Rest easy, my fellow Americans, in the knowledge that our tax dollars have been hard at work at the National Security Agency. You see, there is “no greater threat” than climate change, according to President Obama. Evidently, the EPA hasn’t killed enough coal mines and power plants (and the jobs that go with them) in West Virginia to save the world from climate change. So the National Security Agency has filled the void and developed a new recycling program for Maryland school kids, complete with a video featuring a kid-friendly mascot!
That mascot’s name? Dunk.
Dunk is creepier than a birthday clown and the New Orleans Pelicans’ “King Baby” mascot combined. Then again, I was kid who would hide from the mascots at sporting events, and I once cried at the sight of the guy in the Chuck E. Cheese costume when a friend had their party at the wretched rodent’s pizzeria and arcade, so perhaps I’m judging our friend Dunk a little too harshly.
Resembling what one might imagine Spongebob’s rarely-blinking blue cousin looked like (if he had the Kool-Aid guy’s face, that is), Dunk appears in a nearly eight minute long video, which I took the liberty of watching for you in its entirety. (You can still see it here if you so desire.) Dunk has a slightly annoying, nasally voice that falls somewhere between Barney the Dinosaur and the aforementioned undersea sponge creature in terms of how hokey it is. He appears to be about six feet tall, clearly hits the gym based on his huge arms, and has no sense of decency: he appears to only be clothed in purple boxers, which all but sinks his chances of running for high office one day.
We learn from Dunk that the NSA has won awards from the EPA for its recycling efforts. (Nothing gives me the warm fuzzies more than hearing the NSA and EPA mentioned in the same sentence, but I digress.) The main point of Dunk’s message is that kids should participate in a “waste audit,” in which they go through all of the trash from their schools and sort out the recyclable materials. By doing so, the NSA hopes that students will become more conscientious about waste “both at school and at home.”
Dunk’s mission isn’t terrible in and of itself. I enjoy fishing, and I’d rather not be pulling fluorescent bass and pickerel out of my favorite lakes, so go ahead and teach kids to take care of our natural resources.
However, my problem with this whole thing is that, as I alluded to earlier, this is coming from the National Security Agency. The same agency that was collecting the phone records of countless Americans, and is still doing so, is now out there trying to engage our young children. There’s just something off-putting about your friendly neighborhood phone record collector trying to reach out to kids. I don’t think I’d go so far as to call it propaganda or brainwashing, but it seems like it’s somewhere in the same messaging zip code.
Furthermore, wouldn’t you think that the EPA is the more logical agency to look towards for a project like this? They are, after all, the Environmental Protection Agency, and it’s kind of their job. As you can see here, the EPA already teamed up with Dr. Seuss’ Lorax to create an activity book to help kids be more environmentally conscious. Why do we even need Dunk from the NSA when the Lorax is already on the case? What’s next? Is the Treasury Department going to trot out a Bob the Builder-esque guy to teach kids the importance of maintaining our infrastructure?
What’s the moral of the story? Government agencies shouldn’t be spending our money in dumb ways. What could be dumber than one agency–one that is dedicated to national security, of all things–doing something related to climate change while the agency whose sole job it is to address environmental issues is already doing something exactly like it on a larger scale?
The other moral of the story is that I also don’t like mascots very much. Unless of course they represent my favorite sports teams, but even then I only tolerate them.