I have no objection to the Peeps.
June 22, 2010 4:31 PM   Subscribe

At last, the moment has arrived. At this writing, the trial of Carol Burdick, who says she was evicted from her apartment for putting a Peeps display over her door to celebrate Easter 2009, is underway.
Attorney John Pineau asks for a box of yellow Peeps to be placed into evidence. Aimco's attorney inspects them -- "I have no objection to the Peeps" -- before Judge Archuleta agrees to place the candy on a desk in the middle of the courtroom, so that everyone can see them.
posted by zennie (89 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
One potential juror, when asked how she felt about the news coverage, said, "I thought, 'Oh this is so silly. Why are they making a big stink out of the little sugar bunnies on the door?'"

That woman and a man who manages several rental properties were excused.


This is just like the Scopes trial.
posted by jquinby at 4:34 PM on June 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Boulder County Judge David Archuleta

*spits coffee*
posted by Sys Rq at 4:36 PM on June 22, 2010 [22 favorites]


So glad not to be involved in this case. Couldn't be fair. Hate Peeps almost as much as black licorice.
posted by bearwife at 4:37 PM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sys Rq: "*spits coffee*"

He is a prodigy.
posted by boo_radley at 4:39 PM on June 22, 2010


Well, this is news to me. I hadn't heard a --

NO! No! I can't do it. Sorry.
posted by brundlefly at 4:40 PM on June 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


Is this being presided over by a judge, or a justice of the peeps?
posted by lore at 4:41 PM on June 22, 2010 [70 favorites]


What the hell happened to the right to a speedy trial? I mean those Peeps are well past their freshness date.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:41 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hate Peeps almost as much as black licorice.

Just looking at peeps gives me a sugar headache.

Black licorice is ambrosial.
posted by DU at 4:46 PM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Oh, for Peeps sake.
posted by cjorgensen at 4:50 PM on June 22, 2010


Here is the church
And here is the steeple
Open the door
And

Wake up sheeple!
posted by effluvia at 4:54 PM on June 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


What the hell happened to the right to a speedy trial? I mean those Peeps are well past their freshness date.

Ah, but they're at their best then! Chewy, crunchy goodness, with the zippy tang of chemical emulsifiers at the core.
posted by jrochest at 4:56 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


At least it's not a criminal trial, because then the case would be captions: Peeple v. Burdick.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:05 PM on June 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Black Red licorice is ambrosial. FTFY.
posted by bearwife at 5:06 PM on June 22, 2010


*sigh* Welcome to Boulder, everybody. This is the town where I was born.

Sys Rq: *spits coffee*

I had to google to figure out what in god's name you and boo_radley were talking about - and even then, it wasn't easy. I've known about a dozen David Archuletas in my life; seems like it was the "John Smith" of Santa Fe when I lived there, a very, very common name. Guess I need to get out more.
posted by koeselitz at 5:11 PM on June 22, 2010


Hate Peeps almost as much as black licorice.

I've liked your posts and comments so far, and I was flattered when you chose to follow me, but This Will Not Stand. I demand you unfollow me.

I don't ask much from my followers, just that they're OK with large doses of sugar in small packages, and black licorice.

I realize that adding a MeFite as a contact is not the same as gaining a cult follower, but the notion of asking someone to "uncontact" me sounds silly. Thus, I consider all who count me as contacts as personal followers. But you'll note that I follow others, so I'm not claiming to be some God Child, just a guy who wants others to chill a bit, and enjoy concentrated sugar and the delicious flavor of black licorice. Is that so much to ask?
posted by filthy light thief at 5:12 PM on June 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Peepsy Blue.
posted by paisley henosis at 5:13 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Theme song for the trial:

Peeps get ready
There's a train a-coming
You don't need no baggage
You just get on board . . .

Title for the trial:

Goodbye, Mr. Peeps.

And filthy light thief, if it makes you feel better, all my favorite people, including my beloved, love black licorice. I have tried, but my taste buds revolt.
posted by bearwife at 5:18 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Black Red licorice is ambrosial not licorice. FTFTFYFY
posted by Cogito at 5:25 PM on June 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


In that case, I welcome you back to the fold. There will always be a plate of black licorice and bowls of sugar around, should you change your mind.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:26 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


what
posted by zarq at 5:26 PM on June 22, 2010


Vox Peepuli!
posted by ericb at 5:27 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yo, peeps!

