Monday, February 21, 2005

Watershed Crazy

A Banner Week For Crazy. Nay, a Watershed in Crazy History. This week, Crazy chokes the air of the 49th state, vibrating through the atmosphere like the Northern Lights after one of those 100-million-mile long solar flares gets loose.
Crazywise, we are off the charts.

Let me start personal, than blow it up to the full Crazy scope.

I’m in Fairbanks this week for one of the capstones of Crazy Air Force training, the Arctic Survival school aka Cool School. In practice, the concept is crazier (Camping in Alaska! In February! Without tents!) than the reality (teens and 20s this week), but classes with 4 hours of daylight per day and ambient temps of negative 50 are not unheard of.
Anyhoo, that’s where I am, which perhaps has been the karmic trigger for the Crazy eruptions, but who can say? I made the roadie up here, driving the 400 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks, a trip on which I figured I might be able to hunt down some crazy but no – I only had to keep gas in the car. It found me.
Gas station #1 – Just north of anchorage in the Palmer/Wasilla area, which are two suburbs. Only, apparently, there’s a sweet spot on the map between them – so 100 yards east of my gas station was Wasilla sales taxes. 100 West was Palmer sales taxes. Mine was no sales taxes.
A little weak, but just the opening act.
Gas station #2 – in a strip mall in North Pole (Fairbanks suburb, 10 miles from the Cool school and – as the highway sign now says – 2004 State Football Champions), next to a barber’s shop. Big sign on the barber’s window, handpainted – “I Will Be Closed For Surgery” (Dammit! Now we have to go all the way into Fairbanks for Surgery! - Thankee!!!!)

And now, the three damndest things. First, the Big One.
Or, rather, the No Longer Big One.
Destined to be a national story. Just remember's whose Crazy it is.

‘No Problem With Appeal’
As he asked his girlfriend: “I don't Believe it. Do you?” Let me answer for all of us: If it was anywhere else, no. But...

North To Alabama
Call me a screamin' liberal, but you show me a petition to ban King Salmon fishing in Alabama, I’ll sign it.
Let me give this story just a bit more serious discussion than it deserves: I like PETA in the same sense I like the NRA and Jerry Falwell and grooved pavement on freeways. Without them you might just drive straight off into the abyss before you knew you were out of the lines. PETA is nothing if not a group of moral absolutist blind to the holes in their morality, but isn't that the best part of being morally absolut? (as The Enemies List might put it "No Grey Areas, Only Enemies!") So I am never offended or shocked by PETA's antics and I’m often amused.
But I am offended by this story strictly as a consumer of liberal social movements.
I fall pretty firmly in the same corner as (to name a few of my most-abused favorites) the ACLU, the Sierra Club, the NAACP, Greenpeace, even the sorry-ass Democratic National Committee. And here's PETA - not so much 'one of us' but with a long list of common enemies - wasting everybody's time (and money) without even managing to show a clear grasp of the difference between Alaska and Alabama.
PETA picks up some first downs with most people when they stick to industrial cattle farms, animal lab testing and the lunacies of the fur-wearing world. And then they trot out something like this.
I’m fully aware that this is a publicity stunt and nothing more. Indeed, pub stunts are often what many groups on 'my' side are reduced to. But since these things are our only real weapons, I'd appreaciate it if PETA didn't waste one. Because this whole deal is gruesomely ill-concieved, likely only to alienate friends and set back real debate. Is that the goal?
There. I had my say.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the skydiver. Genital mutilation and PETA-attacks are good, but for pure Alaska Crazy, you can't beat a paranoid skydiving wack-job defending himself in open court. Except when he's surpised by the verdict.

Like I said, the sky is positively aglow up here.