Responding to my first post on the subject, a friend called my attention to this passage from Kurt Vonnegut’s 1961 short story “Harris Bergeron.”:
THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way.
Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else.
All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General. . . .
On the television screen were ballerinas. A buzzer sounded in George’s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.
“That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did,” said Hazel. “Huh” said George. “That dance-it was nice,” said Hazel. “Yup,” said George.
He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren’t really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway.
They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in.
George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped. But he didn’t get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts. . . .
Vonnegut seems to have been on to something. However, even he may not have anticipated the “land acknowledgement.”