Monday, June 7, 2010

Madison Must Ban All Fireworks!

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.


  1. Life in Madison before the left-leaning baby boomers came into power was much less repressive than it is now. Much more fun, too.

    They are the new Puritans.
    Do they know it?
    Do they care?


  2. If the residue from the Warner Park fireworks were that hazardous, we wouldn't have such a goose infestation problem.

  3. I've been out of town for a couple of decades, so I'm a bit uncertain about what constitutes the halcyon days of more desirable political proclivities. Could Anon#1 be pining for the pre-Soglinian era characterized by the reign of Lester Maddox's pal, Mayor William Dyke? Nah, probably before that.

    Maybe our musing commenter harkens back to the golden days eclipsed when Fighting Bob LaFollette roiled the political waters.

    That might then indicate the reference is to Madison founder Judge James D. Doty, who bribed lawmakers with buffalo robes as he seduced them into buying his 1,000 acres of swampland - a bog that eventually became the sprawling city of Madison and the state's capital and came to be known as 78 square miles surrounded by reality.

  4. Apropos of this discussion of denizens of TCOTPO, Mark Steyn in his recent best-seller, "America Alone", stresses that one of the problems that the nations comprising the European Union are having (besides drastically declining birth rates) is an emphasis on "secondary impulses and priorities" over "primary" ones.

    He gives copious examples, of course: "state pensions, protected jobs, six weeks of paid vacation, lavish unemployment benefits if the thirty-five-hour work week sounds too grueling...". One of Steyn's best lines is a variation on Gerald Ford's "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have". While that's true, there's an intermediate stage, according to Steyn: "A government big enough to give you everything you want isn't big enough to get you to give any of it back." (Witness the unrest in Greece and Spain over the proposed austerity programs.)

    TCOTPO is a leading exemplar of the movement to be just like the Europeans, I'd say. The fervent belief that government is the pinnacle of human striving towards perfection; the conviction that government is the ideal vehicle to provide smooth transportation to the paramount destination of societal nirvana; the ultimate umbrella covering all of our human weaknesses with a fabric of loving governmental protectiveness ... you'd better stop me as I could go on all day like this ... the consummate conflation in the form of government of benign nurturing and gentle yet firm guidance to ensure the satori of our blissfully beneficent existence ...

    Now, doesn't that sound good? Why get all fussed over "healthier food choices" or safer fireworks displays. Believe me when I tell you that it's all for your own good and the good of all TCOTPO-ians/ites/persons.

    Shhhh...there, there. Just pay your taxes and we'll take care of the rest. Don't you worry 'bout a thing...

    The Town Crank