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Monday, August 25, 2008

BIG FOOT IN MY FREEZER

I do not have Big Foot in my freezer, nor do I have “The Best Political Team on Television” on my television. I never thought I did, and I don’t care how many times Wolf Blitzer tells me that I do. I know I don’t. But I also know I am growing weary of watching Blitzer being reduced to his own punch line just for a paycheck. Frankly, not only is he not “the most trusted name in news”, he is not even the most trusted name in commercial lead-ins, anymore.What I do have is an increasingly low tolerance for stupidity, which makes me less and less willing to be entertained by fools, even ones claiming to have collected a dead Big Foot in their freezer. I even confessed to my wife last night that for years I have found “COPS” to be dull and predictable and I don’t want to watch it anymore. I have given up all hope that one night a COPS contestant will pull yet another package of meth or crack out of a suspect’s front pocket, hear the same old tired “It’s not mine” excuse once to often, and just snap. I don’t want the cop to shoot the addict. That would be too “Hollywood”. Instead, I had hoped to see the officer lock the idiot addict in the back of his patrol car, call for a taxi cab and just go home. And never go into a police station again as long as he lives. We could call it “Ex-Cops”. It is not a hunger for justice that burns in my heart anymore, but a simple desire for novelty. Honesty on television would be something new. This is a very dangerous feeling to have as the political conventions approach.I feel the same way about “American Idol”, “Survivor”, “The Nanny” and every hackneyed “reality” show on cable: except, of course, for “Dirty Jobs”. I could watch Mike Rowe read the phone book, as long as he had never read it before. But I do worry that my dissatisfaction with the current state of American culture could be a portent of doom. Except I have even lost faith in doomsday.The Mayan Calendar predicts that the world will end in the year 2012. In fact the Mayans world ended about the year 1100. If they were smart enough to have created a calendar that recorded the end of the world a thousand years after their culture had already been reduced to hot chocolate and chewed cocaine leaves, how come they overlooked the importance of 1492, when a bunch of unwashed Euro-trash showed up on their doorstep with bang sticks and no concept of public property? The Mayan super priests missed that little Armageddon, but they are still on track for a 2012 prediction? It just sounds like something else Wolf Blitzer will be droning on about as the date approaches. “Is the world scheduled to end in the year of 2012? We will hear from the experts on both sides of the issue, right after the break”. I am forced to remind Wolf that there are no “sides” to insanity. It is not an arguable position. It is not a defensible position. It is a medical condition.According to the Washington Post and the New York Daily Tribune, on May 18, 1910, sixteen year old Jane Warfield of Aline, Oklahoma came within a seconds of being sacrificed by a group calling themselves The Select Followers, to appease Haley’s Comet, which was about the end the world but for the spilled blood of a virgin Okie. According to the Cherokee Republican of May 27, 1910, the group’s leader, Henry Heinman, told the Select Followers that “…the world would end on the 18th day of May, and the comet now in the sky would sweep with pestilential gases across the earth eliminating all animal life…He gave out that he had received a revelation that he was to sacrifice the girl and thus avert world calamity. Sheriff Hughes has placed the girl in the hands of safe parties and Heinman will be held to await action by investigating officers.”The story turns out to have been a fraud, a concoction of a newspaper editor named Ed Marchant. According to research brought together by historian Guy W. Moore, on the web site “The Virgin and the Comet”, there is no listing for a “Henry Heinman” nor a “Jane Warfield” in the 1910 Oklahoma census. And in 1910 the sheriff for Major County, where Aline, Oklahoma is located, was Lewis Burwell, not the mythical Sheriff Hughes. In other words, the tale was a joke the folks in Oklahoma could enjoy at the expense of the rubes in New York and Washington D.C. In the same way people in Southwest Washington State who have known Bob Heironimus all of his life and instantly recognized his distinctive arm swinging lope in the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin “Bigfoot film”. (That's Bob in the monkey suit.)But there is a difference between a tale of a virgin sacrificed on the plains of Oklahoma and a gorilla suit covered in pig’s entrails stuffed into in a freezer, or a bill of sale for Nigerian Yellow Cake uranium ore. One is a story told for the sheer joy of the story telling; it is told to illustrate a larger truth. That is what is called fiction. The other is a story invented out of greed - greed for money or greed for power. It tells no truth except the truth about those who tell it. That is what is called a fraud.And, upon reflection, what I really hunger for is not novelty, but truth; honesty in advertising, candor in news gathering, sincerity in politics and just a little authenticity in the lies we tell each other to get through the day, like you are the best team on politics.


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