Bill Steigerwald Bill Steigerwald, 12/12/2009 [Archive]

GP Bear Goes to Washington -- The True Story of a Freedom-Loving Carnivore



George Orwell used satire and talking pigs to mock utopian socialists in "Animal Farm."Now, just in time for the Copenhagen climate conference, ClimateGate and the coming ice age, veteran libertarian journalist Bill Steigerwald shamelessly steals Orwell's idea and uses talking polar bears to poke fun at global warming alarmists and their fellow travelers in Washington and the media.

Twisting the title of director Frank Capra's movie masterpiece to his own ends, Steigerwald and his son Joe have created "G.P. Bear Goes to Washington: The True Story of a Freedom-Loving Carnivore."

A 12-part serialized "docu-fable," it features real issues, real people and a magical, eloquent, media-savvy polar bear who understands his species is in far greater danger from the interventions of the federal government, Barbara Boxer, Al Gore, Leonard DiCaprio and overzealous wildlife scientists than from anthropogenic climate change.

(To Editors: Two new episodes of this old-fashioned serial -- between 550 and 700 words long -- will be posted for the next 5 days. For our newspaper clients, our suggestion is to start the serial in print in your opinion section (Part 1 or Parts 1 & 2) and then jump it to your Web edition and serialize it there each day until completion (while cross-promoting it from the print side). The serial is timed to end Christmas Day and can easily be broken into 12, six, four or three parts, if you wish, which would allow you to wait until closer to Christmas to begin running it.)

G. P. Bear goes to Washington: The true story of a freedom-loving carnivore

Part 1

'Are we not polar bears?'

By Bill and Joe Steigerwald

Of all the animals the Inuit traditionally hunted, Nanuk, the polar bear, was the most prized. Native hunters considered Nanuk to be wise, powerful, and "almost a man." Some called the bear "the great lonely roamer." Many tribes told legends of strange polar-bear men that lived in igloos. These bears walked upright, just like men, and were able to talk. Natives believed they shed their skins in the privacy of their homes.

-- Polar Bears International

This is a true story, except for everything that was made up to make it more dramatic or to mock someone.Any resemblance to real politicians, as well as any insult to the religious beliefs of global warming alarmists, is purely intentional.

TASIILAQ, EAST GREENLAND

Grandpa Polar Bear was relaxing in his easy chair watching a special news report on TV called 'Plight of the Polar Bears.'As a mother bear and her cub stood forlornly on a tiny shrinking iceberg somewhere near the Arctic Circle, the dashing reporter from CNN sounded like he was going to cry.

' -- because of global climate change, polar bears are suffering population losses and may soon become extinct. Rising temperatures are melting the sea ice earlier and earlier each summer, leaving the bears less time to hunt for their primary food -- ringed seals. If we don't reduce our burning of fossil fuels soon, scientists say the only place our children will be able to see these magnificent creatures will be in a zoo or in a Walt Disney movie. For CNN, I'm Anderson Cooper.'

'Extinct!?' Grandpa roared, slapping the arms of his leather chair with his huge paws. 'Melting sea ice!? Shrinking bear populations? Who writes this junk science, Al Gore?'

'Don't get upset, Dad,' said Mother, looking up from her latest copy of Reason magazine. 'It's CNN. What do you expect? Fairness? Balance?'

'What were they saying about polar bears dying, Grandpa?' asked Junior, looking worried as he came in from the kitchen with a bottle of Coke.

'Nothing, Junior. Nothing,' Grandpa grumbled. 'Just a lot of make-believe.'

After dinner, Grandpa read Junior a bedtime story. As Grandpa was about to turn off the nightlight, Junior asked, 'Grandpa, why do you yell at the TV? The people in it can't hear you.'

'I know,' Grandpa said with a smile. 'They live far away in New York and Washington. That's why they don't know anything about polar bears or the Arctic.'

Junior looked anxiously at Grandpa. 'Mother said your heart will get attacked if you keep yelling at the news.'

'Don't you worry,' Grandpa chuckled. 'I just get mad when humans make us look like sissies who can't handle a little change in the weather.We're polar bears, for Pete's sake.We're not helpless victims. We don't need the government, Keith Olbermann, Greenpeace, Leonardo DiCaprio or anyone else to protect us from Mother Nature.

'If humans just left us alone -- and if their scientists stopped chasing us with helicopters and shooting us with dart guns -- we'd be fine.'

