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 was gamboling to the elevator at Weekly HQ Friday for an uncharacteristic stint at my desk when Moxley stopped me, à la Deep Throat, in the parking garage.
"You know who's coming here to interview Gustavo, don't you?" he asked me. The Los Angeles Times had just profiled our Mexican on its front page the day before, a development I'd taken hard.
No, I didn't know, but I doubted I would like the answer.
"Fox News," Moxley murmured, rolling and snurfling in his schadenfreude at my envy. It was like watching Duke Cunningham roll and snurfle in a pile of bribes.
I kept my cool, as I so often do, pretending envy just isn't my color. Surely Moxley meant the local Fox affiliate?
No, actually, he didn't. He meant Fox News Channel.
"And he's doing Tucker Carlson's show on MSNBC on Monday," he added, his parting gift to me before diving into his Mercedes and screeching up the ramp and away from my dangerous ire. Moxley accomplishes more before 8 a.m. than the U.S. Army. I'm sure he found the exchange quite delightful.
Now, I have nothing against Gustavo Arellano per se—he's a nice enough fellow, I suppose. But the OC Weekly has for 10 years been my fiefdom—mine!—until little Señor Workahol came along to write and edit the Food section, suck up a bunch of awards for his series on molesting padres, and write cover story after cover story and exposé after exposé on everything you never wanted to know about Placentia redevelopment. Seriously, the fucker never takes a break,which makes our gentlemanly and urbane editor wonder why the rest of us ask to do things like "take vacations" and "keep ourselves to less than five columns per week" and "refrain from being the fucking guy who in addition to 27 stories per week volunteers to keep the fucking conference table clean." I'll be the first one to say it: if Gustavo were a dockworker, the other dockworkers would have had a little conversation with him by now, and, frankly, Steve Lowery and I are about ready to do just that. And now, for the past however long, he's written everybody's favorite column in the whole wide universe, Ask a Mexican, which allows people to write in with questions about cultural differences between Anglos and Latinos and lets racist assholes think that they, like Gustavo, are just noting the differences and explaining them, which Gustavo is but they're not: they're just racist assholes. (Note to racist assholes: believe me or don't, but there's also a difference between you and Chris Rock.)
Which I think explains quite nicely Fox News and Tucker Carlson, who, by the way, couldn't have cared less that there was an actual communist at the Weekly—not just one of your workaday liberals, no sir!—mere steps from the camera. And also, it was my birthday, which they didn't care about either.
Tucker Carlson is a cameltoe.
* * *
Since Gustavo's waltzed in and broken his back in the course of actual work to steal my rightful acclaim (remember the good old days, when the Register was running lifesize pictures of my pretty face? Well, I do!), I figure it's time I waltzed in and started stealing his beat en español. So if I had followed at all the controversy with the po-lice arresting day laborers outside Home Depots—or, as my editor would like even better, if I'd gone out and done some real reporting—I would totally write about that. (Hola, Jarrett Lovell!) As it is, all I know is that the increasingly frothy Costa Mesans have a little too much John & Ken on their hands; in their never-ending paranoia about brown people and crime, they did the least sane thing they could think of in their crotchety, old-coot heads: ban work! Yes, after 17 years of compassionate pragmatism, the city shuttered its day-labor center so the poorest folks couldn't work—and in a time of increasing vitriol and racial angst, they shut down the Human Relations Committee too, lest the brown shirts learn to love their neighbors and replace the current City Council. It's the art of self-defeat so you can keep on bitching: like Reagan shutting down insane asylae for nuts and then complaining about the homeless; like the religious Rightists who neuter sex ed and then complain about abortion.
Or is it more like the Focus on the Family types who thought March of the Penguins was a heartwarming story about family values, when in fact the whole message seemed to be that it really sucks to be a penguin, and God likes Him some sick fucking jokes? And that, actually, the amount of suffering necessary to make it as a penguin is somewhat akin to the amount of suffering necessary to make it as a person working day-labor jobs on sub-minimum—hell, negative—wage, but we should love the penguins but not the Latin guys? Penguins are adorable, yes, but day laborers will help you move.
Hell, maybe it's most like when I voted for Nader.
Anyhoo, I'll find out some stuff about Mexicans and write about it next week . . . no . . . week after. Next week's the Weekly's Drinking Issue, so as you can imagine, I'm already booked.