I put a row of uneaten peeps in my kitchen window one easter to see how they'd hold up over the long-term. They were in such good shape the next year that I added another row, and again the following year. It was an interesting progression from new to old, as they basically went from new shiny and proud to a little bit stooped to all dusty and kinda shrivelled, but they all looked pretty much edible still. Had to move out at 3 years and a couple months, and never got started on that project again.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:27 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


No meeps allowed!
posted by ericb at 5:28 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Red 'licorice' is some kind of petroleum waste product. Or they scrape it away from where the nozzles connect on corn syrup freighters impounded at squalid third-world docks, something. I don't like it.
posted by atchafalaya at 5:33 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Black Red licorice is ambrosial not licorice. FTFTFYFY

Red 'licorice' is some kind of petroleum waste product

My first successful derail in a thread, I think. *Blows on fingernails, polishes them on lapel, gazes at them smugly.*
posted by bearwife at 5:35 PM on June 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Red 'licorice' is some kind of petroleum waste product. ... I don't like it.

Please, don't this thread devolve into another l/P (licorice/Peeps) flame war.
posted by shii at 5:36 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I didn't even know what Peeps were and had to look it up.
Now I have, I see that:
I mean those Peeps are well past their freshness date.
ain't necessarily so - One way to eat Peeps is to "age" them by leaving an open package in a cupboard for weeks or months.
posted by unliteral at 5:36 PM on June 22, 2010


Ah man, I wrote about every person even remotely involved in that meeps case, and not one wrote back. I wrote the principal, the vice principal, the superintendent, and the lawyer that was threatened for sending the meeping email. Not one wrote back. It was a dark time in my life.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:42 PM on June 22, 2010


Hey y'all!

(hate Peeps, love black licorice fwiw.)
posted by peep at 5:48 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


If convicted, she'll be sentenced to caning.
posted by hal9k at 6:15 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh, I kind of liked Hate Peeps' first album, but their new stuff is so lame.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:15 PM on June 22, 2010


(Prosecutor unwraps box of peeps and lines them up on table)
Was it this one?
- No.
Perhaps... this one?
- I've never seen that peep before in my life.
How about (cue organ) this one?
- That's the peep! (Collective gasp from jury)
posted by hal9k at 6:25 PM on June 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


This is the kind of ludicrous case L.A. Law used to do — well, either that or some precedent-setting social justice case. I miss that show. Law & Order is a classic too, but although they have seconds of levity here and there they never have, oh, say, vials of bull sperm flying through the air like L.A. Law. I blame the doing doing sound effect. It's just too ponderous a sound to coexist with madcap legal situations.
posted by orange swan at 6:25 PM on June 22, 2010


I blame the doing doing sound effect.

*cough*






CHING CHING
posted by zarq at 6:33 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


All we are saying is give Peeps a chance.
posted by jonmc at 6:37 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I blame the doing doing sound effect.

Oh you did NOT say that. Mods to battle stations, we have a possible 91951 in progress.
posted by hal9k at 6:38 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Perhaps the Peeps were placed across the doorway to deter Peeping Toms, has the court considered it was an act of self defense?


Am I the only one who makes a bowl of steaming chocolate so I can float my Peeps on the everlasting Lake of Fire and watch them slowly disintegrate?
posted by effluvia at 6:40 PM on June 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


*spits coffee*

I had almost the same reaction.

Except I don't drink coffee.

Or watch American Idol.

So my reaction was more like 'Hey, wasn't that guy on some show? *google* *google* *google* Yeah! He was. I mean, not that guy, but a guy with that name. Funny world.'

But it was sort of the same.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:47 PM on June 22, 2010


This was previously covered on The Colbert Report.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:07 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]




top 38 dioramas

Peeps dioramas.

I love how some are solemn. Peeps convey seriousness.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:55 PM on June 22, 2010


No justice, no peeps.
posted by Bonzai at 8:31 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sigh. Sometimes my hometown is embarrassing. But that's Boulder for ya.
posted by Fuego at 8:32 PM on June 22, 2010


Ceci n'est pas une peep.
posted by moonmilk at 8:35 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sigh. Sometimes my hometown is embarrassing. But that's Boulder for ya.

Say, wasn't Boulder the setting for Mork and Mindy?
posted by krinklyfig at 8:36 PM on June 22, 2010


Moonmilk:

Ceci n'est pas une peep
posted by jrochest at 8:43 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


He saw a raw peep. War 'a was, eh?
posted by starman at 8:57 PM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sounds like this lady is in a sticky situation.

