Shad planking - OBE

Greetings, loyal minions. Your Maximum Leader had this post in his draft folder and didn’t finish it when he wanted to. Last Wednesday was a big day in politics. It was tax day. It was also the day that many Tea Party protests were occuring across our great republic.

If you are a Virginian the annual Wakefield Shad Planking. Took place last Wednesday.

Sadly… Your Maximum Leader had a longish post lamenting the passing of this great political institution. Well… It hasn’t really passed - it just has become more… base.

You see down in Wakefield they put these bony, oily shad on cedar planks and smoke them over open flames. This gives people an excuse to eat smoked fish, drink beer and talk politics.

In the glorious olden days of the old Byrd “machine” in Virginia it would be at the Shad Planking in the year that Virginians elect their Governor (odd numbered years after a presidential election) when old Harry Byrd Sr. would walk around and “introduce” his good friend “Mr So-and-so.” Old Harry would mention as an aside that “Mr. So-and-so” was a “good man” and had Harry’s “full support” as he is my “very good friend and collegue.” This was the secret code going out that meant that the man going around with Harry Byrd was the very man Harry wanted to be elected Governor in the fall. Since everyone who was anyone went to the shad planking this was where the “machine” got its marching orders for the fall.

Well… That was the way it was until the early 60s at any rate.

Now the political side of the shad planking is seeing how many volunteers you can get out at the ass-crack of dawn to fill open feilds along the road to the shad planking with poster and banners and signs exhorting you to vote for someone. What used to be a drive into the woods in the glory of (mostly) unspoilt nature is now a road festooned with vulgar displays of repetative signage that numbs one’s optic receptors to the point where you would just as soon pull and Oedipus Rex as look on another political sign. The candidate speeches are, as one would expect, sound-bite laden and trite. All in all people are just going through the motions.

On the upside however… There is a lot of beer and smoked shad…

(NB: The “OBE” in the title of this post stands for “overtaken by events” and not “Order of the British Empire.”)

Carry on.

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