My wife watches the show “This Is Us.” I usually lay there and watch Youtube videos, but for some reason, this week, I watched along with her. At the end of the most recent show *SPOILER ALERT* Jack Pearson places a kitchen towel against an old Crock Pot with an electrical short and inadvertently starts a house fire. This solves, at least in part, the mystery of how Jack dies. Every fan of the show, which is overwhelmingly female in demographic, has been waiting to find out how the fire that took Jack’s life got started. As the Pearson home was engulfed in flames on my screen I leaned over to my wife and jokingly said, “Welp Crock Pot stock will drop tomorrow.” She wasn’t amused. I, however, should have traded stock on my hunch. The next day crock pots all across the country went into the trash can. NBC and Newell (the company that manufactures Crock Pots) had to issue statements about their safety. Newell’s stock went into a tail spin. It is irrational. It is overly cautious. It is a pure fear-based emotional response. It is also a canary in our coal mine.
Miners, for those that don’t know, often died of silent noxious gas exposure. So they took canaries with them as they delved ever more deeply. The smaller biology of the canary caused it to succumbed much sooner to the gas. If the canaries died, it served as a warning to the miners that their own death was imminent. Crock pots being thrown into trash cans leading to a company being nearly destroyed because of a television character’s death is a canary in our collective coal mine. It is a clear demonstration of the underlying effect of being over-informed, and over-entertained. Subtly and slowly, we have become a culture that lives on fear based emotions. The once proud and courageous men and women who loaded up covered wagons, crossed the Mississippi river, and went to settle the western lands among Apaches are no more. What happened to our strength of constitution? Our fortitude? Our rugged love of risk taking? What happened to the American spirit? They appear to be in the trash can under our Crock Pots. We’d all still be huddled around kitchen fires in Boston if our generation was expected to settle the West. Except, there’d be no fires in the kitchen anymore because those are dangerous.
We need to stop living in fear. We need to stop allowing our government and the entertainment complex to control us through fear. We need to break our addiction to fear-porn. All day long every day all we hear is that the sky is falling, literally. Global warming is going to kill us all. We need the Environmental Protection Agency. Terrorists are coming to behead us all. We need to send government troops to dominate the rest of the world so we can “feel” safe at home. Sexual predators are everywhere just waiting to sexually assault us. We need Hollywood and the music industry (two notoriously corrupt industries that objectify women for money all day every day) to tell us how to live healthy sex lives. Guns are dangerous and randomly kill people. We need lots of S.W.A.T teams and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Children should be leashed like animals and never get out of our sight. We need the Consumer Protection Agency. Ecoli is in our greens and Salmonella in our meats. We need the Food and Drug Administration. Illegal immigrants are taking our jobs, so we need a protective wall and protective tariffs. Racism is on the rise so we need hate crimes legislation. Supposedly, according to the best and brightest on college campuses across our land, the U.S. is full of white, patriarchal, misogynist, racist, homophobes trying to impose their mathematics, high school education, monogamous marriage, and child-rearing culture on everyone else. This above all else should be feared. They are so afraid of these boogeymen that they must retreat to safe spaces with coloring books and hot cocoa to soothe their tender feelings.
You can now cease to wonder how these young people turned out to be such emotionally weak crybabies. We did it to them. We wrapped them in bubble wrap and sent them out to play in a 10 square foot space, in our postage stamp-sized, fenced-in back yards. We hovered over them. We threw our crock pots away. We abandoned bravery and calculated risk. We became addicted to fearporn. We are all like college football coaches in the fourth quarter playing not to lose. As any football fan will tell you, playing it safe in a football game will get an “loss” hung on your team (ask the University of Georgia). It will also get a loss hung around your neck in life too. When enough of us get that dreaded L, then the nation gets one too. And that my friends, is how civilizations fall.
So ladies, primarily I am speaking to you here, defy the government and its crony media complexes. Show your sons and daughters that you are not afraid. Go and dig those Crock Pots out of the trash can, and, in as non a misogynistic way as I can say this, “go make a pot roast or something.” Send the kids out to play and don’t watch every move they make. When they come in crying from a skinned knee, tell them to suck it up, slap a band aid on it, and tell them it is a battle scar. Tell them you don’t want to see them again until the street lights come on. Tell them to go build a ramp for their bikes out of plywood and brick-o-blocks. Tell your schools to let them play dodge ball… on the monkey bars. Refuse to take a participation trophy home. Throw that in the trash if you must throw something away. Or, if you are itching to throw something away, how about their Xbox or their handheld device? We’ve got to cross a new Mississippi river, a cultural one. If you keep throwing away Crock Pots because an imaginary character on a television show died, we’re not going to make it across. We need men to step up and be men again and take off those stupid looking skinny jeans and face the world as it really is, a cold and rugged place. We need men and women to understand that they need each other again. We need our young ladies to be at least as fearless, if not more, than our young men. And if you think this is all just toxic masculinity, let me suggest that perhaps you are engaged in a toxic form of femininity. You’ve turned our children into weak-hearted and emotionally stunted victims. The noxious gas is rising. The canaries are all dead.