, “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” where Ford and Arthur wind up being saved after a transporter beam accident by a ship full of 15,000,000 frozen telephone sanitizers, account executives, hairdressers (no offense, FTS. I didn’t write the book.), management consultants, middle managers, public television movie producers and others. The Golgafrinchan Captain, who has been taking a bath on the bridge for the last couple of years (nothing as relaxing as a good bath if you have a stressful job, you know.) explains that they are the Golgafrinchan Ark B. They had been told that there was a major catastrophe coming to their planet, like a giant space goat was going to eat the planet or something and they would all have to evacuate. They would move the entire population of the planet somewhere else. The captain was told that Ark “A” was to be filled with the scientists, mathematicians, engineers and artists; generally the great “thinkers and leaders.” Ark “C” was to be filled with the laborers and mechanics and others who make things and work with their hands. Ark “B” was sent off to a distant star system first, he supposed, so that (the captain was told, he thinks, it’s been so long and the bath has been quite relaxing) when the rest of the people arrive, they’ll have nice clean phones and people to make documentaries of the affair and be able to get good haircuts. He couldn’t quite remember the exact reason they were shipped off first…
“In fact, we’re scheduled to crash very soon.”
“Oh yes, no way out of it.”
Ford tries furiously to get the ship under control but it doesn’t work.
“Oh, they wanted to make sure that we stayed on this distant planet permanently, you know. There seemed to be a very good reason for it at the time.”
Ford lost his patience, “You’re a load of bloody useless loonies!”
“Oh yes. That’s what it was.”
So they crash onto what turns out to be prehistoric Earth (Douglas Adams was an evolutionist and an atheist, but he’s dead now.) and overrun the actual Neanderthal population and become our ancestors instead of the Neanderthals. I have paraphrased and abridged much, here. I recommend the books, especially the first four books of the trilogy, to almost anyone.
“Herb,” I think I heard someone say, “How does this explain what is wrong with society?”
Thank you for asking.
The problem is that we are a society of loonies.
Here’s what I offer as proof today.
The Sunday paper explained it all quite clearly. Actually it was the “Parade” magazine that’s inserted in the Sunday paper. They did their annual report of “What People Earn” and here are some examples:
Registered Nurse $45,000 Baseball Player $25,000,000
Nuclear Physicist $66,000 Howard Stern $31,000,000
Auto Mechanic $25,900 John Lennon (dead guy) $22,000,000
Sgt. U.S. Marines $22,000 Tommy Hilfiger $14,600,000
Police Detective $45,800 Kelly Clarkson $ 3,000,000
Firefighter $42,600 Football Player $14,000,000
Medical Resident $42,000 Rapper/Designer $36,000,000
Housewife $0 Desperate Housewife $ 1,250,000
Truck Driver $63,300 Race Car Driver $ 6,900,000
Caregiver $13,000 Jon Stewart $ 1,500,000
Retail Clerk $12,600 Jennifer Aniston $18,500,000
E.R. Technician $23,000 News Anchor $ 2,000,000
Fraud Investigator $55,000 12 yr old actress $15,000,000
The real problem is that our culture values a load of bloody, useless loonies more than people that contribute positive things to society. Hollyweird, Mad Ave, The Fashion Industry, Sports and other Entertainment are a hundred times more important to us. They have a growing negative effect on our society, influencing our values and morals, teaching our children to take drugs and be anorexic and live in sin and we pay them to do it.
I don’t know what the solution is, but there’s the problem, accurately described as “in a nutshell.” Before you accuse me of wanting to see a redistribution of wealth or anything communist like that, I am not really saying that someone who has been playing and loving a game all of their life and loved it shouldn’t make $14,000,000 a year having fun, I am merely pointing out that we have an increasingly pleasure-mad society and we should take a look at what we value and what values we want to see our children have. One of a long list of reasons I don’t have a TV.
Remember, The Good Book says, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
The people that were left on the planet Golgafrincham were all wiped out by a virulent disease spread by an improperly sanitized phone.