Child’s Play: A Short Story

 

As AOC walked into the room, people were talking excitedly and laughing. They were anticipating the meeting that would begin in a few minutes. She waved at people, shook hands and smiled warmly. Slowly people drifted to their chairs and the chatter slipped into an electrified silence.

AOC stood at the front of the room, her hands folded in front of her, looked around the room and made eye contact with several people. They smiled back and nodded to acknowledge the gravity of the moment.

“Hi, everyone! Thank you so much for coming today. We have important work ahead of us and are at the brink of a brand new approach to green energy. It will transform the United States and set an example for the entire world. And you will be a significant part of that transformation. Isn’t it exciting?”

The people in the room jumped to their feet and applauded, looking at each other and nodding their delight. AOC held up her hands for silence and continued.

“We are going to take a brainstorming approach to identifying the changes that will be made. In typical brainstorming style, no idea will be rejected. We want to be as creative and bold as we possibly can. Bob will type your ideas and project them on the wall so that we can make sure we capture every single recommendation. Any questions?”

No one said a word. Everyone leaned forward in their chairs, anticipating the start of this momentous opportunity.

“Who wants to start?”

Shouted remarks cascaded into the room. AOC laughed and said, “Now we have to be orderly about this process so no ideas are lost. Please raise your hand and I will call on you as quickly as I can!”

Omar raised her hand first. “I think we need to make sure that everyone will be taken care of whether they are willing to work or not!”

“Great! Who’s next.”

The floodgates were open and Bob was doing his best to capture all the ideas. The projected page filled with new ideas: destroying cattle and planes, or converting planes to natural gas; requiring that people drive only electric cars; zero carbon production in ten years; phasing out nuclear power.

“Oh no, we can’t put that out there yet,” Markey said. “We need to ‘include’ nuclear for now to keep the nuke proponents off our backs.

AOC nodded in agreement. “There are some battles we just don’t want to tackle right now. What else? Let’s come up with ideas that no one has ever thought of! Let’s be bold!”

The ideas kept coming for the next 20 minutes. Occasionally someone would voice a concern: were they being realistic, were these goals possible, how would the public respond? Each time an objection was made, AOC gently chided them that this was a brainstorming process, so discounting ideas was not permitted. Finally a man near the front of the room asked, “But shouldn’t cautionary notes be included for that very reason?”

The group roared its disapproval and the person visibly moved back into his chair.

“I think you have your answer,” AOC said quietly.

For a moment, the room was silent. Then AOC said, “Okay! Any more suggestions.”

A couple more people offered ideas, but it was clear the energy was more subdued.

Suddenly AOC called out, “Good! We’ve got an innovative and exciting collection of ideas. Bob will put them together and tomorrow we will go public.”

A woman called from the back of the room, “Shouldn’t we look at a draft first and make sure we want to support this package?”

AOC looked at the woman, shaking her head. “I don’t think we need to do that. We need to trust that our package will stand on its own merits, that it comes from a group of forward-looking thinkers, and that the public will embrace our cause. Let’s go for it.”

Nearly everyone in the room jumped up and applauded. The few people who had stated concerns held back, looking around at the others or looking down at their hands in their laps.

“We’re going to change the world. And you will be part of that movement.

Congratulations!”

There are 23 comments.

  1. Thejokewasonme Inactive

    “Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality, the costs become prohibitive.” ~ William F. Buckley, Jr.

    With the costs being much more than simply monetary ones.

    • #1
    • February 10, 2019, at 8:13 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  2. Rodin Member

    I am not sure this is satire. It sounds like good reporting. The only difference is that the contributors were not all in the same room and several draft notes were circulating — thus the Cornell professor came on Tucker and apparently his draft of the notes didn’t include the payment to people able but “unwilling” to work.

    OAC and others would be smart to broadcast that they are transforming government to a collaborative process where they post “innovative” ideas in order for people to react and tell their representatives which ideas to support or reject. We’re “socializing” government. This would blunt criticism of individual ideas and make the critics look elite and controlling: “You can’t think about that!” They can always deflect criticism of a particular idea as not being part of their governing agenda. 

