Where’s the Pudding?
In my much younger days, in a time we all suffer through called high school, me and my crew made many insanely smart decisions. When I say insanely smart I really mean insanely idiotic which usually ended with stories that I can still share to this day with humorous results.
One of those fabled tales involves pudding. I know, you are already dying with excitement about where this is going to go. Always being in the pleasantly plump bracket of life, me and my pals have always had a special admiration for food. I say that so you can understand why a group of high school group dudes would be so excited about someone sharing the stuff legends are made of. That is right, cupcakes that had pudding in the middle.
After a normal day of school, we went to my friends house and he began the process of making pre-packaged cupcakes. I don’t remember exactly how it went but at some point during our Golden Eye tournament our buddy baked up goodies that were so full of hope we were giddy with excitement. After allowing them to cool off we all bit into the cupcakes to all be met with the same sense of disappointment. There was no damn pudding in the middle. I know, you are as appalled as we all were. Here is the thing though, in a moment of young male stupidity someone had just assumed that if you baked the cupcakes the pudding would show up. Sure, there was a whole section of directions about how to prepare the pudding you had to buy separately and also how one would inject said pudding into the cupcakes but man, ain’t nobody got time for that.
I would like to pretend that this is a rare event saved for the stupidity of a group of young men who had no right to prepare anything remotely resembling food. Here is the thing though, this is how we operate as a society. We just expect things to happen. Sure, it makes no sense for pudding to magically appear but we are Americans and if we want some pudding we should get pudding.
Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon’s got plans. You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say… Ah, come here.
When I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing personal, you know that I’m telling the truth. It’s the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and look where that got you. I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know… You know what I’ve noticed? Nobody panics when things go “according to plan.” Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all “part of the plan.” But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!
Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair!
The Joker is wise. We watch the evening news and we want to blame someone for what is troubling us. We all have a plan and that plan is usually along the lines of everything is easy to fix and there is always a villain. Maybe you see events like those happening in Baltimore recently and think, “Man, cops are dicks.” If it isn’t that it probably something along the lines of, “These thugs and gang members deserve it.” The real issue in Baltimore is equality and that is never a sexy enough topic for CNN, Fox or MSNBC.
About a quarter of Baltimore residents live below the poverty line. The unemployment rate in zip code 21217, where the riots broke out on Monday, was 19.1% in 2011. Less than 60% of Baltimore’s high school students graduate, the worst mark in the state — by far. (Diamond, 2015)
I love this line, “Broken schools. Bad jobs. No opportunities. These problems need to matter to all of us. Inequality needs to matter to all of us.” (Diamond, 2015)
Equality is the pudding we all expect to just show up in the center of our cupcake resembling lives. Some of us have this and fail to realize that not everyone else lives the charmed lives we do. Not all black people are thugs (I really hope you know this already) and not all cops are bad (also, I really hope you know this to be true as well). That narrative may catch eyes but it doesn’t fix a damn thing.
Full circle. If you leave out pudding long enough it gets a film over the top of it that no one wants to eat. Even though you could throw it away it would only take a little bit of effort to scrape if off and get back to the good stuff. The surface level stories the major media outlets feed us aren’t inherently bad, they just aren’t enough and they were never meant to deliver the whole story, just the part that sells commercials.
The question of we are left with is do we want to be disappointed by some pudding less cupcakes or do we want to put a little work in and figure out how to get the pudding back in the middle, where it belongs.
I’ll take the pudding.