What's Tony Thinking

Fast Takes: Crying Wolf, Sheep and Snow


You know the story about the boy who cried “wolf”? He cried “wolf” so often that when the wolf actually came no one took the warning seriously. Could something similar happen with cries of “sexism” or “racism”?

Maureen Dowd thinks so. In her weekend column in the NYT she addresses the charge that the blood-scam billionaire, Elizabeth Holmes, is a victim of sexism. Dowd didn’t stop there. She went on to call out progressive leader AOC’s hobnobbing with the elite of the elite while deflecting charges of hypocrisy as sexist and racist. Whatever you think of Holmes or AOC, Dowd has an important point to make:

“Sexism exists. But we shouldn’t reorient our society so that people can simply wrap themselves in an identity cloak when identity is not the issue. Virtue should not be defined by who you are [meaning your racial, gender, sexual identity], putting you beyond reproach and preventing judgments about what you did. That would leave whole sectors of society exempt from moral evaluation. ” (italics added). One might wonder if the horses are already out of the barn on this one. Still, that doesn’t negate Dowd’s point.

Dowd also cited Pramila Jayapal, progressive member of Congress from Seattle. Jayapal was the subject of a BuzzFeed News investigation in which former staffers described “a serious disconnect between how she talks about workers’ rights and how she treats her own staff.”

From wolves, let’s turn to sheep . . . and goats. There was a nice weekend story about deploying goats to gobble up flammable forest understory build-up to reduce wildfire danger in California. Here in Wallowa County sheep once accomplished the same thing in Hell’s Canyon and parts of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Large herds kept the undergrowth in check in areas too steep for anything else. Until the area was designated, “The Hell’s Canyon National Recreation Area.” No more sheep ranches. No more sheep. A way of life disappeared. Local writer Pamela Royes tells that story in her wonderful memoir Temperance Creek. 

The elimination of sheep grazing would be an instance of unintended consequences of good intentions, though locals might say “government overreach.” Still, that underbrush was beautiful in fall colors on a hike this week. Here’s a photo.

And snow. We got our first snow on the mountains yesterday here in Wallowa County. Without snow the mountains look a little naked. So it was nice to see. But just so you know life here isn’t without its challenges. I am battling, unsuccessfully so far, a wily packrat.

A couple weeks ago we noticed socks disappearing from shoes and boots left on the patio. And Lilly of the Valley plants were being cut down in a perplexing way . . . stalks chewed off, leaves left. Not the way deer do it. So, last evening before I built a fire in the stove, I went out to set traps for the wily pack rat. Felt very Little House on the Prairie.  But where “Pa” would have bagged the packrat, I struck out. We will keep trying. In the meantime, we no longer leave socks, or much of anything else, outside.




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