The Hunted Man Awards

A Jesse-free review of the headlines that made us wince in 2001

[Editor's note: A correction ran concerning this story; see end of article.]

"IT'S GOOD TO BE THE KING."

So proclaimed Citizen Ventura to Playboy in 1999. And for a long time we were content to be bunnies in his Minne-monarchy. We laughed off the reincarnation as a 38DD, the ringside dalliance with Mr. Ass, and even the fallen-empire burlesque of the XFL. Every time the fusspots surfaced to remind us that The Body was staining the shroud of Minnesota Nice, we felt like locking 'em all in a sleeper hold and sending 'em to Canada.

Ryan Greis

But somehow it all went rotten this year. The expiration date suddenly came to pass on our perishable governor, and like a three-week-old unfeathered boa on a roadside on an August afternoon, the stink became overwhelming. His Highness sulked while state workers went on strike and the bureaucracy around him ground to a halt. Then he avoided dealing with Major League Baseball's contraction grandstanding, citing a bad back, only to jet off to Hollywood to play dress-up in a movie. Finally, he advised his subjects to swear off newspapers and get their news from talk radio, all the while browbeating those who dared to call in and question his juvenilia.

When we spotted Greta Van Susteren on CNN interviewing our jackal-hunting commander in cheese in mid-November about how he would track down Osama bin Laden, we started mixing our Jim Beam with Pepto-Bismol and cruising the Web for real estate in Iowa. From their safe haven in Washington, D.C., Wolf and Cokie may still find this dog-and-SEAL show amusing, but we've started having nocturnal emissions at the mere thought of State Auditor Judi Dutcher describing her 2003 budget. (Or hell, even of Republican candidate Brian Sullivan.)

This is all a rather roundabout way of saying: It is no longer possible to lampoon Jesse Ventura.

But that's okay. While Jesse is most certainly King Rube, there's room for all of us--this is, after all, The Land of 10,000 Rubes. In fact, this year was particularly, er, rube-a-riffic, what with the possible demise of a sometime professional baseball team, the election of a mayor-to-be who once wore pajamas to a political rally, a federally investigated extortion scandal in the bowels of a city hall, and the on-again-off-again-on-again-off-again terrorism trial of a local homemaker/wannabe thespian/onetime radical.

Really, it's an embarrassment of riches, a treasure trove of fool's gold. And make no mistake--we are fools. That's why we feel it's time to resurrect an idea from a bygone City Pages era. You may remember it from the halcyon days of 1997 as the "Tongue-On-The-Flagpole Awards," a review of the buffoonery, chutzpah, and outright stupidity that, quite honestly, makes our pathetic lives worth living.

To stay fresh in these irony-sensitive times, however, we've decided to re-christen the annual competition. Therefore, in the spirit of what is perhaps King Rube's greatest gaffe, we are proud to present what we hope will be an annual tradition: The Hunted Man Awards. Just remember, if you don't read it, then the terrorists will have won.

 

But did they mention anything about the glue factory?

After finishing well behind R.T. Rybak in the September 11 primary, Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton reassures her supporters by dubiously proclaiming, "They said the mayor would not place or show in this race, and they were wrong!" Less than two months later, the two-term incumbent loses to Rybak by more than 30 percent.

 

Don't worry. Churchill wore diapers.

In a backhanded display of leadership, Rybak points out that for years he has purposely mismatched his socks, finally proving that it's the clothing, stupid.

 

And we'll need a bottle of Jägermeister a day to get through the next four years.

Rybak sheepishly confesses during a televised campaign debate that his favorite food is wheat grass.

 

Have you considered "Generation Diluted Gene Pool"?

Buck Humphrey, grandson of Minnesota political icon and true leader Hubert H. Humphrey, announces in December that he'll campaign to be Minnesota's secretary of state. Humphrey, 32, son of failed gubernatorial candidate Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III, says he hopes to attract the votes of what he terms "Generation Excellent."

 

I'm gay, goddammit! Really, really, really gay!

Robert Lilligren, running for the Eighth Ward Minneapolis City Council seat, is repeatedly left out of news articles highlighting the unprecedented number of gay candidates seeking elected office in the city. He is elected despite the lack of public awareness regarding his sexual orientation.

 

That's queer, we thought gay men were very clean.

Hennepin County commissioner Mark Stenglein buys a broom, rents a street sweeper, and runs for mayor of Minneapolis on a "clean up the city" platform. He then refuses to march in the Twin Cities Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Pride Festival.

 

Minnesota's stupidest evildoers, part I:
It's a shame; he probably would've missed the World Trade Center.

Alleged would-be terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui is detained after an instructor at the Pan Am International Flight Academy in Eagan becomes suspicious when the student shows little interest in learning how to take off or land.

 

Loot from airplane in 'A Simple Plan' still up for grabs.

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