Elaborate hoaxes; respect in Rifle; lost lovers

Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

 

NEW MEXICO: Because wherever you go, there you are.
Dallas Broad

OREGON
Peter Boghossian, who teaches philosophy of education at Portland State University, is an outspoken critic of political correctness. He says it leads to “morally fashionable” and barely credible academic pursuits that inspire administrators to issue “trigger warnings, safe spaces and micro-aggression” callouts on college campuses. To demonstrate just how absurd a research paper on “gender studies” could be and still get published by an academic journal, Boghossian and two accomplices, Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, cooked up a satirical analysis of “dog-on-dog sexual assault” at dog parks. The purported author claimed to have documented more than a thousand instances of a dog mounting another dog. First, however, “the genitals of slightly fewer than 10,000 dogs had to be respectfully examined … being careful not to cause alarm and moving away if any dog appeared uncomfortable. …” And the study’s conclusion? “When a male dog was raping/humping another male dog, humans attempted to intervene 97 percent of the time. When a male dog was raping/humping a female dog, humans only attempted to intervene 32 percent of the time.” And when male owners used shock collars to deter their male dogs, the author speculated that they might be revealing “homophobic shame.” The study — credited to the fictitious Helen Wilson, who purportedly worked for the nonexistent Ungendering Research Institute — was ponderously titled “Human reactions to rape culture and queer performativity at urban dog parks in Portland, Oregon.” Published by the legitimate feminist geography journal Gender, Place and Culture, it was retracted Oct. 5, after The Wall Street Journal questioned its authenticity. The newspaper found that the dog park study was just one of 20 fake studies the group submitted to academic journals in the past year, with seven accepted for publication. As for Boghossian, who’s getting considerable heat for the hoax, he told Willamette Week that the university had “summoned” him to a meeting: “I think that everybody is walking on eggshells. I think these disciplines are so entrenched and these ideas are so entrenched that people are afraid.”

THE NATION
Elaborate hoaxes were the specialty of the late Alan Abel, who founded a national campaign in 1959 to put clothing — especially trousers — on cows and other animals. His bogus group, The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, even ensnared journalist Walter Cronkite, who repeated its slogan — “A nude horse is a rude horse” — on the nightly news. The Week reported that Abel also ran the two presidential campaigns of a nonexistent Jewish homemaker from the Bronx in the 1960s. Her catchy slogan: “Vote for Yetta and things will get betta.” But Abel’s greatest triumph involved faking his own death in 1980 and scoring an obituary in The New York Times. He did so by creating a sham undertaker in Utah who confirmed the non-event. The real-news obit for Alan Abel ran in the Times
Sept. 17.

COLORADO
Close to 2 million Facebook users have seen a video of Kamira Trent standing up to an angry woman in the City Market in Rifle, Colorado. Linda Dwire, 64, began harassing two other shoppers because they spoke Spanish to each other. When Dwire ordered them loudly to “speak English and be American,” Trent spoke up, saying, “You don’t harass people. You leave these women alone. I have respect and you don’t harass people like this.” In a Facebook message, Trent said she intervened “because it was the right thing to do. I would do it again if I needed to.” 

WASHINGTON
Harassment, it turns out, is not confined to humans. In 2010, a tourist on a popular trail in Olympic National Park lost his life when a mountain goat harassed and wounded him and then wouldn’t let rescuers approach. It seems that mountain goats — which aren’t native to the area, having been introduced a century or so ago — have an insatiable yen for the salt and minerals found in human urine, sweat and clothing. So this September, 114 fluffy and blindfolded goats, looking like giant stuffed animals, were strapped into slings and hung from helicopters for a 100-mile trip to the North Cascades, where the animals are native, reports the Associated Press. More airlifts will follow, say park officials, but goats that can’t be captured will be shot and killed.

COLORADO
Determined to find an “isolated scenic location” to propose marriage, Joshua Mason, 27, of Denton, Texas, invited Katie Davis, 28, on a rugged backcountry hike near Boulder, Colorado. But on the way up the scenic 8.2-mile trail, which gains about 3,000 feet in altitude, the ill-prepared couple lost their way and ended up stranded on a cliff. They were lucky: Around midnight, a nearby camper heard their cries and led them to his friends. The couple were dehydrated and suffering from altitude sickness, but by dawn they were safely back at the trailhead — and apparently still engaged.

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write [email protected] or tag photos #heardaroundthewest on Instagram.

High Country News Classifieds
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field Seminars for adults: cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. With guest experts, local insights, small groups, and lodge or base camp formats....
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • CONNECTIVITY SCIENCE COORDINATOR
    Position type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman preferred; remote negotiable Compensation: $48,000 - $52,000 Benefits: Major medical insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
    ArenaLife is looking for an Executive Assistant who wants to work in a fast-paced, exciting, and growing organization. We are looking for someone to support...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....
  • HEALTH FOOD STORE IN NW MONTANA
    Turn-key business includes 2500 sq ft commercial building in main business district of Libby, Montana. 406.293.6771 /or [email protected]
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.