Quote of the week

In Virginia, where radar detectors are contraband, “distracted driving” is apparently becoming a primary offense. One could assume that Richmond needs, or thinks it needs, the money from fines, but Jack Baruth will tell you that there’s something more visceral to it:

I would suggest that the texting-and-driving hysteria we’re seeing now as a society is as outsized as it is for one simple reason: people just love to be Puritans about something and we live in a world now where it’s no longer acceptable to have any public views about sexual behavior or common decency besides those once held by Ol’ Little Roman Boots. Since the Puritanical impulse is likely genetic in nature and it is one of the reasons your Cro-Magnon ancestor survived while his neighbor died in an ill-fated attempt to reproduce with a tribe of bonobos, it’s hard to completely suppress it. Instead, we swallow those feelings and let them fester until one day we are busy nonjudgmentally watching Glee and we see a public-service ad about texting and driving and it erupts from our stomachs in a bile-covered, steel-toothed xenomorphic presence OMG SOMETHING MUST BE DONE BLEEEEARRRRRRGH.

Think of it as another baby step toward Utopia:

An exceptionally paranoid individual, which I am emphatically not or at least emphatically not really, might also wonder if the Illuminati think this: By removing all sorts of potential distractions from driving and forcing us to stare straight ahead at the stopped bumper of the Escalade in front of us, possibly with the aid of those hold-the-eyelids-open apparatus they used on Malcolm McDowell, the misery of operating a privately-owned vehicle might possibly be ratcheted up to the point where we will cheerfully accept being herded onto filthy cattle cars and shipped to our destinations in the most climate-friendly way possible. Just forget I said anything about it, though, because I’m not paranoid.

Then again, the events of this century have persuaded me that the pale has been relocated to a position where nothing is beyond it anymore.


  1. McGehee »

    6 April 2013 · 8:46 am

    I’m not even much for talking with passengers while driving. Other drivers are so entertaining with their unsignaled lane changes and sudden “oh THIS is where I’m going” stops in traffic that if I weren’t paying attention to their antics I might be missing out on the real fun in life.

  2. McGehee »

    6 April 2013 · 8:48 am

    Oh, and the quote source works in two very separate Malcolm McDowell references. Is he a fan?

  3. fillyjonk »

    6 April 2013 · 8:58 am

    All I can say, after having nearly experienced a wreck (I had to run up onto a curb to avoid it) where the other driver was clearly texting: If I am killed by a driver who is texting, I hope St Peter or whoever is in charge of such things will let me come back and seriously haunt them for that.

    We shouldn’t have laws against texting and driving, but then again, people shouldn’t be sufficiently stupid to think they can drive while looking down at their phone.

  4. Charles Pergiel »

    6 April 2013 · 10:50 am

    What gets me, when I think about it, is the 999 people out of a 1000 who plod along in endless traffic jams and never complain, never get out of line, never do anything wrong and it never seems to bother them.

  5. Nicole »

    6 April 2013 · 11:12 am

    Re: the pale being moved — excellent observation.

  6. Tatyana »

    6 April 2013 · 1:14 pm

    I think I’ll quote you on that pale pinpointing.With one clarification: this century is not an exception in the row of all the preceding.

  7. QotD | Скрипучая беседка »

    6 April 2013 · 1:19 pm

    […] Chaz G. Hill of Dustbury, OK, while quoting another eloquent […]

  8. nightfly »

    8 April 2013 · 3:30 pm

    I think there is only one thing beyond the pale – noticing anything else as beyond the pale. That’s a big symptom of a mortally-ill society.

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