     

    • #2
    • February 10, 2019, at 8:25 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. WillowSpring Member

    Having been on some of these “brainstorming sessions” in a corporate environment, you captured the essence perfectly*. I worked for a company which would have occasional “off-site” meetings to do things like define our company “vision”. As an Engineer (at the lowest level of management), these were exceedingly painful and I thought pretty pointless. You brought back memories.

    • To be fair, this session is supposed to be followed by a session of prioritization and weeding out bad ideas. I doubt that AOC could do that.
    • #3
    • February 10, 2019, at 8:26 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Having been on some of these “brainstorming sessions” in a corporate environment, you captured the essence perfectly*. I worked for a company which would have occasional “off-site” meetings to do things like define our company “vision”. As an Engineer (at the lowest level of management), these were exceedingly painful and I thought pretty pointless. You brought back memories.

    • To be fair, this session is supposed to be followed by a session of prioritization and weeding out bad ideas. I doubt that AOC could do that.

    And I was one of those facilitators! With mixed success, I must admit. Sorry to bring back those memories.

    • #4
    • February 10, 2019, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Rodin (View Comment):

    I am not sure this is satire. It sounds like good reporting. The only difference is that the contributors were not all in the same room and several draft notes were circulating — thus the Cornell professor came on Tucker and apparently his draft of the notes didn’t include the payment to people able but “unwilling” to work.

    OAC and others would be smart to broadcast that they are transforming government to a collaborative process where they post “innovative” ideas in order for people to react and tell their representatives which ideas to support or reject. We’re “socializing” government. This would blunt criticism of individual ideas and make the critics look elite and controlling: “You can’t think about that!” They can always deflect criticism of a particular idea as not being part of their governing agenda.

     

    Clearly we would be asking too much of them, @rodin. They really aren’t interested in hearing from anyone who disagrees with them. They can’t even act like they are.

    • #5
    • February 10, 2019, at 9:13 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. Jim McConnell Member

    You forgot to mention that the audience was a class of kindergartners.

    • #6
    • February 10, 2019, at 10:02 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  7. Henry Castaigne Member

    Jim McConnell (View Comment):

    You forgot to mention that the audience was a class of kindergartners.

    Yeah. You kinda need that payoff.

    • #7
    • February 10, 2019, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Flicker Inactive

    You know, AOC did not make any of this stuff up. With all respect to you all, she didn’t brainstorm it while in college, or behind the bar or even in her time activating communities. All this has been planned for decades.

    For example, for years I spent looking for lampshades. Not kind that rest on a wire frame with a finial, but the kind in which loops of wire clamp onto the light bulb itself. We looked for these for ten years and could never find any new ones.

    Then one day all old familiar incandescent light bulbs couldn’t be purchased and all you could get were the new energy-efficient mercury-containing pigtail fluorescents.

    My point is that somebody knew, somehow it was decided a decade or two ahead of time, that at some predetermined date all new light bulbs were not going to fit the old shades; and so they stopped selling the shades to avoid any outcry as people found out that their perfectly good lampshades had to be trashed.

    When Cortez says that we need to go to fartless domestic livestock, when she says we have to do away with air travel, when she says we have to live in smaller, energy efficient houses, when she says she wants us all to drive only electric cars and motorcycles and scooters, and when she says she wants everyone to get a poverty wage and not to work, she means it. And so do all the people who are backing her. And so do all the “screwy, band-wagon” politicians parroting her.

    And you know they’re going to do it; it’s exactly the same thing as with 0bama. One day he has “evolved” and he tells us the new direction of history.

    • #8
    • February 11, 2019, at 12:47 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I have no doubt, @flicker, that ideas like this have been in the works for a long time, and that AOC is their pawn. I don’t think that makes a difference to the story. She put on the show so that everyone would think they were making a contribution–it builds more investment and commitment to stupid ideas–and those behind the scenes smile wisely. How far they will get is very questionable, but they can create havoc in the meantime. Which is precisely what they want to do!

    • #9
    • February 11, 2019, at 5:30 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. Flicker Inactive

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I have no doubt, @flicker, that ideas like this have been in the works for a long time, and that AOC is their pawn. I don’t think that makes a difference to the story. She put on the show so that everyone would think they were making a contribution–it builds more investment and commitment to stupid ideas–and those behind the scenes smile wisely. How far they will get is very questionable, but they can create havoc in the meantime. Which is precisely what they want to do!

