Stealing lawn signs: an act of civil disobedience or amazing stupidity?

In an Oct. 30 article in the Huffington Post titled, Confessions of a Lawn Sign Stealer, St. Olaf visiting professor Phil Busse (theatre dept) wrote:

phil-busse If I need to justify my actions, I could argue that I was trying to achieve some great public service for rural voters. In his 2004 book, What’s The Matter With Kansas, Frank Rich explains that working class and family farmers, like these in Minnesota, increasingly vote conservative and against their own interests. By pulling out the McCain signs, I was hoping to curb the impression for passing motorists that family farmers in Minnesota supported McCain. Or, at least that’s the most high-minded explanation that I can offer.

Busse is also Executive Director of the Northwest Institute for Social Change (more bio info on that page).

See today’s Nfld News article titled St. Olaf prof confesses to sign theft in blog.

Writing the essay was an opportunity to explore and talk about political speech and the desire that most of us have to express our politics — both in mature and immature ways, and sometimes a mix of the two,” Busse said in the e-mail. “I’m disappointed that most readers seem to have focused on the thefts, and not on the larger thoughts.”

Here’s an immature thought: I’m now voting for McCain/Palin. That’ll show ’em!


  1. Curt Benson said:

    Here’s an article from the St. Olaf student newspaper that answers the question “what the hell is Phil “Kamakazi” Busse doing wearing a speedo, holding a pneumatic nail gun?” — as pictured in the City Pages article.

    It seems Busse was a model for a softcore pornographic website called, which features men wearing women’s underwear.

    November 9, 2008
  2. kiffi summa said:

    Bright and Jerold … Yeah, had some great ideas for this time but didn’t do any of them because decided it was going to be a no-cost-except-time answering-questions ‘campaign’.
    and Jerold … what’s the matter with NF doing something “for the sake of being better than other cities” ? Cities need role models and leaders, too; I’d like NF to be a role model for other cities… not for the sake of bragging, just for the sake of setting an example of thoughtful innovation.

    November 9, 2008
  3. Jerry Friedman said:

    Kiffi: That’s kind’a, sort’a what I meant. I would love for Northfield to be the envy of other cities for our excellence and innovation, not for the sake of bragging. I wouldn’t think it’s dignifying to be the city with the best drunken bowlers…

    November 9, 2008

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