Northern Valley Beacon

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Sunday, August 07, 2005


Larry the Cable Guy and I apologize to Erin and the Hildebrand Boys

Larry the Cable Guy does a bit where he claims he has a brother who is stone deaf. The brother, Larry says, is a prolific song writer. He asks if the audience would like to hear one of his songs. And he then proceeds to deliver some tortured, tone-deaf, unarticulated sounds in imitation of a totally deaf person trying to vocalize.

When I saw this bit, my teen-age children were watching Larry on television. As a proper parent who dissuades children--and anyone else--from making fun of those with disadvantages, I tried to respond with stern indignation at Larry's poor taste and cruelty. But my hand covered my mouth in an attempt to hide an involuntary smile and suppress a laugh. When Larry looked down at the floor in mock humility and said, "I apologize" and then went through a liturgy of confession and a prayer for strength, there was no use in pretending not to laugh.

It was funny. It was funny because of the outlandishness of someone claiming creative talent in an area in which he has no ability whatever. It was funny because the joke harks back to our own adolescent years when good taste and sensitivity were not the standards on which we based our behavior. And it was funny because it struck at a ridiculousness that we proper adults may find amusing inside but would never respond to overtly.

We apologize. May the good lord accept our confessions of bad taste and give us strength not to repeat such laughter--until the next time. Here is our confession. It has to do with what has become known as the story of Erin and the Hildebrand Boys. We apologize for the smart-ass things we have said in e-mails and postings. We apologize for:

Suggesting that Todd Epp start a new blog called "Pandarus' Box." We apologize for the fact that unless you are a literary type who has read one of the many versions of Troilus and Cressida, the joke is lost.

Asking who owns the intellectual property rights to the threads on web logs, and pointing out that the Erin and Hildebrand Boys saga has the potential to move Desperate Housewives into the deep shadows of television obscurity.

Finding it funny that the threads among the participants are absolutely incoherent, and the longer they go on and the farther they spread out, the more incoherent they are. We apologize for suggesting that it proves what kind of story will be produced if an infinite number of monkeys are given an infinite number of typewriters and their work is assembled into some kind of opus.

Finding it hilarious that certain blogs are taking this up as some great revelation of political truth as they trot out their favorite cliches and propaganda slogans. We apologize for comparing them to Larry the Cable Guy's brother.

Making the comment about new bridges being built in Madison County. (A story set in Iowa, folks.)

Looking forward to new episodes that could put Deadwood on the cancellation list.

We apologize for laughing. But, damn, we needed it.

David, are you acknowledging our existence? I for one am thrilled to get a mention here. A little overstatement about the Housewives though, I am technically a housewife myself, but I'm not desperate.

I think we may be on hiatus for the time being. Stay tuned.
We also acknowledge work you have done in behalf of consumers, who are regarded in many business practices as sheep to be fleeced, not citizens who have equality and rights in the transactions they enter into. While not a model of consumer rights, Iowa is far ahead of South Dakota, which gives special privileges and provides special protections to the credit industry.

We also acknowledge the work of former Daschle campaigners who know first hand the depraved effects of a campaign based upon malicious personal attack and dishonest representations. It does not take a conspiracy to be revolted by what that campaign did to and portends for South Dakota. And giving working people and consumers rights and democratic dignity is not included in the agendas of that campaign, its supporters, and its defenders.

We are not laughing at the serious efforts to restore basic honesty and fairness in either business or political practices. We commend those efforts by anyone who has the courage and energy to undertake them.
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