Idit-a-hater Margery Glickman is at it again.
St. Louis Post Dispatch outdoors columnist Tim Renken reports she has mailed a new round of letters to the media to protest the upcoming Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race as "a barbaric ritual," a "travesty of grueling proportions" and an "illegal sweatshop for dogs."
Needless to say, I was not among the media that got Glickman's letter. Last time I heard from Glickman was a response to my suggestion that people who didn't like her ideas bombard her with e-mail -- in much the same way she had suggested Idit-a-haters attack Iditarod sponsors.
Glickman thought I was harassing her. I certainly didn't think I was, but then Glickman knows a lot more about harassment than I do.
From everything I've seen, Glickman can claim to be an expert on the subject.
Time was when I wrote this off to Glickman's being a misguided do-gooder.
America, as we all know, has no shortage of those folks these days. You don't have to look far to find someone willing to dictate how everyone else should live, behave and think.
Most of these people fail to see the subtle distinction between behavior that meets the standard of social unacceptability and that which is merely disagreeable.
Socially unacceptable behavior is when you come into my house and smoke without asking. I have every right to tell you to take it outside because I don't like to breathe the smoke.
Personally disagreeable behavior is when a bunch of people get together in a smoker's home and fill it up with smoke. You might not like it. You might think it's unhealthful. You might choose to leave if invited into a house like this.
But it's really not your place to start lecturing those smokers on whether they should smoke or spray them all down with a hose to put out their cigarettes.
In a civilized society, we tolerate differences up to the point that they infringe on others.
For instance, I find the hugely obese even more disagreeable than smokers. I am offended when I see people 100 pounds overweight stuffing huge quantities of food down their throats. It's not good for them to eat themselves to death; it's not good for the rest of us either.
What all that extra weight does to their bodies ends up putting every bit as much of a burden on our health care system as cigarette smoking. But what people want to do with their bodies is their decision.
I might not like it, but it's none of my business. It's not my place to jerk hamburgers out of anyone's hand and start lecturing on the evils of overindulging.
The do-gooders of the world don't see it this way.
They are true believers, and for true believers there is no room for tolerance, no middle ground where we all put up with each other's sometimes disagreeable behaviors and beliefs.
You must either share their values or suffer their wrath.
Thus they can justify splashing paint on the fur coats of innocents because they think trapping is painful or sinful -- pick one. And never mind that for a wild animal to die in a trap is no more painful or sinful than any other way it might die in the wild.
There are no easy ends in the wild kingdom. No doctors. No pain medications. No retirement homes.
Wild animals go until they starve to death or freeze to death or meet the predators that eat them alive. Nature is a beautifully ugly place.
If the Margery Glickmans of the world went out and actually lived in nature, they would probably be offended by it too. But they don't go there.
Glickman hangs out, according to various press reports, in Miami, where people think the wilderness is the outdoor theme park at Disney World. From that perspective, Lord knows what the Iditarod looks like.
I can easily see Glickman being offended by the race -- if, of course, I accept that she is just a misguided do-gooder.
Frankly, though, I've come to have my doubts. I'm beginning to think she might just be a shameless publicity seeker.
She has certainly gained more attention from a few years of attacking the Iditarod than most midpack Iditarod competitors have earned for running the race. She didn't have to do much to get all of that attention either, while those midpackers had to do a lot just to get a tiny bit of recognition.
The Iditarod isn't exactly easy. In fact, more people have reached the summit of Mount Everest than have completed the trip from Anchorage to Nome behind a dog sled.
Glickman would, no doubt, counter that the people didn't run to Nome, the dogs did.
But by that standard, Vince Lombardi never won a Super Bowl either. He simply drove a bunch of other guys to win the Super Bowl -- in much the same way Doug Swingley has driven a bunch of dogs to win the past three Iditarods.
Lombardi didn't do it by whipping or beating his players. He did it by finding the best ways to motivate them to play up to their potential. Swingley does the same thing.
You don't put together a successful Iditarod team by making the dogs run. Anyone who thinks that will work has never put a dog in front of a sled. You don't get anywhere by trying to make the dog pull. You get somewhere by encouraging the dog when it wants to pull.
Likewise, you don't win the Iditarod by making dogs race. You win the Iditarod by encouraging dogs to race and then training them to rest when they foolishly want to keep racing until they drop.
There is a huge difference between these things that Glickman probably would never understand even if she wanted to try.
If Glickman stopped attacking the Iditarod, after all, she would lose all that attention. And I'm coming to think that's Glickman's life.
I no longer think she's a misguided do-gooder. I think she's someone who thrives on the idea that she's a do-gooder and the attention this brings from a small band of Idit-a-hating wackos.
What a sad life.
Outdoors editor Craig Medred is an opinion column who can be reached at email@example.com or 907-257-4588.