Day 758 Sunday February 3, 2019
638 Days to the 2020 election and 716 Days to Inauguration Day
I’m reading Alec Baldwin’s memoir “Nevertheless.” I was drawn to it based on an interview I heard with him on NPR. In that interview he said he grew up on Long Island. The family struggled financially on the salary of a high school teacher. Alec found ways to stay home from school or to stay up late to watch movies on TV. He said his mother was constantly exhausted by all the kids and chores. He said of his siblings and friends of that time, “We were idiots.” In the summer, his mother would throw them out of the house and they’d play outside until suppertime.
Alec is a few years younger than me, but because he grew up outside of New York City, as I did, we shared the same radio and TV stations. His descriptions of lying next to his mother watching TV is wonderful. He’s a very good writer. He recalled how one TV station played the same movie all week long, (It had to be WPIX. The only independent station out of New York and the show was called “Million Dollar Movie.”)
At a young age he became a student of film. One weekend he said he watched “Inherit the Wind” five times and memorized every line in it. That is where we differ. Not only would it not occur to me to memorize those lines, I would be terrible at it.
As the book progressed to his start in acting I was struck by how he criticized people in the industry that he said had no talent or creative vision. These were typically management types. I don’t think I would have the guts to do that. I also kept seeing his wonderful SNL skit “Sweaty Balls” playing over and over in my mind as I read on. He did assume that you knew some of the things that happened in his life and didn’t describe them, other than to talk about his reaction to events, leaving me to wonder what exactly those events were.
Oh yes, that’s right he was married to Kim Basinger and there were problems. What were they? There were a few other references.
Late in the book he talked about his short lived gig on MSNBC. It was a late night talk show. Stark, stripped down, two people talking. Something like the old Tom Snyder show, Tomorrow, and a Larry King interview. I remember the first episode. I liked it. Then something happened and he was gone. Alec described the something. He was being hounded by photographers who were in his personal space and that of his wife, car and family. He yelled at them to back off and at the end of the tirade said, “cocksucking.” The press picked up on the tirade, but dropped the last word and ran a headline saying, “Faggot,” which made it look like he hated gay people. Never mind that he had worked for many gay causes over the years, the hunt was on. Anderson Cooper and Andrew Sullivan lambasted him, as did various gay organizations. This started on a Friday, by Monday he was fired by MSNBC. When it went to litigation they played the actual video footage, all the way through and the word “faggot” wasn’t in there, but the damage had been done.
A similar thing happened to Baldwin around the word “coon.” He didn’t say it but TMZ ran with it and when finally confronted they said they thought he said it. The damage was done.
Remarkably, a few years later after doing his Trump impression on SNL those same types now love him (Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer comes to mind.)
So now we have Ralph Northam. A mild mannered doctor who has become Governor of Virginia. A photo surfaced from his yearbook. On the same page as his photo is a photo of a guy in black face and a guy in a KKK costume. Who found this and published it? The guys who ran Roger Moore’s campaign. Okay. Stop. Right there is enough for me to say, “Let’s not go crazy.” Too late. The Dems are piling on, or as Alec said of Bill De Blasio “running to be the most politically correct politician…” The Dems are piling on saying he should resign. Will you all stop shooting yourselves in the feet? When a Republican gets caught he says, “So what?” the firestorm passes and the idiot is seen again. It seems Northam is getting the Franken treatment, and like with Al, it is uncalled for, at least until we get some clarity. But no. let’s jump on the band wagon shall we? That’s easier and safer.
It seems Northam got blind sided on Friday and asked for forgiveness. F That! Then he called around to his old med school buddies trying to figure out when the photo was taken, couldn’t remember it, and held a press conference on Saturday saying it wasn’t him in the photo. Not good enough. Why did he apologize on Friday? Because he was scared? How about that? Reading the heinous things that lawyers, paparazzi, and opinion people have done in Baldwin’s brushes with these folks a mild mannered guy like Northam will get savaged. He’ll have to stand pretty much alone because the Dems won’t stick by their own. Sad.
Speaking of Bill de Blasio he was on Bill Maher latest show. I really liked what he had to say. Curiously, Maher let people talk instead of jumping in and trying to force them to say something he believed and they thought more nuanced. I guess he had expended all that on the Texas Congressman who is a Republican, a Latino, and has most of the Mexican border in his district. Maher couldn’t get him to say we don’t need a wall.
Back to de Blasio, what he said was the Dems need to speak up loud and clear as progressives because trying to say you are middle of the road gets you no where politically. He also said they need big bold ideas not tinkering with existing ones. You need to make it clear to people who’s side you are on. The trouble with Hillary was working people couldn’t figure out if she was on their side or that of big business. The problem with Obamacare was that people couldn’t figure out if it applied to them. Medicare is easy. If you turn 65, you’re covered. Make it easy for folks. The problem with health insurance is that it’s hard to figure out what applies to you. Lift that burden, cover everybody. If they know they’re covered and they don’t have to jump through all those hoops then costs will come down Yes, if you do Medicare for all then it will cost 32 trillion over ten years, but what is left out of that criticism is that if you do nothing it will cost 50 trillion. (Part of this was what the panel said and not de Blasio.) I liked the point about doing things big. It would get the job done and we could move on.
Let’s stop apologizing and being jerked around by our perfectionism and let’s do something and see if it works.
638 Days to the 2020 election and 716 Days to Inauguration Day
PS North Gate, Jerash, Jordan