Friday, October 31, 2003

Alexis Stewart's Breast Lift

Does anyone have a link to the pics of Martha Stewart's daughter, Alexis Stewart's breast lift?
Matt Lauer Did Cocaine in the 80s

Who cares?
But What I Really Want To Do Is Executive Produce ...

Whatever happened to wanting to be a writer and creator of an HBO Show? Okay, fine, there is a certain coolness about Executive Producing, like, say, the great Michael Hirschorn does at VH1 on those X Generation nostalgia shows. Even Sandra Bulloch is in on the act with George Lopez. Then, of course, there are Courtney Cox and David Arquette and their design-fashion show. (BTW Was that Courtney Cox on the cover of Town and Country? Has Cafe Society morphed into the Jet Set? Yes, alas, I trace the exact moment when John Travolta occupied the cover story talking about his gaudy planes and not, say, Dina Merrill talking about the roses she grows in Newport, Rhode Island or Harry Bellafonte on the Harlem Rennaissance.) And then there was Graydon Carter's The Kid Stays In The Picture that started off the madness. First the End of Irony and now Executive Production mania! Do we blame Canada for this? Now, it appears, everyone wants to Executive Produce. Steven Soderberg of K Street, etc, etc, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Tom Cruise Executive Produced his ex wife Nicole Kidman in The Others and Rita Wilson exec produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding. You know what they say: a family that Executive Produces together .... But what happened to wanting to Direct? When did that all of a sudden become uncool? BTW: Fellini retrospective at the Guggenheim; anyone who knows me knows that Mwangaguhunga loves to get his Fellini on .
David Spade Has A Big Penis

David Spade is hung like Liam Neeson. From HowardStern:

"Former Miss USA Kelli McCarty stopped by to promote her new porn career, saying she'd come a long way since winning the Miss USA crown in 1991. In between, she was on 'Beverly Hills: 90210,' 'Melrose Place,' 'Passions' and few Disney shows .. Howard asked what Kelli did as Miss USA, and she said it was a lot of charity work - and fielding calls from celebrity paramours, like Jerry Seinfeld: 'I hadn't even seen his show...he was like, Hey, I wanna talk to her, so they set it up. I didn't even know who he was at the time. He was like, Hey, wanna hang out, and we did a couple times...he was just kinda boring.' Kelli said Jerry even tried to get her to let him come up to her apartment, but she turned him down. Howard wondered if any other celebrities ever asked her out, and Kelli cited Pauly Shore as particularly aggressive: 'Me and everybody else...he started calling my parents house.' Kelli said she also hooked up with David Spade after meeting him at a salon: 'He was coming in to get a facial as I was leaving.' Howard asked if David had a big penis, and Kelli was shocked that Howard was in the dark: 'Everybody knows.'"
The Ivy League

Cheers to my media bud, a real life PR princess, who has many cool celebrity friends: the great Ivy Supersonic, who is branching out into fashion. Pam Anderson wore one of her stylish hats on Live with Regis and Kelly.
Ivy, who actually knows Wyclef, emailed me about the story and the site: "This is a cool site. Someone said that the kid was in Wyclef house, I didn't
want to ask him, glad that's not true. how did Clef know? he read it in
paper and contacted them?" Yes, the NY Post. I just think it is so cool that Ivy calls him Clef.
Who Are You Anyway?

I'm Ron Mwangaguhunga, son of Uganda's former diplomat to Canada, the US, and, finally, the UN, Louis Kayanda Mwangaguhunga. I was born in Kampala, Uganda, educated at the UN School, St. Johns College (Great Books) and Marlboro College (John Dewey). I worked at New York, The Nation, Paper, Silicon Alley Reporter and was Editor in Chief at MacDirectory. Currently I am working to launch an as yet untitled magazine on independent film and technology. I hope to get it off the ground by February 2004. My work has appeared in the NY Press and National Review Online -- I'm not as liberal as most of my friends think --and I can die now happily because Richard Johnson mentioned me in Page Six a few years ago. There, now you know.
Graydon Carter's Editor's Letter

