Friday, April 21, 2006

Sticks regards himself

In the mirror. Sticks is the one on the left. Captain Fishsticks, a/k/a Craig Westover, is at his side-splitting, milk-comes-out-your-nose funniest when he charges off into the underbrush wielding his mighty rhetorical machete and trying to explain the public interest. Sticks' basic rule: if Sticks doesn't want it; it isn't in the public interest.

In a column earlier this week, Sticks starts out his exposition on the boundaries of the public interest by comparing the payment of income taxes to paying a parking ticket:
I wrote a couple of checks last week: One to cover a parking ticket and one to pay my state income tax. If I had ignored either, I'd be writing my column on jailhouse stationery.

It is so thoughtful of Sticks to pick his examples so that all of his slack-jawed readers, the ones sitting on their woodpiles with their coon dogs Bo, waiting for squirrels to shoot for supper, can understand. Our Seafood Friend then infuses his example with meaning. Sticks tells us that he had to pay the parking ticket because he had stolen a parking spot. But in the case of taxes, Sticks was just minding his own business and had to pay taxes anyway! Who's the thief here? implies Sticks.

Of course, Sticks suckles at the public teat from morn to eve, just as the rest of us do. He couldn't get his '81 Chrysler Cordoba out of the driveway in the morning without public services. What's that you say, Sticks? You would build the road in front of your house at public expense? But what if Spot doesn't think it's a good idea? Tough luck, Sticks.

No Sticks is an island, or a lion for that matter.

Captain Fishsticks tells us that the public interest is a slippery concept, and indeed it is. That's why we submit it for determination to the political process. Sticks hates this, because it sometimes - perhaps often - yields public spending that Sticks doesn't like: funding for a ski jump, community centers, zoo exhibits, a volley ball center, and more public transit.

You know, Sticks, not everyone has an '81 Chrysler Cordoba to drive to work and park illegally, and yet, society finds it useful to get them to a job. Moreover, if everyone had an '81 Chrysler Cordoba and tried to drive it to work, you'd never even get a chance to commit that parking infraction, Sticks. You probably wouldn't be able to breathe, anyway.

Sticks, nobody says you can't continue to vote straight-ticket Social Darwinist Hunter Gatherer Party. But when other people don't, don't pout. The frown lines are already pretty deeply etched.

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