The Truth About Hillary Clinton – Political satirist, James Campion dissects the Hillary Senate Campaign.

Aquarian Weekly 10/25/00 REALITY CHECK

DECONSTRUCTING HILLARY

Political whores and power mongers are easy to spot in the waning moments of a campaign, especially campaigns surpassing a combined spending spree of $100 million between the two candidates. And there isn’t a half-assed pundit, pollster or sad commentary geek filling up newspapers with thousands of feeble prognostications who fails to be blinded by its queen; Hillary Rodham Clinton. This New York senate race is, has been, and will continue be all about the first lady. The GOP could have a door stop running against her and people will vote based on their love or hate for her.

The important element of this is the Clinton celebrity and the advantage and albatross it provides. Senator Rodham is at the crescendo of a decade-long game she’s played stumping for a man who has treated her like a scabby harlett throughout its duration. William Jefferson Clinton may have seen his wife’s gory mutations before any of us, but he has since become nothing more than a back-seat lecther in its wake.

Her opponent, Rick Lazio, is a few short months removed from sitting in his home out on Long Island and bemoaning the fact that his party didn’t think him a big enough name to take on the gaudy popularity numbers the first lady presented as a formidible senate challenge. This was a job for the Mayor of NYC, who first refused to offically announce anything beyond a raging hatred for Senator Rodham and then was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Rudolf Giuliani promptly backed out and in came Lazio with enviable spitfire and brimstone.

So Lazio jumped right in and became the anti-Hillary candidate phase two, because the New York senate race has always been about Ms. Rodham, or Hillary, as her “people” remind you she’s to be called. Sequestered in her rhinestone bathe of light, equivilant to a rock tour or a pre-war Hollywood opening night gala, the first lady’s suit of armor is shiny for a reason. The woman has never known a battle she couldn’t avoid.

Legitamate press never gets to her. Press conferences are nothing more than events for us fourth estate peons to gaze lovningly upon her devine personage. She smiles. She dances. She is a breath of jasmine from her lofty perch of azure. Television appearances are few and usually involve late-night comedians. Ted Koppel and Tim Russert, never mind traveling reporters, are off limits to the queen of pap. At the time of this writing there have been two debates, but it was deemed to rough and tumble for the delicate flower of Washington’s elite and the other was a party set-up that the Lazio people stupidly stumbled into with little investigation on their part.

Mere weeks remain in this charade of a campaign and what questions, what scrutiny, what hard-core politcs is Senator Rodham facing? Lazio brings no memory of powerful candidates with heaps of energy, but he at least he makes himself available to the press and handles the tough questions, ANY questions posed to him. His opponent is apprently too good or too busy or too sheltered for that.

These complaints may sound like the whining, selfish complaints of a spoiled journalist used to being fed fresh meat every time some ego-mad sucker needs coverage, and to that charge I plead ever guilty, but this is the very reason Hillary, with all her cries for equality and compassion, is a transparent candidate.

And how come my brethren let her get away with these lame duck and covers? Are we so silly with worshuip for a good story that campaigns are reduced to coronations before we have a glimmer of what a candidate stands for beyond notoriety? When will Senator Rodham be forced to face someone with a camera or a notepad who isn’t sporting a goon smile while peppering her with questions about the Chappaqua fire department picnic? Jackie Kennedy, princess of Camelot and national fashion plate, took more shit than this woman. The time has come for her mighty and untouchable hems to get filthy with debate rhetoric and that world-class litigious brain to crank its gears.

Lazio, predictably busy trying to be all things to all voters, has tried the credibility attack with his soft money overtures. It is admirable considering he’s had half the time to create the native New Yawker image from Giuliani’s shadow and separate himself from the stench of the Newt Gingrich clan the GOP so effectively shoved into the background at the convention. But Lazio is a New York politician and has served as a congressman for eight years. He has not been riding the ebb and flow of party casa de la Clinton for a decade of unpresidented verbal sewage.

In the end, this will mean nothing. Will Westchester, Central and Upstate New York voters despise or revere Hillary enough either way to defeat or elect her. Rick Lazio is the kid in class you hang with because the popular asshole ignores you. More than any election in this nation’s history beyond perhaps Jesse Ventura’s meteoric rise in Minnesota two years ago. And whether she wins or not there is a real sense now that celebrity can slant a race so completey that issues mean less than zero.

Senator Rodham and the Westchester crack team keeping her alive on bulging African American and women votes knows this. They will try and keep those and build on the all-important suburbs and Jewish/Hispanic votes and ride this puppy all the way to Washington without their candidate having to answer a single hard-line question about her ability to be grammar school principle, much less senator of New York. And that would be their victory and democracies loss. But this is something these people know quite well.

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Aquarian Weekly 10/18/00 REALITY CHECK

NOTES FROM THE CAMPAIGN FRINGE

Editor’s Note:Forty-eight hours before the first presidential debate of the 21st century, the author, sequestered in the Putnam Bunker compiled a series of random notes that this publication shall run with the warning that coherence is relative. Also included are a series of babbling rants during the two-hour debate to which we can only apologize in advance.

Sixteen hours ago an angry fucker by the name of Charles Dunwitty invited me to a fundraiser for George W. Bush for which I had no use and promptly threatened to revoke my debate credentials. This did not alarm me for I never received, nor applied for any credentials. Massachusetts is only romantic in the fall if caravans of desperate politicians and rabid protestors are miles South or West, not crawling around the best bars in Boston trying to wrest free rounds from yuppie derelicts.

Dunwitty is an ass, and so is his cheap fraud of an organization that runs its debate rehearsals in an Austin, Texas hotel for a man whose best attempt at formulating sentences was abandoned long ago at the fraternity kegger.

The Bush people, along with Mr. Dunwitty, see fit to ignore my many e-mails and letters instructing their candidate to begin dismantling this myth that their opponent is a champion of the poor and feeble while he rakes in millions from rich celebrities, huge pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations and laundered funds from corrupt union gangsters.

The standard Bush response: We appreciate your concern and support for the candidate. Perhaps they will appreciate being humiliated. Pennsylvania is teetering, New Jersey is falling and only a supreme being could fathom what the hell anyone in Missouri or Michigan will do until 11/1, and even then a sober prognostication will be dubious. Bush is going down, but for one key element: abrasive, caustic personal attacks.

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Over the past twenty years I could be counted on to support or attend any Ralph Nader function, but lately things have been very shaky at his headquarters. Suddenly Nader, surrounded by the Buchanan Brigade and Jerry Brown granola-head rejects, is looking like madcap comedy relief for this thing and it is unpleasant to watch. Three times in the last four weeks there have been several Independent candidate/party rallies in New York City and each one has deteriorated into a Kumbaya mess. This is what illegitimate political campaigns have wrought; anger for change traded for whining because no one worth a damn is paid off by some group to make the NY Times or even the friggin’ Trentonian cover it.