My Conservative friends will accuse me of kissing ass and my liberal friends will think me a traitor for sleeping with the enemy over a magazine that rarely if ever does a cover story on African Americans, but it's my blog, so I'm going to defend Graydon Carter's Editor's letter. So there. Okay, "quite probably" the letter goes beyond any editorial mandate that the Newhouses ever gave to our Canadian editor (no, I've never met him), but consider this, O skeptical reader: my old friend Christopher Hitchens, whom I used to intern under at The Nation, was the house liberal of Vanity Fair , but he supported the war. So -- I ask you -- where was Graydon supposed to get a consistent voice against the occupation of Iraq if not from the house liberal? Is Lisa Robinson going to give it to the Straussians? Does she even really give it to Rod Stewart even? So, he did it himself and, in the process, got rid of those god awful editors letters that really serve no purpose and no one reads. Well, they read them now. Thanks to Graydon Carter, for being civilization's last line of defense ... okay ... okay, I'm disgusting even myself with this prodigious amount of ass kissing. But I do not find the highly political Editor's Letter to be the act of an ass.
Sheyla Hershey

(image via thesun)

World's largest breasts. And if you think we are doing this for the page views ... Bingo.
A Beautiful Mind

Harvey Mansfield, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor
of Government at Harvard, a conservative political philosopher and all around genius said of Classicist Seth Benardete, "(he) was a scholar, a philosopher, and a most extraordinary man ... Before he died on November 14, 2001, at the age of seventy one, he was the most learned man alive -- and, I venture to assert, the deepest thinker as well."

Having read some of his unbelievably dense and brilliant books, I emailed Professor Mansfied, "I'm curious ... Mr. Benardete didn't speak out
about contemporary political events despite the fact
that he dealt quite a bit in political philosophy.
Would you characterize Mr. Benardete as a

Less than an hour later in my email box was Mansfield's reply, "Perhaps he was above conservatism, if such a thing is possible. HM"

The Tina Brown Drinking Game

Okay, So Maybe I'm a Little Obsessed With Tina Brown. Next time the Trio 24 Hours W/ Special Comes on, down a drink any time either Harry or Tina Brown mention, "Barry Diller."

Thursday, October 30, 2003

An Email From James Grisham of The Hannity Show

James Grisham, "Sweet Baby James", the producer of the Sean Hannity Show thoughtfully emails:

"I have served in the Navy as a petty officer, and in the National Guard
as a Seargent in a round out division - anti-armor was my speacialty,
killing tanks.

"If you did a tour of duty in the military, your blog would reflect a
vastly diffrent perspective."

And he has a point. I have never served in the military and the only tour of duty I experienced was as Research Editor at Silicon Alley Reporter trying to get info on moguls for the December 200 issue at the height of that Gilded Age. Although I disagree with James, I respect him greatly and hope we can just agree to disagree. Cheers, James.

Whatever Happened to the NY Press?

The NY Press used to be an interesting read -- all snarky and conservative and above all relevant -- and now it has become an Eastern European literary magazine. What happened! I once even wrote an article on The Great Books for them a la Alan Bloom. It was the anti-Village Voice, young, angry, smart and media centric; low on facts, hard on rhetoric: New York Press was the Zeitgeist, it was a dissonant more working class continuation of the Spy Magazine tradition. I miss it, god damn it. Russ Smith sold it for $2 million, but he should have taken the the great Taki Theodoropoulos made him years ago -- $5 million. The worst hangover I have ever had was after a Taki dinner party at Elaine's for sex offender Scott Ritter -- I shit you not. Only, he wasn't a child offender at the time, he was opposing Clinton and Hussein ... it's a loong story. Anyway, the last thing I remember was drinking with Taki and Chris Buckley in the back of Elaine's arguing over the Great Books ... and I woke up very, very sick. Never try to drink a Greek writer under the table. And never, I mean never, try to outdrink Christopher Hitchens ... but that's another story.
New York Times Book Review

The Fantastic Page Six recently wrote an interesting piece on what is wrong with it. The Book Review assigned a review of a Clinton trashing right wing book to the HUSBAND of Dee Dee Myers, the former Communications Director under Clinton. Are they crazy?! Do they have any sense of objectivity? The charge that institutions like the NY Times and NPR are objective about the news, or at least are moderate in view is being exploded on a daily basis by bullshit like this. Apparently this is standard practice, as the very cool David Hershkovits of Paper informs me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

On Wyclef Jean

Very quietly and with great nobility Wyclef Jean made a payment to the poor family that recently lost a child in New York. The child, forced to sleep in a bed with 4 siblings asphyxiated against the wall. His parents were too poor to afford a crib. This heartbereaking story tevidently touched Wyclef. Then again, all Haitians are good peeps.

Any comments to this or any other story:
On Tina Brown

Has anyone else seen the Trio TV special on 24 hours in the life of our favorite status seeker Mrs. Tina Brown? I'm fascinated by her, like almost everyone else in the NY Media circuit, but she is a strange woman. "Barry Diller!" says Brown, clearly excited that the daddy cool of business is in her living room, "Barry Diller!" she repeats, then points to the Trio camera -- very meta, that -- and not so much says but purrs, "those are yours." Meaning: she is doing the Trio Show which is from Barry's network, isn't it irnonic? "Did Barry Diller say that?" says her husband, Mr. Brown, at the party, a little later -- like, maybe eight or nine cocktails later appropos of nothing. Is Barry Diller Tina Brown's god? Clearly there is some unhealthy compulsiveness about Barry Diller in the Brown household. And, more importantly, does anyone actually buy Mr. Brown's books? Enquiring young journo minds want to know. He seemed awfully "busy" in his study researching for some other coffee table tome that no one actually puts on their coffee table. He seems to be arranging pictures and reading while the go-go Tina Brown is out conquering the world and embarassing the aristocratically dignified Candace Bergen. Anyway, I am still fascinated by Brown. But someone ought to investigate just what Harry is doing while Tina is saving the world.
On Harry Markopoulos

Does anyone have any information on Harry Markopoulos? This blog is quite interested in what Markopoulos had to say about the other people involved in the Madoff scandal. His name is being bandied about in far right circles (with, we cannot fail to note, noxious whiffs of anti-semitism) as having been an early warning against Madoff's Ponzi scheme. From WashTimes:

"In 2000, Harry Markopoulos, a Greek-American leading expert on derivatives, wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission's Boston office to inform the federal watchdog of markets that Bernard L. Madoff was running 'the world's largest hedge fund fraud.' He stipulated, 'My name not be released to anyone other than the branch chief and team leader in the New York region, without my express permission.'

"Mr. Markopoulos was worried about his safety and that of his family. He said his report was written solely for the SEC's internal use.' He was clearly afraid of assassination. But his red flag was only one of 28 such warnings to the SEC in the first eight years of the 21st century."

What exactly did he say? Can someone enlighten me?
On the UN and the US

It is now time for the US to engage the UN, to take up our destiny as leader of the world -- through the UN, playing well and cooperating with others, enforcing global peace with a premium of attention placed on our national security. The collapse of the Soviet Union left little to nothing with regards to a teleological system with which to interpret reality, which, in turn, made the outsiders of history resort to what sociologists call "networks of kin," or, blood politics, namely, the use of ethnicity, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Glazer predicted a generation ago, as the most cohesive argument in influencing collective action and thus accruing power. The tragedies of Rwanda and Kosovo bear witness to the dangers of basing reality on ethnicity in the global village.

These three interpretations of reality, these forces � capitalism, ethnicity and fundamentalism �are the dominant realities for much of the planet. This tryprich hovers over the planet with the grave intensity of a cloud rendered by the British master portraitist, Gainsborough. What in particular does this menacing cumulus suggest?

Of late, neoconservatives have made cavalier use of buzz words like, "civilization" and "generation," suggesting that the administration is hunkering down for a Vietnam style war in the manner of the Crusades, putting Western Man on notice. Those neo-Straussians, who have spent tortured lifetimes locked in Ivory Towers reading Plato and understanding nothing Platonic (but quite a bit Clauswitzian) are characterizing the entire Islamic world, painted broadly, as barbarians, it seems. Perennial conservative favorite Victor Davis Hanson, in his recent book, �Autumn of War'' goes so far as to say Islam and the West are ''two entirely antithetical cultures.''

This is an especially narrow reading of history, especially considering that the Bushies appear congentially unable to assign blame to the Saudi Royal family -- who are the true mortal enemies of the West � through the Carlyle Group. Let us hope that the ascension of Colin Powell and the relative decline in power of Rumsefeld and Scooter Libby mean that calmer heads are prevailing in the administration.

If only we had gone the route of the United Nations and used the goodwill of nations surrounding 9/11 to take control of that confused but infinitely useful institution (now, though, said institution is devolving into a significant but useless artifact as a result of the teddy bearish but hugely irrelevant David Dinkinsesque leadership style of Kofi Annan). It is sadly amusing how the Right engages in its favorite sport: Pin The Hysterical Criticisms on the UN ("It doesn't work," "The UN is only after one thang: One World Government!"). Ironically, by not participating in the UN and playing well with the other nations on this big blue marble called the planet Earth, we are in caught in a dangerous self fulfilling prophecy. Blame the UN for being ineffective in combating evil on a global scale while disregarding it will, obviously, result in a UN ineffective in combating evil on a global scale that is disregarded and resentful .

