Remember in the movie Phenomenon when John Travolta sees a flash of light in the sky and is given extraordinary mental abilities? Well, last week, Republican state Sen. Oley Larsen was apparently abducted by aliens, because when he came back, he was an English major.
Somehow, Oley, who heretofore hadn't even been able to spell his first and last names right, suddenly became Euripides, appropriate, because based on past communications with him, Greek is his first language.
I knew something was up when I read his non-apologetic apology for posting a meme that falsely asserted that a “terrorist” holding an automatic weapon was Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar. Now, before the abduction, I wouldn't have expected an apology, let alone one full of multisyllabic words, but there it was, on Facebook, so it must be true.
The old Oley might have said something like “Me bad,” or “I'm just a caveman. Your ways confuse and frighten me.” Post-abduction Oley wrote, “I’m sorry for spreading fake news. As an elected official, the public and the media are right to hold me to a higher standard.” Then he quoted Homer and a little James Joyce.
He refused to apologize to Omar, though, because even though the picture was taken four years before she was born, Oley knows a thing or two about time travel, thanks to the aliens. For the record, however, he doesn't want to talk about what happened in the spaceship on that cold, metal examination table.
Then, it got really weird. North Dakota conservative icon Rob Port took Oley to task for his fake newsery, and as you can imagine, Republicans were furious. Et tu, Porte'? (That's not Greek. Russian, I think.) Some Republicans were mad that Oley even half-apologized. Most were frustrated by his use of big words.
Then, there was the debate about Port calling Oley a racist, which is much worse than anything I ever called him. Before this column, anyway. They're still mad at me in Minot for saying that Oley has liberal hair. I'm not saying it's long, but at first I thought he was one of the Dixie Chicks.
Anyway, the argument from Oley's supporters was that Muslim is not a race, so he couldn't possibly be a racist. So to clarify, technically, Oley's a bigot, although Rob might fight you on that specific point. So you had Port fighting Oley, die-hard Republicans fighting Oley and Rob Port, and Democrats piling on Oley while defending Port. It was like a cage match. I think Oley's working on the screenplay.
As you can imagine, being branded a racist or a bigot or whatever, is not the kind of thing New Enlightened Oley wants. The man's got a reputation. So, to prove he's not a racist or a bigot, he revealed that he's Native American and a card-carrying member of the Kluane First Nation. He also has a black friend. On behalf of Elizabeth Warren, I want to see the DNA.
Actually, Port researched it, and he says Oley's telling the truth. So maybe that was Oley I saw at Standing Rock in 2016! I forget which side he was on.