An outsider attending the wind-turbine meeting in Windham on Tuesday, Oct. 27, would have had the nostalgic sensation of being back in the 1950s and ’60s, watching beloved TV shows.
First, there was the oddly sanctimonious moderator, who masterfully re-created the role of Miss Frances on “Ding-Dong School,” as he gently chastised the citizenry for their naughtiness in placing “No Wind Turbines” signs on their lawns.
Next, a sprightly fellow did his imitation of Mr. Wizard, with a marvelous display of “high-tech visual simulations” designed to astonish the kids of all ages in the audience. He showed giant photos of 40-story, 400-ton wind turbines right in their own neighborhood, magically rendered invisible by careful tree placement and colorization of the sky to match the color of the turbine blades.
The subtext of the evening came from “The Millionaire.” The wind giant Iberdrola fully inhabited the role of John Beresford Tipton, whose hobby was bestowing the preposterous sum of $1 million on ordinary people so that he could coolly observe the dramatic, often sordid, effects of sudden wealth.
And no retro-TV night would be complete without Marcus Welby, M.D., in the person of an avuncular presence from Iberdrola. As he explained how 20 500-foot turbines would be placed in the heart of this quiet Vermont community, he gave a nuanced impression of the gentle doctor, kindly but grave, delivering the test results signaling a terminal illness.
An outsider might have felt the tug of sweet nostalgia. Unfortunately, many of the locals felt patronized, shut down and dismissed, as they are forced to struggle with the most serious problem the town as ever faced.