Here’s the sixteenth annual FREE WHITEWATER list of the scariest things in Whitewater. (The 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 editions are available for comparison.)
The list runs in reverse order, from mildly scary to truly frightening.
10. The Coming Coyotepocalypse. And look, and look — Whitewater can’t say it hasn’t been warned. When dozens upon dozens find themselves in coyotes’ stomachs, survivors will regret not taking action sooner to save their loved ones. See In Whitewater, People Won’t Feed Coyotes — Coyotes Will Feed on People.
Coyotes have natural predators of their own (cougars, wolves, grizzly bears, and black bears). Someone needs to position a few of these coyote predators at strategic locations in the town. Let’s say we go with a few cougars.
Admittedly, this is a short-term solution. When the cougars eat all the coyotes, they’re gonna go looking for another food supply. Whitewater’s population offers 14,889 choices. (The ideal solution would be to train cougars to eat only some people. I’m not sure, however, that cougars could read the street signs necessary to locate only those on a cat-chow list.) Another round of predators (let’s say, lions) would be needed to manage the cougars. Elephants could manage the lions. After that, well, this plan still needs some work.
At the least, however, there’d be no more coyotes. You’re welcome.
9. Herbicide 2.0. A person of average ability would realize that if dumping herbicide into a drained lake was a bad idea, it’s worse to dump herbicide into a re-filled lake that feeds even more water through the town. See Reporting About Artificial Herbicides in Whitewater, Wisconsin. The moment for mucking up Whitewater’s environment should have, thankfully, passed now that the lakes are re-filled. That there is even the slightest possibly of Herbicide 2.0 suggests lamentable, below-average ability.
Parks & Rec. If Whitewater Rec Department as a pun isn’t clear enough, go ahead and change the name to Whitewater Wrecks Department. Parks & Recreation was a beloved series on NBC (with an 8.6 IMDb rating). If someone made a series about our local parks department, IMDb would have to introduce a negative rating scale.
7. Something Different. Why is something different so hard? It’s not wrong to want to develop the town; it’s foolish to think that economic development without gains in individual and household income is worthy development. Even the Soviets knew how to build big capital projects. They had no dearth of concrete and rebar; they had a dearth in income per capita. Perhaps someone will try something different before the city wastes another generation as a low-income community. See A Candid Admission from the Whitewater CDA.
6. Domination & Submission Rituals. Of course, of course — sometimes people will get angry at public meetings. They’ve a right to express themselves bluntly and critically. Almost all public comment in Whitewater has been legitimate, even when critical. Harsh isn’t wrong — it’s simply harsh. It’s illegitimate, however, to expect groveling in reply to a vulgar Dominance-and-Submission ritual. People are not apes; they should neither beat their chests as apes nor expect others’ submissive apologies as a response to simian behavior. These atavistic rituals are ineffective with those who are cold by nature, but they sometimes elicit unnecessary entreaties from the timid.
Yield not; hold fast.
5. Need. We see the need in others, but we hide from what it means. If officials & residents see the truth right in front of them, then why aren’t they outwardly transformed? Instead, they embrace situationally, for the occasion, later to move back to the mundane. Someone once said that “truly, the spirit is eager, but the flesh is frail.” True then, true now, of us all.
4. Love. If not scary, then at least scarce. I told someone recently that I loved Whitewater, and he asked me what I loved about it. I understood his question, but it missed the mark. Love isn’t about what one enjoys (although there is much to enjoy about Whitewater). Love is hoping for, and acting, to allow others find their enjoyment as they understand enjoyment. That’s love: not what one wants, but doing one’s small part to clear the field of obstacles so that others can find love as they define it. Deeper still: being happy, indeed joyful, that others have found whatever it is that they’ve rightfully sought. Love is directed outward, in many forms of action, without expectation of refraction back. As it happens, directed outward and without expectation are their own incomparable, loving rewards. The consequences of true love, actually.
3. Nostalgia. An aching yearning for a false past robs the present and beggars the future. See The Boosters’ Big Capital but Small Society.
2. Regulatory Capture. Regulatory capture happens in towns small and big: a special interest group comes along and lobbies to manipulate that community’s regulations, ordinances, and projects toward its own private ends. Sometimes they’ll audaciously advocate on their own; others times they’ll use a reliable toady who they’ve already been captured, so to speak, and who always votes the special interest’s way. Walking around while wearing a special interest’s leash is bad policy, and an obvious fashion mistake.
Look at this story from London, only eight years ago:
Absolutely no normal person in England (there probably are at least a few normal people in England) thought well of this guy. No sane mother wished her son would grow up to be this guy; no father hoped his son would one day walk the streets of London like a spaniel. (Best guess: real spaniels encountering this weirdo would say, well, WTF is this?).
Be your own person, blaze your own trail, carry no one’s water, and wear no one’s leash.
1. Populism. Populism exists nationally on both the left and right, but in Whitewater only on the right. There is no Communist-Socialist-Radical-Whatever-Whatever leftwing movement in Whitewater. There are only conservative populists here. These conservative populists “are going to claim that all other contenders for power are fundamentally illegitimate. This is never just a disagreement about policies or even about values, which after all in a democracy is completely normal, ideally maybe even somewhat productive. No, populists always immediately make it personal and they make it entirely moral. This tendency to simply dismiss everybody else from the get-go as corrupt, as not working for the people, that’s always the pattern.” See Defining Populism, The Environment That Populism Creates, and The Environment That Populism Exploits.
They tend toward nativist trolling. These populists need to be handled in a particular way. See Trolls and the Exclamatory, Interrogatory, or Declaratory Response.
Populists falsely claim to represent the majority, and believe that they’ve a right to do whatever they’d like to those not part of their horde. They respect only their own dissent. They’ve no appreciation for individual rights, where individual rights recognize natural differences among people. A free society has no one way, one person, one type, one family. When these populists say that they represent families, they mean their families, their way, their people, their types. They would gleefully toss all the rest into the maw.
They want to fight, and so they have forced a fight on others. And so, and so — they’ll have a fight, but they will not have that conflict on their terms and conditions. No and no again.
As always, best wishes for a Happy Halloween.