Saturday, March 20, 2004

Al Franken: Democratic Party Bouncer

From time to time Al Franken likes to kick a little bit o' Ass -- Republican ass, playa. The other day he used just the right mix of hard power and soft power, so to speak, in a short term domestic conflagration. Didn't you know that Howard Dean's aggro speeches would one day cause some kind of ruckus on the left hand side? The New York Times Magazine(subscription required) captures the frenzied mood surrounding Al Franken's rather "punchy" ass-whipping of a confused protester at a Howard Dean campign rally with the appropriate amount of gusto.

But let me set a little ambiance for you, cornbread, cause that's the sorrt of thing Bloggers like to do. (plays Europe's The Final Countdown) It is "the Sunday before the nation's first primary," at a Howard Dean rally in downtown Manchester. The New England winter is crisp; the mood is one of fighting back. The Republicans have been eating the lunch of the Democratic Party since Ca-lee-fohrn-eeaaah, and the midterm elections and, of course, the Supreme's 5/4 dance number that handed the Bushies the keys to the White House.

Anyhoo: Our man on the scene, the NY Times writer, one Russell Shorto, feels it important for us to know -- at the outset -- that Franken's tushy is the stuff of the Gods, ambrosial, a hasty pudding if you will:

"From 1966 to 1969, Franken was a member of the varsity wrestling team at his high school in Hopkins, Minn. Six years after graduation, when he showed up in New York to begin work as a writer on the first season of 'Saturday Night Live,' he was still almost as much an athlete as a comedian. ''He seemed like a total jock,'' says the comedian Laraine Newman, who was a member of the original cast. 'He always had a football in his hands when they were writing. And he had this very defined musculature. His butt was like a cut basketball. Which, you know, you don't normally see in comedy writers.'"

No, no, one doesn't, Mr. Shorto, to be sure; but The Corsair's former girlfriends don't complain, we are in our early 30s after all is all I'm saying.

Anyhoo: Let's bring on the rassling. Now for a spot of the old rough and tumble, Harvard-style --- bring-it-on!:

"Onstage, Martin Sheen speaks first, then Dean's demure wife, then the suddenly embattled former governor of Vermont himself. Sometime after Dean begins taking questions from the audience, a manic-looking heckler starts to heckle, accusing Dean of 'covering up for Dick Cheney.' He gets louder. A couple of spindly members of Dean's security team approach him uncertainly; he swings his arms and keeps shouting. It goes on for several minutes and seems to be veering toward actual violence. Dean, the media, the members of the audience: nobody knows what to do."

Oh, but our man Franken does, does he ever (wicked Rumsfeldian gleam in eyes):

"At this moment Franken turns, cocks his head slightly, gives that well-known magnified, tortoise-shell-framed gaze and says: 'I think the two of us can get him out. You wanna do it?' After a pause that is meant to be emphatic, I say, 'No.' But it's too late: he's off, in rumpled jeans and a big down jacket, plowing up the aisle."

Al Franken's old school like that. When he cocked his head you just knew: it was on like Gray Poupon. The Corsair imagines the Harvard educated simian, rumpled jeans and big brown jacket ruffling in the wind, the accoustical sounds of Six Million Dollar Man bionic sound effects stacattoing in the background (da-da-da-da-da ...) as Franken-in-slow-motion-bolt approaches said interruptor, head low and spectacles fogged in anticipation of crunk:

"By this time there is a confused scrum around the heckler, who is holding his ground and still ranting. Franken hits the floor, wedges himself among a couple dozen legs and puts the man in a wrestling hold, grabbing him at the knees."

Oof! One can almost buckle at the beauty of the writing at this New York Times sports section style commentary, like that unfortunate freak, tumbling down the slippery slope into Prose Heaven. Oh, tell us more:

"That destabilizes him, and others now quickly push him down the aisle and out the side door of the theater."

Oh Al, destabilize the GOP; destabilize!:

"Franken gets up, looking dazed; his glasses are snapped in two. He's quickly swarmed by confused but excited reporters who want to know, like, what was he doing?"

He's kicking ass and taking names, gentlemen, Harvard-style. Snapped spectacles be damned! The Democrats are mad as hell and they're not gonna take it.

Read the rest of the NY Times profile.

Way to go, Big Man; at the upcoming Boston Dem convention, Big Al will be taking on a Larouchie with a weak knee. Then on to The Boston Convention where Al competes in a three way dance with John "da crippler" Irving and Don "da spoiler" Rumsfeld. Be there or be square ...

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