Lipstick and Peppermint
BY PHILLIPE & JORGE
Say you're the fiction writer who's been telling the ongoing story of
Providence. You've just given the plot a big twist by having the charismatic,
toupeed mayor convicted of racketeering and now need to set off in a compelling
new direction by choosing his successor. The light bulb goes on in your head. I
know! I'll make him the gay, Jewish, Italian-American son of a mob lawyer!
How's that for spectacular!
Actually, P&J think it's truly wonderful that David Cicilline won the
Democratic primary, a testament to his many months of hard campaigning.
Congrats to him and his opponents, who also ran a wonderful race, and David, we
loved the huge red lipstick mark on your right cheek as you gave your victory
speech. We didn't know Miss Kitty Litter was in the crowd.
Line of the night went to Boy Joe Paolino, who turned to one of his kids, with
him on the stage and crying during his concession speech, and said, "What the
hell you crying for? Don't you know I'm going to pay your tuition easier
Speaking of former mayors, Channel 6 showed some cojones in having
Buddy "Vincent A." Cianci, former emperor of La Prov, as its expert
commentator. Crook or not, there's a political genius from which to get
your election insights. Yet he still had to be the Bud-I, at one point saying,
"I think if I was in the race, I think the numbers would be different tonight."
The man can't help himself.
And congrats to Myrth York, who ran an absolutely perfect race. P&J hope
her advisors keep pointing out the vision she has for Little Rhody, and her
capability to do the job. We also hope her supporters work as hard as she does
to ensure that the moron majority, which still thinks Vo Dilun isn't ready for
a female governor, sees her inaugurated in January. We have continued
misgivings about Don Carcieri's highly self-enriching business record at
Cookson America, and as we've said, the deal-breaker remains his anti-abortion
stance. Wrong. Time for all the ladies to rise up, and you've got enough
friends on the male side to get Peppermint Patty into the State House.
A gay mayor of Providence and a female governor? Pinch us.
As the world turns
Seldom have your superior correspondents come across a newspaper column as wise
and thoughtful as Bob Kerr's turn in the "Sunday Extra" section of the
September 8 Urinal, juxtaposing 9/11/2001 with 11/22/1963. If this second date
does not instantly resonate with you, then, as Kerr points out, it might just
be a function of age. No one of our aging generation, or our elders, will ever
forget the assassination of President Kennedy and how it shook and changed the
world we knew.
We also happen to agree with Kerr's analysis that the impact of the Kennedy
assassination looms far greater in its impact (at this point, anyway) than the
terrorist bombings of last year. But to understand is, once again, a function
of age. Those who grew up in the '40s or '50s lived in a far different world
from what we know now, much as the world of our grandparents (who were born in
the 1800s, before radio, automobiles, and airplanes) was markedly different
from our own.
Although 11/22 was an instant demarcation date, it rapidly changed the
post-war world in which those of a certain age grew up. When cultural
historians discuss "the '60s," virtually all of what they're talking about is
post-1964. The civil rights movement, surely the purest expression of heroism
in the pursuit of justice in P&J's lifetimes (we were both born in 1950),
began its ascent in the '50s with Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and the
Montgomery bus boycott.
Although the seeds may have already been sown before November 22, 1963, the
Beatles had yet to appear in New York (this was two-and-a-half months off), the
war in Vietnam hadn't yet heated up, the women's movement remained in its
nascent stage, and lesbian-gay culture was still firmly underground. Nixon was
still covering up, not wanting to get kicked around anymore after his loss to
Pat Brown in California. Watergate was years off, merely one of a number of
un-eliminated insults, roiling around the Trickster's nether regions.
It was a different world, indeed. Kerr's point -- that because it was a
different world, people reacted to tragedy by turning inward for answers,
rather than outward with rage -- is well worth reflecting on.
Milking a dead horse
Phillipe and Jorge are disturbed by the fact that the horrific attacks of
September 11 seem in far too many cases to have become nothing more than a
source for exploitation by much of the mass media. When a puff mag like
Rhode Island Monthly feels the need to deal with 9/11 on its cover, and
countless other outlets go overboard with sappy coverage, it's a bridge too
far. Worthwhile retrospection as to how the country has changed (or not), or
examining the societal ripples caused by the event is fine. But it's downright
shameless when legions of others, including virtually every TV/radio news
outlet in the nation, find it necessary to use the events and visual images of
that day, and the unimaginable sorrow it generated, to milk personal grief and
rehash shuddering sentiments.
