Some form principles, it turns out, are surprisingly robust and can sustain even the most nonsensical content.
I can’t remember when and where this little piece, in a slightly edited version, saw the light of print, but I suspect it wasn’t in Time magazine or Newsweek. (I heard they’re still around, in a manner of speaking.) Anyways, while it was written as a kind of parody with regard to structure, not with regard to content, it’s not a genuine parody either. Rather, it was meant to show how the underlying form principle is surprisingly strong and robust, so that it can sustain even the most nonsensical content. But enough already. Enjoy!
Three True But Pointless Arguments of Pea Counting Supporters
Recent plans to bring federal spending back into line with revenues heavily focus on cutting subsidies to the dwindling pea counting industry. While economists claim that deficits are rising at an unsustainable rate, pea counting supporters and the National Pea Counting Association N.P.C.A. even call for a further increase in federal subsidies. But their major arguments, when examined more closely, prove to be true but pointless.
The first true but pointless argument of pea counting supporters is that without subsidies the U.S. will no longer be able to hold its share in the international pea counting market. But this has already happened. U.S. exports, federal subsidies or not, dropped from $64.3 billion in 1989 to $31.6 billion in 1994, priced out of the market due to short-sightedness in the eighties, when the home industry cradled the thought that East Asian countries would be counting rice forever.
The second true but pointless argument of pea counting supporters is that cutting subsidies poses the threat of unemployment for large numbers of workers. But, even with federal support, thousands of pea counters have already been laid off, and the N.P.C.A. has to confront the question whether it is wise or even useful to funnel zillions of dollars into a dead pea, instead of spending a fraction of this money on retraining programs that are aimed at sheep counting and other related industries.
The third true but pointless argument of pea counting supporters is that pea counting, for more than two hundred years now, has been an integral part of American history. But nobody is going to infringe upon the individual right to count peas, and most of the problems are of the pea belt’s own making—even home consumers lost confidence and turned to foreign competitors after decades of increasingly inaccurate peacount reports. So why exactly should the pea belt, which seems, by the way, much more determined to play hardpea with the government over federal interference than to concentrate on pea counting, be entitled to live on federal support forever?
As it shows, all major arguments of pea counting supporters indeed seem to be true but pointless. The pea counting industry as a whole has at least to be restructured, if not transformed altogether. The tax paying community won’t put up with supporting a deadly wounded industry until the peas roll home.