Friday, April 20, 2012
Editorial: It's a shad, shad world
Pine pollen and politics attract only the devout at the Shad Planking.
From the RoundTable blog
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The only authentic tradition to survive Wakefield's Shad Planking is the annual declaration that the 64-year event is officially dead.
On cue Wednesday, some in attendance noted the absence of Democratic candidates schmoozing in the Sussex County pine grove and lamented that the bipartisan institution had met its demise.
Old-timers in the crowd could have corrected that bit of misguided history. The Shad Planking's origin lies in a decidedly one-party affair in which members of the Democratic machine controlled by Harry Byrd gathered to decide the outcome of the next election. Republicans were not welcome. Ditto for women, non-Caucasians, non-smokers and non-drinkers.
Today, everyone is invited, but diversity is limited to people who have an interest in standing in the woods inhaling pine pollen, eating bony fish and laughing at Republican Senate candidate George Allen's football jokes.
In the absence of Democrats, the only debate possible is over exactly which year the Shad Planking went too far. Was it 2005, when a campaign worker in a duck costume was escorted off the premises by police after complaints that he was being disorderly? Or 2009, when former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe hogged the camera after spotting a crew from the Sean Hannity show?
No matter which theory you believe, most everyone agrees that Virginia's bony little shad long ago jumped the shark.