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GARY SMITH: Tooting his horn(s)

Furry troublemaker delivers ‘hold my beer’ moment by Gary Smith | January 22, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Look, I get it. Of all the terrible, soul-wrenching things that happened on Jan. 6 in our nation's capital, the fact that this one thing sticks out as something I would remember or even comment on is kind of goofy. But, owing to the fact that "goofy" is sort of my brand, well, here it is.

That isn't a Viking helmet.

There, I said it. And while I certainly don't feel any better that some doofus decided to dress up in his Halloween costume and take part in an insurrection, at least I've got it off my chest. And finding your voice is often the first step to healing. Or something like that.

OK, I'll probably need to add a little context there. Among the many folks who decided to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 is a man who has become quite famous for doing so in, among little else, a furry hat with horns. Now, I know the "horns on the hat" thing threw a lot of folks off, but the chapeau portion of his getup is being described as a Viking helmet.

I'm fairly certain that's not the case. I believe it is actually a Native American headdress of the sort worn by Plains Indians. How I have come to believe this is a long story, but for the sake of brevity, I'll just say this is what happens when your parents buy you the Time-Life Old West book series. Complete with the fake leather padded covers.

As far as the headwear goes, this all centers on one Jake Chansley, an Arizona man who also goes by Jake Angeli or "the QAnon Shaman" who insists that he came to Washington, D.C., at the invitation of the president and who, as of at least six days ago, remains a "guest" of the federal government and the Grand Canyon State.

Apparently he won't be giving this particular Airbnb a five-star rating, since it didn't offer organic meals. But, that's another story.

Also, is it just me or does Arizona appear to be engaged in a series of "here, hold my beer" moments with Florida and Michigan? Let me just say, there are no winners in that contest. But we in Arkansas also appear to have our share of contestants.

As far as the QAnon part, for the blissfully uninformed, that's a group that believes there walk among us space lizards who are disguised as people and who harvest the fears of children. They believe a lot of other stuff (apparently anything you want to tell them, if the lizards and fear harvesting are any indication), but those are some of the highlights.

So, yes, it's basically a movement based on the plots of the mid-1980s TV series "V" and the animated Pixar hit "Monsters Inc." And I'm pretty sure I'm not the first or only person to notice this.

Now, if you believe lizards walk among us, the idea that the president invited you to storm the Capitol probably isn't even the craziest thing you've considered. It is worth noting that Jake's furry horn hat does appear to fit very snuggly on his head, considering the amount of tin foil that must be under it.

OK, I'll admit, much of this is pointlessly poking fun at someone who may deserve our scorn less than he merits our compassion. I mean, lizards? Harvesting fears? Shirtless in January in Washington DC?

But in terms of accuracy, I do feel it worth noting that the hat he wore during his brief flirtation with infamy is less likely to have been favored by the first Europeans to set foot on the North American continent than those folks who were already here to greet them. Which probably doesn't make either group any happier with the association.

Not sure why I feel it worth mentioning all this except that, when faced with a horrific situation, my typical response is to fall back on noting the absurdity, if for no other reason than I'd rather laugh than cry. I believe this is referred to as "gallows humor," though I shudder at the thought at, for the briefest of moments, it might have been our democracy with its neck in the noose.

Whoever will ultimately prove to be responsible and accountable for the Jan. 6 insurrection (and I'm pretty sure it's not going to be fear-harvesting lizard people) we can only hope their brand of madness is not contagious and we all agree to move the dial off 11.

And that we, as a nation, decide to get our heads on straight. And our hats correct.

Gary Smith is a recovering journalist living in Rogers.


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