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Archive for October 23rd, 2008

From a Real Alaskan

A recent guest column in the Seattle Post Intelligencer is definitely worth a read.  Seth Kanter, an Alaskan native, does an informative (and humorous) job explaining how people in our 50th state advance in business and in politics.

Here’s an excerpt…

That Sarah Palin is one unreal Alaskan

By SETH KANTNER
GUEST COLUMNIST

I’m sitting on my bearskin chair beside the woodstove, in Kotzebue, Alaska, 50 miles above the Arctic Circle, while outside the ocean begins to freeze over. Inside I have about 49 things piling up to say to you, America.

I’m an Alaskan — born in an igloo, enjoy whale muktuk, all that — and in case you aren’t sick of our state by now, I’ll start off with an apology for one of our residents: Sarah Palin.

We Alaskans are not generally so magazine-pretty like her, nor are we so confrontational and vapid. Most of us don’t have those peachy cheeks — we have sunburn, windburn and frostbite. Our fingernails are dirty from actually gutting moose, not yakking about it. Our hands are chapped from picking thousands of salmon out of nets, not holding one up for the camera.

Having said that, here in Alaska we are accustomed to getting jobs we’re not qualified to fill. In our far-flung villages and towns we have big money surrounded by big wilderness; the combination causes warped career opportunities. Sort of an Edge of Nowhere phenomenon — cousin to the Bridge to Nowhere one.

For example, in the village closest to the wilderness homestead where I was raised, I remember standing in my friend’s cabin when his dad got a call on the CB radio: “People are writing you in for mayor.”

“Nope!” my friend’s dad transmitted. “Tell ’em no, I ain’t doing that.” He spit in a can, peered out the door at his Honda generator — idling rough — an extension cord running up the hill and under his door, to power the rerun of “Dukes of Hazzard” he was watching.

If he’d lived in Wasilla 25 years later, he could have responded, “Call Sarah, she’ll want it.”

-end-

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