United We Brand!

So a priest, an imam and a Buddhist guy make a long-distance phone call . . .

I don't know about you, but I could have lived a long, long time without seeing AT&T Wireless' ad reminding us that it's good to be able to call your loved ones when you're about to perish in a flaming airliner.

I was all set to go out Friday night, just as soon as I was done watching the somewhat disappointing Pasadena. (I have my priorities.) But the somber ad—just blue type on a heavenly white field, announcing the streets where people had been massacred followed by other streets throughout the world where people presumably had not yet been slain—made it quite unnecessary for me to leave the house; my work for the evening had just been deposited in my lap like the vomit of a small, feverish child. After an eloquent roll call that included Chambers Streetin New York; Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C.; and whatever the main road in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, might be, AT&T reminded us potential cell phone owners that "the power to unite is stronger than the power to divide." Wasn't that sweet of them? Such a message of strength?

Left unspoken—so subtly!—was the reminder of all those who'd been able to let someone know they loved them on Sept. 11. It certainly was a wonderful gift—and beyond unseemly of AT&T to shill for itself with mangled bodies, however elegantly. It's time for modesty, kids. Let the commentating class write columns (and National Public Radio color pieces) for you about how they have changed their tune when it comes to the chirpy little love-spreadin' wonders. (How is it that NPR has such a high percentage of former Luddites? Oh, that's right. They're a bunch of damn dirty hippies. Next question.)

Since I had made that split-second decision to put on my moose pajamas and sit happily on my ass at home instead of going out and doing "work," I decided I might as well check in on our favorite televangelists, Jan and Paul Crouch, who broadcast good, old-fashioned soul saving for only $19.95 from their muy elegante Trinity Broadcasting Network headquarters off the 405 freeway at Bear Street. Perhaps you've seen it?

And what were Jan and Paul up to, aside from gazing off into the ether (Jan seemed a bit off her game)? They were shilling! Surprise! It seems their son Matthew Crouch produced the reportedly appalling Megiddo: Omega Code 2 (our own Steve Lowery said it was so "amateurish and horribly written," such a "steaming heap," "that it makes the viewer yearn for the relative relief of a pitchfork up the pooper"), which last I heard had made an embarrassing $1.5 million at the box office (Matthew said it cost $22 million to make). So Jan and Paul interviewed some guy with a bizarrely fluid accent (it kept changing from Greek to English to Georgian, I think) who seemed to be the writer or director and who kept saying he'd prophesied the Sept. 11 attacks way back in 1996. I don't know about you, but it sounds to me like someone is trucking with Satan! Paul and Jan neglected to point out that it's bad to cavort with the Fallen One, choosing instead to scroll across the bottom of the screen a state-by-state listing of every movie theater in the countrythat was showing their son's movie—the better for you, the moviegoing Christian, to be able to find it and shell out your $8.50. While I was watching, they were going theater by theater in every town in the state of Florida. The Crouches always make it so easy to give!

Sept. 27's big shindig at Laguna Beach's ultraswank didn't even pretend to be a benefit for the victims of the World Trade Center tragedy. Instead, it celebrated the joining of the gorgeous venue with party planners 3-D Entertainment, at least one of whose principals is a handsome, flamingly gay man with a hell of an eye for detail and a short word for any worker he comes across.

The food was beyond anything, as I'd known it would be. In this case, Crème de la Crème Catering force-fed us cucumbers topped with tuna tartare and spring rolls wrapped in sweet, tender beef instead of that pastry stuff. The martinis were citrus, and as always at 7˚, the place was positively flooded with champagne. Sadly, though, having eaten more than we've ever eaten before without a bong in our hands, we left before the giant cake rolled out for 7˚ owner Mark's 40th birthday. "Great. Cheesy strippers," sniffed the waitstaff to themselves. But they were wrong! Who jumped out of that giant cake? Some old Laguna bird in a leotard and top hat, high-kickin' like Molly Shannon but sexy and 70! Mark, who was tied to his chair, was the proud recipient of a fabulous lap dance. God bless that old lady!

On Saturday, state Senator Joe Dunn and his wife, Diane, hosted an actual benefit for the Red Cross at their beautiful Floral Park (that's the rich and purty part of Santa Ana) home. But I've got a question: Joe Dunn is a fine, upstanding liberal—certainly the best we've got representing Orange County. And what I know of his voting record is excellent. So what's up with his military fetish? A Toys for Tots Christmas party at his home last year featured Marines with weapons (that's the technical term; as the boys in the Corps like to say, "This is my weapon; this is my gun. One is for shooting, the other's for fun") hanging out as living photo ops. This time, old, wizened members of the 82nd Airborne Division did an excruciatingly long Color Guard flag-thingy that lasted throughout "The Star-Spangled Banner"; "America the Beautiful"(I think); and that skin-crawling Lee Greenwood song, "God Bless the USA." I'll tell you what, friends: it is bizarre to hear the shit-kickin' "God Bless the USA" sung by a black man (though a black man with a fine operatic basso profundo). The whole time, the soldiers baked at attention under a sun as hot as Kuwait. As is now mandatory, the gathering was joined by an imam, a priest and a Buddhist guy, which reminds me of this joke . . .

Sing for the Girl: CommieGirl99@hotmail.com.

 
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