Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, Nov. 3 Well, here we are, The Day After; dazed, angry, wondering how something like this could happen? How could Fullerton's historic Fox Theater be destined for destruction while local PBS-remaindered programming outlet KOCE is allowed to live? Yes, the Fox is pretty much given up for dead by the Fullerton City Council, which told preservationiststhey'd save the theater if the preservationists raised a trillion dollars and got everyone dates for the big country-club dance. Of course, the joke is on the preservationists because even if they get the money, the council will then demand they cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a haddock. On the flip side is KOCE—public broadcasting's answer to Ross Dress for Less—which gets new life as it is purchased by the KOCE Foundation and not some Christian network. Thank you, Jesus. Yes, now we are assured of an uninterrupted stream of crappy programming no one else wants such as the short-lived children's crime series Seriously, Where's Waldo? as well as such local gems as the 12-part Sleepy, Hollow: A Cultural Retrospective of Brea. Yay, verily, KOCE sucks. During last night's election, I tuned in to KOCE's Real Orange's "Special Election Coverage" and was greeted with the stunning news that a local community college was hosting a faculty dance concert, though the traditionally conservative rural districts had yet to be counted. Later, the show featured a couple of talking heads doing analysis, and one of them starts talking about the disconnect and anger in the electorate and how divided the nation is and how this threatens our democracy, to which anchorbat Ann Pulice says, "Yeah, what can we do about that?"

Thursday, Nov. 4 After his 3 percent landslide, George W. Bush attempts to heal the nation by saying we have "one future that binds us," which doesn't so much soothe me as sound like what an airline pilot going through a bad divorce says over the intercom as the plane nears the Rockies. Yes, yes, healing. Healing is the cheese. We must all heal and come together, so says The Orange County Register in a piece headlined "Many OC Residents Eager to Reach Across the Divide." In fact, they publish a slew of healing letters from conservatives reaching across to give their progressive neighbors a big curative "Suck On It!" Under the restorative headline "Kerry Couldn't Fool Most Americans," the letters pretty much crow about their overwhelming success and threaten everything short of re-education camps. Likewise, this afternoon, Bush signals that the time for healing is over as he blusters that "I've earned capital in this election, and I'm going to spend it," claiming "the people have spoken and embraced" his views. Yes, the people have spoken, and if I remember my grade-school math correctly, nearly half of them said they'd prefer he'd not muck things up any more. Of course, it doesn't take much for Bush to consider he has a mandate; he claimed he had one four years ago when he lost the popular vote. Of course, all that changed this time, as all his opponent could muster was 48 percent of the vote and a measly 252 Electoral votes, a whopping 18 votes shy of election. Yes, all John Kerry managed to win were the hinterlands such as the Northeast and West Coast, while Bush dominated in those areas where the mutually agreed exchange of livestock is still considered a form of courtship. In those states, Bush was helped by the inclusion of gay-marriage-ban initiatives, which I think is beautiful—you know, Bush being against gay marriage but bragging about having a mandate.

Friday, Nov. 5 To answer your questions: yes, that is George W. Bush, and yes, that is his finger flipping you off.

Saturday, Nov. 6 Flipping youoff.

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Sunday, Nov. 7 The Sunday papers are bursting with election analysis, one of the most prevalent being how much political sway Arnold Schwarzenegger has with California voters. He campaigned against Proposition 70 and it lost. He campaigned against Proposition 66 and it lost. Yeah, he also campaigned for George Bush and he lost—in California. As for the Props., look, it doesn't take much political clout, let alone convincing, to ask Americans to screw Native Americans. We do that in our sleep. Just give us a reason. What am I saying? Screw a reason, just give us a chance! As for Prop. 66—the initiative that would have fixed our crummy Three Strikes law—it's not hard to scare the hell out of people by showing them pictures of crazed killers and telling folks you'd better do everything we say or these guys will show up on your front door. There's even a phrase for it: the Patriot Act. You want to know how freaked out people were? Gray Davis came out against Prop. 66 and it still lost. No, if anything, Schwarzenegger—after getting his ass handed to him by pet owners and advocates for the disabled—has simply learned how to pick battles he can win. Look for him to push for his "Everybody Gets a Yacht" Initiative; that'll be right after he courageously pilots his far-reaching "More Poon for Fat, Balding White Guys" legislation through the Assembly.

Monday, Nov. 8 My voice mail is bursting with angry calls about our cover showing then-Governor Bush flipping off a TV camera. The calls go something like: "How dare you publish a picture of the president flipping the bird." There's an unmistakable disconnect in people's voices that either we forced Bush's finger into that position or that, even if he really did give the camera the finger, he didn't really give it the finger. Of course, that's what personal responsibility is all about: making someone else personally responsible for stuff you've done. By the way, I'd just like all those who called in to know that for every one of your angry calls, we got a call saying how awesome the cover was and how we should run more of them. We totally agree. Of course, we did get calls that said the picture was disgusting. We totally agree.

Tuesday, Nov. 9 The folks trying to save the Fox Theater are given one more day to fail, while over on KOCE, it's more top-notch local programming with the premiere of Ooooh, Look! Shiny! The Supervisor Jim Silva Story. You know, a lot of people ask me, "Hey, Steve, why so rough on KOCE?" When I say, "They suck," that usually ends the conversation. Still, some insist on pointing out that Real Orange is an Emmy winner, having just won another local Emmy for a documentary about local fires. That's nice, but, c'mon, local Emmys? Everyone wins a local Emmy. They're like Little League trophies: you get one just for participating. I'm pretty sure the guy who pulls the numbers out of the Lotto hopper has won five. In fact, the guy who puts the numbers in the hopper just got a lifetime-achievement Emmy.


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