This week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Stupid shone a bright light on the existential threat posed by rising levels of stupidity. The IPS says atmospheric releases of stupid are reaching all-time highs, imperiling our capacity to respond to serious issues. This new crop of Veepies gives a measure of validation to the report; we’ve got some real doozies on our hands, folks.
The Tucker Carlson Memorial Award for Profitable Fearmongering goes to Chelsea Green Publishing. The firm that has produced quite a few notable books in the earth-friendly category has a hit on its hands, not to mention blood. Earlier this year, CG published a book co-authored by Joseph Mercola, “the world’s leading source of online coronavirus misinformation.” And the book, “The Truth About Covid-19,” lives up to the author’s reputation.
The book, per the Valley News, asserts that “the pandemic was preplanned as a tool of global elites who want to strengthen their control of the economy.” It also casts doubt on coronavirus vaccines, while promoting supplements sold by, ahem, Joseph Mercola. The book has already sold 250,000 copies
To judge by her comments, CG president Margo Baldwin is a Covid denier herself. She claims the book went through a rigorous editorial process, and blamed the mainstream media for “creating a climate of fear and misinformation.” I have a few CG books on my shelf; rest assured I won’t be buying any more.
Still to come: Another cock-up at UVM, a deeply flawed “survey” from Burlington, and the Bennington cops get a meaningless bauble.
Next, we have the We Commissioned That Report You Wanted But Ha Ha Ha, You Can’t See It Award, which goes to the University of Vermont. Last spring, thousands of students walked out of class to protest UVM’s handling of sexual assault on campus. Or should I say “lack of handling.” One of the students’ demands was an independent investigation of the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Title IX office. UVM agreed — but it turns out they had their fingers crossed the whole time.
This week, UVM announced that it won’t make the report public. Sounds like a great way to restore broken trust, right? But wait, there’s more! A university flack told VTDigger that “there is no investigation, but a review of processes and functions,” which looks like the university was willing to say anything to end the walkout but unwilling to follow through.
And here’s the topper. Seems that the consulting firm hired to do the “review” or whatever the hell it was, may be more about profit than truth. Its website says “We are committed to lowering the resource-intensive and monetary costs of compliance.” Yeah, great. Cut costs, but don’t do anything to actually reform the process or make the administration uncomfortable.
We move on to another fundamentally flawed study, this one commissioned by the city of Burlington. The We Did a Study in the Easiest and Least Accurate Way And Here’s Our Bill Award is for a study of public safety that surveyed an “overwhelmingly white and wealthier than average” slice of the city’s population, per VTDigger.
I guess because white and wealthy people are the real victims of crime?
Well, actually, from my reading of the story it appears that the survey was sent out to everybody, not any sort of representative sample, and well-to-do whites were simply more likely to participate. For this impressive bit of SurveyMonkey level accuracy, the city paid a consultant $38,850. A member of the Police Commission asserted that “the findings are still valuable for the city,” which seems laughable to me.
Finally, we’re giving the Baubles, Bangles and Beads Award to the statistically racist Bennington Police Department. The BPD is marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by giving each officer “a commemorative badge to wear on their uniforms for the rest of the year.”
There’s nothing wrong with remembering a terrible day in our history. But c’mon, it’s not as if the BPD played any role in responding to the attacks, or in the fight against terrorism — unless you count targeting people of color for traffic stops and having a relaxed approach to incidents of hate. This is the kind of thing a puffed-up small-town police chief does to make himself and his department seem like a bigger deal than they are. It’s useless. It’s a waste of money.
It’s stupid. But hey, that seems to be a BPD specialty.