Smokey Smack Down


The fur is flying between the Forest Service’s hired-popgun enforcer, Metis Group LLC, and Russian émigré political artist Nadia Khuzina. Like anti-fracking Occupier Lopi LaRue, Khuzina is accused of mis-appropriating Smokey’s iconic image.

What makes this tempest-in-a-teapot even more delicious, however, is that Metis Group CEO Libby Kavoulakis has posted a YouTube video in which she claims to be the real victim. Kavoulakis says said that Khuzina (love that alliteration) is “being investigated for crimes involving art theft, cyber bullying and harassment” and that she “steals protected intellectual property for her amateurish art, then enlists her husband, Woody Deck, a fringe gambler with a checkered past, to attack anyone who points this out to them.” [Since this post was made, Kavoulakis has now removed the preceding link].

“Stop this criminal enterprise,” she implores, calling for a “boycott” of Khuzina’s art.

Meanwhile, Smokey seems unconcerned, as he’s busy “getting his Smokey on.”

7 thoughts on “Smokey Smack Down”

  1. Then again, some people want Smokey neutered and jailed for crimes against nature, embracing all forms of wildfire ignitions, with their “whatever happens” ideology. No “Smokey-folk” seems to blast them for that strategy.

    Back in the early 90’s, I was sharing barracks space with an artist, who worked for the Forest Service, in the S.O. He was, definitely, a counter-culture type, who cultivated that image with his biting satirical drawings. One of them depicted Smokey’s “evil twin”, Fiery Bear, who had a dead deer in one paw, and a drip-torch, in the other. He liked to show them around, at work, and was never chastised for his fun pieces of art. One night, someone stole his Fiery Bear drawing, and it wasn’t returned. I always assumed it was a firefighter, as they always seemed the most amused by it.

    Some people always seem so protective of Smokey’s image, and, especially his name, correcting anyone and everyone who puts the “the” between his name. It is often ugly and petty to see.

  2. As might be expected, I think the ad campaign is already a little dated. Now if they had a bunch of Smokey Bears waving their paws with silly smiles on their face behind Miley Cyrus twirking on stage, not that would be something to sit up and say “Holy Cr#p!”. Maybe add a little pyrotechnic thing like in Hunger Games with flames coming off the Smokeys………….

    We can pitch this idea to Lady Gaga and see if they can make a show out of it. Or maybe a Saturday Night Live act.

    I used to pack 3 drip torches, one in each hand in one strapped on the back. Once you started a burn, you needed to do the job to lower the risk. Though I doubt Smokey will get caught explaining that.

    • Jeff: I’m in full agreement that we need to engage the younger generation in these types of discussions. My own Franklin-Johnson generation has been promoting a massively-failed, poorly designed social experiment for more that 20 years now, and our own children have continued to follow blindly along, as if they had become hypnotized with television and telephones during their formative years. In a bad way.

      These kids need to learn how to manage burns, and be paid while they are being educated. At least that’s my opinion.

  3. Outsourcing stewardship of Smokey Bear and his message–rather than managing same from the U.S. Forest Service headquarters office in Washington, D.C., is just another example of how far off-base today’s Forest Service has become in terms of effective accomplishment of its mission. Metis Group LLC should b e shown the door, and Smokey brought home through it to engage the public with whatever revisions to his wildfire prevention message those who understand his wildfire management role deem appropriate.

      • That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it Larry? If thousands of wild animals and hundreds of ancient trees and maybe some homes and a few pets gets burned to death, then it is okay if lightning caused all of the destruction, because it is “natural.” However, if a careless smoker causes all of these deaths and destruction, then it is not okay, and he/she is statutorily “liable.” Are we certain that environmentalists came up with this nonsense, and not lawyers? I won’t go into obvious religious analogies here, but I will repeat the conventional wisdom that Congress is 1/2 lawyers and leave this at that.


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