The US pays the overwhelming majority of dues at Turtle Bay, and, through our international lawyers -- great minds they -- Mid Century last, influenced by the calamity of Hitler and Naziism, Fascism and Japanese Imperial expansion, basically wrote the UN Charter along with British intellectuals. In high surrealist fashion, it was the US and Britain that led the unilateralism and heartbreaking irrelevancy of the UN during what history will almost certainly refer to as the Second Persial Gulf War (2003-2003).

The US could easily -- through clever diplomacy, brandished carrots, lengthy courting of our pouting but not disinterested allies�establish dominance in the UN and reform all manner of areas that are currently, well, how does one say it? Spookily unresolved. For example, we could revolutionize the Law of the Seas committee, which my father chaired in 1979. The Law of the Seas Committee and International Law pertaining to the law of the seas, which is, in the most polite manner I can muster -- a basket case.

Any pirate ship (or, increasingly a terrorist commandeered ship) can affix the flag of a rogue nation at its mast and sail, unaccosted. The September 2003 issue of the Atlantic has a spooky article by William Langewiesche on the anarchic seas and what goes on out there offshore. One could buy a flag, from, say, Mali or Nigeria, or any other rogue nation, for a pittance, and be put on their registry; incidentally, that money goes straight into the pockets of the corrupt juntas. If caught, with, say, suspect weopons, the ship and the terrorist aboard would be subject to the law of Mali or Nigeria (hah, what law?) and not, say, to a standard Law of the Sea -- there is none beyond several miles away from the coastline of a sovereign nation. Remember those North Korean scuds on their way to Yemen? They were detained briefly and then let go by US military officials. We are, to use a maritime analogy, "flatfooted" in those mighty ocean breezes which are -- spookily -- highly conducive to chemical fumes. That is the precarious position that our overstretched navy and coast guard find themselves bound -- to no uniform of enforced law of the sea.

If George Bush had used the UN, moved our Superpower briskly through the musty halls of Turtle Bay, as an eagle on the world stage, we could easily have modernized those Byzantine structures at the UN set up by dozens of competing beaurocracies over the past half century, and used the resources of the navies of the world, for example, to, finally, put an end to generations of pirates (from ancient Greece, to Corsica, to Daniel Defoe to Johnny Depp's scruffy and less malevolent-looking Pirates of the Carribean) and those terrorists who increasingly frequent the anarchic oceans as their preferred routes of human slavery and other bold instances of tyranny.

But NO (shakes fist at computer screen huffily)! The hillbillies, the Rumsfelds and the pasty academic Straussians with their dogeared copies of Commentary in their back pockets, pale from the fortifications of the Ivory Tower, who have spent the 80s and 90s misreading Leo Strauss wanted to go at it alone ... alone ... which, as it happens, is just what the terrorists wanted. (continues shaking fist angrily at computer screen) By Isolating the US, making us act unilaterally, making us aggressive, all the while breeding the next generation of terrorists in the madrases of Saudi Arabia and Chechnya and the "Stans" of the former Soviet Union (Uzbeki, etc) and the Sudan and Jordan and Egypt, now work through tyrants in the UN to move world opinion, incrementally, in their favor: while the Rumsfeldian crows continue to cackle "irrelevant, Old Europe".

Didn't we all know that this was how this bad Operetta was going to end? With Donald Rumsfeld -- a two bit amateur wrestler at Princeton who has made a career of fighting (army, two tours of duty at the Defense Department)-- insulting Old Europe ad nauseum? It's time for Rummy to hit the showers: no more wrestling on the international stage for him.

I believe that the advancement of mankind requires an appeal to a universal and international law. This road leads upwards, away from provincial concerns, towards the United States, that great experiment in post-ethnicity, which appeals to international and universal law in all its founding documents, and ultimately towards the United Nations, the Parliament of Man.

Let us strengthen international Law. Pacta Sunt Servanda (pacts will be served), so that for the first time perhaps in history, since Roman Law, International pacts will be enforced by a mighty UN backed by the most powerful nation in the history of the world. Imagine the world's navies policing the oceans for pirates and terrorists, commanded by the US. Makes you sleep better at night, n'est-ce pas?

