If there is one thing I HATE about politics, it is the ingenuousness of those running for office. Be it Hillary Clinton "re-imagining" her arrival under enemy sniper fire in Kosovo (a little advice from your humble scribe: if you've already written about what a great time you had arriving in Kosovo in a book, you should probably stick to the story) to Michelle Obama "dumbing down" her speech when she speaks to predominantly black audiences, this type of behavior, to quote Peter Griffin, "Grinds my gears!"
This week, addressing a mostly black audience, Mrs. Obama said the following, "So when people talk about this elitist stuff, I say, 'You couldn't possibly know anything about me.' So let me give you a better sense of who me and Barack are and why we're doing this."
THIS ELITIST STUFF? WHO ME AND BARACK ARE?
Mrs. Obama did go on to mention that she had attended both Harvard and Princeton, but you sure wouldn't know it from her grammar. Also, am I the only one who notices that when the Obamas speak before certain groups they have a tendancy to "drop the g's" from the ends of words? Or when Hillary speaks down south she suddenly regains the southern accent she probably had as a little girl in Arkansas? The same thing goes on here in Missouri. For some reason, in parts of the state, the pronounciation of the state is MIZ-UR-EE, while in others it's MIZ-UR-UH. And I've heard the same people say it both ways, almost slowing down their speeches to make sure they say it the 'right' way. If these people would spend more time telling us their ideas then worrying about appeasing their audiences, I might actually get excited about voting again.
RETURN OF THE GOOD REVEREND WRIGHT
Try as he might, Senator Obama can't get away from his association with his "spiritual mentor" Reverend Jeremiah Wright. As you recall, the good Reverend was very critical about America...especially white America. When finally cornered about Wright's comments, Obama chalked them up to someone that was reacting to "the experiences he's had over the course of a lifetime." Hmmmm. The good Reverend grew up in an upper middle class suburb of Philadelphia, attended predominantly black colleges, served his country honorably and then became a pastor. What negative experiences did he have? I can't imagine too many people calling him "nigger" at Howard University. Of course, I can't imagine too many people calling Obama that at the private schools he attended, though the Reverend maintains he did and that Hillary wasn't. During the recent debate this week, Obama was asked if he believed Reverend Wright was as patriotic as he was. His response: "This is somebody who's a former Marine. And so, I have --I believe that he loves this country." Wow! A former Marine. Well, I feel better already. I mean, Lee Harvey Oswald was a former Marine. Nothing more patriotic then putting a bullet into the head of the president! Charles Whitman was a former Marine. He only shot 45 people, killing 14 of them, from the bell tower at the University of Texas. Heck, even serial killers like Andrew Urdiales, Gerald Parker and Charles Ng were former Marines. Not exactly the greatest of references.
But my favorite Obama comment of the night when addressing Reverend Wright's comments was that he "wasn't there that day." THAT DAY!!!??? THAT DAY!!!??? Senator, you attended that church for 20 YEARS! Are you telling me that the ONE DAY you didn't show up for mass, Reverend Wright opened his sermon by saying, "Brothers and Sisters, I notice the Obamas aren't here today so instead of my usual "love thy neighbors" sermon I'm going to tell you what a shitty country we live in thanks to the evil white man!" Barry, your credibility with me is gone.
SPEAKING OF THE EVIL WHITE MAN
Apparently, whatever happened in the past has been forgiven! It was learned this week that, as a retirement gift, Reverend Wright's church is building him a $1.6 million, 10,000-plus square foot house at the Odyssey Country and Golf Club, located in the MOSTLY WHITE Chicago suburb of Tinley Park. Wait, did I say mostly white? How about almost 94% white and less then 2% black. The Rev bought the property in 2004 for $345,000 (boy, I need his job) and then "sold" it to the church two years later. Of course, since it's his church I'm assuming the church bought it in 2004 and then paid him a nice profit two years later. Unless the 1.6% of blacks all live on the golf course, the Reverend is going to have a hard time making friends with his neighbors.
Some notable passings in the past week or so:
I meant to mention last week the death of Photojournalist Dith Pran, whose harrowing life story was told in the Oscar nominated film, "The Killing Fields." Pran died from pancreatic cancer, which he had been diagnosed with just three months earlier. He was 65. An assistant to New York Times reporter Sydney Schangerg during the Vietnam war, Pran's family was helped out of Vietnam by Schanberg but Pran was forced to stay behind when Phnom Penh fell. It took Pran almost five years to escape the regime of Pol Pot. It was Pran himself who coined the phrase "killing fields" to describe the hundreds of corpses and remains he stumbled across during his long journey to freedom. Upon his arrival in the US, Pran was hired as a photographer for the New York Times. In the film "The Killing Fields," Pran was portrayed by a fellow Vietnamese escapee, Dr. Haing S. Ngor, who won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor. Dr. Ngor was later shot to death during a robbery outside his home in 1996.
Hazel Court, reknowned "scream queen" of the 1950s and 60s, passed away in California at the age of 82. Cause of death was given as a heart attack. A favorite of cult director Roger Corman, Court appeared in such films as "Curse of Frankenstein," "The Raven," "Premature Burial," "Masque of the Red Death" and "Devil Girl From Mars." She was a long time guest at horror conventions, as was her late husband, director Don Taylor ("Escape From the Planet of the Apes," "Damien: Omen II.")
Ollie Johnston, the last of Walt Disney's original "Nine Old Men," passed this way at the age of 95. The famed animator worked on most of Disney's greatest works, including "Fantasia," "Cinderella," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," Pinocchio" and "Sleeping Beauty."
THIS WEEK'S PCR
Forgot to mention a few things from this week's issue:
1. Chris (the sports guy): Michael Vick is actually only a few miles down the road from me in one of my adopted towns, Leavenworth, Kansas. The local minor league team had announced they were going to have a "Welcome to the Neighborhood" series with the home team in black and white striped jerseys and the visitors in orange prison jumpsuit jerseys, with all proceeds, etc., to go to local animal welfare charities. Though I thought it was a great idea, yesterday the club nixed the promotion, citing a "negative response" from fans. It was later learned that the negativity came not from the fans but from the local chapter of the NAACP. I guess it's OK to murder and abuse dogs but not OK to be made an example of. Good thing they never planned an OJ Simpson night!
Nole, loved the write-up on the recent Tampa Comic Con. Holy Cow -- Pat Broderick! I haven't seen him since his days sitting in the back of the Fandom Zone drawing his funny books!
Matt, I completely zoned out on the Top 10 Heston list. I promise I'll get it in next week.
AND THE OSCAR FOR 1978 SHOULD HAVE GONE TO...