- GateHouse — If you should happen to find yourself enjoying a twilight stroll this spring, if you should be out soaking up the blood-warming sunshine, breezes and birdsongs and thinking there might just be some hope left in this wacky world after all, look up the story about Republicans, Capitol Hill and styrofoam cups. If you are anything like me, which you’re not, because you’re probably not crying inconsolably, it’ll send you into instant depression and a degenerative terror spiral that will culminate with your packing your valuables into a tied-up handkerchief, slinging it over your back and vanishing forever into the frozen Canadian wilderness where, with any luck, you will be mauled by a bear.
Let me hop back a step: Most clear-brained Americans, and by that I mean anyone who has never appeared on TV identified by the word “Commentator” or (ED.: PLEASE INSERT SHEEN THING HERE, THANKS) would agree that in a rational universe there can, and should, be debate about a kamikaze budget. There should be debate about the appropriate and wise way to proceed with health care reform. Apparently there can be debate about how much health care the school teachers in Wisconsin should get which is OK but you know what, whatever, debate is good, right?
There is no longer debate about Styrofoam; the matter, much like the hazards of smoking and the mathematical whole of that rap-metal movement of the early 2000s, has been settled, at least by anyone who doesn’t spend a good deal of time commenting on message boards in the dark. Styrofoam is petroleum-based and if it was brought over by the Pilgrims it might have broken down by now. No one likes Styrofoam, there are only people who disapprove of it by varying degrees, ranging from “Gravely Concerned 23-Year-Old Whose Parents Are Buying Her A Volt” to “It’s A Cup, I’ll Use This One Instead, And Why Are We Still Talking About This Again?”
And yet it’s in the news again, because after a lengthy, yearslong and complicated debate over matters of environmental concerns, political posturing and oh for God’s sake Republicans are being children about it.
Having already kicked off the unbearable hell that will be the 2012 election cycle by claiming that Bank of America’s tax rate of 0% was an exorbitant outrage (the somnolent, doomed Tim Pawlenty), complaining about Natalie Portman’s baby (Mike Huckabee, courting once again only the votes of anyone north of 82) and being Mitt Romney, House Republicans are engaged in a process of wiping all the Pelosi out of the Capitol by torching the former speaker’s “Green The Capitol” campaign and re-instituting the use of plastic foam in the Capitol cafeteria, the exact same environs where a nationwide debate about Freedom Fries was launched that once galvanized the nation’s hillbillies.
Republican Rep. Dan Lungren of California, the chairman of the House Administration Committee and ostensibly a grown man, is the clod responsible for unbiodegradabling the Capitol cafeteria. If you ever find yourself wondering who could possibly have time for such lunacy it’s Rep. Dan Lungren of California. Lungren, who holds a very high position in the government, said the awful new/old foam products are of higher quality than their biodegradable counterparts, which, he said, fell apart. Well, of course they did. They’re biodegradable. Do you guys have any science people on hand at all?
Needless to say, revolt is imminent. “It’s gross to eat out of,” said whiny Democratic congressional staffer Emily Cardon to NPR, in one of the network’s last-ever interviews. “When … you’re actually scraping your spoon across it and it pulls up Styrofoam, God only knows what you’re eating.” To be fair, that only happens with the cafeteria’s Thursday special of chicken-and-Stryofoam, but you can see her point.
There’s more response, if you can stand it. The Democratic guy says something that begins with “What’s next?” and includes what are possibly jokes, and the Republican guy says it’s cheaper, and it just goes on like this.
Anyway, in the unlikely event that you haven’t yet started trying to figure out ways to kill yourself with your shoelaces, rest assured that the matter is under control: A pilot study has been commissioned for the House cafeteria to investigate the feasibility of washable/reusable utensils. It will take six years and cost $3.3 billion. If you ever wonder why people in other countries hate us, this is why.