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Boo-boo kitty bonsai


By Alyson Brodsy and Warren Christopher Freiberg



I've done plenty of stupid stuff here in college, often involving gross amounts of Skol Vodka, urine and occasionally near-naked pictures of myself on the Internet, but I figure I have an excuse: I was drunk.\nWhat is inexcusable, however, is the recent rash of chain letters I have received from apparently sober people on http://thefacebook.com whom I'd normally think of as at least slightly more intelligent than mentally challenged chimpanzees.\nI guess I set my standards too high. \nTake, for example, an excerpt from a recent message I received, which even included signatures from several other classmates who attend this university:\n"A Japanese man in New York breeds and sells kittens that are called BONSAI CATS. That would sound cute, if it weren't kittens that were put into little bottles after being given a muscle relaxant and then locked up for the rest of their lives! The cats are fed through a straw and have a small tube for their faces. The skeleton of the cat will take on the form of the bottle as the kitten grows ... "\nSupposedly, if 500 people sign the petition, the Web site selling these cats will be shut down, and kittens everywhere will be safe from those nasty bonsai people.\nWow, cats shouldn't have to live in a jar like that their entire lives. We need to do something immediately.\nThere's just one problem. This site is a joke. The pictures of cats in jars on it were made using Photoshop. It's not even a new joke; it's been around since 1999.\nAnd I know some people aren't forwarding this as a joke when they send another message saying, "Whoops, I screwed up, it's not real. But uh, we should put aside such archaic notions as the First Amendment and work to ban the site anyway!"\nI don't know how many of you have actually played with a cat before, but they're kind of fussy animals, and something tells me it wouldn't be very easy to get one into a jar, much less market it. Actually, I'm confident you'd probably end up in jail pretty quickly for trying such a thing.\nWith a quick Google search, you could find out where this whole thing came from and delete the message after having a chuckle at peoples' gullibility. Or y'know, you could use common sense -- something that a lot of people seem to lack.\nBut there seems to be a good reason for the stupidity. According to U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges," 2005 Edition Rankings, IU gladly admits 81 percent of the people that apply.\nThat's about the same odds you have of nailing a drunk freshman this Friday night, maybe even better. \nI know University administrators are pressed to bring in as much cash as possible, but when you're admitting students who believe cats can be stuffed in jars and sold on the streets of New York, maybe the bar is being set a little low, and it's time to shorten up the buses.\nA lot of studies have shown standardized tests, such as ISTEP and the SAT, aren't good at determining how one will succeed in college, which the prevalence of these chain letters only seems to confirm.\nSo I propose a new admissions test that could really put IU at the forefront of higher education: The Internet Chain Letter Test of Intelligence.\nSimply have the office of admissions send prospective students an e-mail containing one of these inane online petitions like the Bonsai Kitten one above, and if they're stupid enough to respond, they're a little too stupid for IU.\nHonestly, we really don't need them here. Indiana already has a state school for "slower" students in West Lafayette.

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