Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Defending Christmas Against Silliness

I was bemused a while back when I noticed on a friend's window screens a small warning label. I cannot remember the exact wording, but it was something to the effect of "warning: this window screen is not designed to protect children from falling."

Is society populated with people who would think a high window sill is a great location on which to store a toddler for any amount of time? If parents are so stupid as to believe a thin window screen is designed to protect a toddler, are said parents smart enough to be able to read a warning notice to begin with?

When I mentioned this to someone, I was told in response that she had noticed a warning label on her toothpaste that cautioned:

Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical attention or contact a Poison Control Center right away.
I suppose swallowing the toothpaste on purpose would negate the reason for a call.

I know, companies feel they have to include these warnings to keep ambulance chasing lawyers like Sam Bernstein and John Edwards from filing a lawsuit and running them out of business. So, this says more about trial lawyers and a ridiculous tort environment than it does about companies who are forced into performing gaudy legal contortions.

Still, there is something silly about organizations who voluntarily force themselves into legal shoe boxes for the purpose of protecting any and all people from any and all potential circumstances.

The latest example comes to us from the Times Online (via Overlawyered) where an antiseptic Christmas tree has been installed to protect shoppers from as many conceivable Christmas tree injuries as possible. That the silly creation looks like a green pile of tapered walk-off mats is of little importance.

The 33ft structure turned out to be their Christmas tree, designed according to the principles of health and safety, circa 2009.

Thus it has no trunk so it won’t blow over, no branches to break off and land on someone’s head, no pine needles to poke a passer-by in the eye, no decorations for drunken teenagers to steal and no angel, presumably because it would need a dangerously long ladder to place it at the top.
At least when atheists try to kill the spirit of Christmas they do it from a malevolent stance that is easily visible.

What exactly is the Yuletide defense against abject silliness?

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