Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lessons from The Ant and The Grasshopper

You've heard the fable about the Ant and the Grasshopper, it's the one that is supposed to teach you the Value of hard work and the need to save for a 'rainy day'. Well it occurred to me the other day, that under the current Government, that Fable no longer really holds water. Proving that it's very difficult to have a Truly original thought, when I started "researching" (and by researching I mean 'Googling') this topic, I found that I was a few years behind the curve...

The Ant and Grasshopper, on of Aesop's Fables was originally recorded in Greek, but has since be translated into many languages, as has the meaning and moral changed through out the years. Even in the early versions the ending seemed to soften over the years...

1484 Of the Ant and of the sygale
And therfore there is one tyme for to doo some labour and werk / And one tyme for to haue rest / For he that werketh not ne doth no good / shal haue ofte at his teeth grete cold and lacke at his nede

Okay, clearly we don't speak or write like this anymore, but you get the idea. "For he that worketh No, He Does No Good. And if he's a Do-Nothing, He's going find himself cold, starving and on his own." Pretty clear message. Notice anything different from the story you've probably been told? Maybe you'll catch it in the 1894 Version:
When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:

It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.

Figure out what's different? The Ant doesn't step in and help out the Grasshopper. The moral of the story is Work hard, save up, so you can take care or yourself. It wasn't until the 1930's when Disney got their hands on the story that the popular "happy" ending, where the Ant offers the Grasshopper a helping hand is added to the tale. I think you can see where I'm going with this...

The Original Political re-write was done by Jim Quinn in the 1990's...enjoy!

The Original
The ant busts his ass in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. The grasshopper thinks he's 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.

The New Liberal Version

It starts out the same but when winter comes the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. CBS, NBC, and ABC show up and show pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to film of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can it be, in a country of such wealth that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so? Then a representative of the NAAGB (The National Association of Green Bugs) shows up on Night Line and charges the ant with "Green Bias" and makes the case that the grasshopper is the victim of 30 million years of greenism. Kermit the frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when he sings "It's Not Easy Being Green."

Bill and Hillary Clinton make a special guest appearance on the CBS evening news and tell a concerned Dan Rather That they will do everything they can for the grasshopper who has been denied the prosperity he deserves by those who benefited unfairly during the summer, or as Bill refers to it, the "Temperatures Of The 80's".

Finally the EEOC drafts the "Economic Equity and Anti-Greenism Act" RECTRO-ACTIVE 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 Retro-Active taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he's in....which just happens to be the ant's old house.... crumbles around him since he doesn't know how to maintain it. The ant has disappeared in the snow. And on the TV; which the grasshopper bought by selling most of the ant's food, Bill Clinton is standing before a wildly applauding group of Democrats announcing that a new era of "Fairness" has dawned in America.

Well that certainly does seem a little more realistic than Aesop's version in today's political environment. Mr. Quinn may have been wildly ahead of his time...

In 2003, not to be out done, one of the most famous black female authors, Toni Morrison brought the World her version of the legendary tale. Apparently Ms. Morrison thought that the Grasshopper has gotten a bad rap for all these years, as a lazy do nothing. In her book "Who got Game, the Ant or the Grasshopper?", the Grasshopper was an Artist who inspired the Ant to work by playing him music.

A synopsis of Morrison's Fable provided by Barnes and Noble:

In "Who's Got Game?: The Grasshopper or the Ant?," Kid A, the ant, and Foxy G, his grasshopper pal, don't see eye-to-eye on their work ethic. But Grasshopper's artistic dreams may have listeners pondering what it means to give and take.

Well there you have it. You can't Have Dreams and Work Hard, silly. If you are a hard worker, you must be too stupid to have dreams or to be artistic. And Artistic people just Can't work, it destroys their creative flow, dontcha know? ;) Nevermind that this country was built on the back of the Worker Ants, you know the one's that buy the Art?

Why am I not surprised to find a Liberal rewritting the story, to make a Victim out of the Lazy grasshopper?

Leave it to my girl, Michelle Malkin to bring this classic tale to life in 2008, in a September column inspired by the first round of Bail-out Mania...unfortunately it's even more true today...

The Ant and the Grasshopper 2008 Edition by Michelle Malkin

In a meadow on a hot summer’s day, a Grasshopper was chirping and carousing his time away. He watched scornfully as an Ant nearby struggled to store up large kernels of food and build a secure nest. The Ant pulled overtime shifts to pay off his loans and accumulate retirement funds for the future.

