Rachel Maddow knows there is no Poop Fairy. In fact, the MSNBC pundit is the reason that a good part of the country has heard of Jefferson County, Colorado, which created a "There Is No Poop Fairy" public-service campaign last summer as a way to remind people who used the county's parks and open spaces to pick up after their dogs.
Now the city of Boise, Idaho, plans to use the idea as well (it will roll out its version sometime this spring or summer). And although that city is giving props to Jeffco, Maddow wants some credit, too.
On Friday, she brought back her feature on the Poop Fairy campaign, which she had named the "Best New Thing in the World" last June. During that segment, she'd gleefully shared the details of the Poop Fairy push — which included a Facebook page — and pointed out that the Jeffco worker responsible for the project had most likely been underutilized before then. (As Off Limits reported back in July, that "worker" was actually a team of employees who scoured the Internet for creative ideas after several people complained about doggie debris piling up in the parks.)
"After getting a lot of publicity," Maddow reported last week, "the campaign ended successfully: mission accomplished; awareness raised; Jefferson County park walkways seemingly cleaner than usual. End of story. Or was it? We have just received word that the simultaneously disillusioning and instructive Don't Believe in the Poop Fairy campaign is expanding, now to Boise, Idaho. We'd like to think the parks and rec people in Boise heard about the Poop Fairy from us."
If they did, the credit shouldn't stop with Maddow, or even Jeffco. At least one other municipality — Virginia Beach, Virginia — didn't believe in the Poop Fairy before Colorado borrowed the idea, although the Virginia campaign didn't come with Jefferson County's graphics and backstory that so delighted Maddow.
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"Like the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, the fabled Poop Fairy has been the stuff of legend," Jeffco told its citizens. "Flying undetected in parks, neighborhoods and schoolyards, she was said to follow close behind dogs and their owners — picking up what the dog left behind before flying off to the next canine creation. A widespread belief that she existed seemed to reassure some that cleaning up after one's dog was sort of...optional."
But now you say there's no Poop Fairy? Oh, crap.
Scene and herd: Speaking of cleaning up, Michelle Obama brought the First Daughters to Aspen over Presidents' Day weekend, where they stayed at the home of Paula and Jim Crown, owner of Aspen Ski Corporation. We're guessing that the town was itching to erase the work of one Lee Mulcahy, an artist and former Aspen Ski employee who lives four blocks from the Crowns, and who, along with fellow members of Occupy Aspen, created a sculpture outside of his house — "public art in a public place," Mulcahy points out — with "lots of references to the Revolution, both American and French," he reports. "We even made a guillotine and hung a Barbie from the third-floor window." The city sent a note (copied to Aspen Ski Corp.) asking him to remove it; Mulcahy, who'd installed an earlier homage to the Crowns outside of the Aspen Art Museum (which he's now banned from entering), declined.