'Why don't you go to where the humans on TV live and yell at them?' wondered Junior. 'Everyone always listens when you yell.'

'They wouldn't believe a thing I'd tell them. But that's a good idea, Junior,' Grandpa said, clicking off the nightlight. 'A darn good idea. '

Part 1 of 12 installments. Tomorrow: Part 2, 'Junior gets brainwashed.'

Bill Steigerwald is a former columnist and associate editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review who's also worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Bill at bsteige@verizon.net If you're not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or post this column on the web. Distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Sales sales@cagle.com (805) 969-2829.

G.P. Bear goes to Washington: The true story of a freedom-loving carnivore

Part 2

'Junior gets brainwashed'

By Bill and Joe Steigerwald

Of all the animals the Inuit traditionally hunted, Nanuk, the polar bear, was the most prized. Native hunters considered Nanuk to be wise, powerful, and "almost a man." Some called the bear "the great lonely roamer." Many tribes told legends of strange polar-bear men that lived in igloos. These bears walked upright, just like men, and were able to talk. Natives believed they shed their skins in the privacy of their homes.

-- Polar Bears International

TASIILAQ, EAST GREENLAND

'Guess what I learned today?' Junior asked as he came running in from school.

'I can't imagine,' Grandpa mumbled.

'Shush, Dad,' said Mother. 'What did you learn, Junior?'

'I learned all about 'global melting,' ' Junior began breathlessly. 'The whole world is getting hotter because humans drive too many cars. The sea ice is going to go away forever and -- '

'Whoa!' interrupted Grandpa. 'Who taught you that stuff? Rosie O'Donnell?'

'No,' said Junior. 'Principal Hansen. She came to homeroom today. Her big computer says Earth is getting hotter and hotter and Greenland is melting really, really fast. All the ice will be gone when I get as old as you.'

'That's preposterous,' Grandpa said.

'Principal Hansen said the oceans will get taller and taller,' Junior said with a worried look on his face. 'Principal Hansen said polar bears and lots of other animals will get 'stinkt if humans keep burning stuff like coal. It's really scary, Grandpa.'

'Principal Hansen's even crazier than Al Gore,' Grandpa said to Mother so Junior couldn't hear.'Didn't I tell you that boy should have been home-schooled?'

Later that same night, after midnight, Grandpa was at his desk sending his usual round of disparaging e-mails to the politicians in Washington when Junior's cry pierced the stillness.

'Grandpa!' Junior wailed. 'Help me. I'm burning!'

Grandpa and Mother raced to Junior's bedside. Junior was crying in his sleep. 'Help me, Grandpa,' he pleaded mournfully. 'I'm too young to melt.'

'Junior, wake up,' Grandpa said, shaking him. 'You're dreaming.'

Junior's eyes popped open. 'Grandpa! Mother! The ice was all gone!We were stuck on a tiny iceberg. The ocean was boiling!'

'It was just a silly nightmare, Junior,' soothed Mother. 'The ice isn't melting. See?' she said, patting the rock-hard wall of their cave.

Grandpa was fuming. He gritted his big teeth and looked Junior straight in his teary eyes.

'Boy,' he said firmly, 'I'm going to tell you something I want you to remember for the rest of your life. We are polar bears. We are the largest land carnivores on Earth. We are the species ursus maritimus -- 'bears of the sea.' We can swim 200 miles.We can walk 100 miles a day.

'We learned how to live on this frozen wasteland at the top of the world thousands of years before humans discovered fire. There are 25,000 of us alive today -- twice as many as 50 years ago. We are not going to become extinct -- no matter what Principal Hansen and her computers say. Now go to sleep -- and no more silly nightmares.'

'That was no nightmare,' Grandpa whispered angrily to Mother.'That boy's being brainwashed by a bunch of kooks.'

'That's all the schools teach,' said Mother. 'It's like a new religion. Every cub I know thinks the ice will be gone before they grow up. All the mothers are complaining.'

Grandpa was fuming. 'Polar bears having nightmares,' he snarled. 'That's pathetic. It's time somebody stood up to lunatics like Hansen and their doomsday stories.'

Part 2 of 12 installments. Tomorrow: Part 3, 'Act of Endangerment.'

Bill Steigerwald is a former columnist and associate editor at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review who's also worked at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Bill at bsteige@verizon.net If you're not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or post this column on the web. Distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Sales sales@cagle.com (805) 969-2829.



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