When I watch the news, it often seems like the world has gone mad. An example is Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant who, when miffed by a rude passenger, got on the plane’s PA system and dropped a string of F-bombs. He then grabbed two beers and slid down the emergency chute. Surprisingly (to me at least) Slater’s “take this job and shove it” antics have made him a nationwide folk hero. Reportedly he already has an agent!
Over the weekend, Slater was a special guest at Barry Manilow’s sold-out Atlantic City concert. I don’t know which shocks me more, that Slater is a “celebrity” or that Manilow’s concert was sold out.
Melodi Dushane, 24, of Toledo, Ohio is also “mad as hell.” On Jan. 1, 2010, at 6:30 a.m., Ms. Dushane ordered some McNuggets at her local McDonald’s. When informed that there weren’t any left, Melodi got out of her car and punched the unsuspecting female employee in the mouth. (All I can say is McNuggets must be damn tasty.)
The rotund manager was also greeted with a punch in the face. She then grabbed Ms. Dushane’s long blond hair and tried to pull her through the open window. Before driving off, Ms. Dushane violently broke the window, perhaps giving new meaning to McDonald’s famous slogan, “You deserve a break today.”
To see Melodi’s meltdown, go to YouTube and type “McNugget Rampage.” It’s absolutely hilarious. Ms. Dushane, however, was sentenced to two months in jail and ordered to pay for a new drive-thru window.
While people everywhere are hopping mad, frankly, much of it seems like faux outrage. Take the Tea Party. (And I wish somebody would.) During the healthcare debate, Tea Partiers carried signs “Keep your government hands off our Social Security,” apparently not realizing the irony.
Another anger-provoking issue is gay marriage. Why anyone cares if two people of the same sex want to get married is beyond me. But some gay marriage foes claim, “Next they’ll be wanting to marry animals.” What’s scary is that I think some people actually believe that. Yikes!
Gay marriage has been legal in Massachusetts since 2003 and yet the state seems to be holding up. (Other than all the animal marrying.) If you’re vehemently against gay marriage, just don’t marry someone of your own sex and you should be safe.
The latest issue whipping up the masses is the proposed building of an Islamic cultural center two blocks from the World Trade Center site. Despite the obvious constitutional guaranty to freedom of religion, the GOP will undoubtedly exploit this issue in November. And why not? In 2004, gay marriage helped re-elect George W. Bush. (And we all know how well that worked out.)
For those against the Muslim center but willing to hear the other side, go to YouTube and type “Olbermann Cordoba.” It might just change your mind. (Or annoy the hell out of you.)
I, too, am angry about certain issues. And I’m not referring to Frank McCourt’s ownership of the Dodgers, who are a mere 12 games out of first. I hope I’m wrong, but for next year I’m predicting that Joe Torre won’t return, and even worse, Vin Scully will retire. Instead of “wait until next year” to win a World Series, with cheapskate McCourt I fear it will be “wait until hell freezes over.”
But back to my personal “hot button” issues. At the top of the list was/is the ill-fated war in Iraq. Of the endless lies fabricated by the Bush administration, among the most heinous involved Pat Tillman.
In June of 2002, Pat Tillman turned down a $3.6 million NFL contract to enlist as an Army Ranger. On April 22, 2004, Cpl. Tillman, the most celebrated soldier in the military, was killed in Afghanistan by three bullets to his forehead.
The family of Pat Tillman was told that he had died protecting his fellow soldiers in a ferocious firefight. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star (signed by Gen. Stanley McCrystal whom Obama recently fired). The only problem was, it was all a lie.
Tillman was killed, perhaps even murdered, by “friendly fire.” Not only did the Army engage in a cover-up, they used his funeral, carried live on national television, to help sagging public support for the war.
Today, the documentary film “The Tillman Story” opens nationwide. (Locally, at the Landmark Theater on Pico Boulevard at Westwood.) Perhaps if enough people see the movie, negative public opinion might at least ruin the golf game of McCrystal or Donald Rumsfeld. (Dream on, Jack.)
In the opening I commented that the world seems to have gone mad. Today, Steven Slater’s agent is reportedly negotiating on his behalf for a multi-million dollar reality show deal. I think that says it all. At least for this week.
Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.