I woke this morning to the news that Punxsutawney Phil had seen his shadow and therefore we are in for 6 more weeks of winter.
Though I, like many, have become inured to such unilateral statements in recent years–it got me wondering just who this Punxsutawney Phil thinks he is! Surely his prediction of the coming weather for 2014 is, at best, a guess–but does it have any true bearing upon me?
First off there’s the question of jurisdiction. Perhaps Phil’s prediction has bearing on people in Pennsylvania, but I live in North Carolina and am clearly under no compunction to follow the strange vagaries of Pennsylvanian law outside of the confines of that state.
The US Constitution makes no statement about the powers invested to such rodents–burrowing or otherwise, and clearly the tenth amendment leaves the interpretation of and adherence to such proclamations up to the individual states.
The people of Pennsylvania, suffering as they have by the ongoing conflict between Snyders of Hanover and Snyders of Berlin (and let me just add parenthetically that I hope that conflict will soon be resolved)–while those people may be beguiled by such rodental prognostications that the rest of the country need not pay heed–strictly on a Constitutional basis.
However, upon digging a little deeper, I discovered that Punxsutawney Phil is not even a licensed meteorologist! Turns out that he’s not even an observational stringer for the Associated Press! And we’re supposed to take him seriously?
Accreditation aside, let’s look at the finer points of his so-called “predictions”. According to this morning’s news release, Phil “saw his shadow” and therefore we are supposed to experience 6 more weeks of winter. Today is February 2. Six weeks from now is March 15– a mere five days before the Vernal Equinox (a much more scientific method of calculating the seasonal change by all accounts). Seriously? If Phil’s prediction is off, running over by only a couple of days he can excuse it as a statistical aberration; while it’s obvious that if spring arrives early that Phil’s legion of sycophantic followers will hail that break in the weather to Phil’s remarkable powers being superior even beyond what was previously indicated.
If I were you, America, I’d think long and hard about where this rodent’s predictions are leading.
While not generally given to such notions as picayune examinations of the details of the private lives of public figures (or other such practices that lead, almost inevitably down the path to “witch-hunts”) I would propose that some investigation into the relationship between Punxsutawney Phil and the insulation industry might be in order. It is my understanding that Groundhogs and Panthers (even those bearing an unusual pink pigmentation) are cousins, and that one might be inclined to at least look into the nepotistic relationship that might exist between these two.
Additionally it has long been established that Groundhogs are burrowing animals and that Pennsylvania is the original “oil rich” state. Perhaps some relation between the heating-oil industry and Punxsutawney Phil exists that would be benefitted by Phil’s predictions of a so-called “long winter.”
If nothing else, I believe that Punxsutawney Phil is leading our nation astray with no more than the most base form of hokum dressed up in increasing levels of theatrics. Superstition dressed up in fancy clothes!
Beware Americans, beware.