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
Wednesday, May 25
Having unsuccessfully fumbled for the remotecontrolwhile witnessing my 11-year-old son's not-so-imperceptible rising while witnessing ParisHiltonsudshumping the hood of a Bentley in a TV commercial for Anaheim-based Carl's Jr., my thoughts, understandably, are drawn to Martin Luther King Jr. Of all the things said by the great man, none rings truer for me—not even his estimation of Gerryand the Pacemakersas "way boss"—than his assessment of America as a "ten-day nation."Asked what effect the assassination of John Kennedy would have on the civil rights movement, King rightly surmised that it would have none since Americans could only hold their attention/outrage for 10 days (and this was 1963 attention span, when there were only seven broadcast channels, "insta-polls" were called "elections" and the closest anyone got to a news crawl was when Huntley and Brinkley tied one on). We see how true his words are today with the Hilton ad. After JanetJacksonflashed her boob during the Super Bowl, a lot was made about cleaning up TV. How very quaint that all seems as my son locks on to Ms. Hilton orgasmicallysqueezing soapy water onto her near nudeform and grinding against the car's fender while tonguing a burger—as funny as the predictions that satire and humor died in the rubble of 9/11. The commercial produces the usual cries of outrage from the usual criers of outrage, and Carl'sJr.must be shocked, SHOCKED!that this has happened. AGAIN. You'd think the company, started by uber-Catholic CarlKarcher,would have learned their lessons from the moral indignation and lightpetting—andsubsequent nap taking—that invariably follows such commercials, whether it was the Carl's Jr. ad showing a woman stalked by a bunch of guys who, through binoculars, circlejerkwhile watching her lick ketchup off her chest or the Carl's Jr. ad showing a woman in spray-on jeans mounting a mechanical bull, burger in hand, and then grinding the bull, hard, while giving mouthloveto the burger. And now there is the present Hilton model. I mean, if I didn't know better, it's almost like—and I don't want to libel anyone here—but it's almost like Carl's Jr. is making these commercials on purpose.
Thursday, May 26
Friday, May 27
Talk in the office was that women must be more aggressivein matters of the heart because men have become so "pussified," as one of the young ladies put it. This, it was explained to me, is why you see girls asking out boys and young women much more aggressive about sex."Boys won't do it so we have to." This is hard for me to hear, and not just because I have a 14-year-old daughter. I'm a man who grew up in the '60s and '70s, the cradle of the sexualrevolution,but, while revolution was in the air, I went through the age as 130 pounds of Switzerland—stuck in neutral,permanently locked down by the craggy jutting of my own geography. Today, it's different. You got hotteachers,desperatehousewivesand younggirlson the prowl. Dennis Miller once said that if you can't get laid on the day they discover a cure for AIDS, you can't get laid, and it seems that every day is "VA" day. A few years ago, a friend of mine who is a needling prick took great delight in showing me a NewYorkTimespiece noting this new aggression on the part of young women and attributed it to the feministmovementof the '60s and '70s. Which means guys like me got all the anger and none of the action. Which wasn't so great for our sex lives, but terrific preparation for marriage.
Saturday, May 28
And another thing boys have today: the Internetto show them millionaire heiresses dating the hoods of fine automobiles. Desperate to minimize the negative fallout of feminist icon Paris Hilton's ChittyChittyBangBanging,Carl's Jr. goes into crisis mode on its website, where it attempts to downplay the commercial as best it can. In fact, the newly arrived web visitor would hardly know anything about the commercial from the website if he didn't happen to notice the large sign at the top of the page reading: "Watch the extended Paris Hilton commercial plus extrafootage!"But if one clicks on that, one is going to be disappointed to find that all Carl's Jr. is offering on that page is an "Internet only cut (60 sec.)," and "Behind the scenes with Paris (3 min.)," and "Corporate Commentary(3 min.)," and the ability to "Download a desktop," as well as send pictures and videos of the commercial to friends. I mean, it's like Carl's Jr. is trying to make it as if the commercial never happened. Perhaps the best thing on the site—yes, even better than the "Corporate Commentary," in which Brad Haley from marketing says the commercial is all about a "great looking actress, great looking car, great looking burger,"—is the behind-the-scenes interview with Paris Hilton, who says such things as "This burger's reallyhot.It's got like these fried jalapenos on it, and it's really juicy and tasty," and "I'm in a bikini, washing a Bentley so I'm pretty cold because the water is spraying but it's prettyhot."Listening to Ms. Hilton talk—an activity which may be the long-sought-after antidote for the four-hour boner spoken of in Viagracommercials—I'm reminded of the words of another great African-American leader, RichardPryor,who said there was only one thing stopping him from doing something very bad with his daughter's cute teenage friends. Thus spake Richard: "Thank God they talk."
Sunday, May 29
Saw MadHotBallroomwith my family today. It's a great movie, one that will renew your faith and hope in America, immigrants, schools, kids, teachers and the rumba.It was so good, even our finicky film critics liked it. EllaTaylorcalled it "so much fun, I wanted it to go on forever . . ." Wait, that wasn't Ella Taylor. That was the Register'sGordonDillowwriting about the IraqWar.
Monday, May 30
Oh, and about that. DickCheney,ever the voice of calm and reason, says he thinks we'll be out of Iraq by 2009.And who wouldn't trust Cheney, who pushed for the war because of weapons of mass destruction that didn'texistand because there was a long-standing connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda that never occurred? But on this Memorial Day (1,650 Americandeadin Iraq and counting), Cheney seems certain. In fact, we haven't seen anyone this certain regarding Iraq since Cheney's "boss," George W. Bush, announced an end to major combat operations while standing on an aircraft carrier flight deck in front of a banner reading "Mission Accomplished."That was two years ago.
Tuesday, May 31
Today, in one of his semi-annual press conferences, an especially shrilland boastfulGeorge W.Bush declares that he was the first person to realize SocialSecuritywas in danger, that the United Nations is an important organization and that he thinks it's important to use diplomacy to solve our problems with other countries (1,650 and counting). For a man whose image is so closely molded and guarded, who looks so good on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier reading someone else's words, it's a wonderful opportunity for Americans to see what the guy really is: smirky,smugand small.Thank God he talks.