We're committing the entire Week in Review this Friday to the big, big, BIG issue of the Steve Nass stationery scandal. Let's call it "Letterheadgate."
At the request of State Rep. Steve Nass, the Dane County District Attorney is looking into filing criminal charges against a Capital Times cartoonist for his too-convincing parody of a Nass press release. Nass is absolutely right, and the DA should charge Mike Konopacki to the fullest extent of the law.
Konopacki electronically pilfered some Nass letterhead and then wrote a release claiming that Nass had been joined by Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Paul Ryan in calling on the Smithsonian Institution to drop its collection of posters and other stuff from the historic Madison protests against Gov. Walker's anti-collective bargaining bill last year.
I say charge the cartoon guy for two reasons.
First, this is exactly the kind of thing Nass would really do, but now that Konopacki has outed him, he's ruined the surprise. How can Steve Nass now actually ask the Smithsonian to purge the posters after Konopacki has already parodied him on the same point? Would Nass end up looking like he was parodying Konopacki who was parodying him, and thus mocking himself by mistake? Do you see how complicated this satire stuff gets?
Maybe Nass could demand that the Smithsonian burn the posters on the National Mall. You know, like a good old-fashioned book burning. Wisconsin bratwursts could be roasted over the open flames. Good beer would be served. This way it would take the mischievous suggestion and put a pure Nass-like twist on it. He could call it his own.
The second reason that Konopacki should serve time over this is that his satire just wasn't all that funny. Look, Steve Nass and his writers are comic geniuses. Remember when I came back from Amsterdam all fired up about bike stuff? I had the city traffic engineers install some experimental bike boxes on Willy Street. Nass fired off a real press release that was ten times funnier than anything Konopacki could make up at his most hilarious.
The release said that the 200 or so square feet of paint was evidence of Madison's socialistic, anti-car culture, and that our real goal was to make people ride bikes everywhere. And, you know, the paint was red, if you catch my drift.
You can't make this stuff up, as Mike Konopacki now knows. At the very least the D.A. should settle out of court to make the cartoonist do community service. For example, he could be forced to paint cartoons on city streets where bike boxes would otherwise go.