OK, kids, it's gotten out of hand.
Warning labels are not helpful. They are not necessary. What they are is a symptom of a failing planet. See, the standards are low. Think about it: whenever you set standards, that height usually means that this is where you'd like things to be, and you end up accepting things that get pretty close; in other words, you settle. The problem comes when you have settled for so long, that you allow that standard to drop...and then settle for less than THAT. Eventually, the standards are so low, it's downright abysmal.
Look around you. Look at what is acceptable standards for dress, behaviour, and ethic. Don't just glance, really look, look hard, and compare it to it's function and essence. We have, as a species, allowed the standards to drop to a scary depth. We allow our children to find the media more important than learning. We help to eliminate the need to read. We overlook theft and piracy. We allow ourselves to be ruled by fear. We accept television as reality. And, worst of all, we shun responsibility and integrity and embrace and reward stupidity.
Start back with the woman, years ago, who won her court case against McDonald's because she spilled hot coffee on herself. Now, McD's prints "Warning: coffee may be HOT!" on it's cups. Was it their fault that she spilled the coffee? No, but somehow the lawsuit figured in her favour. Because of this type of lawsuit, we now have to deal with warnings like these:
- A label on a baby stroller warns: "Remove child before folding"
- A brass fishing lure with a three-pronged hook on the end warns: "Harmful if swallowed"
- A household iron warns users: "Never iron clothes while they are being worn"
- A label on a hair dryer reads, "Never use hair dryer while sleeping"
- A warning on an electric drill made for carpenters cautions: "This product not intended for use as a dental drill."
- The label on a bottle of drain cleaner warns: "If you do not understand, or cannot read, all directions, cautions and warnings, do not use this product."
- A smoke detector warns: "Do not use the Silence Feature in emergency situations. It will not extinguish a fire."
- A massage chair warns: "DO NOT use massage chair without clothing... and, Never force any body part into the backrest area while the rollers are moving."
- A cardboard car sunshield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns, "Do not drive with sunshield in place"
- A label on a hand-held massager advises consumers not to use "while sleeping or unconscious"
- A 12-inch rack for storing compact disks warns: "Do not use as a ladder."
- A cartridge for a laser printer warns, "Do not eat toner"
- A 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow warns: "Not intended for highway use"
- A can of self-defense pepper spray warns users: "May irritate eyes"
- A warning on a pair of shin guards manufactured for bicyclists says: "Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover."
- A snowblower warns: "Do not use snowthrower on roof."
- A dishwasher carries this warning: "Do not allow children to play in the dishwasher."
- A popular manufactured fireplace log warns: "Caution - Risk of Fire"
- A box of birthday cake candles says: "DO NOT use soft wax as ear plugs or for any other function that involves insertion into a body cavity."
All of these obvious warnings are due to some idiot doing something fuckin' moronic and suing the companies involved for apparently not warning them that they shouldn't eat printer toner or that it would be harmful to swallow a three-prong brass hook. It's plenty easy to find more, just hit up your Google search and you'll come across pages like this one with lists upon lists of stupid or frivolous warning labels. Hell, I found one the other day, on a scooter, that warned you that the thing would move when used. Well, no shit, that's what scooters do...that's as bad as the packet of airline peanuts warning you that it may contain peanuts!
It's sick, sad, and pathetic that we have allowed things to get this bad, where we have to "warn" people of the most basic things, just to cover our asses, legally. We see people do the dumbest possible things they can think of and sue someone completely unconnected, all because these people have no common sense or choose to ignore it...and we as a species accept this!!!
The latest of these really takes the cake. All over the 'Net, people are excited about the new iPod Shuffle. One of the selling points seems to be that it's tiny, and that's certainly true: it weighs about as much as a car key and is about the size of a pack of gum. In fact, on the page, they show it next to a couple packs of gum, to display it's tiny size (me, I'd be worried about losing it or breaking it, but that's just me). Now, I see this thing, read all the stuff about what a great music player it is, etc., and see it next to the gum...and I don't get the slightest urge to eat it. Apparently, though, Apple feels this might be a danger, since, at the bottom of the page, they clearly state "Do not eat iPod shuffle."
Well, there goes MY lunch plans. Here I was, about to munch on a hundred bucks worth of music player...it looked so tasty and delicious. Give me a break. Any world that feels the need to warn it's inhabitants of things like this because they're actually likely to do it and blame someone else deserves my abject hatred.
We're being conditioned to accept stupidity...it's not just warning labels. It's "reality TV". It's "Jackass". It's frivolous lawsuits. It's telephone psychics. It's useless gadgetry. It's toys that only encourage one type of play instead of craetion and imagination. it's all the things that convince you to allow someone else to dictate your own mind, rather than YOU owning your thoughts.