by William Skink
Missoula elitist Pete Talbot wants to know why I have remained silent on the idiocy of Greg Strandberg and the delusions of Mark Tokarski. He said this after going on a late night tirade in which he eloquently referred to Standberg as a “stupid fuck” and offered a list of disorders he thinks plagues Tokarski. When I expressed doubt that Pete has the qualifications to diagnose mental health disorders, this was his reply:
Do you read Tokarski’s stuff, Skink? You don’t need a Ph.d to see that he’s delusional.
But let’s take a look at an earlier comment of yours concerning my lack of intervention in a previous flame war: “but I interpret silence as complicity.” Your silence on delusional Tokarski and idiot Strandberg is deafening.
I don’t take this kind of stuff lightly. People suffering from legitimate delusions can be a danger to themselves and others. I know this intimately because I’ve been physically assaulted and had my family threatened by people suffering from delusions. The mentally ill woman who still sends me letters to my home knows my kids names and has threatened to take them after I go to prison for raping her. She also thinks my father is Chuck Norris, so yeah, clearly delusional.
I have people fixated on me because of the work I did at the shelter. During that time I started realizing something about Missoula: image is more important than substance.
Protecting Missoula’s image became very important last year when Jon Krakauer’s book about sexual assault in Missoula hit the shelves. One of Missoula’s cultural elitists, Andy Smetanka, seemed more upset about the impact on Missoula’s image than he was about the traumatizing experiences of women seeking justice for being raped:
Smetanka doesn’t know what’s in the book, but he knows Krakauer has tapped prepositional phrases for other titles. “Into the Wild.” “Into Thin Air.” “Under the Banner of Heaven.”
Why not one for Missoula? (See related interview with Krakauer.)
“I wanted to come up with something that was an artful protest against the name of the book, but it ended up being a little more ambiguous,” Smetanka said.
In fact, the depiction by him and Greg Twigg appears to reflect some community members’ reaction to the rape reports, as well as the later protest against the title.
In the poster, Smetanka blocked out letters in Krakauer’s name so the poster says “Our Missoula” instead of “Jon Krakauer” and “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town.”
Early on, some UM officials and Grizzlies boosters similarly tried to block out news the campus had a rape problem. Former UM vice president Jim Foley, for instance, protested the media’s use of the term “gang rape” to describe a report a UM student made that she’d been assaulted by four UM Grizzlies football players.
Foley since left the university, and current UM president Royce Engstrom fired former football coach Robin Pflugrad and athletic director Jim O’Day.
The poster also reflects the reaction many people had to the book’s title. Why not call it Boulder, where Krakauer is based?
“Missoulians are kind of wonderfully defensive and touchy about our image,” Smetanka said.
One of the University’s biggest mistakes was focusing primarily on mitigating the damage to the image of the University instead of focusing on how to keep students from being raped by collegiate sexual predators. Then the book came out and Missoula was forced to deal with the ugly reality of women’s experiences with sexual assault and the extra trauma stemming from the problems in our criminal justice system. Unlike Smetanka, I don’t think it’s wonderful that people in our community got so defensive and touchy about Missoula’s image.
While Missoula likes to promote itself as a progressive utopia, the rest of the state deals with negative stereotypes, like being gun-toting hicks driving big trucks with Hippie-Hater stickers. Montana also has a reputation for harboring conspiracy wackos, thanks largely to the Unabomber’s choice to reside in Lincoln, Montana. A recent piece of satire from The Onion perpetuates this image. I should also mention that I wouldn’t have even seen this piece if it wasn’t for Pete Talbot using it to ridicule Tokarski. From the link:
LIBBY, MT—Ken Hausch, a Libby-area Luddite separatist and conspiracy theorist, announced Monday that his much-anticipated manifesto, My Lonely Battle Against The Mind-Control Slavery Of The Illuminati And Its Footmen In The CIA, KGB, U.N., Vatican, NASA, IRS, AT&T, Federal Reserve, Disney, The Order Of Skull & Bones, And The Rosicrucians, is “coming along fine” and should be completed by fall of this year.
The workspace of Ken Hausch (inset), who is “really pleased” with how his manifesto is turning out.
“So far, so good,” the unemployed, one-time University of Washington physics graduate student said. “Right now, I’ve got about 14,600 pretty solid pages in the can, with probably fewer than 5,000 to go. Once that’s done, it’ll just be a matter of double-checking the facts, tightening up the writing and making sure the whole thing’s got a nice, cohesive flow.”
Hilarious, right? But I wonder how people in Libby feel about this depiction? Pete seems to know a lot of people around Montana, so maybe he can do some research and write up a post about whether or not this rural Montana town that was poisoned by W.R. Grace and Company appreciates being the butt of this mocking piece of Onion satire.
Now, I’m not a mental health professional, so I won’t speculate on the mental health status of Mark Tokarski, but if he is mentally ill, as Pete Talbot asserts, then making fun of him is pretty low. And perpetuating negative Montana stereotypes by using a rural Montana town that suffered so greatly, as Libby has, is even lower.
But that’s what I’ve come to expect from Democrat partisans who try to punish those who tarnish the image of Montana Democrats with substantive criticism, even if it means NOT promoting posts about local homeless issues. I will never forget this comment from Talbot:
You have a great capacity for alienating potential allies, Skink. I’ve thought about linking to your well-written posts on homelessness and mental illness, even advancing your agenda when I have the opportunity. After all your caustic posts on Don, me and Intelligent Discontent, though, I’m disinclined to do so.
With sentiments like this thrown my direction, I’m becoming increasingly dubious about voting in this election cycle. Instead of constant Zinke/Gianforte attacks, Democrats might want to consider giving us better reasons to vote for them. If their only reason is Republicans are terrible, then I’m staying home on election day.