A Moribund Attribute

Published:  November 04, 2016

There is an continuing epidemic of incompetence on this planet, as tersely narrated in the well-written The United States of Incompetence by Philadelphia journalist Art Carey. Additionally, I have recorded a veritable small encyclopedia of my own accounts of exposure to the incompetence of people, sometimes including me.

It's not pretty.

For example:  on my Wednesday evening, Nov 02, 2016 visit to the drive-thru of my local White Castle restaurant I ordered my mother's burgers as requested:  no pickles or catsup. Only onions. I received my food and absconded, but upon examination of the hamburgers once home their mathematics was found unsound:  while there was the requested subtraction of pickles and catsup, there was an additional subtraction never requested:  onions. There were no onions on these hamburgers.

Thus was required an inconvenient and potentially awkward telephone call to the restaurant to speak to the manager to apprise them of the problem, and hope that I'd find them appropriately responsive (which they were), followed by an extra drive back to obtain the replacement food.


Additionally, in conversation with the White Castle Regional Manager, who happened to be the person who answered the telephone when I called about the burgers, I thought it something of a golden opportunity to bring up the topic of the healthfulness of this food. My principle area of concern was the high trans-fat (i.e hydrogenated oils) content of White Castle food; I mentioned that it was the worst substance one can put into one's body, and results in thousands of deaths or catastrophic injuries each year, principally cardiac or brain events. I also mentioned other aspects of the trans--fat situation, such as new Federal law requiring all trans-fat removed by all companies by 2017 or 2018, and that companies can apply for an exemption. Notable was that the Regional Manager appeared to be completely clueless about essentially all of this. She knew nothing. I asked her when White Castle would have trans fat removed from its food, and she did not know. Moreover, she said that she personally loved the taste of White Castle burgers and consumed many of them, but was now concerned about the safety based on what I told her.

While I had her on the telephone I further elected to mention several other problems I've had in recent years in eating at White Castle, including cheeseburgers with cheese that was not melted, and instructions for their small chicken sandwich for extra barbecue gone unheeded.

I'm going to continue penning my accounts of incompetence, here or elsewhere, to bring attention to this fundamental, species-destroying, existential problem.

Competence will come when people are trained in competence. But they will never be trained in competence as long as the planet is run by a ruling class that does not require large-scale competence to maintain its profit interest, which our ruling class does not. For, as human labor power-replacing technologies like robots and computers continue their interminable and indeed inexorable line of march into the workplace, the necessity for human competence will, in analogue, continue its steady decrease.

When you began reading this essay, did you know the meaning of the common word moribund, used above? If not, it's another example of incompetence, either on the part of you, for not adhering to a reasonable minimum in self-education, or society, for not ensuring you that minimum. And upon reading the word, did you immediately reference it in a dictionary or other language tool, so you'd better understand the piece you were about to read? If not, that's a second example of incompetence.


November 04, 2016

I sit here at 11:44 am EST, my 85 year old mother upstairs in her bed, sleeping, having experienced distress earlier this morning, including severe weakness that eventually found her on the floor. Thankfully, she didn't fall; I brought her down gently.

The 9-1-1 EMTs were here about 90 minutes ago. Given some of her symptoms, I'm wondering if she didn't contract food poisoning from the three White Castle hamburgers and large sack of onion rings that she consumed last night, or whether the 1.5g of trans-fat they collectively contain, the most hazardous substance one can put into their body, played a role. The point is, we human beings have simply got to commit to refraining from hurting each other, as White Castle, and many other food purveyors, hurt us with the known toxic or poisonous ingredients that they put into their food, and we, ourselves, sometimes willingly consume, not taking the gravity of the likely consequences seriously.

In other words, until we start loving each other, and ourselves--we humans will remain in pain, and all will be lost.

Close, but no Cigar

I've been a critic of the deficit in cognition and professionalism of the on-air talent presently comprising the PBS Newshour, most notably Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill. Here's another reason:  at 11:11 pm this evening (five minutes ago), Judy Woodruff, in reading the news, pronounced "close-confidante" as "close-confident." Of course, nothing beats Gwen Ifill who, because a certain news topic struck her as sexually offbeat, provocative, or libertine, actually refused to cover the topic on-air and stated so during the segment in progress, uttering something like "I'm not even going to go there."

I witnessed this and it struck me as one of the most unprofessional journalistic incidents I've ever seen, especially given the status of the PBS Newshour as a television news broadcast of Record.

Note:  I, Vincent Frank De Benedetto, on behalf of myself and my immediate family, express my Deepest Condolence to my sister Gwen Ifill and her family, upon the news of her passing, today, November 14, 2016. I'm sorry this happened to you, Sister.


Toward Wisdom & Love in our Global Society