America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)
More Special Interest Groups Required
by Martin H. Levinson
19 January 2015
Many Americans identify themselves through compound forms based on national or regional origin—African-American, Italian-American, Irish-American, Mexican-American, etc. Such individuals often band together and hold parades, have parties, and get politicians to cater to their particular interests. But what about folks who identify themselves in ways other than where they or their descendants came from? Shouldn’t these people be able to form collectives and get in on the action? Take the case of Ugly-Americans.
Research shows, and everybody knows, that individuals who are physically attractive have big advantages in life. They get more attention at job interviews, they’re more likely to be thought of as intelligent, and they go out on more dates. Ugly people, by contrast, have a tougher time of it. Their repulsive features often lead to not getting hired, having their mental acumen questioned, and spending Saturday nights alone in front of TV.
Well, I say enough, my unsightly compatriots! Don’t take rejection as your due. Create a special-interest group and petition Congress to recognize your inner beauty by proclaiming one month a year as “Ugly People’s History Month.” Insist that colleges establish departments of Ugly-American Studies with curriculums that highlight the achievements of Ugly-American authors, inventors, and statesmen. Demand that ugly contests be put on television. Hey, beauty is only skin-deep and ugly people are just as talented as pretty ones.
And what about Average-Americans? Shouldn’t these poor schlemiels be accorded special status?
Average-Americans go to work every day at middling jobs that pay middling wages to support their middling families. They commute long distances to get to work and when they come home they have to be nice to their spouses, take out the garbage, and walk the dog. On weekends it’s just one damn thing after another. Thoreau summarized the situation well: “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Well, mass of men, how about dumping the silent despair, setting up a special-interest group, and making some noise!
Average-Americans could petition the government to proclaim “Average-American Recognition Day” as a new federal holiday. On that day rich people and poor people would be required to sing paeans to America’s hard-working, self-effacing middle class.
Another idea would be to hold Average-American parades with lackluster floats and mediocre marching bands in typical American cities. And an Average-American lobbying group could be established in Washington, D.C. I suggest calling it “The Middle-of-the-Road Majority.”
Agnostic-Americans would also be wise to get in on the special-interest bandwagon because non-believers need all the help they can get. For example, with no places of worship, Agnostic-Americans don’t have religious pulpits from which they can air their grievances. They can’t ask God for assistance because they’re not sure He exists. And most people who live in this country are uncomfortable with individuals who question things. Americans believe it’s better to take a stand than say you’re uncertain.
How would you like it if you couldn’t leave the house until someone opened the door for you, had to eat from a dish on the floor, and were forced to put up with some idiot making silly sounds and dopey expressions when all you wanted to do was to go out and chase a few squirrels? You’d hate it. Well, our nation’s pets have to put up with this kind of stuff all the time. I say put up with it no more, my fellow living creatures. Abandon your leashes and cages, get with the program, and create a special-interest group.
The first thing this faction should do is to get “Pet’s Day” put on the calendar as an American ritual. On that day pet owners would be expected to give their animal companions special toys and exotic foods. Pet-Americans could also bring to the public’s attention figures of speech that contain derogatory animal references—e.g., “dirty dog,” “catty,” “birdbrain” “fish face,”—and they could lobby for universal medical insurance for animals. Research shows having a pet extends the health and life of their owner; therefore extending the life of a pet is a form of preventive health care for human beings.
There are plenty of other special-interest groups that could be formed—Stupid- Americans, Fat-Americans, Angry-Americans, American-Elitists—and I believe they should be formed. Every American ought to be represented by a special-interest group. All for one, and none for all. Isn’t that how the saying goes?
Martin H. Levinson is the author of nine books and numerous articles, plays, and poems on various subjects. He is a member of the Authors Guild, National Book Critics Circle, and the book review editor for ETC: A Review of General Semantics. His website can be accessed at martinlevinson.com.