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Waking up to the classic sounds of George Orwell

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FromEditorsDesk Tony CroppedBy Tony Farkas
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I read something extremely ridiculous on Sunday, which was a tough thing to do after reading something equally as ridiculous on Thursday, and it spurred a question in my brain, “When did the rug get pulled out from under us?”

Sunday’s missive was about, of all things, McDonald’s “infamously unreliable” ice cream machines. Seems an online how-to group, combined with something strangely called Public Knowledge, petitioned the government, through the Librarian of Congress, to be allowed to hack into the machines to repair them.

If you think about that for just a minute, you’ll come up with some obvious questions, such as, “Isn’t hacking a crime?” and “What does Congress have to do with McDonald’s ice cream?”

A little more thought drums up, “Why is this a thing? Isn’t there something better to be focused on?” Imagine the chutzpah required to use the might of Congress to be allowed to force-fix a nonsensical problem.

Society, being so used to getting what it wants when it wants, calls upon higher powers to grant wishes, when all along, capitalism has provided an answer. Not the capitalism we have today, which suffers from so many intrusions from a government hell-bent on forcing “equality,” but a capitalism that provides competition and choice.

See, most every other burger joint has some sort of ice cream (Dairy Queen, anyone?). What should happen, as the old saw goes, is people vote with their feet and do business with the company that provides. That lesson was handed down recently via the fiasco with Bud Light.

That’s all it takes. If the Golden Arches can’t supply, go to DQ or Sonic. I’m sure they’d be happy to provide, and the Librarian of Congress doesn’t have to be involved in the transaction.

That same kind of thinking is at the heart of Thursday’s missive, which gave us the recent bout of Stella Awards.

These awards were named after Stella Liebeck, who famously (I promise I’m not picking on them) went to McDonald’s, got coffee, got scalded, sued and won $2.9 million for a scalded crotch. Details of the incident notwithstanding, it showed the idiocy of a jury giving out huge judgments for people’s lack of common sense.

Included in this batch of awards: a woman bought a Winnebago and drove it to the OU game. She set the cruise control, then GOT UP to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor home crashed and overturned. The jury, though, felt the woman’s pain; they awarded $1.75 million because the owner’s manual didn’t explain that cruise control was not the same as autopilot.

Then there’s this: A woman in a restaurant, having an argument with her boyfriend, throws a drink at him and storms off. She then slips on the spilled drink and breaks her tailbone. Instead of calling it karma, the restaurant was ordered to pay $113,500.

How about the man who broke into a house while the owners were away, got locked into the garage, and had to spend eight days surviving on Pepsi and dry dog food. He sued the homeowners’ insurance company, which was forced to pay $500,000 for his “anguish.”

I posted that on my timeline after reading it because I was amazed at not only the foolishness of people and the lack of common sense of empaneled juries, but in looking at the details, you’ll notice that most of these issues stem from people ignoring governmentally mandated rules and regulations. The juries also sympathized with people because of the societal belief in victimhood — if only there was some warning keeping these people from acting foolish.

This is the kind of stuff that leads to warning labels on clothes and baby items cautioning people to remove children before folding or washing; that the contents of a hot coffee cup that you knowingly purchase will be hot; or that if you are in a neighbor’s yard without permission and get bit by a dog, it’s not the neighbor’s fault.

As a poor analogy, anyone growing up in my day and age has heard the phrase, “That’ll teach you.” Whether you were playing with matches and got burned or had stuck a fork in a light socket, you found out real quick that wasn’t a good idea, and you’d be lucky not to get your bottom smacked. You certainly didn’t sue your parents for causing emotional distress.

As an aside, I was chided by several people, not for highlighting the jury awards, but for not siding with Stella since she required surgery for her injuries, and told I was all for genital mutilation.

My actual feelings are these: You pays your money and you takes your chances, and it’s all on you. The government has no part in this.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Randy Cassingham · 2 months ago
    Hey Tony, you might want to review https://StellaAwards.com/bogus/ --- which, when I wrote that page 21 years ago, I dubbed "The Age-Old Bogus Stella Awards". That's right, they were an ancient urban legend even then.

    Sincerely, Randy Cassingham, Author, The True Stella Awards