Babies really will eat everything
2020 is almost over, and I think we can all agree it’s been a hell of a year. Rather than dwell on the weirdness of 2020, I want to take a look back in time, all the way to the turn of the 21st-century. Can you believe people born during Y2K will be able to buy alcohol this year? That seems crazy to me. Would you say we are living in a better world, a worse world, or a world that’s more or less the same as the world we lived in twenty years ago?
I think everything you need to know about today’s world is conveyed by the legions of people who took to the internet to vent their collective frustration over Baby Yoda eating frog eggs in a recent episode of The Mandalorian.
“Cancel Baby Yoda!” screeched the irate masses. “It’s a genocide!” cried the great ranks of offended fans. Commentators rushed to their keyboards, each one eager to pen the definitive think piece that would either consign Baby Yoda to the 21st-century cultural sewer, exonerate the lovable green tot, or (more likely) indulge a good bit of fence-sitting equivocation. The tweets piled up. China’s attempt to extirpate the Uighurs continued unabated.
Should Baby Yoda in fact be canceled? Was eating the frog eggs a gag-inducing genocide, or just a gag? (Seriously though, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me direct you to Google.) Eventually, only “Ask a Hipster” could definitely resolve the issue, but, true to form, the Hipster refused to weigh in one way or the other, seeing as how expressing an opinion on something cripples one’s ability to poke fun at it.
But wait a second. Did you notice how one of those things was not like the other? If you guessed the preceding paragraph was a precise meta-analysis of the proportional media coverage received by (a) a TV show for grown-up children in which a pretend space creature pretends to eat some pretend eggs; and (b) an arguable, modern genocide; then you guessed right! Yeah. That’s the world we live in now, and we’d all better get used to it. Heck, I bet somebody smarter than me already wrote a think piece about it.
Double heck, this might well turn into a think piece if I’m not careful. I’d best avoid sneaking anything thoughtful in here, lest I become the thing at which I’ve been cheerfully poking fun.
Triple heck, I fear it’s too late.
Look, whether this is a better world or a worse one depends almost entirely on the yardstick you employ in measuring the relative goodness of life. If you think the world is utterly bass- ackwards for the reasons I’ve cleverly tried to illustrate here, then you probably think the world has taken a swan dive straight into the quarter inch of fetid water lingering at the bottom of the drained pool that is the 21st-century. If, on the other hand, you see ever expanding intellectual liberation supported by the profligacy of information exchange that has allowed every idea, no matter how stupid, to find its place in 21st-century life, then perhaps you see the world as peachy keen and getting better every gosh darn day. Take that piece of useless advice for every penny it isn’t worth, I guess.