Depressing Dispatches From “The Great Stupid”


I wish I could post each of these separately, but I already used up the extra hour today…

Perplexing Statement of the Week

“I understand one stab, 2 or 3 or 5, but 40 times, that’s like hate.”

That’s Jose Aguirre of Phoenix, pointing to the spot where his neighbor, Rodolfo Garcia, was brutally stabbed to death on Halloween morning. This gets Inigo Montoya’s attention:

Of course, his comment does embody the warped logic of hate crime laws, which we now should recognize as one of the early victories of those who want race and color to confer special advantages in society. I think the word Jose was looking for wasn’t hate but anger, as fury, at least as explained repeatedly by the profilers on “Criminal Minds” when they encountered a death by overkill, is the approved diagnosis with death’s like Garcia’s. I will assume that anyone who tries to stab me to death one, two, three or five times doesn’t like me very much. And frankly, those extra stabs after I’m dead won’t bother me at all. Hey, go crazy, man! It’s your time and energy you’re wasting!

A Minnesota community is confused.

What a surprise.

The city council in the Minnesota city of International Falls voted unanimously last week to prohibit dressing its sort-of famous statue of Smokey the Bear  in seasonal attire during teh year as the local tradition has been for decades. Smokey will no longer don earmuffs in the winter, or fishing gear in the summer, or the wags responsible will face fines.  No,  the iconic anthropomorphic bear cannot sport any  garb other than his traditional blue jeans, belt, buckle and “campaign” hat, with his shovel in hand.

Thank God they dealt with THAT crisis!

On what basis did the town fathers and mothers decide that such a law was necessary? After all, International Falls residents have dressed Smokey in different outfits depending on the season since the 1980s, when locals knit a 25-foot-long scarf and created giant mittens and earmuffs. Smokey didn’t seem to mind. But Mayor Harley Droba said he reached out to other Minnesota communities that are also home to famous giant statues,  like Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji, Big Ole the Viking in Alexandria, and the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth. All of those communities said that they didn’t dress up their landmarks, and Droba, thinking that “Everybody does it!” (Rationalization #1 on the list) means that something must be right, used his poll to justify killing a local tradition.

So I guess we know what will happen when Bemidji, Alexandria and Blue Earth decide to defund the police.

Hey, it’s legal, so it must be ethical, right?

Daniel Lee is an equipment operator for the Holbrook (Mass.) Department of Public Works and the chair of the Holbrook Select Board as well as the town’s board of assessors. His wife, Brenda Stapleton Lee. is Holbrook’s assistant collector. They haven’t paid any rent to their landlords, Michaele Rodgers and her husband for more than a year while living in their rental property in Holbrook, despite the fact that Daniel and Brenda did not miss a paycheck from the town during the pandemic. Together they earned $109,430.50 in calendar year 2020. The Rodgers, who are retired and live on a fixed income, report that they are owed $10,200 by the couple.  However the Lees, who never missed a rental payment before the pandemic, argue that they meet the terms of the CDC’s eviction moratorium, and they do. “I don’t have to pay anymore. I’ve got proof that I don’t have to pay because I qualify for aid,” Daniel Lee told their landlords.

Who didn’t see this coming?

In Colorado, the nonprofit Native American Guardians Association has filed a discrimination suit against the state for its law banning American Indian school mascots. This was  passed last year after a Minnesota police officer with a record of prior excesses accidentally killed a lifetime, small time hood who was resisting arrest and high as a kite, in an incident that had exactly nothing to do with Native Americans, mascots or even racism, but never mind: that’s The Great Stupid in a nutshell.

The lawsuit names Governor Jared Polis, Attorney General Phil Weiser and Kathryn Redhorse, the executive director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs, and alleges that the Colorado law is unconstitutional and “unlawfully enacts state-sanctioned race discrimination” against the Native American residents. The suit argues that the complete erasure of Native American imagery is not beneficial and that the use of positive and respectful Native American symbols and mascots in schools honors the group, helps neutralize offensive stereotypes and teaches the public about Native American history.

The Colorado law was signed in June and fines public schools, colleges and universities $25,000 monthly for their use of American Indian-themed mascots after June 1, 2022.

I think that the association may win. I hopes so. It’s also notable that the name of the group is “Native American Guardians Association,” and the erstwhile Cleveland Indians are trying to erase their Native American references by calling themselves the “Guardians,” which will still have Native American connections.







7 thoughts on “Depressing Dispatches From “The Great Stupid”

  1. “The Rodgers, who are retired and live on a fixed income, report that they are owed $10,200 by the couple.” I don’t know, Daniel and Brenda are just scum in my book. I guess the more appropriate word might be greedy but I really dislike people that take advantage of “loopholes” for monetary gain they don’t even need.

    Heck, I’m not making this up – this morning I went to Wegmans as I buy 6 cases of bottled water (24 ct.) every 3 months or so. I take my returns (so the state won’t get the money) and get my $7.20 bottle deposit and purchase my water. This morning the girl in the checkout charged me for Wegmans bottled water (2.69 per case) and I bought the Poland Spring brand (4.99 per case). I didn’t notice it until I got home and I live a long ways from the grocery store. The difference was 14.91; so, I called Wegmans hoping I could pay over the phone but the girl said, “It was our mistake so don’t worry about it, but, thanks for calling us.”

    I guess this might fall into the “virtue signalling” category on my part but I’ve always had a serious dislike for people that have sound financial resourses and are still greedy.

  2. Re: Perplexing Statement. Knife fighting culture doubtless has it’s own unwritten rules. As does Baseball. I’d say this statement simply indicates how diverse our culture has become to embrace and include so many different cultures. Isn’t it wonderful?

  3. Minnesota:

    We saw the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth in 2009 while on our way to Mount Rushmore. I can’t really imagine it being dressed up as anything. However, Big Ole crossed our radar as we returned from Yellowstone this year and we stopped to get a gander at him.

    Per one source, Ole has, at least once, been dressed as Santa. From “Big Ole’s conquest of Alexandria, however, was far from easy. In 1967 the town dressed him for the holidays in a Santa suit — into which someone shot a flaming arrow that sent Ole up in flames! His sword was snapped off by another vandal, and the Viking has often had an extra piece of anatomy added between his legs.”

    Ole was all Viking when we saw him in July.

    There’s a statue of George Washington on horseback in Boston Common that we saw wearing a hockey jersey when we were there in 2013. The Superman statue in Metropolis, IL, by contrast, has never worn any kind of theme costume, but they did stick a big disposable face mask on him at once point.

    I think International Falls is a bunch of fuddy-duddies. Serves them right if someone puts big pink bunny ears on Smokey just for the heck of it.

  4. While it is less notable than Smokey Bear, the Big Blue Bug off I95 in Providence usually sports a red nose and reindeer antlers around Christmas. The change is always fun to see as you drive by.

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