Are there any sociology graduate students out there looking for a dissertation topic? Oh brilliant minds, if you haven’t figured it out by now, small towns can be fertile ground for research. And Homer? Holy doctorate, we’re like potatoes to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
For example, an alert reader pointed out an interesting correlation between the Winter Carnival and the emergence of the annual winter controversy. Coincidence? See, there’s your dissertation. Is the Winter Carnival a contributor to the development of the controversy or a necessary condition? Hmm. Write a grant and go forth and interview.
Not that Homer always has a winter controversy. There have been years some malcontents try to stir up trouble, and we’re like, Dude, go play hockey. That could be another dissertation. Why do we enjoy some winters free of drama? Why in some years do we not have winter at all, as defined by cold and snow?
Whoa! That could be another topic: “The relationship between climate change and sociopolitical debate in a small Alaska town.” Climate change is hip, you know. That dissertation will almost write itself.
Yes, the Betster knows what you’re thinking, oh dear reader. How can Homer make money off this? If you figure that we’re going to grump and feud, that ought to bring in some much needed revenues, right? Maybe the college could get a grant for a supercomputer just to crunch all that tricky data.
But the real value in the annual winter controversy comes from the pure entertainment value. OK, sometimes the topics are serious and real important. Think of the value of people debating nicely. They go to city council meetings instead of getting hammered. They engage their minds in research. They hone their speaking technique. They form social bonds with like minded people. Hey — that’s another dissertation topic, “The social utility of small town controversies.” Genius!
Or, we could just do what we always do and get out and play, like with these awesome Best Bets:
BEST YOU TELL ’EM BET: Should the state have an income tax? Voice your opinion at 6 p.m. today in audioconference testimony at the Legislative Information Office. Arrive early to sign up and testify.
BEST YOU REALLY TELL ’EM BET: They’re expecting an overflow house at the Homer City Council meeting starting at 6 p.m. Monday in the Cowles Council Chambers, Homer City Hall. If you want to testify on a whole raft of cannabis issues, now’s your chance. There will be extra seating to listen in the Planning Department or tune in at KBBI Public Radio 890 AM.
BEST STATE READ BET: “Blonde Indian” is this season’s Alaska Reads book. At 6 p.m. Friday, author Ernestine Hayes visits the Homer Public Library to speak about and read from her book. She also does a writing workshop at 11 a.m. Saturday. Call 435-3195 for details.
BEST WE’RE OFF BET: What can the evil geniuses of Stepping Out do to “The Wizard of Oz?” Well, lots, it turns out, when they revive the plot Homer style in “The Wizard of Odds.” There are some awesome performers. The musical is at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Mariner Theatre