Snakegate: What Does Gov. Slytherin Have to Hide?
More than a week after Jerry Brown apprised the world that he’d conquered a rattlesnake, many more questions than answers remain about his Great White Hunter Facebook pic, shown below.
After our scooplet about the governor’s vainglorious post circled the globe, White Wizard Gandalf suddenly morphed into the Slytherin Snape — commanding his quivering minions to use the Dark Arts of the Stonewall to knock down questions about the mysterious image and the apparently magical process that brought it about.
“Did he kill the snake or not?” we emailed Evan Westrup, Brown’s 12-year old, $134,000 chief flack, seeking merely to settle a commenter conflict that had broken out over at FB.
“Res ipsa loquitor,” he wrote back (after refusing to take our call), saying we should attribute the quote to him and not to Snape himself.
Nice try, junior.
As every school child knows, that Latin phrase, no doubt belched up by Brown, in the common law means “the thing speaks for itself.” Except in this case. When, um, it doesn’t.
What did the snake know and when he did know it? Here’s the thing: every authoritative source on California rattlesnakes, starting with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (“enjoying the outdoors means learning how to avoid contact with rattlesnakes”) notes that they are by nature shy and retiring critters.
Remember, if left alone, a snake is likely to move on to another area. Also recall that most rattlesnake bites occur when inexperienced people try to pick up, pester, move, or kill a rattlesnake.
The way to get along with these of God’s creatures, then, is to LEAVE THEM THE FUCK ALONE! This live-and-let-live ethic, in online discussions of the species, stands in opposition to “intentionally interacting with a snake,” which is standard language, repeated at many sites, including medical ones, that offer useful advice on HOW NOT TO GET BIT!
So, inquiring minds want to know: how, exactly, did it come to pass that the governor of the largest state in the union, a man of boundless intellect, if uncommon curiosity, engaged with a snake roughly the size of Chile?
Please, young Evan, tell us he wasn’t “intentionally interacting with a snake.” What a poor message that would send to his subjects, particularly young men everywhere (the “most common profile of a bite victim is a young intoxicated male”).
ABC (Always Believe Calbuzz): Our Department of Herpetology and Hoax Debunking, stung by the refusal of Snape’s dissembling, if loyal, acolyte to respond to our questions, had no choice but to search for alternative answers.
First, we solicited the expert view of a well-seasoned California outdoorsman, to whom we granted anonymity because he also happens to be a veteran Capitol insider with no interest in getting on the wrong side of Snape. Our Little Big Man took one look at Brown’s photo, snorted loudly and opined thusly:
“There’s no way he killed that snake himself — you’d have to be crazy to do that. Probably someone else killed the snake, gave him a stick and he posed for the picture.”
But why, pray young apprentice Evan, would your aged master do that?
We found the answer in the lede of an item about the serpent’s image, filed by the resourceful David Siders, the most insightful student of Brown’s character among reporters who cover him regularly:
“Jerry Brown wants you to know he conquered a snake.”
“Jerry Brown wants you to know he conquered a snake” is an accurate observation about JB. But, that doesn’t excuse the ill-dressed, old man, “J.C. Penney two-for-one offer, Cherokee Unisex Drawstring Pants, $15 the pair.”