Northern Valley Beacon

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Thursday, August 03, 2006


South Dakota Politics implicated in death of southern belle

By Roland Walter

I started to write an in-your-face snarky post entitled Shorter Ken Blanchard. Then my opening line was going to be: “Mel Gibson is a bigot but I still like some of his movies and Roland Walter is full of crap because Chad Shulte did lie.” That was Ken’s basic response to my previous post on this site, but just to be clear, I am not quoting him directly. I included the quotation marks to indicate I was writing kind of a mocking parody of what he really said—that being the snarky part. And so you know, I’m offering all these explanations of my true intent in case Ken reads this, as I wouldn’t want to be accused of deliberately misquoting him (lying) as happened when Chad employed what was likely a similar rhetorical technique.

Anyway, I had started this post when I got a message from my gracious host on this site, David Newquist, saying he had just received a message in the comments section. It was from a Blanche Dubois, Baton Rouge, La., and formerly of New Orleans. She was in her nineties, lived in a nursing home, loved to read blogs and had been displaced by last summer’s flooding. She wrote as follows:

My dearest Dr. Blanchard,

I do so enjoy reading your wonderful prose at South Dakota Politics. You and Jon Schaff always calling each other professor—you’re so courteous and your employer must be so proud to be associated with all the things you have to say. Oh yes, and it’s so nice the way you have so many friends that write with you and you all stick up for each other. I myself have to depend on the kindness of strangers.

Anyway, I read the piece you wrote about that handsome Mel Gibson being a bigot or something. Then I read that part where you said you still think that sweet boy Chad Shulte lies even though somebody named Roland Walter thinks he doesn’t and I just had to write to you. But then I couldn’t find anywhere on your blog to leave a message (you really should get that fixed) so I ended up at this Beacon place because of a link in your story. I do so hope you get to read this.

It’s so wonderful that you took time to respond to the silly ramblings of that Roland person. Roland sounds like a French name doesn’t it? I wonder if he’s handsome; I bet he is.

Oh, but I do digress. I’m writing because I was trying to understand why you left out the part where Roland tried to explain why poor Chad might not have been lying, you know, how putting the word shorter in the title was supposed to explain how his next words weren’t a real quote. I mean you being a professor and all, I thought you would want to explain all the details so we would all know the truth about what that dear boy meant or if you weren’t really sure, you would just give him the benefit of the doubt.”

“Wait a minute! Oh my! Oh my, oh my, oh my! I just had this horrible thought that you might have done that on purpose. Maybe you attacked poor Chad about lying to discredit him so people won’t pay attention to what he really says. Maybe you left out part of what Roland said so you could say he was wrong even if maybe he wasn’t. I think maybe you tried to play us all for fools. Oh please, please say it isn’t so! I’m so upset; my heart is racing. It’s all just so awf…

And that was the end of her message (ellipsis mine) except for a random bunch of letters and then hhhhhhhhhh for about twenty lines. I became concerned and started making calls to Baton Rouge nursing homes. My worst fears were soon confirmed. I found the home where she had lived. Poor Blanche had been typing merrily at a computer in a commons area. Suddenly those around her noticed she was becoming quite agitated and then she fell face first into her keyboard, which, of course, would explain the random letters and h’s. She was dead, cut down in the prime of life after truly understanding the forms of argument so often employed at SDP.

So be warned, reading the posts at SDP can be hazardous to your health. Worse yet, it could kill you.

Disclaimer: Dave received no such comment. Blanche Dubois existed only as a fictional character and thus could not have said the things attributed to her. While certain things she was quoted as saying may be true, reading SDP has never killed anyone—at least to my knowledge. However, I have personally experienced eyestrain and indigestion while reading
certain posts.

And a note from Newquist: The NVB has had a long-held policy not to engage in exchanges with other blogs. However, its gate-keeper is an old editor and professor who has toiled far into too many nights over dull, clumsy prose that some poor soul obviously thought was brilliant. Then on those dank and dreary nights, some genuine wit and talent would flash across the verbal firmament. Those writers always got published or received A's out of totally selfish reasons. They rescued one who toiled in the dreariness from despair. And so, I post this effort from Walt.

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