The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Tuesday, April 5th, 2005
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?
Pharmacists are refusing to dispense birth control, morning-after, and other sorts of morally unacceptable pills.  Though localized, the practice is growing, with one hundred and eighty occurrences in the past six months.*  States are drafting legislation to give pharmacists the right to refuse prescriptions they find objectionable.  Forcing those in need to travel great distances to fill their prescriptions will get folks out of bed and seeing the country, say the pharmacists.  Travel, they point out, is broadening. Furthermore, the pharmacists claim, taking medical decisions out of doctors’ hands and placing them with the local drug store is sound economics.  It always pays to eliminate the middle man.

Fearful of fundamentalist protestors, theaters are banning Imax science films about undersea volcanoes, dinosaurs, the Galapagos islands, and the night sky.**  Apparently lava, tortoises, T Rex, and stars contradict the biblical account of an earth a few thousand years old, created in six days, populated by God with help from his own creations, Adam, Eve, and their talking snake.  This growing movement to take the science out of science makes economic as well as moral sense.  Would-be scientists will no longer have to buy those expensive physics and geology textbooks.  All they need is a bible, available free of charge in many hotel rooms.  As for costly telescopes, microscopes, and super-colliders, why bother when a trusty crucifix does the job just as well?

Defying the spirit of the First Amendment’s establishment clause, pious judges across the land are displaying the ten commandments in their courtrooms.  As Frank Rich tells it in the March 27th
New York Times, courthouses around the country were adorned with Ten Commandment monuments as a publicity stunt for Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 epic, The Ten Commandments. Hollywood studios, seeing an opportunity for free advertising, are now pressuring local governments to place Shrek, Julia Roberts, and statues of other celebrities in public places.  Setting an example for the rest of the country, President Bush has agreed to have the Disney Company place a colossal monument to Goofy, complete with a plaque reading “Duh”,  on the White House lawn.

As a measure of the progress our great nation has achieved, over a hundred years ago a very different sort of colossus was placed at the entrance to New York Harbor.  Poet Emma Lazarus composed the words for its plaque:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
The New Colossus, 1883

Lazarus’ verse is still enshrined at the base of the Statue of Liberty, though both the monument and her words are sadly dated.   Today it is unthinkable that we would deface a major city skyline with a gift from the French.   Furthermore, Lazarus’ poem would never do for our era. More poor and more homeless?  Please. Wretches yearning to breathe free?  Not in my airspace, pal. Lazarus was an American original, a tireless voice in the cause of religious pluralism and tolerance.  How quaint.  Were a modern day poet commissioned to write verse for the symbolic entrance to the nation, it would surely read:

Welcome to the USA
Have yourself a real nice day.
Raise your eyes up to the sky,
Hands together, hold ‘em high.
Before your knees hit the floor,
Please check your brain at the door.


©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2005
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