Get a brain! It's morons, not morans

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I got a call last month from Mike Kruse, a reporter with the St. Petersburg Times. Turns out a man on a moped crashed into a man driving a power wheelchair. Kruse had all kinds of questions for me: How big is the scooter market? How big is the power chair market? And on and on. I kind of enjoyed it. Usually, I'm the one asking questions so to have the tables turned was fun.

Here's what Kruse quoted me saying in the story he wrote:

"We're going to see more and more people riding around in scooters and wheelchairs because we're going to see more and more old people who can't walk and more and more heavy people who can't walk."

I think that is accurate.

Well, fast forward a day or so. I couldn't find the link to the newspaper story so I Googled myself. The first link to the story lead me to Wonkette, a website that specializes in satire. Wonkette spoofed the Times story under the headline: "In A Troubled Economy, Scooter Manufacturing Is The Only Successful Industry."

Reading the comments on this site made me realize that satire and empathy are often mutually exclusive. When it comes to making fun of seniors and overweight people, these guys are merciless.

I e-mailed the Wonkette link to a co-worker. She e-mailed back: "I love how out of that entire, long article, it was your name that got picked up. Personally, I'd take offense at the morons who are confusing 'moran' with 'moron.'"

A day or so later, someone left a comment on my blog, suggesting that I Google "Get a brain! Morans."

I did and pulled up a now infamous photo: A guy in shorts, T-shirt and bandanna holding a sign that says, "Get a brain! Morans." On March 23, 2003, this dude was part of a phony anti-war protest where people who were against the war carried stupid signs and pretended to be for it. Their goal: To make people who supported the war in Iraq look like idiots.

There's more. Other people reprinted "Get a brain! Morans" on T-shirts, bumper stickers and wall posters, and used the phrase for other anti-whatever protests. It's taken on a life of its own. I just wish I didn't feel that a tiny piece of that life belonged to me.