So we begin with a bit of a biographical note. Like many writers at PJ Media, I work from home. There was a knock at my door this morning, and I noticed a police vehicle outside. As we are law-abiding people, that was out of the ordinary. At my door was the animal control officer. That seemed odd since our dogs stay in the backyard and don’t roam around the neighborhood. The issue that warranted said knock on my door was the fact that I had inadvertently left one of our dogs out a little longer than usual. Normally, I keep a close eye on him, but I was researching three columns and writing one, so it slipped my mind this one time to rein him back in.
Charlie is a Golden Doodle mix. We think maybe he has some Lab, and a dose of German Shorthair. He has a bladder issue and spent much of his life in a wire kennel. We suspect that he may have been abused by one of his previous owners some time ago, given his reaction to cigarette smoke and the meltdown he had at a piñata at my grandaughter’s birthday party. Despite a rough start, he is extremely sweet and is an emotional support dog. When I was sick with pneumonia last year, Charlie climbed up on the bed and lay on top of me to keep me warm. He is extraordinarily smart and empathetic and loves to play and meet new people. You can see Charlie below, helping me write a column.
Charlie also likes to trade barks with the neighbors’ dogs. I refer to them as dog Zoom meetings since a number of the neighborhood canines join in. I guess he barked a bit too long this morning for the new neighbors behind us. My fault, really. As I said, I was high-centered on some columns and my mind was occupied. But he was in the backyard and wasn’t going anywhere. But for this transgression, the neighbors did not ask us to keep the noise down or even talk to us. No, they sent the dog cops. This is not a regular thing and it was mid-morning, not 1:30 AM. But no, we needed to involve the authorities. The thing is, we could have talked this out like adults and I would have apologized and given them some eggs from our chickens. Which in and of themselves are quickly replacing gold as the new go-to emergency currency. And I suspect these people will carp about our chickens soon enough. We don’t have an HOA here, but I’ll bet that we may have someone trying to start a franchise, so to speak. In all honesty, we could have cleared the whole thing up in five minutes over a beer. But why talk with me like a grownup when it is so much easier to whine to animal control? My wife is planning to take them some eggs as a peace offering. We will see what that yields.
I was going to chalk it up to the entitled, self-righteous mentality of the blue-state refugees, who, having made a toilet of their own states, have decided to wipe their backsides with mine. Of course, I don’t know where they come from. But then, PJ Media’s Chris Queen lateraled the following story to me, which made me realize that my fragile, self-obsessed neighbors are actually the symptom of a larger problem. It is a national dysfunction. A chronic case of “The Karens.” Or maybe “infection” is a better word. After all, a collection of cows is called a herd. For baboons, it is a congress. For crows, it is murder. So why not an “infection” of Karens?
There is a donut ship in Conway, New Hampshire, called Leavitt’s Country Bakery. Last year, it was purchased by a man named Sean Young. Young knew that the shop was a gathering place for people around the town and vowed to keep it that way. Basically, the kind of man with the kind of vision that every community wants. Or at least says they want when you visit their respective websites. According to a piece in National Review, Young was approached by the art department of the local high school. The students were painting a mural as part of a class art project and needed a place to hang their work. Young thought that was an excellent idea to hang the mural on his premises and immediately offered up his shop. No harm, no foul, everybody’s happy. Again, Young sounds exactly like the kind of person every chamber of commerce dreams of having.
The mural was unveiled and hung over the bakery’s door. It showed Mt. Washington and the surrounding landscape reflecting the sun. But in this case, Mt. Washington and the surrounding landscape were made of donuts and pastries. And why not? The mural was hanging over the door of a donut shop, for crying out loud. The community thought it was fun, quirky, and interesting. The city officials of Conway? Not so much. Some overpaid, underworked, pencil-pushing local gadfly, who apparently likes to fill the days until his public pension kicks in by harassing the locals, decided that the mural had crossed the line. How? It showed donuts. Seriously. The students painted donuts. This, according to the power-hungry wonks at the city, made the mural an advertisement, not a decoration. As such, it was a “sign” and exceeded the “sign size” as dictated by a local ordinance. Young was told to remove it under the pain of criminal charges and a penalty of $275 per day. Young told National Review: “I didn’t understand how the government could decide what students are allowed to paint on their high-school art projects.” Young applied for a variance and was denied twice. The town has even admitted that its sign ordinance is vague as far back as 2006.
Rob Frommer of the Institute for Justice, who is representing Young against the city, has the answer. Frommer says that the mural could have been the same size, had it not depicted donuts. The shop sells donuts so the mural was designated an advertisement. Ideally, the city would give this bureaucrat an atomic wedgie and invite him to seek employment elsewhere over something so inanely trivial. But it is Young who has the headaches now.
In the injunction against the city, Young’s lawyers cited the example of a similar incident in which the city targeted “Lickety Splitz.” This was an ice cream parlor that had ice cream cone-shaped trash cans outside of the store. The city made Lickety Splitz remove the cans since they also amounted to advertising.
Young told National Review he will take his case to the Supreme Court if necessary, stating: “The town government, like all other governments, seems to be taking more and more control, and I’m not going to let the town bully me.”
My new Karens are products of exactly this kind of system. Nothing can be out of place, nothing can inconvenience you. Nothing can disrupt your day or your worldview. Even if it is for less than an hour. As annoying as they may be, they are as conditioned as Pavlov’s dogs. Running to the authorities is the only thing they know how to do. Americans are being programmed to stare at their navels, and rather than seek solutions through dialogue they instead call the police, the city, or the feds. Or whoever they want, just to make sure that their world is unsullied and untouched by anyone who does not think or act exactly like them. The culture has made everyone ego-centric. We are turning into a nation of Eric Cartmans, yelling “Mom! Mom!” on an infinite loop.
In the meantime, I’ll keep a close eye on Charlie, which is too bad, since he is a sweet dog and has more than paid his dues. In fact, I’m submitting this late because I had to go out and sit with him in case he barked and instigated a meltdown with our new resident cowardly snowflakes. But, one must be ever-mindful of the Karen Commission. No one knows how to work (and exploit) the system like a Karen Kadet.
Story cited here.
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