The only people who can't recall the incredible events of 9/11 and the grief
that followed have Alzheimer's, and the sole folks who can't remember the
photos and videos of the planes hitting the World Trade Towers are blind.
Nothing is gained by doing endless features on the sense of loss of the family
and friends of the victims. Many in the Northeast knew people who died in the
multiple attacks, or have a friend who lost a loved one. They know what they
thought that day, how they feel now, and it isn't the business of the media to
exploit their grief, however willing they may be to reminisce. One should
simply look inward to the feelings aroused by that day, think on what it means
to them, and try to find hope for a better and saner future as we all go on,
with pain in our hearts.
Waving a flag -- or not -- doesn't make one a patriot or a traitor. But
showing the colors can indeed be uplifting when it's done in the spirit of
solidarity, and with a love of our country and the freedoms we enjoy, however
much the John Ashcrofts of the world try to use 9/11 to strip our rights away
from us. The covers of magazines, superficial nightly news, overly emotive
moronic talk shows and fatuous infotainment outlets that are milking this
tragedy are simply soulless.
If there is one person who needs a psychological analysis of everything he
says, if not being surgically attached to polygraph machine, it's our old pal,
vice-president Dick "Big Time" Cheney.
After recently claiming everyone in the universe, from Colin Powell to the
leaders of Europe, was lying about Saddam Hussein not having weapons of mass
destruction, he put on a command performance of rhetorical scenery-chewing
during the September 8 edition of Meet the Press. Asked by host Tim
Russert why our allies don't believe that Saddam is loaded to the teeth with
nukes, Big Time said they don't have the secret information that we do. Pardon?
P&J thought we might actually be sharing intelligence (at least the minimal
amount possessed by our CIA and FBI) with countries such as England and the
rest of the European Union. Ah, what the hell, let them take our word for it.
Then, describing the terrible biological weapons with which Iraq might attack
us, Cheney stared solemnly at Russert and said, "Smallpox, anthrax, the
plague." The plague? Which one? The Black Plague that wiped out Europe
centuries ago? Or the new, improved "plague" that we should all be afraid
about? What world are you living in, Dickie?
Cheney also continued the habit of Dubya and the rest of the administration's
Whack Iraq Pack by portraying Hussein as a combination of Professor Moriarty,
Lex Luthor, and the Boston Strangler. (They did this previously with Osama bin
Laden, who's now in a Muslim counterpart to Big Time's famed "safe, secure
location," but the Bushies don't talk about it anymore since he's effectively
gone missing, not dead, but alive.) Until Dubya's tribe realizes that the
threats facing America are a lot more than mere individuals, his warmongers and
he won't get anywhere with thinking American citizens.
Finally, P&J had a quick response for the former book-cooking CEO of
Halliburton, who said of Osama, "I'd like to see him on television in
handcuffs." We were just thinking the same thing about you, Big Time.
Who's that mayor?
Friday, September 6 -- Face the Music Day for the former mayor -- was a wild
one at Paolino for mayor headquarters, where Jorge has been ensconced for the
past eight weeks. We got a phone call at about 9:30 a.m., suggesting we check
out the ABC news Web site for the story on the Bud-I's impending sentencing.
There, illustrating the story, was a photo of Joe Paolino. Apparently, the
Bud-I's worldwide fame did not extend to ABC central in New York City, where
the Web-powers-that-be thought Joe was the Bud-I.
Campaign press secretary Mark Silberstein called ABC and started raising a
stink, explaining the problem and trying to get them to remove the photograph.
Within about 15 minutes, Joe's image was off the ABC Web site, only to pop up
five minutes later on the Yahoo News site. The next move was to call the
Associated Press and ask them what the *#$%! they were doing. Finally, hours
later, the problem was solved. Interim Mayor John Lombardi should be thankful
they didn't have his image in the AP news file.
How did they know whom to pick up?
The Other Paper of Monday, September 9, reported, "Nicole Cianci, the daughter
of former Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr., was taken to Rhode Island
Hospital yesterday after the police found her walking and incoherent in the
city's North End." While your superior correspondents certainly wish Nicole a
speedy and full recovery, we also think the Providence police deserve a special
pat on the back. It's not easy to detect the certified medical emergency among
the legions "walking and incoherent in the city's North End."
Send inaugural tickets and Pulitzer-grade tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issue Date: September 13 - 19, 2002