“Give it a rest,” the Grasshopper said. “Why bother saving and slaving and toiling and moiling? Let’s party!” The Ant demurred: “I am planning ahead for winter and you should do the same.” The Grasshopper blew off the Ant, squandered his supplies the rest of the season, and abandoned his home while on vacation (paid for by tapping every last cent of his home equity gain) instead of holding down a job.

When winter came, the Grasshopper’s pantry was empty and his shelter ruined from neglect. The Ant, weary from planting, harvesting, and stocking up for months, was dining comfortably in his nest.

Cold, hungry, jobless, facing foreclosure, and up to his two pairs of eyeballs in debt, the Grasshopper limped to the Association of Community Winged Insects for Rescue Now and demanded recourse. The office was swamped with thousands just like him. ACWIRN immediately put the Grasshopper to work registering dead ants as new voters.

Funded with tax dollars from the rest of the meadow’s residents, ACWIRN organized mass protests at the Bank of Antamerica, ambushed its top officials at their private homes, harassed their children, and demanded that the meadow’s politicians halt all foreclosures (”We must keep Grasshoppers in their houses!”) and outlaw discriminatory lending practices against starving, homeless Grasshoppers (”Well-stocked shelters are basic insect rights!”)

The banking industry capitulated; the Orthoptera Lobby secured hundreds of millions of dollars in housing earmarks and grants and counseling subsidies to support the Grasshoppers with the shadiest credit and employment histories. Antie Mae, the meadow’s government-backed home lending giant, fueled the push for increased insect homeownership in the name of biodiversity. Its executives cooked the books and headed for the hills. Katie Cricket and the Mainstream Meadow Media joined the grievance-for-profit circus, profiling Grasshopper sob stories and drumming up ratings as bewildered Ants wondered who was looking out for them.

The banks drowned in toxic debt. More Grasshoppers fell behind on their mortgage payments. Bailout mania and panic gripped the meadow.

Our little Ant, minding his own business, heard a knock on his door one late winter night a year later. It was his old, sneering Grasshopper neighbor. With ACWIRN’s presidential candidate, Barack Cicada, now in office, the Grasshopper had been hired by the meadow as a tax collector.

“I’m here to take your provisions,” the Grasshopper cackled.

But it was the Ant who had the last laugh. “I’ve learned my lesson,” he told his shiftless friend. “Why bother saving and slaving and toiling and moiling? I’ve spent all my savings. I’m walking away from my mortgage. Thrift is for suckers,” the Ant said as he headed out the door, leaving the Grasshopper empty-handed.

While I realize that most of my readers are more like the hard working, Ant. Michelle Malkin brings up the crucial point, with 401K's dropping over 50% in some cases, Taxes going through the roof, and Pres. Obama spending our Money faster than He can steal it from our Paychecks.. How long do you think it will be before all the Worker Ants of America, say "Screw it." I'm going to chill with the Grasshopper?


Anonymous said...

"How long do you think it will be before all the Worker Ants of America, say "Screw it." I'm going to chill with the Grasshopper? "

I don't know when this country is going to have enough? I was hoping they would by now but I guess the Left is still hanging on to their "Hope"
We "already saw the "Change" and it wasn't good.

JJ said...

I don't know when the Rest of America will have had enough, but I've had enough of it Now.

Great Post.

Anonymous said...

Are there even going to be any Ants left after Obama gets done?

NewProgressive said...

Don't you guys ever get tired of bitching about Obama?

shelleynalls said...

I have had enough.. And when you watch the DOW everytime that Obama blathers on about the economy, so has Wall Street. Does anyone else find it odd that for the days that Obama did not talk on TV, the DOW goes up. Yet every single time he starts talking on TV, the numbers go into a free fall the second he opens his mouth. Or is it just me?

Double Minded Man said...

NewProgressive said...

Don't you guys ever get tired of bitching about Obama?

Did the left ever get tired of bitching about Bush? I think not

As for me, I have bitched about every president since Bush the Elder and really got into a good swing under Clinton and the pace just never dropped off for me. (I'm not, however, a conservative so I hold no favor for those with an R by their name either)

Enabler said...

I'm not complaining about Obama per se but about the liberal mind set. What you've written reflects what I've been thinking about the ants & grasshoppers population. Having been an ant all my working life, doing the practical thing rather than suiting my fancy, I resent paying for those who do whatever suits their fancies. They get into trouble and we ants are forced to bail them out. When we do, it's just enabling.