It is high time for International Law to be followed and enforced. It is high time for an International Criminal Court (I have a Dream: Kissinger in ankle chains trying to charm an international tribunal for War Crimes in Chile and East Timor). It is time for the people of the world to stop clutching at kinship in blood and kinship in religion as viable systems of reality in a global world, else we continue the historical loop, caught in repeat, at war with those who are outside our kinships of blood and religion.

We must realize that the only kinship that will bring harmony to the pandemonium of international affairs is a kinship and concern based on our shared planetary territory, the Earth. With global advancements in travel and communication, the landscape of the planet has shortened, leaving us with a global village, a neighborhood, in which we all either share, or proceed to corrupt en masse. No one asked for this global village, but it appears that history is asking us to respond.

President George Bush�s recent address to the United Nations did not back down an inch with regards to the steamrolling stance of his administration and the war in Iraq. Alas. On top of that stubbornness, the President asked the General Assembly to send troops to internationalize the affair. So, let�s all get this straight: George Bush wants the world to send in troops, under the US banner, to a situation that they already fundamentally opposed. French Prime Minister Chirac, ostensibly speaking for the Chocolate making countries, says that they want Iraq�s sovereignty given back to the Iraqis. The immediate aftermath of the Presidents speech is that the UN has decided to cut back on troops in Iraq. Charmed, I�m sure.

That appeal to Iraqi sovereignty is a brilliant passive aggressive diplomatic move on the part of Chirac. It is, on the one hand, a popular and democratic utterance made to appeal to the sentiments of the General Assembly, namely, the non-aligned Nations and those hostile to the hyper power of the US (namely, most of the world).

In contrast, Imperial Administrator Paul Bremer has said recently that Iraq is not yet ready for self rule. In point of fact, it would be wholly against US national interests to give Iraq back to the Iraqis, in its current volatile state, which would automatically be a resentful enemy, if less dangerous than when Hussein was at the helm. So let us liberal and conservative Americans unite � that Elvin anti-realist Dennis Kucinich notwithstanding � in grave concern at the idea of allowing Iraq immediate sovereignty.

President Musharaf of Pakistan has already given us a resounding no, couched in the frisky proviso that if the US sends �military and intelligence aid� (read: money), then they might be able to comply. Might. Of course, any such an offer would have to be reciprocated with India, Pakistan�s nemesis, whose troops we would also like in the mix; Egypt, too must be bribed: Egypt, which is undergoing deep internal resistance to the US and, if the Atlantic Magazine is to be believed, the Mubarak regime is on the verge of being toppled by a more radical element. Turkey is looking increasingly unhappy at further cooperation with troops, as we cannot quite match our previous bribes from before the Second Persian Gulf War.

Security Council Resolution 1244, which made Kosovo a UN protectorate, increasingly appears to be the best viable option for the Iraq quagmire. UN protectorate status is, in fact, an incubation program for nations that has a remarkably high rate of success �- in East Timor, for example. Despite the fact that many of the most powerful nations in the General Assembly and Security Council were against the war, now is the time to put aside petty differences. The tyrant Sadaam Hussein is gone, and order in the region is the next great obstacle facing the world.

Our American troops are in a shooting gallery. On average one soldier is killed a day, and several attacks per day are sustained. The UN is also a target. The UN Mission in Baghdad was attacked, killing the great humanitarian Sergio Vieira de Mello, an architect, by the way, of the mechanisms of UN Protectorates. And the UN Mission in Iraq was attacked earlier today. Giving up the administration of Iraq to the UN would save us from the budget crunching $87 billion that George Bush asked the nation to spend. Although the UN troops would be targets of Muslim terrorists, they would be far less of a target and we would be free of the quagmire.

Why are we being stubborn about Iraq? Any civilized thinker knows (that elven waif Dennis Kucinich notwithstanding) that we cannot abandon Iraq altogether, that would be contrary to our national interest. The UN wants to do this, or at least, they would accept this burden if only for the sake of relevance or humanitarian altruism. The UN would probably do a better job than the US as well because internal antagonisms towards the world legislative body are far less than against the US.

The US would save tens of billions of dollars in the process. The US would regain a degree of goodwill from the nations of the world. US soldiers would be out of dangers way, to a large extent, and, finally, we would be able to rotate home those soldiers, to attend to their families. Fresh UN troops would lessen US involvement and allow new reserves to pick up where exhausted troops left off. The UN would be doing what they are good at � not �making constitution,� as President George Bush contemptuously offered, but in incubating a nation.

