Quote of the Day


The Ant and the Grasshopper

For your amusement and edification:

Traditional Version:

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.


Be responsible for yourself!

Modern Version

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake.

Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry & Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity and Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer! The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary Clinton gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill Clinton appointed from a list of single parent welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't work to maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.


Be very careful how you vote in 2008.


:: hat tip to LeQue


A said...

That is a pretty simplistic contrast and not worthy of the educated mind. More like a gradeschool comparison.

Claire said...

Gravatar yea, that would all be fine and dandy if the initial premise (grasshopper plays in the summer while ant works hard) were true in the real world (with humans). Most of the poor in the country weren't born with the same supportive, loving and nurturing home as those who are well-off. If you want to describe being raised in a poor, violent and drug-infested community as "playing all summer," that's your prerogative, but at least realize that's what your saying & own it.

JC said...

I enjoyed the Ant and the Grasshopper story very much. While there are two sides to every story, if you are of the opinion that you should help yourself do everything you can first including asking family, friends and church for help; then seek outside help from charitable groups, corporation and local community. Only then should the government step in to see if this is a situation that they should be involved in, see what they can do to prevent the problem and what they can do in the short term to alleviate the sitation while state and local folks are working to get the individuals involved to get back to helping themselves. The media could be helpful if they would put their time and effort in figuring out how to solve a problem rather than merely magnifying the problem. That is my two cents.

Suzanne said...

Gravatar Certainly the analogy breaks down on the HOW: how does it come to be that fall arrives and the grasshopper is not prepared whilst the ant is. Some grasshoppers are not prepared because their situation pretty much prohibits them from working in the hot sun all summer (poverty, violence, drugs, etc.) Some grasshoppers are not prepared because they don't feel compelled to look after themselves, so they play. I'm sure we all know and are willing to acknowledge grasshoppers of both types.

Nevertheless, when resources are forcibly taken from the ant to pay for the grasshopper, the ant doesn't like it. The ant would prefer to participate in the resource-sharing outlined by JC. First to give to family, friends and church, then to local community. To the government -- none at all.

Tis not the giving that bothers this ant; it's that I have to give to a huge wasteful bureaucracy that doles out my donation as it sees fit. I'm of the opinion that I should get to chose who receives my charitable donations.

If I must participate in government-mandated giving, I'd far rather it be my city, county, or state, where the bureaucracy is smaller (a bit) and the opportunity for accountability greater. It's having it all run out of D.C. that really bothers me.

That being said, given that we are down to one income and on the edge of sky-rocketing fuel and food cost, this ant may soon be a grasshopper, though not the dancing sort.

Claire said...

I agree - there are certainly the kinds of grasshoppers waiting for others to help them even when they could well provide for themselves. I was just saying that the other kind of grasshopper - the helpless, abused, grasshopper - was entirely missing from the fable.

I just have one problem with your comment about the resource-sharing outlined by JC. I assume you meant Jesus Christ, if not, then clearly this comment is totally off-base.
Didn't JC say "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"? Of course, what is really meant by that quotation is hugely debatable, but it at least seems to imply that federal taxes aren't useless, even in the eyes of God.

I 100% agree with you that federal bureaucracy is really ill-equipped to deal with the complicated, nuanced problems that are unique to every community. A one-size-fits-all system really can't work; the poor on Indian reservations need different systems of help than do those in the middle of Harlem.

Suzanne said...

I meant the JC that left a comment right about my reply. I'll edit my comment to make it more clear.

Lea said...

Excellent analogy, especially with your comment above to clarify.

Kate said...

Brilliant. Absolutely loved it.

Kimberely said...