I was a bit disturbed this week when I heard about Gov. Joe Manchin's remarks in a Newsweek online story about his efforts to change West Virginia's image.
"Hillbilly No More" by Tony Dokoupil ended with this: "The annual Road Kill Cook-Off in Pocahontas, for instance, features dishes you're unlikely to see at your local restaurant, including intestine-challenging "flat cat", "bumper bruised bear" and "deer schmear fajitas". The mere mention of it puts a hard edge in the governor's voice. "Are they still running that #*$& down south?" he asks an aide in disbelief, before adding: "Well, I tell you what, if you see (the organizer), kill the son of a *#@$%."
Manchin has given the all too familiar refrain of politicians and celebrities who find themselves in a bind; he said he doesn't recall saying that.
I don't buy that defense, not because I necessarily think our governor would say that, but because it is too weak of a response to believe. If someone had errantly quoted me as saying such a thing I would have adamantly said, "There is no way I would have said such a thing! That's just horrible!"
Plus it disturbs me that he refers to Pocahontas County "down south". Does he not even know our the geography of our state? Pocahontas is due east of Charleston.
His alleged remarks are not clever or funny. I find them mundane and offensive. In fact, I think the Road Kill Cook-Off is much more creative and even intelligent--a better characterization of our state in my mind than our governor's grousing.