Perhaps the prosecution should mellow out.

Her eviction was unjust. More power to the peeple.

They say justice is blind, but I feel like she maybe peeping here.
posted by dazed_one at 9:06 PM on June 22, 2010


I got nuthin'.
posted by dazed_one at 9:07 PM on June 22, 2010


Great puns, let's have s'more.
posted by XMLicious at 9:34 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


At least she's facing a jury of her peeps.
posted by brundlefly at 9:39 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


These lawyers are so full of it with their Peeps are made from marshmallows, which are inappropriate to hang on a wall in a semi-public space... They clearly know nothing of Peep Law; you cannot decorate anything incorrectly with Peeps, it's the Doctrine of Peepal Infallibility.
posted by XMLicious at 9:49 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


That prosecution sure doesn't sugar coat it.
posted by dazed_one at 10:09 PM on June 22, 2010


All I know is that I once bought Peeps from a Walgreens in the Mojave desert, and they made my teef hurt. Which is not as bad as when I put a Twinkie in my mouth and nearly projectile vomited on the freeway to Las Vegas. What the fuck America.

tldr: I don't know what's going on here at all.
posted by saturnine at 10:33 PM on June 22, 2010


They say justice is blind

She holds not peeps, but a sword.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:55 PM on June 22, 2010


Yo peeps, I'm really happy for you, I'll let you finish, but circus peanuts are the nastiest candy of all time.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:42 AM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Carol Burdick was merely commemorating the Prince of Peeps.
posted by telstar at 4:09 AM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hate Peeps almost as much as black licorice.

NOT CANDY-IST
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:10 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


They should resolve the case with Peep Jousting.
posted by plinth at 5:27 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't know what Peeps were until I saw this post and now I want FOUR HUNDRED of them to sit on my desk and make a giant chocolate chicken army.
posted by mippy at 5:27 AM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Chocolate? They're sugar-coated marshmallow. I mean, you can get chocolate coated peeps, but they're sacrilege.
posted by Karmakaze at 6:50 AM on June 23, 2010


Yeah, if that lady had chocolate-covered peeps she deserves what's comin' to 'er. Now, if it please the court, may I ask the defendant: Was these peeps yellow or pink?
Objection! Irrelevant.
Over-ruled.
Please answer the question, Mrs. Peepovich. Stop muttering about Creme Eggs!
Your Honor I object! Badgering the witness!
Sustained.
(Wryly) Mrs. Peeples. You claim not to know what color these peeps were. Is that correct? Very good. Now, Ms. Peepstein, answer me this: THESE WERE IN FACT CHOCOLATE-COVERED PEEPS WEREN'T THEY, MRS. PEEP-SAUNDERS?
Objection!
No further questions.
posted by Mister_A at 7:28 AM on June 23, 2010


From last night's update at Daily Camera:
About the jurors

A panel of six Boulder County residents has been picked to sit on a jury in the case of Carol "Chay" Burdick. The jurors will be asked to decide whether Aimco, the company that manages the Meadow Creek Apartments where Burdick lived until last summer, breached its lease agreement by forcing her to remove a set of Easter decorations from her door. The jury will also be asked to decide if Burdick was right to withhold rent after receiving the demand.

Here's a look at the jurors -- four women and two men -- who will likely reach a decision Wednesday.

A 38-year-old stay-at-home mom from Erie.

A 57-year-old Boulder woman who works as an occupational therapist at Boulder Community Hospital.

A 25-year-old man from eastern Boulder County who runs a Web-based business.

A 59-year-old Boulder County woman who is a retired health care worker.

A 38-year-old Superior man who works as a network engineer.

A 49-year-old unemployed Louisville woman.

Jurors excused from the panel include a 63-year-old Boulder County man who said he manages several rental properties, and a 65-year-old retired Boulder woman who called the case "silly."
Also: Andrew Novick, 'Peeps expert' in Chay Burdick trial, is lead singer of renowned Denver punk band Warlock Pinchers

The degree to which I am enjoying all this is almost wrong.
posted by zennie at 7:28 AM on June 23, 2010


The degree to which I am enjoying all this is almost wrong.

As if ANYTHING about the delightful, entertaining Peep could ever be wrong!

