The whelps who put BW together have asked me to fill in for Cope again, seeing as how he's madder'n a gunny sack full of tomcats over that April Fools story they ran two weeks ago. I been telling you Cope's an idiot, haven't I? He swallowed it. Hook, line and sinker. Even had a column all ready for print in which he called the people running Boise a bunch of conscience-deprived creeps. Never occurred to him that a report on how the city was selling the oldest cemeteries in town for ritzy condo space just might be a joke. He spent two days trying to get someone from the Mayor's Office to return his calls, which was never going to happen as long as he was shrieking his fool head off into their answering machine. He's lucky his ass didn't get tossed in the county hoosegow. I don't care who you are, you can't threaten people that you're coming over to their house to dig up their dead pets.
When he found out it was all a joke, it got even worse. He calls me up and says, "Bob, I feel like I been sucker slugged right in the gut by those Boise Weekly brats! How could they make a joke about disinterring family members? How could they do that? Haven't they ever lost anyone?"
I says to him, "Cope! Grow the hell up! Who do you think you are, anyway, thinking you can tell people what they can make jokes about and what they can't? And if you'd read the story carefully instead of piddle farting over it like some Internet surfer bum, you'd o' known within a few paragraphs it was a joke. And now you got your indignation all in a wad because they pulled one over on you."
"No, no, that's not it, Bob! They fooled me a little, yeah, and it took a while for me to catch on, but that's not the point. It was disrespectful, what they did. It was disrespectful and tasteless and showed no sensitivity. How do you think those people felt who have loved ones buried in those cemeteries?"
"First of all, maybe not everyone who read it was as gullible as you, dippy. And secondly who are you to talk? How do you suppose all those Sarah Palin fans feel every time you call her a skanky ditz? How do you suppose all those Glenn Beck fans feel every time you call him a snorting sack of rancid lard? How do you suppose all those teabaggers feel every time you call them rumbling scum? If you want respect, Cope, you got to show a bit of it yourself. Haven't you ever learned that?"
He went quiet, then he whispered into the phone all spooky like, "Et tu, Badger?"
Later on, he went down to the BW office and told everyone he couldn't work with such a "irreverent lot of vacuous eloi"--his words, not mine--and threw his Boise Weekly bumper sticker on the floor like he thought it was going to smash or something. If he doesn't get all pissy and stomp out of somewhere at least once a year, his arteries clog up.
But he'll get over it. In the meantime, they asked me to fill his column space. So I thought this would be a good "learning opportunity," as they say in the kindergarten trade, especially since Cope isn't the only one whose boxers ended up in a clump over that cemetery story. BW got dozens of calls and comments and such, saying how cruel, offensive and irresponsible the joke was, and that they'd never, ever pick up the paper again.
So then, citizens of Boise, what did we learn from this tiny tempest in a teapot? Do you suppose anyone learned that they ought not believe every goddamn thing they read?
Don't count on it. The reaction would be funnier than the joke if easily fooled folks weren't getting snagged all the time and over bigger issues than some old graveyards in Idaho. Certain sorts are so convinced the government is out to screw them, they'll believe any thing any lying sonofabitch says on the subject. For instance, how many of you Republican morons swallowed it--hook, line and sinker--when you read some Internet slop about President Barack Obama being a Muslim commy Anti-Christ who wasn't even born in the United States and hates white people so much that he's secretly plotting with all his fellow nazis to destroy America? (Hold on. I can answer that for you. Roughly a third of you Republican morons believe that.)
But back to this cemetery joke. There will continue to be a few hysterics who won't let it go. Outrage hoarders, I call 'em. For a while, they'll continue to contact BW about what a bunch of insensitive jerks the staff is. But eventually, a fresh crop of outrage will pop up somewhere, and they'll go hopping off down a whole new bunny trail.
Yet the fact remains, none of them would have found anything to bitch about had they used both their eyes and their brains when they were reading the story. They soaked up the picky little details, and the absurdity of it all sailed right over their heads, that Boise officials would even consider selling off our most heritage-crammed cemeteries in secret. It's like if I phoned you up and told you there was an alien spaceship from the Seventh Dimension hovering over your hot tub, and it's sort of pretty with all those blinking lights and funny shapes, and ... oh yeah, I almost forgot why I called ... it abducted your kids two hours ago ... and the first thing you do is call the cops and demand they issue an Amber alert. Then you get mad at me when you find out you were fooled.
Tell you what, folks ... you don't have to think it was funny or even proper. But you do have to quit telling everyone else what they shouldn't be laughing at.