Sick and Tired

 

METAPHORS ABOUT ILLNESS, AND THE STATE OF EMOTIONAL POLITICS

Remember a few months ago when I was all excited that I could finally get the flu? Well, the other day I woke up feeling like I got punched in the face by a snot-monster, and it turns out that having an Entertainment Editor doesn’t actually mean getting sick is fun. There’s still work to be done, but I’m exhausted, and my throat hurts too much to boss people around. I don’t even know if I am sick, or if these are just seriously awful allergies.

The difference? Somehow I feel more justified complaining if I’m sick than I do if it’s an allergic reaction. It’s silly, but there’s a sort of heroic victim-status I associate with fighting off an invading virus—like my immune system is the Wolverines from Red Dawn, battling the invading Soviet forces with mucous and cold sweats. Allergies, on the other hand, are just my body overreacting to bad info. It’s more like the people protesting for that cattle rancher in Nevada who refused to pay for permits to keep his herd on federal land, resulting in an armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management employees. Any minute it’s going to come out that my histamine receptors are just self-serving, bigoted blowhards, and I’ll have to distance myself from all my previous sneezing.

Anyway, I’ll stop torturing that metaphor. The point is, I feel like garbage and I’m a big whiner. Also, I’m a little obsessed with the Cliven Bundy saga and I’m looking for a way to bring it up.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the jist: This guy in Nevada comes from several generations of cattle ranchers. His herd is too big for the land he owns, so he, like many other neighboring ranchers, needs to use public land for them to graze. The land is a federally protected wildlife area, and is managed by the BLM to maintain some kind of balance between subsidized commerce and the environment.

The difference between Cliven Bundy and the other ranchers is that for the past 20 years he’s refused to pay for the use-permits to be there, citing some ideological state’s land rights platform that isn’t based in the law. He lost that dispute in court, but managed to rally every anti-government militia member in the region to pull out their guns and threaten the federal employees trying to round up his cattle. He became some kind of conservative folk hero, but once he had a platform to speak he made a bunch of ridiculous statements about how “negroes” were better off as slaves, and now a lot of people are backing away slowly.

The whole thing is clown shoes. People are all fired up about it, willing to go to the verge of revolution over the idea that public land should be free for this guy’s personal profit—resource management be damned right along with personal responsibility. They seem to think he has a right to do whatever he wants because his family has been around for a long time, or maybe it’s just the fact that he’s anti-Fed and it’s tax season. Obviously there’s an element of people looking for any rallying point to express their frustrations with a system they don’t like, but the more I read about it, the more this one seems like an odd choice.

 

Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.