Obama, werewolves and silver…er…magic bullets

Oct 17, 2011

While we’re on the subject of magic bullets, please indulge this brief sidebar.

Schisms happen.  There was once a tremendous split between the (now) Roman Catholic Church and the (now) Eastern Orthodox Church.  Today there’s also a Great Schism in the bullet world.

Namely, between those who say magic bullet and those who say silver bullet — both parties referring to an economic quick fix.

On one side, you have President Obama, who may be the highest profile proponent of the term silver bullet. While pitching his jobs plan to a recent joint session of Congress he said, “It should not be nor will it be the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it, to be persistent, to keep trying every new idea that works.”

On the other side, you have certain members of the Changing Gears team who grow cranky at the mere mention of silver bullets.

I’m talking about you, Sarah Alvarez. And you, News Director Vincent Duffy.

To find out why, I went to visit Curtis Sullivan at Vault of Midnight, a comic book store in Ann Arbor. He cut to the chase:

“My understanding is silver bullets are used to kill werewolves.”

This man has his finger on the pulse of fantasy and folklore.

“So silver, I immediately think: Kill a werewolf,” he said.

Now, I can’t speak authoritatively on this. But a later, highly unscientific search of The Google revealed that magic bullet and silver bullet are indeed interchangeable these days. That may be because weapons made of silver were long believed to be THE quick and sure way to kill monsters. Silver bullets were an immediate solution to an intractable problem.

While I was still chatting with Sullivan, it occurred to me that he was actually the perfect person to talk to about magic bullets.  He’s a small-business owner after all.  So I asked him if magic/silver bullets actually exist.

“I don’t believe in the magic bullet for the economy,” he said.  “They need a super-rip-the-whole-thing-down-start-over-major-giant-ideas-millions-of-magic-bullets.  Not just one.”

“Not just one,” seems to be the theme this week.  So now that we’ve resolved this pressing semantic issue, let’s get back to what really matters: how to nurture sustainable jobs and industries in the Midwest. Stay tuned.