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Villanous animals a nice break in the news cycle - Albia Newspapers: Opinion

Villanous animals a nice break in the news cycle

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Posted: Friday, July 14, 2017 9:55 am

“IF IT BLEEDS, it leads” is an unfortunate bit of journalism. The editorial theory is that news readers (or television viewers) have an insatiable urge to read bad news, like murders, riots, earthquakes and all sorts of attacks. The corollary is, that “good news” is humdrum, commonplace, and bores readers and viewers.

Consider how many headlines you’ve seen recently that include words like storm damage, riots, forest fires, looting and arson. The usual perpetrators are the likes of ISIS, Iran, anarchists and Russia.

But sometimes, even hardened editors and reporters get tired of the same old, same old cast of characters and evildoers. Recently, I have read a group of stories about a whole new group of baddies. To wit:

New journalistic villains include sharks and alligators.

A group of sharks invaded a nude beach in Florida (“nude” is another eye-catching headline word). A lifeguard attempted to warn swimmers and chase the sharks away, which just enraged them. Bottom line: the sharks were banished; the only casualty was one swimmer, who went to a hospital with shark bites on both legs.

Alligators apparently roam freely in some parts of Florida, including the Disney parks and golf courses. Recently, a hot air balloon made an emergency landing in an alligator-infested pond. All passengers escaped safely, but it was a near thing. Gators have been attacking humans, but wildlife experts explain some tourists have been tossing food to them. When food treats are not forthcoming, the animals turn surly and attack. Do not feed alligators.

A family of North Carolina campers was awakened one night by a sheriff’s deputy. They found that a bear had somehow let himself into the family’s SUV, but had inadvertently locked himself in. The family found that the bear was vigorously totaling the van’s interior, trying to escape. It could have been worse; the family might have been staying in a camper or tent, which is hardly bear-proof.

Back in Florida, residents of a neighborhood are plagued by a gang of vicious monkeys roaming freely. Monkeys are not indigenous to any place in this country, let alone a gang of them. Truth be told, I would not be happy to have even one vicious monkey roaming freely here on The Hilltop lawn.

Neighbor cattle sometimes break free and come visiting The Hilltop. That’s fine; we just notify their mommy or daddy, who comes and shoos them home. Not so benign, three lions recently escaped from a South African zoo. That’s not fine; a visiting mountain lion a few years ago is as wild as we choose to get.

And I haven’t even dealt with the beaver that trashed a gift shop, apparently because it sold plastic fake Christmas trees. Not to the beaver’s taste.

These animal stories fit into editors’ “If it bleeds, it leads” category. It probably was a welcome change of pace for the worker bees in the Mainstream Media. Nice for their readers and viewers, too. I may even be ready to go back again to ISIS, anarchists, jihadis and other terrorism. Or maybe not.

GRINNELL COLLEGE is the school The Mister and I both attended, and where we met each other. Its reputation back then was as a top notch private, liberal arts college, not particularly political beyond the Poli Sci department. That was so “last century” - today’s Grinnell has a reputation as more than slightly Leftish, maybe even Progressive. Students and faculty demonstrate and protest.

We’re both GOP, in different degrees on different issues. Because of that, I was heartened to see a letter from a recent graduate in the college alumni magazine. I feel that maybe Grinnell still has a few covert conservatives, after all:

“Three years at Grinnell and I finally learned that Iowa nice is when you’re really polite but you still vote for/endorse Chuck Grassley.”

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