Scene In Passing: Sugar-coated gherkins can rot months

It’s gherkin time, and the gherkin crew is jerkin’ everyone around these days.

Gherkin, in this case, puts us all in a pickle because in this context it actually involves cucumber season — in fact, shriveled cucumber season — which in America is referred to as the silly season.

Back in the day around here the silly season referred to political pre-primary and primary periods or to the time of year when media outlets didn’t have sufficient news during the dog days of summer. In the former case, stories were trivial but overblown. In the latter, that also applied but even hoax stories appeared. In varying degrees, in other words, a heaping helping of hoax was on tap.

Those loose silly season definitions come from the Urban Dictionary. But broadening to Wikipedia, which includes other nations and languages, you get a more rural dictionary look. You’re in cucumber/gherkin murkiness.

“In many languages,” according to Wikipedia, “the name for the silly season references cucumbers (more precisely, gherkins, or pickled cucumbers).” As an example, Wikipedia said the German word Sauregurkenzeit is translated pickled cucumber season. But it noted Swedes don’t mess around just with rural-sounding shrunken vegetable names; they get right to the point, calling it Rotmanadshistonia, or “rotting month story.”

So here we are in the midst of political unhappy hour and, month after rotting month, silly season trivia spews at us with many more months to come. The general election is more than a year away. What used to occur in the summer doldrums, in short political primary races, or even in the languid the late summer weeks of post-convention and pre-September general election frenzy, now has become monstrous political palaver without merit.

Empty suits spew empty rhetoric. Who needs real trivia or actual hoax stories when you have the likes of Trumped up silliness or many another gherkin lurkin’ in every TV newscast, seemingly From Here To Eternity?

The 2016 presidential election, which apparently started in mid-November of 2012, is a national nightmare whether you call it silly season, cucumber season, gherkin season or whatever. It can’t be called rotting month story time in this country. Let’s instead call it rotting century story time.

Locally it’s better, though not much. I was reminded politics even started more than a year out around here when Maurice White used his 57th birthday on Thursday last week to announce he’s running again for the Board of Supervisors. Not that he or Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, who holds the Ward 2 seat White covets, are doing anything wrong to start nearly 13 months from general election day. Nor does either seem to like it much.

Bonkowski hasn’t formally announced, as did White, but acknowledges he intended to run. When White announced, he declined to share how much money he has raised, or will, but it’s clear he knows the race will prove costly. As for Bonkowski, a key supporter said he has verbal commitments amounting to more than his supervisory annual salary for a campaign war chest when he does announce. He confirmed upward of $30,000 awaits his entry.

Such amounts are peanuts compared to state or national races, but show politics even at the local level is at least hardball, if not blood sport. Yet this column isn’t about that. It’s about gherkins (or free media exposure), not peanuts or big bucks (for paid media exposure). It’s about perspective.

In the gherkin realm, media folks who make editorial decisions and news judgments need to keep the rotting months to a minimum despite continual pressure from candidates up and down the line.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at


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