Remember those wacky folks from nearby Cary, Illinois featured a month ago in The Heck Of A Guy Award For Snarky Community Activist Video: “Welcome To Cary, Illinois – It’s The Pits” – the ones who were inexplicably opposed to the installation, by Meyer Material, a corporation based in not-quite-so-nearby Zürich, Switzerland, of a gravel pit within an area of Cary currently zoned for residential use only?
In July, to publicize the potential dangers and general havoc this industrial expansion might bring to their bucolic community, these rabble-rousers produced a classy, satiric video in the style of a small town promotional film, replete with the boosterism, drumbeating, and self-congratulatory elements characteristic of the genre, based on the premise that not only is the quarry successfully operating in Cary, but, indeed, it has become Cary’s most attractive asset and, consequently, the focus of their cinematic PR effort.1
Cal Skinner at McHenry County Blog alerted me that those same troublemakers have now put together a new production.2 Switching from the silver screen to code-embedded platforms in cyberspace, those querulous, quarrelsome quarry-questioning quintessentially quixotic quidnuncs have set up a web site at CaryIllinois.org that spotlights the same gravel-pitophilic Cary, Illinois doppelganger that was the subject of their “Welcome To Cary” video.3
And, like the video, the web site for Cary, Where a gravel pit is not an eyesore … But a sight for sore eyes, is smart, witty, and well done.
The home page, for example, furnishes a form on which mining companies interested in doing business in Cary can indicate which natural resources they hope to harvest from a list that includes but is not limited to “bauxite,” “amber,” “worms,” “anything,” “pretty rocks,” “iron ore,” and “fossilized dung,” yet somehow omits “Jimmy Hoffa,” “shoeboxes filled with cash,” and “the Illinois Governor’s Office self-perpetuating slush fund,” how large a “yearly donation to the Village” they will offer for that privilege, and, best of all, which of the following, in addition to the cash, they are willing to “donate to Cary:”
- A very big hole
- A murky lake
- Pollution, dust and noise
A page headed “The Mayor’s Welcome” includes that Village officer’s ostensible boast, “I have gravel and dirt in my blood.”
Another section is devoted to the story of the municipality’s Pit Czar, a man who realized that once he became Chairman of the Village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, “He could effectively bring his dream of a gravel pit Cary to life.”
And, in the menu of city services is the “Dust Mask Program,” which provides village citizens a reliable and affordable supply of dust masks (available in several colors and in children’s sizes).
There is, of course, much, much more.
Civil Disobedience Is No Excuse For Being Uncivil
Perhaps the most unexpected section of CaryIllinois.org is the “Disclaimer,” which appears linked to every other web page on the site. While the developers of this web site clearly hope to put the quietus on the quarry, they are invariably, indefatigably polite in the effort, using this Disclaimer to answer anticipated questions about their purchase of the domain, the legality of their parody,4 and what they hope to gain from publishing the site. They even – and I don’t know if I can go along with them on this – point out
CaryIllinois.org is a virtual community worth checking out. Remember,
- That video can still be viewed at the referenced Heck of a Guy post via this link, Snarky Community Activist Video: “Welcome To Cary” [↩]
- McHenry County Blog has extensively covered both the anti-quarry publicity campaign media and the underlying political conflicts of the Cary quarry proposal. [↩]
- The wonderfully retro graphic on the billboard that precedes this paragraph is, indeed, the same image that appears on the CaryIllinois.org home page. [↩]
- Spoiler alert: According to the CaryIllinois.org Disclaimer, political speech is protected by the First Amendment. Yeah, I know; I think it’s a trick question too. [↩]
- Shouldn’t political satirists be just a little nasty? Isn’t explaining that your parody is – well, a parody kinda, sorta, exactly like explaining a joke? Regardless, this satirical web site is so impressive that it’s impossible for me to complain that its originators are too nice. [↩]