Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Tiny bee on a rain-lily

with 29 comments

On August 20th at the Hanna Springs Sculpture Garden in Lampasas
I found this tiny bee on a rain-lily, Zephyranthes chlorosolen.

◊      ◊      ◊

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is making like it’s the Centers for Language Control. Yup, that branch of the American government earns the George Orwell Newspeak Award for its latest pronouncements in the world of reality spinning or outright denial. Here are some lowlights.

You shouldn’t say “genetically male” or “genetically female” but rather “assigned” or “designated” “male/female at birth.” This supposedly scientific branch of the government is okay with canceling the science of genetics.

The CDC is big on converting a simple word into a string of words. “Smokers” should be “people who smoke.” Was anyone so in danger of assuming that smokers might include squirrels or vultures that we need to specify that smokers are actually people? Similarly “the uninsured” should be “people who are uninsured,” which thankfully rules out bumblebees, potatoes, and walruses. “Koreans” should be “Korean persons,” I guess so that we don’t mistakenly include any of the Koreans’ pets.

“The homeless” should be “people experiencing homelessness.” Though not in the list, “the clueless” should presumably be called “people experiencing cluelessness.” Actually it’s shorter to replace that with “the CDC.”

But brevity is clearly not the goal in the new suggestions. Anti-brevity is, and therefore the CDC has done at best a middling job. Think about all the missed opportunities for expansionism. “White” could have been “people characterized by having a low melanistic pigmentation and therefore capable of being noticed in dark rooms more easily than people belonging to certain other ethnoracial groups with greater melanistic pigmentation.”

Some of the CDC’s advice does get anti-brief. For example:

“People/communities of color” is a frequently used term, but should only be used if included groups are defined upon first use; be mindful to refer to a specific racial/ethnic group(s) instead of this collective term when the experience is different across groups. Some groups consider the term “people of color” as an unnecessary and binary option (people of color vs. White people), and some people do not identify with the term “people of color”.

“Although the term “LGBTQIA2” is recommended, no explanation is given for what all the letters and the one number mean. The CDC’s new guidelines also missed the chance to announce a contest to determine what the next change to that ever-lengthening alphanumeric string should be. Will the “2” gradually go up to “3” and “4” and so on, in the same way the leading digit on California license plates has done over the past several decades? Or should the string get longer, for instance “LGBTQIA2VM6YR7”? Maybe not, as people might confuse it with a car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). Or, like online passwords, maybe at least one special character should be required, e.g. “LGB#TQIA2V%M6YR7.” No hacker’s ever gonna crack that.

A cynic might say that all the CDC’s changes and complexities will be used to justify hiring a cadre of language consultants to interpret the new terms and rules to hapless bureaucrats (forgive my redundancy). Those language consultants will swell the ranks in the army of diversity, equity, and inclusion consultants already on the dole, thereby revealing the true goal of an ever larger government whose minions regulate all aspects of our lives.

But hey, what do I know? I’m just a person who engages in thinking—formerly known as a thinker.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 4, 2021 at 4:34 AM

29 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Oh to be a bee feasting at such a beautiful table, and not bothered by any labels or classifications or Newspeak.


    September 4, 2021 at 7:23 AM

    • To be at a be-autiful table befits a bee because labels belong on cans of food.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2021 at 7:32 AM

      • Even so, some of those cans might be better served without their current tedious labels. There is a brand of NZ chips/crisps which makes a lovely joke out of labelling. I was given a packet of these chips the other day and was highly amused by the “made from 100% free range (non-caged) potatoes”. https://www.moonflix.co.nz/videos/snackchangi-launch


        September 4, 2021 at 10:04 PM

        • If you hadn’t said you’d been given a packet of Snacka Changi chips the other day, I’d have thought the linked video is a parody. A little research led me to an article about the company’s founder, who’s from your part of New Zealand:


          The mention of “free-range potatoes” reminded me of a sentence from my commentary yesterday: “Similarly ‘the uninsured’ should be ‘people who are uninsured,’ which thankfully rules out bumblebees, potatoes, and walruses.”

