Throughout all of recorded human history, there has always been a common flaw for all theories purporting to explain the human condition: None of them has had anything to do with Muppets. Until now. This glaring omission in intellectual thought has been rectified by Slate's Dahlia Lithwick, who has devised a unified theory of Muppets to explain the singular factor that divides us: "Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet." (Is your mind blown?)
Chaos Muppets are out-of-control, emotional, volatile. They tend toward the blue and fuzzy. They make their way through life in a swirling maelstrom of food crumbs, small flaming objects, and the letter C. Cookie Monster, Ernie, Grover, Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and—paradigmatically—Animal, are all Chaos Muppets. Zelda Fitzgerald was a Chaos Muppet. So, I must tell you, is Justice Stephen Breyer.
Order Muppets—and I’m thinking about Bert, Scooter, Sam the Eagle, Kermit the Frog, and the blue guy who is perennially harassed by Grover at restaurants (the Order Muppet Everyman)—tend to be neurotic, highly regimented, averse to surprises and may sport monstrously large eyebrows. They sometimes resent the responsibility of the world weighing on their felt shoulders, but they secretly revel in the knowledge that they keep the show running. Your first grade teacher was probably an Order Muppet. So is Chief Justice John Roberts.
For Lithwick's purposes, the theory serves to explain the dysfunctional nature of the Supreme Court, where the legal writer sees too many Order Muppets, not enough Chaos Muppets. But it could really be extrapolated to many group dynamics. Did the Beatles have too many Order Muppets too? Did the Bush administration have too few? Heavy things to think about as you peruse this great leap in philosophical thought that Lithwick's boss, Slate Group head Jacob Weisberg suggests "might be the greatest piece Slate has every published." The whole thing can be found here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.