Saturday, February 12, 2011
thegrowlingwolf Flies to Tokyo in Three and One Half Hours
Ronnie Reagan at His Best
Ronald Reagan Is 100 Years Old But He Doesn't Realize It
Yes, the Gipper is 100 years old this year. And yes the fol-de-rol and the perfumed bullshit over this old overrated piece of crap is going to be piled higher than the recent snows that have unusually wreaked havoc with us all winter (and NO there is no Global Warming!!).
In the summer of 1966, my wife and I flew out to Santa Clara, California, where I was being interviewed for a teaching position in the Sociology Department of Santa Clara University. While being interviewed, my wife and I were invited to a faculty party. Yes, I knew Santa Clara was a Jesuit college, one of the oldest colleges in California, opened in 1853 around the Santa Clara Mission that is a part of the campus still today, but to hell with my religious intolerance, out of all the applications I'd sent out only Santa Clara responded so enthusiastically and I was eager to land a college teaching position, so I threw my prejudices in the recycle bin for the moment. Plus they had some things on their side. I had been told by one of my graduate advisers that though Santa Clara was a Catholic college, it was pretty progressive in terms of its Social Science Department. Plus, he added, they were well endowed and paid pretty good salaries. The job I was applying for paid $15,000-a-year, which in the late 60s was damn good money (my first job in New York City as a copyeditor only paid me $11,500-a-year in 1970). Also, this once all-male school (same as Notre Dame once was) had just become coed, allowing women admissions for the first time in its over 100-year history.
The faculty party was boring as hell. A bunch of psychologists had brought along tapes of Alan Watts lecturing on mantras and mandelas (the word comes from Sanskrit and means "circle," the circle perfection to a lot of cultures including our own Native American Indians)--Buddhist bullshit that Alan had a knack of combining with Western psychiatry for his own brand of East-West psychology. Transcendental Meditation was coming on big in those days, too, thanks to an Indian fakir named Mahesh Prasad Varma, or as he referred to himself by his "business" name, Maharisi Yogi. Plus the Beats were into Buddhism and it was they who led the Hippies into tantras and meditation and lotus positionings and the novels of Herman Hesse.
The talk that night at this faculty party--yes, there were a couple of Jesuit priests there--surrounded Alan Watts and his ideas, but eventually got around to California politics since at that time this goofy ex-actor, Ronald Reagan, was running for Governor against Jerry Brown's old political parasite father, Edmund "Pat" Brown.
I had always thought of Reagan as an actor joke. I mean, come on, this big docile fool's greatest acting acclaim was that he had played The Gipper in The Knute Rockne Story, a movie based on the football coaching career of Knute Rockne, the man who put Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, on the map with their Fighting Irish football team (now, ironically, 80% Black players none of whom are Irish). After that, the only thing this drugstore cowboy actor was known for was his second-banana role to the much-better actor, a charming chimpanzee named Bongo, in the silly movie Bedtime for Bongo. Later, of course, he worked for General Electric and 20 Mule Team Borax on television.
Right off the bat when the conversation got hot, I got in an argument with several of these Californians by saying I couldn't see the people of California voting this clown in as Governor. "Hey, friend," one cynical guy said (he was a Phys Ed teacher), "you don't know California voters. Reagan is currently running ahead of Brown." "But," I said, "surely...like you guys, are you voting for him?" "Hell no, but this is Northern California. We're different up here. But Southern California, especially L.A., is Conservative and full of shit and, yes, they will elect Reagan as Governor." I bet the whole party that no way would California be so foolish as to elect so soapy and insincere a bad actor as Ronald Reagan as their Governor. I think the bet was that if Reagan became Governor of California, I'd kiss all their asses in the middle of Buck Shaw Stadium (before they discontinued football in the 90s, the SCU Broncos, under their legendary coach, Lawrence "Buck" Shaw, won 106 and only lost 40 and 1 tie; at one time the Broncos won 20 straight home games. This stadium since they discontinued football is now home to SCU's very successful soccer program).