I refuse to attend political funerals, especially for true warriors. This is why I rejected credentials to most of Bill Bradley’s final appearances last spring and why I won’t watch Nader go down in a mist of flaccid debate arguments. There is no sane reason to cover it beyond aimless rebellion, and that is for amateurs and dreamers and I will fight on the turf laid out before me or volunteer to pen another Declaration of Independence from this quagmire.

******************************

Several meetings of the Youth Vote for Westchester in the basement of Iona University in New Rochelle with the pimply peeved and we are no closer to any solid answers to why anyone under the age of 25 is paying attention to this race.

There is a strong contingent of women, who are not going to mess with any Republican chief executive saying all the right things about Supreme Court appointees respecting constitutional rights while drunken priests ram their BMW’s into abortion clinics. No one thinks much of the vice president, despite his or her fear of Bush. I tell them to ignore the news medium and make up their minds or stay the hell home.

The young men are less feisty, but want Nader or Buchanan to do anything to prove their worth. Most colleges are liberal, but this is a basin for the rich or upper-middle-class and these are the sons and daughters of Reaganites who made a killing in stocks and real estate during the 80s’ when the Democrats dragged punching bags to unseat the status quo.

None of these kids understand my tattered surrender flag. This is the new generation of “Choose-Or-Lose” offspring with little idea that something like the presidency means much more than the Queen of England or the host of the Today show. History is Viet Nam and Woodstock to these people. Debates are tantamount to bad local access television staged by pompous geriatrics with no serious long-range goals. And not one of us could grasp the notion of expensive over-the-counter drugs and social security concerns when marijuana, ecstasy and cocaine are so readily available twenty feet off campus.

*********************

The bile begins to work its way from the pit of my stomach to the tip of my throat and we’re not even through Jim Leher’s first question. Is this fossil going to ramble like this all night? Who has time for this monotone bullshit?

Gore is sighing and interrupting. Bush is stumbling and sniffling. Nobody wants to commit to anything. No one wants to piss anyone off, least of all each other. Polls say Americans don’t want negativity in their campaign rhetoric. Yes, and we watch PBS all day and never masturbate.

What level of brain-dead mannequins are we enduring with this vat of bilge? We need puss-filled, bloody ferret fights to the death now. That is how democracy works, not some number-crunching pinheads with interchangeable personalities. Likeable sods with wet feet and dapper ties leave us with grinning charlatans from the South pampered by daddy’s oil and tobacco money. This is what we deserve now. We don’t want any nasty commentary. We all hate the media. We like wimps and dignitaries to run the store. Friend of mine just said he’s embarrassed to be an American. I haven’t wasted this much time since the Eyes Wide Shut credits started to run. Dig up Kubrik and let’s try take- two.

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Aquarian Weekly 10/11/00 REALITY CHECK

Campaign 2000 TAKING THE PULSE OF AMERICA

The results of a two-week, intense and expensive Reality Check News & Information Desk investigation on 2000 presidential election polling data and the organizations that sponsor such gathered numbers have produced a few salient answers.

The first of which is that hallucinogenic drugs most likely influence the individuals conducting the Gallup agency and Cable New Network polls. The type of primary narcotic is not known from our results, but we can be relatively assured within a six percent margin of error that these people are at least mildly sedated, or at worst, pretty fucked up.

The numbers compiled and published weekly in Newsweek magazine, although even further from anything resembling reality, do not seem so much effected by recreational consumption of mind-altering chemicals as they are just stupid. And although the ever-popular Battleground polls being run by the hour at voter.com appear stable and sober, we can only conclude that those compiling this information are distracted by countless hours of porno and the 700 Club.

On 9/20 Gallup had the vice president up by 10 points with a convention bullet. Two days later they had him up by five and this week they claim he trails by three. On August 1, Newsweek positioned the governor of Texas as a 17-point leader and one month later he was down by 15. Last week they were selling a dead heat. Those still awake at Battleground have had both main candidates pretty much even for six months. CNN has been going on the coin flip/spin-the-bottle method, periodically forcing Jeff Greenfield into his nightly stammer to explain it.

Never in the history of these United States has too-much-information reached its saturation point. Somewhere Marshall McCluen is puking or laughing or something.

For example, CNBC ran some bogus poll last week that Ralph Nader was dead and Pat Buchanan reached one percentage point. This has not effected either’s notoriety. And the Wall Street Journal has printed more than one poll result with Ronald Reagan involved.

It is our conclusion that there seems to be no point to these things anymore, unless someone is getting rich, laid or attempting to sound relatively intelligent after five martinis at the weekend mixer. But as a journalistic tool, the national poll of 700 disinterested or highly rankled shut-ins with lengthy agendas is no way to take the pulse of a nation.

However, there was a significant factor not added to our less-than-detailed equation prior to postulating the drug/porno theory for pollsters, and that is the fickle nature of a nation so bored and fed up with choosing from a pool of rich, white guys from political families sucking up to rapaciously bloated corporations and interest groups that they would rather watch people eat rats on an island or wonder why Eminem disses Christina Aquilera than spend five seconds giving half a turd who is running for president.

Many volunteers for our experiment informed myself and the other poor souls involved that the last of these speculations seemed the most plausible. I had personally given up on making sense of this psychotic shit around 1974, and no one else in the room could muster a single reason to drag their asses four feet to vote for George Bush or Al Gore even if either had agreed to assume their car payments. But the guilt of not participating in the patriotic duty of all Americans was strong, and more than half forced out motivations ranging from writing in Vincent Furnier to throwing a warm Pepsi on the instrument panel inside the voting booth.

This behavior was paramount in the next phase of our experiment, which included a full-scale three-state poll of our own.

Beginning with New Jersey on the first week of September, six Reality Check participants phoned nearly 300 residents of Bergen and Passaic counties and simply asked for whom they would cast their vote. Less than 50% planned to vote. The 20 to 30% range was saved for those mired in partisanship and a final 10% wanted to do the right thing, but had little to know idea what that would be.

Nearly 250 people polled in New York’s Westchester and Putnam counties were more interested in Hillary and Lazio and felt whomever’s party seemed to have any momentum in late October would get their attention. Again, more than 50% did not give a damn.

Finally, it can be said that citizens of Connecticut are best when hanging up. Nearly half of the 200 people we called would not let us finish a sentence. The others wanted to know how the hell their senator is simultaneously running for reelection and vice president.

Unfortunately, beyond the incredible amounts of beer and pizza ingested throughout the process, the whole affair was futile for us. Our endeavor had been nothing more than spitting into the wind, which is the clearest description of any of these Gallup jobs. The glut of them alone puts no credence into what may happen in that seminal moment when you have to decide either the lesser of two evils or choosing an administration that will spend the next four years dreaming up new and improved excuses for not honoring six months of fantasyland promises.

So, with a few weeks of campaign to go, and 35 seconds of clarity peppered throughout hours of debates and television appearances, it is our suggestion that drugs might not be worth your recreational dollar as much as it might help you make sense of what you are forced to endure.

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Aquarian Weekly 10/4/00 REALITY CHECK

COMPASSIONATE CENSORSHIP

The concept of parenting in America is dead. The government of the United States is taking over the job. It needs to protect your children from your incompetence and allow the rest of us without children to sacrifice our freedom of choice and expression to accomplish it. Publicly funded organizations manned by non-elected officials will judge what is obscene and indecent in the films and television you watch, the music you listen to and the literature you read. It will be done with the best intentions to help protect you from yourself and save children from the increasingly large numbers of people incapable of doing the job themselves.

The entertainment industry, pejoratively referred to as Hollywood among these caring government officials, their wives, their church and whomever might want to join in, is too violent, too aggressive in promoting their product to your children, and far too lucrative in its endeavor. You do not have a clue what is out there ceaselessly pummeling your poor family and is sure to set impressionable, young dupes on a course of ultimate drug abuse, violence and godless acts of antisocial behavior.

These conscientious hard-working watchdogs of our best interest need you to know that although these efforts may cause some diminishing returns on your legal right to produce, write, create, listen, read, or god-forbid, consume this poison, it is all for the greater good. Teamed with our morally pristine government, they strongly believe we have lost the grip to decide these parameters ourselves. We lack the capacity to judge what each of us would like our children to know about this big, wide, wonderfully diversified world or what that small, but incorrigible set of demons are trying to cram down our meager throats. There are limits that have nothing to do with you or your ability to parent your offspring. This burden will be taken from you and be handled by the caring services and public officials you financially support weekly in order to take on this impossible responsibility.

Please do not be alarmed that many of these fine officials and organizations are also partially funded by the same entertainment industry they fight to the tune of millions of dollars a year. This proves they do not serve their masters. And although your hard-earned tax money, and alleged voting rights, puts them in the position to take on this glorious crusade, it is a mere droplet in an ocean of their cash and influence.

To review thus far, you give up part of your weekly pay to a government that needs to control your lifestyle in order to shelter the innocent and attack its ultimate expression, because you have no time or inclination to do it yourselves.

Here are some constants in their theory:

Television is evil. By exposing fragile minds to its brainwashing techniques there are risks to the foundation of our otherwise beautifully structured society. Our peaceful, loving planet cannot be infiltrated by the disgusting display of fictitious mayhem peddled as mere yuks to the great unwashed and poorly educated masses. Remember, you are weak and stupid and instinctively dangerous when confronted by these images and concepts. We must rely on these fine organizations led by our morally bonded government to curb this maniacal march toward certain destruction.

As bad as the insidious television gremlins are, the demons in the film industry are one hundred times worse. Movies are the bane of our republic. The minute they are curtailed the air will be sweeter, crime will diminish and a hug will be so much warmer. It’s important to understand that according to our censoring heroes, most films, especially the sex-and-violence ones, can systematically chip away at the spiritual core of this perfectly balanced country of law-abiding citizens and the honest integrity of its civil servants. The criminal element writing, directing, producing, acting, editing and distributing meaningless garbage as art are nothing more than minions of Satan diluting our natural propensity to nurture humanity while polluting our simple minds.

Doubly troubling is the apathetic theater owners and their untrained employees who will now also join our heroes in parenting your children. It will be incumbent on them to follow all minors around multiplex theaters and make sure they enter the movie they paid to see, assuming the new and improved soldiers in the army of righteousness card everyone looking to get into the theater in the first place.

Finally, there is music, especially popular culture music with its loud anti-establishment, anti-authority, free-sex, pro-violence, beat-oriented message of anarchy. If there is one reason your children cannot be controlled it is this corner of Hades. Your kids don’t care what you say or think because of it. They do not respect your responsibility to mold them into perfect robots of a society devoid of emotional problems as long as it resonates in their virgin ears. This wondrous land, with its tolerance and empathy, is being systematically punctured by distorted rock bands and hip hop lyrics. This will be a doomed generation of zombies if it continues to be exposed to this cesspool of anger and lust.

The good people running this courageous flag up the pole want you to realize that you can no longer train your children to be normal bastions of the American dream without the deconstruction of every art form available to us. They are animals and brats and aim to injure the other animals and brats with their walkmans and skateboards and loose-fitting pants, their Internet and concerts and wildly available porn. You are incapable of warning them, curbing them, explaining to them the irreversible anguish caused by professional wrestling and video games. God help us all, we need these inexhaustible champions of the vapid throngs to topple the first amendment and bring order to the chaos of this great republic before you people damage it any further.

Thank you PMRC and FCC, Empower America and the Federal Trade Commission, the Gore’s and the Lieberman’s, Lynne Chaney and Jerry Falwell. And, most of all, thank you United States government, for your discomfort with freedom is only equaled by the size of your misdirected paranoia.

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Aquarian Weekly 9/27/00 REALITY CHECK

BOBBY KNIGHT: MACHO THUG OR STUPID BRUTE?

Nothing is worse than authority, except, of course, abusive authority, or abusive, teacher/coach, dickweed authority. And no one over the past quarter century has cornered the market on that then Bobby Knight, who used his abused players to win a ton of basketball games and three National Championships for him. Now his employer over the length of this unprecedented reign of atavistic terror, Indiana University, has finally seen fit to fire his sorry ass.

As laughable as that may sound, a university allowing a man to physically and emotionally wreak havoc on officials, NCAA employees, players, students, faculty and the media, while lauding him as a font of society, it is all sadly true. Even in sacking him, members of the board could not bring themselves to revisit the details of Knight’s latest grabbing and berating of a student for not referring to him as “Mr. Knight.” Instead they watered down this predictable ugliness by pointing out in excruciatingly long and tiresome fashion that he didn’t respect fundraisers, the board of trustees or professors. These infractions were, of course, all fine and dandy when the man was winning, but he hasn’t been doing much of that lately, with early exits in the national tournament.

The truth is Knight should have been bounced the second these overpaid pedantic jokers saw video of this cretin choking a player on May 15. That wasn’t enough. They needed a four-month review of his chair-throwing, head-butting, expletive-laced tirades, many on video and well documented, for over two decades. Then they took the onus off themselves and put it on this nut by imposing on him impossible guidelines under the heading of a “no-tolerance policy.” They were still working on the parameters of this mess when Knight accosted the kid.

