Opinion

Flogging dead horses

To the editor:

Ever hear the saying “Flogging a dead horse?” It’s an idiom for continuing a particular act that is a waste of time as the outcome has already been decided.

Conspiracy theorists love to flog dead horses. What, you may ask, is a conspiracy theorist? First, conspiracy theory (CT): Webster’s dictionary defines it as “a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators”; a conspiracy theorist is one who creates and believes in CTs.

Some of the more popular historical examples of CTs concern John F. Kennedy’s assassination, the 1969 Apollo moon landing and the 9/11 terrorists attacks. More recent examples are “Deep State” and “QAnon” conspiracies being pushed by Trump and Trump cultists (and these are doozies!)

A more local conspiracy, however, was put forth in a letter to the editor by by Richard Pelletier Jr. in the SJVT of Aug. 8 where he seems to indicate that there is a concerted effort by certain people in power to hide the extent of a sewage spill from 2017 in Long Lake and its concurrent health effects. I personally talked to Mr. Pelletier a couple weeks back when he was going through town trying to draw support for a petition for a public meeting on the issue. Among other statements he made was that this sewage spill a year ago may be the cause of bathers contracting “swimmers itch” this spring. I beg to differ on this one.

Swimmers itch is caused by a parasite from the flatworm family called Schistosomatidae. These parasites live in waterfowl and some mammals, such as ducks, geese, gulls, beavers and muskrats. During their life cycle, these parasites are shed in freshwater lakes and ponds via feces of their hosts, which then shed eggs that can then attach to human skin when they go bathing, thus causing the red itching papules/pimples.  

Swimmer’s Itch has a complete natural explanation for it — no CTs of leaked sewage need be used to explain it.

As to the lake testing, couldn’t Mr Pelletier just do a fund drive among his inner circle and have the lake water tested? A maximum of just $200 to $300 should be able to do it. This most certainly would help answer his question about whether the lake water is contaminated or not.

As to the rest of Mr. Pelletier’s letter, much of the argument remains the same: What exactly is Mr. Pelletier trying to prove here? The leaked sewage is a fact. What occurs from there, and the conspiracy that Mr. Pelletier is trying to attach to it, simply makes no sense whatsoever.

It simply is just another “flogging of a dead horse” conspiracy thinking gone awry.

James P. Chasse
St Agatha

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