Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rue de Ghouliani: A Street To Be Avoided At All Cost



At least that's what it sounded like on that there 'All Things Considered' today. There was the usual chucklesome review of those darn Democrats, and then a CrunchTime (TM) segment on Ghouliani. It was nothing short of reverent. Their soundbyte that demonstrated the epic heroism of the Mayor had something to do with 'people south of Canal St. should walk out to the south' - or something. Moses he ain't. Oh, sure, there was a sentence or two of lite criticism in the piece, but the upshot was that most criticism 'wasn't sticking'.

To me, Rudy is a mere retread. He's today's version of Bush2: a figure with minimal background but all the right connections.

This is not are era of great leaders. Great minds exist, but they are not in power. When I saw TV coverage of Bush and Rudy on the scene during the 9/11 saga, I was waiting for some sort of extraordinariness to emanate from them, whether it was manufactured or not. Even their handlers and scriptwriters couldn't come up with remarkable material. So these two figures came off, at least to me, as rather ordinary inspectors who were just doing their obligatory jobs. No poetry was necessary, but what we got was about as inspiring as a leftover eggroll. It was left to the media to build up the 'bullhorn' and 'podium' moments. On repeated viewings, Bush looks like he's merely inspecting a construction site, but no one would dare make fun of his 'nukular-isms' now. And Rudy, in his golden moments of screen time, sounds like he's dealing with a transportation strike or something. No one would dare make fun of his lisp now. In the meantime, the people down in the trenches were doing all the work while these pinwheels took all the credit. I just don't know why people were so impressed with Rudy's performance, even now. Letterman's emotionalism was to be expected, but it looks pretty feeble today.

I have to admit, contemporary real-life heroism has been spoiled by the movies. The power of the cinema has more 'stuff' than real life persons, but leaders are at least supposed to fake something impressive. Bush could have learned a lot about crowd control if he'd caught the last hour of DeMille's 'The Ten Commandments' in the chopper on the way to Ground Zero. He could have taken his pointers from Chuck Heston instead of God. A portable DVD player was all he needed. And Rudy, why hadn't it been required viewing for every big city mayor to watch Irwin Allen's 'The Towering Inferno' at least once? Steve McQueen was the guy to pay attention to. If you had, Rudy, not so many firemen would have needlessly perished, you contemptible fool. And now, you're supposed to be the one to lead this immense nation to a state of 'safety'?

As Lord Byron said, 'I want a hero: an uncommon want, when every year and month sends forth a new one . ..' Well, in media-managed America, and in such an emergency as 9/11, heroes had to be created, and fast. Who better than Hizzoner, who, despite his flaws and botches, his balding skullface, his history of transvestism, and yes, his lisp, was nevertheless readily available for hero-dom. Keeping cool is part of an actor's skill, and apparently, Rudy wowed 'em on his stage. He failed to wow this child though, and I don't trust him further than I could spit in a hurricane. It is a sad fact that most of the heroes of 9/11 . . . are dead.

Plus, I still think 9/11 was preventable, but we'd better not get into that here. Freedom of speech still ostensibly provides for us to theorize, but not necessarily as part of a conspiracy. 'Conspiracy theories' isn't the only term for variant possibilities in town.

As far as Rudy's world view is concerned, he fits in nicely with wacko/toxic opinionist Tom Friedman's feeling that, in order to fight terrorism, you have to have leaders who are crazier than the terrorists. It's a hollow comfort zone, a veritable hallucination for a public that wants to be swayed. To keep us safe. Hell, I feel more vulnerable walking to work, dodging SUV-driving, backwards baseballcap-wearing, cellphone-dialing goofballs than the prospect of the looming Islam-o-fascists, who are waiting to pounce. But - how petty of me.

As the 'thinking' - (ha-hah; ha-ha-ha-hah!) part of the mainstream media, NPR is happy to go along with all of this. They have prospered under Bush, and it is certain that Rudy's machine would keep them a going concern. With a more 'liberal' administration overseeing public broadcasting, things might revert to the bad old days of low ratings and indeterminate audiences out there in the wilderness somewhere.

1 comment:

  1. NPR (Not Pertaining to Reality) aside, speaking of the sadly enemic slate of would-be presidential 'hopefuls'(and I use the term loosely), some of us in your reading audience would very much appreciate your sage words on the 2008 field as it stands now.

    Hugh Beaumont