Everyone knows what senior civil servants are like. They're all grey in colour; they read summaries of books that discuss how to team-build effectively through inspirational PowerPoint presentations; if they once dreamt of anything else, those sweet dreams of youth are now long dead.

Now an exciting new item out of the States knocks those assumptions into a cocked hat. It seems it is possible to hold on to the passions that define you extracurricularly even while haunting the corridors of power (who knew they had those in Michigan?).

CNN reports that, "For nearly six months, Andrew Shirvell, an assistant attorney general for the state of Michigan, has waged an internet campaign against college student Chris Armstrong, the openly gay student assembly president at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor." And not just an internet campaign, really, when you consider that Shirvell has also picketed Armstrong's family home. Primarily, though, Shirvell has conducted what he calls his "Chris Armstong Watch" through his blog.

Shirvell has decided to spend his time targeting Armstrong rather than, say, dragon-boat racing or playing competitive Scrabble, because he feels that Armstrong is "Satan's representative on the student assembly." He claims it's within his rights to identify Satan's local representative because he is acting as a private citizen. Wouldn't you start a blog if a minion of Satan were agitating for extended cafeteria hours at your local post-secondary institution?

And anyone who thinks that politics and loyalty are incompatible is in for a pleasant surprise. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox has made no move to remove Shirvell, although CNN's legal correspondent assures me that it is entirely within his rights to do so, regardless of the First Amendment. It's possible this lack of action has something to do with the fact that Shirvell and Cox share many strong Conservative values and that Cox is interested in retaining the support of the evangelical Christian voting bloc. 

So all in all, a lovely and heart-warming tale with a couple of important lessons:
1) Civil servants don't have to choose between personal interests and taxpayers' money; and,
2) Even in politics, you can still count on your friends, as long as you all hate Satan.

Send the Catastrophizer your requests for advice and/or rationalizations using the form conveniently provided HEREI will publish my responses on the THE CATASTROPHIZER page.

POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you are not entertained, fair enough. Also, I'm not very good at copy-editing, so if something looks wrong, it was put there by accident.

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