Katy Burns: The return of silly season

Monitor columnist
Published: 6/13/2021 10:00:12 AM

For years, late spring has been known as the silly season – a time when serious people take to the beach, the mountains or some other place to frolic the hours away – and frivolous news stories seem to dominate. Lighthearted features abound, and we all cheer up, at least for a few days.

In some cultures, the silly season is known as “the cucumber time,” but in my opinion, cucumbers are serious business and not to be mocked. It also doesn’t make sense. So, “silly season” it is, at least when I’m writing the column, which of course I am.

A great example of a silly season sensation occurred some years back when “Moose falls in love with cow” was a popular headline around New England, illustrated with a photo of the love-struck animal hanging around a Vermont farm and making googly eyes at his bovine paramour, Jessica, over a pasture fence.

The moose hung around for months, and you can still find pictures of the never-would-be couple on the ever-useful Internet.

This year, thanks perhaps to the prolonged strain of the pandemic, silly season seems to be starting early,  to the joy of a lot of us.

And what is sure to be one of the sillier moments of this premature season arose last week, showing that even the most horrific event (the coronavirus pandemic and its trail of misery) can have its hilarious moments. The site was Ohio’s state capitol, the occasion a legislative hearing on vaccination mandates.

Testifying was one Dr. Sherri Tenpenny. Dr. Tenpenny is not a fan of vaccines, especially the one designed to protect us from the nasty coronavirus sweeping the globe, and she happily shared her medical theory.

“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized. They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think that there’s a metal piece to that,” she said soberly.

“There’s been people who have long suspected that there’s been some sort of an interface, ‘yet to be defined’ interface, between what’s being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers.”

Yes! We’ve all seen them on TV, millions of freshly vaccinated Americans proudly sporting forks and spoons on their heads while walking around communing with cellphone towers. In fact, many of us apparently are those people.

I can only assume those in the hearing room sat is stunned silence. But people across the country – especially the comedians among them – burst into laughter. We had finally found something to laugh about: diabolical magnetism. Thanks, Dr. Tenpenny!

And before you insist Tenpenny had to have been a comic herself, Google assures us that yes, she is a real medical doctor, licensed in Ohio and a graduate of Kirkwood, Missouri’s (now) famous A T Still University, whose motto is “first in whole person healthcare.” Um, if you say so.

All of this is hilarious, and a welcome respite from the sadness that has shrouded so much of life in the past 16 months or so. But much as many in what I like to think of as the sane community might want to dismiss the woman, I suspect Sherri Tenpenny’s alt-reality may well be disconcertingly real to more people than we want to think.

She’s been spouting similar nonsense for years – decades, for all I know. She manages to earn a living while shuttling around the country and even the world peddling this and similar lunacy. Someone – many someones? – must believe her. Scary stuff!

And, as I finish writing this on Wednesday evening, I see a short report from the political front that Louie Gohmert, a Texas congressman, has just asked whether either someone at the U.S. Forest Service or federal Bureau of Land Management could alter the orbits of the moon or the earth or both to fight climate change.

Such actions, he said, “obviously would have profound effects on our climate.” Duh.

As a member of Congress, Gohmert is one of the most powerful politicians in America. Elected and re-elected, he brags that he’s “not the dumbest guy in Congress.” He may be right. And there are likely many, many Sherri Tenpennys and Louie Gohmerts out there.

We are doomed.

(Monitor columnist Katy Burns lives in Bow.)




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