The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

The End of Bill and Bob (for now?)

saint st. bonfacius billboard

So last week I drove down to Hwy 7 and was delighted to be reminded that the first of the month means (possible billboard changes). And nothing delighted me more than to see an advertisement for Grove Bank instead of Bill and Bob’s empty rhetoric. But the real question was… did the other side get the same treatment?

Yes, it did! Now there’s a beautiful sign welcoming you to St. Bonifacius, with a lovely photograph of a bike trail in the fall (see above).

Does this mean Bill and Bob are no more? I doubt it. I’ve seen their tirades come and go before. But now that Biden’s in office and the pandemic is trickling down, maybe they don’t have the supportive social bubble they once did.

My god, that thing’s been up for a year. I was about ready to contact Naegle and see if they were actually paying for all this time up or just no one wanted to put up something new. Maybe I could do a “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” on them. How much could a billboard for a month cost? Three hundred dollars?

I would’ve put up puppies.

Dogs Wallpapers Backgrounds: Happy Puppies Funny Dog Wallpapers Backgrounds

Bill & Bob: Where Are They Now?

bill and bob's roast beef

So I’m sure you’re all dying to know what’s happened to Bill and Bob since my first article in 2016 and my second in 2019. They ain’t gone away, that’s for sure. I thought they did, but like the cat, they came back. And I still gotta stare at this shit every time I work out.

I can’t remember when it went up but the one that said “Dear Congress, ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL, Sincerely Bill & Bob” returned. I think it originally appeared because of the disagreements over immigration policy (i.e. children in cages), but it became especially appropriate around the impeachment (they don’t change their billboards often). That was up for a long time.

Then someone spraypainted out the second “IL”, making it “ILLEGAL IS LEGAL“. Not the cleverest bit of graffiti. It was probably just some dumb kid, but I want to sing this guy’s praises from Facebook to NextDoor. Thank you for taking a stand against these cowards. Thank you for making some kind of change to the same ugly picture that stands like a blackhead at our tiny intersection.

Then a week later they took the whole thing down and replaced it with some kind of home financing advertisement. And that was even better. I thought “Thank God Bill & Bob ran out of money and I don’t have to see their trite takes anymore.”

But no, they’re back. And now they’ve got both sides of the billboard. I see it on my way to the gym, I see while I’m working out, I see it on my way back home.

The worst one has been “Dear Mayor Walz, IT’S TIME”. This was put up around March, when everything started closing down. You remember all the tension and questions: “what are people going to do about their jobs?” “Or school?” “How will I get my Starbucks?” “How long is this going to last?” “Will any of this work?” “Can the economy afford this?”

“Open Up · Use Common Sense · No Bad Data”? Well, if you are using common sense then you wouldn’t open up. And Minnesota doesn’t have bad data. We’re not like Florida where they fire people who don’t fudge the numbers to make their state look good. Walz isn’t the mayor of Amity Island.

So what do you think, Bill & Bob? Do you think people are lying about the virus? Do you think the 4,000+ dead every day are faking it? Do you think we should just go back to normal and if you get sick, you get sick? Sure’d like to see how long you last with that attitude. I can’t believe I’m wearing a mask to save you.

The irony is that this has been up since March and hasn’t come down. Through the Spring scare, the Summer valley, the back-to-school nail-biting, the steady increase through the holidays, and now this surge where we’re breaking records left and right. And these Bill and Bob assholes still think everything should reopen, if leaving their billboard unchanged is an indication. This is assuming they’re not so old and demented they’ve forgotten they’ve got a billboard up.

Okay, what does the other side say? Is that as full of vitriol and passive-aggressive ignorance as the other?

Well, that’s a lovely fortune cookie. Granted, this is the most positive message Bill and Bob have given us peasants as they sit in their wizard’s tower of anonymity. Too bad it’s so abstract I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean. Is this referring to some event I don’t have knowledge of?

Are they saying Walz should rule from a position of hope instead of fear? Okay, I didn’t know he was doing that. I haven’t felt very afraid. In fact, I’d like him to invoke more fear. Get mad. Start handing out fines.

I’m really curious. What are they’re trying to communicate with this message? Advancing humanity? We’re just trying to stay above water here. Are you talking about “moving on”? I’m twiddling my thumbs every day, hoping that my parents don’t die, hoping that the government doesn’t collapse, hoping that cops start shaking hands with Black people and shooting white supremacists instead of the other way around, hoping that lawmakers can complete some actions instead of being blockaded just because they’re members of a certain party.

It’s always remarkable how out of touch Bill and Bob are. Just when I think they can’t get more ignorant, they prove me wrong. I know there’s only so much that can go on a billboard, but jeez man. Someone had to design this. They thought this was a good idea. And I still have no idea what call to action it’s meant to convey. Except breed contempt in my soul.

Edit: Special thanks to all the readers who sent me leads on the identity of Bill and Bob. Nothing panned out, but I appreciate that we’re all commiserating in misery on this.

The Return of Bill and Bob

bill and bob billboard

I thought I was done with them. I thought maybe they’d died or run out of money. But nope, they’ve put up a new billboard.

Granted I was sick of the Lord Fletcher’s one that had been there for years. All it had was an image of a walleye dinner with “Wally Wally” as a caption. Didn’t make a lot of sense to me, and all it did was make me hungry. But when I saw it, I was usually on my way home to dinner anyway. And after two or so years of looking at it, it started to become unappetizing.

