If you read Monday's Los Angeles "By God" Times Business section (and why would you?), you might've choked on your French Roast when you came on C3's three-quarter page advert announcing the California Bear is missing from the state flag. The gloomy gray gus informed that the Grizzly "grew tired of special elections and old promises," that it "went into hibernation waiting for progress to alleviate high taxes and high business costs," that "changes were too few and too slow."
Make no mistake, Boo-Boo: this was not your av-er-age bear hungering for a pic-a-nic basket: He/she/it "struggled with California's high workers' comp costs" and "was frightened of skyrocketing property costs" and was "spooked by less reliable energy supplies and costs."
It's enough to make a Grizzly render him/herself extinct. Oh, that's right: California hunters already took care of that.
According to the ad, which also appeared in the Sacramento Bee, the bear was last seen "leaving California . . . to survive and thrive. Report leads or information to: MissingBear.com"
Your Favorite Grizzly Man Wind-Up felt duty bound to travel the great wide world wide web to this site, but what we discovered was actually less illuminating than the print ad. A page popped up with the headline "Breaking News Report" and this announcement:
Officials report today, the bear on California flags is missing. Sources say that the bears grew tired of special elections and old promises. They went into hibernation waiting for progress to alleviate high taxes and high business costs. Changes made were too few and too slow.
Reports say the bears struggled with California's high Workers' Comp costs. They were frightened by skyrocketing property costs and spooked by less reliable energy supplies and costs.
Below it was a cut out of a cow. Click on it and you get a similar "Breaking News Report":
Officials report today, the cows that once covered California's hillsides have vanished. Sources are saying that the cows grew tired of special elections and old promises. They heard it all waiting for progress to alleviate high taxes and high business costs. Changes made were too few and too slow. Reports say the cows struggled with California's high Workers' Comp costs. They were frightened by skyrocketing property costs and spooked by less reliable energy supplies and costs.
But the centerpiece was a video link to a fake news report that would make the writers of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central cringe that anyone might mention them in the same breath. About the only thing clever about the mock Channel 9/KMUV report were the opening graphics that looked like something off the Fox News Channel cutting room floor. This was followed by a fake anchor announcing with alarm that the bear has left the state flag; at least his report was fair and balanced enough to note that environmentalists will tell you grizzlies disappeared 100 years ago. He then throws it to the doe-eyed fake reporter in the field, and concludes with the fake biologist talking head explaining conditions in California did not benefit the image of a bear on a flag.
Oh, in case you're wondering, the bottom of MissingBear.com does feature this disclaimer in small print:
Hey, this missing report isn't really real. You know that . . . right?
Whaaathe . . . it ain't? Mercy. You guys got us! Paint us more fooled than a governor who thinks he has the popularity to force an expensive special election on people who can see right though his silly-ass shit.
We're such maroooons!
By the way, that's it for the site. No links to other pages telling you who is really behind it and what their agenda really is. Guess you'll just have to keep tuning back in, or wait until you catch their next ad the next time you're reading the Los Angeles "By God" Times Business section (and why would you?).
But based on what you can gather from all this, it is very rich with irony. Where to start? Let's start with the California flag: White background. Red star appropriated from the lone star of Texas (?!). Brown grizzly bear lumbering along over red letters spelling out "California Republic." Thick red bar across the bottom. The flag hearkens back to the Bear Flag Revolt.
Mexicans ruled the state in the early 1800s--which is funny when you consider the same folks who want to roll our culture back to the early 1800s also want to kick out the Mexicans. Just as it does now, Mexico didn't pay much mind to its far-flung northern possession (we are possessed by Mexico, right Gilchristians?), and Americans like young Richard Henry Dana (hey, let's name a Point after him!) sailed trading ships that did business with Native Americans along the coast. And then we slaughtered them. And then we resurrected them and gave them casinos.
But enough about them; let's get to the folks who really count (in state textbooks anyway): American settlers (code for "whiteys") in the Sacramento Valley revolted in June of 1846 and raised the "Bear Flag" over Sonoma, establishing the California Republic. That ended the 22-year existence of the Territory of Alta California recognized by the 1824 Constitution of Mexico--which means if some Mexican would just raise a new flag over Sonoma their reconquista of Alta California would be complete. See, those coyotes and Latino Studies departments are so unnecessary!
