Diary Of A Mad County

WEDNESDAY, May 12 With a unanimous vote by its City Council, Garden Grove becomes the first U.S. city to officially declare itself a "no-communist zone," and rumor is the council may soon take steps against the Grange and Eugene V. Debs. The inane resolution says the city does not welcome "visits, drive-bys or stopovers by members and officials of the Vietnamese communist government," and I hardly think they needed to pass a resolution for that. People have been avoiding visits to Garden Grove ever since they knocked down Belisles. This is all so much political grandstanding, of course, since most of the city's residents are of Vietnamese descent; and while it may seem pretty harmless, it's silly stuff like this that's really inhibiting many of these residents' growth as Americans. I mean, being a real American means being very fluid about who you see as the greatest enemy to your freedom. The measure's backers are still stuck back in the fear-of-a-Red Menace days while the rest of us have moved on to the Libyans and the Iraqis and the Haitians and Microsoft and Scott Peterson and the Iraqis. Being American means never having to say you don't have something to fear.

THURSDAY, May 13 0.4 seconds. Derek Fisher. Haven't seen scoring that quick since a friend took me to a party at Brooks College.

FRIDAY, May 14 The Vatican warns Catholic women to think twice before marrying Muslims, and then goes on to urge Muslims to show more respect for human rights and democracy. You know, any religion that spent the past century cozying up to Hitler, ignoring the Holocaust and institutionally protecting pedophiles that preyed upon their own young really should keep its big prayerhole shut about what other religions should be doing. Okay, lemme give you the requisite disclaimer that I have been a Catholic—and a rather proud one—all my life, mainly because I subscribe to the Dorothy Day wing of the party. But it's idiotic bunk like this that allows my militantly non-papist acquaintances to remind me that I share a creed with Pat Buchanan. None of this really matters here, of course. American Catholics stopped listening to Rome when it came out against baseball on Sundays.

SATURDAY, May 15 A couple of months ago, Larry and Kristina Dodge of Monarch Beach gave Chapman University $20 million for its School of Film and Television. While some of the money will go toward buying the bitchenest popcorn maker ever, some of it will fund the Institute for the Study of Media and the Public Interest, which, a Chapman press release says, "will invite scholars and community leaders to participate in seminars, panels and conferences dealing with the impact of media on society and public policy." This is nice, except they likely will not be doing it with anyone actually from the media who makes an impact, judging from how our own Gustavo Arellano was treated today while attending a talk by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. Gustavo, a Chapman alumnus, was prevented from attending the Aznar press conference that followed the talk. Gustavo was told by a Chapman operative that this was regular operating procedure. They were lying, of course. Gustavo was the only reporter prevented from attending the press conference because he wrote an essay in March critical of Aznar and then-American Ambassador George Argyros in regards to the terrorist train bombing. Chapman's tinhorns probably didn't care much what Gusto wrote about Aznar, who's so popular at home that Spaniards in March made him their former prime minister. No, it was what he wrote about Argyros, Chapman's greatest benefactor/john who has given millions to have numerous buildings, halls, drinking fountains and garden sheds named after him—and at least one journalist prevented from doing his job. This is nothing new; universities betray their principles all the time, and Chapman's six point "Vision Statement" includes "Undertaking the search for truth and meaning through critical thinking" and "Engage in and promote an open and honest communication," which is all a bunch of hollow crap. Walk around the Chapman campus, and you'll see that whether it's the Dodge College of Motion Picture and Media Arts (But Not Scrutiny) or the school's core principles, everything is for sale.

SUNDAY, May 16 Took my son to see Van Helsing. It's a big-budget, computer-generated piece of crap, of course, but, nevertheless, the film did raise some elemental questions: 1) Why did I agree to take my son to Van Helsing? 2) Why, by movie's end, is the nine-foot Frankenstein monster standing in a small canoe paddling out to sea? And why, did Anaheim-based Carls Jr. think this was the movie to push their food? If you don't know, Van Helsing is about a guy who goes hunting monsters, vampires mostly, and Carls Jr. attached itself to the project, its recent TV commercials suggesting they have terrific hamburgers because the undead enjoy human blood. The logic is as clear as Carls' advertising strategy the past few years, which has variously portrayed its food as looking—and sounding—disgusting while suggesting its customers are slobs and losers paralyzed from performing the most basic routines of survival. Still, why would a fast-food company link itself so closely with a movie rife with bad Romanian accents, poor dental hygiene, rotting flesh, oozing liquids . . . oh, wait, that's the No. 6 combo.

MONDAY, May 17 South Orange County Community College District Chancellor Raghu Mathur is nothing if not a consensus builder, the kind of leader who brings people together. Today, he brings together a whopping 93.5 percent of professors to overwhelmingly cast a vote of no-confidence regarding his leadership. Mathur claims the vote is simply an outgrowth of current contract negotiations with employees from the district's two colleges: Irvine Valley and Saddleback. Of course, that doesn't explain why Mathur, while serving as president at Irvine Valley from 1997 to 2002, received not one, but two votes of no-confidence. Wait, yes, it does.

TUESDAY, May 18 In other election news, people in India and across the world learn that Indian politician Sonia Gandhi will not accept the post of prime minister. Some say Gandhi's refusal of office may have something to do with her Roman Catholic faith, but, for the most part, no one can understand why Gandhi, whose husband, Rajiv, was prime minister—and assassinated in 1991—and whose mother-in-law, Indira, was prime minister—and assassinated in 1984—would not want to be prime minister.

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