(Hey! Who stole my "jury of her Peeps" line?! That was all I had!)
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 7:47 AM on June 23, 2010


: I was really hoping for a creative reenactment of the display she was forced to remove. I mean, Colbert had a few peeps on a door, but nothing to the scale described. I think it's our duty to recreate it to the best of our ability, MeFi.

It was just a cute little pyramid of Peeps bunnies. The Daily Camera has apparently been doing a long-term in-depth coverage of this story.

You can view a replica of the Peeps pyramid (bottom of page), as well as a video interview in which Burdick describes it came to be affixed to her door, here. Not only that, here is a picture of the actual door to the apartment!

But I'm all for a creative reenactment. Maybe with bunny suits. How many of you know how to form a cheerleader pyramid?
posted by zennie at 8:49 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why is there no picture of the offending peep display? Why was there no dramatic reenactment of it in court? This is the REAL outrage, imho.
posted by elizardbits at 8:52 AM on June 23, 2010


But I'm all for a creative reenactment. Maybe with bunny suits. How many of you know how to form a cheerleader pyramid?

I EAGERLY AWAIT THE RELEASE OF YOUR MEEPS GONE WILD DVD.
posted by zarq at 8:58 AM on June 23, 2010


I hope they throw the book at her; peep mills are an atrocious problem in the candy-pet community, and most people aren't even aware of the suffering these poor guys go through before you get them at the store. Sure they are cute, and they have fun names like peepy-poo and peepgles, but they are not "designer peeps", they are just mutts breed under deplorable conditions.

Nailed to a door,,, it's sickening.
posted by quin at 9:02 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I'm confused. So they asked her to take the things down about 3 weeks after Easter, and she refused and stopped paying rent.

Why would she think that she could keep living there without paying rent?

If it were me, I'd just spray some hot water on the damn things as I was 'cleaning' the area.

But I'm evil like that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:29 AM on June 23, 2010


now I want FOUR HUNDRED of them to sit on my desk and make a giant chocolate chicken army.

If they were chocolate they would be lovable and cute and I would care about them and love them before I ATE YOUR WHOLE ARMY.

I did not know of the chocolate covered version, but agree that would change everything.
posted by bearwife at 9:49 AM on June 23, 2010


Which is not as bad as when I put a Twinkie in my mouth and nearly projectile vomited on the freeway to Las Vegas.

Fuck Twinkies. It's all about the Butterscotch Krimpets mofos.

Also, everyone who's anyone knows peeps should be eaten stale and chewy. Clearly she was making peep jerky and this claim of a seasonal display is malarky.
posted by edbles at 9:50 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I'm confused. So they asked her to take the things down about 3 weeks after Easter, and she refused and stopped paying rent.

Why would she think that she could keep living there without paying rent?


I think the argument is that the lease says nothing about decorations, so the notice to take down her decorations or be evicted constituted an illegal threat that effectively canceled the lease. This happened in April, and apparently she didn't pay her May rent partly because they came around and tore down her decorations. She moved out in May.

I'm really not sure what's going on there, because I think the notice said she should vacate the premises in 3 days if she didn't take down the decorations, so wasn't she effectively evicted? And if so, why would she be expected to pay rent?
posted by zennie at 9:59 AM on June 23, 2010


Oh, and here's today's live-blogged coverage.
posted by zennie at 10:01 AM on June 23, 2010


Oh wow. I was stopped by this article, thinking "no way this is for real."

Then I saw it the People's Republic of Boulder, and it all made sense.

My favorite part so far:

Andrew Novick has been called to the witness stand. Novick is a Denver resident, and a self-described Peeps expert who hosts an annual barbecue that features Peeps.

The judge decided to allow a few questions.

"I'm a collector," Novick said. "I have a lot of Peeps that I've had around for years."

He said that, "whether they're in a closed pack or the pack is open, it happens the same, but they really just get hard."

"They become hard and kind of crunchy," he continued. "I've never seen any bugs infest Peeps. It really becomes a medium. I always keep them around in case I want to do something with them later."

posted by paisley sheep at 10:36 AM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The judge barred the testimony of Erik Miller, who won a Peeps diorama contest, saying it's not relevant to the trial.

Booo.
posted by jokeefe at 11:59 AM on June 23, 2010


The judge barred the testimony of Erik Miller, who won a Peeps diorama contest, saying it's not relevant to the trial.

NOT ANOTHER PEEP OUTTA YOU!
posted by zarq at 12:12 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I saw this as just the culmination of the generation-long undeclared war between landlords and tenants in Colorado. Colorado has some of the most tenant-unfriendly laws I've seen among several states.