Before the hammer came down, Knight pathetically performed an impromptu discussion session with reporters, complete with visuals and reenactments, in order to deflect what he surely knew would be his swansong. Throughout, he used the same smug tone that turned every other one of his boorish acts of savage lunacy into something akin to the late Mother Teresa coddling the starving children of Calcutta. His cushy place in denial-land continued during a live interview on ESPN days after the firing when he seriously wondered why no one explained what “zero-tolerance” meant.

To say the very least, university president, Myles Brand dropped the ball on this one. For years he, and the legacy of cash-bloated basketball pimps at Indiana, chose to look the other way as Knight piled up an embarrassing litany of belligerent violence wrapped up nicely under the guise of discipline and leadership. Turns out their fat coach/god was having trouble disciplining himself.

Indiana University’s hypocrisy notwithstanding, Bobby Knight is everything wrong with the always-prevalent jock mentality in sports. Everyone reading this, especially us rough and tumble male types who played any sport, can remember having some sick oaf screaming or ranting at them. This used to pass for hard-edged teaching in an age of stupidity that had the expression of any emotion beyond anger as sissy, fag stuff to be ridiculed and suppressed. Bobby Knight is its product, a small, but annoying mutation spanning centuries of macho bloodletting.

Knight started this psycho garbage at the home office for berating, West Point. This agenda is all fun and frolic in the secret society of the U.S. Army because these victims of mental anguish reside outside the structure of American culture. This is the reason that when one of them is released from their duty they are once again considered civilians. Civility has no place in the training of men to rip, roar and kill, but playing a sport at a major college for millions of dollars a year pumped into a voracious system is another story.

The saddest part of the Bob Knight story, and its endless parade of fiascos dancing along side it, is that he survived every incident with the respect reserved for conquering heroes. Didn’t we call him “the general” with a smirk, waiting impatiently for that moment when his head would explode in a vein-popping crimson globe during every game? How we chuckled at his constant derision of officials. After all, we would like to be the ones nearly strangling the dumb fucks for not calling a foul on that last play. We need to win these games so much we turn into maniacs at the sight of a human mistake. Somehow Knight’s blow-ups became an extension of our own tired act.

So now the crazies on the Indiana campus scream and yell for Brand’s head on a platter and burn likenesses of Knight’s latest victim in effigy. They threaten to kill and pillage for their hero. They love their basketball and their icons and paint Knight as a martyr for the glory of the game.

Many of Knight’s defenders cite his clean NCAA record. He never broke any recruiting rules and made sure his players went to class and at least attempted to graduate. But that is the same logic that has abusive fathers and husbands passing muster because they pay the bills and tuck the kids into bed.

Bobby Knight has many psychological problems. These problems have been excused by being defining as old-fashioned values and stringent methods. You know, back in the day when screaming, belittling, choking and pushing was a sign of love and authority.

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THE NEW GORE RULES – Political satirist, James Campion’scoverage of the 2000 presidential race

Aquarian Weekly 9/20/00 REALITY CHECK

Campaign 2000THE NEW GORE RULES

Before Jerry Lewis was done blubbering through “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, young members of the Al Gore for President Committee, California chapter, were popping several corks of $12 champagne and sending condolences to the George W. Bush camp. Labor Day is the dead line for making a race of presidential campaigns and the vice president is back from the dead. Suddenly this is shaping up to be the closest run since 1960 when Dick Nixon considered shutting down the government for a recount.

Autumn looks to be good business for the Democrats. An underdog winter gave way to a summer slide in poll numbers, but that was history by September 1 when their boy had come from resembling a robot politician to some hipster Gandhi looking to topple all evils. Transformation # 346 has pulled Promise Boy into a statistical dead-heat with Bush careening towards those ugly weeks when his daddy turned a steady 1992 lead into a Clinton ass whupping. And for the first time since John McCain stole New Hampshire, Captain Shoe-In needs to get serious.

At press time, Bush has survived countless months in this process NOT being Al Gore. First he was NOT Bill Clinton, then NOT John McCain, but now NOT being Al Gore isn’t enough. Gore took care of that with a PT Barnumesque extravaganza in Los Angeles, complete with dramatic films, a make-out session with his wife and a line of world-class populist rhetoric aimed at every human sucking air. It was a brilliant slice of bull dung worthy of his predecessor and G.W. has had no answer.

It wasn’t long ago that Bush had Gore on many personal issues from blatantly lying about campaign finance infractions to calling an impeached president the “greatest ever.” Gore pulled out of that donnybrook and started another. He did it to Bill Bradley. He is doing it to Bush.

NOT being Al Gore is no longer working because Gore took himself right out of that equation by drawing issue lines in the sand and painting the Republican Party as corporate-subjugating power mongers. This worked for his buddy, Big Bill in ’95 against the Republican Revolution and has all-but neutered Bush’s clever “Compassionate Conservatism” slogan. Gore has redefined the fight. Now the question is: What is the Bush camp going to do about it?

Bush, a man who has set tones all the way to his own fantasyland convention, has suddenly been left at the corner of morality and integrity with a weak explanation for tax cuts and a wild challenge to restructure every government program since the New Deal. Gore put him there, a place in which he is quite obviously uncomfortable. It wasn’t long ago that Bush had Gore on many personal issues from blatantly lying about campaign finance infractions to calling an impeached president the “greatest ever.” Gore pulled out of that donnybrook and started another. He did it to Bill Bradley. He is doing it to Bush. This is the kind of fight this space has maintained a junkyard dog like McCain would have been effective winning, but popular GOP think tanks of their imbecilic masses put the kibosh on that, so Bush is what they get.

Another key question at the GOP headquarters since New Year’s has been: Can a Golden Boy with an open lane to the White House handle the big hit? McCain derailed that free ride, but when things got tough Bush leaned on the power brokers of the party, as did Gore in his primary battle with Bradley. McCain turned out to be a more difficult fish to fry. Bush was supposedly toughened up by the experience, but not nearly enough to fend off a national collapse in his numbers. Now all there remains is the general voting public and a bloodied Bush doesn’t seem so insulated anymore.

Gore’s comeback is miraculous only when considering Bush’s lack of rebuttal. Gore has been able to effectively sell the idea that he has been part of an administration that deserves to have a second act while outlining a myriad of horribly demented government programs that need rectifying. A man who has been one heart beat from the presidency and the deciding vote in the senate for eight years has ingeniously cornered Bush’s outsider market. Junior has responded to this latest political magic show by smiling like a dipshit and calling a NY Times reporter an asshole.

Don’t be fooled, the Bush people figured on a cushion before the debates. Gore is overrated as a debater, but Bush has problems explaining agenda to reporters. This is why the Bush camp has refused to acquiesce to formal debates where Gore can hammer away at long-form, uninterrupted hyperbole in two-minute increments. In this arena, he will skin Bush alive. Consequently, Bush recently tried to rope Gore into an informal, close nit battle with Tim Russert. This is a fight the Bush people think their man is more likely to win.

Not forgotten in the grand scheme of polls and trends are the bare-bones facts of bagged electoral votes. Each candidate has already a third of them wrapped up by voting history and party prevalence alone. Gore will not lose New York or California and Bush cannot lose Texas or Florida and hope to win. Many of the key battleground states are still vacillating, but the Bush people know full well the states that put Reagan and Bush sr. in the White House, and were wrested away by Clinton in two consecutive elections, are not sweeping to Gore. There has yet to be a poll invented that can figure how Michigan will go.

Labor Day numbers are fickle. In the last week of August 1976, Jimmy Carter was coming off Watergate and the pardoning of Nixon, and lead Gerald Ford by 38 points. With three weeks to go it was 15, then 10 by Halloween. Carter won by a mere 57 electoral votes. In 1992 Ross Perot had thrown the whole thing into a tizzy and Bush sr. was sitting on Pennsylvania Avenue planning his victory gala. He was trounced by 212.

Anything spoken or polled before September in a presidential campaign is bull cookies. This is what the junkies at the office pool over at U.S. News & World Report call “go time.” Gore gets this. Bush needs to.

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PHIL SIMMS A MAN FOR ONE SEASON

Genesis Magazine 9/00

CBS Sports number one NFL analyst dissects Instant Replay, defends parody and puts the big money fishbowl of pro football into persepective…

For 15 grueling seasons Phil Simms played quarterback for the New York Giants. In that time he was sacked more than any other signal caller and heard the jeers of fans who expected him to be the next Y.A. Tittle. Even after leading the franchise to its first play-off birth in 18 seasons, he felt the sting of reports that someone somowhere could do a better job.

That all changed in 1986 when his Giants won a Super Bowl highlighted by his MVP performance. Simms completed a record 22-25 on a day he has admitted time and again was destined to be his. Four years later Simms had the Giants at 10-1 before suffering a season-ending foot injury and missing the team’s second triumph in the big game.

But when he retired in 1994 Simms’ left behind a resume that put him in the pantheon of Giants greats that has his name bandied about in Hall Of Fame discussions. During his tenure behind center those who swore he’d be missed once he was gone were proven right. Since his last game the Giants have had a host of starting QB’s with little to no success.

When Simms headed for the broadcast booth a few years later he became NBC’s fastest rising analyst. Calling Super Bowls and even Olympic events he combines an honest, no-nonsense style that speaks to fans aboove the din of professional sports hyperbole. When the network lost its football package, rival CBS scooped up the talented Simms and made him its lead anylist.

Mostly, Simms is anything but shy when discussing the game he’s loved for most of his life, a game he cites as a daily lesson learned everyday he slipped on a helmet. He doesn’t appologize for defending the National Football League, but he sees its faults and potential greatness better than most.

As the league enters the 21st century the man many have called a “thowback” sees both sides clearly. From Instant Replay to Free Agency, Salary Caps and a wide open run for the Super Bowl each year, Phil Simms still views the game as both beauty and grit, talent and effort, and most of all, a 60 minute drama filled with subplots and heroes played out over frigid Sundays of grandeur.

It was a tough year for the NFL, with the Ray Lewis trial, the Ray Caruth incident down in Carolina and the death of Derrick Thomas. Most of the off-season news has been negative for the league.

I’m not going to let a couple of incidences destroy everything the league is all about. Yes, there has been some very bad publicity. It has been extremely unfortunate, but does that change the way that I personally look at the NFL? No, it does not. I still view it as a great league, great entertainment and I always say this — it is made up of a lot of outstanding people. That’s from owners on down to the players. Most of the players.

I have high regard for the way many of the players go about their business on and off the field, the way they play and the way they live their lives. There’s always going to be trouble. Now, these are extraordinary cases this past off-season. What happened to Derrick Thomas is an incredible tragedy. But there is always going to be some trouble when you’re playing in the spotlight of the NFL. You’re a high profile athlete with so many people involved peripherally. There’s going to be trouble always. You and I both know that in that spotlight, it’s always going to be a big deal. Everyone is looking.

Certainly, three bad stories are always more interesting than hundreds of good ones.

C’mon, people really don’t care about those. They want to read about bad stuff. They want to hear about accidents and crime on television. That’s what sells. And I’m not saying that has anything to do with what happened this past off-season. I’m not apologizing for Ray Carruth. Derrick Thomas? He did a lot of good things in Kansas City. Was he a saint? By no means, he was not. He’s like a lot of young people. He liked to have fun. He made mistakes in his life. He also took time out to share his good fortune with a lot of kids. Athletes need to be commended for a lot of the good things too. He should be remembered for that.

I think we do forget that these are young men maturing in the limelight.

That is a wonderful point. You’ve got young men who play in a sport with tremendous high visibility and all of a sudden you have fame and money that most men their ages, or any age for that matter, will ever have. And that allows you to do so much more, but also puts you in different atmospheres and environments when you’re doing it. And you’ve got to be careful.

That’s the one thing that upsets me about players in the league. You’ve just got to know that people are watching all the time. You’ve got a different set of standards to live by. That’s the way it is. Deal with it. You better know that when you mess up it’s going to be big news.

Big news last year was the return of Instant Replay. Are you a proponent of it, and, if so, do you think it was used correctly this time around?

Wasn’t a big deal either way. That play at the end of the Tennesee-Buffalo play-off game. What did that replay tell you? If someone says to me it was definitely a forward pass I’d have to say get a life! How many times can you look at it? It was inconclusive.

That drives everyone nuts.

But it was inconclusive! Is replay perfect? No. Is it useful? Absolutely. It stops the really big-time errors like the Vinnie Testerverde non-touchdown in 1998. It eliminates a lot of the controversy a high percentage of the time. I don’t think people, writers, announcers and many fans know the rules with replay. It leads to further confusion. It has to be conclusive to overturn a play. It has to be clear cut, otherwise there is no point. All replay can do is take the pressure off the officials and put it on the coaches. That’s the way the NFL wants it. One thing is for sure, it’s here to stay.

Parity is the big word around the league now.

That’s because nobody can come up with something else, so they just throw this “parity” around. (sing-song) Parity! Parity! “Who’s gonna win the Super Bowl this year?” I honestly don’t know. “Parity!”

You have to admit though that in the past two seasons you had four completely different teams in the championship games. Two seasons ago the Atlanta Falcons went worst to first. Then last season it was first to worst. Who could’ve predicted the St. Louis Rams winning the Super Bowl after going 3-13 the year before?

Listen, parity is happening in every sport. It’s in college sports too. Take the college basketball now. Even though you have Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and all those programs that can have a tremendous advantage, who can go out an basically hand-pick who they want, still does not guarantee them winning the tournament.

