By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
I watched Big Joe Lieberman make his acceptance speech on the tube, which was mostly nice-nice except for the part about making sure our military remains "the most powerful fighting force in the world." Who are we going to fight—the Cherokee Nation?
Speaking of the military, did you see the ultracreepy commercial that was airing on CNN throughout the convention? You see a flag draped over a soldier's casket as a voice-over cites the sacrifices of Americans in uniform on a series of battlefields, up to the Mekong Delta. "And we were there with them," the voice continues, as the visual cuts to the logos of U.S. gun manufacturers. Then we're told how the current administration, "big city mayors" (hmmm, a code word for "Negroes"?) and their greedy lawyers are trying to subvert free enterprise and destroy the gun industry that has always stood by us. Meanwhile, the commercial is showing our flag being brutally rent asunder (I guess flag desecration is okay when gun manufacturers do it). And here some of us thought it was the soldiers (many from "big cities") who were dying while the gunmakers were home racking up obscene profits. Ask the grunt in the paddy with the notoriously balky M-16 whether he felt the manufacturer was "there with him." Ick.
Post-Lieberman, I careened down to the Amphitheatre Formerly Known as Irvine Meadows to see the Who, who just rocked like hell for a couple of hours in easily the best show I've seen them do in a quarter-century. Pete Townshend, who eschewed playing electric guitar for years because of his ear problems, has evidently decided that if it's going to drive him deaf, he's going to enjoy every damn second of it. What a miraculous mess of feedback and windmilled power chords!
Was I indignant at having to pay $8 to park a half-mile away from the stage, or at the $38.50 I paid for a lawn seat ($31.50 face value, plus $7 because-we-can-screw-you surcharges)? Nah, just sweaty. "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss," Townshend wrote, in one of the most sadly cogent lyrics in rock.
The next night, new-boss-in-the-offing Al Gore acquitted himself pretty well in his speech before the Democratic Convention, coming on like Huey Long (okay, maybe Huey Lewis) in his promises to protect the people from the powerful. He had a good line about folks' important medical decisions being made by HMO bean-counters who "don't have a license to practice medicine and don't have a right to play god." I am such a sucker that my eyes actually tear up during these speeches. I do so want to believe.
Remember Poe's "The Telltale Heart," in which no matter how a guy tries to dispose of an incriminating heart, he still hears it beating? Bill Clinton must feel that way about his once-throbbing dick. The slurp heard 'round the world just won't go away. Mere hours before Gore's speech, word was leaked that another grand jury has been convened in the Lewinsky matter, making Clinton the first president to have bimillennial blowjob blowback. Sheesh, this couldn't have been more inconvenient if the Republicans had planned it! Thank goodness we're not frittering away our limited legal resources on keeping innocent people from being executed or anything. Another round of Monicamania? Can we do OJ again, too? Man, I'm getting sweaty just thinking about it.