Why Michigan trees are the right height

How Michigan trees are the right height for Romney.

The blogosphere is unnecessarily puzzled by Mitt Romney’s repeated claims, to audiences of Michigan Republicans, that

The trees are the right height.

I explained all this a fortnight ago. The question whether trees have the “right height” has meaning only for large, long-necked herbivores; in our day giraffes, in the Jurassic many different and much bigger sorts of sauropod dinosaur.

The Michigan white pine, pinus strobus, has a normal maximum height of around 45m, and the current record-holder reaches 56m. So it’s about half the presumptuous (and evolutionarily problematic) height of the Californian coast redwood. Young white pines are therefore just right – for brachiosaurs.

Vast, tiny-brained juggernauts, trampling their way through opposition by sheer mass towards their single hard-wired goal of hoovering up every vote leaf in sight and transforming them into mounds of poop.
Remind you of the Romney campaign?

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

9 thoughts on “Why Michigan trees are the right height”

  1. Too bad George Washington didn’t have the presence of mind to tell his father that he had chopped down the cherry tree because it was the wrong height.

  2. Until I hear otherwise from a historian who specializes in US elections:

    Romney holds the record for presidential campaign pandering.
    Like champagne bubbles, Romney panders.
    It just oozes relentlessly out of him.

    So much so, it’s a wonder his wife can stand him.

  3. You should try living for an extended time in an unfamiliar landscape. You will understand what Romney means, even if he can’t express it well.

    If you have spent extended time in one type of forest, other forests look and feel wrong. It feels good to be in the forest, but it is unfamiliar at the same time. It is alienating in the other forests– something familiar is strange.

    I’ve seen the wrong kind of trees, the wrong kind of snow, the wrong kind of farms (crops tractors and barns), and the wrong kind of lakes. It sounds funny but it is very reassuring to see the right place. Romney was trying to convey that.

    Attack Romney because he is making the wrong kind of America– he will make everything right for the one percent, while claiming it is right for the middle class. (Just don’t call it alienating).

    1. I’m with the ev. psych. boys on this: all forests feel wrong and a bit alien, compared to our ideal landscape, a savannah with water and shelter, and (I’ve been privileged to see this at dawn in Kenya near Lake Naivasha) giraffes browsing the scattered acacias.

  4. Actually, the reason trees go tall is not in order to escape herbivores. It’s in order to be taller than other trees.

    Being tall has all sorts of disadvantages – you spend a huge amount of energy building a big wooden central column; you become more vulnerable to wind, and therefore you need to modify your root system to make youself more stable; you need to figure out how to get water and nutrients up and down over long distance. The only advantage you have is that you are taller than your neighbor, and therefore you get the sun and put him in the shade, rather than the other way around. Since sunlight is food, the tall trees eat and the shorter trees go hungry.

  5. The vividness of Mr. W.’s pieces and his lexical command often astonish me. Now he’s outdone himself: a juggernaut hoovering things up. Woot!

    1. Sauropod brains, like those of elderly bloggers and GOP candidates, don’t run to the finer points of consistency and style.
      A proper Jagannath chariot (45′ high) would have plenty of room for a vacuum attachment, though it wouldn’t be canonical.

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