There are just more talented players available to more teams. A program can only recruit a certain number of players. There are much more out there for other programs. And how that correlates to the National Football League is that there are so many more talented football players available than anytime before.

But the league has set it up where with the way the draft is conducted from worst record selecting first to best picking last, and the fifth place schedule being easier than the first place schedules. This was the late Pete Rozell’s dream, to have it truly be “on any given Sunday.”

It’s true. The gap between the top athlete to the bottom athlete in all sports has changed dramatically. That’s the main difference in the league today to when I played. The mid-level player is better. The level of play between the superstar and the role player is no longer as glaring. Of course, the system helps. Worst team drafting first and free agency keeps the talent pool spread out.

Would you say that free agency has been the biggest change in the league in the last few decades?

I always say — and I never hear anyone agreeing with me either — the biggest change in the league is coaching! Coaching has gotten so much better. It’s hard for coaches to go out on a Sunday and out-coach the other team. Winning because you’re a better coach is not as much a factor now.

When I was playing back in the mid-eighties to the late-eighties we had three or four games a year that I knew we couldn’t lose because the coach on the other sideline wasn’t going to let us lose. He was going to mess it up eventually. You can’t say that as much anymore. The coaching today is more aggressive and highly inventive, and it’s nearly impossible for a team to gain an edge with the X’s and O’s like we did in the past.

Speaking about a coach who gained an edge on your sideline when you played, Bill Parcells has called it quits after a very successful career. You guys have remained friends over the years. You did the New York Jets pre-game shows the past two years. But you two are inseparable not only as legendary coach and quarterback. You had your acrimony and mutual respect, an almost father/son battle.

I was giving a talk in front of a group recently and somebody raised their hand and asked if I was a general manager, what kind of coach would I look for, and told him I want a guy like Bill Parcells every time. Does he have to put off the persona Bill does? Does he have to be media savvy? Not at all. I want a guy who can stand up there and inspire people. And I don’t mean some speech before the game, “Let’s go win!” Nobody cares by then. Can he inspire people to make them work harder –physically and mentally– than they want to without alienating them? You have to somehow find a way to relate to the players on about 20 different levels, because that’s what you have in that locker room.

You can hire coaches to do X’s and O’s for you, but to create a working atmosphere that will allow people to excel, that’s the trick. There are a lot of coaches out there who can make it look good on the blackboard, but can you make those people do all the little extra things during the off-season and during the week that make them excel on Sunday. That’s what a great boss does. That was Bill Parcells when he coached.

Did you ever consider coaching?

People asked me that all the time, and that was my goal in life. I wanted to play and then try the coaching thing. It does fulfill a lot of things I love like teaching. But it’s too late for me. I’ve been out of the game too long. The game is progressing so fast. I’ve forgotten a lot of the little finer things.

No kidding?

To run the ball off tackle takes tremendous work. Just designing one play to block 40 different fronts and all these defensive looks. I don’t have the time. I’m 45 years-old. By the time I put in my five years of work I’d be in my mid-fifites before I could take on the job of head coach. I’m not that patient and I don’t think I’m tough enough anymore. I couldn’t go in there at six every morning and work until ten, eleven every night of the week. I’ve gotten spoiled doing what I do. I’m just trying to hang onto this job.

You’re one of the top analysts in the game now. How hard was it making the transition from the guy who has to deflect the media, to the objective journalist getting the story and reporting on it live?

Anytime you change jobs it’s tough. The one thing I had going for me is I really love the sport. I love talking about football at any level. It intrigues me. It was getting down the mechanics of the business that took time. Taking the expressions in the locker room that may take awhile to translate and getting it across in under a minute on television. Then, it’s… “can you do the same thing in 20 seconds because a minute is way too long.”

It’s a lot like playing. I say this all the time — if you really like what you’re doing it will work. If you’re doing it for some other reason, forget it. If I was broadcasting NFL games strictly for the money, I think it would show in the work. It’s like a professional athlete getting to that level because they love the work. The money comes as a result of that. Sometimes the money gets in the way, but the first thing is the love of it. And the first time I’m not loving it anymore you’ll say, “You know, he’s not as good as he used to be.”

John Madden has his thing. Now you have Phil Simm’s All-Iron Team. What would be the number one credential to making the squad?

The player’s just gotta be eaten up with it. He’s gotta be obsessed with trying to do his best. Does he have to be the best player? No necessarily. You’ve just got to live and die the game. It has to be part of you. Mostly it’s the second tier guy that gets in. Hey, even though I’m an ex-quarterback I don’t have a lot of sympathy for them. They have a chance to be stars. I’m looking for guys who are really out there working and no one is paying attention to them when they should be.

Last year we gave a truck to fullback, Sam Gash because he’s out there making the play develop while nobody is noticing him at all. Anytime the skill people are out there having great games it’s because someone else is busting it and allowing them to excel on the football field.

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Democratic National Convention 2000 – Political satirist, James Campion exposes populist bullshit.

Aquarian Weekly 8/30/00 REALITY CHECK

Democratic National Convention 2000TINSLETOWN LOONEY TOONS

The call of equal opportunity, two-party system insurrection rears its putrid head. So, we plow ahead and dip below the machinations of the Democratic Party’s showcase for renewed morality and heralded economic prosperity with one who makes this dreary mess his home, my number one Dem insider, Dibbs.

jc: It doesn’t bode well for the party when there are highly publicized riots in the streets during a Democratic convention. Last time that happened was in ’68, and an eight year Democratic run ended.

DB: And we were stuck with Nixon.

jc: Whose bright idea was it to have Rage Against the Machine play in the parking lot, and then have the always dumbfounded LAPD shut down the lights and tell the crazies to go home?

DB: Maybe it has something to do with the mayor of Los Angeles being a Republican.

jc: Vast right wing conspiracy?

DB: Hilarious. Where were the reports decrying that fiction the Republicans were peddling in their ridiculous television promo of a convention. All that crap about “inclusion” and medicare, healthcare and social security revisions that we’ve been trying to pass through that damn GOP-ruled congress for the past six years. Are they kidding with that junk? Bush has the nerve to drone on for over an hour about how the Clinton administration has dropped the ball on these issues. And then these goons on the FOX channel and Robert Novak tell us that the only reason the economy has been roaring for the entire stretch of Clinton’s term is because of the Contract of America? What the hell is that if not blatant hypocrisy and taking credit away from those who are due it?

There is still a solid contigent here who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Gore or any of those people wanting to hang onto the White House at any cost.

jc: Granted, Clinton’s speech was on the level of “old soldier’s never die”, but between that film of him doing everything but pulling a baby from a burning wreck, his pro wrestling entrance, and 50 minutes into the thing without ever mentioning the vice president, how does that exactly help Gore.

