Monday, 28 May 2007

Dinosaurs, wild hogs and morons

For the average American, weighed down these days with woes over the Iraq war, gas prices and the fate of Paris Hilton, some good news for once.

Today the Creation Museum, in darkest Kentucky, flings open its gates. No doubt they are pearly. Visitors will gape at, among assorted wonders, a full-scale Noah’s Ark, complete with dinosaurs aboard. Apparently, these “critturs,” as the locals put it, roamed the earth (why do dinosaurs always “roam,” never just walk about?) along with Adam and Eve, at the beginning of the world, some six thousand years ago.

The museum explains a lot. The flood caused the Grand Canyon. It took a week or so. And Cain married his sister. Incest. That’s where it started going downhill. This explains a good deal about the sanity of the human race.

As Pascal remarked, some three hundred years ago, “Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness.”

But what can you expect from a Frenchman? “The trouble with the French, “ as George Bush, once remarked to Tony Blair, “is that they have no word for ‘entrepreneur.’”

I confess I believe in evolution. How else can one explain that two and a half thousand years ago, we produced Socrates, and now we have George W.? People often imagine evolution means that things will improve. H. L. Mencken didn’t. This is his prediction on the American presidency over eighty years ago:

"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Absurd. Never happen.

Mencken was an old sourpuss anyway. Here’s how he described his follow countrymen in the twenties:

"The American people, taken one with another, constitute the most timorous, snivelling, poltroonish, ignominous mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages."

Of course, thanks to evolution, things are different now.

And, indeed, H. L. might not have been nearly as disparaging about Americans had he been able to read the stirring tale of 11-year old Jamison Stone last week.

It seems that the lad from Pickensville, Alabama - interestingly, not a stone's throw from the creationist museum - shot a nine foot long, 1,051 pound wild hog with a pistol. That is one big pig. And it’s all thanks to Noah’s Ark and a hand gun.

“It’s a good accomplishment. I probably won’t ever kill anything else that big,” said young Jamison, modestly.

Sadly, the stout little fellow, (the boy that is, not the boar), was born six thousand years too late. He could have bagged a dinosaur.

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