Bigfoot is big again.
Sightings of the big hairy guy are coming in monthly and making national news when they do. He even has his own TV series on the Animal Planet channel. Fischer Price released a remote-controlled Bigfoot toy with a foot as a controller a couple years ago (only $34 at Amazon.com.). The national obsession for Bigfoot is reaching epidemic levels in part fueled by YouTube galore.
Bigfoot last enjoyed such presence on the national stage back in the 1970s. During that decade he was featured in films, made cameos in “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman,” and had his own TV series, “Bigfoot and Wildboy.” Bigfoot and Wildboy would get into weekly adventures where Bigfoot would show off his karate-kicking leaping ability. We’re sure it was as big a ratings hit as “Finding Bigfoot” is these days on cable.
Milton-Bradley toys got in bed with marketing geniuses and came up with the Bigfoot board game, where the goal was to avoid being eaten by Bigfoot in the mountains of Alaska.
We’ve exhaustingly researched the ‘Foot phenomena and found the spoon that stirs the Bigfoot furor these days compared with its noble exultation in the ‘70s–it’s having a Democrat in the White House dealing with a struggling economy. Let’s look and the then and now of this fuzzy situation.
In the ‘70s we had Jimmy Carter in the White House battling high unemployment and a couple of recessions. Recovery was slow and Carter repeatedly asked the nation for patience. The country was then saddled with high inflation as the government flooded the money supply to fight off the recession. He also got involved in a war in Afghanistan, helping locals fight the Soviets.
Carter also kept a sharp focus on energy issues. Skyrocketing gas prices had him calling for more solar panels, better fuel mileage for cars, and a national plan for renewable energy sources towards less reliance on foreign oil. He faced a Congress that was sharply divided over his efforts and many of his plans were thwarted under the Dome.
He also offered an assessment of America in his famous “malaise” speech that could be given on the stump during the latest election campaigns. (For the record, he never said “malaise.”)
“I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy. … It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. … Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning….”
The current state of affairs in Washington and in the national perspective is scarily familiar: The country’s workforce has been bathing in a recession for the past five years; Congress stonewalls presidential initiatives purely for political reasons; energy issues are at the forefront of national policy; and fears of inflation are beginning to surface as the feds try to figure another way out of the recession. And there’s that war in Afghanistan.
Squatch sightings will no doubt continue as the beast enjoys his huge multi-million-dollar resurgence. And given that the past predicates the future, we should be ready for more hair coming to a locale near you.
Doug Hissom writes a weekly environmental column for Baltimore Post-Examiner. He has covered local and state politics in Wisconsin for more than 20 years. Over the course of that time he was publisher, editor, news editor, managing editor and senior writer at the Shepherd Express weekly paper in Milwaukee. He also covered education and environmental issues extensively. He ran the UWM Post in the mid-1980s, winning a Society of Professional Journalists award as best non-daily college newspaper. An avid outdoors person he regularly takes extended paddling trips in the wilderness, preferring the hinterlands of northern Canada and Alaska. After a bet with a bunch of sailors, he paddled across Lake Michigan in a canoe.