We once lost a security deposit for an apartment (for which the rental manager even conceded we'd left it substantially cleaner than we got it) for the awful crime of notifying them of our intent to move at the end of the month at 9 a.m. on Day 1 of the month instead of on Day 31 of the previous month.

The landlord immediately sent us a letter that he intended to sue us for insufficient notice, damages for days unrented, etc etc (even though they had 30.75 days left to rent the unit). This is obviously a hairy old gambit, because a month or so later, we got a notice of forgiveness, advising us that they would just keep our deposit in lieu of any other (nonexistent) damages, and thanking us for our prompt and meticulous yada yada.

I'd rather live in a pup tent under Pepsi Center than ever rent in Denver/Boulder again.
posted by toodleydoodley at 1:05 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re: Boulder, CO. I found the book 'Perfect Murder, Perfect Town : The Uncensored Story of the JonBenet Murder and the Grand Jury's Search for the Final Truth' interesting in its portrayal of the town and area.
posted by ericb at 1:59 PM on June 23, 2010


Which is not as bad as when I put a Twinkie in my mouth and nearly projectile vomited on the freeway to Las Vegas.

Fuck Twinkies. It's all about the Butterscotch Krimpets mofos.


You mean in terms of achieving projectile vomit, right?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:05 PM on June 23, 2010


I had something funny, then I got distracted and forgot it...
posted by Samizdata at 2:24 PM on June 23, 2010


... chung chung
posted by tehloki at 4:35 PM on June 23, 2010


Oh come now, tehloki. Ching-ching! See the cough in comment 34 above.
posted by bearwife at 5:08 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish William Shatner and James Spader were representing the accused. Then we'd all go for cigars and whiskeys and oh, how we'd laugh.
posted by tracicle at 11:59 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The verdict is in:
12:30 p.m. The jury has ruled in favor of Aimco, and awarded the company $1,132.66 in damages. The jury decided that Burdick breached her contract with Aimco by refusing to pay rent. Aimco will not pay Burdick anything.

"This was kind of an unusual case, to say the least," Judge David Archuleta said.

1:38 p.m. Carol Burdick said following the verdict that she is both "surprised and sad."

Still, she said the trial was worth "every funny, serious moment -- even sleepless nights."

Her attorney, John Pineau, said he will likely appeal the case.

Aimco spokeswoman Cindy Duffy said the company is "very pleased about today's verdict."

"We take very seriously our relationship with our residents," Duffy said, noting that there are no major changes in store for the way the company issues leases.

The six jurors in the case were escorted from the courthouse by sheriff's deputies. All but one refused to comment. The juror who did talk with reporters, a 59-year-old Boulder County woman who is a retired health care worker, said the case was seen fairly evenly by the jury.

"You could see faults on both sides," she said.

She said the jury decided to award Aimco half of what it was seeking, a reflection of what the jury saw as a split case that tipped more in the company's favor.

She said the jury never thought the case was silly.

"People's lives aren't silly," she said. "It's important to them. We didn't sit back there and laugh about it. We did the best that we could."
The company had sued for "$2,300 in unpaid rent as well as attorneys' fees that could top tens of thousands of dollars."
posted by zennie at 1:10 PM on June 24, 2010


The old lady had counter-sued:

Burdick testified that on May 14, 2009, somebody tore down her Easter decorations -- Peeps and all -- without warning. The next day, she was served with a notice that Aimco filed an eviction lawsuit. She said she closed on a house in Longmont using cash from an inheritance and immediately moved out of the apartment. She asked the jury to award her $700 in associated moving costs and $299 for the security deposit on the apartment that was never returned.

I was kind of expecting a decision against her, just from looking at the commentary on the Daily Camera blog, where people are currently hoping AIMCO appeals for the rest of the rent and lawyer costs. They seem to be convinced that she dragged AIMCO to court as a way of getting out of her lease.

Remind me not to move to Boulder.
posted by zennie at 1:20 PM on June 24, 2010


I was kind of expecting a decision against her, just from looking at the commentary on the Daily Camera blog, where people are currently hoping AIMCO appeals for the rest of the rent and lawyer costs. They seem to be convinced that she dragged AIMCO to court as a way of getting out of her lease.

