Sweet and Loh Down
Photo by Johan VogelA sage once wrote—we forget where exactly—that the five best words ever printed in the Los Angeles Timesare "Liz Smithis on vacation." The radio equivalent of these sentiments are expressed on March 1 by public-radio station KCRW-FM 89.9, which announces it has fired commentator Sandra Tsing Loh. You know how much we despise exposing our personal biases in this space, but truth be told, we never got Loh. Ever. Never ever. Her supposedly humorous The Loh Life monologues, which include pause breaks for listeners she must assume are in titters, always induce in us the Simpsons moment when Homer walks over to a TV set showing Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor, pounds the top of the console and demands, "Be funnier." Only we pound a radio, which can be quite a trick in rush-hour traffic. But the Loh heave-ho does not come because KCRW is trying to improve the quality of Los Angeles and Orange County airwaves. Turns out her monologue the night before her axing included the word fuck, which tops both George Carlin's list of the seven words you can't say on television and the Federal Communications Commission's list of words that can never air on any public airwaves. Loh swears her fuck was supposed to be bleeped out—that was the joke! [Insert chirping cricket sounds here.]But fuck if Loh's fuck didn't go out unfiltered, prompting her sacking by station manager Ruth Seymour, whose own shrill voice during pledge drives doesn't have us pounding the radio but rather steering into oncoming traffic. In the story about this sordid affair in the Los Angeles Times(it all comes full circle, baby), Seymour denies she let Loh go due to today's scary broadcasting climate. "The actual use of the word can't be used in any way on our air. It has nothing to do with the Super Bowl or Howard Sternor anything like that. It's illegal," says Seymour, whose voice, even imagined in our head as we read back her words, has us reaching for an ice pick to use as a Q-tip.
AD WARFor an example of something that probably does have something to do with the Super Bowl or Howard Stern or anything like that, check out gun-shy media giant Viacom's recent capitulation to an Anaheim elementary school. As the Anaheim Bulletinreports on March 4, Viacom quickly and without question acquiesced to a request by Sunkist Elementary School principal Joan Pettitethat Viacom remove an advertisement on a billboard it owns facing the school. The ad showed a shapely blonde in a bikini lying by a palm tree and holding a bottle of Corona Light beer. Pettite and PTA president Dianna Kronquistcited the school's designation as a drug-free zone as the rationale for infringing on the First Amendment. And when did light beer (or, in this case, a picture of light beer) wind up on the list of dangerous drugs that can't be within a designated distance from a school yard? Geez, it's not like the billboard showed something truly evil, like medical marijuana! But as it has done in the broadcasting arena, where the financial blow of losing an FCC license is too much to risk, Viacom admits making a mistake—"Simple human error," says inventory specialist Molly Brydges—and rips down the ad pronto. AD WAR IIA small, grassroots group called Keep the Commissary(KTC), which is composed of active and retired military personnel, contacts the Weekly on March 1 to complain about not being able to get an advertisement in The Orange County Register—even though active and retired military personnel are the people for whom half the Register stories and all Gordon Dillow columns are written. Having successfully fought to keep a sort of Wal-Mart for Vets open at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, KTC has a new cause: putting struggling military families in empty base housing. So their ad gives a shout-out to a certain Newport Beach Republican congressman: "Chris Cox: Why aren't you helping our military families access the empty El Toro base housing that is costing taxpayers over $50,000 every day it sits empty?" Small-print disclaimers note this is a paid advertisement and that El Toro is in Cox's district, though you'd never know it considering the way Cox rode the fence during the whole airport debate. The KTC ad also includes a web address to get more info (ocmil.com) and a slogan ("Troops, taxpayers are being fleeced!"). But Keep the Comissars say that after the Regtook their cash, the copy was deemed "too problematic," no changes to it were allowed, and senior advertising department executives wouldn't return calls. (Don't take it personally; they don't return ours, either). "It appears the Registeris allowing its ad decisions to be influenced by politicians—it makes you wonder who really owns the Register," fumes retired Marine George Simon. "It also appears the Register has adopted an anti-military, anti-taxpayer attitude to avoid facing the true facts about El Toro." To add insult to, well, insult, KTC reps say they had to place several calls and wait in the Register lobby for hours before getting a refund. THIS JUST IN: NOT ALL HUNTINGTON BEACH VOTERS ARE DIPSHITSWe figure it's a slam-dunk that Surf City voters—who have stacked their City Council in years past with drunks, fascists and a dimwit extraordinaire with the initials Dave Garofalo—will believe rich and powerful interests claiming the council would be more responsive if the number of seats was cut from seven to five. But a funny thing happens on March 2: Measure E, the so-called "fair district initiative," tanks as 63.3 percent of Huntington Beach voters oppose it. Measure E had everything going for it: $200,000 (that we know about) spent by backers (vs. the Huntington Beach Concerned Voter's Coalition's measly $35,000) and ex-Assemblyman Scott "Slime" Baughwhoring on its behalf after having been retained as a lobbyist by AES power-plant owners who want to operate, pollute and pay no taxes without government interference. Baugh, who claims his initiative would have passed had it been on the November ballot (which begs the question: Why rush to put it on the March ballot?), says he's too busy trying to succeed Tom Fuentesas grand master of the Orange County Republican Central Committee to bother with this municipal shit anymore. Okay, so maybe he didn't use those exact words. ANOTHER CRUSHING ELECTION DEFEATBitterer, defeateder, ex-congressman Robert K. "B-1 Obsolete" Dornanloses his GOP primary bid to unseat Congressman Dana Rohrabacher(R-Huntington Beach) when 1 million percent of the 46th District voters reject him. (Actually, it was more like 83 percent, but who's counting? Certainly not the Mexicans, eh, Bob?) Of course, the worst thing about Dornan slithering back, tail between his wobbly, freckled knees, to his hilltop Virginia mansion is we won't be able to use the remaining nicknames for him suggested by Clockwork readers Shirley and Tony Smith. Having printed everyone else's and fearing that we may never pound out another item on the fiery redhead, we give you: B-1 Butthead, B-1 Buffoon, B-1 Blowhard, B-1 Braindead, B-1 Bonehead, B-1 Bozo, B-1 Bellyache, B-1 Bore and B-1 Big Mouth.
Congressman, don't let anyone tell you you won't be missed.
MUST-SEE TVC Traditional Values Coalitionpresident Andrea Lafferty—the daughter of the Anaheim- and Washington, D.C.-based, gay-hating ministry's founder the Reverend Lou Sheldon—writes to the producer of NBC's The West Wing complaining about the March 3 show. The fictional program (so fictional it has liberals running the White House) makes reference to the "Traditional Values Alliance" and its motto "The Lord Hates Homosexuals." Wrote Lafferty: "This sounds to me like the Reverend Fred Phelps, who pops up in real life (way too often) arguing 'God Hates Fags.' The Traditional Values Coalition has publicly criticized Reverend Phelps for this outrageous distortion of the Gospel, particularly some of the stunts he and his followers have done concerning the death of Matthew Shepard." Gee, Andrea, how very straight of you. Will you sign my petition calling for the legalization of gay marriage? The last time Clockwork mentioned Lafferty, she was complaining about something she heard on public radio (it all comes full circle, baby!). Gotta wonder about her viewing and listening habits.
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