Needless to say I lost that bet. Reagan won the governorship over Pat Brown, surprisingly, yes, by one million votes. Right then and there I marked California off my list of progressive states. Yet, California had UCal at Berkeley, at the time to me the college to go to if you wanted to be a free-thinking all-round knowledgeable American human being. Yet, Reagan hated the University at Berkeley. In fact, Reagan, who had a degree from a nothing college in Illinois, where the Gipper was born, spent a lot of energy in trying to wreck the California college system, second only at the time to New York State's college system. Reagan's winning the governorship of California over so-called Liberal Pat Brown was called by his pundits as "the right moment," meaning, it was the right time for the Conservative Republicans to regain their power after Barry Goldwater in losing to Lyndon Johnson almost put them and the Republican Party in general out of business.
I moved to New York City in 1969. John Lindsay, a pretty little rich boy, was mayor. The climate was mixed, on the one hand, Midtown Manhattan, where I moved, the "fashionable East Side," was stable and prosperous and fun while things were still a little more revolutionarily active in Harlem, on the Lower East Side, in the Bronx, and big revo-activity across the river in Newark, New Jersey. There were still riots in Harlem. There were still antiWar gatherings in Central Park. There were "Free the Panther 21" rallies in Central Park. There were hippie music concerts at the Band Shell in Central Park. The Young Lords were active in East Harlem; Rap Brown was hanging out over off Central Park West in the East 60s, which were basically Puerto Rican neighborhoods, except by the time I arrived what the White Ruling Class called "Urban Renewal" was emerging as a real estate-development scheme--and this scheme eventually drove the "feelthy" Puerto Ricans on further Uptown and eventually on up the West Side. It was a diversified city then. The Weather Report blew up bombs late at night in front of the big banks--bombs that usually simply blew out the huge plate glass windows of these buildings and never that I remember even injured anybody. Then the amateur bombmakers blew themselves up in a brownstone in the Village and that sent the rest of the gang on the run from the FBI, including the infamous Kathy Bodine, daughter of lefty-defender lawyer Leonard Bodine, who went underground for many years under an assumed name (to later be uncovered in the 90s working as a newspaper woman). The Vietnam War was still going on. Tricky Dick was President and Spiro Agnew was along for the ride. John and Martha Mitchell were on the scene. With all of that going on, and that's only a mere smidgen of what was going on--like there was the music scene, the jazz clubs, the punk rock clubs, the reggae clubs, the r and b and blues clubs, the hard rock clubs, the folk joints, the piano bars--and Off-Broadway plays like Che were being performed--and nudity on stage was the big sell point even on a hippy play like Che, or in Joe Papp's production of Hair, but in particular a fun-and-games play called Oh Calcutta!
Reagan had been long forgotten, though we knew he was still intent upon getting his blockhead in the door of the Republican Party so the damn thing wouldn't slam on him next time he made his bid with his army of California John Birchers in the end 70s after Little Jimm-eh Cah-ter fucked up, not as President--as President, he was OK, he managed to keep the budget level and good times in the country--but he fucked up with his handling of the Iran hostage crisis--and it was the end of that Iran hostage crisis that big old phony-smiling dumbass-actor henna-haired piece of crap (I got this expletive from the late Grandpa Al Lewis) Ronald Reagan reappeared in the sights of my fight against a Conservative-Nazi takeover of this country--a country already practically a police state--the National Guard dumbass troops still taking orders to lock and load and fire on American citizens with the intent to kill them--taking orders from pot-bellied tinhorn officers, local insurance salesmen and bankers and shit--finally getting a chance to kill Americans with wild abandon at Kent State.
Again, I bet my wife and friends that surely Reagan wouldn't win in 1980--even though the asinine Dumbocrats and Jimm-eh Cah-ter ran a disastrous campaign trying to prove to rightwing-loving Americans that Ronald "Bedtime for Bongo" Reagan was a dangerous rightwing nutjob even more dangerous than Barry "In Your Heart You Know He's Right" Goldwater. Problem was: Jimmy Carter fucked up. His attempt at rescuing the hostages was so stupid rather than rescuing these Embassy workers he left behind a pile of wreckage outside Tehran--one a rescue helicopter that crashed and burned. Then, that asshole Reagan and the man they called Casper "the Ghost" Weinberger pulled a good one. They contacted the Ayatollah
Khomeini and told him, "Hey, dude, here's what'cha do. Hold on to those hostages--they're of no concern to Mr. Reagan and myself--until after Mr. Reagan gets elected--and don't worry, he's smearing that Southern peanut farmer's ass all the way back to Gawjah--so you help Mr. Reagan get in the cat-bird seat and by golly we'll send you so many of our great god-damn weapons and jet planes and shit, why, your army'll be the biggest god-damn A-rab army--er-ah, I'm sorry, you towel heads ain't A-rabs? Well, to Mr. Reagan you're all one and the same, so it don't matter to us, we'll call you Purr-shuns...anyway, what'cha say, is it a deal?"
