Sanitization or Stupidization?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Posted in category Idiocracy

Butler Shaffer’s post on the blog,”On Sanitizing America,” was very timely. The sterilization machinations are everywhere.

Butler mentioned the sanitizer station at the grocery store. Well, most corporate environments have them, too. Where I work, there is a sanitization station (that’s a nice jingle, eh?) at every elevator bank on every floor – all 21 floors! I snicker as I watch people walk by and ‘sanitize’ like a bunch of trained monkeys.

Most grocery stores and produce markets, etc., have the ‘cart sanitizer stations’ set up next to where the push carts are kept. That is so you can clean and sanitize your cart handle before you set your hands upon it. Also, government buildings – courthouses, county buildings, etc. – have them everywhere, as well. Also, many retailers, like Bath & Body Works, sell those mini-sanitizers that are perfect for the obsessive-compulsive neurotic’s purse, so she (or he) can sanitize all day long, everywhere shehe goes. Another fad is to carry these mini devices to the restaurant, and pass it around like breath mints. At my monthly staff lunches, the hand sanitizer is always passed around the table immediately after we sit down – and when I wave my hand and say, “No thanks,” I get inevitably get the “Why?” question. I say, “Because I don’t eat with my hands. I use the utensils they give me.” The representatives of the Idiocracy actually think I am the weird one for not sanitizing between each breath and every step.

Lastly, a funny story. A few months ago, I was at a VFW Hall with a friend of mine, because a friend of hers was in a classic rock bar band that was playing there that night. We were kinda out of place in this establishment, but …. our amusement for the night came from sitting near the hallway exit from the restrooms, and at the end of this hallway (at the opening of the sitting area) was a table. And on that table sat one of those huge-mega-gargantuan-size containers of hand sanitizer. It was about the size of my torso. The table with sanitizer was entirely in view of everyone in the bar, adding a touch of “peer pressure.” We noted, early on, that most people, upon exiting from the restroom, used the sanitizer, while a few dissidents walked right by it without so much as a glance at this monstrous eyesore.

So our whole evening was centered on listening to the (excellent) band and making bets on every person who walked into the restroom – would they use the sanitizer or would they properly diss it as idiotic bunkum? The results are that about 80% of the Idiocracy felt compelled to use the sanitizer, while the rest walked by without even acknowledging its existence. When that happened we clapped loudly! Folks were staring us down the whole time.

Mark Sisson wrote up a “lite” criticism of hand sanitizers on Mark’s Daily Apple a few months ago. Mark linked to an ABC story that reported hand sanitizer sales being up 70% in 2009. From the ABC story:

Casey Beard is a self-proclaimed “germ freak” who uses hand sanitizer up to 40 times a day. He keeps bottles in his bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and car. He even went as far as purchasing hand sanitizer for colleagues at his office. While he’s always been wary of germs, reports of the H1N1 virus have made him even more diligent about hygiene.

Casey Beard is a hyperventilating, hysterical fool who is ripe for Big Government’s Idiocracy sign-up sheet. The rule of the Idiocracy is that you have to do what everyone else is doing just because they are doing it. To reject such an action because you actually thought about it and critically assessed it makes you an outcast and an eccentric. All hail the unapologetic nonconformists.

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15 Responses to Sanitization or Stupidization?

  1. clark says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Stupidization…. I like that word, it seems new.
    The search results were interesting too.

    Pavlovian stupidization conditioning… it works, just like the story about the gorillas conditioned to beat any gorilla which attempted to climb a ladder a turn off a light. One by one all the gorillas were replaced by non-conditioned gorillas and they still all beat on any gorilla who attempted to climb the ladder.

    “To reject such [any official position] because you actually thought about it and critically assessed it makes you an outcast and an eccentric.”

    No doubt, and you can add troublemaker to that list.
    Problem solvers beware?

    “pass it around like breath mints”… because they have clean hands, it’s the rest of the world that’s dirty.

  2. Jeannie Queenie says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 1:26 am

    More stupidization than anything….sorta like those stupid signs you see in most women’s restrooms where they tell the help, ‘all employees must wash their hands before returning to their work station’. Like this does a helluva lot of good, when after washing they grab the door handle that 1,000 other folks might have touched after wiping their butts, but NOT washed their hands. I wrote the CT health dept about that one a few years back, but they weren’t about to touch it with a ten foot pole, for it is obvious that asking employees to wash is pretty dumb if they then touch a door handle used by hundreds of patrons, many of whom are to ignorant to wash. So I never use the door handle unless I have a papercloth to grab it, and if the restaurant is dumb enough to not have a basket near by, then on the floor it goes. Although these sanitizers everywhere are obvious overkill, nothing bugs me more than to see a mom with a kid in the cart who is chewing on the cart handle while the mother blissfully ignores the kid, and then two weeks later wonders why the kid is sick with strep or worse. As for the swine flu scare, saw this article recently pointing to what we have discussed previously about this scam….

  3. CMN says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I like the hand sanitizer for a few reasons. One, I can’t stand bathroom soap which destroys my skin. Hand sanitizer after wetting the hands is just as effective and the alcohol doesn’t cause me as much problem. Two, I use it when changing cat boxes so at to help prevent the danger of toxoplasmosis during my wife’s fertile years. The difficult part is sanitizing he cat. Other than using it like most people would use soap, it’s total overkill to use it. It’s typically about 70-80% alcohol and will likely make things a lot worse for your body by overuse.

    One other use – my wife has some eczema and usually uses ethanol to clean her hands after using the restroom. Hand sanitizer is much easier for her to carry.

  4. liberranter says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Further proof that hydrogen and stupidity are the most common universal elements, the latter being the infinitely more abundant of the two.

  5. quints says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I always like your blog, but you did not make a convincing argument for or against hand sanitizers, in my view. It sounds like a religious conviction on your part that they are bad because the mainstream thinks they are good. I personally don’t buy hand sanitizer, btw, so I am not disagreeing with your position.

  6. Karen De Coster says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Quints – I linked to Mark Sisson’s convincing argument (though he’s too nice!)

    And also, rememebr, this is a blog, and not every post is going to consist of 2,000+ ‘convincing’ words. Some posts are short, some are long, some involve research, some involve opinions, some involve science, some involve experiences, some are serious, some are making fun, etc., etc.

    You say: “It sounds like a religious conviction on your part that they are bad because the mainstream thinks they are good.” No, clearly, as I pointed out, the hand sanitizer mania is a collective sickness on the part of public-schooled ‘show-me’ sheeple, and this is very easily observable. This is well worth making fun of. Butler Shaffer – I linked to his post – pointed that out as well.

    Also, I clearly stated this in my blog: “Butler, the rule of the Idiocracy is that you have to do what everyone else is doing just because they are doing it. To reject such an action because you actually thought about it and critically assessed it makes you an outcast and an eccentric. All hail the unapologetic nonconformists.” Thus, as I stated, the religious conviction is on the part of the follow-them crowd: Do as everyone else expects you to do. Does my statement about thinking and assessing convey “religious conviction?” Uhhhh, no. Quints – you need to put your thinking cap on before you drop really bad comments with flapping wings in place of an engine.

    Let’s try this: outside of the old “follow the money” routine, someone _convince me_ why I need to sanitize myself in expensive chemicals everywhere I go. After years/decades/centuries of non-sanitizing your every move, now all of a sudden it’s a health imperative? The burden of persuasion is not upon me. Hence my poking fun at the madness.

  7. Karen De Coster says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    jeannie, you just pointed out why all of this sanitation madess is another Nazi Health Control scam, and a moneymaking scam on the part of the huge corporate state cronies that manufacture this crap. the swine flu scam was the basis for the hand sanitizer claptrap. all of a sudden, this product that barely existed became a necessity of life?

  8. Iluvatar says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I guess I had a couple of problems with this.

    Let’s first start off w/ Mark’s post (Shaffie is a demonstrated hero so I’ll pass on him – we need a couple more of him & DiLorenzo & Woods (new book rocks!)):

    “All that said, I fear that hand sanitizers represent a growing trend to sterilize anything and everything when sometimes all we need is a little dirt, dust and dishevelment.”

    One article I read not too long ago (2-3 years ago?), indicated that our children’s immune systems were not as well strengthened due to a (disturbing) trend in our homes to be too antiseptic!!!

    Turns out, it is important to have a strong immune system and to get one you have to “exercise” it! That means challenge it w/ exposure to a normative biological world.

    If you don’t challenge it, the immune system will get you back for that misbehavior and begin to attack YOU instead! No joke, there are certain diseases that are due to an attack on the body by the immune system!

    One problem the research article uncovered is that our kids don’t play outside as much as we used to, and there a much fewer farm animals around where kids do play. So? Fewer access to bugs and dirt!

    Immediately following my reading of that article we modified the “15 second” rule of picking up and eating food off the kitchen floor (in our house only) to the “3 hour” rule (lol!!!).

    I believe that is exactly what Mark is referring to in his dirt comment above.

    “Dirt” is actually good for you! (I am thinking of the Peanuts comic strip now…)

    The 2nd problem I had with this has to do w/ germs in general.

    If you have a well fortified immune system, you should be fine for the most part (2 colds a year at the season transitions). And a strong immune system starts w/ an efficient gut (enzymes & bacteria).

    But the fact of the matter is, germs are around us ALL the time 24/7/365. The only thing that varies is the degree (germ density). And your normative human is not sick ALL the time either. Hence, I might limit the usage to specific occurrences only, not make it a life habit – it just isn’t necessary and the cost certainly doesn’t justify it.

    The last problem I have with this is that it exposes the lemming behavior of our population. Sure we’re a social animal, but being sentient offers up a gift to go beyond bovine/ovine behavior.

    It simply exposes what bothers Existentialists the most about people: they are non-thinking “bugs” (Dostoevsky’s, “Notes From Underground” – the bug man; I think that is where I saw this first).

    What is frustrating is that it doesn’t have to be that way.

    And, it isn’t a hard change to make…

  9. liberranter says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    [N]othing bugs me more than to see a mom with a kid in the cart who is chewing on the cart handle while the mother blissfully ignores the kid, and then two weeks later wonders why the kid is sick with strep or worse. As for the swine flu scare…

    Jeannie, this and other nausea-inducing variations* of the “parent-too-stupid-to-be-allowed-to-breed-in-the-first-place” syndrome (i.e., the MAJORITY of today’s Amoricons with offspring) have done more to make me question the basis of my pro-life beliefs than anything else I can think of.

    (*Here in Tucson, Arizona, the “Substance Abuse and Functional Illiteracy Capitol of the American Southwest”, the most popular variations of this syndrome are to leave one’s infant child in a hot car for a couple of hours with the windows closed until the child dies of heat stroke, or to leave one’s toddler unattended near an unenclosed swimming pool to fall in and drown. The local news media reports at least three such instances of each per week. I can only imagine how many other cases go unreported.)

  10. Iluvatar says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I forgot to add this:

    I believe it is as much a religious conviction to be of the herd mentality as it is to be frustrated w/ the non-thinking “insect man”, which, in turn, motivates taking responsibility for your existence.

    These 2 forms of religious convictions simply are antipodal (opposite ends of the world).

    Another religious conviction is the non-thinking nonconformist (do the opposite of what every one else is doing just to be Rad). As Karen ably points out, that was not what she was saying.

    But, methinks, there are more than 1 type of religious conviction.

    Problem is?

    Not all of those convictions are functional…

    Tant pis!

  11. John Paul Jones II says:

    July 8th, 2010 at 8:54 pm


    Oddly enough, as the US turns into the Third World, everything is more filthy; streets, restaurants, bathrooms, everything. It’s not PC to demand civilized behavior any longer.

    Maybe hand sanitizer gives the sheeple the illusion of having some control over their fates, hehe.

  12. quints says:

    July 9th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Karen, I read Sisson’s link after your reply to my comment. Thanks for responding. Keep up the good work.

  13. Alex says:

    July 10th, 2010 at 7:35 am

    From my vantage point, much of this increased use comes as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom (sort of like Tang sales increasing because of the Apollo program hype). When I served in Iraq a few years ago, troops were hammered through ubiquitous signs and instructions to use hand sanitizer, which, along with those “stations”, was everywhere. In addition to what we were provided by our various commands, as well as military exchanges in country, civilians back home would send copious amounts of “care packages” with hand sanitizers included. The troops in Iraq, most of whom were Reservists and Guardsmen not Active Duty, brought these habits and ways back to CONUS, and of course, it spread among civilian family, friends, and coworkers. Also, I’m sure makers of hand sanitizer noticed this uptick in sales and helped to generate scare marketing about germs, along with our health establishment.

    OIF, coupled with the “Hock a Loogie into Your Good Dress Shirt’s Elbow” campaign of the health establishment (guess this generation of men never heard of an invention called the handkerchief) during the Swine Flu scare, and the general trend of the past couple of decades of “anti-bacterial EVERYTHING” (and what good is an anti-bacterial product against VIRAL illness vectors?) in the marketplace has created, as Karen cites, one more wave of media-generated controlled compulsion in the general population.

    The irony is that, despite all the screaming by command sabout “cleanliness,” many OIF vets came back to America with debilitation skin and joint conditions. Guess all that hand sanitizer didn’t do diddly when it came to all that water with which our troops showered, shaved, and drank, which military contracting companies apparently didn’t purify in theatre (but which you, the American people were still charged for the non-existent purification and reverse osmosis process).

    Hand insanity-izers seem to forget our bodies are constantly bombarded by bacteria and viruses from food, air, and home and workplace surfaces, not just our daily visits to the restroom for No.1 or No.2. Makes no sense to constantly sanitize your hands and then not sanitize your keyboard and cubicle at work, if you’re going to be compulsive about it. The average keyboard is way more full of bacteria and viruses than many other locations.

    And haven’t these people ever heard of natural selection and resistant-to-antibiotic strains of bacteria? They became resistant because of overuse of antibiotics. Wonder what OVER (not PROPER) use of hand sanitizer will bring in the future?

    On the other hand, all this cleanliness fetish has created a counter market in “pribiotic” products (“put back what you shouldn’t have wiped out!!!”) like Activia yogurt.

  14. Kahki says:

    September 24th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    For some inexplicable reason, this reminds me of my complaint about the Americans with Disability Act that requires Braille signage near elevators. Don’t question the possibility that a blind person is far more likely to find a full-size elevator by touch or sound than a small sign with required 5/8”-high Braille lettering that reads “ELEVATOR.” People look at you like you’re from another planet. And then you wonder what planet you’re on, and if you really care to be on it at all. Is a Hand Sanitizer Act out of the question? Not in this environment of compliance-without-question.

  15. Bob Ding says:

    September 28th, 2011 at 1:05 am


    Finally a rational discourse on a subject I first experienced while visiting Dad in hospital. 99.99% of the Health Care pro’s would religiously visit the dispenser on the wall whenever entering/leaving room. Pity. Imagine being the nurse/Doc known for NOT using the cursed device.

    I wonder what is the approved protocol for sanitizing prior to/ after sexual intimacy? Never mind, I’ve lost the urge. Time for my weekly flu shot anyhow.

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