Diary of a Mad County
Illustration by Bob AulWEDNESDAY, April 21Every week, there's a lot of stuff that never gets into the paper, whether it's for reasons of space, content or that it was authored by Theo Douglas. It happens. And as you'd expect with any issue called "We Hate Mexicans," there was a lot we couldn't get in. Today, it pains Gustavo Arellano to admit we don't have space for perhaps the most hateful backhanded compliment since Hitler praised the French's good manners. Ladies and gentlemen, compliments of the boys at the White House AV Department, Richard Nixon! "The Mexicans are a different cup of tea. They have a heritage. At the present time, they steal, they're dishonest, but they do have some concept of family life. They don't live like a bunch of dogs, which the Negroes do live like."
THURSDAY, April 22 Nixon was born in Yorba Linda and had a house in San Clemente, facts that lead some to believe his views are indicative of Orange County. Big mistake. The county has come a long way, what with changing attitudes and demographics. Plus, there's a whole new genus of folks to torment, mainly the overweight and grief-stricken. Tonight the mother of Dana Hills High freshman Fred Berry Jr.asks the Capistrano School Board to suspend a gym teacher for the way he treated her son. The boy's father, Fred Berry, played "Rerun" on the '70s sitcom What's Happenin' as well as on the gravely overlooked What's Happenin' Now, the ignored Where Am I and the utterly disregarded I Have Problems Focusing. As you may know, Fred Sr. had weight issues that, while they could not contain his funk, may have contributed to his early demise. Berry Jr. claims that while in gym class, the teacher "told me to do sit-ups. . . . I started doing them slowly. He asked if I'd done any over the two-week break. I said no. He said I was going to die, just like my father." Niiiice! The teacher has apologized for his comment, but when do those words ever come out of your mouth? That's just crazy—sittin'-in-the-White-House-comparing-African-Americans-to-dogs crazy. And why does he have to go pickin' on Rerun's kid anyway? We love Rerun. Oh, not as much as Dwayne, who exuded a fawn-like vulnerability behind those soft eyes, expansive 'fro and scrumtrulescent "HeyHeyHey!" But, c'mon!? Rerun?! If you have to pick on some comic TV character's kid, why not go after Urkel's or Lou Dobbs'?
FRIDAY, April 23 Saw a friend of mine today who looked particularly stupid in a pair of peg-leg trousers that barely kissed his ankles. (I am thin-skinned in such matters owing to the fact that I lived most of my adolescent and teen years in fear that I would be seen wearing "floods." I grew up during the Cold War and absolutely assured—and expected—nuclear annihilation, and I'm telling you this was my utmost concern in life. To live—or die in global conflagration—with my pants the proper length was my greatest wish.) I may have mentioned something about the pants to my friend along the lines of "What the fuck's the deal with your pants, Beaver?" He told me he's had a terrible time finding pants that fit. He's about six-foot-two and pretty fit, so he's got a 32-inch waste with a 34 inseam. The folks at Nordstrom told him they just don't carry many pants that size anymore since Americans are such lardos. Yet another example of corpulent enabling: supersized meals, fad diets and the inevitable Tommy Bahama Dialysis Collection.
SATURDAY, April 24 The Los Angeles Times publishes the results of a poll in which 63 percent of California's registered voters say Indian tribes should pay taxes on revenue earned at their increasingly popular casinos. My question is: Where does someone obtain balls of the weight and girth necessary to voice that opinion? Are you out of your frigging minds? See, when you conduct a 300-year campaign of genocide against a people, it's very bad form to then send them the bill. The poll comes as TV ads ask Californians to support a "Fair Share" plan to tax the Indians. When exactly has the word "fair" ever been appropriate when talking about the treatment of Indians? We literally and figuratively rape them, expose them to smallpox, shove them to the brink of extinction, give them the most godforsaken plots of land (in Oklahoma!), tell them good luck—and then blame their own lethargy when they produce high infant mortality, rampant alcoholism and hopelessness. When somehow, by the miracle of their own labor, they manage to come up with a moneymaker, we all of a sudden get interested in making them part of society? Fuck you! Fuck fair! The Indians get a hall pass. The Indians get the most righteous, most major hall pass this side of being Jesus' girlfriend. How long? I dunno, but none of us will be sucking air when it runs out. Geez, could we treat them any worse? I mean we're talking a serious Ike Turner situation: bash, bash, bash. We bash them so much, so hard that when we give our sports teams derogatory names for Indians (Go, Redskins!), we think we're honoring them. It's like hunters saying they admire deer so much they are compelled to shoot and tie them to the hoods of their cars. Well, you'll not tie the Indians to this Hood of Gold! Ah, who am I kidding? Of course, you will. This is what happens in a country where the most popular Indian—the guy who cried when people littered—dies, and it turns out he was really Italian. (Hey, let's honor the Italians. Go Oily Wops!)
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SUNDAY, April 25 Not to pick on the Los Angeles Times—fellas, you do a great job—but today's book section runs a correction saying the book Glorious Appearing was mistakenly put on the nonfiction list. Glorious Appearing by Tim LaHayeand Jerry B. Jenkins is part of the enormously (frighteningly) popular Left Behind series, in which the world ends—but slowly enough to publish 12 books about it; God may be all powerful, but he doesn't have a quick first step. Apparently, someone at the Times thought a book about the anti-Christ—Nicholas Carpathia—amassing the Global Community's Unity Army to fight God's "Tribulation Force"—bet they have matching T-shirts—was the real deal. To be fair, Times reviewers have to read Henry Kissinger's stuff, so their sense of what's real and made up has probably suffered.
MONDAY, April 26 Thousands of Cal State University students protest proposed cuts in the CSU budget outside Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's downtown LA office. Misspelled signs and apathetic shouting abound.
TUESDAY, April 27 Last thought on the Indian question: just found out the owners of my local convenience store are named Jawad and Semeen. I am well-pleased.
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