Opinion » Shredder

Cheek, meet tongue


With great sorrow, but no surprise whatsoever, President Barack Obama announced on Wednesday, Feb. 26, that the United States of America finally lost the battle for cultural and intellectual superiority to China, Japan, pretty much the entire European Union, all of the cold countries, half a dozen African nations, and even Australia, which startled everyone present at the press conference, prompting a second press conference to verify that the president’s information on that score was correct. 

The exact date of the fall was Saturday, Feb. 1, coinciding with a rain dance in Templeton hosted by the Central Coast Center for Spiritual Living. The president didn’t blame this specific rain dance for the nation’s reputation as intellectually challenged, but he admitted that it didn’t help. 

“We knew our nation’s youth had fallen behind and that their understanding of basic scientific concepts was woeful, but when we realized a significant percentage of the country’s adults didn’t understand where rain comes from, we could no longer maintain the pretense of being a progressive, intellectually oriented country. So we pass the baton to the many countries that have overtaken us, including Australia,” he read from a prepared statement, with only the slightest facial twitch when he mentioned the country down under. He added that scheduling a rain dance the same day that meteorologists have predicted rain is “cheating, like what Malia does when she plays Monopoly—but worse because we can’t send the nation into the corner for a giant timeout.”

The president did briefly touch on the subject of cultural misappropriation before flinging his hands in the air and stating, “But that’s the least of our problems. A bunch of hippies pretending to pay homage to Native American traditions is less concerning than a bunch of adults believing that wandering in circles will change weather patterns. I can’t think of a better argument for educational reform.”

Science deniers gathered at the Templeton park where they originally held the rain dance to protest the president’s announcement—marching in circles as they did so, and trying to look like the Native Americans they’d seen in movies. One man was watching Dances with Wolves on his phone while he protested—“for inspiration,” because he wanted to “do a good job representing the Indian culture I think I’m stealing as Hollywood represents it.” 

“Who’s he to say we didn’t cause the rain? I’d been practicing walking circles around my yard all week,” said Ed, who was shoeless and declined to give his last name. 

“It can’t hurt,” added Gaia Windinhertoes, a real estate agent and chakra healer from Santa Margarita whose real and professional name was later revealed to be Susan Baxter. “I mean, you have to respect my beliefs, even if I didn’t know they were my beliefs until I received a Facebook invitation to the rain dance.”

According to the Center for Measuring National Anti-Intellectualism, the single rain dance itself would not have been sufficient to tip the United States into What-the-hell-is-going-on-in-our-schools levels, but the dozens of people who thanked the rain dancers online after it started raining were “as damaging to the nation’s overall intellectual levels as all eight years of George Bush’s presidency.” The Templeton incident sparked a chain reaction in which other adults who don’t understand where rain comes from and happened to have some drums in their closet seized the opportunity to gather with other anti-intellectuals and pretend to pay homage to what little they understood of the Native American traditions. 

All of which prompted a feather shortage at local craft stores, reaching near crises levels when several hippies had to be turned away from a dance at the Steynberg Gallery because they weren’t wearing the appropriate number of feathers. 

“We knew there was no way they had enough energy in that room without us,” John Jacob said mournfully. “I mean, 30, 35 people, that’s only maybe 75 percent of the energy you need for a drizzle. There were five of us, and Jimmy Two-Shoes had a shiny pebble that looked like a raindrop he’d found this morning, so we were ready to do our part. It’s just too bad about the feathers. I think we all know we would have ended the drought there and then.”

The Center Representing Religions Not Considered Cuckoo by the Mainstream but Which Still Operate on the Same Principles formally condemned rain dances in a press release that stated: “All reasonably minded people are aware that dancing does not produce rain. The only way to change the weather is through prayer. Anyone who says otherwise is a filthy heathen who should probably be shipped to Australia with the kangaroos and criminals.”

A group of climate change deniers in Atascadero banded together to issue a statement to the effect that they did not want to be mistaken for “hippie science deniers that shake things to make it rain. Seriously, even we respect science more than that.”

Thirty percent of the nation’s scientists attempted suicide following the flurry of statements, and another 25 percent were found floating on rafts in the Atlantic Ocean holding signs pleading “Will do science for intellectual asylum. All countries. Even Australia.” 

Australia replied to the kerfuffle with a Post-It note that merely read: “What the hell, mates?”


Shredder doesn’t like onions. Send eggplant recipes to [email protected].


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