Heck Of A Guy Award For Snarky Community Activist Video: Welcome To Cary IL – It's The Pits

The Most Enjoyable Opportunity You’ll Have Today To Do Something Good


While it’s painful to admit, I’m unable to camouflage the fact that this post falls into the do-good and community-oriented classifications.

One may note that the Heck of a Guy Blog list of categories has no titles even approximating such matters. Historically, grass-roots issues would likely have been (mistakenly, it turns out) included in discussions of pros and cons of stems and seeds.

Nonetheless, sacrifices must, on occasion, be made.

And there is the compensation of that snarky video.

The Community Crisis

It seems that Meyer Material, a Zurich-based1 corporation, has a yen to install a gravel pit2 in Cary, Illinois,3 a town only a few miles from Heck of a House.4

Oddly, the residents of Cary, particularly those with homes near the company-picked site – an area zoned for residential use only – are not unanimously in favor of the proposal. Some, in fact, are perversely opposed to a mine operating across the street.

The Campaign Against The Quarry

The anti-pits folks have set up a web site, Stop The Quarry In Cary with posts about progress in the campaign and issues such as EPA Violations by the Owners of Meyer Material Co., as well as links to:

  • A petition against the zoning change
  • A contact list with the names and numbers of village officials and local media
  • A fact sheet about the pit
  • A paper on the effects of dust on health from the Alaska Dept. of Environment Conservation.

They have also produced two brief, effective videos in their campaign against the Meyer Material proposal.

The Documentary
The first, a mini-documentary that can be found at Cary, Illinois: A Gravel Pit Community? is nicely done and clearly lays out the problem, describes the areas that would be affected and the problems the quarry would cause, discusses how to protest against the proposal, etc., with a minimum of histrionics. Viewers living in the affected geopolitical area, those interested in the environment, those interested in grass roots movements, and those who wish to educate themselves to a potential environmental threat will find this video genuinely useful and enlightening.

The Welcome To Cary Video
I am, of course, more taken with the second production, Welcome To Cary.

First, imagine a local booster group, such as a city’s tourism department or a Chamber of Commerce, putting out a promotional film linking their burg to a symbolically significant resource – such as an agricultural product,5 the arts,6 or geography.7

Now, imagine that resource, the heart of soul of the town, to be – Gravel Pits. Once that is established, everything about Welcome To Cary falls into place. Highlights include

♦ Opening scenes of Cary’s downtown, schools, parks, homes, …

♦ … that lead into parallel scenes of Cary’s premiere resource: the gravel pits:

♦ A proud resident declaring We moved to Cary because it was the best place to raise our kids. It has a small town atmosphere and great schools..but, most of all, it has gravel pits.

♦ A little girl happily waving her arms and legs, explaining I just love making dust angels

The punchline is the conventional slogan/sound bite at the end of such videos, always intoned in a serious but optimistic voice. Typically, this is along the lines of “Xville – Where we grow rutabaga – and families” or “Heck Village – A Heck of A Village.” The finale of Welcome To Cary, uttered between coughing fits, begins with

Cary – A small, dusty, loud community in suburban Chicago.
A Main Street Gravel Pit USA Community

… followed by the same voice reading in the auditory equivalent of fine print. Cary is owned and operated by Meyer Material Company, which is owned and operated by Aggregate Industries, which is owned and operated by Holcim, Ltd.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

[Click to hear closing slogan and disclaimer of Welcome To Cary]

You Can Help – Watch The Welcome To Cary Video

The best hope the anti-quarry group has in stopping what many are calling “a done deal,” is publicity. The Village Board and the corporate sponsors of the quarry proposal are most vulnerable to exposure. One assumes that the Cary Village Board members would prefer some legacy other than “The Board That Made Cary A Quarry.” As of 22 July 2007, however, this video had been viewed less than 500 times.8

So, watch the video – it’s humorous, sarcastic, satirical, and – yes – snarky. Viewers can also visit the web site at Stop The Quarry In Cary, learn about the dangers of particulate matter in the air, buy a T-shirt to support the cause, … if nothing else, at least write a post in your blog.

But do watch the video.

Credit Due Department: I first read about the Cary gravel pit issue and the videos about it at Cal Skinner’s McHenry County Blog, where both videos and, especially, the political issues are covered in detail.

  1. That would be Zurich, Switzerland, not Zurich, Illinois []
  2. The gravel pit pictured at the top of this post is only a generic model; the folks in Cary cannot count on their new pit being this cool. []
  3. Actually, Meyer Material wants to install another gravel pit. They have one nearly adjacent to the proposed site – economies of scale, doncha’ know. []
  4. As far as I can determine, the proposed mining operation would have no direct effect on me. My involvement is primarily precipitated by the notion that since I use local foibles as material for comedy and ridicule, I suppose I have some moral obligation to speak up when an actual problem arises. Fair is fair, after all. []
  5. E.g., Peonies – Sarcoxie, Missouri, the entire state of Minnesota, Van Wert, Ohio; Kumquats – St. Joseph, Florida and several other Florida municipalities; milo, AKA grain sorghum, – Beattie, Kansas []
  6. E.g., “Kentucky’s Country Music Capital” – Renfro Valley, Kentucky []
  7. E.g., “Mile-High City” – Denver, Colorado; “Half Mile High City” – Quinter, Kansas; “Geographic Center of Connecticut” – Berlin, Connecticut []
  8. By way of comparison, something called Elevator – Music has been viewed more than a million times. Heck, a sequence I put online about Unboxing Mom’s Gift Of Meat as a joke about the Unboxing videos has been seen more than a 130 times, and it sucks. []

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