Somewhere in Hollywood a cabal of producers and di…

Somewhere in Hollywood a cabal of producers and directors are just giddy. Dismayed by the fading popularity of low-cost, high-rating reality television, these producers have rollicked in the success of their newest made-for-TV reality extravaganza: The California Recall.

Take one embattled, largely disliked politician, Gray Davis, and make him fight for his office against America’s greatest action star, a handful of political Johnny-come-latelies, and a remaining ballot of pop culture cast offs with nothing better to do.

Tonight is the final episode. Millions of eyes, in California and across the country, will be simultaneously focused on the final episode, as all but one contestant is voted off the island. Too bad California couldn’t go ahead and crash into the ocean to advance the metaphor.

Who wins the election? Who cares. The real winners are Time Warner, General Electric and News Corp., the directors of which will see ratings for their powerful news divisions skyrocket, as Americans tune in to see if California will actually choose the Terminator as the chief executive of Earth’s fifth-largest economy.

The Survivor final wasn’t this big. There’s even the strong possibility of Joe Millionaire: The Aftermath-style episodes into infinity, as California’s leaders struggle to count up the votes, protest the hanging chads and decide whether to certify the strangest bid for public office in recent memory

My personal favorite moment of the recall election thus far is the blatant partisan antics of the L.A. Times. The best I can figure, the venerable Times must fear a lawsuit from FoxNews for using not only the phrase “Fair and Balanced,” but the actual journalistic practice. Where most reporters are told to go out and find the facts, the Times’ ink-stained wretches were sent out like a pack of jackals to dig up all the dirt that was out there … on Arnold.

Gray Davis was left untouched. Cruz Bustamante went basically unmentioned. Tom McClintock: already forgotten.

So, L.A.’s paper of record printed a groundbreaking expose that claimed that, gasp, Arnold Swarzenagger was a player in his Hollywood days (not that those days have ended). They found a number of women that were outraged when Ah-nold felt them up in one way or another. Most of the claims dated back some 15-20 years, and many of them were anonymous.

Lets keep in mind: Arnold is a movie star and a Kennedy inlaw. Before that, he was Mr. Olympian. Few people have ever accused anyone with the preceding three credentials of being sensitive to the plight of women.

These anonymous women might be deeply scarred now by Arnold’s fondling and groping (at least there were no cigars involved), but I bet I know their initial reaction when Ah-nold stepped over the line: they giggled.

They probably rushed home to tell all their girlfriends that Conan/Terminator/Eraser found their bodies worthy of a grapefruit squeeze.

But now that he’s a Republican …

Arnold has been blasted by Democrats of every vane, especially the feminist variety that gave Bill Clinton a pass for harassing everything that walked past him in a skirt, short of Janet Reno.

I don’t even like Arnold. I don’t think he has the first bit of qualifications to run any state, especially California.

But the situational ethics of the Democratic Party makes me want to puke. And a newspaper — the gatekeeper of public knowledge — is playing sleazy P.I. to its hypocritical hijinks.

I’ve often ranted that reality TV has nothing to do with reality (and if there is a reality where 50 gorgeous women fight for my imagined millions, I wanna live there).

But this Recall thing is a bit too real. And it has shed some light on the real face of the Democratic Party. Look out – the current leaders are too ugly to make the first cut for The Bachelor.


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