DB: He is quite simply the best public orator this country has produced in over a century. Setting the record straight is more important to Gore than reinventing himself.

jc: Was there much flack from the White House on the “first-night-and-out” demands from the Gore camp?

DB: At first I think the president was looking at this from the standpoint of paybacks. In the end Gore implored him to go out his way, but do it fast and early.

jc: Regarding Lieberman’s speech, how do you think morality boy sleeps when he u-turns on school vouchers, eliminating affirmative action, privatizing social security and glossing over attacking pop culture to appease the convention’s liberal wing?

DB: You can’t bash Lieberman.

jc: Too late.

DB: It was a gutsy pick. Before this convention there was defenitely a sense that the liberal wing of the party had been luke warm on Gore, especially with how he went after Bradley in the primaries and choosing Lieberman to balance the ticket, but they pulled up the reigns and came full force by Tuesday night. I was with Ted Kennedy and a bunch of his Massachusetts people before he came out to speak, and all of Caroline’s “new frontier” references had him stoked. No one I talked to had seen him that pumped in some time. I was frankly surpised. That night, with Bradley et al, it became the liberal contingent’s attempt at equal time.

jc: But doesn’t Lieberman’s subjigation make your skin crawl?

DB: There was never any love-loss between Clinton’s centrist ’92 run and the party big boys, but who cares? Bush’s move to the center alienated all those conservatives who couldn’t get to speak while Colin Powell and John McCain were gumming up the works in Philly. There is still a solid contigent here who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Gore or any of those people wanting to hang onto the White House at any cost. There were times this past week when I felt like this was Reagan’s last stand back in ’88 when half the GOP wanted to string George Bush up, but couldn’t stomach the thought of giving up the strings. Things were alot more divided around here until the GOP convention started looking like new democrats revisited.

jc: You were talking tough back in March.

DB: It looked like McCain wasn’t backing down. Christ, I thought the man was going to demand recounts. We had him pegged as some crazed Perot guy who would jetison all the independents who hated the Gingrich dupes to Gore. Never happened.

jc: Gore is down 42% with independents.

DB: The debates will change that.

jc: How do you define these entertainment geeks like Cher, Ron Howard, Sean Penn and the Balwins coming out full force for a ticket with two humps who’ve painted Hollywood as jesters for Caligula?

DB: The alternative is damaging tax cuts and a stranglehold on women’s rights.

jc: The rich love tax cuts.

DB: All the more reason why those people should be commended for backing the right horse.

jc: Who was more stiff at the podium, Hillary or Karenna Gore Schiff?

DB: We all felt bad for that poor girl.

jc: Her daddy makes toast.

DB: No comment. I thought Hillary was fair.

jc: About Gore’s acceptance speech…

DB: Saved the day.

jc: A grade-A populace speech in the grand tradition of Harry Truman. The man promised everything but a cure for cancer and free beer.

DB: Gore is a policy wonk. He knows it and so does Bush. That is why the Republicans are jamming everything but ideas and policy down our throats. Gore spread a system of government out that was real and sober.

jc: That’s funny. I used the words, “phony” and “surreal”.

DB: It signified the strength of this ticket; working America against corporate interest.

jc: A man who stands before me on the strength of tobacco money crying about special interests and large corporations is unconscionable.

DB: We expect to cut halfway into this paper lead and take that empty-headed goon, Bush apart in the debates.

jc: If you’re not within 10 points by Labor Day you’re going to need a Bush screw-up.

DB: We’ve already factored that in.

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The VP Factor & Other Boring Summer Political Tales – Political satirist, James Campion attempts to explain Dick Chaney.

Aquarian Weekly 8/9/00 REALITY CHECK

THE VP FACTOR & OTHER BORING POLITICAL SUMMER TALES

By Tuesday morning of the last week in July, and one week before the shiny happy ones congregate in the City of Brotherly Love to coronate a man they’ve been calling Captain Shoe-In for 15 months, the word came over the wire that George W. Bush had completed the Republican ticket for the 2000 run.

It was a 59 year-old Washington stalwart named Dick Cheney, whom the opposition will certainly remind the public served under the first, under whelming Bush administration, and voted to protect every kill machine known to modern man as Congressman deluxe for the enlightened state of Wyoming, but the home team will sell as a moderate, sober and eminently capable statesman.

Realistically, it is a sane frontrunner choice. Mid-summer polls still show Bush running four to five points ahead of the current vice president with a healthy 10-point bulge among registered types.

Strangely, and perhaps this is because the Gore camp hasn’t come up with a serviceable strategy or their candidate has yet to warm up the attack engines, Bush possesses the best of both worlds. He is the outsider, a champion of change and honor in the reeking fumes of scandal and distrust, while simultaneously acting as favorite. This is an interesting problem for the man trying to take credit for the best U.S. economy ever witnessed without the benefit of a major war.

Although many in the party leaned heavy for what they thought would be the final nail in Gore’s coffin, the majority simply hates McCain. If Bush was behind and needed a jolt, that move makes sense. But he is not behind.

Enter Cheney, innocuous and safe, with hardly a controversial bone in his body. Unlike Colin Powell, an African American with no political experience, Libby Dole, a woman with no political experience, Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Ridge, a stringent pro-choice voter, or the revolutionary loose-lipped John McCain, who leaked his name into the VP ring last week, Cheney is a non-story.

In a win-win move that still has massive independent voter base rumblings, the Arizona Senator slyly put the onus on Bush to wipe clean their messy party-splitting primary battle. If Bush chooses McCain it makes an advertised maverick look like a team player, and if not, the McCain camp gets to see where their candidate stands for the future by studying the fall-out.

But, alas, there will be no fallout. No one with half a brain in the Republican Party wants to screw with a summer lead by reminding anyone of John McCain. Bush had been extremely careful until McCain stole New Hampshire and made the golden boy fight. He has survived nicely, and key advisors thought putting a madman like McCain on the ticket would only pose more questions. Although many in the party leaned heavy for what they thought would be the final nail in Gore’s coffin, the majority simply hates McCain. If Bush was behind and needed a jolt, that move makes sense. But he is not behind.

And that is why the recent history of GOP running mates have made the old boys tremble over the past few weeks.

There is still not one person who was alive to stop it who can explain how the hell confusion could have been a good enough excuse for the 1952 convention to straddle Dwight D. Eisenhower with Richard Nixon, other than the young Senator’s willingness to do everything Ike wanted no part of, like ugly campaigning and hard-nosed governing. The untouchable general almost paid dearly until Nixon chucked any chance for a legacy of respect and humility with his desperate “Checkers Speech”, forcing the would-be president to be chained to this decision for eight long years. The party eventually paid an even larger price for Nixon’s sins.

