Monthly Archives: November 2017

Binding Our Tongues

Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.
                                                 ― Jim Morrison

Imagine ESPN is televising the Arizona-Arizona State football game.  A camera zooms in on an ASU fan wearing a Sun Devil mask and, since the game is in Tucson, the announcer says, “That mask won’t make any friends in that crowd!”  Suddenly, a policeman pounces on the peaceful Sun Devil fan and arrests him as ESPN cuts to commercial.  The cop declares the Sun Devil mask was “unacceptable attire” in Arizona Stadium and the fan is charged with a felony.  Could this actually happen?   Yes, if Republican State Representative Jay Lawrence has his way.

Lawrence is behind HB2007, which would make the behavior described above a felony.  It would be “unlawful for a person to wear a disguise … while participating in” four specific situations:  commission of a public offense; or during a “civil protest,” “political event,” or “public event.”  The crime would be a class six felony unless the disguise is for a “business related purpose” or “may generally be viewed as part of acceptable attire.”  The Sun Devil mask is unacceptable attire in Arizona Stadium, so take it off, or go to jail.  Wear a disguise at any public event and, if someone deems it “unacceptable,” you’re busted.  Lawrence, by the way, told Capitol Media Services it would be okay “if someone protesting his views or his legislation shows up at a rally wearing a chicken suit.”  The fact he had to say that suggests we have gone over the rainbow.

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Franken Sense

Rose: But why would a man need more than one woman?
Johnny: I don’t know. Maybe because he fears death.
Rose: That’s it! That’s the reason!
Johnny: I don’t know…
Rose: No! That’s it! Thank you! Thank you for answering my question!

                        – “Moonstruck” (1987)

This is a fitting time to remember that Minnesota Senator Al Franken wrote a chapter in his most recent book entitled, “I Screw Up.”  Franken was the presiding officer of the Senate during a debate over the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.  As Franken listened to what he describes as Senator Mitch McConnell’s “awful, awful speech” criticizing Kagan, he rolled his eyes.  Franken called that “a huge breach of Senate protocol, which I compounded by shaking my head once or twice and, worse, smirking at stuff I found particularly objectionable.”  The presiding officer is the most visible person in the Senate chamber and McConnell was aware of Franken’s shenanigans.  He marched to the dais after his remarks and warned Franken that he would call him out publicly if it happened again.  Franken felt awful, awful.  Like he does now.

I thought about Franken’s “I Screw Up” story when I saw the photograph of him groping at the breasts of a sleeping Leeann Tweeden…

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Goodness Gracious

She’s 17.  …  I’m older than her father, can you believe that? I’m dating a girl, wherein, I can beat up her father.
                                 –  Woody Allen, “Manhattan” (1979)

Jerry Lee Lewis had a “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by the time he was 22, including two marriages, several hits, fame and fortune, and a future bright as a flashbulb.  Then along came Myra Gale Brown and everything changed.  Instead of being paid $10,000 per night for live performances, his fee dropped to $250, and instead of large crowds, he played obscure beer joints.  A concert tour was canceled and most radio stations refused to play his records, including his current hit at the time, “High School Confidential.”  That was irony at its tastiest, since Lewis’ fall from grace was because Ms. Brown, his third wife, was also his 13-year-old cousin.  The press denounced him as a “cradle robber” and “baby snatcher.”  Lewis was dumfounded, complaining to a reporter, “I plumb married the girl, didn’t I?”  Elvis Presley, one of the few entertainers whose star burned brighter than Lewis’, said he had no problem with the marriage as long as Jerry Lee and Myra Gale were in love.

Presley had a unique perspective on relationships between adult males and juvenile females.  He fell heavily for a 14-year-old military brat, Priscilla Beaulieu, when he was stationed in Germany in 1959.  Most people know Priscilla by her married name:  Priscilla Presley.  She was not Presley’s only 14-year-old crush; a biography published in 2010 makes the case that “he preferred girls who were barely more than children” – just like no-longer-a-judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for U. S. Senator from Alabama with a history of dating female children, including one who accuses him of sexually assaulting her when she was 14 and another who said he sexually assaulted her when she was 16.

© 2017 by Mike Tully


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America’s Original Sin

Saturday, November 4th was a perfect day for a festival.  The sky was clear and blue; the sun shone brightly; the temperature hovered around 80.  The event, a gelato festival in the Tucson foothills, was the perfect curtain for a too-hot, too-long summer.  Dozens of people representing several generations wandered about, happily sampling gelato in small cones and cups.  A few well-behaved dogs mingled with the two-legged set.  Then, a dark phrase crossed my mind like a cloud blocking the sun, an innocent sounding two-word phrase that summarizes America’s Original Sin and the stain it leaves on us all:  soft target.

The phrase “soft target” is generally defined as “a person or thing that is relatively unprotected or vulnerable, especially to military or terrorist attack.”  Examples of soft targets include “national monuments, hospitals, schools, sporting arenas, hotels, cultural centers, movie theaters, cafés and restaurants, places of worship, nightclubs, shopping centers, (and) transportation sites,” according to Wikipedia – basically, “civilian sites where people congregate in large numbers.”  Like a gelato festival.

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