California gives itself a boob job

Expanded from the 10-12-2003 Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
An updated version appeared in the 10-16-2003 Comstock Chronicle

Arnold Schwarzenegger is not the first cartoon character Americans have elected and will certainly not be the last. Our history stands replete with a rogues' gallery of such: Jim Traficant. Jesse Helms. Strom Thurmond. Ronald Reagan. Jesse Ventura. Andrew Jackson. Theodore Roosevelt.

Modern voter mentality was best summed up by one response in the blur of California pre-election man-on-the-street interviews: "Maybe it's time to put a tough guy in there."

The bonehead in question was making his decision as a voting citizen by the Hollywood-created image of a humanoid 'toon!

That's the equivalent of Dan Quayle railing against the conduct of the fictional Murphy Brown.

"Mr. Vice-President, it's a TV show. It's not real," deadpanned late night comedian David Letterman a few years back.

The Nielsen ratings have long shown that most younger Americans now get their political and current events information from late night comedy shows. Which explains the recent Emmys awarded to Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." And the longstanding dominance of laxative and prescription drug ads on major network evening news.

American expatriates (and absentee voters) living on the cheap in the tropical central American paradise of Belize are just like their somewhat younger stateside counterparts. Because of timezone differences, their dinnertime news via satellite is anchored not by Tom Brokaw but by Jay Leno.

The Terminator was thus demonstrably crazy like a fox in announcing his candidacy on "The Tonight Show."
We've apparently stopped listening to straight men and now only hear punchlines. Chris Matthews should retire and give his show to Darrell Hammond.

This explains the recent success of left wing critics of the bloviated and pompous right. Molly Ivins, Al Franken and Michael Moore have a talent absent in the likes of Lush Rambo, Bill O'Reilly or toxic blonde Ann Coulter: a sense of humor and comic timing.

It drives the racist radical right over the edge.

The ascendance of Arnold proves that voters place a premium on entertainment rather than policy. William Jefferson Clinton gave them both, a sax-playing stud puppy always at the ready with any kind of punchline. Reagan's quips, all scripted and memorized, served to endear him to an electorate looking to have daddy tell them that everything's gonna be alright.

Schwarzenegger took a page out of the Reagan playbook, promising pie in the sky, fee cuts and no new taxes. He also delivered a sop to the right wing, bashing Mexicans and other immigrants while extolling his own story of barefoot boy makes good.

Apparently, permanent pubescence can be expunged by steroidal stardom and a skeletal spouse who stands by her man in the finest tradition of Hillary Clinton and Tammy Wynette.

There's no limit to how far you can go if you give the great unwashed a jolly good show.

As actor Billy Crystal used to say when playing his narcissistic character Fernando, "it's more important to look good than feel good."

Life imitates art. Californians approach breast implants as a God-granted constitutional right. The quest for the perfect breast has reached such a crescendo that the Bush Lite Food and Drug Administration is close to re-approving silicon implants which have debilitated thousands of women. (Like the tobacco industry, the manufacturers argue that the harm has not been conclusively proven.)

More than three decades ago, I walked into a Las Vegas photo studio while the proprietor and a doctor were selecting blowups to include in a convention display. They showed the horrible effects of silicone injections on women who wanted enhanced mammalia.

The place looked like a butcher shop.

"How could any woman want injections after seeing this?" I wondered.

"I've been showing pictures like these to women for years," the doctor said, "and women still want the injections."

Silicone injections are still done, even on some people's faces. For a column many years ago, I interviewed a local woman whose health had been permanently harmed by a burst silicone breast implant. Suffering from chronic tiredness and unable to work, she was greeted each morning by the fear of having to pick sliverlike shards out of her eyes.

What price vanity?

California has given itself a boob job and the rest of the nation now lies open to injection. No less than woman-bashing Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has espoused changing the U.S. Constitution to allow the foreign born, like Gov.-elect Schwarzenegger, to hold the presidency. (An eventuality comically forecast in the Sylvester Stallone-Wesley Snipes-Sandra Bullock film ironically titled "Demolition Man.")

So who may Nevada look toward when Gov. Dudley Do-Right leaves office?

The times seem to demand a tough guy with heavyweight media exposure who brings with him a cadre of imposing superhero-strong associates. Somebody of proven fearless character.

I've got just the right media-generated humantoon: Magician and animal trainer Siegfried Fischbacher is looking for work.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
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Copyright © 1982-2003 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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