It was around dinner time on a Sunday a few weeks ago that I realized the enormity and absurdity of the rumor mill. That night, I got a text message from a friend that read: "What's this shit about China buying Idaho?" The dots didn't immediately connect, and my response was: "What kind of crazy are you talking?" The answer: "Project 60. Check it out." Ah, the kind of crazy was of the Glenn Beck/Bircher variety. Awesome.
But it didn't stop there. Over the course of the next few weeks, Boise Weekly received news tips and letters to the editor regarding the imminent Chinese invasion of Idaho. Despite the best efforts of local news outlets to report the facts of the story, the uber-right pundits and blogosphere seem to be winning the publicity campaign. It was back in January that Glenn Beck said, "I guess we're building an airport in Idaho, they"--as in the Chinese--"want to build an airport in Idaho? Government-run, government-owned, Chinese airport."
Six months later, the story just keeps coming.
Both Kevin Richert and Rocky Barker at the Idaho Statesman published pieces asserting the facts, which, so far, the conspiracy theorists have been very committed to overlooking. This week's main feature in BW is the alternative take on the idea that the Chinese are coming to get us.
Yes, mates, we are most definitely taking the piss out of those who perpetuate the untruths, and it's no coincidence that Red Potatoes is a comic with a plotline so ridiculous it could hardly be believed. I'm sure the subtlety is not lost on BW readers, but I anticipate it will be lost on the many readers who will lampoon us for responding to a serious threat with childish antics.
Extra-special thanks and recognition for this story go to Boise Weekly's super-awesome-amazing-and-talented Graphic Designer Adam Rosenlund, who took on the task of illustrating, pacing and writing Red Potatoes with just a few days to put it together. He went above and beyond last week to get it done.