Straws! Straws! Straws!
Left: Pixabay; Right: Tac6 Media / CC By 2.0
Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I pit two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.
What’s the story? Environment secretary Michael Gove is considering a ban on renowned turtle-killers, plastic straws.
Reasonable take: Keep them coming and I might vote Tory! Aha only joking.
Milktake: But what about the lovely straws. Who will think of the straws.
Exciting news this week, Blue Planet fans. When asked whether the UK would consider banning drinking straws, environment secretary and bloody hippy Michael Gove said "watch this space". Not everyone was pleased, including Telegraph writer Jamie Whyte, a bloke who loves a good straw and thinks the whole thing is a bit unfair to be honest.
Whyte’s argument is that instead of banning straws the government should tax them (if they have to do something). That way, the people who don’t like straws won’t buy them, but for people like him – straw-heads – who can’t live without them, they can contribute money to saving the planet. Trouble is, this one isn’t about money. It’s about straws. Straws being in the sea is a problem you can’t buy your way out of. You can only "use less straws" your way out of it.
Whyte ends his piece with a call to arms, that "Mr Gove's new principle is authoritarian nonsense. Anyone with the slightest regard for liberty should be appalled." You know: the old "First they came for the straws and we said nothing" chestnut.
Which begs the question, really: who is that into straws? Who gets "pleasure" from drinking through a straw? Seriously, what am I not getting? It’s liquid moving through a tube! Yeah, really sick, mate. Just seen you drinking with a straw. What sort of straws do you use? Just the usual eight-inch extender, is it? Do you know Jamie Whyte? Yeah, the straw guy. Loves them. The "sucksman" we call him. Straw-boy. They’re plastic tubes. Get over it. Going to shag a straw, are you? It’s a straw! You can’t marry a straw! Lift a glass for once in your life, you weirdo.
What’s the story? In the wake of the mass-shooting in Florida, America’s gun debate continues to rage on.
Reasonable take: Fewer assault rifles = fewer dead people.
Flame Grilled Fox News Take: Sorry for your loss but did you know AR doesn’t actually stand for assault rifle…
While it pains me to dip a toe into the churning vortex they call "America", this tweet is a neat encapsulation of just how beyond sense the gun control conversation is. Imagine being faced with the deaths of school children, listening to their friends and parents, reading the statistics about how dangerous and destructive your favourite past-time is, and choosing that moment to clear your throat and say:
Hey Lefties, "AR" does NOT stand for "assault rifle." It stands for "ArmaLite rifle." You want to take our guns but you don’t know jack about guns. See the problem?
It is the correction absolutely nobody asked for. The "sorry your husband was mauled but technically that was a black bear not a grizzly". It takes a special kind of cold-heartedness to start lecturing people for not knowing the specifics of the weapons that are killing them.
More than anything it speaks to the gun lobby’s infatuation with their weapons: a love so mad and wild they believe everyone would agree with them if they could just get to know guns a little better. The suggestion that guns are misunderstood is a very special sort of take. I would say anyone with a even cursory understanding of what a gun is is pretty well positioned to argue for fewer of them.
Prime cut: Straws.