From my experience on a grand jury I have to say that people on jurys tend to actually take litigation and the human lives they are exposed to in detail more seriously than blog commenters do. The buildings and the silly costumes to kind of lend a sense of occasion. Never been on a civil suit, though.
posted by edbles at 2:01 PM on June 24, 2010


I was just surprised at the number of people who commented that, basically, "you pay your rent or your get what's coming," in the face of AIMCO's capricious behavior. It tempered my expectations somewhat. I thought the jury's decision was decent-- looks like they just had her pay rent for the half of May she was in the apartment preparing to move and waiting for her promised eviction to come about.
posted by zennie at 2:16 PM on June 24, 2010


zennie: “Remind me not to move to Boulder.”

Boulder is actually a pretty great town in many ways. One thing that I think people should note (I think I probably should've said this earlier) is that this all didn't happen in Boulder – it happened in Gunbarrel, a tiny outpost ten miles away from Boulder which consists mostly of a gas station, a strip mall, and a few apartment buildings.

Ten miles may seem like a short distance, relatively speaking, but in Colorado it's a short distance that represents one of the biggest cultural divides in our society. Boulder is a largely left-leaning community of generally wealthier people who are usually in tech, advertising, or associated with the University of Colorado, which is based there. It's one of the great old weird towns that had its heyday in the hippie boom; there's probably far too much gentrification, and property values are through the roof now, but that's because it's a nice place to live.

But Boulder, like Denver to the south, is right up against the mountains; head eest, and you're essentially heading into Kansas. (Well, there are two hundred miles of flat plains before Kansas starts, but the local joke is that it's all pretty much Kansas out there.) That's true in a sociological way, too; whereas Boulder is the province, to be uncharitable about it, of yuppies, everything east of Boulder is red-state farm country; farming and ranching communities, old-school conservative values, etc. Most of the people out there resent Boulder pretty strongly for its liberal tendencies and its weirdness, and also for the fact that people in Boulder on average make three or four times as much money as they do. Gunbarrel is about halfway between Boulder itself and Longmont, which is generally the major center of middle-America discontent with Boulder, I think. I say this because I used to work horse-farms out there, and it's something I heard constantly; especially because Longmont happens to be on the very edge of Boulder County, and therefore still has to live by whatever crazy liberal hippie statutes the yahoos in Boulder decide to pass. For example, it's of course extraordinarily difficult to get permission to kill prairie dogs in Boulder County; the County couldn't be seen to endorse the harming of innocent animals, or all of Boulder would be up in arms. But to the farmers and ranchers in and around Longmont, for whom prairie dogs are a pernicious pest that destroy crops that represent years of hard work, and that dig holes which can kill a horse by breaking its legs, this is the worst kind of liberal stupid. Part of Longmont is actually outside Boulder County, and I used to hear jokes all the time about wanting to move two blocks just to get to "the good side of town."

The funny thing about the Boulder Camera is that that newspaper often seems pretty torn between these two positions. That's actually probably ideal for a newspaper, but it means that there are interesting variations in readership. Most of the people commenting on that story seem to be of the conservative stripe that is reactionary against the Boulder liberal hippie elite; this makes some sense to me, as I notice that (for whatever reason) the people who comment directly on newspaper stories tend overwhelmingly to be conservative. They clearly see this as emblematic of the divide: these crazy Boulder liberals actually decided to have a trial to see whether a deadbeat old woman who didn't pay her rent should get off scot-free just because she had a funny Easter display. Whereas in Boulder (where, it should be noted, there are more beds at the homeless shelter and more plates of food for the indigent than I have ever seen in a town of this size) people are a bit militant about it, and implicitly side with the woman who was screwed out of her home and living space.

Carol Burdick did not realize it, but when she went to hang a cute Easter display above her apartment door in Gunbarrel, she was hanging a nexus around which the political forces in Colorado swirl. Her pyramid of Peeps hangs between, on the one hand, the self-assured progressivist attitudes which in the last generation have awakened and begun to shift the country; and, on the other hand, the old cultural pride which has always imbued America with an enduring confidence in her own traditions and values, and which is skeptical of anything that might seek to change her.

And with those Peeps, my friends, hang we all.
posted by koeselitz at 2:30 PM on June 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hah. Thanks, koeselitz, it helps to have some context. It's not quite like that around here in the DC area, yet I can identify with much of that, being that I grew up in a sub-suburban "hippieville" but I have worked fairly extensively with people from the Red areas of the surrounding states. I can understand a lot of the anger toward "self-assured progressivist attitudes."
posted by zennie at 2:55 PM on June 24, 2010


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