A.C. Snow

Taken to task for my ‘rant’ on ants - Snow

“Bless ’em all, bless ’em all, the long and the short and the tall …”

The line is from a popular World War II marching song. I’m borrowing it to refer to the readers of this column.

What inspires me to do so are some responses to a recent column on Arthur the Ant. You wouldn’t think that such an innocuous commentary could get me in the doghouse.

One reader merely wondered what inspired me to write about the lowly ant in the first place. I think it’s because I frequently marvel that such a minuscule bit of life is a member of a culture that has its own lifestyle, law and order rules, survival instincts, reproductive ability, etc.

Another reader accused me of cruelty to ants, although I complimented Arthur rather than stepping on him as he lay helpless under the cake crumb.

“I have read your columns and respected you mightily for many years. Now I am questioning my feelings,” she wrote. “You end the column on Arthur the Ant by stating that ‘it’s not easy to respect the sanctity of life when some of God’s creatures are complicating our human existence.’

“Shame on you. None of those creatures has taken any kind of toll on the ‘human existence.’ But we humans are apparently intent on – and OK with – eradicating multiple species all to ‘benefit’ humans!”

Another reader, from Cary, complained, “I couldn’t help but notice in Sunday’s column that you portrayed the sole female ant as shrill and scolding, while Arthur and his comrades got things done. I have to ask if you’d be as comfortable stereotyping any other group as casually as you stereotyped females in this column?”

One reader, however, provided an interesting method of ridding one’s premises of ants:

“Ants hate loud noise,” she wrote. “I discovered this quite by accident. So I just bang several times on some heavy metal object in their general direction and they quickly scatter.”

Mark Harrison is grateful for ants: “I enjoyed your rant on ants. As an owner of a pest control company, I have always been thankful that God saw fit to give them a ride on the Ark.”

Ethical salary

A retired college professor whose highest salary was under $45,000 annually gasped from behind the pages of The N&O.

“Why that’s downright unethical!” she exclaimed.

A $198,636 annual salary for UNC-Chapel Hill’s newly created faculty position of ethics director does seem mind-boggling to some of us who were brought up in a time when ethics was taught at home.

She was referring to the $198,636 annual salary of UNC-CH’s newly created faculty position of ethics director.

Such an expenditure does seem mind-boggling to some of us who were brought up in a time when ethics was taught at home. From the age of comprehension, we were taught not to lie, cheat or steal. Teaching these principles was as routine as toilet training.

Violating them brought sure and certain punishment.

One does wonder how so many students and/or faculty members arrived at Chapel Hill without knowing right from wrong and why it costs so much to find someone capable of setting them on the right path.

Memorable moments

After watching two weeks of nonstop political conventions, I’m word weary.

Too many speakers ignored the basic rule of public speaking: Stand up, speak up and shut-up!

It seemed to take an inordinately long time for some of them to shut up. And a number of the orations were, as Shakespeare said of life, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Bye, bye Bernie

The most tragic scene from the Democratic extravaganza was candidate Bernie Sanders’ speech on opening day.

Sanders reviewed at length all the accolades he had received and accomplishments he had achieved during his run for the prize. And even as he spoke, he was interrupted frequently by an enthusiastic crowd chanting “Bernie! Bernie!”

His endorsement of Hillary Clinton was at best lukewarm.

Most of you can identify to some degree with his feeling, having come close to a coveted goal but not quite close enough.

Poet John Greenleaf Whittier expressed it well when he wrote, “For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’ 

Bad manners

Miss Manners must be throwing up her hands in despair over this presidential campaign. I can’t recall such an abusive exchange of insults and name-calling.

Time was when such verbal brickbats wouldn’t be tolerated.

Way back in 1804, Alexander Hamilton called longtime political enemy Aaron Burr “despicable.”

In keeping with custom, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. To preserve his honor, Hamilton had no choice but to respond. Burr was the better shot. Hamilton died from his wound the next day.

Snow: 919-836-5636