It is the stuff of legend. I mean wonderful amusement.
My favorite place to get the down and dirty on Kauai’s often absurd small town political dynamic, as well as the myriad movements constantly sweeping a minuscule island full of people with too much time on their hands, is Joan Conrow’s Kauai Eclectic.
Packed to the rafters with delicious snark and a spare-no-feelings honesty, Conrow addresses everything from the millionaire bleeding heart morons feeding feral cat colonies on the North Shore, to our very zealous but poorly informed local anti-GMO movement, to the hotel funded battle against the construction of a local dairy. It’s all great stuff, even when I disagree, and in a place where you’ll undoubtedly run into anyone you piss off, she exhibits a remarkable amount of don’t-give-a-shit.
Today, on Kauai Eclectic, she addresses an article posted on Stab yesterday, by none other than the glorious Jed Smith. Titled The Lost Coast: The Deep Lines of Kauai Localism, Smith’s piece focused on the Garden Isle’s rampant localism.
Which I can vouch for. This place is terrifying, stay the hell away. The only reason I’m not treated like an outsider is because I moved here an entire year ago, and am therefore pretty much local. And I truly support any and all xenophobia that exists. I got mine, now y’all need to stay the fuck away.
Conrow’s piece starts off guns blazing, and takes no prisoners.
“I’m not sure when Jed Smith, the guy wrote the piece, actually came to Kauai. It sounds like maybe 40 years ago, given his fantastical accounts. Still, I can see why Jed ran into trouble. It’s because he quotes only Dustin Barca, who, to put it kindly, is factually — not to mention historically — challenged…”
This isn’t the first time Conrow has tangled with Barca. They stand firmly on opposite sides of the battle over local ag law and land development, with Barca striving to shut it all down and Conrow struggling to inject facts into dialogues built almost exclusively around emotional appeals and misinformation.
“The writer then goes on to claim that Dustin and the boys are ‘maintaining constant vigilance in the face of not only disrespectful surfers but also development proposals, as evidenced by the recent defence of Hanalei Ridge.’
‘We had 500 people in a room raging against it and it never happened,” says Barca of the successful campaign to defeat the proposed developments overlooking the wave which he, Andy, Bruce and many more cut their teeth on.’
Uh, you mean it never happened yet. That project ain’t dead. (Read here!)
Can you say blowhard?”
After taking a shot at Barca’s legitimacy as a Kauai spokesman:
“I just love, though, how Dustin, who isn’t even kanaka, establishes himself as the arbiter of cultural mores…”
She goes on to link some of the more hilarious comments from the Stab article. Which are worth reading, because they are an amusing blend of self righteous indignation and racism. Which, I suppose, is nothing new on that front.
However you feel about Conrow’s opinions, I suggest making her blog a regular stop on your internet time wasting schedule. We’ve got an acrimonious local election coming up, and things are already getting ugly. I’ve been privy to a few of the scandals about to make their way into our public discourse, and it’s sure to be an exciting romp in the world of medium fish in a tiny pond battling to see who gets to on the receiving end of whatever bribes the rich fuckers who control this place decide to kick down to their running dogs.
I may even decide to write about some of it myself, though I do need to consider the fact that it’s small island, people hold grudges, and my wife needs to stay employed so I can enjoy this glorious lifestyle to which I’ve become accustomed. In the meantime, an article about an article about an article will have to do.