02/01/2013 10:58 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The MacArthur Foundation Stole My Idea for a More Just, Verdant and Peaceful World


Oh, please. I had the idea for a more just, verdant and peaceful world, like, a million years ago. So, you can imagine how I feel every time I hear a Public Broadcasting underwriting announcement in which those big shots at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation claim my vision as their own.

Ask anyone who knows me: I have been an outspoken advocate of being really quiet just about various things, and I have long-held that second only to justice is verdancy. Okay, maybe verdancy isn't a word (at least not according to spell-check in Microsoft Office), but I have long known this place would be up the creek (so to speak) if it wasn't well and truly verdant. And as far as peaceful, well, I was way out in front on that.

Now, it goes without saying that the MacArthur Foundation is awesome. They create amazing and inspirational programs for the benefit of mankind. But did they have to steal my idea? Admittedly, I didn't hit upon the three words all at once. 'Just' was fairly straightforward, but I believe it was sometime in the late 1980's (I remember because that Don Henley song about the deadhead sticker on the Cadillac was on the radio all the time) that 'verdant' became my by-word for a rich and green planet. As for 'peaceful,' well that just flowed naturally. Combined with 'just' and 'verdant,' it supplies just the right punch for relaying the lofty but ultimately achievable goals mankind can reach if we could only agree upon our common humanity.

So, by all means, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, keep on providing funds for worthy individuals and organizations that can bring about positive change on our planet. But since the more just, verdant and peaceful thing was pretty much my idea, perhaps you can pick one of these alternate slogans I have come up with for you?

  • A more helpful, less stodgy and pleasantly Zen-like world.
  • A more great, rather adorably noble and fecund world.
  • A less self-serving, more warm and utterly fabulous world.
  • A more stunningly attractive, very lush and downright amiable world.

Feel free to mix and match. I'm sure there's something here that could help get the message across with equal power. I particularly like 'fecund' and I will let you have that with no strings attached.

Thank you very much for your time, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Please let me know what you decide to do, and whether or not I'll be getting a genius grant.

James Napoli is an author and humorist. More of his comedy content for the Web can be found here.