There is no reason for George W Bush to cling to the carcass of Iraq as if he were an apex predator unwilling to abandon his prey. The President had best turn his attentions to America and our own electric grids before lavishing those favors on Iraq. We�ve done our job; Iraq is no longer a threat. Now let�s leave the heavy lifting to the experts.

Once the UN is recognized and empowered as the Parliament of Man by the US, then, and only then, can compassionate conservatives End trafficking in human slaves. Pass the UN resolution. Enforce this with all the armies of the world. GW and conservatives are right on the buzzer with this. Human Rights advocates will team with conservatives and the armies of the world to finally eradicate this scourge in our lifetime.

Ladies and gentlemen we are the future of the world, and the UN is the framework by which the human race and the global village can advance and prosper.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

An Interview With Senator John Kerry's Hair

After several frustrated attempts, we were finally granted this important historical moment. So, without further ado, we proudly present for the first time: a
print interview with Senator John Kerry's hair.

Interviewer: Charmed, I'm sure; why now?

John Kerry's Hair (hereafter JKH): I will concede that I have been reluctant in the past, but setting the record straight is important to me.

: That, and the upcoming Democratic Party primaries. Would you care to take the opportunity to sum up your opposition?

JKH: Rather than disparage the talent in the room, I'd like to state categorically that I am the best head of hair among the Democratic Presidential candidates.

Interviewer: That is a bold statement.

JKH: Bold times call for bold statements, my good man.

Interviewer: Well, there is no denying that you are a striking coif.

JKH: Even by the considerable standards of Massachusetts, which were instituted by the Kennedy family. I am the measure of all things hair.

Interviewer: What about John Edwards? In the Senate he is called "The Prell Girl". He has impressive hair, no?

JKH: (averted gaze) Well, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Interviewer: What is this that we are hearing about Dick Gephardt dying his eyebrows?

JKH: One hears rumors to that effect. (Unnerved) Look,
what about me?

Interviewer: Sorry. So, tell us: what are your secrets to looking good. (confidentially) Is it Washingtonian power hairstylist Christophe?

JKH: Please. Christophe is so over.

Interviewer: So tell us.

JKH: You're going to laugh.

: No, that would be unprofessional. Trust me, I won't laugh. What is your secret for looking so good?

JKH: Heinz Dark Brown Mustard

Interviewer: Oh dear.

JKH: Smeared liberally overnight, it works wonders. Also, I like to tell my constituents in Massachusetts that said mustard is just grand for use in grilled crab po' boys.

Interviewer: I'm sure it is.

JKH: So you see there are many political advantages to my wife, Theresa Heinz.

Interviewer: Yes, I was meaning to get to that.

JKH: I really am not at liberty to discuss her.

: (crestfallen) Well, okay, how about the President�s economic stimulus plan?

JKH: Can't talk about that either, old boy. I'll leave the meditations on the merits of the President's plan to help Americans earn ends meet to the Senator. My primary concern, rather, is the avoidance of split ends.

: Very well. Let's try something innocuous. What color are you?

JKH: That�s not a political minefield. I am chestnut with a liberal sprinkling of dusted gray.

: Liberal, you say?

JKH: A poor choice of words, in retrospect. Let's just say I am a well textured mop of dusted-grey hair.

Interviewer: Are you worried about going completely gray?

JKH: Pardon?

: It's a well known fact that the rigors and the burdens of the office of the Presidency turn their resident gray within the first year. That's a fact: look at Bush and Clinton and, as we speak, George W. Are you saying that you are not aware of
this fact?

JKH: (hesitant) I am not unaware ...

: Well then what is your position on going prematurely gray?

JKH: Ah, hair today, gone tomorrow?

Interviewer: If you say so. Now ...

JKH: You say that this going gray is an established fact.

Interviewer: Of course.

JKH: Right. Well, I'm going to have to close the lid on things.

Interviewer: -- But.

JKH: So good of you to drop by, but I have things to discuss with the Senator.

: Oh well. Good luck in the primaries.
My Love Jones For Fox TV's Laurie Duhe

Her legs are like twin sticks of dynamite thrown down from heaven. Her glossed lips inviting, ambrosal. I have a love jones for Fox tv's Laurie Duhe (that name BTW is highly suspect). How does someone that obscenely pretty get on tv? How am I supposed to think about War and Peace and the California fires when my heart is smouldering for Laurie Duhe?