And by God, next thing I know I'm sitting in my office at one of the great New York City management consulting firms (formerly known as accounting firms) when my wife calls me and tells me the old drugstore cowboy had been gunned down in some legal gunplay in the District of Corruption. "Did he buy the farm?" I cried over the phone. "No," she said, "though he took a bullet, he escaped a fatal wound...Reagan is safe, they are saying, but a member of his staff has been hit in the head and is in critical condition...but not to worry, the Great Communicator's going to make it." And that did it. No matter what this piece of crap did after that, the American electorate (the nuts who vote) raised him to a higher level than just ordinary old president--they lifted this bastard up so high, why--"You god-damn right he's right when he says government has no business being big and interfering in our rights to rugged individualism and Old West law and, you know, as an actor, President Reagan learned all about being a soldier, a football player, a cowboy, a lover, and a zoologist...and oh yeah, hey, man, he used to broadcast baseball games...the man's a fucking genius."
After that, I ignored Raygun. He made his famous speeches but I never listened to them. Even when I tried to listen to one of his speeches, I couldn't piece together any kind of even simple shit out of what he was saying--except things like how he hated poor people and how he believed in what he called a "free-market economy." And oh boy, I shuddered, but kept my mouth shut when Reagan started rolling our asses toward to biggest budget deficit in the history of the USA. And remember, his own vice-president, a man who would eventually top Reagan's budget deficit by billions, said Reaganomics was Voodoo Economics. Of course, a lot of Americans believe in voodoo and witchcraft and demonism and holy men and instant miracles and eternal life. Whatever, I was on a plane high above such shit. I ignored Reagan. Though it was hard to. Especially when I was watching him in a press conference during his second term and I told my wife, "Check out this asshole's look. Doesn't he look like he's lost? Look at him--and listen to him bumbling like a fool with whatever that actor-crap is he's trying to tell us--a new law against the workingman perhaps?--who the hell knows? That bastard's losing it, honey." Why, heckfire, that was the sign of Alzheimer's creeping up on him I was seeing in his face. A look of duh--"Where am I, Mommy? Can I have another jelly bean?" Now, Reagan's son, Ron, Jr., really a worthless son, is a guy who at least got smart enough to see that his father was a personality-less dumbass who never recognized any of his children, never talked about them, never introduced them to people, and certainly never gave them love--banging other babes--yeah, Ronnie was a fuckmeister, or so he claimed--and now Ron, Jr.'s saying that during his father's last years in the White Man's House he was suffering from Alzheimer's.
So Reagan is one hundred years old--six-feet under--yet, I'll bet he doesn't even know he's dead yet.
for The Daily Growler
For More GREAT Reagan Put-Down Here Ya Go:
Note: The Daily Growler has new computers--5 in total now, including a new iMax G5 running on the Leopard operating system due to Apple obsoleting what we thought was one of the great Apple OSXs, Panther 10.3.9--it was tough and reliable, but then so is our old G4 we were running it on--10 years of faithful service. Now we are upgrading to Tiger 10.4 on two machines and eventually Snow Leopard on our new G5 platform. The Growler is going modern, up-to-date. Why, we may even hire Arianna Huffington as a blog consultant--except she's got a big job now--she made 12 million off the deal--deliberalizing her Huffing-and-Puffing Puff Post--because she says she's turning Conservative again--remember she once backed Newtie Gingrich. She's a bitch. A whore. A golddigger deluxe. The concubine of old Michael Huffington who after having sex with her turned into a transvestite. Sorry, folks, we're not normally this mean.
for The Daily Growler