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 5, 2021 at 4:45 AM

          • Excellent chips they were, too.


            September 5, 2021 at 5:18 AM

            • I did a little searching but didn’t turn up any place in the United States that sells Snacka Changi chips.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 5, 2021 at 5:24 AM

              • The packaging probably wouldn’t meet US standards.


                September 5, 2021 at 5:28 AM

                • The company could modify the label for export, but maintaining the chips’ freshness might present a bigger problem.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 5, 2021 at 5:41 AM

    • Circadianreflections (below) referred to your comment.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2021 at 11:13 AM

  2. When I read that you’d visited Lampasas, the first thing I had to do was check the Texas map. I had no idea where the city was located. Now I know, and I’ve finally located Killeen and Temple, too. I enjoyed looking at the sculptures, and laughed at the fish in the truck. Having rain lilies there would have been a delightful ‘plus.’

    In the “Oh, Whoops…” department, I read somewhere that ‘trigger warning’ is now off the approved list of usable phrases, since ‘triggers’ denote violence. Irony abounds.


    September 4, 2021 at 8:01 AM

  3. The lily looks so large when you focus on the tiny bee. Or is it the other way around? It is all a matter of perspective.

    Peter Klopp

    September 4, 2021 at 8:44 AM

    • Ah, relativity. This rain lily might have been 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) across, so you get a sense of how tiny the bee was. As you said, the fact that the bee was so small makes the flower seem huge. Most people don’t expect a bee to be so tiny.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 4, 2021 at 10:35 AM

  4. Here, here, Gallivanta!!

    It’s a lovely table indeed.


    September 4, 2021 at 9:55 AM

  5. Nice flower picture with bee. The shadows are cool. I miss it when the CDC was concerned with salmonella outbreaks. After their handling of the pandemics, I don’t go there anymore.

    Alessandra Chaves

    September 4, 2021 at 11:58 AM

  6. Nice little visitor. No missing what this one is. I can’t keep up with all that is going on regarding the virus. I just do what seems the best case practice and don’t worry about what the terminology evolves into. Science always questions itself and the words change as discoveries change the knowledge.

    Steve Gingold

    September 5, 2021 at 2:14 PM

    • A little while ago I watched Chris Wallace interview Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University’s School of Medicine. Here’s a segment from the end of that interview:

      WALLACE: I’ve got two question I want to squeeze in, in the last two minutes.

      I read a report, actually several reports this week, that cloth masks, which, frankly, are the kinds of masks I usually wear, are not really effective. Is that true?

      JHA: Yes, cloth masks, unto themselves, are generally not effective. That’s why I think surgical masks are better. There are, of course, higher quality masks. Cloth masks may be 10 or 20 percent effective, not great against the delta variant.

      WALLACE: So you’re saying this mask I’ve been wearing for a year isn’t really protecting me very much?

      JHA: I’m saying that given the delta variant that’s out there, you probably need to upgrade your mask, Chris.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 5, 2021 at 2:30 PM

      • The only constant is change. The masks I wear are several layers of fine cloth. But I am not in crowded situations very often. Surgical masks have always been superior but for the longest time were not available as the better ones, such as the N95s, were reserved for medical/frontline staff. Many of the supposedly equivalent, the KN95s, were often found to be ineffective and cheaply made from China. The masks I believe have never been effective are the gaiter type that are one layer and you pull up from your neck. Most are nothing more than bandanas.
        People keep denying that there is anything good about masks or vaccines because over time scientists are learning as they have more experience and changing advice. Some say why believe them since the story changes. Science always changes and the majority of time for the better.

        Steve Gingold

        September 5, 2021 at 2:39 PM

        • I had to look up the gaiter-type mask you mentioned. I see what you mean about being nothing more than a bandana.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 5, 2021 at 3:04 PM

          • Convenient but not very good. Several of the guys I worked with wore them. I still see quite a few on job sites and when I go to places like Home Depot.

            Steve Gingold

            September 5, 2021 at 3:12 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: