Thursday, March 10, 2005

Honky Cat

Let’s start with culture tonight, even if it's lowbrow. Having just watched UPN’s “Kevin Hill” the highway scribe would like you to know what a great show it is. A rare find: an hour-long (that’s an HOUR) drama with real actors (ACTING) working from scripts possessing both a main theme and subtext. There is no contest involved at all, promise.

If you don’t know about “Kevin Hill” it tells the story of a cool New York lawyer, a black guy, who suddenly gets a baby dumped on him by a deceased cousin. “From Mack Daddy to Snack Daddy” his partner in chick-cruising immaturity, Damien Ruiz, quips in one episode.

The writing is crisp and though sometimes the court cases drawn up as counterpoint to whatever’s affecting the single dad are a little farfetched, other times they’re not. And Kevin loses frequently, which is very endearing and even, gulp, realistic.

It’s an urban tale. The apartments are a little too cool, but you’d like to live in them. The cocoa-skinned girls the protagonist crosses swords with are a refreshing departure from the endless, decades-long parade of stick blondes Hollywood never seems to tire of; and yet there’s one of those for you, too (yes you!). It’s tempting to say the gay nanny is obvious or overdone, but you’ll like him too much
to do so.

What I love about "Kevin Hill" is how it reflects the reality our country is less Honky and increasingly Funky.

The incorrigible high school antics of Damien and Kevin are shown clearly for what they are: the behavior of two guys who don’t want to accept having grown up, because now that they’ve got real jobs and fat paychecks they’re not about to miss out on the fun they’ve been led to believe they’re entitled to. And that said, the show celebrates them, never getting preachy; reminding us that a lot of what is fun in life stems from the silliness humans are prone to.

The women, on the other hand, are far from being the boys’ Kewpie dolls, calling them on their crap and, in one case, blasting Damien a black eye.

A few weeks ago, Kevin and the all-girl law firm he was forced to sign-on with for the benefit of a mommy-flex schedule, got a case involving the Patriot Act. The defendant was picked up in the airport returning from her native Greece with U.S.-born husband and baby-boo. She was a photographer and a wacky neighbor with too much time on her hands recognized a boxed shipment of some chemical on a list put out by the Department of Homeland Security.

When Kevin and Co. manage to make a good case, Uncle Sam gets mad and digs a little deeper. He finds the lady knew someone in college who’s now on “the list” as it were (read: TERRORIST!). She’s offered a chance to rat on him and stay, or deportation. She leaves. Pretty stern stuff out of the idiot box.

Which brings us to the (p)resident.

When an article appearing in the morning paper had Bush bowing to international law and deciding 49 Mexican nationals on death row in the U.S. were entitled to new hearings, it seemed time to give the dolt his due. The scribe was cooking up a dish all about W. looking to a distant future, when pit bulls like Bill O’Reilly wouldn’t be around to tell everybody how friggin’ great he is, and cultivating a more palatable image before history, which is more than likely to ream him a new one.

It works like this: Back in the 1960s, the U.S. proposed something called the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. It said if you were jailed abroad you had the right to see a diplomat from your home country. It was designed to protect U.S. citizens.

But before fingers could start punching keys the (p)resident followed up his action by pulling out of the pact hereafter, because he doesn’t like the way opponents use it for capital punishment cases in death factories like the one he ran so well in Texas. So, you know, take that you murderin’ beaners!

On the brighter side, the administration’s “Clear Skies” initiative for rewriting the nation’s Clean Air Act so that industry might pollute with greater ease bit the dust in something called the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. It’s chaired by a blowhard from Oklahoma named James Inhofe (r) who thinks global warming is a “hoax.” (r)epublicans of course, ruling the roost as they do, have a majority on that committee, but the bill still died in a tie vote.

One of their own, Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, thinks the polar ice cap melting is a proof enough that there is no hoax and he voted with the liberal elitists to kill the thing. Call him and tell him how cool that was (202) 224-2921.

In California, (g)ov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (r) is finding his sophomore year to be jinxed.

Hell-bent on using the initiative process to reduce pension benefits of state employees for the good of “Califlower and da peepul,” he’s run into some opposition.

Schwarzenegger’s running around the country raising money for his 2006 reelection campaign which, by the way, he’s quite good at. But this particular tour he’s being shadowed by members of unions from California and their brethren in the visited cities.

A great piece by Jim Puzzanghera of the “San Jose Mercury News” Washington D.C. bureau fills in the details. In New York at a (r)epublican fundraiser, Arnold ran into 20 members of the California Nurses Association, a sprinkling of L.A. County Firefighters, and 50 folks from the local union ferment.

The reporter said Schwarzenegger, who lives for, and by, the klieg lights, was dodging in and out of the fundraisers by back doors and such.

“We’re going to follow him wherever he is, and we want people to know who he is,” said Beth Kean, a nurses union rep.

Skipping out on the first event with a pile of pledges in the sack, Schwarzenegger headed for the famous 21 Club where the nurses again awaited him, their numbers swelled by some firemen from Massachusetts. As it happens, a firefighter from Santa Clara was on vacation in town and got a call from some buddies alerting him to the (g)overnor’s appearance, and so the guy made a reservation there and confronted Schwarzenegger over the pension issue.

This is what I like about unions. You get help so that you're tough to beat, and it feels great doing it collectively. There’s no comparison to the prevalent American archetype of the finger-flipping individual bulling his way through a day in which every other citizen is naught but an obstacle to his ambition.

Schwarzenegger went to Washington the next day and the nurses and their allies were again waiting for him in the snow outside the St. Regis Hotel.

I’m going to quote directly here: “Attendance at the luncheon cost a minimum of $5,000. For $11,150, each contributor received two seats and a “photo opportunity” with Schwarzenegger. For $22,3000 – the maximum allowable individual contribution to Schwarzenegger’s fundraising committees – a donor got four seats, a photo opportunity for two, and a seat at the the round table with Schwarzenegger afterwards.”

Stuffing six figures worth of “the peoples’” money into his fat wallet, the (g)overnor slipped “down a stairwell to a service entrance” (again using the reporter’s words), only to find the union folks awaiting him with a hearty round of boos.

I’d like to personally thank Puzzanghera for his gutsy reporting. He’s obviously immune to “stardust” and the obsequious behavior it seems to bring out in his fellow craftsmen.

Good job, Jim. I hope it doesn’t cost you your job, seriously.


Roberto Iza Valdés said...
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Roberto Iza Valdés said...
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