“Juxtaposition” is the word of the day. Take New Jersey and New York. Neighbors? Sure. But if you look closely, says Jon Stewart, they are really “two states, united in one spirit…and that spirit is corruption.” Wait, that’s antithetical to “juxtaposition.” Let’s try a better example: Take the United States and the the United Arab Emirates. A couple was caught having sex on a beach in each country. One couple was just sentenced to three months in jail, although the charges carry a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison “under the strict Muslim laws that govern [the country].” But in the other country — the good old U.S. — the man is facing 15 years, the woman’s fate is in the air, and both will have to register as sex offenders.
And, there are more juxtapositions coming your way—boot camp AKA 1960s gym classes compared to those (relatively) easy gym classes of the twenty-first century; a new lawsuit seeking ten million dollars in damages by this Raleigh cop suing Starbucks over spilled, free coffee (a replay of the famous case against McDonald’s from over two decades ago?); and the words of a local Boy Scouts council’s diversity statement saying that adults should not be banned as leaders because of their sexual orientation, and then the ousting of a gay local leader by the national office.
Let me juxtapose that rain cloud I’ve just created with some sunshine (I know, I know, a clumsy usage of “juxtapose”): Stephen Colbert announced today that he would fund every extant grant request that South Carolina public school teachers have made on the education crowdfunding website DonorsChoose.org. That’s nearly 1,000 projects for more than 800 teachers at over 375 schools, totaling… only $800,000. Considering that luxury hotel brand The Four Seasons will soon be offering an around-the-world, 25-day itinerary in the company’s private jet for $137,000, that request from the teachers doesn’t seem like a lot. If you’re back under the rain cloud, consider this: cat paws are really tiny teddy bears.