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Mugabe Tyrannus

�In the tide of death from which there is no escaping,
Death in the fruitful flowering of her soul,
Death in the pastures,
And pestilence, a fiery demon gripping the city�

Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus

Although �President� Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is considered an international pariah, a paleosaur from the chaotic era immediately following European colonialism, he enjoys quixotic support among prominent members of the African American community. On October 19, for instance, Mugabe appeared on WABC New York�s �Like It Is.� A public affairs show, �Like It Is� is the longest running African American program in the United States. The interview, conducted by the show�s host, Gil Noble, occurred without a single probing question asked of Zimbabwe�s tyrant-in-chief. Perhaps in the interest of accuracy the show ought to be called �Like It Isn�t�?

Throughout the hour long interview, Mugabe made it a point to use the first person plural when making statements regarding the commonwealth of Zimbabwe. The regime character and the person of Robert Mugabe are entwined in Mugabe�s odd use of the royal �we.� �Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush -- we do not countenance any intention to interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe,� challenged Mugabe at one point in the interview. Later, a jocular Mugabe, prodded by Gil Noble, added, �To me, (President) Bush seems to be an aggressive person.�

How would Robert Mugabe define �aggressive�? Mugabe extra legal land seizures could be considered, at the very least, politically �aggressive.� This week, Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, seized the farm of Richard and Cathy Yates after forcing them to leave; the crime: the Yates� are white. �(Zimbabwe seizes) land because the British were intransigent � the Blair regime wouldn�t listen to our plea,� said Mugabe, defending the policy.

The land seizure issue has its roots in an August 1994 shift in policy, at the time Mugabe abandoned racial tolerance and announced that the government would no longer follow a policy of reconciliation between Zimbabwe and Europeans. The land seizure of the Yates� property is not an anomalous: this past February, Peter Baker, another white farmer, refused to vacate his farm, Rocklands, and successfully challenged the seizure in court. Without any legal grounds, however, the Zimbabwe police went looking for him, forcing Baker to go into hiding for two months. When Baker returned, his farm was destroyed. There are approximately 100,000 displaced farm workers as a result of Mugabe�s quixotic land reform program. Before Mugabe they had jobs and got along fairly well with the white farmers, despite the massive postcolonial gap between rich and poor.
�The tyrant,� wrote the late philosopher Seth Benardete, �is the true believer in the lie of the city stripped of everything that makes it noble and good.� (Seth Benardete, Socrates� second Sailing, On Plato�s Republic)

Zimbabwe is the most HIV infected country in the world -- about a quarter of the adult population is HIV positive. In many urban areas, infection runs to 40% and the army, those numbers runs closer to 80%. If risk levels of AIDS in Zimbabwe remain the same, by 2015, AIDS will have caused the death of almost 52 percent of all boys who now are 15 years old in Zimbabwe, according to the United Nation's AIDS Programme in its latest population report.

Zimbabwe is also facing a massive food crisis. Refugees International warns: �the consequence will be a severe food shortage for 5 million Zimbabweans - nearly half the population - between now and the next harvest season in April 2004." Important crops like corn and tobacco production has shrunk by 50 percent. To top it all off, Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is poised to fall to 38 years. Predictably, Mugabe, 79, denies mismanaging the country and in turn accuses local and foreign opponents of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy to punish his government for seizure of white-owned commercial farms for landless blacks.

Ironically enough, the Shakespeare Theatre�s 2001-2002 season included productions of The Oedipus Plays in Zimbabwe as part of a cultural exchange. At that time, the play incorporated elements of Ancient Africa, with African-American actors, costumes, and dances. The idea of having this particular Greek tragedy performed in Zimbabwe is fascinating, considering the tyrant Robert Gabriel Mugabe�s uncomfortable similarities to Oedipus Rex.

The roots of Zimbabwe�s massive structural problems are, like Sophoclean Thebes, embedded in the person of Mugabe. On October 20, 2003, The Herald (South Africa) reported that, �Nearly all government and quasi-government departments, as well as the public transport sector, had been �paralysed� as the state fuel supply company had �run dry,� the state press reported (this) weekend.� Mugabe�s Zimbabwe is plagued like Sophoclean Thebes. And like Oedipus, Mugabe is a sociopath who has squandered the public trust. Zimbabwe�s bleak social reality is the private desires of Robert Mugabe: Zimbabwe is a mirror of Mugabe.

