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February 2023
Vol. 22, No. 5
In Good Company

Hosing Down

Index of Fear

by José SinatraAugust 2016

One of the more frightening recent events I personally witnessed was when several monkeys began flying out of Taylor Swift’s butt, seemingly intent on taking over the world. Then I woke up. 60 Minutes was on and Leslie Stahl (who’s sort of scary-looking herself) was interviewing Donald Trump and Mike Pence prior to the GOP convention. Trump was accusing Hillary Clinton of creating ISIS when Pence interrupted and, pointing at Donald, boldly proclaimed, “This is the kind of leadership America needs!” Ah, so that’s how it’s going to be. Now Il Douchebag can say anything outrageous or false or insane and his running mate, who deports himself like a reasonably decent fellow, can compliment him on his greatness and vision and millions of the zombified masses are bound to fall in line. Brilliant.

Neither man was at all brilliant at avoiding direct answers to Stahl’s questions, but that’s simply not a requirement these days; the zombies are too stupid to notice.

It’s the season of Clinton or Trump. 50 years ago, there was a similarly impassioned diversion going on among the youth and young adults (primarily) in our country. It was called Beatles or Stones and it went on for years. The polarization was similar, but the stakes certainly weren’t. Most people dug both the Beatles and the Stones; the question was which you liked more than the other. Both camps were able to coexist.

But with Clinton and Trump, it seems to be a matter of hating one and loving the other, or hating one and hating the other just a little bit less. And, to be sure, hating everyone who’s not on your side.

In musical terms, it seems to me something like the Monkees or Milli Vanilli.

Hillary Clinton is the Monkees. There is a problem in trusting something prefabricated. The Monkees were formed primarily in response to the Beatles; Hillary’s career owes a substantial debt to that of her husband. The Monkees were able to create some exceptional music (their third album, Headquarters, which they actually did themselves, is superb.) The sixties wouldn’t be the sixties without them. Clinton’s had a substantial career and has acquired vast amounts of experience in national and international diplomacy. She understands the ways of the world, even though she does seem to do her share of monkeying around at the most inopportune times.

Donald Trump is Milli Vanilli, if he is capable of being anything other than the narcissistic, deluded, money-grubbing sociopath he most assuredly is today. Like Milli Vanilli, he is remarkably charismatic but has a curiously limited arsenal of physical moves (with Donald it’s Index Finger Pointing Up or Index Finger Touching Tip of Thumb, Remaining Fingers Splayed. With Milli Vanilli, it’s harder to describe. Just take my word for it or check them out on YouTube. The Leaping Chest Bumps in particular are priceless.) Ultimately, Trump is most Vanilli-like in the fact that for such a wealthy dude, he’s entirely worthless and fake, and is able to fool so many people so successfully.

Needless to say, these views are my own and do not necessarily reflect et cetera et cetera pete cetera. If I’ve offended any zombies who happen to be reading this, I’m indifferent. But as your numbers grow, so does my dismay and fear. So you’ve got me where you want me, I guess, and I salute you.

Bite me.

There is another domestic invasion of sorts that I have previously touched upon and that now demands further examination. It is an affectation of speech that is spreading at a frightening rate as more and more people adopt it, thinking that it sounds “cool.” To me it is as obnoxious as the word cool (and amongst, for that matter) is all by itself. It concerns the dropping of certain consonants–usually Ts and Ds–when they don’t actually begin a word, and replacing them with what is known as a glottal stop. Where normally the passage of air through the oral cavity is interrupted (with these two letters) by the tip of the tongue meeting the upper front palate, with a glottal stop the interruption comes from the back of the tongue in contact with the rear (or soft) palate. Usage of the glottal stop is quite the rage in England (particularly in Manchester) and somehow caught on with gangbangers and other lowlifes in New York before branching out across this great land for the last 25 years or so. Think of the exaggerated admonition, “Oh no you di-int!” and you may get an idea of what I’m tackling here. Better still, listen to Ricky Gervais who seems to go out of his way to turn the glottal stop into some kind of (nauseating) art form. Jiminy Glick (Martin Short) recently ribbed Gervais about this habit on nationwide TV and Gervais insisted it’s just his natural way of speaking. To that I say bullshi-. (By the way, a natural glottal stop occurs in the phrase uh-oh. Perhaps it was originally utoh?) I would love to hear Ricky Gervais try to pronounce the word timidity before I die. It would likely come out as timi-ity but I wouldn’t put it past Gervais to turn it into timi-i-y.

Recently this glottal slop has invaded the CBS Evening News. Reporter John Vigliotti reported about the uncer-ainty of exactly how many bombs had been de-onated. Hearing this, I actually shivered. Then I remembered Jennifer Lopez on American Idol telling a young contestant that he was destined to be someone “impor-ant” in the industry. And a gorgeous model introducing herself to me as “Bri-anny” at Winston’s in Ocean Beach. Come to think of it, I hear somebody do it every single day and I wish I knew why it disturbs me so strongly. The sound itself is grotesque to me and I’m frightened–scared to be witnessing a virus grow and mutate the status quo. I guess I’m afraid of change. Speech patterns and political zombification are torturing me and my only respite is to throw myself back to the relative oasis of Taylor Swift’s haunches. Toodles.

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