Monday, March 19, 2012

Who is dumbing down our fortune cookies?

The media has been abuzz lately with concerns about Wall Street.   Is Big Oil gouging consumers?  Has Big Auto been corrupted by crony capitalism?  Is the Green Anti-Industrial Complex ruining us for competition with China and India?  Is the 1% somehow oppressing the 99%?

All the while, a far more insidious perversion of the market seems to be taking place right under our noses -- literally. 

A terrible evil seems to have befallen the great Californian (some say invented by Chinese in Los Angeles, others by Japanese bakers in San Francisco) fortune cookie.  Perhaps litigitous lawyers are dumbing them down, for fear lawsuits will be filed if fortunes fail to come true.  Or perhaps the fortune cookie industry is being paid off by Chinese agents in a bid to stupify the next generation of American youth with psychobabble when their stomachs are full and their wills are weak.   

We discovered evidence of the attack yesterday after church, eating at a Chinese restaurant in Issaquah, Washington. 

Consider the following three messages we received in cookies after the meal -- which was otherwise pretty good:

"Your graceful qualities make difficult things seem easy." 

This, to a 15-year old boy, who would rather skin squirrels with his teeth than be considered "graceful."  

"Integrity is the essence of everything successful."

This may sound nice, but does it reflect the real world?  Hugh Hefner succeeded wildly in his chosen career.  OJ Simpson was one of the leading running backs in NFL history.  The mosquito has been one of the most successful insects on earth, and the shark, one of the long-lived among the fishes.

"Integrity is the essence of everything successful," indeed.  No doubt that's what the Mongols told the rulers of the Song Dynasty, as they bribed and intimidated the armies defending the capital. Be virtuous, and don't worry about armaments!   Leave the fighting to Genghis Khan!

The Chinese have obviously learned their lesson well.

But the worst fortune, the cookie that rendered this insidious plot almost too obvious, and caused me to worry for the future of my nation, was directed at our older son, who is (as it happens) heading to college this fall:

"You will have a social experience." 

A social experience!  What, in college?  How could that be?  And how is recklessly wasting one's weekends at drunken frat parties supposed to equip our lads to compete with millions of newly-minted Chinese engineers and scientists? 

Or is the real goal just the opposite -- to undermine their will to resist? 

Anyway, ninety five percent of people eating in a Chinese restaurant are ALREADY have a social experience with their family and friends.  Most of the rest chat up the waiter, at least.  The other 0.1% consists of rich, eccentric heiresses living alone, who go home after the meal and feed their cat Minny the left-over dumplings.  That cat, even in the fat, balding, and spiteful state to which years of being spoiled rotten have reduced it, is all the society those heiresses want, anyway.  Minny will inherit their fortunes some day.   

This is a miraculous prophesy -- it will be a miracle if it fails somehow to come true!  The only way this "fortune" could fail, is if the cookie were to wash up on a beach after a shipping container from Wonton Food, Inc (Brooklyn, NY) washes overboard in a hurricane, and is found and consumed (before spoiling) by Robinson Crusoe on his godforsaken little Carribean island.  Even then, if Crusoe were to meet his Man Friday before being eaten by cannibals (which could also be described as a social event, come to think of it), this prophecy could not fail of being fulfilled.  (And, for that matter, not even Robinson Crusoe WAS forsaken of God, as the original text, before it was dumbed down -- how deep does the plot go?   How long have the communists had their hands on our printing presses? -- once made clear.) 

Has the American fortune cookie industry lost its nerve?  Are the Titans of fortune cookie industry plotting to break into the market for Death Row serial killers in isolation, who are due to be executed the next day?  (And even they might meet the devil!) 

Or is the vacuity of 21st Century fortune cookies part of a plot to dumb down American youth, in preparation for the Great American Firesale

Beware the fortune cookie, the Ides of March.


Brian Wilkerson said...

Thanks for the laugh. I've noticied a similar trend though I the makers were just getting lazy. This is far more serious than I realized.

David B Marshall said...

Yes. Fortune cookies could be so much fun, too, with a little creativity.