Here’s the fourteenth annual FREE WHITEWATER list of the scariest things in Whitewater. (The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions are available for comparison.)
The list runs in reverse order, from mildly scary to truly frightening.
10. Radicals and Rhinoceroses.
So there’s an idea, having bubbled up over the summer, that Whitewater is about to become a radical place, a Haight-Ashbury-on-Cravath, because of some summer protests. Not at all. Whitewater’s a town built against any significant change – even moderate progress. It’s more likely that a wild rhinoceros would run down Main Street and eat someone than that Whitewater would become a radical encampment. (To my knowledge, the only account of a rhinoceros running loose and eating someone appears in the early pages of James and the Giant Peach. Sad, to be sure, but wholly fictional.) See Built Against Substantive Change.
9. Leading from Behind. During this pandemic, city workers are at work, and K-12 students are back at school, but neither the city council nor the school board are meeting in person. Some politicians may have health needs that require attendance via audiovisual conferencing, but that can’t be true of all of them. Where these officials send others, they should be prepared to go. Leading from behind isn’t leading at all.
8. Conservatives Who’ve Come to Love Government. How situationally convenient for a few conservatives to set aside their former skepticism of government and now to insist that public schools – a government program if ever there were one – are just the place to be during a pandemic. One hopes that, in fact, there are no illnesses of any kind in the Whitewater public school system. It’s rich, however, to hear conservatives declare that a government-run institution will not only work well, it will work well in conditions for which it hasn’t even been designed.
7. Ad-Sales Offers Styled as ‘Community Grants.’ Sorry, Janesville Gazette, there isn’t anyone that stupid or that gullible. See That’s Not a ‘Community Grant’ – It’s Half-Off Advertising.
6. Hushing and Shushing. The Whitewater Common Council president would like you to speak quickly and try not to repeat yourself during public comments. See In Whitewater, Three Recent Trespasses Against Public Comment.
5. Toxic Positivity. To borrow a line from Hamilton: Awesome. Wow! See Boosterism’s Cousin, Toxic Positivity.
4. Bad to Worse. We might be stuck with this gerrymandered guy; at least he’ll be out of the Wisconsin Legislature.
3. Maskless. If wearing a mask is too hard for the able-bodied, it’s because they’re too soft-headed. See Individual Responsibility in Conditions of Pandemic.
2. The Empty Chair. Sad more than scary, truly. Whitewater still awaits what she most needs: ‘Whitewater needs her own version of Dorothy Day – someone committed to a lifetime of charitable work on behalf of this community without flinching or favoritism. Someone here, who will hold fast come what may, unyielding, beginning and ending each day in the place of her devoted efforts.’ See Waiting for Whitewater’s Dorothy Day.
1. Trump. What stains the country stains the city. I’m reminded of a cartoon from the Civil War that depicts Benedict Arnold and Jefferson Davis in Hell. I’ll not now speculate on either the theological concept of Hell or Trump’s ultimate fate. As a political matter, however, perhaps a present-day artist will fittingly revise the cartoon to add Trump into the scene.
As always, best wishes for a Happy Halloween.