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Hell in a Handbasket

Letter from Slim Wolfe

Modern Life – February 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine


I imagine most readers would subscribe to your suggestion to shop locally; we only wish local merchants would give us more encouragement. A drive to Cañon City can save the consumer 30% on a certain jar of Colorado salsa and more than 50% on a pressure-tank for one’s home water system, compared to Salida retail stores. Who among us would not spend two hours behind the wheel to save more than $130?

According to your report the City of Durango talked the U.S. Department of Agriculture out of $50,000 in grant money to study the feasibility of local organic food. Why not instead give a hundred tax breaks of $500 to local growers and victory gardeners? The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; but the laws of geometry, like the Geneva Convention, don’t apply within the beltway — or closer to home, either.

Cartoon from Slim Wolf
Cartoon from Slim Wolf

Are teenagers here getting into overtly suggestive dance moves at high school social events? Elsewhere in America adults are shocked and outraged by the trend, though I’m not hearing parents or educators taking any responsibility. Greeks passed town the Hora, Hungarians passed down the Czardas, Americans once learned some elegant moves as well, before MTV and toothpaste ads became the basis of of our passive-absorptive society. Let’s not blame the kids if we’ve bred out any inclinations to find a challenge in anything but a computer mouse.

If there’s something worth fighting for (as Martha’s essay suggests) it might just be freedom from the New American Century. As I flipped the dial around my radio this holiday season I noticed that the music has taken an interesting turn: I heard a lot of old carols and some pop stuff from recent decades and a lot of scrambled-hash medleys fluffed up with musical fill. But not one single new carol seems to have been composed in a generation or two. Maybe simulated copulation on the dance floor is an appropriate reaction to all this regurgitated culture. Join the army if you fail.

If power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, if the point of fighting is to gain power, then what is there to fight for but the power to be more corrupt than the others?

Watch this closely, Iraq: American democratic process just dumped a substantial number of our GOP elected officials nationwide; the main cause of dissatisfaction, so the polls said, was the war. But where can we find the war in the new Democratic agenda? Not visible to the naked eye, at all. If we want representative government, maybe we ought to import the old Middle Eastern version of the village elders and headmen, instead.

One out of fifty Iraqis — 650,000 — killed since 2003, not to mention homeless, malnourished, burn victims and amputees without anæsthesia or other essential care. Feeling safe yet, America? Or do we send in a surge of 20,000 more troops, like the smoker who thinks one more pack will get rid of that hack?

This week I sent four separate letters to four individual NPR newscasters guilty of withholding complete information or otherwise spinning the news to make us look better and them look worse. But as news media continue to shrink and conglomerate, NPR may give better balance than most. Which is not to say that they would ever make room for anyone who regularly writes about national and world events for Colorado Central. Good thing the glamor of Beltway politics can’t suck in all the good minds of our generation.

Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove