Policy Today

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Written by PT Editors   
Tuesday, 08 April 2008

Grim Fairy Tales: The Big Wolf that Went Bad

Friendly wolf - Courtesy: The Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America  

Once upon a time, in a not-so-far-away land, there lived a wolf. This land was rich and plentiful, so the wolf grew up big and strong, becoming the equal of many older and wiser wolves.

Now, this was no ordinary wolf. He always looked out for and protected those who were weaker than he was. When Riding Hood went to visit Grandma, the big wolf went along to make sure the other wolves didn't bother her. And, he always stuffed cigarettes and chocolates in her picnic basket—Grandma had a few bad habits. He built a fine den, and welcomed others into it: grey wolves, white wolves, mostly stray wolves that didn't have a home of their own. Soon, he became leader of the pack: others respected and admired not only his speed and power, but his bravery and generosity.

But, then something changed: the big wolf went bad. No one was quite sure what happened, but they noticed he began to go it alone without consulting his allies. As he increasingly distanced himself from the others, the wolf began to fear that his very friends were now all out to get him. And, this fear grew and consumed him. Instead of relying on the inner wisdom and values that had given him strength in the past, he began spending lots of money on guns, tanks, and missiles. He charted a conspiracy in every bus queue and pounced on every three ounce tube of hand cream.

Bad wolf
If he didn't like the way others acted towards him, he would shout, “I'll huff and I'll puff, and I'll blow up your house.”? And, he did—lots of them. Though he had become the biggest and baddest wolf on the planet, he spent ever larger sums on military hardware, to a point where even his accountants didn't know how much he was spending.

Friends began noticing other things as well. While, the big, bad wolf was out on the prowl, his own den was falling apart. The roof started to leak, the driveway was full of potholes, and the paint peeling on the walls. And worse still, he no longer helped his kids with their homework or went to PTA meetings. So, they stopped learning and spent their time watching videos and reading celebrity magazines. Since they no longer felt his eagle-eye gaze, the teachers began to slack off as well.

In his absence, a leadership crisis paralyzed the pack. Partisan fighting constantly broke out. Rather than a wealth of ideas, leaders were chosen on the basis of how much money they raised from wealthy friends and the many PACs that promoted special interests

“So, how does it end? Tell me, how it ends!!”?

“It hasn't yet. There's still time.”?

Comments (24)Add Comment
U.S. or White House?
written by Hoosier, April 12, 2008
I suppose this is about the US?
Great insight
written by Patrick, April 15, 2008
Wow, nothing gets by those Hoosiers.....
written by Iowan, April 15, 2008
I'm assuming you got permission to use those images? Not sure about the "mean wolf" but the "happy" one is taken from the Boy Scouts.
Copyright infringement
written by Scouter, April 15, 2008
You might want to rethink stealing graphics from the Boy Scouts of America program/publications....
I don't see any tag with permission granted for using that. Not a very professional thing to do for a publication. Please cancel my email subscription to this "hack" operation.
written by Chevy, April 15, 2008
What's the MORE important issue on this page - the demise of the American way of life .... or a minor (and victimless) case of copyright infringement?

Let's all stay distracted and see what happens.
Suggested changes
written by Gary, April 15, 2008
I noticed your story doesn’t fit with reality so I thought I would correct it for you.

At the beginning of the third paragraph; “But, then something changed: for all the good the big wolf did there were many in the world who hated the way the big wolf and his pack lived. They hated it so much that they attacked his pack on 9/11, killing thousands of his fellow wolves.

And at the beginning of the fifth paragraph; Friends began noticing other things as well. Even though the big wolf was sending more funds then his predecessors did, to the other packs; specifically meant to repair deteriorating infrastructure like bridges. The liberal elite’s in packs like Minnesota spent their money on rapid transit which no Minnesota wolf wanted or even voted for. Which resulted in many deaths of Minnesota wolfs when their bridge collapsed.

Yes these changes provide a bit more balance don’t you think!
written by Mickey, April 15, 2008
I agree with Gary's version - and I as a scout leader I don't like the use of these images either
written by D K. Brooks, April 15, 2008
I agree with previous comments that you are infringing on the Boy Scouts of America by using the caricature of the "good" wolf. I don't particularly care for your "story" either. Please don't send me any more of your emails
Agreed -- remove the Scouting wolf mascot from this editorial
written by TM of CA, April 15, 2008
My 8-year old is proud of his Wolf status in scouting -- you are dishonoring Cub Scouts by using that graphic.
Publisher responds
written by Publisher, April 15, 2008
Dear Readers,

Thank you all for your comments. A few of you may be seriously off base, but merit badges around for taking the time to comment. To respond:

(1) The answer is “yes,” that is the Cub Scout Wolf. As a former Cub Scout, I still have my Wolf Badge with a few arrows even. It’s not clear that the image is copyright or trademark, but if so, PT apologizes. Regardless, we should (and will) put an (R) or indicate BSA as the source.

