Jewish World Review July 9, 2002/ 22 Tamuz, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

We're all going to die, live with it | The World Health Organization (WHO) held 3 days of meetings last week on acrylamide, a carcinogen that forms when "rice, potatoes and cereals are fried or baked." Another white rat killer.

Death squads have descended previously on water, air and popcorn. Now fries, to wit, "Care for some cancer with that burger?" Somewhere out there lurks a Pringles can with my name on it. Oh, the sting of death heaped upon us by the deep fryer.

We are all going to die. The mortality rate is, and always has been, 100%. But this obsession with every remote danger grows annoying. Death zealots focus on probabilities as likely as Julia Roberts' new marriage lasting. TBS's Worst Case Scenario is a TV show full of survival tips should you find yourself in a submerged car or forced to jump from a moving one.

Women have been delivering babies for centuries, squatting in those acrylamide-infested rice fields to give birth. Now physicians bemoan the risk in this natural process and advocate giving women the choice for C-sections over risky vaginal deliveries.

The National Highway Traffic Administration is studying food consumption behind the wheel. Snacking drivers cause too many accidents, with coffee and chili producing the highest accident rates (before we knew the exponential mortality rate for those who eat French fries whilst driving). Halting dining in our cars apparently not being an option, regulators now study whether fast food joints should all use cups that fit car holders. Why not require auto manufacturers to put small, medium and large cup holders in cars? One chain, fearful of government mandates, will voluntarily use thicker shredded cheese so that its tiny bits of floating cheddar don't distract drivers.

Post-9-11, death cowards emerged en masse. One man bought 75 rolls of duct tape to seal his basement. Ace Hardware does a land office business selling plastic sheeting to the fearful for sealing windows against nuclear or biological warfare.

Children are more likely to die from the safety precautions adults mandate. Take a gander at children on bikes. If they seem inept it is because their parents have forced them to wear helmets so large that they are riding bikes while trying to balance what amounts to a basket of fruit on their heads. Since the advent of bike helmets, there are actually more head injuries. Riders are top heavy and dropping like flies.

We have heard the assaults on dodge ball. But safety advocates seek to eliminate: tag (slower children may over-exert); hide-n-seek (dangerous hiding places); red rover (violence, hitting, "red" is offensive to American Indian children); musical chairs (pushing, shoving, collapsing chairs); and catch ("invites injury," details not provided).

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education advocates safer games such as "Shake," instead of tag -- when you catch up with your fellow player, you shake his hand in lieu of the death's door touch with, "You're it." "Teal rover," complete with nonoffensive color, requires children to switch places on a field, moving across in orderly slow fashion when the teacher yells, "Teal!" "Special chairs" has students in a circle of chairs as the teacher moves from child to child, telling each why he is special. Instead of catch, play "Hold." Each child holds a ball and studies it, but no throwing. Fun!

Why not just strap children into chairs all day to avoid injuries? Wait, we do that with video games and DVDs. They don't want to ride their bikes - too much to strap on to get ready. Safety obsession has created every disincentive in the world for leaping, hopping, running and cavorting. We use Ritalin instead of tag, catch and teal rover.

Oddly, death squads dismiss major safety concerns. School buses don't have seat belts. The laws of physics and whiplash still apply inside school buses. We ticket parents whose children aren't strapped in the family car like Neil Armstrong for Apollo, but bouncing about school buses like pinballs is just fine for young 'uns.

Children with pink eye are banished from school for 3 days. But AIDS is not a communicable disease. High schools teach children not to worry about it; use a condom.

Our obsession with safety does succumb to dollars, as in the cost of putting belts in buses, and to political correctness. Dodge ball, tag and catch aren't banished because they're dangerous. They are banished because some children are superior players and this is a country that demands mediocrity. We're not revamping the SAT for equality only to have dodge ball stratify children by ability.

We're can't fear AIDS because we fear offending the gay community more. We fear terrorism, but would rather have our bottoms and bags searched in airports and purchase duct tape than target Arab males.

We're all going to die. Some from errant dodge balls, some from drinking drivers with improperly sized cup holders, and a few poor stiffs will get it from acrylamide. There is no hazard-free world, but there are a few real dangers we might fix. Until we do, armed gunmen take more lives at LAX in one day than acrylamide fries ever will.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


07/02/02: From the eye of the storm
06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
12/29/00: The year that was
12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings