Our census form arrived yesterday. Looking at the bar code made me feel all tingly. I said, “Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.” And then I filled it out. The government estimate was that it would take me 10 minutes. Took me about two, but then, I’m the designated filler-out-of-forms in the family, with everyone’s SSN memorized and all the birthdays, so I’m good at this. It’ll go back today.
Just for grins, though, I went out looking for the right-wing crazy census crowd. I stumbled, instead, on an eHow article, which the smart set says is my future as a freelance writer. eHow is fed by Demand Media, the freelance sweatshop that pays in the neighborhood of 3 cents a word for “articles.” Here’s one:
Every ten years, the United States Census Bureau conducts the U.S. Census. This census is important to the government because they are attempting to get an accurate count of the entire population. This includes every man, woman, and child residing in the United States — citizens, illegal immigrants, those here on visas, and non-citizen legal residents.
The census is considered by some citizens and illegal immigrants alike to be intrusive. Therefore, you may be asking if it is required that you participate.
“Therefore” — a word beloved by seventh-graders and word count-padders everywhere. In fact, it wasn’t until I stumbled across it that I could say, precisely, why eHow drives me insane. It’s not that the “articles” are useless, or that the pay would shame a sweatshop operator. It’s that it reminds me of how I wrote in junior-high school:
Some citizens and others residing in the United States find the Census to be intrusive. For example, in an interview done by National Public Radio in 2009, one U.S. citizen complained that the census required him to answer questions such as how many guns he kept in his home, and where they were kept. Obviously, to him, this information did not seem to be necessary for the government to know.
The only thing missing are little blue dots over each word, from my Bic laboriously counting each one. She missed an opportunity to add two: “United States” inserted before “government” in the last sentence would fit nicely.
But moronic as it is, it isn’t the dumbest thing I found. That would be this spicy right-wing paranoia roundup in Wired, focusing on the news that some census collection would include GPS coordinates:
A post on the widely read Infowars.com in June warned: “I will tell you plainly, the NWO [New World Order] controlled American military wants these GPS markers so they can launch Predator Drone missile attacks, the aptly named HELLFIRE missile I might add, against a long list of undesirables here in CONUS, continental United States.”
So when I drop that form in the mail, I’ve as much as called in a missile strike on my own house. MAY GOD FORGIVE ME FOR WHAT I’VE DONE.
He won’t forgive me if I don’t get to work, however. Off to the library — I have microfilm to examine.