Interesting historical side note: the original flag with a golden California grizzly was said to have been designed by a nephew of Abraham Lincoln. It's been passed through the Familia de Clockwork that we, too, are related to Lincoln, on our dear mother's side. Of course, it's been passed through every whitey, er, Anglo-American family that they're somehow related to Honest Abe. But we've also apparently got bloodlines to Lady Di, Tug McGraw and Godfrey Cambridge!!!
But enough about us (as fascinating as that subject is); the California Grizzly Bear (Ursus californicus), the largest and most powerful carnivore, thrived in the big valleys (Heath! Jerrod!) and low mountains of the state. When humans began gettin' it on, makin' ever more humans, the grizzly stood its ground, refusing to retreat in the face of our cancer-like sprawl. So we tracked down and killed every last one of 'em. By 1922, the grizzlies were extinct. Nostalgic, perhaps, we made 'em the official state animal in 1953 (barely nudging out the Puggle). They call that progress on the Los Angeles "By God" Times Business page, baby!
So, to recapt: according to that California un-business-friendly ad, people who snuck into the state and took root (is it not still illegal just because the government at the time is not paying attention? And which government are we referring to again?) raised a flag emblazoned with the symbol of a great animal that would take no shit from anyone--until those same settlers and their spawn killed off every last one of those great bears in the name of progress. And now that dead symbol has gone missing. Shit, if it had a lawyer, it'd be suing our butts for keeping it on the flag!
The ironicals don't end their, my friendlies. If you go here you'll discover the following:
The Bear Pride Flag is a symbol used by some "bears," gay men marked by an abundance of hair on their face, chest, and body. Bears also tend to be older, and perhaps larger or chubby. There does not seem to be one single symbol that represents bears in general. Rather, there are many symbols that have been adopted by local clubs, bars, and other bear groups.
Hell, maybe your Favorite Fabulous Limp Wristwatch has got it all wrong: perhaps those are big hairy gay men scaling the hills to the east to escape this state's high workers' comp costs, dwindling energy supplies and knuckleheads constantly mistaking them for Bruce Vilanch.
Apparently, the Bear Pride Flag League is not to be confused with the Bear Flag League, which is a consortium of conservative bloggers--current or driven-over-the-east-hills-former residents of the Golden State, whose web ring helps them cope with "living awash in a sea of Liberals." As to be expected, MissingBear.com is a big hit with some of these Righties, as evidenced by Free Republic chatters. One astute responder, who perhaps read Paul Brennan's October 2003 Weekly cover story The Last Bear (and why would you?) wrote to counter someone who claimed the bear on the flag, missing or not, is a brown bear, not a grizzly:
The bear on the California State flag is a grizzly. And is now extinct within the state. The last grizzly in Orange County, where I grew up, was killed in the 1920s. Shot somewhere around Saddleback mountain in the Cleveland National Forest.
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But for balance, we should also mention that someone else claims a worker for William Randolph Hearst killed the last grizzly up north. Another spotted a bear on Wall Street. (Cue rim shot!) Donald Rumsfeld fan adds, "Good riddance, I say!" That's actually a recurring theme with the conservatives. One explains that's why pilots in Alaska carry rifles that are literally "loaded for bear."
This Right's War on Yogi may also explain why the host of the aforementioned Colbert Report is constantly including bears--"godless killing machines without a soul"--in his "Threat-Down" segments. After all, Colbert is just barely mocking the O'Reillys and Limbaughs of the world. And don't forget: it's the Red Chinese and New York Jew Media that's sooooo infatuated with pandas.
Uh-oh . . . this just in (and not from Channel 9/KMUV): California Insider reports that MissingBear.com is NOT an offshoot of the Bear Pride Flag League, Bear Flag League, Free Republic, Steven Colbert or even Bruce Vilanch; it's registered to a Reno public relations firm that has done campaigns trying to lure businesses to relocate in Nevada . . . where the missing bear will be there waiting for you.
Fuck him; he deserved to die!