Friday, July 14, 2017

I just had my mind blown

The small city about 40 miles south of Indianapolis where I live gets occasional national attention. Mike Pence is from here. Tony Stewart is as well, and still lives here. Cummins, the world's premier diesel engine maker, is headquartered here. It is considered a design showcase due to the high concentration of mid-century modernist architecture. An indie film set and filmed here, starring Hayley Lu Richardson, John Cho and Parker Posey, that debuted at the Sundance Festival earlier this year, has a plot and theme hinging on that identity.

Now, a pair of twin brothers from the Athens of the Prairie comes onto the radar screen with a tale in which Pence and Todd Young make cameo appearances. It's a tale that includes cult involvement, stints in Brazil and Thailand, and a rap act, just for starters.

Just a while ago, a friend, Justin Hohn, a conservative with his head on straight and who is a good blogger, linked to a 2012 post on his blog about a tax plan from a congressional candidate back in 2010 named Travis Hankins, who happened to be from Columbus. In the post, he tells how after saying some critical things about the plan back then in a Facebook exchange, Travis got into a snit with him, banning Justin from his Facebook page.

Justin didn't say anything about Travis having returned to public attention in today's Facebook post, but I can see now what prompted him.

Now, I knew Travis a little bit, and his brother Aaron, too. When he was running for Congress, he used to appear occasionally as a guest on the radio show right after Stirring Something Up, my food-and-cooking show on Saturdays at WCSI-AM. He found out I was a conservative and we’d talk politics & ideology a little. Well, he started bugging me to use my Republic opinion column to talk up his congressional campaign. Not wanting to, I just kind of put him off. Not too long afterward, I lost touch with him and Aaron.

So under Justin’s post today, I recounted this and said, “I wonder where they are.”

Well, another guy put up this link, to a New York Magazine article - in the current issue! - that is a profile of them. It’s about the wildest tale I’ve come across in years, and I’d say that if it weren’t about the Hankins brothers. 

I won’t even try to summarize it for you. It’s rather lengthy, so find a time when you can really settle in and take it in. Seriously, it reads like some dark-comedy novel.

And then watch this video. But don’t watch the video until you read the article!

"Wow" doesn't begin to suffice as a reaction. I just kind of thought of the Hankins brothers as nice, fairly sharp fellows who maybe needed to get some substance-instilling accomplishments under their belts, when I thought of them at all.

They've been busy since they last spent any time in my cognitive field.


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  2. You realize this article was not crafted to put Mike Pence, Todd Young, Christian fundamentalism, political conservatism, Indiana, Indiana University or Columbus, Indiana in any kind of good light dontcha? I rather resent the last 3 being lumped in there with it all.

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