The US is ready to assist in the transitional process in Zimbabwe. Writing in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times in June, Secretary of State Colin Powell called on countries in the region to overthrow President Robert Gabriel Mugabe:

�A brave man recently met with me and described how life in his country has become unbearable. �There is too much fear in the country, fear of the unknown and fear of the known consequences if we act or speak out,� explained Pius Ncube, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Yet Archbishop Ncube speaks out fearlessly about the terrible human rights conditions in Zimbabwe, and is threatened almost every day with detention or worse.

�For hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans, the worst has already come. Millions of people are desperately hungry because the country's once-thriving agricultural sector collapsed last year after President Robert Mugabe confiscated commercial farms, supposedly for the benefit of poor blacks. But his cynical �land reform� program has chiefly benefited idle party hacks and stalwarts, not landless peasants. As a result, much of Zimbabwe's most productive land is now occupied by loyalists of the ruling ZANU-PF party, military officers, or their wives and friends.�

And what was the tyrant�s response to the Secretary of State? �(Powell) should have spoken about the corruption of his own government,� Mugabe told Gil Noble, smiling, seemingly pleased at his own outrageousness. �It is a rare opportunity to talk to an African head of state,� said ABC TV�s Gil Noble, with just a touch of hubris, in conclusion. Now if only the people of Zimbabwe could conclude the tyrannical reign of Robert Mugabe.

Monday, October 20, 2003

The Rise of Women's Sports?

Time seemed to stand still in 1999 when Brandi Chastain tore off her shirt, exposing a sportsbra, after her World Cup winning goal. Now, four years later, with the future of women�s soccer in doubt with the demise of the WUSA and FIFA�s money troubles that revolution appears to have stalled. Welcome to America, the hypermasculine.

NASCAR dads, the pollsters tell us, have supplanted soccer moms as the nation�s cultural barometer. Ubermensch and Governor-elect Arnold Shwartzenegger appears to have read the zeigeist well, simultaneously projecting willpower, decision and action. Beer and babe magazine Maxim � 1.5 million subscribers strong � is a rare media success in this lackluster economy. Even Halle Berry, Oscar award winning Best actress, dons a bikini and boxing gloves for the cover of this month�s FHM. Katherine Hepburn is quietly spinning in her grave.

Say what you will about President Bush � he never needed Naomi Wolf to teach him how to be an alpha male. Surrounded by hypermasculine types like Princeton wrestling sensation Donald Rumsfeld, a man who takes the combative stance of the warrior to a whole new level during press briefings, President Bush, like Arnold, is a mirror of his age. The image of hypermasculine George Bush in the orange flight suit on the deck of the Navy carrier is seared onto the popular consciousness. Gone are the days of the velvety voiced George Stephanopoulos� anxiety attack rashes in the West Wing; gone are the days of former ballet dancer Rahm Emmanuel defending the President on television. Welcome to America, the hypermasculine.

Even the Democrats instinctively seem to accept the fact that the paradigm has shifted. Front runners General Wesley Clark, a warrior, and the super-aggressive Howard Dean, are perceived as the party�s best hope at defeating the President. Treason, Ann Coulter�s extended love letter to the masculine qualities of Joe McCarthy, is flying off the shelves. Our excess national testosterone has even seeped over into Hollywood, of all places. Extreme renderings of the Trojan War and the conquests of Alexander are currently in production. We are the most powerful nation in the history of the world, the zeitgeist appears to be saying � let�s act like it!

The American image of the masculine has changed. The slim and patrician Uncle Sam is now buff, drives an SUV, and has 50 Cent blaring on the radio. September 11, in many ways, transformed us into a warrior culture, and the War on terrorism influences all aspects of our society. Firemen, rather than movie stars or athletes, are considered role models, for instance. Working class soldiers returning for shore leave last Memorial Day weekend were greeted in New York like rock stars by leggy Manolo Blahnik-clad urbane Sex and the City types. When was the last time that happened?

Award-winning WWII historian Paul Fussell�s new book, �The Boys� Crusade" sums up things nicely, saying, �there has been a return, especially in popular culture, to military romanticism, which, if not implying that war is really good for you, does suggest that it contains desirable elements.�

There is a significant reason that Senator Clinton opted out of a Presidential run to focus on her constituents and, tellingly, a committee appointment at Armed Services. Female virtues of nurturance, empathy, compassion, self-sacrifice, kindness, are, for the moment, on the wane. Welcome to America, the hypermasculine.