The Morning Briefing: Contemplating the Wussification of Americans

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Did you know the average American adult spends between 2.5 and 3 hours a day on social media? Those Death Scroll Sessions (Taylor Swift's next era, probably) inundate us with thousands of data bits, most of which we forget as quickly as we are exposed, so it's notable when I think of something I saw online for the tenth time in 48 hours.


Sylvester Stallone, who is more attractive at 77 than he was fifty years ago, if I do say so myself, published a monologue about life getting easier and how hard work has become "strong medicine that tastes horrible going down, but makes you feel better." 

While I'm all for life being easier in the sense that we don't have to worry about polio or defecate in a bucket, I've found myself contemplating the conveniences that have led us to trade in our bootstraps for slip-on fashion sneakers. Sly mentions self-propelled lawnmowers, but automatic transmissions and automatic tax withholdings came to my mind, which I'm sure says something about me. Instead of busting our butts in the gym to achieve attractive bodies, we can waltz into a doctor's office or spray tan booth and have them artificially sculpted. And who has time for vacuuming when robot vacuums are so easy to come by? Speaking of our tech overlords, Hey, Siri! Play something depressing!

Alexander Hamilton was a mere 21 years old in 1776 when the Declaration was signed and in his 30s when he wrote The Federalist Papers. He and our Founding Fathers risked it all — life, limb, income, reputation — because some manicured knucklehead in a far-off place decided to levy more taxes. Today, we pay taxes on what we make, what we own, what we buy, what we inherit, and even the gasses certain things emit during production, and the most prominent "solution" seems to be griping about minimum wage. And why? How did we get into this mess?


Just like Eve gave Adam the apple, Rosie the Riveter gave GI Joe a Swanson frozen dinner in 1946, and things went downhill relatively quickly, culturally speaking. According to Michael Ruhlman, a James Beard Award-winning chef and author of "Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America": 

As more women began to work outside the home, convenience became the main marketing lever food companies and advertisers used to sell their new products. 'Cooking is a chore; let us do the work for you' was the overriding message of Jell-O instant putdding and Betty Crocker cake mix.

Think about it: in the wake of World War II, manufacturing peaked, and women who'd gotten a taste of life outside the Little Housewife Bubble and understandably didn't want to go back sought employment opportunities after our boys came home. Now, if someone lobs a "misogynist" label at me, it wouldn't be the worst thing I've been called today (I work in a Title I public charter school full of angry and ridiculous tweens). Mom has to get to work by 9, so no more eggs and bacon: here's a bowl of sugar-coated cornflake carbohydrate bombs! Type 2 diabetes in children has doubled in 20 years. Coincidence? I think not.

Fast-forward to 2024, and I can pick up a rotisserie chicken, a tub of potato salad, and a tray of heat-and-eat green beans from the supermarket or, let's be real, drive through Chick-fil-A. We trust our most human need of being fed to faceless, nameless strangers with financial incentives to peddle processed products. If we don't know (or care) where our food comes from because it's easier to not harvest a chicken or cultivate a garden, then we shouldn't be terribly surprised when tofu and lab-grown meat show up on menus. Fewer people are comfortable with dirt under their nails, killing an animal to eat, and understanding their own choices — because it's hard work.


Be your own guide on the Wussification Highway and discover the rich connection between participation trophies and guy-liner. How did we end up with participation trophies? Well, since moms had more time to go to soccer games (thanks to Hamburger Helper), they saw how unimpressive Little Ricky was compared to everyone else, and she felt more shame over the whole thing than he did. Bring the conversation home to the side-by-side TV tray, and now Dad feels the shame. With her next drug store paycheck, she got a slick trophy for her boy, and everyone felt better about their mediocrity. Rinse and repeat, and a generation or two later, we've got kindergarten graduations and DEI hires. The slope, it's a-slippery.

Am I saying all women should be barefoot and pregnant, sequestered in the home, and tied to the stove by their apron strings? Not at all. We cannot unring this bell. We can, however, start acknowledging that while everyone is different, not everyone is special all the time. Mediocrity abounds, and that's okay. Parents flip out when their child brings a C on a report card home. News Flash! This just in: C is supposed to be the average. C is what the majority of kids should be making, but they aren't because "average" is no longer accepted — everyone has to be exceptional. Why have colleges gotten dumber? Because we've lowered the standard of smart.

We figured out how to take off our own Big Daddy Government Feed Bags, so now it's up to us to make as many converts as we can. Let's take a gander at what we're up against with today's cornucopia of links:


Fiscal Irresponsibility

Unthreatening Threats that Threaten No One

Pay No Attention to the Actual Threats Behind the Curtain


On a Lighter Note


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