(2) In that spirit of contrition, I would suggest that Scouter and Iowan are crying ‘wolf’ here: the image is indeed a symbol of what was once best about America – what scouting (in my day) was all about - and very much used in that context. Scouter, you’re pretty far off base. We will, however, oblige and cancel your subscription.

(3) I would suggest that Gary and Mickey are “part of the problem not the solution”—as we used to say in days gone by. Ask yourself, who did what to whom: we trained the terrorists, we ignored warnings from the FBI about their existence, and, we then proceeded to bankrupt the country fighting an enemy that lives somewhere in a cave (we haven't quite been able to find him despite a $500 billion search) while brave Americans die. For what? “To establish democracy” in a part of the world that has never known democracy during its 5,000 year history and to create a ‘secular state’ in a society where politics and religion are—and will long remain—one and the same. And, "one last question": have you, your loved ones, or others who think that patriotic, young Americans should have their body parts blown away by IEDs and suicide bombers for a non-existent cause—served—in Iraq or elsewhere? Let us know.

So, Chevy, you get today's Scout handshake: let’s focus on non-issues while the country slowly sinks under the weight of ones that really matter. Hmmm . . .
written by davisrao, April 15, 2008
what is this garbage? forget the graphics- the content is patently awful. did someone buy this publication and decide to turn it into a space for aspiring middle-school bloggers? it doesn't add anything to the discussion, isn't particularly clever and the metaphor is tortured relentlessly. what is 'policy today' even supposed to be accomplishing with this junk?
Drop the Cub Scout Wolf
written by Appalled , April 15, 2008
I'm glad the "publisher" has his Wolf badge, but his excuse for using the trademarked (yes, trademarked) Boy Scout of America image is feable at best. No, the image is NOT in the public domain, and you may well get a nice note for the BSA attorneys (or thousands of former scouts who now as attorneys would be willing to work pro bono to protect the image of the Cub Scouting program). I'm not outraged, even though I'm an eagle scout, but I'm severely dissappointed in any organization that "steals" an image for personal gain. That is wrong. As the Scout Law states, "A scout is Trustworthy"...you, PT, are not. Just get rid of the image. I don't care about what you have written (I happen to agree with the analogy), but theft is theft, and theft of a Cub Scout image is done in bad taste. Please take me off your list as well.
written by Rick St. Germaine, April 15, 2008
Great job. Nice story. It seems you've stirred up the patriotic right.
written by davisrao, April 15, 2008
has nothing to do with 'the patriotic right' - it's not even a "story". who gives a damn about the stupid cub scout image anyway? i'm just curious about why policy today stopped doing thoughtful journalism and turned into another outlet for the same noise you find on countless thousands of personal blogs. the design is bad, the "stories" aren't even stories and it's completely incoherent. my co-worker sent the policy today newsletter to me over a year ago and i used to visit the site about once a month to see what was new. recently i haven't bothered - it's awful.
Publisher responds - 2
written by Publisher, April 15, 2008
Dear Readers,

Thank you for your thoughts and comments. If the BSA asks PT to take it down, we certainly will. In the meantime, the Cub Scout Wolf stands for all that this country once was. That is the point - no one seems to want to talk about that. And of all people, “the patriotic right” should understand best. Obviously, there are those who disagree.
written by Pam, April 15, 2008
In response to your response....I didn't subscribe to your infantile rant but have somehow been subjected to it. In what way do your opinions have anything to do with policy?
Recanted thoughts
written by Gary, April 15, 2008
Well I’ve had a change of heart; the publisher has convinced me of the error of my thoughts. After 9/11 we as a country should not have responded militarily, we should have looked inward. Yes, inward I say; what have we done to cause these folks to hate us so, what could we have done to prevent this loss of life? Obviously we are to blame.

Just like the victim of rape, shouldn’t lash out at their attacker. No No I say; the rape victim should look inward and ask themselves what have I done to cause this person to want to rape me. Was I dressing provocatively? Was I asking to be assaulted? Do I not deserve this attack because of my way of life?

Thank you publisher for opening my eyes to your point of view, I shall sin no more.
Publisher responds - 3
written by Publisher, April 15, 2008
Dear Readers,

Thanks again for your thoughts and comments.

