Menckens Ghost
Wacky, Whiney, Warped Women in Arizona Highways  

TUCSON - No doubt, the percentage of American women who are wacky equals the percentage of American men who are wacky, a percentage that seems to be growing by the day in this age of perpetual grievances, identity politics, virtue-signaling, and causes du jour.  But the focus of this commentary will be on wacky women, and in particular, two women who recently wrote letters to the editor of Arizona Highways magazine.

Known for its award-winning photography, Arizona Highways features sights, attractions and stories about Arizona, with a focus on the outdoors and the state's natural beauty.  The magazine is a place to escape from the humdrum of daily life, the commercialization of every aspect of human existence, and the nastiness, partisanship, tribalism, and depressing stupidity and hypocrisy of Americans, especially college-educated millennials, about politics, history and economics.

Opening Arizona Highways is akin to entering a cathedral or temple for quiet contemplation. 

To continue with this metaphor, the letters to the editor were akin to two women entering a holy place while screaming obscenities, as if possessed by a demon that only they could see.

The letter to the editor from one of the two women was in response to a feature story in the previous edition about people who hiked and climbed in beautiful but remote and dangerous places.  A woman and her boyfriend were two of the people spotlighted in the story.  The woman had taken her boyfriend's lead in a hike, and the couple ended up having to spend an unplanned night outdoors without food.  Here's the letter:   

"I was deeply upset by No Exit Route. Women in the outdoor industry are continually struggling to be taken seriously, and choosing to elevate the voice of a woman who follows her boyfriend so blindly that she doesn't even take a granola bar as she rappels off a cliff isn't exciting, it's upholding stereotypes of women in the outdoor industry. Please consider your platform when choosing stories and voices, as I look forward to hearing about women who do things that reflect bold leadership."

 - Liz Pederson, Cottonwood, AZ

Well, Liz, I'm deeply upset that you were deeply upset over a woman following her boyfriend instead of vice versa, and over the outdoor industry engaging in stereotypes.  Thank goodness you don't engage in stereotypes.  And thank goodness my totally liberated wife of 36 years doesn't think like you.  She takes the lead in activities that she's good at and has an interest in, and she let's me take the lead in activities that I'm good at and have an interest in.  It's called division of labor, specialization, mutual respect, compromise and give and take.

Liz, to take a hypothetical example of such mutuality, if you and I were spouses and I didn't kill myself, I could help you in improving your bad writing and you could help me in learning how to make mountains out of molehills. 

Regarding the so-called outdoor industry, my wife and I shop for outdoor clothes at REI and Summit Hut, both of which have an equal representation of female and male sales clerks and outdoor experts, as well as equal floor space between female and male clothes and shoes.  As such, I don't know what the hell you're talking about.

In any event, Liz, I pray that Arizona Highways doesn't become cowed like other media into trying to appease gender fanatics like you.

* * *

The other letter to the editor by the other woman was in response to an article about a volunteer group that cleans up public lands, picking up litter, trash, appliances, car parts, and other debris increasingly thrown out by an increasing number of Americans who, judging by their behavior, have no civic pride but an abundance of hatred for their country.  Instead of thanking the group, the woman wrote this:

"I've just finished reading They Clean Up Nicely. My question is obvious: Why are the Keep Nature Wild volunteers using plastic bags to collect plastic? I was hoping the article would mention the group's use of biodegradable cellophane bags, but no luck. Can you clarify this for me?"

 - Michelle Myers, Sun City, AZ


Dear Michelle:  I took your letter personally.  You see, my wife and I pick up litter and trash, including drug paraphernalia, on our daily five-mile walks.  We carry used plastic supermarket bags for this purpose, because they fit easily in our pockets when empty, have handles that make them easy to carry when full, don't leak when wet goo is put in them, and can be tied tightly before discarding full ones in dumpsters along our walk so we don't have to lug trash around for miles.

Yes, Michelle, we know that the bags and their contents end up in a landfill, but in our way of thinking, this is better than leaving litter and trash on the side of the road made of materials that can take centuries to decompose and often end up in storm drains and washes, and from there into water supplies (and if along a coast, into the ocean).

Anyway, Michelle, I'm sorry that you disapprove of our community efforts and am sure that your efforts put ours to shame.  I can only hope that you meet Liz some day and go on a long hike with her and maybe even marry her, as both of you deserve each other and could spend the rest of your lives tormenting each other.