Two years is about the same amount of time that stupid “Illegal is Illegal” billboard has been on the back of it. Maybe three. I’ve had to look at that damn hypocritical, cowardly letter to “congress” for, like, three years of my life. I thought “oh, maybe someday they’ll replace it with a puppy, or advertisement to join the National Guard, or at least SOMETHING new.”

But no, they replaced the backside with, instead of legitimate advertising, another Bill and Bob note. Should have known they weren’t going away. This one says

Dear Congress and Fake News,
Do your job
Respectfully, Bill, Bob, et al

First of all, there’s nothing respectful about hiding your identity.

Second, fake news? You’re calling out fake news? At first I was hopeful that maybe Bill and Bob were neutral. Maybe their “illegal is illegal” message meant illegal doings of the president and that congress should prosecute them, because an illegal act is an illegal act. I actually didn’t think it was about immigrants until someone e-mailed me about it. About six months after inauguration.

By the way, telling fake news to “do their job” is a little ambiguous. If there were such a thing as Fake News, their job would be to print “fake news”, not real news. You’re telling them to do the job that you hate.

Thirdly, this is just as ambiguous as “illegal is illegal”. To me, congress doing their job would be to file articles of impeachment, since there is plenty of evidence that the president is not not guilty. Double negatives cancel each other out, you know. And when you’ve got ambiguity on a billboard, the amount of meaninglessness is proportional to its size.

So thanks a lot Billy and Bobby. Here I was hoping you had faded into obscurity, but I guess you managed to scrounge up $300 more to waste on an idiotic, poorly worded advertisement. At least it makes for nice motivation, because it sits outside the window of my gym.

Bill and Bob and the Billboard of Shame

empty billboard

So where I live in the sub-sub-suburbs, there are often political billboards in the farm fields. (Mostly speaking out against abortion, like the “I had fingerprints at two months” kinda stuff.*) But there’s one right where I leave my neighborhood in the morning. They started about a year ago, maybe two. It’s always some political message in the form of a letter, and signed “Sincerely, Bill and Bob”. The message is always some trite phrase like “Dear Mr. President, LEAD, don’t follow” and “Dear Congress, Political correctness is NOT correct”**.

But this most recent one broke my camel’s back. And keep in mind I’ve got to stare at this every day of my life, every time I go to work. It says “Dear Mr. Kaepernick, What country provides more opportunities for all than the USA? Sincerely, Bill + Bob”.

First, “which country” would be the better word, because there are a limited number of defined countries to choose from.

Second, what does your question have to do with Colin Kaepernick’s actions? He’s protesting the treatment of black people by the U.S. government and its sub-entities. Specifically referring to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which aims to eliminate violence and racial inequality against Black people, especially in the justice system. What do opportunities have to do with this? Are you from 1850? We’re kind of past the gold rush and Industrial Revolution at this point.

Third, only a straight white male would do this. Plus, if you can afford to post your message on multiple billboards, you have money. So check your privilege (I’ve always wanted to say that). That’s the privilege that thinks your opinion is so important you gotta plaster it in a small town’s face for three months.

Fourth, I refer to you the Facebook post of this veteran that went viral shortly thereafter. Short version is that freedom of speech is why we fight. All other amendments are based on it. It doesn’t defend you against “icky speech“. It doesn’t defend you against the consequences of that speech. It doesn’t stop a private organization from censoring your speech, just the government. Nonetheless, America is one of the few countries that stipulates it as a fundamental rule. Even advanced countries don’t have that. England can pass a law to prevent certain books from being published, any work, any time.

Fifth and final, Bill and Bob are cowards.

You are hiding behind anonymous names. There is no way to track you back to a web page or an email. There is no way to hold you accountable for your remarks. There is no way to find out more about your message. There is no way to ask follow-up questions or request more in-depth explanations. If I do a web search for “Bill and Bob” I get a bunch of stories about Bill Cosby, Bill Murray, or Bob Saget. The ad doesn’t even show up on an image search. There is no way to find out who Bill and Bob are. At least when Anita Sarkeesian prevents comments on her videos she’s got a valid reason for it. You don’t. (See previous statement about “straight white male”).

But instead you paint it like so much graffiti, then dash off. And I gotta stare at your meaningless rhetoric five times a week while waiting for the light to change. This denial, this negativity, these messages about what’s wrong with America, what not to do instead of what TO do, just make me hate conservatives more. It gives me pleasure that their unpopularity means they have to use anonymous billboards with vague bombast. The left doesn’t have to resort to this. Their messages stand on their own. They’re rational, they’re moral, they’re accountable.

You know who has courage? Colin Kaepernick. In front his fifty-three teammates, coaches, 68,500 fans, and millions of people watching on TV, he was the only one to sit down when everyone else stood up. He knew it would create controversy. He knew it might result in losing his job. He knew it might lose him fans (either of the team or himself), lose endorsement deals, or reduction in status as a role model. But he still did it, because he believed so strongly. I think he’s maybe a little confused on federal vs. state abilities to deal with local police transgressions, but nonetheless, what he did took courage. He did it in public, under his own name, defended his actions, and accepted the consequences thereof.

So what are you going to do, Bill and Bob?

*No one mentions the gills and tail that a fetus develops. Strange they leave that out.

**I gotta talk about this one. Political correctness isn’t about what’s factual or true. It’s about respect. If they renamed the Redskins to the “Washington Honkies” or “Washington Gringos”, would you allow that?