Before Nixon was done dismantling the U.S. government as it was designed, he chose Spiro Agnew to serve as vice president. Agnew was sent packing under mounds of illegal campaign funds. When the man who succeeded him, Gerald Ford tried running with the pardoning of Nixon around his neck, he was faced with the churning specter of Ronald Reagan in an nasty primary that put Ford at the then California governor’s mercy. Reagan had other plans, so Ford ran a spirited, but doomed campaign with the only Washington Republican left standing, Bob Dole. Four years later Reagan, smelling failure, tucked the man he called a “wimp”, George Bush Sr. under his considerable wing and returned the party back to a crossover-winning proposition.

And then there was Dan Quayle…

But with Dick Chaney, all those terrible nightmares are history. The Cheney pick solidifies the Bush comeback from the primary mess. His man is vanilla squared. Despite being Chief of Staff for the silly Ford administration and a major cog in the now-remembered farce known as Desert Storm as acting Defense Secretary for G.W.’s dad, Cheney helps to allay the fears that Bush is some kind of frat house party animal with a rudimentary grasp of foreign affairs.

Other than a few minor tremors about a supposed social moderate truly being a staunch conservative on key GOP hush-hush issues like abortion and guns, or his record number of heart attacks, no one paid to listen for earthquakes see any reason to believe Cheney will help or hinder Bush. Again, he is in the lead, and due to the fact that his party holds its convention first, he had to come with a name that didn’t rock the boat. The choosing of a vice president without a major voice or key state to carry come November is one way to carefully nurture the momentum.

Now it’s onto the convention to parade the rest of the gang before CNN and go about not losing to Al Gore.

NEXT WEEK – GEORGETOWN REPORTS FROM THE CONVENTION

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BLAZO!! – The “Never” Solution & Other Bizarre Revelations – gonzo author James Campion probes the inner sanctum of mysterious cyber crazies.

Aquarian Weekly 8/2/00 REALITY CHECK

THE “NEVER” SOLUTION& OTHER BIZARRE REVELATIONS ABOUT BLAZO!! PART II – (read part I)

The room became eerily quiet, the way it would in an old-time movie when the stoic captain addresses a ship of doomed men. That’s when Mighty Chief Wonka leaned forward, closing his left eye, and poked his cane in my direction. “Einstein never slept,” he began. “The man dressed in the same goddamn suit everyday, subsisted on an inordinate amount of fish and collapsed in a heap on more than one occasion!”

More silence.

“But in the end,” he continued. “Someone was better off for it! That is what we aspire to here in the hub of grandeur, the glowing talisman of hope, the graduation of wit and art! That is what it means to loyal BLAZOists worldwide!”

It went on like that for over 20 excruciating minutes, complete with obtuse references to defunct civilizations, vague Angus Young memories and a list of women Picasso turned down. Completing the diatribe with a deep breath, the Chief intertwined reasons for the death of television as we know it. Not that it meant actually killing anyone at the major networks, but after it was done, it was hard for me to tell the difference between literal and figurative death.

Looking on with rapt attention were those making up the BLAZO!! inner circle; two well-attired dwarfs, a manic middle-aged grump called Bart Francis and the pacing spectre of Kaptain Karl. These were men that Chief Wonka referred to on several occasions as the “chosen ones”, capable of understanding every detail of this kinetic hyperbole.

Of course, even that snapshot of circus maximus seemed ordinary in the shadow of the gentleman who entered the room next. He was over six-foot and wide-bodied in an intimidating, but fun-soaked way, with a wild tuft of jet-black curls swaying atop a deeply carved, but round face, interrupted by penetrating dark eyes. His brightly multi-colored Hawaiian shirt billowed as he strode through the group, his bushy eyebrows raised in pulsing anticipation.

The Chief spread his arms, and with a powerful grin, shouted, “It is Beautiful Chaz, the walking quintessence of the word…LOVE!!”

Beautiful Chaz engulfed the sizable Chief Wonka in his gripping hug, then spun around with surprising swiftness and pointed in my direction. “Don’t tell me who this is…” he hissed, hesitating and then bending into a crouch to commence a awkward duck walk across the room toward me. “Is this that friggin’ loooon, Campion,” he spit out, laughing maniacally. “Let me show the boy where we’re at!” And that is exactly what Beautiful Chaz did.

And as I followed him throughout the operation, laid out like a maze in separate parts of the BLAZO!! castle, my pen was moving rapidly upon a small pad hidden in my oversized shirt. With every journalistic instinct I could muster amidst the unfolding circumstances, these are the actual notes I scribbled down:

Strange staircases…winding, stone pillars. A large room filled with hunched artists scratching out crude, but amusing figures. Angry animators punching monitor screens and baying like wolves in heat. A chamber beyond with hollowed walls filled with candy and a sizable soda fountain (literally a fountain as in a park). Here several men in navy blue suits communicate to each other via long bullhorns with the words…TAKE NO PRISONERS posted on them. A twenty-foot mural of Chief Wonka looms behind them with one word written in script…SMILE.

A short ride in an elevator decorated in plaid wallpaper (very ill, almost woozy from the ride) up to an attic lair for writers – horribly mutated men and women with sunglasses lurching back from the shifting light in the room. Beautiful Chaz, laughing wildly, slips me a blue pill. “Right you up,” he says. I am reticent, but tired of the spins, so I swallow it. One dwarf hands me back the mini-tape recorder he’d stolen from my jacket and tells me to press play. Twisted melody chimes from the tiny speaker. La-la-la-la-la-la. Over and over. Walls moving. Chaz’s head getting larger and larger. I’m blacking…

Wake up in a massive media room with hundreds of television screens playing one thing: A man dressed in a business suit with a monitor for a head is dancing around a lime green hallway. His face pulses different messages…Never ask you to conform…Never ask you to kill for a pair of Nikes…. Never ask you to shave your head, wear a sheet, hang in airports…Never ask you to drink the kool aid, carve images into your forehead, move to Montana…Never ask you to listen to the Beatles White Album backwards…

Suffice to say, no man should have to endure such cryptic lunacy, but this was something I should’ve decided before putting my name on a contract beneath the BLAZO!! logo. Nothing else I remember about the evening made the type of sense sufficient for a cohesive story. This has always been the legacy of this space from politics to showbiz and back. Even an afternoon with the mutants running the Hillary campaign was less harrowing than what goes on behind the walls of BLAZO!!

As a postscript, and before my visit ended, I structured the utter silliness I’d witnessed into what amounts to a rambling manifesto that currently sits on the Internet at blazo.com, all the while Chief Wonka peering over my shoulder and whispering key phrases and clever aphorisms. But he never asked for blood, and for that I’m more than grateful, because every revolution has its casualties, and as close as I came to this one, I’m glad to not be counted.

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