My late friend Jim Selk once wrote a column in Madison Magazine (back when he was editor) calling Madison the “City of the Perpetually Offended.” Probably not a lot of people know it was Jim’s phrase, because so many have used it that it’s long ago moved into the public domain.
Sitting with Jim and his court (local ruffians like columnist Doug Moe and colorful attorneys like Jack McManus and Jeff Scott Olson) at the bar at the old Fess Hotel was often an experience that defies categorization. Somewhere between a séance, an exorcism, and a rave.
Jim would have loved my pal Pat Simms’ story in Saturday’s paper, reporting that the city’s Committee for the Environment wants to look into whether or not the annual bloated 4th of July fireworks/bad music extravaganza at Warner Park might be bad for our health.
Bad, in particular, for the “landing area” where the crap from the exploded fireworks falls to earth. The greenies are worried that the perchloric acid used in the manufacture of the bombshells somehow leeches into the ground, and, well, you can imagine what happens then. Gets into the water, gets into our thyroid glands, and not too much later it’s Goodnight Irene.
Crap from exploded Chinese-made fireworks dangerous? YA THINK???
Some researcher will no doubt find that if you went to a fireworks show every day for nine years and drank 18 ounces of water from the swamp where the remains of the fireworks fall to earth every day for 17 years, you’ll have a .004% higher chance of developing a cancer.
That ought to be sufficient to shut down that barbaric event.
After all, this is a city where the geese that roam Warner Park are more precious than the lives of the people on the airliners that fly into and out of the Dane County Regional Airport.
You gotta love Madison. We have committees and boards and neighborhood associations that spend countless hours protecting us from all possible evils: meat, hotels, smoking, drinking, chickens, construction projects, new business development, you-name-it.
To best understand the mentality, if you’re new to the area, consider the Brat Fest, which actually happens on Willow Island in the Township of Madison, not the city. It’s an annual Memorial Day Weekend celebration of the Wisconsin food pyramid: beer, brats, and cheese. They sell literally tons of brats and raise a pile of cash for charity. Again this year, the event set a new record for gluttony – and charity.
On the Facebook page for the event, the day after it concluded, the organizers asked the question “what can we do to make next year’s Brat Fest even better?”
First response was from a woman, who wrote “healthier food choices.”
That lady fits right into the City of the Perpetually Offended.