    Oh, sorry. Yes, that came through quite well. I liked the way you captured her studied intellectual simplicity and nonchalance. :)

    • #10
    • February 11, 2019, at 7:54 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Front Seat Cat Member

    Replace the word brainstorming with brainwashing – Can we keep the story going? ‘Then they all took a selfie break while Kamala Harris passed out joints’….

    • #11
    • February 11, 2019, at 12:09 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    “Brainstorming” pretty much also helps cover up for any criticism, and pretty much how they deflect it judging from the reactions.

    “We’re just putting out bad ideas to try and make them better”

    “Enthusiasm trumps rational thinking”

    “They’re just ideas, not actual policy”

    etc.

     

    • #12
    • February 11, 2019, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  13. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Replace the word brainstorming with brainwashing – Can we keep the story going? ‘Then they all took a selfie break while Kamala Harris passed out joints’….

    Harris is the reason it took an additional four years to have marijuana legalized in California. That is how crappy her ballot initiative was – that in a state known for being liberal on pot, her proposal was riddled with loopholes that would allow the DEA and police to continue to hamstring citizens. So voters voted Nay on her proposal.

    She really likes having penalties on human activities, so her being part of the New Green Revolution makes perfect sense.

    If she ever gets the Oval Office, God help us all.

    • #13
    • February 11, 2019, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. Miffed White Male Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Then one day all old familiar incandescent light bulbs couldn’t be purchased and all you could get were the new energy-efficient mercury-containing pigtail fluorescents.

    My point is that somebody knew, somehow it was decided a decade or two ahead of time, that at some predetermined date all new light bulbs were not going to fit the old shades; and so they stopped selling the shades to avoid any outcry as people found out that their perfectly good lampshades had to be trashed.

    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    • #14
    • February 12, 2019, at 10:25 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Flicker Inactive

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Then one day all old familiar incandescent light bulbs couldn’t be purchased and all you could get were the new energy-efficient mercury-containing pigtail fluorescents.

    My point is that somebody knew, somehow it was decided a decade or two ahead of time, that at some predetermined date all new light bulbs were not going to fit the old shades; and so they stopped selling the shades to avoid any outcry as people found out that their perfectly good lampshades had to be trashed.

    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    Those came later. I was going to mention that but omitted it for brevity.

    • #15
    • February 12, 2019, at 11:49 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Miffed White Male Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Then one day all old familiar incandescent light bulbs couldn’t be purchased and all you could get were the new energy-efficient mercury-containing pigtail fluorescents.

    My point is that somebody knew, somehow it was decided a decade or two ahead of time, that at some predetermined date all new light bulbs were not going to fit the old shades; and so they stopped selling the shades to avoid any outcry as people found out that their perfectly good lampshades had to be trashed.

    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    Those came later. I was going to mention that but omitted it for brevity.

    But doesn’t that go against your conspiracy theory?

    If “they” know what bulbs are going to be available years in advance, why didn’t they know about LEDs?

     

    • #16
    • February 12, 2019, at 12:08 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Flicker Inactive

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    But since you mention it, has anyone here on Ricochet seen any of the old clamp on lampshades for sale — new — in that last decade?

    (If so, I’d like to know where they have them.)

    • #17
    • February 12, 2019, at 12:10 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Flicker Inactive

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    Those came later. I was going to mention that but omitted it for brevity.

    But doesn’t that go against your conspiracy theory?

    If “they” know what bulbs are going to be available years in advance, why didn’t they know about LEDs?

    Well, not really. Firstly, there does seem to be a gap period. And this would have highlighted the already tenuous acceptance that these new bulbs invited. And secondly the continued existence and use of these older shades does preclude the use of all pigtails. And thirdly, if otherwise, why the heck did they stop producing them? And I’ll add that it’s neither a conspiracy nor a theory, it’s just a fact that for years before the sale of the pigtails these lampshades seem to have had production stopped. :)

    (As it is we have to buy them hand-made in decoupage (very pretty but fragile) in whatever third world county I happen to be in, or reconstruct them myself.)

    • #18
    • February 12, 2019, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Miffed White Male Member

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    Those came later. I was going to mention that but omitted it for brevity.

    But doesn’t that go against your conspiracy theory?

    If “they” know what bulbs are going to be available years in advance, why didn’t they know about LEDs?

    Well, not really. Firstly, there does seem to be a gap period. And this would have highlighted the already tenuous acceptance that these new bulbs invited. And secondly the continued existence and use of these older shades does preclude the use of all pigtails. And thirdly, if otherwise, why the heck did they stop producing them? And I’ll add that it’s neither a conspiracy nor a theory, it’s just a fact that for years before the sale of the pigtails these lampshades seem to have had production stopped. :)

    (As it is we have to buy them hand-made in decoupage (very pretty but fragile) in whatever third world county I happen to be in, or reconstruct them myself.)

    a quick amazon search for “lampshades clip on” finds a bunch of them, and adaptors too.

     

    • #19
    • February 12, 2019, at 12:43 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  20. Flicker Inactive

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):
    a quick amazon search for “lampshades clip on” finds a bunch of them, and adaptors too.

    Thanks, Miff.

    • #20
    • February 12, 2019, at 12:55 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    Those came later. I was going to mention that but omitted it for brevity.

    But doesn’t that go against your conspiracy theory?

    If “they” know what bulbs are going to be available years in advance, why didn’t they know about LEDs?

    Well, not really. Firstly, there does seem to be a gap period. And this would have highlighted the already tenuous acceptance that these new bulbs invited. And secondly the continued existence and use of these older shades does preclude the use of all pigtails. And thirdly, if otherwise, why the heck did they stop producing them? And I’ll add that it’s neither a conspiracy nor a theory, it’s just a fact that for years before the sale of the pigtails these lampshades seem to have had production stopped. :)

    (As it is we have to buy them hand-made in decoupage (very pretty but fragile) in whatever third world county I happen to be in, or reconstruct them myself.)

    What was especially ironic about the “no more old fashioned light bulbs, just bulbs with mercury” campaign was that it came out at the exact same time that people in the health industry were being told that the old mercury-containing thermometers needed to be scrapped, as that much mercury, even in a health product that didn’t get replaced for decades, was a problem for the landfill. So light bulbs with mercury are good, even though light bulbs go out every six months, while thermometers with mercury were bad. Yet no one seems to notice such inconsistencies.

    George Orwell is more needed now than ever before.

    • #21
    • February 12, 2019, at 1:22 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    What was especially ironic about the “no more old fashioned light bulbs, just bulbs with mercury” campaign was that it came out at the exact same time that people in the health industry were being told that the old mercury-containing thermometers needed to be scrapped, as that much mercury, even in a health product that didn’t get replaced for decades, was a problem for the landfill. So light bulbs with mercury are good, even though light bulbs go out every six months, while thermometers with mercury were bad. Yet no one seems to notice such inconsistencies.

    George Orwell is more needed now than every before.

    My bulbs seem to last, but I detest the idea of bulbs with mercury in them. They’re dangerous if they break! Thanks, @caroljoy

    • #22
    • February 12, 2019, at 1:27 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Flicker Inactive

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Except that you can buy incandescent-shaped LED bulbs.

    Those came later. I was going to mention that but omitted it for brevity.

    But doesn’t that go against your conspiracy theory?

    If “they” know what bulbs are going to be available years in advance, why didn’t they know about LEDs?

    Well, not really. Firstly, there does seem to be a gap period. And this would have highlighted the already tenuous acceptance that these new bulbs invited. And secondly the continued existence and use of these older shades does preclude the use of all pigtails. And thirdly, if otherwise, why the heck did they stop producing them? And I’ll add that it’s neither a conspiracy nor a theory, it’s just a fact that for years before the sale of the pigtails these lampshades seem to have had production stopped. :)

    (As it is we have to buy them hand-made in decoupage (very pretty but fragile) in whatever third world county I happen to be in, or reconstruct them myself.)

    What was especially ironic about the “no more old fashioned light bulbs, just bulbs with mercury” campaign was that it came out at the exact same time that people in the health industry were being told that the old mercury-containing thermometers needed to be scrapped, as that much mercury, even in a health product that didn’t get replaced for decades, was a problem for the landfill. So light bulbs with mercury are good, even though light bulbs go out every six months, while thermometers with mercury were bad. Yet no one seems to notice such inconsistencies.

    George Orwell is more needed now than every before.

    You noticed that too, eh? 8-year bulbs go out in six months.

    • #23
    • February 12, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like