Responding to Pam’s and related questions above, this is not nor intended as an AP wire story. What does it have to do with policy? Everything—or should we say the increasingly fatal results from the total absence of policy. There are, however, over 200 well-reported stories including our Q&As, that are policy-related and cover a broad range of topics. If you have time, check out a few of them.

Again, we’re not arguing the fine points of copyright or trademark: PT is not passing this off as coming from the Scouts or looking to sell uniforms and handbooks. We do think the Cub Scout Wolf a very appropriate (and positive) metaphor here. So Gary, thanks for looking through the clamor for our collective heads and commenting on the real issue (s) at stake. One on board, 299 million and change to go.

written by Gertie, April 16, 2008
I happen to agree with the publishers, don't care particularly about the graphics. What I am pleased to see is a discussion of the radically different opinions that exist about the war and its future and ours. With all the terrific new ways of communicating at most of America's fingertips today, why do we still depend on spin doctors, media translations of politicians' speeches -- are we really too dumb to understand them ourselves? -- and other homogenizing of events? Free discussion and exchange of information and opinions is necessary for any democracy to succeed. We have gone too long without it.
A Scout is Trustworthy
written by Brian K. Houghton , April 16, 2008
I'm glad the "publisher" has his Wolf badge, but his excuse for using the trademarked (yes, trademarked) Boy Scout of America image is feeble at best. No, the image is NOT in the public domain, and you may well get a nice note for the BSA attorneys (or thousands of former scouts who now as attorneys would be willing to work pro bono to protect the image of the Cub Scouting program). I'm not outraged, even though I'm an eagle scout, but I'm severely disappointed in any organization that "steals" an image for personal gain. That is wrong. As the Scout Law states, "A scout is Trustworthy"...you, PT, are not. Just get rid of the image. I don't care about what you have written (I happen to agree with the story/analogy), but theft is theft, and theft of a Cub Scout image is done in poor taste. Please take me off your list, and just fix the situation rather than justifying your mistake.

Brian K. Houghton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
BYU-Hawaii #1956
Reply to Professor Houghton
written by Publisher, April 16, 2008
Dear Professor Houghton,

Thanks for taking the time to write. Up front and as I said earlier, if the BSA objects, we will take down the image. And, it doesn't have to come from their attorneys. PT respects non-lawyer's opinions as well. Yours, for example. As a former scout myself, though, I hope they won't for exactly the reasons you indicate.

There's no personal gain here: as stated, we're not trying to sell uniforms or handbooks. Nor are we in any way attempting to pass "Grim Fairy Tale" off as coming from Scout Headquarters. So, I would respectfully disagree that we have stolen anything. Nor do I believe we are tarnishing the image of scouting - quite the opposite. What we are suggesting is that the Scouts - and for that matter, our country as a whole - stand for certain values. Among them is "being Trustworthy." Others, and I don't have my Handbook in front of me, are being "loyal" and "courageous" and "watching out for fellow scouts."

Somewhere alongside my Scout uniform is my US Army uniform: I was among the last of the draftees. I could have probably found some excuse not to serve. I thought about it, but in the end, understood that I owed my country more than that. Now, thousands of my buddies are coming home in body bags or with multiple body parts missing because of a "policy" (or lack thereof) that has served little or no purpose other than one of "mass destruction" -- of people and places. And, it doesn't stop there: we have a political decision making process that is fundamentally broken. One, for example, that allocates billions and billions of dollars to military hardware, pork, and campaign consultants at the expense of our schools, families, and basic infrastructure. And, when we as Americans want to understand why, our Senate can't even find time to discuss the issue.

I appreciate that you agree with the principle thrust of the letter. If you -and others like you, who take the time to express your thoughts - don't act on those principles, you and your children will have a lot more to worry about than use of a Wolf Scout image for the very reasons Scouting was created in the first place.

As requested, however, we will take your name off PT's subscription list.

Second (bad) wolf from Walt Disney
written by Dennis 93555, April 16, 2008
I believe the second (bad) wolf is a Walt Disney Co. image, which is probably copyrighted.
'Bad' Wolf revealed
written by Publisher, April 16, 2008

Thanks – well done. You’ve completed the metaphor (allegory). We’re great fans of Disney (and certainly when Walt was in charge). Any connection between what happened to our Cub Scout (‘good’) wolf, and the TV/video culture that has consumed much of our society, provided the end-game for all too many of our elected officials, and er, distracted otherwise thoughtful people from the larger issues?
International editor & Author
written by Rebecca Fannin, April 19, 2008
Dear Publisher,
I agree with the tale you told. PT is among those who see these trends developing and has taken the time to express your concerns about the future leadership of the U.S.

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