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Jack Zaleski, Published August 04 2012

Zaleski: It’s the heat, the humidity, the moon

The moon was fully full Thursday night – beautiful, mysterious – bright with the light that seems to turn on lunatics among my readers. Combined with summer’s heat and humidity, I’m not surprised so many were moonstruck-driven to their telephones and emails.

A caller from rural North Dakota said: “You know that drone story you guys had, you know about the farmer up there at Lakota?”

Yes, I said, it was on Page One.

“Yup,” he said, “that’s the one. Not very good, you know. You know it’s politics, don’t you? You missed that, you know, in that story.”

Politics? I asked.

“Damn right. Obama. That’s who it is,” he said.

The president? I don’t understand, I said.

“ ’Course you don’t, you media people,” he said. “But it’s kinda curious, ain’t it, that there wasn’t no drones when Bush was president? What about that?”

Uh, well, I don’t know …, I said.

“They’re sendin’ ’em over and zapping Republicans, don’t you know.”

Come again, I said.

“They got them fancy computer files, don’t you know, and GPS and lasers and all, and they can tell where Republicans live and where them damn Democrats live, and they zap the Republicans from them drones and it messes up their brains so they don’t vote Republican no more.”

Really, I said. How does that work? Zap their brains?

“Yup,” he said. “Got my neighbors – used to be good Republicans, now they ain’t, and one a them drones was nearby… so …”

So the drone made them Democrats? I asked.

“Yup,” he said. “No other way of figurin’ it. But you people in the newspaper and TV don’t do nothin’. No good reporting, nothin’.”

Well, I said, maybe we’ve been zapped by drones.

He hung up.

A Fargo reader was upset about the change in the Forum’s same-sex wedding announcement policy.

“What in hell is wrong with you people?!” he screamed. Really – literally screamed through the phone.

“You’re all going to hell, and soon,” he said.

Calmly, I referred him to Editor Matthew Von Pinnon’s column of Sunday, July 29, in which he reviewed the history of our policy and its evolution to change.

“Makes no sense to me,” the caller said. “Just politically correct crap. You all must be a bunch a perverts! Lot a crap!”

Still calm, I tried to walk him through the logic of a newspaper’s role as an honest reflector of the community it serves, noting that same-sex commitment is part of that picture.

“Crap!” he said. “Same-sex baloney! How about this? I’ve got a good ol’ horse on my place, and I really love him. So if I marry the old nag, will you report it? Do I get one of your sick wedding announcements, me and my horse? Picture and all? Bet not, right? That’s what it’s coming to in this country because of jerks like you … and your golldamn newspaper …”

You know, I said, it might be an interesting story. I can see the headline: “Horse’s ass marries horse.”

He hung up.

Have a good week.


Contact Editorial Page Editor Jack Zaleski at (701) 241-5521.